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Families

and langu

empire v retain

or overlooked the grand common cause.
themselves were divided in these contests-brother
against brother. Fratricide, incest, assassinations,
conspiracies, were crimes common to this epoch;
and perhaps not to be accounted the least of them,
was that laxity of morals and manners amongst the
females, which was not only attended with their
own disgrace, but with the corruption of all the
social ties of relatives, friends, and compatriots.
Such was the influence of the latter vices, that the
government of Venice was constrained to infringe
the liberty of the constitution by prohibiting all
courtisans from entering the state. To detail the
vices of every class, would be to write a history of
the decline of Venetian independence. Never was
there a people more lost to all virtue; never a
republic more literally abandoned to the vices of
corrupt human nature.

Similar was also the state of the Romans at the time of the decline of the ancient empire. During the period of its glory, the people were, by their ever active military occupations, kept from listlessness, party feuds, and demoralizing excesses. When they became luxurious and immoral, the insulted deities left them to their fate

Di multa neglecti dederunt
Hesperiæ mala luctuosæ.

The rulers and people became equally venal and licentious-no sort of crime or wickedness was wanting to complete their abandoned degeneracy •

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1 languishing in luxury, they gradually lost that pire which they had lost moral energy to

ain

Sævior armis

Luxuria incubuit, victumque ulciscitur orbem.

During intervals of peace, and the reigns of ers, emperors, or caliphs, that promoted literae and the arts and sciences, Greece and Rome, ypt and Moorish Spain, attained that state of osperity and grandeur which has justly rendered em celebrated in history, and has made those parular times worthy of our admiration. But devoid any fixed moral principle, and depending excluely for their celebrity upon the disposition of a gning monarch, or the contingencies of fortunate nes, and the influence of a class of men, the ople, themselves little better than barbarians, aited but the demise of the first, or the change of e second, and then were ready, or even eager, to vert to their former turbulence and warfare; or, he fatal tranquillity lasted too long, they, perhaps, nk into that state of lethargy and degeneracy, ich marked the downfal of the mistress of the orld. Those epochs were, indeed, brilliant; but ey were transient, inasmuch as their causes were

A wise administration characterized the times, t it was grounded upon no permanent principle its glory waned with one generation; or whilst it atured the virtues, it also ripened the counteract

r vices of mankind

The events of the past, are practical lessons to the present times. If, with all our learning and light, infidelity and vice in every form characterize our own times, demark the higher ranks as well as the lower, the parliamentary representative as well as his constituents; if bad faith, a fides punica, ⚫ blemish our transactions with each other; if a lying spirit be abroad, and we be travelling the same road that empires have gone before us, the crisis, as well as its intermediate consequences, are melancholy to contemplate. Well might Alamanni predict of Venice,

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Se non cangi pensier, l'un secol solo
Non conterà sopra 'l millesimo anno
Tua libertà, chi va fuggendo a volo.

Who would not be glad to escape from such a world where neither reason nor justice seem to be otherwise than nominally recognised! Well may the philosopher imagine to himself the consoling possibility of reaching that land, or discovering the happy valley, where he may find out that perfection which no where else exists! Shall we set out with Rasselas from the sweet repose of his native fields, and wandering through the most famous cities and popular society, return with him at last to find in a contented breast that happiness which no where else he found!

There was a sublime character of which we read in Christian records, that seemed once to justify all

that philosophy could conceive of human perfection.

A charad

Summate

be only

energies.

now it is

appy an ous cha raining God was

hat ever

se, is to

With th at which

Botives to

tiveless

phers,"

imagina re as the st

e so high.

character whose conduct was regulated by connmate wisdom; and whose passions appeared to

only subservient to the development of holy ergies. This character was the Christian. And w it is with wonder we contemplate that at once ppy and suffering being; that twice born, mysteous character! The love of God was the conraining motive of all his actions-the Spirit of od was upon him; and its influence was to him, hat every breath of passion, and every thrill of nse, is to the ordinary man.

With the promise of the life which now is, and of at which is to come, before him, who has such otives to virtue as the Christian? and who is so

otiveless as the mere sophist? "As for the phisophers," says Bacon, "they make imaginary laws, or imaginary commonwealths; and their discourses re as the stars, which give little light, because they re so high."

CHAPTER VIII.

PROSPECTS OF MODERN EMPIRES.

have all
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characters

THEOPHRASTUS commences his treatise
cal characters, with the following remark :—" when
I first reflected upon this subject, I, indeed, often-
times wondered, nor do I yet cease wondering, why
we do not all possess with each other the same
habits, since the whole of Greece is subject to the
same climate, and all the Greeks are brought up in
the same kind of way”—συμβεβηκεν ἡμιν ου τὴν
αυτην ταξιν των τρόπων εχειν. And although it
would be no less remarkable if the inhabitants of
different countries, men who inhabit the same earth,
and possess the same nature and generic faculties,
should not likewise be capable of performing the
same duties, and enjoying the same happiness; yet
it might be considered more marvellous, if indi-
viduals so variously organized, endowed with such
different degrees of strength, such opposite fortunes,
and influenced by such different circumstances,
should, notwithstanding these differences, which

operate so powerfully in varying all other creatures

parts of the And is it n of after-life

men, an

a great

local and icity of

members of in the diver

ferent ages, individuals, information

and of there

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