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gree, by adopting the gentlest modes of inflicting it.
I am inclined to believe, however, that this sense of humanity would soon be obliterated, and the heart grow callous to every soft impression, were it not for the benignant influence of the smiling face of nature. But the taste for natural beauty is subservient to higher purposes than those which have been enumerated; and the cultivation of it not only refines and humanizes, but dignifies and exalts the affections. It elevates them to the admiration and love of that Being, who is the author of all that is fair, sublime, and good in the crea- . tion. Scepticism and irreligion are ill compatiable with the sensibility of heart which arises from a just and lively relish of the wisdom, harmony, and order subsisting in the world around us : and emotions of piety must rise spontaneously in that bosom which beats in unison with all animated nature. Actuated by this divine inspiration, and glowing with devout fervor, he joins his song to the universal chorus; or muses the praise of the Almighty in silence more expressive.
To a Friend, on the Effects of Prosperity and
Adversity on the Human Mind. DEAR IT is a favorite topic with moralists in general, to rail at prosperity as the destroyer of all the noble qualities that adorn human nature. The readiest way of accounting for the universality of this opinion is, that most authors, being poor, are actuated by similar motives with the fox when he exclaimed against the sour grapes.
Prosperity, 1 grant, is so great an incentive to pride, that its possessors are very apt to forget their duty as men, and to look on all who are not so fortunate as themselves, as an inferior species of animals : but we frequently see adversity produce the same effcct, though from a different causé. Excessive indigence will condense the efforts of the soul beneath the proper level, as much as the extreme of affluence will inflate them above it: and, for the honour of our nature be it remembered, history abounds with instances of great and wealthy men, who have been as good as they were affluent; and scarcely an assize passes in any county town in the kingdom, without furnishing many melancholy proofs of depravity of morals among the lowest classes of society.
The station of life which appears most likely to make nien virtuous and happy, is that which lies between the two extremes of abundant prosperity and indigent adversity; where the mind is at ease from all apprehensions of absolute want, and free to instigate the man to act his part justly in the creation ; yet, where he is not endowed with such an indpendence, but that he knows the full weight of the lower orders of society in the grand scale of existence, his circumstances are not so streightened as to render him liable to be biassed by any purse-proud neighbour; nor does he possess such an independence in point of property, as to make him uninindful of what he owes to the meanest of his fellow-creatures. If such a man is long unhappy, it must be the fault of his own disposition.
The affluent man, by his abundance, the pride of family, the honours and titles of distinction heaped on him by his prince, and the plaudits of a (perhaps mistaken) nation, may gradually be lulled into a lethargy that will make him heedless of his duty to society; and render him unworthy of the
lustre of his ancestry, and the honours he enjoys froin the partiality of his sovereign. But if, amidst all these tempting lures to forgetfulness, he has. magnaniinity sufficient to preserve his virtue, great and glorious will be his career through life, his exit will be illustrious, and his memory held sacred. This must be the summit of human lappi
The needy man, if the lowliness of his station teaches him a becoming humility, while a consciousness of internal rectitude prevents his degenerating into mean servility; if, while struggling with oppression, he inaintains his probity untainted, and performs his duty towards God and his neighbour in a manner suitable to the rational intelects with which he is endowed, and the divine tenets inculcated by the Saviour of the world, though the finger of scorn be pointed at him, and the pride and insolence of others prevent his emerging from obscurity in this world; yet he may, though overwhelmed with temporal calamities, look forward with confidence to those regions of happiness; -- where the wickcl cease from troubling, and the weary are at resta?
In the enjoyment of the prospect he will be happy.
To expect a total emancipation from anxiety and care, in any station of life, would be illusory and vain; it would so limit our ideas to things terrestrial, as to unfit us for all preparations for futurity The mind would be estranged from the performance of its proper functions, by the idea of meeting with permanent happiness on this side of the grave. No station can be so exalted, as to be wholly free from crosses and disappointments; nor any so depressed, but that a ray of comfort will sometimes break through the gloom, and give the mind tranquillity and ease.
Guilt alone can give durable misery; in that casc, all the riches of
the world are insufficient to silence a self-accusing conscience.
Hence it appears (and common observation will prove it to be true) that, with virtue at heart, as much happiness as can reasonably be expected on earth, may be the lot of any man, in one station as well as in another..
Wishing you, my dear friend, as much of that sweetener of life as your own heart can wish,
I remain, &c.
4 Letter by Locke, on the Advantages of
Friendship.; SIR, YOU look with the eyes, and speak the language of friendship, when you make my life of much more concern to the world than your own. I take it, as it is, for an effect of your kindness, and so shall not accuse you of compliment; the mistakes and overvaluings of good-will being always sincere, even when they exceed what com-. mon truth allows. This; on my side I must beg you to believe, that my life would be much more pleasant and useful to me if you were within my reach, that I might sometimes enjoy your conversation, and, upon twenty occasions, lay my thoughts before you, and have the advantage of your judgment. I cannot complain that I have not my share of friends of all ranks, and such whose interest, assistance, affection, and opinions too, 'in fit cases, I can rely on. But methinks, for all this, there is one place vacant, that I know nobody that would so well fill as yourself: I want
to talk freely with, and to propose to, the extravagancies that rise in my
mind; one with whom I would debate sereral doubts and questions, to see what was in them. Meditating by one's self is like digging in the inine; it often, perhaps, brings up maiden earth, which never came near the light before; bät whe. ther it contain any metal in it, is never so well tried as in conversation with a knowing judicious friend, who carries about him the true touchstone, which is love of truth in a clear-thinking head. Men of parts and judgment the world usually gets hold of, and by a great mistake (that their abilities of mind are lost, if not employed in the pursuit of wealth and power) engages them in the ways of fortune and interest, which usually leave but little freedom or leisure of thought for pure disinterested truth. And such who give themselves up frankly, and in earnest, to the full latitude of real knowledge, are not every where to be met with. Wonder not, therefore, that I wish so much for you in my neighbourhood; I should be too happy in a friend of your make, were you within my reach. But yet I cannot but wish that some business would once bring you within distance; and it is a pain to me to think of leaving the world, without the happiness of seeing you.
I do not wonder that a kinsman of yours should magnify civilities that scarce deserve that name; I know not wherein they consisted, but in being glad to see one that was any way related to you, and was himself a very ingenious man; either of those was a title to more than I did; or could shew him. I am sorry I have not yet had an opportunity to wait on him in London, and I fear he should be
gone before I am able to get thither. This long winter and cold spring has hung very heavy upon my lungs, and they are not yet in a case to be ventured in London air, which must be