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النشر الإلكتروني

The moment he is got loose from tutors and governors, and is left to judge for himself, and pursue this scheme his own way-his first thoughts are generally full of the mighty happiness which he is going to enter upon, from the free enjoyment of the pleasures in which he sees others of his age and fortune engaged.

In consequence of this- -take notice, how his imagination is caught by every glittering appearance that flatters this expectation

-observe what

impressions are made upon his senses, by diversions, music, dress, and beauty-and how his spirits are upon the wing, flying in pursuit of them; that, you would think, he could never have enough.

Leave him to himself a few years, till the edge of appetite is worn down-you will scarce know him again. You will find him entered into engagements, and setting up for a man of business and conduct, talking of no other happiness but what centers in projects of making the most of this world, and providing for his children, and children's children after them. Examine his notions, he will tell you, that the gayer pleasures of youth, are fit only for those who know not how to dispose of themselves and time to better advantage That, however fair and promising they might appear to a man unpractised in them they were no better than a life of folly and impertinence; and, so far from answering your expectation of happiness, it was well if you escaped without pain :-That in every experiment he had tried, he had found more bitter than sweet; and for the little pleasure one could snatch-it too often left a terrible sting behind it: Besides, did the balance lie on the other side, he would tell you, there could be no true satisfaction, where a life runs on in so giddy a circle, out of which a wise man should extricate himself as soon as he can, that he may begin to look forwards :-That it becomes a

man of character and consequence to lay aside Childish things, to take care of his interests, to e tablish the fortune of his family, and place it out of want and dependence: And, in a word, if there is such a thing as happiness upon earth, it must consist in the accomplishment of this; and, for his own part, if God should prosper his endeavors,. so as to be worth such a sum, or to be able to bring such a point to bear he shall be one of the happiest of the sons of men. In full assurance of this, on he drudges-plots contrives-rises earlylate takes rest, and eats the bread of carefulness; till at length, by hard labor and perseverance, he has reached, if not outgone, the object he had first in view. When he has got thus far-if he is a plain and sincere man, he will make no scruple to acknowledge truly, what alteration he has found in himself: If you ask him, he will tell you, that his imagination painted something before his eyes, the reality of which he has not yet attained to: That with all the accumulation of his wealth, he neither lives the merrier, sleeps the sounder, or has less care and anxiety upon his spirits, than at the first setting out.

Perhaps, you will say, some dignity, honor, or title, only is wanting-Oh! could I accomplish that, as there would be nothing left then for me to wish, good God! how happy should I be !—It is still the same;-the dignity or title-tho' they crown his head with honor-add not one cubit to his happiness. Upon summing up the account, all, all is found to be seated merely in the imagination. The faster he has pursued, the faster the phantom fled before him; and, to use the Satyrist's comparison of the chariot-wheels-haste as they will,they must forever keep the same distance.

But what? tho' I have been thus far disappointed in my expectations of happiness from the possession of riches-" Let me try, whether I shall

not meet with it, in the spending and fashiona"ble enjoyment of them."

Behold! I will get me down, and make me great works, and build me houses, and plant me vineyards, and make me gardens and pools of water. And I will get me servants and maidens; and whatsoever my eyes desire, I will not keep from them. In prosecution of this-he drops all painful pursuits-withdraws himself from the busy part of the world-realizes-pulls down-builds up again. Buys statues, pictures-plants-and plucks up by the roots-levels mountains, and fills up vallies-turns rivers into dry ground, and dry ground into rivers-Says unto this man, Go, and he goeth; and unto another, Do this, and he doeth it And whatsoever his soul lusteth after of this kind, he withholds not from it. When every thing is thus planned by himself, and executed according to his wish and direction, surely he is arrived to the accomplishment of his wishes, and has got to the summit of all human happiness! Let the most fortunate adventurers in this way answer the question for him, and say-how often it rises higher than a bare and simple amusement-and well, if you can compound for thatsince 'tis often purchased at so high a price, and so soured by a mixture of other incidental vexations, as to become too often a work of repentance, which in the end will extort the same sorrowful confession from him, which it did from Solomon in the like case-Lo! I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit—and there was no profit to me under the sun.

To inflame this account the more-it will be no miracle, if, upon casting it up, he has gone farther lengths than he first intended-run into expenses which have entangled his fortune, and brought

himself into such difficulties as to make way for the last experiment he can try-and that is, to turn a miser, with no happiness in view but what is to rise out of the little designs of a sordid mind, set upon saving and scraping up all he has injudiciously spent.

In this last stage-behold him a poor trembling wretch, shut up from all mankind-sinking into utter contempt; spending careful days and sleepless nights, in pursuit of what a narrow and contracted heart can never enjoy: And let us here leave him to the conviction he will one day findthat there is no end of his labor-that his eyes will never be satisfied with riches, or will sayFor whom do I labor and bereave myself of rest?' This is also a sore travel.

I believe this is no uncommon picture of the disappointments of human life-and the manner our pleasures and enjoyments slip from under us in every stage of our life. And tho' I would not be thought, by it, as if I was denying the reality of pleasures, or disputing the being of them, any more than one would the reality of pain-yet I must observe on this head, that there is a plain distinction to be made betwixt pleasure and happiness. For, tho' there can be no happiness without pleasure yet the converse of the proposition will not hold true-We are so made, that from the common gratifications of our appetites, and the impressions of a thousand objects, we snatch the one, like a transient gleam, without being suffered to taste the other, and enjoy that perpetual sun-shine, and fair weather which constantly attend it. This, I contend, is only to be found in religion-in the consciousness of virtue

and the sure and certain hopes of a better life, which brightens all our prospects, and leaves no room to dread disappointments-because the ex

pectation of it is built upon a rock, whose foundations are as deep as those of heaven and hell.

And tho' in our pilgrimage thro' this worldsome of us may be so fortunate as to meet with some clear fountains by the way, that may cool for a few moments, the heat of this great thirst of happiness yet our SAVIOUR, who knew the world, tho' he enjoyed but little of it, tells us, that whosoever drinketh of this water, will thirst again :— And we all find, by experience, it is so, and by reason, that it always must be so.

I conclude with a short observation upon Solomon's evidence in this case.

Never did the busy brain of a lean and hectic chymist search for the philosopher's stone with more pains and ardor than this great man did after happiness-He was one of the wisest inquirers into Nature-had tried all her powers and capacities, and, after a thousand vain speculations and vile experiments, he affirmed, at length, it lay hid in no one thing he had tried-like the chymic's projections, all had ended in smoke, or, what was worse, in vanity and vexation of spirit:-The 'conclusion of the whole matter was this that he advises every man who would be happy, to fear God, and keep his commandments.

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