תמונות בעמוד

luable member of it, they will, perhaps, have facrificed, at the shrine of vanity, pride, extravagance, and false pleasure, their health and their fense, their fortunes and their characters.

XXIII. Advantages of, and Motives to, Cheerfulness. CHEERFULNESS is, in the firit place, the best promoter

of health. Repinings and secret murmurs of heart give imperceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vital parts are compoled, and wear out the machine insensibly ; not to mention those violent ferments which they 1tir up in the blood, and those irregular disturbed motions which they raise in the animal Ipirits. I scarce reinembar, in my own observatioll, to have met with many old men, or with such who (to use our English phrase) wear well, that had not at least a certain indolence in their humour, if not a more than ordinary gaiety and cheerfulness of heart. The truth of it is, health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other; with this difference, that we feldom meet with a great degree of health which is not attended with a certain cheerfulness, but very often see cheerfulness where there is no great degree of health.

Cheerfulness bears the fame friendly regard to the mind as to the body : it banishes all anxious care and discontent, foothes and composes the passions, and keeps the soul in a perpetual calm.

If we consider the world in its subserviency to man, one would think it was made for our use ; but if we consider it in its natural beauty and harmony, one would be apt to conclude it was made for our pleature.

The fun, which is as the great foul of the universe, and proo duces all the necessaries of life, has a particular influence in cheering the mind of man, and making the heart glad.

Those several living creatures which are made for our service or fuftenance, at the same time either fill the woods with their music, furnish us with game, or raise plealing ideas in us by the deliglitfulnels of their appearance. 'Fountains, lakes, and rivers, are as refrelliing to the inagination, as to the soil through which shey pass.


There are writers of great distinction, who have made it an argument for Providence, that the whole earth is covered with green, rather than with any other colour, as being such a right mixture of light and dade, that it comforts and Atrengthens the eye initead of weakening or grieving it. For this reason, several painters have a green cloth hanging near them, to ease the eye upon, after too great an application to their colouring. A famous modern, philosopher accounts for it in the following manner : All colours that are more luminous, overpower and diffipate the animal spirits which are einployed in right; on the contrary, those that are more. obfcure do not give the animal spirits a sufficient exercite : whereas the rays that produce in us the idea of green, fall upon the eye in such a due proportion, that they give the animal spirits their proper play, and by keeping up the struggle in a just balance, excite a very pleating and agreeable sensation. Let the cause be what it will, the effect is certain ; for which reason the poets, afe ribe to this particular colour the epithet. of Cheerfui.

To consider further this double end in the works of nature, and how they are at the same time both useful and entertaining, we find that the most important parts in the vegetable world are those which are the most beautiful. There are the seeds by which the several races of plants are prepagated and continued, and which are always lodged in flowers or blotloms. . Nature feens. to hide her principal delign, and to be industrious in making the earth gay and delightful, while she is carrying on her great work, and intent upon her ow'n preservation. The husbandman, after the same mauner, is employed in laying out the whole country into a kind of garden or Jandíkip, and making every thing smile about hin, whilft;. in reality, he thinks of nothing but of the harvest, and increase which is to arise from it..

We may fartler observe how Providence has taken care to keep up this cheerfulness in the mind of man, by having formed it after such a manner, as to make it capable of conceiving delight from several objects which seem to have very little use in them ; as from the wildnels of rocks and deserts, and the like grotesque parts of nature. Those who are versed in philosophy may till


D. 3.

carry this consideration higher, by, obferving, that, if matter had appeared to us endowed only with those real qualities which it actually pofleffes, it would have made but a very joyless and uncomfortable figure; and why. has Providence given it a power of producing in us luch imaginary qualities, as taites and colours, founds and smells, heat and cold, but that man, while he is converfant in the lower stations of nature, might have his mind cheered and delighted with agreeable lensations? In fort, the whole universe is a kind of theatre filled with objects that either raise in us pleasure, amusement, or ad. miration.

