Page images
PDF
EPUB

He liked the kingdom when obtained,

But not the terms on which 'twas gained; He hated pain and self-denial,

Chose the reward, but shun the trial.

He knew his father's power, how great;
How glorious too the promised state!
At length resolves no more to roam,
But straight to seek his father's home.

His sire had sent a friend to say,
He must be cautious on his way;
Told him what road he must pursue,
And always keep his home in view.

The thoughtless youth set out indeed,
But soon he slackened in his speed;
For every trifle by the way
Seduced his idle heart astray.

By every casual impulse swayed,
On every slight pretence he staid;
To each, to all, his passions bend,
He quite forgets his journey's end.

For every sport, for every song,
He halted as he passed along;
Caught by each idle sight he saw,
He'd loiter e'en to pick a straw.

Whate'er was present seized his soul,
A feast, a show, a brimming bowl;
Contented with this vulgar lot,

His father's house he quite forgot.

Those slight refreshments by the way,

Which were but meant his strength to stay,

So sunk his soul in sloth and sin,
He looked no farther than his inn.

His father's friend would oft appear,
And sound the promise in his ear;
Oft would he rouse him-" Sluggard, come !
This is thy inn, and not thy home."

Displeased he answers, "Come what will,
Of present bliss I'll take my fill;
In vain you plead, in vain I hear;
Those joys are distant, these are near."

Thus perished, lost to worth and truth,
In sight of home, this hapless youth;
While beggars, foreigners, and poor,
Enjoyed the father's boundless store.

APPLICATION.

My fable, reader, speaks to thee :--
In God this bounteous father see;
And in his thoughtless offspring trace
The sinful, wayward human race.

The friend the generous father sent,
To rouse, and to reclaim him, meant,
The faithful minister you'll find,

Who calls the wandering, warns the blind.

Reader awake: this youth you blame :
Are not you doing just the same ?
Mindless your comforts are but given,
To help you on your way to heaven.

The pleasures which beguile the road,
The flowers with which your path is strowed;

To these your whole desires you bend,
And quite forget your journey's end.

The meanest toys your soul entice,
A feast, a song, a game at dice;
Charmed with your present paltry lot,
Eternity is quite forgot.

Then listen to a warning friend,

Who bids you mind your journey's end;
A wandering pilgrim here you roam;

This world 's your Inn, the next your Home.

-HANNAH MORE.

153. TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.

TRUTH.

That there is in the human mind a natural or instinctive principle of veracity, has been remarked by many authors; the same part of our constitution which prompts to social intercourse, prompting also to sincerity in our mutual communications. Truth is always the spontaneous and native expression of our sentiments; whereas falsehood implies a certain violence done to our nature, in consequence of the influence of some motive which we are anxious to conceal.*

Speaking the truth is a common debt we owe to all mankind. Speech is given to us as the instrument of intercourse and society one with another, the means of discovering the mind, which otherwise lies hid and concealed; so that were it not for this our conversations would be the same as of beasts. Now being intended for the good and advantage of mankind, it is a due to it, that it be used to that purpose; but he that lies is so far from paying that debt, that on the contrary he makes his speech the means of injury, and deceiving him he speaks to.

"THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN."

There is no duty which is higher than truth, and no sin more heinous than untruth. Indeed, Truth is the very foundation of righteousness.

*From Stewart's Philosophy.

-"MAHABHARATA."

Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.

-CHAUCER.

The basis of all excellence is truth.

-JOHNSON.

Truth is such a virtue, that without it
Strength is weakness, justice tyranny,

Humility pride, and piety hyprocrisy; for in thesə truth is all in all,

The central and chief stone on which the virtue of

our actions must repose,

Or, failing it, will fall to contrarieties :

then, found thy being,

on truth

As on a rock, 'gainst which the storms of passion wreak themselves in vain.

Truth against all the world, for it outlives it, and blooms immortally.

-CHARLES HENRY HANGer.

The Arabs say, "There is no ally surer than truth.”

The truth is daughter of God.

-SPANISH PROVERB.

Truth evermore has been the love
Of holy saints and God above,
And he whose lips are truthful here
Wins after death the highest sphere.
As from a serpent's deadly tooth,

We shrink from him who scorns the truth.*

• From the Râmâyana, translated by Griffith.

-RAMA.

« PreviousContinue »