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supreme good, yet he also as strongly asserted that it was the tranquillity of the mind, and intellectual pleasure, that he só extolled and recommended.
* This pleasure,” says he, “ that is the very centre of our happiness, consists in nothing else than having our mind free from disturbance, and our body free from pain; drunkenness, excessive eating, niceness in our liquors, and all that seasons good cheer, have nothing in them that can make life happy; there is nothing but frugality and tranquillity of mind that establish this happy state ; it is this calm that facili. tates our distinguishing betwixt those things that ought to be our choice, and those we ought to shun, and it is by the means thereof that we discard those notions that discompose this first mover of our life.” “When Epicurus to the world had taught
That pleasure was the chiefest good, (And was perhaps in the right, if rightly understood)
His life he to his doctrines brought,
Whoever a true Epicure would be,
Wise men have given large and honourable testimonies of his exalted virtue and sublime precepts. They have fully proved his pleasures to be as severe as the Stoic's virtue; that to be debauched like Epicurus, a man must be as sober as Zeno. His temperance was so great that his ordinary diet was nothing but bread and water. The Stoics and all other philosophers agree with Epicurus in this; that the true felicity of life is to be free from perturbations, to understand our duty towards God and man, and to enjoy the present without any anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves either with hopes or fears; to curb and restrain our unruly appetites; to rest satisfied
with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient, for he that is content wants nothing.”
“Some place the bliss in action, some in ease ;
Pope. I continued the above self-denying life until I left Bristol, which was on Whitsunday in 1769. I had for some time before been pointing out to my friend John Jones some of the pleasures and advantages of travelling, so that I easily prevailed on him to accompany me towards the west of England; and in the evening we arrived at Bridgewater, where Mr Jones got work.
He was employed by Mr Cash, with whom he continued near twelve months, and in the end married Mr Cash's daughter, a very pretty and very amiable little woman, with some fortune. When my friend was offered work by Mr Cash, I prevailed on him to accept of it, assuring him that I had no doubt of my being able to get work at Taunton; but in that I was disappointed, nor could I get a constant seat of work until I came to Exeter, and of that place I was soon tired; but being informed that a Mr John Taylor of Kingsbridge (forty miles below Exeter) wanted such a hand, I went down and was gladly received by Mr Taylor, whose name inspires me with gratitude, as he never treated me as a journeyman, but made me his companion. Nor was any part of my time ever spent in a more agreeable, pleasing manner than that which ! passed in this retired place, or I believe more profitable tu a master. I was the first man he ever had that was able to make stuff and silk shoes, and it being also known that I came from Bristol, this had great weight with the country ladies, and procured my master customers, who generally sent for me to take measure of their feet, and I was looked upon by all to be the best workman in the town, although I had not been brought up to stuffwork, nor had ever entirely made one stuff or silk shoe before. Nor should I have presumed to proclaim myself a stuff-man, had there been any such workmen in the place; but as there were none, I boldly ventured and succeeded very well, nor did any one in the town ever know that it was my first attempt in that branch.
During the time that I lived here, I as usual was obliged to employ one or other of my acquaintance to write my letters for me. This procured me much praise among the young men as a good inditer of letters. (I need not inform you that they were not good judges.) My master said to me one day, he was surprized that I did not learn to write my own letters; and added, that he was sure that I could learn to do it in a very short time. The thought pleased me much, and without any delay I set about it, by taking up any pieces of paper that had writing on them, and imitating the letters as well as I could. I employed my leisure hours in this way for near two months, after which time I wrote my own letters, in a bad hand, you may be sure; but it was plain and easy to read, which was all I cared for; nor to the present moment can I write much better, as I never would have any person to teach me, nor was I ever possessed of patience enough to employ time sufficient to learn to write well; and yet as soon as I was able to scribble, I wrote verses on some trifle or other every day for years together.
Out of some thousands I at present recollect the following, which I placed by the side of the figure of a clergyman in his rob
with his hands and eyes lifted up; this image stood over the fire-place in my
Here's a shoemaker's chaplain has negative merit,
'Tis true he is silent--but that's nothing new;
How solemn he stands, his eyes fix'd above!
A stupid fellow told me t'other day,
As e'er they could in Balaam's reign. But I always wrote as fast as I could, without endeavouring to write well; and that this is my present practice, I need not inform you.
I came to this place in but a weak state of body; however, the healthy situation of the town, together with bathing in the salt water, soon restored me to perfect health. I passed thirteen months here in a very happy manner; but the wages for work being very low, and as I had spent much time in writing hymns to every song tune that I knew, besides a number of love verses, letters, &c. I was very poor, and to complete all, I began to keep a deal of company, in which I gave a loose to my natural gaiety of disposition, much more than was consistent with the grave, sedate ideas which I had formed of a religious character; all which made me resolve to leave Kingsbridge, which I did in 1770.
I travelled as far as Exeter the first day, where I worked about a fortnight, and saved sufficient to carry me to Bridgewater, where I worked two or three weeks more. Before I arrived there Mr John Jones had
gone back to reside at Bristol, but as soon as he heard of my being in Bridgewater, he and his brother Richard sent me an invitation to come to Bristol again and live with them. Finding that I did not immediately comply, they both came to Bridgewater, and declared their intentions of not returning to Bristol without me; so that after a day or two I yielded to their solicitations, and again lived very comfortably with them, their mother and sister.
I think it was about this period that I went several times to the Tabernacle, and heard Mr George Whitefield; and of all the preachers that ever I attended, never did I meet with one that had such a perfect command over the passions of his audience. In every sermon that I heard him preach, he would sometimes make them ready to burst with laughter, and the next moment drown them in tears, indeed it was scarcely possible for the most guarded to escape the effect.
“He had something 'twas thought still more horrid to say, When his longue lost its powers and he fainted away; Some say 'twas his conscience that gave him a stroke, But those who best knew him treat that as a joke ; 'Tis a trick which stage orators use in their need, The passions to raise and the judgment mislead.”
SIMKIN. In one of my excursions I passed many agreeable hours with the late Mr La Bute, at Cambridge, who was well known, he having taught French in that university upwards of forty years. He informed me that near forty years since, Mr Whitefield having advertised himself to preach at Gog-Magog-Hill, many thousand people collected together from many miles round. While he was preaching, he was elevated on the highest ground, and his audience stood all round on the declivity; during his sermon, a young coun trywoman, who had come miles to hear him, and waited several hours, being very faint, owing to the violent heat of the sun, the breaths of the multitude, as well as the want of refreshment; and it is very likely much agitated in her mind by the extraordinary doctrines of the preacher, she fell backwards just under the orator, and there lay kicking up her heels. On seeing the poor girl lie in a kind of convulsion, some