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they who resolve to be merry, seldom are so; it will be much more uplikely for us to be well pleased, if they are admitted who are always complaining they are sad. Whatever we do we should keep up the cheerfulness of our spirits, and never let them sink be. low an iuclination at least to be well pleased : the way to this, is to keep our bodies in exercise, our minds at ease. That insipid state wherein neither are in vigour, is not to be accounted any part of our por. tion of being. When we are in the satisfaction of some innocent pleasure, or pursuit of some laudable design, we are in the possession of life, of human life. Fortune will give us disappointments enough, and nature is attended with infirmities enough, without our adding to the unhappy side of our account by our spleen or ill-humour. Poor Cottilus, among so many real evils, a chronical distemper and a narrow fortune, is never heard to complain: that equal spirit of his, which any man may have, that, like him, will conquer pride, vanity, and affectation, and follow nature, is not to be broken, because it has no points to contend for. To be anxious for nothing, but what nature de. mands as necessary, if it is not the way to an estate, is the way to what men aim at by getting an estate. This temper will preserve health in the body, as well as tranquillity in the mind. Cottilus sees the world in an hurry with the same scorn that a sober person sees a man drunk. Had he been contented with what he ought to have been, how could, says he, such-a-one have met with such a disappointment? If another had valued his mistress for what he ought to have loved her, he had not been iu her power: if her virtue had a part of his passion, her levity had been his cure; she could not then have been false and amiable at the same time.
Since we cannot promise ourselves constant health, let us endeavour at such a temper as may be our best support in the decay of it. Uranius has arrived at that composure of soul, and wrought himself up to such a
neglect of every thing with which the generality of mankind is enchanted, that nothing but acute pains can give him disturbance, and against those too he will tell his intimate friends he has a secret which gives him present ease. Uranius is so thoroughly persuaded of another life, and endeavours so sincerely to secure an interest in it, that he looks upon pain but as a quickening of his pace to an home, where he shall be better provided for than in his present apartment. Instead of the melancholy views which others are apt to give themselves, he will tell you that he bas forgot he is mortal, nor will he think of himself as such. He thinks at the time of bis birth he entered into an eternal being; and the short article of death he will not allow an interruption of life: since that moment is not of half the duration as is his ordinary sleep. Thus is his being one uniform and consistent series of cheerful diversions, and moderate cares, without fear or hope of futurity. Health to him is more than pleasure to another man, and sickness less affecting to him than indisposition is to others.
I must confess, if one does not regard life after this manner, none but idiots can pass it away with any tolerable patience. Take a fine lady who is of a deli. cate frame, and you may observe from the honr she rises a certain weariness of all that passes about her. I know more than one who is much too nice to be quite alive. They are sick of such strange frightful people that they meet; one is so aukward, and an. other so disagreeable, that it looks like a penance to breathe the same air with them. You see this is so very true, that a great part of ceremony aud good. breeding among the ladies turns upon their uneasiness; and I will undertake, if the how-d'ye servants of our women were to make a weekly bill of sickness, as the parish-clerks do of mortality, yon would not find in an aacount of seven days, one in thirty that was not 'downright sick or indisposed, or but a very little better than she was, and so forth.
It is certain that to enjoy life and health as a corrstant feast, we should not think pleasure necessary ; but, if possible, to arrive at an equality of mind. It is as mean to be overjoyed upon occasions of good fortune, as to be dejected in circumstances of distress. Laughter in one condition is as unmanly as weeping in the other. We should not form our minds to ex. pect transport on every occasion, but know how to make it enjoyment to be out of pain. Ambition, envy, vagrant desire, or impertinent mirth, will take up our minds, without we can possess ourselves in: that sobriety of heart which is above all pleasures, and cau be felt much better than described. But the ready way, I believe, to the right enjoyment of life, is, by a prospect towards another to have but a very meani opinion of it. A great author of our time has set this in an excellent light, when with a philosophic pity of buman life, he spoke of it in his Theory of the Earth in the following manner:
“ For what is this life but a circulation of littlemean actions? We lie down and rise again, dress and undress, feed and wax hungry, work or play, and are weary, and then we lie down again, and the circle returns. We spend the day in trifles, and when the night comes, we throw ourselves into the bed of folly amongst dreams and broken thoughts and wild imagia nations. Our reason lies asleep by us, and we are for the time as errant brutes as those that sleep in the salls. or in the field. Are not the capacities of mai gher than these? And ought not bis ambition and expectations to be greater? Let us be adventurers for another world: it is. at least a fair and noble chance; and there is nothing in this worth our thoughts or our pas. sions. If we should be disappointed, we are still no worse than the rest of our fellow-mortals; and if we succeed in our expectations, we are eternally happy."
Postquam se lumine puro
THE common topics against the pride of man,
which are laboured by florid and declamatory writers, are taken from the baseness of his original, the imperfections of his nature, or the short duratiou. of those goods in which he makes his boast. Though it be true that we can have nothing in us that ought to raise our vanity, yet a consciousness of our own merit may be sometimes laudable. The folly therefore lies here; we are apt to pride ourselves in worthless or perhaps shameful things; and on the other hand, count that disgraceful which is our truest glory.
Hence it is, that the lovers of praise take wrong measures to attain it. Would a vain man consult his own heart, he would find that if others knew his weakness as well as he himself doth, he could not have the inpudence to expect the public esteem. Pride therefore flows from want of reflection, and ige norance of ourselves. Knowledge and humility come upon us together.
The proper way to make an estimate of ourselves, is to consider seriously what it is we value or despise in others. A man who boasts of the goods of for. tune, a gay dress, or a new title, is generally the mark of ridicule.
We onght therefore not to admire in ourselves, what we are so ready to laugh at in other men.
Mach less can we with reason pride ourselves in those things, which at some time of our life we shall certainly despise. And yet, if we will give ourselves the trouble of looking backward and forward on the several changes which we have already undergone and hereafter inust try, we shall find that the greater degrees our knowledge and wisdom, serve only to show us our own imperfections.
As we rise from childhood to youth, we look with contempt on the toys and trifles which our hearts have hitherto been set upon. When we advance to man. hood, we are held wise in proportion to our shame and regret for the rashness and extravagance of youth. Old age fills us with mortifying reflections upon a life mispent in the pursuit of anxious wealth or uncertain honour. Agreeable to this gradation of thought in this life, it may be reasonably supposed, that in a future state, the wisdom, the experience, and the maxims of old age, will be looked apon by a separate spirit in much the same light as an ancient man now sees the little follies and toyings of infants. The pomps, the honours, the policies, and arts of mortal men, will be thought as trifling as hobby-horses, mock-battles, or any other sports that now employ all the cunning, and strength, and ambition of rational beings from four years old to nine or ten.
If the notion of a gradual rise in beings from the meanest to the most high, be not a vain imagination, it is not improbable that an angel looks down upon a man, as a man doth upon a creature which approaches nearest to the rational nature. By the same rule, if I may indulge my fancy in this particular, a superior brute looks with a kind of pride on one of an inferior species. If they could reflect, we might imagine from the gestures of some of them that they think them. selves the sovereigns of the worid, and that all things