« 前へ次へ »
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
ON HAPPINESS OF TEMPER.
Writers of every age have endeavoured to show that pleasure is in us, and not in the objects offered for our amusement. If the soul be happily disposed, every thing becomes capable of affording entertainment; and distress will almost want a name. Every occurrence passes in review like the figures of a procession; some may be awkward, others ill dressed; but none but a fool is for this, enraged with the master of the ceremonies.
I remember to have once seen a slave, in a fortification in Flanders, who appeared no way touched with his situation. He was maimed, deformed and chained: obliged to toil from the appearance of day till nightfall, and condemned to this for life; yet with all these circumstances of apparent wretchedness, he sung, would have danced, but that he wanted a leg, and appeared the merriest, happiest man of all the garrison.
What a practical philosopher was here, a happy constitution supplied philosophy; and though seemingly destitute of wisdom, he was really wise. No reading or study had contributed to disenchant the fairy land around him. Every thing furnished him with an opportunity of mirth, and though some thought him, from his insensibility, a fool, he was such an ideot as philosophers should wish to imitate: for all philosophy is only forcing the trade of happiness, when Nature seems to deny the means.
They, who like our slaves, can place themselves on that side of the world in which every thing appears in a pleasing light, will find something in every occurrence to excite their good humour.
The most calamitous events, either to themselves or others, can bring no new affliction; the whole world is to them, a theatre, on which comedies only are acted. All the bustle of heroism, or the rants of ambition, serve only to heighten the absurdity of the scene and make the humour more poignant. They feel, in short, as little anguish at their own distress, or the
complaints of others, as the undertaker, though dressed in black, feels sorrow at a funeral.
Of all the men I ever read of, the famous Cardinal de Retz possessed this happiness of temper in the highest degree. As he was a man of gallantry, and despised all that wore the pedantic appearance of philosophy, wherever pleasure was to be sold he was generally foremost to raise the auction. Being a universal admirer of the fair sex, when he found one lady cruel, he generally fell in love with another, from whom he expected a more favourable reception. If she, too, rejected his addresses, ke never thought of retiring into deserts, or pining in hopeless distress; he persuaded himself, that instead of loving the lady, he had only fancied that he had loved her; and so all was well again.
When fortune wore her angriest look, and he at last fell into the power of his most deadly enemy, Cardinal Mazarine, (being confined a close prisoner, in the castle of Valenciennes,) he never attempted to support his distress by wisdom or philosophy; for he pretended to neither. He only laughed at himself and his persecutor; and seemed infinitely pleased at his new situation. In this mansion of distress, though secluded from his friends, though denied all the amusements, and even the conveniences of life, he still retained his good humour; laughed at all the little spite of his enemies: and carried the jest so far as to be revenged, by writing the life of his gaoler.
All that the wisdom of the proud can teach, is to be stubborn, or sullen, under misfortunes. The Car
dinal's example will instruct us to be merry, in cir-* cumstances of the highest affliction. It matters not whether our good humour be construed, by others, into insensibility; or even idiotism: it is happiness to ourselves; and none but a fool, would measure his satisfaction by what the world thinks of it.
The happiest silly fellow I ever knew, was of the number of those good natured creatures that are said to do no harm to any but themselves. Whenever he fell into any misery, he usually called it “ Seeing life." If his head was broke by a chairman, or his pocket picked by a sharper, he comforted himself by imitating the Hibernian dialect of the one, or the more fashionable cant of the other. Nothing came amiss to him.
His inattention to money matters had incensed his father to such a degree, that all intercession of friends, in his favour, was fruitless.
The old gentleman was on his death bed. The whole family, and Dick among the number, gathered around him.
“I leave my second son Andrew,” said the expiring miser, “my whole estate; and desire him to be frugal.
Andrew, in a sorrowful tone, as is usual on those occasions, prayed Heaven to prolong his life and health to enjoy it himself!
I recommend Simon, my third son, to the care of his elder brother; and leave him, beside, four thousand pounds."
- Ah! father,” cried Simon, in great affliction to
be sure, “may Heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself!”
At last turning to poor Dick, “as for you, you have always been a sad dog ; you'll never come to good; you'll never be rich; I leave you a shilling, to buy a halter."
“Ah! father,” cries Dick, without any emotion, “may Heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself!”
WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD.
REV. ROBERT HALL.
The exclusion of a Supreme Being, and of a superintending providence, tends directly to the destruction of moral taste. It robs the universe of all finished and consummate excellence, even in idea. The admiration of perfect wisdom and goodness for which we are formed, and which kindles such unspeakable rapture in the soul, finding in the regions of scepticism nothing to which it corresponds, droops and languishes. In a world which presents a fair spectacle of order and beauty, of a vast family, nourished and supported by an Almighty Parent; in a world, which leads the devout mind, step by step, to the contemplation of the first fair and the first good, the sceptic is encompassed with nothing but obscurity, méanness, and disorder.
When we reflect on the manner in which the idea of Deity is formed, we must be convinced, that such an