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consider, how strongly the minds of different and distant ages resemble each other in their weaknesses and vices. It is, in fact, the same mind operated on at different intervals by nearly similar causes; and the offspring of ignorance have been ever remarkable for a family-resemblance.
Hence, the same error has been noticed to lead men captive in places and ages the most remote, where no suspicion of tradition or direct in struction can be conceived: for instance, the sacrifices to Moloch noticed by the sacred historian in the early ages of the world, and the human sacrifices among the Mexicans, whose empire, according to a very reasonable supposition, could not have had existence many ages, before the period of its discovery. Besides, many errors are evidently traditionary, and the investigation of the many points of resemblance between the superstitious practices and opinions of elder times, and those which now prevail, would furnish no uninteresting object for pursuit.
In Hamlet, Horatio says of the Ghost
Jamque vale; torquet medios nox humida cursus;
Et me sævus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis: Dixerat, et tenues fugit, ceu fumus, in
Some of those inventions of man, which have been engrafted on the religion of the Bible to its great deterioration, may perhaps find their origin also among the rites of paganism. The lustral water of the heathens may suggest one practise of the present day, and in Eneid, lib. 6. v.736, &c. the prototype of another will probably be discovered. ‡
In the Symbol now under consideration, the design is not so obvious as in the preceding oues. What are the most striking circumstances in the nature and habits of swallows? Their emigrations, and incessant change of place? Here then seems to be an allusion to men of unsteady minds, and fickle dispositions;—men, who flutter from place to place, having no attachment for their natal soil, feeling no preference, but as convenience or selfish interest decides: whose maxim is," Ubi bene, ibi patria." Admit not such men benath thy roof; that is, form not close intimacies with them: for we
must not suppose, that Pythagoras, who was a philanthropist, would enjoin a precept so inhospitable, as to shut the door on distress and
One characteristic of the persons, against whom this Symbol is conceived to warn, is that they wait not to be sought for; they present themselves unsolicited, and cross us in all our paths: they require not the wooing they are forward and obtrusive, being totally unacquaint ed with the inseparable companion of merit, modesty.
The Symbol, thus understood, would be a useful impress on the mind of a young man, just about to take up his part on the stage of life. The characters, against which it warns, with their superficial qua lities, catch his inexperienced eye; they advance close to him, and fill his whole field of vision, and conse. quently those, who will not come forward, because conscious that their worth demands a search, remain unperceived by him. What commonly results?-Disappointment necessarily. A little time suffices to wear off the superficial gilding, and the selfish worthless character appears beneath: hence, in the minds of the ardent and high-spirited a dangerous revulsion too frequently takes place: the heart, that expands with benevolent warmth to every being, now chilled in all its hopes, impetuously contracts, and will scarcely admit an individual to its embrace.
tively early period. His pursuits after leaving school, are of the kind, which require a vigorous exercise of the mental powers. Hence it will necessarily result, that he will be found to possess above the female of equal natural talent, all that decided superiority, which experience and exercise confer.
May not the caution, thus extracted from the Symbol, be profita bly impressed on females-and on them more peculiarly?
The boy is generally familiarized from an early age, to intercourse and collision with his equals: his powers of discrimination are soon called into exercise, and consequently arrive at maturity at a compara
The opposite to this will sketch the female's case. She dwells longer in the vale of retirement: when brought into public, she appears not without her matron-guide, from whom she departs only to be consigned to the more pleasing guidance of a husband. These circumstances are, of theinselves, sufficient to enfeeble, or at least to retard the growth of intellect. Add to these the debasing effect of what is, by a misnomer, termed education--a course, which not merely enfeebles the understanding, but preverts its remains past hope, by fettering it with vanity, and the love of what is useless. No duties can be well
performed but by the aid of reason, and what duties are there so important, so interesting, so productive of public advantage, and private hap piness, as those of the mother who prizes and watches over her jewels*, as she ought? And can a man of common sense expect those impor tant, those sacred duties, to be well discharged by the fluttering empty thing forced into womanhood in the hot-house of a boarding-school? and is it consistent with good sense, or with the interest of man himself, to impress the ungenerous, absurd idea, that it is needless and improper for females to cultivate their understandings?
