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mach, and the fear that, if he had made me fast, it might prejudice my health. I did not doubt he would have broke my heart, if I did not break his, which was allowable by the law of self-defence. The way was very easy. I resolved to spend as much money as I could ; and, before he was aware of the stroke, appeared before him in a two thou. sand pounds diamond necklace: he said nothing, and went quietly to his chamber, and, as is thought, composed himself with a dose of opium. I behaved myself so well upon the occasion, that to this day I believe he died of an apoplexy. Mr. Waitfort was resolved not to be too late this time, and I heard from him in two days. I am almost out of my weeds at this present writing, and
doubt. ful whether I will marry him or no. I do not think of a seventh for the ridiculous reason you mention, but out of pure morality that I think so much con. stancy should be rewarded, though I may not do it after all perhaps. I do not believe all the unreasonable malice of mankind can give a pretence why I should have been constant to the memory of any of the deceased, or have spent much time in grieving for an insolent, insignificant, negligent, extravagant, splenetic, or covetous husband; my first insulted me, my second was nothing to me, my third digusted me, the fourth would have ruined me, the fifth tormented me, and the sixth would have starved me. If the other ladies you name would thus give in their husband's pictures at length, you would see they have had as little reason as myself to lose their hours in weeping and wailing.
N° 574. FRIDAY, JULY 30, 1714,
Non possidentem multa vocaveris
Muneribus sapienter uti,
Hor. 4. Od, ix. 45.
But rather those that know
For what kind fates bestow,
I was once engaged in discourse with a Rosicril. cian about the great secret.'
As this kind of men (I mean those of them who are not professed cheats) are overrun with enthusiasm and philosophy, it was very amusing to hear this religious adept descanting on his pretended discovery. He talked of the secret as of a spirit which lived within an emerald, and converted every thing that was near it to the highest perfection it is capable of. It gives a lustre,' says he,' to the sun, and water to the dia. mond. It irradiates every metal, and enriches lead with all the properties of gold. It heightens smoke into flame, flame into light, and light into glory.' He further added, that a single ray of it dissipates pain, and care, and melancholy, from the person on whom it falls. In short,' says he, its presence naturally changes every place into a kind of heaven.' After he had gone on for some time in this unintelligible cant, I found that he jumbled natural and moral ideas together in the same discourse, and that his great secret was nothing else but content.
This virtue does indeed produce, in some mea. sure, all those effects which the alchymist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher's stone; and if it does not bring riches, it does the same thing, by banishing the desire of them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising out of man's mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them. It has indeed a kindly influence on the soul of man, in respect of
every being to whom he stands related. It extinguishes all murmur, repining, and ingratitude, towards that Being who has allotted him his part to act in this world. It destroys all inordinate ambition, and every tendency to corruption, with regard to the community wherein he is placed. It gives sweetness to his conversation, and a perpetual serenity to all his thoughts. Among the
many methods which might be made use of for the acquiring of this virtue, I shall only mention the two following. First of all, a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants : and secondly how much more un. happy he might be than he really is. First of
a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants. I am wonder. fully pleased with the reply which Aristippus made to one who condoled him upon the loss of a farm ;
Why,' said he, “ I have three farms still, and you have but one ; so that I ought rather to be afflicted for you than
you for me. On the contrary, foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost than what they possess ; and to fix their eyes upon those who are richer than themselves, rather than
on those who are under greater difficulties. All the real pleasures and conveniences of life lie in a par. row compass; but it is the humour of mankind to be always looking forward, and straining after one who has got the start of them in wealth and honour. For this reason, as there are none can be properly called rich who have not more than they want, there are few rich men in any of the politer nations, but among the middle sort of peo. ple who keep their wishes within their fortunes. and have more wealth than they know how to enjoy. Persons in a higher rank live in a kind of splendid poverty, and are perpetually wanting, because, instead of acquiescing in the solid pleasures of life, they endeavour to outvie one another in shadows and appearances. Men of sense have at all times beheld, with a great deal of mirth, this silly game that is playing over their heads, and, by contracting their desires, enjoy all that secret satisfaction which others are always in quest of. The truth is, this ridiculous chase after imaginary pleasures cannot be sufficiently exposed, as it is the great source of those evils which gencrally undo a nation. man's estate be what it will, he is a poor man if he does not live within it, and naturally sets himself to sale to any one that can give him his price. When Pittacus, after the death of his brother, who had left him a good estate, was offered a great sum of money by the king of Lydia, he thanked him for, his kindness, but told him he had already more by half than he knew what to do with. In short, content is equivalent to wealth, and luxury to poverty or, to give the thought a more agreeable turn, • Content is natural wealth,' says Socrates ; to which I shall add, Luxury is artificial poverty.' I shall therefore recommend to the consideration of those who are always aiming after superfluous and
imaginary enjoyments, and will not be at the trou. ble of contracting their desires, an excellent saying of Bion the philosopher; namely, that no man has so much care as he who endeavours after the most happiness."
In the second place, every one ought to reflect how much more unhappy he might be than he really is. The former consideration took in all those who are sufficiently provided with the means to make themselves easy ; this regards such as actually lie under some pressure or mifortune. These may receive great elevation from such a compa. rison as the unhappy person may make between himself and others, or between the misfortunes which he suffers, and greater misfortunes which might have befallen him.
I like the story of the honest Dutchman, who, upon breaking his leg by a fall from the mainmast, told the standers-by, it was a great mercy that it was not his neck. To which, since I am got into quo. tatious, give me leave to add the saying of an old philosopher, who, after having invited some of his friends to dine with him, was ruffled by his wife, that came into the room in a passion, and threw down the table that stood before them : one,' says he, has his calamity, and he is a happy man that has no greater than this.' We find an in. stance to the same purpose in the life of doctor Hammond, written by bishop Fell. As this good man was troubled with a complication of distem. pers, when he had the gout upon him he used to thank God that it was not the stone ; and when he had the stone, that he had not both these distempers on him at the same time.
I cannot conclude this essay without observing that there never was any system besides that of Christianity which could effectually produce in the