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that I have not. laughed but in de- then would have deserved the punfence of my absolute and relative ishment he now can never receive. rights.- The malignant sneer I hear- My brother might have withdrawn tily despise ; it differs as much from himself from my society, and forever my kind of laughing, as mine from have debarred me the pleasures, the the smiles of Providence.
lofs of which, others would mourn It is the aim of more to be thought incessantly, but at which I smile and happy, than really to be fo; and as say, Amen. this object is more easily obtained A well meaning author writes not than substantial joy, I have given it for emolument, but to make others chase and have gained my point. happy. This excellence of disposiI am called the happiest man in the tion I likewise arrogate to myfelf; Commonwealth, and I really sup-. for, reader, I give thee full liberty pose I am.
to be fo merry when thou speakeit What naturally displeases most of me, or when thou heareft me people, gives me pleasure ; not be- laugh, and to pay fo little regard to cause I rejoice at the misery of oth- my feelings as to laugh at me, as ers; but as I take our intervals of much as shall be satisfying. Call evil to be far shorter than those of me stupid ; say that I lack sensibilgood, I am pleased when evils come; ity ; ftill I will not grieve thee with because they are dreaded till past, a charge of detraction ; but at some and because I know their speedy and more auspicious season for the Laughfrequent arrival will hasten their des er, make thee laugh at thy grofs mifparture. The convalescent consider take of a character, not the moft themselves exempts from disease and laughable, but one who never laughs contagion ; but the veteran in health with more feeling satisfaction, than looks at a fick bed with horror, be when he knows he makes bis species cause he knows he must have his glad.
To be always witty, or always To be able to convert all these laughing, would be like living coninto laughter, is the art I boaft. ftantly on sweet-meats ; therefore, Gay, when melancholy might bind thou wilt find me always brief. me to despair ; lively, when fears Never will I tire thee by telling my and apprehensions might immerse dreams, or saying my prayers; thefe every enjoyment in terror, I defy are domestic duties, and shall not these puny ills, which devour half trouble thee. I too highly value the happiness of man, and fing when the public taste to lavish much of my
ions bleed. I can philosophical advice, but to be capable of pertily ridicule what are vulgarly termed nently laughing a rascal out of coununavoidable evils, and smile as mean. tenance, is worthy the attention of ingly at the death of a friend, as a all thofe whofe attention I crave ; churl at the death of his wife. What and I am convinced that the art is is irretrievably lost cannot be a mo never gained without much prac. ment recalled by grief, or the loss tice, and a few hints from one as diminished by weeping. My friend much experienced as the profeffed might have proved treacherous, and Laugher.
(From Rack's Essays.]
is the most valuable of all sciences; is very unfavourable to the knowand to attain it, the most neceffary ledge of ourselves. The years of of all acquisitions. Upon this infancy are spent in mere trifling knowledge depend the propriety of and amusement. When the period our actions, our fafety, and much of of life arrives, in which the mental our present happiness.
faculties begin to expand and acquire These truths are generally assented vigour, the hours of instruction and to in theory, but seldom prove suffi- ftudy are confined to the common ciently operative on our practice. beaten track of school-learning. The Few willingly submit to pursue the languages, arts, and sciences, close arduous examination, What they are the scene, and finish the man. He -how constituted--what relation is indeed taught the general system they stand in to other beings-and of moral ethics, and perhaps some what is the nature, extent, and in care is taken to enrich his mind with fluence of their passions and mental principles of religion and virtue ; faculties ? Almost every other kind but little or no care is exercised to of inquiry takes place of this, al. excite in him an inquiry whence though it is the most important of any his various pafsions arise--by what that can employ the mind of man. they are excited or restrained-how While we are solicitous to become he
and direct them acquainted with every thing without aright-and what is the nature and us, we voluntarily remain strangers extent of those noble powers of reato, and ignorant of ourselves, son and understanding which he
Three reasons may be algned for possesses. this neglect; the first is, that from Hence, when he has finished his infancy we are taught to employ the education, and ripens into manhood, greater part of our thoughts and at he is of nothing so ignorant as himtention on material objects, and in self. He has never examined the reasoning from, and about them, cause of bis ideas--whence his palThe second is, that an inquiry into fions arise--to what they most strongthe nature of our own minds, and ly tend how they are best controllthe strength and influence of our faced--and what connexion the various ulties and paffions, requires a stronger powers of the understanding have exertion of thought than is agreeable with each other, and with the objects to that indolence in which mankind on which they are or ought to be ate tgo apt to repose. And the exercised.- Unaccustomed to close third is, that self-examination often thinking, he seldom acquires that presents a bumiliating prospect to just train of reasoning by which alone the mind, and convicts it of its own
discoveries of this kind are made. on folly and imprudence ; and is Having never been taught to regulate that account disagreeable to his ideas with precision, he is lost On these causes I Thall make a few in a labyrinth. He
appears a riddle observations.
to himself, which he cannot explain ;
the employment becomes irksome, things, or the revealed will of his and flies to sensible objects for anuse. Creator. Human laws now become ment and gratilication.
