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among many ; so, in luxury, one vicious man spends upon himself what should maintain many hundreds ; and he surfeits to make them starve. This is not to be a steward, but master. Nor can we think that the wise and just Judge of all things will suffer, in his beautiful world, what the most negligent and imprudent amongst us could not suffer in his private family.
The second argument is, that nature should be man's chief rule in things relating to this world ; and reason his great director, under God, in making use of that rule, and the eyes (as it were) by which we are to see how to follow it. By this nature teaches us how to proportion the means to the end, and not to employ all the instruments whereby such an end may be procured, but only such as are necessary and suitable for the procuring of it, which proportion luxury neither understands nor follows; and therefore we must conclude it unnatural and unreasonable, and that frugality is the true mathematics of moral philosophy : and by this we may condemn, not only such as Senecio was in the Roman History, who delighted to have his clothes and his shoes twice as large as were fit for his body and feet, which the luxurious laughed at with others; but even such as keep twice as great tables, build twice as great houses, pay twice as many servants as are fit for them, are as mad as he. For though that disproportion be not so very perceptible as the other, because the bulk of a man's estate is not so easily measured and known as that of his person, and because there are twice as many fools of this kind as there are of the other, so that reason is out-voted though it cannot be answered, yet the folly is the same every where ; and in this it is more dangerous, that Senecio wronged only himself, whilst they oft-times wrong and ruin both their posterity and neighbours. Thus I have seen a man, otherwise judicious enough, much surprised when it was represented that his building (though it seemed to him and many others to carry no great disproportion to his estate) yet would, in forty-four years (which is but a short time), equal his estate, allowing the interest of his money to equal the capital sum in the space of eleven years and a half, which it did by law; for 1001., forborne for forty-eight years, at six per cent. compound interest, amounts to 17341. 48. 2d. And how many may forbear 1001. ? and this sum, in ten years, which is but a very short time, will amount to 27741. 128. by simple multiplication, without compound interest. We should be proportionable in our expense, for that which widens a man's fancy in any one thing makes it extravagant in all things, as they who use their stomachs to too much of any one meat will make it craving as to all others. Whereas, on the other hand, that which should enamour men of frugality is, that it accustoms us to reasoning and proportion, observing exactly the least perceptible proportions, and the smallest consequences, which makes me call to mind the remarkable story of the Holland merchant, who having married his daughter to a luxurious, rich citizen, to the great dissatisfaction of his wife, she came the next day to the bride and bridegroom, and offered them the egg of a turkey hen, and desired her daughter to use herself, in exactly looking to the product of that egg, to consider the great things which frugality can do in other matters. But, her husband and she having laughed at the lesson, the mother improved so far the egg, that within twenty years the advantage of it and the luxury of that married couple grew so fast, that they needed the meanest assistance, and the product of the egg afforded a comfortable one ; for with the considerable sum that was gathered by it they stocked themselves anew, and by the help of the (formerly slighted) lesson, of not despising the meanest things, raised themselves again to a very considerable estate. And if any man will but consider yearly what he super, fluously spends, and how much that would multiply in process of time, he will easily perceive that what he spends in the consequence is vastly greater than appears to him in the first calculation ; as, for instance, if a man who may spend 5001. per
annum does spend 6001., this small error of 1001. a year will amount, in forty-four years, at six per cent., to the sum of 13731. 6s. and odd pence. And though a man thinks it scarce worth his pains to manage so as to preserve 1001., he must be very luxurious who thinks it not worth his pains to gain the sum of 13731. And it is a great defect in our reason, that those ills which follow as necessary consequence are despised as mean, because the consequences themselves are remote. And as that is the best eye, so that is likewise the best reason, which sees clearly at a great distance. Another great error that luxury tempts us to, by not reasoning exactly, is, that it makes us calculate our estates without deducting what is payable out of them to the poor, to the king, and to creditors, before we proportion our expense ; whereas we should spend only what is truly our own; and the law, to prevent luxury, tells us that id tantum nostrum est quod, deductis debitis, apud nos remanet : That is only ours which remains with us, after our debts are deducted. Nor will a proportional part of our estates answer the equivalent of our debts. For, if I owe 100l. a year, no part of my estate that pays me 1001. a year will pay it; for many accidents may hinder me to get my own rent, but no accident will procure an abatement of my debt. And this leads me to consider that frugality numbers always the accidents that may intervene amongst other creditors; and the wise Hollander observes, that a man should divide his estate in three parts; upon one third he should live, another third he should lay up for his children, and the last he should lay by for accidents. There are few men who do not in their experience find, that their whole life being balanced together, they have lost a third part always of their revenue by accidents. And most families are destroyed by having the children's provision left as a debt upon them. So that a man should at least endeavour to live upon the one half; and leave the other half for his children.