While the rational part of a female is thus left unimproved, on principle, there must be an incapacity of judg
• In allusion to Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi.
ing accurately, and consequently a liableness to be hurried away by plausible appearances. Under such circumstances then, when the mother, wife, or daughter, forsakes her legitimate protector, and ćen-. fines herself to infamy and a seducer, while we condemn them, we must not do so exclusively; those who have exposed them to the temptation unarmed, deserve their share of censure. The natural guardian and instructor should have taught the female mind to reason, and so have furnished a test, by which to discriminate between the fluttering inconstant tribe, supposed to be described in the Symbol, and those, who would prove safe guides and beloved companions through the journey of life.
Gyraldus, in his commentary, supposes the swallows to be false friends, who abound in the sun-shine and summer of prosperity, and disappear at the approach of the winter of adversity. To this interpretation, it may however be objected, that the design of Pythagoras, in giv. ing these Symbols, was to furnish his disciples with brief advices, by which they might be forearmed for any emergency; the Symbol, according to the interpretation of Gyraldus, is not a preceptive forewarning guide, it is a mere allegory, by which an 'idea is given, of what false friends are, but no rule laid down, by which they are to be discovered.
To the Editor of the Belfast Magazine.
The following letter was written for a young friend, on his going abroad. As the admonitions it contains may be useful to other young men in similar situations, and even to young men in general, I send you a copy, conceiving that it might
MY DEAR WILLIAM,
YOUR mother, prompted by the
tenderest affection and solicitude for your welfare and happiness, has requested me to write you a letter of friendly admonition, on the occasion of your going abroad. She conceives that a few hints respecting your future conduct, dictated, as you will believe them to be, by the purest motives, and the warmest desires for your future happiness, may make a lasting impression, on your mind, and may assist to strengthen your virtuous resolutions, when you shall no longer enjoy the advice and instructions of your relatives and friends. I shall comply with her request, with the greatest pleasure and trust that you will receive the following brief admonitions, with the same interest with which they are written, often meditate upon them, and lay them seriously to heart.
The mode of life on which you are about to enter, will probably, in a great measure, preclude you from enjoying the public services of religion. But independently of these, there are principles of piety, and duties of devotion, which no circumstances or situations should prevail with you to neglect.
Consider that from God yon derive your being, and that on him you are continually dependant for all that you enjoy that it is his pleasure, that you should be happy; and that of course, it is his will, that you should constantly love and obey him. Let, therefore, that Supreme Being, whose approbation is that alone which can confer true and
lasting happiness to the mind, be the object of your most fervent love, and constant adoration. Consider yourself as continually in his presence and let the reflexion, that he knows, not only your most secret actions, but even the very thoughts of your heart, check every evil inclination, that may at any time arise in your mind. Be mindful to pray to him daily; not offer ing up merely the tribute of the Tips, but the hallowed incense of a grateful and devoted heart. Confess your faults to hin; implore his mercy and forgiveness, and pray, that he may enable you to avoid his displeasure, for all time to come. Pray that he may keep you from all evil; and may enable you, amid the trials and difficulties of life, to hold fast your integrity to the end; that so, you may at length obtain those divine rewards which none but those who serve him faithfally, can ever expect to enjoy
Neglect not to read the Holy Scriptures, that great treasury of divine knowledge, from whose glorious discoveries, we derive all our hopes of future life and happiness. Let not the heavenly warnings, the gracious promises, and transporting prospects, which they disclose to the view of all good christians, ever be effaced from your mind. Meditation, on that high destination, to which, by the light of the christain revelation, you have been called, will animate every good resolution, and wilk teach you to look, with a generous and holy scorn, on all the seducing vanities and debasing honours and enjoyments of a wicked world, A mind informed and influenced by the great truths of religion, will be a sure protection for you, amid the snares of life, and the source of inexpres
BELFAST MAG. NO. XXX,
sible comfort to you, when you come to die.
