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example of numbers who are chearful under hardships, no way PART II. lefs grievous than those which cause him to repine.


Man is not formed to acquiefce in any precise fituation. In the best, he finds fomething to do; and, in the worst, is then only unhappy, when he fuffers his courage and powers of exertion to be overwhelmed. While he exerts himself to remove an inconvenience, he ought to be so far patient under it, as, in his endeavours to procure relief, fully to poffefs himself and his faculties.

In the variety of conditions incident to mankind, respecting the measure of their external fupplies and accommodations, we may accordingly obferve a wonderful latitude, in the measure of hardship or inconvenience to which they can fubmit, joined with a continual defire of improving their condition, even when at the best. Here is contentment joined to impatience, of that with which they are content. Both are neceffary qualifications of man's progreffive nature: The disadvantages, under which he labours in any one state of his fortunes, do not disqualify him from proceeding with alacrity, diligence, and ability, in mending his condition; nor does any advantage he ever has gained fo far content him, as to terminate any farther exertion of his faculties.

This happy mixture of fortitude under present inconvenience, with a vigorous effort of mind, for the removal of it; although the just balance of temper be frequently overfet in the minds of particular men, is, nevertheless, a general characteristic of the human fpecies.

The weak are querulous and peevish in their prefent fituation,
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do not exert themselves to remove the cause of their fuffer

SECT VIII. ing. They fee numbers, on every fide, who bear fuch a lot as

theirs with indifference, and yet are pleased to think themselves fingularly wretched. They are fo, no doubt; but it is a wretchednefs of temper and opinion, not of external condition.

In fuch inftances, frequently, the mind is wounded, rather in its conception of dignity, than in its fenfation of harm, from the actual effect of external circumstances. Certain privations are conceived to effect a diminution of rank; and the very pride, which is offended in this diminution, difables the fufferer from endeavouring to procure his relief. Pride is fupine, fullen, and liftlefs; in many other refpects, a principle of mifery or fuffering; and, in this, a difqualification for any of the efforts, which are required to reform either the character of the man, or to remove any caufe of complaint from abroad.

There are ways of thinking, which mislead and tend to corrupt whole nations at once. Falfe notions of religion, which interpofe the authority of God in behalf of any frivolous or cruel practice; fyftems of bigotry and intollerance, which fet mankind at variance, and lead to perfecution and mutual deftruction, on the fcore of difference in matters of faith or worship; falfe notions of honour, which promote quarrels, diftruft, and mutual wrongs; falfe notions of liberty, that indispose men to subordination, or public order; falfe notions of government, that substitute force and discretionary power, for law and justice; false notions of rank that attach elevation to mere birth and fortune, exclufive of merit; or that proceed on a notion of eminence, which no public fervice or luftre of character can fupply. Under fuch apprehensions, a distinction or supposed elevation of rank, which



ought to incite the mind to noble actions, ferves to difcourage PART II. those who would aspire to real greatnefs; and flatter thofe who think themselves great, with the notion of an exemption from the neceffity of merit, or of any good quality whatever.


From the example of mankind, in numberlefs inftances, the importance of opinion or habitual conception is obvious. The perfon who habitually conceives that the church yard is haunted, or that goblins ply in the dark, trembles with fear, where another having no fuch conception is calm and undisturbed; and the mind, in either cafe, may be faid to be the author of its own good, or its harm. The one may fuffer himself to be infected with that weakness, or the other may be corrected of it, according as they neglect or employ their reason to its

proper ufe.

The opinions which tend to happiness are the reverse of those which tend to mifery. In treating of the one, we naturally refer to the other. In oppofition to that corrupt ftate of apprehenfion, in which the distinctions of fortune are substituted for those of merit and demerit, we may obferve it is happy to be guided in our estimation of perfons not by fortune and fashion, but by the merit of intelligence, probity, equanimity, and candour.

In matters of mere inclination or will, it is natural to become in ourfelves what we admire in other men. And perfons, to whom the standard of estimation is perfonal worth, have already received the bias of an ingenuous mind to integrity and honour; fo much, that to esteem and to love thofe virtues in others, amounts nearly to a poffeffion of them in ourselves.

To be ready, on all occafions, with difcernment and truth, in



matters of duty, to state to ourselves,-This is what I have to do, and this is the part for which I am refponfible; with a habit of limiting our own defires to a full and perfect discharge of the office fo affigned us, is rather indeed the effence of happiness than a mere conception tending to obtain it.

All men partake in the concerns of ordinary life, and cannot without abfurdity neglect their own fubfiftence and accommodation, the economy of their fortune, the fettlement of their families, the defence and welfare of their country; but happy are they who, in fuch matters, can distinguish the part affigned to themselves from the part which Providence has referved to itself. To man it is given to exert his natural powers with diligence, benignity, and courage; but the event, in every transaction is at the difpofal of Providence; and the happiest conception or habit of thinking, of which man is fufceptible, is, that the part affigned to him may be equally fupported under every change of events, and that events do but form a change of the fituation in which he is to act. Let him fincerely lament the misfortune of his friend or his country; but let him be ready, also, with all his ability, to retrieve fuch misfortunes.

Life itself, with all its fupports, is precarious and temporary. The longest liver muft die, and the shortest liver can do no more. For us, it is happy to know, that our concern is to conduct ourfelves well through life, whether it be fhort or long. Benevolence and courage are fufficient to happiness; malice and cowardice constitute mifery, whether the life in which they are incurred be of long or fhort duration.

It is happy to conceive the integrity, diligence, and fidelity,


which are in our own power, though unobferved by others, as PART II. the completion of good to ourselves. It is happy to conceive the CHAP. I. debasements of a malicious and cowardly nature, not as matters of degradation merely in the opinion of other men, but as in themselves the completion and effence of all the evil to which we are expofed.

In the relations of mankind, the brother cannot rightly act the part of a stranger, the citizen the part of an alien, nor the individual, considered apart from every particular relation, rightly forget that he is a man, and has a common caufe with mankind. On this fubject, every just conception is productive of happiness, and leads the individual to confider himself as furrounded with objects of affection, and the affection he bears in his mind as the principal excellence of his own nature.

It is happy to know, that the cause of justice and goodness is fecured by infinite wifdom and power; to conceive ourselves as instruments in the hand of God, to be employed for the good of his creatures, and our happiness as confifting in the willing confent of our minds to be fo employed.

The adorable perfections of God infpire a confidence, a veneration, and love; which amount, at the fame time, to a conviction, that goodness and wifdom, even in fuch measures of them as are communicable to created beings, are of the highest value; and the affection they infpire is in itself a difpofition to receive the communication of them.

It is happy, in every place, to carry in our thoughts, that we are in the fituation in which it is the will of God that we should

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