The next argument that discredits luxury with me is, that it occasions many and great inconveniences, both to him who labours under it, and to the commonwealth under which he lives.
The luxurious man oppresses that nature which should be the foundation of his joy; and, by false reasoning, he is made by this vice to believe, that because some ease and aliments are pleasant, therefore, the more he takes of them, the more he will be pleased. And the first proofs by which he is convinced that he is cheated in this are those diseases, into which those vices, when they are swelled, overflow, and destroy that ground which a gentle watering would have refreshed. Then he begins to understand that a mediocrity is the Golden Rule, and that proportion is to be observed in all the course of our life.
Luxury also makes a man so soft, that it is hard to please him, and easy to trouble him. So that his pleasures at last become his burden. Luxury is a nice master, hard to be pleased : Res est severa voluptas, said he who knew it best. Whereas the frugal and temperate man can, by fasting till a convenient time, make any food pleasant ; and is by travelling, when it is convenient, hardened sufficiently not to be troubled by any ordinary accidents. The luxurious must at last owe to this temperance that health and ease which his false pleasures have robbed him of; he must abstain from his wines, feastings, and fruits, until temperance has cured him. And I have known many, who after they have been tortured by the tyranny of luxury, whilst they had riches in abundance to feed it, become very healthful and strong when they fell into that poverty which they had so abhorred. Some whereof have confessed to me, that they never thought themselves so happy, and that they were never so well pleased, as since they had escaped the temptations of that dangerous vice. Luxury does not more ruin a man's body, than it debases his mind; for it makes him servilely drudge under those who support his luxury ; in pimping to all their vices, flattering all their extravagances, and executing the most dreadful of their commands. I have oft-times remarked, with great pleasure, that in commonwealths, where to be free was accounted the greatest glory, nothing reigned save frugality, and nothing was rich save the common treasure. But under those monarchies which have degenerated into tyranny, care is taken to have those who get the public pay spend it luxuriously, to the end, that those they employ may still want, and so may be obliged to that contemptible slavery, to which none would bow if they could otherwise live. It is also very observable that those who dwell in the richest countries, which incline men to luxury, such as Greece and Italy, are poor and slaves ; whereas the hard rocks of Switzerland breed men who think themselves rich and happy. I like well his reply, who, being tempted to comply with what his conscience could not digest, said to him who tempted him, I can contentedly walk on foot, but you cannot live without a coach. I will be advised by my innocency; consult you with your grandeur. Rulers can bestow treasures, but virtue only can bestow esteem.
From these reflections may arise remedies against luxury to any thinking man: for though when we consider the luxurious as they shine at courts, live in sumptuous palaces, saluted in the streets, adorned with panegyrics; it is probable that most men will think that philosophers and divines have only writ against luxury, because they could not attain to the riches that are necessary for maintaining it: yet, to balance this, let us consider the vast numbers of those whom it has drowned in pleasures, others whom it has sent to starve in prisons, and dragged to scaffolds by its temptations. I have ofttimes seen the luxurious railed at with much malice by thosc they had sumptuously entertained, who envied the entertainer for being able to treat them so highly, and for living so far above their own condition : concluding, that they were rather called to be witnesses of the entertainer's abundance than sharers in his bounty. And though some think to make an atonement for their oppression, by living sumptuously upon its spoils ; yet no wise man will pardon a robber, because he gives back a small share of the great riches he has taken.