A due reverence for that omnipresent and omniscient God, on whom you continually depend, will protect you from the odious and abominable crime of profane swearing.You will probably meet with many examples to encourage you to indulge in this vice. But let a sense of religion ever influence your conduct. Consider too the total unprofitableness of the practice of profane swearing. Men gain by it neither reputation nor credit. On the contrary, it always sinks the character of those who are addicted to it, in the estimation of all the friends of true religion. Swearers are always less respected, and less depended on than those who speak the words of plain and simple truth. Add to this, the high impiety which there is in invoking on the most trivial occasions, and in the most irreverent manner, the awful majesty of heaven!
In your intercourse with the world, let truth, sincerity, and candour, the strictest justice, and the purest benevolence, influence your conduct. Integrity of heart and life will gain for you the confidence and esteem of all the wise and good, and will guide you in safety through numberless difficulties and dangers. The designing, the perfidious, and those who respect not truth virtue, except when they think it will serve their present interests, may prosper for a while: but sooner or later, they are ensnared in their own wicked devices, are covered with infamy, and sink into deserved abhorrence. To your superiors, you must conduct yourself with unfeigned humility and respect; giving honour to whom honour is due; impressed with a proper sense of that deference and obedience, to which those above you are entitled. To your inferiors
you are to testify a generous and benevolent condescension; avoiding all harsh and overbearing language and conduct, and desiring, that they should treat you with a becoming respect, rather from a sense of your merit, than from a conviction of your superiority. To your equals you are to express the greatest openness, and frankness of demeanour, cultivating a courteous, obliging, and generous disposition, and avoiding all unsocial and unfriendly passions. Endeavour to secure the good opinion of all around you, by all the kind offices in your power:-yet be cautious whom you choose for your intimate companions, and confidential friends. Young minds are generous, open, and unsuspecting; and there is, therefore, the greater danger, that they will be ensnared by the craft of the designing and the profligate, Open your bosom only to friends, of well-known integrity, and tried fidelity. Avoid the society of all those who laugh at religion, and who presume to think lightly of crimes, which virtue teaches us to abhor: and on the contrary, cultivate the friendship of those whom by experience, you find to be friends of piety and true goodness. Should any attempt to seduce you from virtee, shan them as you would do a pestilence. If you lend an ear to their alluring words, you may imb.be that contageous poison, which will infect your whole moral frame, and blast your character and happiness for ever!
admire virtue and benevolence in their loveliest form, and be enamoured of their charms, without abhorring vice, in one of the most odious forms in which it can present itself to our view. Neglect not, therefore, as you may enjoy opportunity, to cultivate the acquaintance of virtuous and amiable females. You will find among such, a delicacy of sentiment, a refinement of manners, a degree of purity of mind, and of real goodness, which can rarely be found in the other sex. But while this improvement of manners and disposition may be naturally expected from the society of virtuous and amiable females, what depravation of character, what debasement of wind may not be expected from the society of the profligate of the female sex! As you value purity of heart, the dignity of your immortal nature, which should aspire after immensely higher and nobler objects than what the sensualist can boast of, and especially your peace with heaven, resist the allurements of criminal pleasure. Suffer not the enticing words, or ensnaring example of any with whom you may at any time be unfortunately connected, to put you off your guard, even for a moment, so as to seduce you from virtue, even in the smallest degree. For should you yield, in one instance, what protection shall you be able to find, either from your own mind, or from heaven, against the seducing influence of any subsequent impulse: and how can you say, that the demon of criminal pleasure may not afterwards so completely prevail over you, as to hurry you forward to the utmost excess; so as, length, to involve you in the lowest depths of moral degradation.
Nothing contributes so much to soften the manners, and sweeten the dispositions of young men, as the society and conversation of the vir tuous and amiable of the female SCX. I may even add, with truth, that these tend, in no inconsiderable degree, to inspire the youthful mind with a love of virtue: for we cannot
I express myself, my dear William, thus particularly, not because I entertain the most distant suspicion