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Thus, you see this doctrine meeting us, from many quarters, that the heart knows a bitterness and joy of its own, altogether distinct from the uneasiness or the pleasure that is produced by the circumstances of external fortune; arising either from personal character, and the state of a man's own mind; or from the affections excited by the relations in which he stands to others. This joy and this bitterness are, each of them, of so much greater consequence than any distinctions of fortune, that, blessed with the former, one may be happy, as far as human happiness goes, in a cottage; and, afflicted with the latter, he must be miserable in a palace.—Let us now proceed to an important part of the subject, the practical improvement to which this doctrine leads.

First, Let it serve to moderate our passion for riches, and high situations in the world. It is well known, that the eager pursuit of these is the chief incentive to the crimes that fill the world. Hence, among the middle and. lower ranks of men, all the fraud, falsehood, and treachery with which the competition for gain infests society. Hence, in the higher stations of the world, all the atrocious crimes flowing from ambition, and the love of power,


by which the peace of mankind has so often been broken, and the earth stained with blood. Had these coveted advantages the power, when obtained, of ensuring joy to the heart, and rendering it a stranger to bitterness, some apology might be offered for the violence to which they have given occasion. The prize might be supposed worthy of being acquired at a high expence, when so much depended on the attainment. But I have shown, I hope with satisfactory evidence, that the contrary is the truth. I say not, that the advantages of fortune deserve no regard from a wise or a good man. Poverty is always distressing. Opulence and rank are both attended with many comforts, and may be rendered subservient to the most valuable purposes. But what I say is, that it is a great error to rate them beyond their just value. Secondary advantages, inferior

assistances to felicity, they are; and no more. They rank below every thing that immediately affects the heart, and that is a native source of joy or bitterness there. If a man be either unhappy in his dispositions, or unhappy in all his connections, you heap upon him, in vain, all the treasures, and all the honours which kings can bestow. Divest these things, then, of that false glare which the opinions

of the multitude throw around them. Contemplate them with a more impartial eye, Pursue them with less eagerness, Above all, never sacrifice to the pursuit any degree of probity or moral worth, of candour or good affection; if you would not lay a foundation for that bitterness of heart, which none of the goods of fortune can either compensate or


Secondly, Let the observations which have been made, correct our mistakes, and check our complaints, concerning a supposed promiscuous distribution of happiness in this world. The charge of injustice, which so often, on this account, hath been brought against Providence, rests entirely on this ground, that the happiness and misery of men may be estimated by the degree of their external prosperity. This is the delusion under which the multitude have always laboured; but which a just consideration of the invisible springs of happiness that affect the heart is sufficient to correct. If you would judge whether a man be really happy, it is not solely to his houses and his lands, to his equipage and his retinue, you are to look. Unless you could see farther, and discern what joy, or what bitterness, his heart feels, yog



can pronounce nothing concerning him. That proud and wicked man whom you behold surrounded with state and splendour, and upon whom you think the favours of Heaven so improperly lavished, may be a wretch, pining away in secret, with a thousand griefs unknown to the world. That poor man, who appears neglected and overlooked, may, in his humble station, be partaking of all the moral and all the social joys that exhilarate the heart; may be living cheerful, contented, and happy. Cease, then, to murmur against dispensations of Providence, which are, to us, so imperfectly known. Envy not the prosperity of sinners. Judge not of the real condition of men, from what floats merely on the surface of their state. Let us rather,

Thirdly, Turn our attention to those internal sources of happiness or misery, on which it hath been shewn that so much depends. As far as the bitterness or joy of the heart arises from the first of those great springs which I assigned to it, our own conduct and temper, so far our happiness is placed, in some measure, in our own hands. What is amiss or disordered within, in consequence of folly, of passion, or guilt, may be rectified by due care, under the assistance of divine grace. He

who thereby attains to a tranquil and composed state of heart, free from ill humour and disgust, from violent passions, and from vexing remorse, is laying a foundation for enjoyment of himself, much surer and broader than if he were amassing thousands to increase his


With regard to the other spring of joy or bitterness of heart, arising from our connections with others, here, indeed, we are more dependent on things not within our power. These connections are not always of our own forming; and even when they have been formed by choice, the wisest are liable to be disappointed in their expectations. Yet here too it will be found, that the proper regulation of the heart is of the utmost importance, both for improving the joys which our situation affords, and for mitigating the griefs which our connections may render unavoidable. As far as the choice of friends or relatives depends on ourselves, let their virtue and worth ever direct that choice, if we look for any lasting felicity from it. In all the habits and attachments of social life, after they are formed, let it be our study, to fulfil properly our own part. Let nothing be wanting on our side, to nourish that mutual harmoP 2


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