Some think riches necessary for keeping great tables, and excuse this by the hopes they have of good company. And a great man told me, he wished such a man's estate, that he might keep us all about him. But my answer was, that the luxurious gathered about them ordinarily the worst of company ; and worthy men valued more rirtuous conversation than sumptuous diet, which they rather shunned than followed. I believe there are few so prodigal of their money, but that they have oft some regrets for having spent it; from which the frugal man is exempted, by the assurance he has from his virtue that he can live happily upon the little he has, and can with pleasure find, that he is neither oppressed with the weight of riches, nor terrified by the fear of want ; breeding up his posterity not to need these great patrimonies, which he cannot give.
This discourse tends not to forbid the use of all pleasure, nor even the pleasing our senses; for it is not to be imagined that God Almighty brought man into the world to admire his greatness, and taste his goodness, without allowing him to rejoice in these things which he sees and receives. The best way to admire an artist is to be highly pleased with what he has made; and a benefactor is ill rewarded, when the receiver is not pleased with what is bestowed : his joy being the justest measure and standard of his esteem. We find that in Eden the tasting of all the sweet and delicious fruits was allowed, save only that of the Tree of Knowledge. And why should all these fruits have been maile so pleasant to the eye, and so delicious to the taste, if it had not been to make man, his beloved guest, happy there ? And I really think that the eye has got the quality of not being satisfied long with any object, nor the ear with hearing any sound, to the end that they might, by this curiosity, be obliged to seek after that variety in which they may every moment discover new proofs of their master's greatness and goodness. But I condemn the pleasing of the senses only, where more pains is taken, and more time is spent in gratifying them, than is due to those inferior or less noble parts of the reasonable creature. The soul being the nobler and more sublime part, our chief care should be laid out in pleasing it, as a wise subject should take more care in pleasing the king than his ministers, and the master than his servants. The true and allowable luxury of the soul consists in contemplation and thinking, or else in the practice of virtue, whereby we may employ our time in being useful to others : albeit, when our senses and other inferior faculties have served the soul in these great employments, they ought to be gratified as good servants, but not so as to make them wild masters, as luxury does, when it rather oppresses than refreshes them. I do also think that our chief pleasure should not be expected from the senses ; because they are too dull and inactive to please a thinking man ; they are only capable to enjoy little, and are soon blunted by enjoyment: whereas religion and virtue do, by the ravishing hopes of what we are to expect, or the pleasant remembering of what we have done, afford constantly new scenes of joy, and which are justly augmented by the concurring testimonies of the best of mankind, who applaud our virtuous actions and decry the vicious. So that the virtuous man is by as many degrees pleased beyond the vicious, as the past and future exceed the single moment of the present time, or as many suffrages exceed one. Nor doubt I but those who have relieved a starving family by their charity have feasted upon the little which they have bestowed with more joy, than ever Lucullus or Apicius did in all the delicacies their cooks could invent. I am convinced, that any generous gentleman would be much more troubled to think that his poor tenants, who toil for him, are screwed up to some degrees that look too like oppression, than he could be pleased with any delicacies which that superplus of rent could buy for him: and that he who has rescued a poor innocent creature from the jaws of a ravenous oppression, finds a greater joy irradiated on his spirit, by the great and just Judge, than any general does in that night, wherein he has defeated his enemies merely for his glory. We remember to this day, with veneration and esteem, John the Baptist's locusts and wild honey ; but the deliciousness of Herod's feasts lasted no longer than the taste : and even the pleasure of the present moment, which the luxurious only enjoy, is much lessened, by the prevailing conviction which arises from that small remaining force, which is still left in the reasonable faculty of the most corrupted man; and which can never be so blinded, as not to have some glimmerings whereby it can discover the ugliness and deformity of vice.
