Abbildungen der Seite

o N E N Joy M. ENTs of EA R L Y TIMEs. 3 - - eo so t----

other, from whom he expected a more favourable reception. If she too rejected his addresses, he never thought of retiring into deserts, or pining in hopeless distress. . He persuaded himself, that, instead of loving the lady, he only fancied that he had loved her; and so all was well again. When fortune wore her angriest look, and he at last fell into the power of his most deadly enemy, Cardinal Mazarine, (being confined a close prisoner in the castle of Valenciennes,) he never attempted to support his distress by wisdom or philosophy, for he pretended to neither: he only laughed at himself and his persecutor, and seemed infinitely pleased at his new situation. In this mansion of distress, though secluded from his friends, though denied all the amusements, and even the conveniences of life, he still retained his good humour; laughed at all the little spite of his enemies; and carried the jest so far, as to be revenged by writing the life of his gaoler. All that the wisdom of the proud can teach, is, to be stubborn or sullen under misfortunes. The Cardinal's example will instruct us to be merry in circumstances of the highest affliction. It matters not whether our good humour be construed by others into insensibility, or even idiotism; it is happiness to ourselves; and none but a fool would measure his satisfact on by what the world thinks of it. For my own part, I never pass by one of our prisons for debt, that I do not envy that felicity which is still going forward among those people who forget the cares of the world, by being shut out from its ambition. The happiest silly fellow 'I ever knew, was of the number of those good-natured creatures, that are said to do no harm to any but themselves. Whenever he fell into any misery, he usually called it seeing life. If his head was broke by a chairman, or his pocket picked by a sharper, he comforted himself by imitating the Hibernian dialect of the one, or the more fashionable cant of the other.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Nothing came amiss to him. His inattention to money- .

matters had incensed his father to such a degree, that all the intercession of friends in his favour was fruitless. The old gentleman was on his death-bed. The whole family, and Dick among the number, gathered around him.——“I leave my second son, Andrew,” said the expiring miser, “my whole estate, and de“sire him to be frugal.” Andrew, in a sorrowful tone, as is usual on these occasions, prayed heaven to prolong his life, and health to enjoy it himself. “I “recommend Simon, my third son, to the care of his

“eldest brother, and leave him, beside, four thousand “ pounds.” “Ah! father,” cried Simon, (in great af.

fliction to be sure) “may heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself.” At last, turning to poor Dick, “As for you, you have always been a sad dog; “ you’ll never come to good; you’ll never be rich : “I’ll leave you a shilling to buy an halter.” “Ah! “father,” cries Dick, without any emotion, “may “heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself.” This was all the trouble the loss of fortune gave this thoughtless imprudent creature. However, the tendermess of an uncle recompensed the neglect of a father; and my friend is now not only excessively good-humoured, but competently rich, Yes, let the world cry out at a bankrupt who appears at a ball; at an author who laughs at the public which pronounces him a dunce; at a general who smiles at the reproach of the vulgar; or the lady who keeps her good humour in spite of scandal; but such is the wisest behaviour that any of us can possibly assume: it is certainly a better way to oppose calamity by dissipation, than to take up the arms of reason or resolution to oppose it. By the first method, we forget our miseries; by the last, we only conceal them from others. By struggling with misfortunes, we are sure to receive some wounds in the conflict; but a sure method to come off victorious, is by running away.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mathematics will enable you to think justly. With

out them, there is a certain method wanting which is necessary to rectify our thoughts, to arrange our ideas, and to determine our judgments aright. It is easy to perceive in reading a book, even a moral one, whether the author be a Mathematician or not. I am seldom deceived in this observation. The famous French Metaphysician would not have composed The Inquiry after Truth”, nor the famous Leibnitz his Theodice, if they had not been Mathematicians. We perceive in their productions that geometrical order which brings their reasonings into small compass while it gives them

energy and method. Order is delightful; there

is nothing in nature but what is stamped with it, and without it there could be no harmony. . We may likewise say that the Mathematics are an universal science which connects all the rest, and displays them in their happiest relations. The Mathematician, at the first look, is sure to analyse and unravel a subject or proposition with justness; but a man who does not understand this science, sees only in a vague, and almost always in an imperfect manner. Apply yourself then to this great branch of knowledge, so worthy of our curiosity, and so necessary to the uses of life; but not in such a degree as to throw you into absence: —endeavour to be always recollected, whatever are your studies. If I was young, and had leisure, I would acquire a more extensive knowledge of Geometry. I have always cherished that science with a par* Melebranche.


2 Preceptive, Moral, &c. Pieces. Ganganelli. *** **-es-

ticular predilection. My turn of mind made me seek with avidity everything that was methodical; and I pay but little respect to those works which are only the exercises of imagination. We have three principal sciences, which I compare to the three essential parts of the human conposition:—Theology, which, by its spirituality, resembles our soul; the Mathematics, which, by their combination and justness, express our reason; and Natural Philosophy, which, by its mechanical operations, denotes our bod

ies: and these three Sciences (which ought to main

tain a perfect harmony) while they keep within their proper sphere, necessarily elevate us towards their author, the source and fullness of all light. Philosophy without Geometry, is like medicine without chemistry. The greater number of modern Philosophers reason inconclusively, only because they are unacquainted with Geometry. They mistake sophisms for truths; and if they lay down just principles, they deduce false conclusions from them. Study alone will not make a learned man, nor a knowledge of the sciences a Philosopher. But we live in an age where great words impose, and where men think themselves to be eminent geniuses, if they only contrive a set of singular opinions. Distrust those writers who employ themselves rather about the style than the matter, and who hazard every thing for the

sake of surprising.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

—Talk not so formally, I am so much a despiser of it, that I never suffer a slip of buckram, even in my coat. I heard that you were insulted, and, for the want of a few scoundrel guineas, unable to redress yourself. Now, insult I am so far from beart ing myself, that I cannot endure it should be inflicted , on another. If you had a purse in your pocket, a sword ... at your side, and a came in your hand; if, sir, providence had thought proper to accoutre you in this t manner, I should have left you to revenge your own - cause, and fight your own battles: and had you hesiy tated to do this, under such advantages, I should have

rejoiced to hear, that the purse had been taken from - you, the sword run through your body, or the cane laid across your shoulders; because, for man to fear man, in my opinion, is the last error of idolatry, and one. a greater shame, than bowing the knee to aal.


! Wouldest thou, my prince, inform thyself of the sit

uation of thy people, that thou mayest redress their l, grievances and promote their welfare, consult not the "wealthy merchants of Damascus, nor the proud lords of landed inheritance; but turn thine eyes into the ! shop of the humble mechanic, the cottage of the industrious peasant, and the village of the laborious fisher

man. . - Contes Arabes.

« ZurückWeiter »