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Let me assure you, with all the earnestness of deep conviction, that your success, your eminence, your happiness, are much less dependent on the caprices of fortune, infinitely more within your own control, than to superficial observers they appear to be. There lies before you a boundless field of exer. tion. Whatever be your pursuit, whatever the profession you choose, the avenues to honourable fame are widely open to you. The great ocean of truth lies expanded before you. “I do not know," said Newton, at the close of his illustrious career; "I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I secm only like a boy playing on the seashore, finding sometimes a brighter pebble or a smoother shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lies all undiscovered before me." Each advance in knowledge has served to extend it on every side; it has served like the telescope to make us familiar with objects before but imperfectly comprehended; it has shown us the comparative nothingness of human knowledge.
I have said that the field for exertion is boundless; I have said that the avenues to distinction are free; and that it is within your power to command an entrance to them. I am the son of a man who founded his own fortune, by dint of honest and laborious exertion in those very pursuits of active industry which are still elevating so many to affluence and to honourable station ; yet by the favour and confidence of my sovereign, I have been called to the highest trust which a subject can execute, that of administering the government of this great country. I repeat, there is a presumption amounting almost to certainty, that if any one of you will determine to be eminent, in whatever profession you may choose, and will act with unvarying steadiness in pursuance of that determination, you will, if health and strength be given you, infallibly succeed. Yes, if even what is called genius shall have been denied to you, you have faculties of the mind, which may improved by constant exercise and vigilance, that they shall supply the place of genius, and open to you brighter prospects of ultimate success than genius, unaided by discipline, can hope to attain. There may be there are, no doubt-original differences in different persons, in the depth and in the quality of the intellectual mine ; but in all ordinary cases, the practical success of the working of the mine depends, in by far the greatest degree, upon the care, the labour, the perfection of the machinery which is applied to it. Do I say that you can command success without difficulty ? No; difficulty is the condition of success. “ Difficulty is a severe instructor set over us by the supreme ordinance of a parental guardian and legislator who knows us better than we know ourselves, as he loves us better too. He that wrestles with us, strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This amicable conflict with difficulty obliges us to an intimate acquaintance with our object, and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.” These are the memorable words of the first of philosophic statesmen -the illustrious Mr Burke. Enter then into the amicable conflict with difficulty. Whenever you encounter it, turn not aside; say not "there is a lion in the path ;” resolve upon mastering it; and every successive triumph will inspire you with that confidence in yourselves, that habit of victory, which will make future conquests easy.
Practise the economy of time; consider time, like the faculties of your mind, a precious estate—that every moment of it, well applied, is put out to an exorbitant interest. I do not say, devote yourselves to unremitting labour, and forego all amusement; but I do say, that the zest of amusement itself, as the result of successful application, depends in a great measure upon the economy of time. If you will consider our faculties as the gift of nature, by far the first in value—if you will be persuaded, as you ought to be, that they are capable of constant, progressive, and, therefore, almost indefinite improvement-that by arts similar to those by which magic feats of dexterity and bolily strength are performed, a capacity for the nobler feats of the mind may be acquired—the first, the especial object of your youth, will be to establish that control over your own minds, and your own habits, which shall ensure the proper cultivation of this precious inheritance.
From an Address to Glasgow Students—Sir ROBERT PEEL. 36.—THE WORLD MADE WITH A BOUNTIFUL DESIGN.
It is a happy world after all. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. In a spring noon or summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. “The insect youth are on the wing." Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A bee amongst the flowers in spring is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment, so busy and so pleased; yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half-domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper enjoyments; and under every variety of constitution gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the author of their nature has assigned to them.
37.–FAME, A COMMENDABLE PASSION. I CAN by no means agree with you in thinking, that the love of fame is a passion, which either reason' or religion' condemns. I confess, indeed, there are some' who have represented it as inconsistent with both'; and I remember, in particular, the excellent author of The Religion of Nature Delineated', has treated it as highly irrational and absurd'. But surely “'twere to consider too curiously'," as Horatio says to Hamlet, “ to consider thus'.” For though fame with posterity should be, in the strict analysis of it, no other than a mere uninteresting proposition, amounting to nothing more than that somebody acted meritoriously'; yet it would not necessarily follow', that true philosophy would banish' the desire of it from the human breast. For this passion may be (as most certainly it is) wisely implanted in our species, notwithstanding the corresponding object should in reality' be very different from what it appears in imagination. Do not many of our most refined' and even contemplative pleasures owe their existence to our mistakes? It is but extending (I will not say, improving)
' some of our senses to a higher degree of acuteness than we now possess them, to make the fairest views of nature', or the noblest productions of art', appear horrid' and deformed'. To see things as they truly and in themselves' are, would not always, perhaps, be of advantage to us in the intellectual' world, any more than in the natural'. But, after all, who shall certainly assure us, that the pleasure of virtuous fame dies with its possessor,
and reaches not to a farther' scene of existence ? There is nothing, it should seem, either absurd or unphilosophical in supposing it possible' at least, that the praises of the good and the judicious, that sweetest music to an honest ear in this world, may be echoed back to the mansions of the next'; that the poet's description of Fancy' may be literally true', and though she walks upon earth', she may yet lift her head into heaven'.
But can it be reasonable to extinguish' a passion which nature has universally lighted up' in the human breast, and which we constantly find to burn with most strength and brightness in the noblest' and best formed bosoms? Accordingly revelation is so far from endeavouring (as you suppose) to eradicate' the seed which nature has deeply planted, that she rather seems, on the contrary', to cherish and forward its growth. To be exalted with honour', and to be had in everlasting remembrance', are in the number of those encouragements which the Jewish dispensation offered to the virtuous'; as the person from whom the sacred Author of the Christian system received his birth', is herself represented as rejoicing that all generations should call her blessed'.
To be convinced of the great advantage of cherishing this high regard to posterity, this noble desire of an after-life in the breath of others', one need only look back upon the history of the ancient Greeks' and Romans. What other principle was it, which produced that exalted strain of virtue in those
days, that may well serve as a model to these'. Was it not the concurrent approbation of the good', the uncorrupted applause of the wise', (as Tully calls it), that animated their most generous pursuits ?
To confess the truth, I have been ever inclined to think it a very dangerous' attempt, to endeavour to lessen' the motives of right conduct, or to raise any suspicion concerning their solidity. The tempers and dispositions of mankind are so extremely different', that it seems necessary they should be called into action by a variety of incitements. Thus, while some' are willing to wed Virtue for her personal charms, others are engaged to take her for the sake of her expected dowry': and since her followers and admirers have so little hopes from her at present, it were pity, methinks, to reason them out of any imagined advantage in reversion'. FITZOSBORNE's Letters.
38.—THE WORKS OF CREATION.
I was yesterday about sunset walking in the open fields, until the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of heaven. In proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, until the whole firmament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened by the season of the year, and by the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it. The galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose at length in that clouded majesty which Milton takes notice of, and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights, than that which the sun had before discovered to us.
As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought rose in me, which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contemplative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection—“When I consider the heavens, the