ARCHDEACON HARE. [Tue following extract is from a remarkable work, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers.' (3rd edit.) Those brothers are Julius and Augustus Hare. Augustus “has been raised from the earth to the full fruition of that truth of which he had first been the earnest seeker, and then the dutiful servant and herald.” Julius lives to benefit the world by the exercise of his sacred duties as a pastor.]
Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat ?* In the first place, all the sour faces in the world, stiffening into a yet more rigid asperity at the least glimpse of a smile. I have seen faces, too, which, so long as you let them lie in their sleepy torpor, unshaken and unstirred, have a creamy softness and smoothness, and might beguile you into suspecting their owners of being gentle: but, if they catch the sound of a laugh, it acts on them like thunder, and they also turn sour. Nay, strange as it
• What forbids one to say what is true in a laughing manner?
may seem, there have been such incarnate paradoxes as would rather see their fellow-creatures cry than smile.
But is not this in exact accordance with the spirit which pronounces a blessing on the weeper, and a woe on the laugher ?
Not in the persons I have in view. That blessing and woe are pronounced in the knowledge how apt the course of this world is to run counter to the kingdom of God. They who weep are declared to be blessed, not because they weep, but because they shall laugh: and the woe threatened to the laughers is in like manner, that they shall mourn and weep. Therefore, they who have this spirit in them, will endeavour to forward the blessing and to avert the woe. They will try to comfort the mourner, so as to lead him to rejoice: and they will warn the laugher, that he may be preserved from the mourning and weeping, and may exchange his passing for lasting joy. But there are many who merely indulge in the antipathy, without opening their hearts to the sympathy. Such is the spirit found in those who have cast off the bonds of the lower earthly affections, without having risen as yet into the freedom of heavenly love in those who have stopped short in the state of transition between the two lives, like so many skeletons stripped of their earthly, and not yet clothed with a heavenly, body. It is the spirit of Stoicism, for instance, in philosophy, and of vulgar Calvinism, which in so many things answers to Stoicism, in religion. They who feel the harm they have received from worldly pleasures are prone at first to quarrel with pleasure of every kind altogether: and it is one of the strange perversities of our self-will to entertain anger, instead of pity, towards those whom we fancy to judge or act less wisely than ourselves. This
, however, is only while the scaffolding is still standing around the edifice of their Christian life, so that they cannot see clearly out of the windows, and their view is broken up into disjointed parts. When the scaffolding is removed and they look abroad without hindrance, they are readier than any to delight in all the beauty and true pleasure around them. They feel that it is their blessed calling not only to rejoice always themselves, but likewise to rejoice with all who do rejoice in innocence of heart. They feel that this must be well-pleasing to Him who has filled His universe with ever-bubbling springs of gladness ; so that whithersoever we turn our eyes, through earth and sky as well as sea, we behold the ávýp@yov ye haoua* of nature. On the other hand, it is the harshness of an irreligious temper clothing itself in religious zeal, and not seldom exhibiting symptoms of mental disorganisation, that looks scowlingly on every indication of happiness and mirth.
Moreover, there is a large class of people who deem the business of life far too weighty and momentous to be made light of; who would leave merriment to children, and laughter to idiots ; and who hold that a joke would be as much out of place on their lips ås on a grave-stone or in a ledger. Wit and wisdom being sisters, not only are they afraid of being indicted for bigamy were they to wed them both, but they shudder at such a union as incestuous. So, to keep clear of temptation and to preserve their faith where they have plighted it, they turn the younger out of doors ; and if they see or hear of any body taking her in, they are positive he can know nothing of the elder. They would not be witty for the world.
Now, to escape being so, is not very difficult for those whom nature has so favoured that wit with them is always at zero, or below it. Or, as to their wisdom, since they are careful never to over-feed her, she jogs leisurely along the turnpike-road, with lank and meagre carcass, displaying all her bones, and never getting out of her own dust. She feels no inclination to be frisky, but, if a coach or a waggon passes her, is glad, like her rider, to run behind a thing so big. Now, all these people take
• Boundless laughter.