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How unworthy of this bright example should we be, if, after having feen the feverest sufferings sustained by a female in the earliest period of life, and of the weakest conftitution, we permitted our minds to be dejected by misfortunes which courage might enable us to furmount! a female who, under the anguish of inexpreffible torments, never permitted a figh or complaint to escape from her lips; but fubmitted with filent refignation to the will of Heaven, in hope of meeting with reward hereafter. She was ever active, invariably mild, and always compaffionate to the miseries of others. But we, who have before our eyes the fublime inftructions which a character thus virtuous and noble has here given us, we, who, like her, afpire to a seat in the mansions of the bleffed, refufe the fmalleft facrifice, make no endeavour to stem with courage the torrent of adverfity, or to acquire that degree of patience and refignation, which a strict examination of our own hearts, and a filent communion with God, would certainly afford.
SENSIBLE and unfortunate beings! the flight misfortunes by which you are now oppreffed, and driven to defpair, (for light, indeed, they are, when compared with mine,) will ultimately raise your minds above the low confiderations of the world, and give a strength to your power which you now
conceive to be impoffible.* You now think your
felves funk into the deepest abyssof fuffering and forrow; but the time will foon arrive, when you will perceive yourselves in that happy state in which the mind verges from earth, and fixes its attention on heaven. You will then enjoy a calm repofe, be susceptible of pleasures equally substantial and fublime, and poffefs, in lieu of tumultuous anxieties for life, the ferene and comfortable hope of immortality. Bleffed, fupremely blessed, is he who knows the value of retirement and tranquillity, who is capable of enjoying the filence of the groves, and all the pleafures of rural Solitude. The foul then taftes celeftial delight, even under the deepest impreffions of forrow and dejection; regains its ftrength, collects new courage, and acts with perfect freedom. The eye then looks with fortitude on the tranfient sufferings of disease ; the mind no longer feels a dread of being alone; and we learn to cultivate, during the remainder of our lives, a bed of roses round even the tomb of death.
Explorant adverfa viros, perque afpera duro "Nittitur ad laudem virtus interrita clivo."
"But oft Adverfity exalts the mind;
"And fearless Virtue may from perils find
"Some means, howe'er deprefs'd, her head to raise, "And reach the heights of never-ending praise."
THESE reflections upon the general Advantages refulting from rational Solitude and occafional Res tirement, bring me next to this important question, 7 "Whether it is easier to live virtuously in Solitude! or in the World?"
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.
WHETHER IT IS EASIER TO LIVE VIRTUOUSLY IN SOLITUDE, OR IN THE WORLD,
THE virtues, when they are practised in society, are practised merely from a sense of duty. The Clergy afford inftruction to the ignorant and confolation to the afflicted. The Lawyers protect the innocent and vindicate the injured. The Phyficians vifit the fick, and adminifter relief to their complaints, whether real or imaginary. But not, as they would infinuate, from charitable feelings, and for the fake of humanity. Inftruction, confolation, protection, and health, are in fuch cafes afforded not from any particular bias of the heart towards their respective objects, but from a sense of duty which the profeffors of Law, Divinity, and Phyfic, respectively entertain; a duty imposed upon them by their peculiar stations in society; and which it would be disgraceful in them not to perform. The words, "your known humanity," words
which always hurt my feelings, when they introduce the fubjects of the letters I daily receive, are nothing but words of ceremony, a common falfehood, introduced by flattery, and fupported only by cuftom. Humanity is a high and important virtue, founded on a nobleness of foul of the firft fpecies; and how is it to be known whether a man performs certain actions from this warm and generous motive, or from a cold sense of duty? Good works certainly do not always proceed from motives completely virtuous. The bofom of a man whose mind is conftantly immersed in the corrupted currents of the world, is generally fhut against every thing that is truly good: he may, however, fometimes do good without being virtuous; for he may be great in his actions, though little in his heart.* Virtue is a quality much more rare than is generally imagined; and therefore the words humanity, virtue, patriotism, and many others of fimilar kinds, should be used with greater caution than they usually are in the intercourses of mankind. It is only upon particular occafions that they ought to be called forth; for by making them too familiar,their real import is weakened,and the fenfe of thofe excellent qualities they exprefs in a great
"Viri poteftatibus fublimes," fays Lord Chancellor BACON, ipfi tibi ignoti funt. Et dum negotiis diftrabuntur, tempore carent, * quò, fanitati aut corporis, aut animæ fuæ caufulant.”