The reader's own thoughts will suggest to him the viciflitude of day and night, the change of feasons, with all that variety of scenes which diversify the face of nature, and fill the mind with a perpetual succession of beautiful and pleasing images.

I shall not here mention the several entertainments of art, with the pleasures of friendship, books, conversation, and other accidental diversions of life, because I would only take notice of fuch incitements to a cheer. ful temper, as offer themselves to persons of all ranks and conditions, and which may fufficiently show us, that Providence did not design this world thould be filled with murmurs and repinings, or that the heart of man fhould be involved in gloom and melancholy.

I the more inculcate this cheerfulnels of temper, as it is a virtue in which our countrymen are observed to be more deficient than any other nation. Melancholy is a. kind of demon that haunts our island, and often conveys herself to us in an easterly wind. A celebrated French novelist, in opposition to those who begin their romances with the flowery leafons of the year, enters on his story. thus: “ In the gloomy month of November, when the “ people of England hang and drown themselves, a dir: s consolate lover walked ont into the fields,” &c.

Every one ought to fence against the temper of his. climate or constitution, and frequently to indulge in hiniself those confiderations which inay give him a ferenity of mind, and enable him to bear up cheerfully against those little evils and misfortunes which are cominon to: human nature, and which, by a right improvement of


them, will produce a satiety of joy, and uninterrupted happiness.

At the fame time that I would engage my reader to consider the world in its most agreeable lights, I must own there are many evils which naturally spring up amidst the entertainments that are provided for us ; but thefe, if rightly confidered, should be far from overcast. ing the mind with sorrow, or destroying that cheerfulness of temper which I have been recommending. This interspersion of evil with good, and pain with pleasure, in the works of nature, is very truly ascribed by Mr Locke, in his effay on human understanding, to a moral reason, in the following words:

“ Beyond all this, we may find another reason why “ God hath scattered up and down feveral degrees of " pleasure and pain, in all the things that environ and « affect us, and blended them together in almost all " that our thoughts and senies have 4 do with ; that

we, finding imperfection, diffatisfaction, and want of complete happiness in all the enjoyments which the

creatures can afford vs, might be led to seek it in the " enjoyinent of Him," with whom there is fuluess of " joy, and at whose right-hand are pleasures for ever« more."

[ocr errors]

S E C.


[ocr errors]

I. The bad Reader. TULIUS had acquired great credit at Cambridge by

his compofitions. They were elegant, animated, and judicious; and several prizes, at different times, had been adjudged to him. An oration, which he delivered the week before he leit the university, had been honoured with particular applause ; and, on his return home, he was impatient to graiify his vanity, and to extend his reputation, by having it read 10 a number of his father's literary friends.

A party was therefore collected ; and, after dinner, the manuscript was produced. Julius declined the office of reader, because he had contractod a hoarseness on his journey ; and a conceited young man, with great forwardness, offered his services. Whilit he was setiling himself on his feat, licking his lips, adjusting his mouth, hawking, hemming, and making other ridiculous preparations for the performance which he had undertaken, a profound silence reigned through the company, the uni. ted effect of attention and expoetation. The reader at length began; but his tone of vice was so shrill and diffonant, his utterance so vehement, his pronunciation fo affected, his emphafis fo injudicious, and his accents were so improperly placed, that good manners alone restrained the laughter of the audience. Julius was all this while upon

the rack, and his arm was more than once extended to snatch his composition from the coxcomb who de livered it. But he proceeded, with full confidence in his own elocution ; uniformly overstepping, as Shakespeare expresses it, the modesty of nature.

When the oration was concluded, the gentlemen returned their thanks to the author ; but the compliments which they paid hin were more expresfive of politeness and civility, than of a conviction of bis merit. Indeed, the beauties of his composition had been converted, by bad reading, into blemishes; and the sense of it rendered


« הקודםהמשך »