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they want, there are few rich men in any of the politer nations, but among the middle sort of people, who keep their wishes within their fortunes,and have more wealth than they know how to enjoy. Persons of a higher rapk live in a kind of splèndid poverty; and are perpetually wanting, because, instead of acquiescing in the solid pleasures of life, they endeavour to cutvie one another in shadows and appearanceş. Men of sense have at all times beheld, with a great deal of mirth, this silly game that is playing over their heads; and, by contracting their desires, they enjoy all that secret satisfaction which others are always in quest of. The truth is, this ridiculous chase after imaginary pleasures, cannot be sufficiently exposed, as it is the great source of those evils which generally undo a nation. Let a man's estate be what it may, he is a poor man, if he does not live within it; and naturally sets himself to sale to any one that can give him his price. When Pittacus, after the death of his brother, who had left him a good estate, was offered a great sum of money by the king of Lydia, he thanked him for kindness ; but told him he had already more by half than he knew what to do with. In short, content is equivalent to wealth, and luxury tę poverty; or, to give the thought a more agreeable turn, "Content 1 is natural wealth,”says Socrates; to which I shall add, luxury
is artificial poverty. I shall therefore recommend to the consideration of those, who are always aiming at superfluons and imaginary enjoyments, and who will not be at the trouble of contracting their desires, an excellent saying of Bion the philosopher, namely," That no man has so much care, as he who endeavours after the most happiness."
In the second place, every one ought to reflect how much more unbappy he might be, than be really is. The former consideration took in all those, who are sufficiently provided with the means to make themselves easy ; this regards such as actually. lie under some pressure or misfortune. These may receive great alleviation, from such a comparison as the unhappy person may make between bimself and others, or between the misfortune which he suffers, and greater misfortunes which might have befallen him.
I like the story of the honest Dutchman, who, upon breaking his leg by a fall from the mainmast, told the standers by, it was a great mercy that it was not his neck. To which, since I am got into quotations, give me leave to add tbe say. ing of an old philosopher, wbo, after having invited some of: his friends to dine with him, was ruffled by a person that
came into the room in a passion, and threw down the table that stood before them: “ Every one," says be,“ has his calamity; and he is a happy man that has no greater than this." We find an instance to the game purpose, in the life of doctor Hammond, written by bishop Fell. As this good man was troubled with a complication of distempers, when he had the gout upon him, he used to thank God that it was not the stone ; and when he had the stone, ibat he had not both these 'distempers on him at the same time,
I cannot conclude this essay without observing, that there never was any system besides that of Christianity, which could effectually produce in the mind of man the virtue I have been hitherto speaking of. In order to make us contented with our condition, many of the present philosophers tell us, that our discontent only hurts ourselves, without being able to make any alteration in our circumstances; others, that whatever evil befalls us is derived to us by a fatal necessity, to wbich superior beings themselves are subject; while others, very gravely, tell the man who is miserable, that it is necessary he should be so, to keep up the harmoру of the universe; and that the scheme of Providence would be troubled and perverte, rere he otherwise. These, and the like considerations, rather silence than satisfy a man. They may show him that bis discontent is unreasonable, but they are by no means sufficient to relieve it. They rather give despair than consolation. In a word, a man might reply to one of these comforters, as Augustus did to his friend, who advised him pot to grieve for the death of a person whom he loved, because his grief could not fetch him back again : “ It is for that very reason,” said the emperor," that I grieve."
On the contrary, religion bears a more tender regard to human nature. It prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition : nay, it shows bim, that bearing bis afflictions as he ought to do, will naturally end in the removal of them. It makes him easy here, because ipcan make him happy hereafter.
