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and if he be a stranger to the refined pleasures of the w
wealthy, he is unacquainted also with the desire of them, and by con. sequence, feels no want. His plain meal satisfies his appe. site, with a relish probably higher than that of the rich man, who sits down to his luxurious baliquet. 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 at. tendance on courts and the great, the labours of dress, the fa. tigue of amusements, the very weight of idleness, frequently are to the rich. In tbe mean time, all the beauty of the face of nature, all the enjoyments of domestic society, all the gaje. ty 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 high respect, are indeed soothing, for a short time, to the great But, become familiar, they are suon 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, from looking up with discontent and envy to those, whom birth or fortune has placed above us. Let us adjust the balance of hap. piness fairly. When we think of the enjoyments we want, we should think also of the troubles from which we are free. If we allow their just value to the comforts we possess, we shall find reason to rest satisfied, with a very moderate, thougb not an opulent and splendid condition of fortune. Often, did we know ihe whole, we should be inclined to pity the state of those whom we now envy.
Patience under provocations our interest as well
The wide circle of human society is diversified by an end. less variety of characters, dispositions, and passions. Unifor. mity 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, and in all respects alike. Where so much diversity obtains, it cannot but happen, that in the intercourse which 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 bigbest as well as the lowest, and in every condition of life, public, private, and domestic, occasions of irritation frequently arise. We are pro. voked, sometimes, by the folly and levity of those with whom we are connected : sometimes by their indifference or neg. cct; by the incivility of a friend, the haughtiness of a superi
or, or the insolent behaviour of one in lower station. Hard. by a day passes, without some what or other occurring, which serves to ruffle the man of impatient spirit. Of course, such a man lives in a 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 souroes of disturbalice and vexation to him. In vain is affinence, in vain are health and prosperity. The least trifle is sufficient to discompose bis mind, and poison his pleasures. His very amusements are mixed with turbu. lence and passion.
I would beseech this man to consider,of what small moment the provocations which he receives, or at least imagines him. self lo 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 lit. tle more patience would allow hi:n to enjoy : and how much he puts it in the power of the most insignificant persons to render bim miserables " But who can expect,” we hear him exclaim, " that he is to possess the insensibility of a slone ? How is it possible for human nature to endure so many repeated provocations ? or to bear calmly with so unreasonable behaviour !"-My brother! if thou canst bear with no instan. ces 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 bere 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 lite 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 us. They are the briars and thorns with which the paths of human 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 provoca. tions which we magnify so highly. When a few suns more have rolled over our heads, the storm will, of itselt, have sub. sided; the cause of our present impatience and disturbance will be utterly forgotten. Can we not then, anticipate tnis 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 opposition to uproar and confusion.
Moderation in our wishes recommended.
The active mind of man seldom or never rests satisfied with its present condition, how prosperous soever. Originally formed for a wider range of objects, for a higher sphere of enjoyments, it finds itself, in every situation of fortune, straitened and confined. Sensible of deficiency in its state, it is ever sending forth the fond desire, the aspiring wish, after something beyond what is enjoyed at present. Hence, that restlessness which prevails 80 generally among mankind. Hence, that disgust of pleasures which they have tried : that passion for novelty ; that ambition of rising io some degree of eminence or felicity, of which they have formed to themselves an indistinct idea. All which may be considered as indica. tions of a certain native original greatness in the huinan soul, swelling beyond the limits of its present condition ; and pointing to the higher objects for which it was made. Happy, it These iatent remains of our primitive state, served to direct our wistes towards their proper destination, and to lead us into the path of true bliss !
But in this dark and bewildered state, the aspiring tendency of our nature unfortunately takes an opposite direction, and feeds a very misplaced ambition. The Aattering appearances which here present themselves to sense; the distinction which fortune confers ; the advantages and pleasures which we ima. gine the world to be capable of bestowing, fill up the ultimate wish of most men. These are the objects which engross their solitary musings, and stimulate their active labours ; which warm the breast of the young, animate the industry of the mid. dle aged, and often keep alive the passions of the old, until the very close of life.
Assuredly, there is nothing unlawful in our wishing to be freed find whatever is disagreeable,and to obtain a fuller en. joyment of the comforts of lite. But when these wishes are not tempered by reason, they are in danger of precipitating us into much extravagance and folly Desires and wishes are the first springs of action When they become exorbitant, the whole charac'er is likley to be tainted It wi suffer our fancy to create to itself worlds of ideal happiness, we shall discompose the peace and order of our minds, and foment many hurtful passions Here, ihen, let moderaiion begin iis reign : by bringing within reasonable bounds the wishes that we form, As soon as they become extravagant, let us check them, by
proper reflections on the fallacious nature of those objects, which the world hangs out to allure desire.
You have strayed, my friends, form the road which conducts to felicity ; you have dishonoured the native dignity of your souls, in allowing your wishes to termiaate or nothing bigher than worldly ideas of greatness or happiness. Your imagina. tion roves in a la d of shadows. Unreal forms deceive you. It is no more than a phantom, an illusion of happiness, which attracts your fond admiration ; nay, an illusion of happiness, which often conceals much real misery.
Do you imagine that all are happy, who have attained to those summits of distinction, towards which your wishes as. pire ? Alas ! how frequen:ly has experience shown that where roses were supposed to bioom, nothing but briars and thorns grew! Reputation, beauty. riches, grandeur, nay, roya ty itself, wuid, many a time, have been gladly exchanged by the possessors, for that more quiet and humble station, with which you are vow dissatisfied.
With all that is splendid and shining in the world, it is decreed that there should mix many deep shades of wo On the elevated situations of fortune the great calamities of life chiefly faill There the storm spends its vi. olence, and there the thunder breaks; while, safe and unhurt, the inhabitants of the vale remain bele w — Retreat, then, from those vain and pernicious excursions of extravagant desire. Satisfy yourselves with what is rational and attainable. Train your minds to moderate views of human life, and human bap. piness. Remember, aná admire, the wisdom of Agur s petition : “ Remove far from me vanity and lies Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me : lest I be fuit and deny thee ; and say, who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal ; and take the name of my God in pain.'
Omniscience and omnipresence of the Drity, the
source of consolation to good men.. I was yesterday about sub-set, walking in the open fields, till the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colors which appeared in the westero parts of heaven. Io proportion as they failed away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, till the whole firmament was in a glow. The bluepess of the ether was exceedingly heightenes and enlivened, by the season of tbe year, and the rays of all those luonti
paries that passed through it.
The galaxy appeared in the most beautiful white. locomplete 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 bar before discovered to us.
As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought arose in me, which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contemplative patures. David himself fell into it, in that reflection ; s when I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers ; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained ; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou regardest him!” In the saine manner, when I consider, that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me; with those innumerable sets of planets or worlds, which were muving round their respective suns; when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another heaven of suns and worlds, rising still above this which we discovered ; and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance,that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former, as the stars do to us ; in short, while I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's works.
Were the sun which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the hosts of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be missed, more than a grair of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceed. ingly little in comparison to the whole,it would searce. ly make a blank in the creation. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eye, that could take in the whole e compass of nature, and
from end of the creation to the other ; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. By