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settled conviction of the tendency of every thing to our good, and of the possibility of turning miseries into happiness, by receiving them rightly, will incline us to bless the name of the LORD, whether he gives or takes away.
NUMB. 33. TUESDAY, July 10, 1750.
Quod caret alterná requie durabile non est.
Alternate rest and labour long endure.
IN N the early ages of the world, as is well known to those who are versed in ancient traditions, when innocence was yet untainted, and simplicity unadulterated, mankind was happy in the enjoyment of continual pleasure, and constant plenty, under the protection of REST; a gentle divinity, who required of her worshippers neither altars nor sacrifices, and whose rites were only performed by prostrations upon turfs of flowers in shades of jasmine and myrtle, or by dances on the banks of rivers flowing with milk and
Under this easy government the first generations breathed the fragrance of perpetual spring, ate the fruits, which, without culture, fell ripe into their hands, and slept under bowers arched by nature, with the birds singing over their heads, and the beasts sporting about them. But by degrees they began to lose their P 3 original
original integrity; each, though there was more than enough for all, was desirous of appropriating part to himself. Then entered violence and fraud, and theft and rapine. Soon after pride and envy broke into the world, and brought with them a new standard of wealth; for men, who till then thought themselves rich when they wanted nothing, now rated their demands, not by the calls of nature, but by the plenty of others; and began to consider themselves as poor, when they beheld their own possessions exceeded by those of their neighbours. Now only one could be happy, because only one could have most, and that one was always in danger, lest the same arts by which he had supplanted others should be practised upon himself.
Amidst the prevalence of this corruption, the state of the earth was changed; the year was divided into seasons; part of the ground became barren, and the rest yielded only berries, acorns, and herbs. The summer and autumn indeed furnished a coarse and inelegant sufficiency, but winter was without any relief; FAMINE, with a thousand diseases which the inclemency of the air invited into the upper regions, made havock among men, and there appeared to be danger lest they should be destroyed before they were reformed.
To oppose the devastations of FAMINE, who scattered the ground every where with carcasses, LABOUR came down upon earth. LABOUR was the son of NECESSITY, the nurseling of HOPE, and the pupil of ART; he had the strength of his mother, the spirit of his nurse, and the dexterity of his governess. His face was wrinkled with the wind, and swarthy with the
the sun; he had the implements of husbandry in one hand, with which he turned up the earth; in the other he had the tools of architecture, and raised walls and towers at his pleasure. He called out with a rough voice,
"Mortals! see here the power to whom you are consigned, and from whom you are to hope for "all your pleasures, and all your safety. You have 'long languished under the dominion of REST, an 'impotent and deceitful goddess, who can neither 66 protect nor relieve you, but resigns you to the first "attacks of either FAMINE or DISEASE, and suffers "her shades to be invaded by every enemy, and destroyed by every accident.
"Awake therefore to the call of LABOUR. I will "teach you to remedy the sterility of the earth, and "the severity of the sky; I will compel summer to find provisions for the winter; I will force the waters to give you their fish, the air its fowls, and the forest its "beasts; I will teach you to pierce the bowels of the “earth, and bring out from the caverns of the moun"tains metals which shall give strength to your hands, "and security to your bodies, by which you may be "covered from the assaults of the fiercest beasts, and "with which you shall fell the oak, and divide rocks, "and subject all nature to your use and pleasure."
Encouraged by this magnificent invitation, the inhabitants of the globe considered LABOUR as their only friend, and hasted to his command. He led them out to the fields and mountains, and showed them how to open mines, to level hills, to drain marshes, and change the course of rivers. The face of things was immeP4
diately transformed; the land was covered with towns and villages, encompassed with fields of corn, and plantations of fruit-trees; and nothing was seen but heaps of grain, and baskets of fruit, full tables, and crowded storehouses.
Thus LABOUR and his followers added every hour new acquisitions to their conquests, and saw FAMINE gradually dispossessed of his dominions; till at last, amidst their jollity and triumphs, they were depressed and amazed by the approach of LASSITUDE, who was known by her sunk eyes and dejected countenance. She came forward trembling and groaning: at every groan the hearts of all those that beheld her lost their courage, their nerves slackened, their hands shook, and the instruments of labour fell from their grasp.
Shocked with this horrid phantom, they reflected with regret on their easy compliance with the solicitations of LABOUR, and began to wish again for the golden hours which they remembered to have passed under the reign of REST, whom they resolved again to visit, and to whom they intended to dedicate the remaining part of their lives. REST had not left the world; they quickly found her, and to atone for their former desertion, invited her to the enjoyment of those acquisitions which LABOUR had pro
REST therefore took leave of the groves and valJeys, which she had hitherto inhabited, and entered into palaces, reposed herself in alcoves, and slumbered away the winter upon beds of down, and the summer in artificial grottoes with cascades playing before her. There was indeed always something want
ing to complete her felicity, and she could never lull her returning fugitives to that serenity which they knew before their engagements with LABOUR: Nor was her dominion entirely without control, for she was obliged to share it with LUXURY, though she always looked upon her as a false friend, by whom her influence was in reality destroyed, while it seemed to be promoted.
The two soft associates, however, reigned for some time without visible disagreement, till at last LUXURY betrayed her charge, and let in DISEASE to seize upon her worshippers. REST then flew away, and left the place to the usurpers; who employed all their arts to fortify themselves in their possession, and to strengthen the interest of each other.
REST had not always the same enemy: in some places she escaped the incursions of DISEASE; but had her residence invaded by a more slow and subtle intruder, for very frequently, when every thing was composed and quiet, when there was neither pain within, nor danger without, when every flower was in bloom, and every gale freighted with perfumes, SATIETY would enter with a languishing and repining look, and throw herself upon the couch placed and adorned for the accommodation. of REST. No sooner was she seated than a general gloom spread itself on every side, the groves immediately lost their verdure, and their inhabitants desisted from their melody, the breeze sunk in sighs, and the flowers contracted their leaves, and shut up their odours. Nothing was seen on every side but multitudes wandering about they knew not whither, in quest they knew not of what;