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ficed to the greater interests of the universe, to the interest of that great society of all sensible and intelligent beings, of which God himself is the immediate administrator and director. If he is deeply impressed with the habitual and thorough conviction, that this benevolent and all-wise Being can admit into the system of his government no partial evil which is not necessary for the universal good, he must consider all the misfortunes which may befal himself, his friends, his society, or his country, as necessary for the prosperity of the universe, and therefore as what he ought, not only to submit to with resignation, but as what he himself, if he had known all the connexions and dependencies of things, ought sincerely and devoutly to have wished for.
Nor does this magnanimous resignation to the will of the great Director of the universe, seem in any respect beyond the reach of human nature. Good soldiers, who both love and trust their general, frequently march with more gaiety and alacrity to the forlorn station, from which they never expect to return, than they would to one where there was neither difficulty nor danger. In marching to the latter, they could feel no other sentiment than that of the dullness of ordinary duty; in marching to the former, they feel that they are making the noblest exertion which it is possible for man to make. They know that their general would not have ordered them upon this station, had it not been necessary for the safety of the army, for the success of the war. They cheerfully sacrifice their own little systems for the prosperity of a greater system. They take an affectionate leave of their comrades, to whom they wish all happiness and success; and march out, not only with submissive obedience, but often with shouts of the most joyful exultations, to that fatal, but splendid and honourable station to which they are appointed. No conductor of an army can deserve more unlimited trust, more ardent and zealous affection, than the great Conductor of the universe. In the greatest public as well as private disasters, a wise man ought to consider that he himself, his friends and countrymen, have only been ordered upon the forlorn station of the universe'; that had it not been necessary for the good of the whole, they would not have been so ordered ; and that it is their duty, not only with humble resignation to submit to this allotment, but to endeavour to embrace it with alacrity and joy. A wise man should surely be capable of doing what a good soldier holds himself at all times in readiness to do.
The idea of that divine Being, whose benevolence and wisdom have, from all eternity, contrived and conducted the immense machine of the universe, so as at all times to produce the greatest possible quantity of happiness, is certainly of all the objects of human contemplation by far the most sublime. Every other thought necessarily appears mean in the comparison. The man whom we believe to be principally occupied in this sublime contemplation, seldom fails to be the object of our highest veneration; and though his life should be altogether contemplative, we often regard him with a sort of religious respect much superior to that with which we look upon
the most active and useful servant of the commonwealth. The meditations of Marcus Antoninus, which turn principally upon this subject, have contributed more, perhaps, to the general admiration of his character, than all the different transactions of his just, merciful, and beneficent reign.
The administration of the great system of the universe, however, the care of the universal happiness of all rational and sensible beings, is the business of God and not of man. To man is allotted a much humbler department, but one much more suitable to the weakness of his powers, and to the narrowness of his comprehension; the care of his own happiness, of that of his family, his friends, his country: that he is occupied in contemplating the more snblime, can never be an excuse for his neglecting the more humble department; and he must not expose himself to the charge which Avidius Cassius is said to have brought, perhaps unjustly, against Marcus Antoninus ; that while he employed himself in philosophical speculations, and contemplated the prosperity of the universe, he neglected that of the Roman empire. The most sublime speculation of the contemplative philosopher can scarce compensate the neglect of the smallest active duty. Dr. Adam Smith,
50.- On the Advantages of a well-cultivated Mind.
It is not without reason that those who have tasted the pleasures afforded by philosophy and literature, have lavished upon them the greatest eulogiums. The benefits they produce are too many to enumerate, valuable beyond estimation, and various as the scenes of human life. The man who has a knowledge of the works of God, in the creation of the universe, and his providential
government of the immense system of the material and intellectual world, can never be without a copious fund of the most agreeable amusement. He.can never be solitary; for in the most lonely solitude he is not destitute of company and conversation : his own ideas are his companions, and he can always converse with his own mind.
How much soever a person may be engaged in pleasures, or encumbered with business, he will certainly have some moments to spare for thought and reflection. No one who has observed how heavy the vacuities of time hang upon minds unfurnished with images, and unaccustomed to think, will be at a loss to make a just estimate of the advantages of possessing a copious stock of ideas, of which the combinations may take a multiplicity of forms, and may be varied to infinity.
