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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 expectations of happiness, 'twas 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 establish 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 endeavours 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 early,-late takes rest, and eats the bread of carefulness, till, at length, by hard labour 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 his first setting out.
Perhaps, you'll say, some dignity, honour, or ti. tle, 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!'tis still the same; -the dignity or title--though they crown his head with honour -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 flies before him ;-and, to use the satirist's comparison of the chariot-wheels-haste as they will, they must for. ever keep the same distance. * But what? though 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 fashionable “ enjoyment of them.”
Behold! I will get me down, and make me great works, and build me houses, and plant me vine. yards, 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 pure suits--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 arises higher than a bare and simple amusement, and well, if you cari compound for that,-since, '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 labour that I had laboured to dog 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 would 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 miser, with no lappiness 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 find that there
is no end of his labour, that his eyes will never be satisfied with riches, or will say,--For whom do I labour and bereave myself of rest?- This is also a sore travel.
I believe this is no uncommon picture of the dis. appointments of human life, and the manner our pleasures and enjoyments slip from under us in every stage of our life. And though 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, though there can be no happiness without pleasure, yet the reverse 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 the perpetual sunshine 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 expectation of it is built upon a rock, whose foundations are as deep as those of heaven and hell.
And though, in our pilgrimage through this world, some of us may be so fortunate as to mect 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, though he enjoyed but little of it, tells us,
that whosoeyer 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 hectick chemist search for the philosopher's stone with more pains and ardour than this great man did after happiness. He was one of the wisest enquirers 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 chemist'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.