the only check upon his conduct. By this voluntary renunciation of His virtues are merely constitutional, their noblest privileges, and neglect or such as he pra&ises for the sake of their mental powers, men become of obtaining the honour and applause strangers to themselres, and remain of men. His vices are indulged in contented in a ftate of ignorance, proportion to the strength of his paf. which often proves fatal to their lions, or the opportunity he has of peace and happiness. Of the secret gratifying them with present safety. Iprings of their own actions, and of To gain power, or wealth, or fame, the natural means Heaven has fur- is his principal study. At the shrine nished them with to avoid error, and of these deities, every wise, religious, embrace truth, they have no clear and moral confideration is facrificed. ideas. Hence they Datter themselves His days are spent in pride, pleasure, into a belief that their errors spring and a disregard to every thing which from neceflity ; that wisdom and becomes the humility of beings liable virtue are not in any high degree at. to innumerable errors and dangers, tainable in this state of existence, and the dignity of that immortal na. and of course they are not endeav ture which they poffefs, and by which ouring to arrive at that perfection they are allied to angels. of which their reasonable and intel In others, the want of knowing lectual nature is capable.
themselves, produces effects of a difFrom the wart of knowing our ferent and opposite nature.
Frony felves, arife two of the greatest errors this 'uncultivated ground spring futhat the human mind is capable of, perstition and bigotry. Men of dull
, viz. ambition, and superstition. The phlegmatic constitutions, seeing the man who has never, by a careful ex- general prevalence of sensual passions amination of his intellectual powers, in others, and feeling their effects in discovered their imperfection, con- themselves, have, through ignorance fiders himfelf as a kind of an inde- of the frame and constitution of the pendent being, and fets up his reason human mind, wantonly pronounced as the supreme judge and god of human nature itself as altogether falo his idolatry. Whatever he cannot len, wicked, and devilith. They comprehend by it, he ridicules, and have not distinguished between the Itamps with the epithet of enthusiasm. natural powers of man as the gift of Hence he denies many of the fubli- his Creator, and those powers when mest mysteries of the Christian relig- corrupted, debafed, and perverted, ion, “ calls imperfection what he by wilful disobedience to the divine fancies such," and in the pride of laws, and the unrestrained indulgence his heart sometimes calls in question of the animal pasfions. But because the Providence, or profanely ar fome have darkened their under. raigns the dispensations and econo- ftandings by vicious practice, and my, of an All-Perfect Being. perverted their reason, these men
Having by these means reafored condemn the whole together ;-prohimself out of his religion, he foon nounce those noble powers them. relaxes his system of morals, and selves corrupt; and exclaim with all adapts it rather to 'the impulse of the bitterness of an ignorant zeal his own passions, tan the nature of against the use of them.--Hence
arife many of the gross errors in But such should confider, that
struct us to correct their influence,
regulated by the more noble facul. Nn
ties, under the influence of a fuperior tendency of our paflions, and of the principle.
means to govern them, is not the Love is the parent of almost every whole advantage arising from felfyirtue. Anger is necessary to pre- examination. We find implanted vent our linking into a state of pufil in our minds many virtuous and kind fanimity, which would encourage affections, which are overlooked in every facies of infult and impofi- the hurry of life, and which is our tioné Avarice and prodigality stand duty and interest to cherish with the opposed to each other ; in a public utmost care and diligence. Thesey * right, the one is neceifary to the by proper culture, will expand and being of the other ; either singly bloom with increafing beauty and would soon prové deftructive to hu- ftrength ; ad prove a source of hapnian happine-fs. Pride, although not piness and comfort to ourselves and the proper object of man's indulgence, others. He who examines his own may under fome circunstances: be heart with attention, will see that it useful. It prevents our relaxing in is pot-a steril foil. The weeds and to ignorance and barbarifi; it is tares that frequently overspread it, allo the parent of frame ; and thamë shew its capability of producing the prevents the open indulgence of ma excellent fruits of virtue. The ný vices -in men who want a better niore he becomes acquainted with motive. Ambition, although pro- bis weakness and strength, the more ductive of many dismal consequences he will see the neeellity of exerting when indulged on a large seale, is the one to affft the other; and, often productive of good ; when with an humble heart, contemplate turned into proper channels, it be his own dignity and importance, ast comes a fpecies of emulation which a being formed for happinofs and excites men to the most nuble and immortality. beneficent actions. This alfo the When he exalis his views to the case with the love of furtie. In: on. nobler
powers of reason, understandder to obtain it, many
ing, and judgment, and examines cd and accomplifhed things of the their strength and extent, the prolhighest importance and honour to pect becomes more pleasing. He states and nations, as well as indi- then fees that he is a compound of viduals ; and which none would terrestrial and celestial natures; that. have undertaken, without this povo his present-imperfection arises from erful ftimulus, Tlius, like the ele. his connexion with this world ; 23 ments in the natural world, the paf connexion that will soon be broken; sions are all pcccffary, and tend to and that, wher' released froña che imcorrect each other in the mind of prisonment and influence of these elman. And with respcê to their eratnts, he will shine forth in all his " prevalence in individuals, it has pleaf- dignity as an immortal creature of ed the Wife Author of all so to con God. conftitute things here below, that When he considers the foree and “ partial evil” is, iti tliis fense, “uni čxtent of his intelle&ual powers terfal good ;" becaufe all conduce. even while clothed with this morto the harmony and general order of tal vesture of decay,” and reflects on the universe,
their more glorious expansion in the Bue a discovery of the nature and world of fpirits, it wilt elevate his