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1. False notions of happiness, philosophical and popular,
answered. 2. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all. God intends happiness to be equal ; and, to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws. As it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by providence, by the two passions of hope and fear. 3. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world ; and that the good man has here the advantage. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune. 4. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars. 5. That we are not judges who are good ; but that whoever they are, they must be happiest. 6. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of virtue. That even these can make no man happy without virtue : instanced in riches. Honours. Nobility. Greatness. Fame. Superior talents, with pic
tures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all. 7. That virtue only constitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter.
O HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim !
Ask of the learn’d the way? the learn'd are blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these; Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain; Some swell’d to gods, confess e'en virtue vain!
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Take nature's path and mad opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right and meaning well; And mourn our various portions as we please Equal is common sense and common ease.
Remember, man," the Universal Cause Acts not by partial but by general laws,” And makes what happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find, But some way leans and hearkens to the kind; No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, No cavern’d hermit, rests self-satisfied : Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend. Abstract what others feel, what others think, All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink : Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain. | Order is Heaven's first law; and, this confest,
Some are and must be greater than the rest,
But mutual wants this happiness increase ;
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
O sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise By mountains pild on mountains to the skies? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know all the good that individuals find, Or God and nature meant to mere mankind, Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, Lie in three words-health, peace, and competence. But health consists with temperance alone : And
peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own. The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain ; But these less taste them as they worse obtain.
Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
O blind to truth and God's whole scheme below,
if virtue made the son expire, Why full of days and honour lives the sire ? Why drew Marseilles' good bishop? purer breath When nature sicken'd, and each gale was death? Or why so long (in life if long can be) Lent Heaven a parent to the poor and me?
| The Hon. Robert Digby: see Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. lxxiv.
. M. de Belsance : he distinguished himself by his zeal and activity in behalf of his flock, while the plague raged at Marseilles in 1720.