SECTION XII. Rank and riches afford no ground for envy. Of all the grounds of envy among men, superiority of ranka and fortune is the most general. Hence the malignity which the poor commonly bear to the rich, as engrossing in themselves all the comforts of life. Hence, the evil eye with
which persons of inferior station scrutinize those who are above them in rank; and if they approach to that rank, their envy is generally strongest against such as are just one step higher than themselves. - Alas! my friends, all this envious disquietude,which agitates the world, arises from a deceitful figure which imposes on the public view. False colours are hung out: the real state of man is not what it seems to be. The order of society requires a distinction of rank to take place: but in point of happiness, all men come much nearer to equality than is commonly imagined; and the circumstances, which form any material difference of happiness among them, are not of that nature wbich renders them grounds of envy. The poor man possesses not, it is true, some of the conveniences and pleasures of the rich ; but, in return, he is free from many embarrassments to which they are subject. By the simplicity and uniformity of his life, be is delivered from that variety of cares, which perplex those who have great affairs to manage, intricate plans to pursue, many ene. mies perhaps to encounter in the pursuit. In the tranquillity of his small habitation, and private family, be enjoys a peace which is often unknown at courts. The gratifications of nature, which are always the most satisfactory;are possessed by him to their full extent; and if he be a stranger to the refined pleasures of the wealthy, he is unacquainted also with the desire of them, and by consequence, feels no want. His plain mcal satisfies his appetite, with a relish probably higher than that of the rich man, who sits down to his luxurious banquet. His sleep is more sound; his health more firm; he knows not what spleen, languor, and listlessness are. His accustomed employments or labours are not more oppressive to him, than the labour of attendance on courts and the great, the labours of dress, the fatigue of amusements, the very weight of idleness, frequently are to the rich. In the mean time, all the beauties of the face of nature, all the enjoyments of domestic society, all the gaiety and cheerfulness of an easy mind, are as open to him as to those of the highest rank. The splendour of retinue, the sound of titles, the appearances of bigh respect, are indeed soothing for a short time, to the great. But, become familiar, they are soon forgotten. Custom effaces their impression. They sink into the rank of those ordinary things, which daily recur, without raising any sensation of joy. Let us cease, therefore, froin looking up with envy to those, wbom fortune has placed above us. Let us adjust the balance of happiness fairly. When
we think of the enjoyments we wapt, we should think also of the troubles from which we are free If we allow their just value to the comforts wè possess, we shall find reason to rest satisfied, with a very moderate, though not an opulent and splendid, condition of fortune. Often, did we know the whole, we should be inclined to pity the state of those whom we now envy.
SECTION XIII. Patience under provocations our interest as well as duty.,
The wide circle of human society is diversified by an endless variety of characters, dispositions and passions. Uniformity is, in no respect, the genius of the world. Every man is marked by some peculiarity which distinguishes him from another; and no where can two individuals be found, who are exactly in all respects, alike. Where so much diversity obtains, it cannot but happen, that in the intercourse wbich men are obliged to maintain, their tempers will often be ill adjusted to that intercourse; will jar, and interfere with each other, Hence, in every station, the highest as well as the lowest, and in every condition of life, public, private, and domestic, occasions of irritation frequently arise. We are provoked, sometimes, by the folly and levity of those with whom we are connected; sometimes, by their indifference or neglect; by the incivility of a friend, the haughtiness of a superior, or the insolent behaviour of one in lower station. Hardly a day passes, without somewhat or other occurring, which serves to ruffle the man of impatient spirit. Of course, such a man lives in continual storm. He knows not what it is to enjoy a train of good humour. Servants, neighbours, friends, spouse, and children, all, through the unrestrained violence of his temper, become sources of disturbance and vexation to him. In vain is affluence; in vain are health and prosperity. The least trifle is sufficient to discompose his mind, and poison his pleasures. His very amusements are mixed with turbulence and passion,
I would beseech this man to consider, of what small moment the provocations wbich he receives, or at least imagines himself to receive, are really in themselves; but of what great moment he makes them, by suffering them to deprive him of the possession of himself. I would beseech him, to consider, how many hours of happiness he throws away, which a little more patience would allow him to enjoy: and how much he puts it in the power of the most insignificant persons to render him miserable.
- But who can expect," we hear him exclaim, “ that he is to possess the insensibility of a stone? How is it possible for human nature to endure so many repeated provocations? or to bear calmly with so unreasonable behaviour ?" —My brother! it thou canst bear with no instance of unreasonable behaviour, withdraw thyself from the world. Thou art no longer fit to live in it. Leave the intercourse of men. Retreat to the mountain, and the desert; or shut thyself up in a cell. For here, in the midst of society, offences must come. We might as well expect, when we behold a calm atmosphere, and a clear sky, that no clouds were ever to rise, and no winds to blow, as that our life were long to proceed, without receiving provocations from human frailty. The careless and the imprudent, the giddy and the fickle, the ungrateful and the interested, every where meet 08. They are the briers and thoros, with which the paths of buman life are beset, He only, who can hold his course among them with patience and equanimity, he who is prepared to bear what he must expect to happen, is worthy of the name of a man.
If we preserved ourselves composed but for a moment we should perceive the insignificancy of most of those provocations which we magnify so bigbly. When a few.suns more have rolled over our heads, the storm will of itself, have subsided ; the cause of our present impatience and distúrbance will be utterly forgotten. Can we not then, anticipate this hour of calmness to ourselves: and begin to enjoy the peace which it will certainly bring? If others have behaved improperly, let us leave them to their own folly, without becoming the victim of their caprice, and punishing ourselves on their account; —Patience, in this exercise of it, cannot be too much studied by all who wish their life to flow in a smooth-stream. It is the reason of a man, in opposition to the passion of a child. It is the enjoyment of peace, in opposi tion to uproar and confusion,
SECTION XIV. Moderation in our wishes recommended. The active miod of man seldom or never rests satisfied with its present condition, how prosperous soever. Originally formed for a wider range of objects, for a bigher sphere of enjoyments, it finds itself, in every situation of fortune, straitened and contined. Sensible of deficiency in its state, it is ever sending forth the fond desire, the aspiring wish, after