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will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead. Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the im mortals, a new member added to their happy society? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure; instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains, and possibilities of pain and diseases, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first; and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together: and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him?
TO THE LATE
DR. MATHER OF BOSTON.
I RECEIVED your kind letter, with your excellent advice to the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be considerable. . Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled, "Essays to do good," which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life: for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
You mention your being'in your seventy-eighth year. I am in my seventy-ninth. We are grown old together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston; but I rember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both. in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my
first trip to Pennsylvania: he received me in his library; and on my taking leave, shewed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily. "Stoop, Stoop!" I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me: "You are young, and have the world before you stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." This advice, thus beat into my heart, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
I long much to see again my native place; and once hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 1724. I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763; and in 1773 I was in England. In 1775, I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1783 but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes however attend my dear country, "esto perpetua." It is now blessed with an excellent constitution may it last forever!
This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance to our security, and should
be carefully cultivated. Britain has not yet well digested the loss of its dominions over us; and has still at times some flattering hopes of recovering it. Accidents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts. A breach between us and France would infallibly bring the English again upon our backs; and yet we have some wild beasts among our countrymen, who are endeavouring to weaken that connection.
Let us preserve our reputation, by performing our engagements; our credit by fulfilling our contracts; and our friends by gratitude and kindness; for we know not how soon we may again have occasion for all of them.
With great and sincere esteem,
Your most obedient and
Passy, May 12,
A TRUE STORY.
WRITTEN TO HIS NEPHEW.
WHEN I was a child at seven years old, my friends on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers, I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for one. I then came home, and went
whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of my money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexa, tion; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unneces sary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and so I saved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives to much for his whistle.
When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect: He pays indeed, says I, too much for his whistle.
If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the