Mental occupations are a pleasing relief from bodily exertions, and that perpetual hurry and wearisome attention, which in most of the employments of life, must be given to objects which are no otherwise interesting than as they are necessary. The mind, in an hour of leisure, obtaining a short vacation from the perplexing cares of the world, finds, in its own contemplations, a source of amusement, of solace, and pleasure. The tiresome attention that must be given to an infinite number of things, which singly and separately taken, are of little moment, but collectively considered, form an important aggregate, requires to be sometimes relaxed by thoughts and reflections of a more general and extensive nature, and directed to objects of which the exami
nation may open a more spacious field of exercise to the mind, give scope to its exertions, expand its ideas, present new combinations, and exhibit to the intellectual eye, images new, various, sublime, or beautiful.
The time of action will not always continue; the young ought ever to have this consideration present to their mind, that they must grow old, unless prematurely cut off by sickness or accident. They ought to contemplate the certain approach of age and decrepitude, and consider that all temporal happiness is of uncertain acquisition, mixed with a variety of alloy, and, in whatever degree attained, only of a short and precarious dura. tion. Every day brings some disappointment, some di. minution of pleasure, or some frustration of hope; and every moment brings us nearer to that period, when the present scenes shall recede. from the view, and future prospects cannot be formed.
This consideration displays, in a very interesting point of view, the beneficial effects of furnishing the mind with a stock of ideas that may amuse it in leisure, accompany it in solitude, dispel the gloom of melancholy, lighten the pressure of misfortune, dissipate the vexations arising from bafiled projects or disappointed hopes, and relieve the tedium of that season of life where new acquisitions can no more be made, and the world can no longer flatter and delude us with its illusory hopes and promises.
When life begins, like a distant landscape, gradually to disappear, the mind can then receive no solace but from its own ideas and reflections. Philosophy and lite, rature will then furnish us with an inexhaustible source of the most agreeable amusements, as religion will afford it substantial consolation. A well spent youth is the only sure foundation of a happy old age: no axiom of the ma thematics is more true, or more easily demonstrated.
Old age, like death, comes unexpectedly on the unthinking and unprepared, although its approach be visible, and its arrival certain. Those who have, in the earlier part of life, neglected to furnish their minds with ideas, to fortify them by contemplation, and regu, late them by reflection, seeing the season of youth and vigour irrecoverably past, its pleasing scenes annihilated, and its brilliant prospects left far behind, without the possibility of return, and feeling, at the same time, the irresistible encroachments of age with its disagreeable appendages, are surprised and disconcerted by a change, scarcely expected, or for which at least they had made no préparations. A person in this predicament, finding himself no longer capable of taking, as formerly, a part in the busy walks of life, of enjoying its active pleasures, and sharing its arduous enterprises, becomes peevish and uneasy, troublesome to others, and burdensome to himself. Destitute of the resources of philosophy, and a stranger to the amusing pursuits of literature, he is unacquainted with any agreeable method of filling up the vacuity left in his mind by his necessary recess from the active scenes of life.
All this is the consequence of squandering away the days of youth and vigour, without acquiring the habit of thinking. Excepting the case of the very lowest classes of society to whom indigence has precluded the means of education, and continued labour has allowed no leisure for reflection, the period of human life, short as it is, is of sufficient length for the acquisition of a considerable stock of useful and agreeable knowledge; and the circumstances of the world afford a superabundance of subjects for contemplation and inquiry. The various phenomena of the moral as well as physical world, the investigation of sciences, and the information communicated by literature, are calculated to attract attention, exercise thought, excite reflection, and replenish the mind with an infinite variety of ideas.
The man of letters, when compared with one that is illiterate, exhibits nearly the same contrast as that which exists between a blind man and one that can see; and if we consider how much literature enlarges the mind, and how much it multiplies, adjusts, rectifies, and arranges the ideas, it may well be reckoned equivalent to an additional sense. It affords pleasures which wealth cannot procure, and which poverty cannot entirely take away. A well cultivated mind places its possessor beyond the reach of those trifling vexations and disquietudes, which continually harass and perplex those who haveno resources