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things that move and furprize us; none of us have examined into what is truth. But we teach one another to fear. No one has the courage to set about a thing that gives him perturbation; or to examine well into the grounds of his fear. Therefore things falfe and vain, gain credit; because they are not difproved, nor their vanity difcovered. Whereas were we to open our eyes, and take a diligent view of things, we should see how tranfitory, how uncertain, how harmless, thofe are, we are so much afraid of. Such is the confufion of our minds, as is described by Lucretius :
Nam veluti pueri trepidant, atque omnia cæcis
And tremble in the dark; fo riper years
And fake at fhadows, fanciful and vain,
As thofe that in the breast of children reign. Dryden.
Well then, are we not more foolish than children, we, who are afraid even in the light? But it is falfe, Lucilius, we are not afraid in the light; we have ourselves spread darkness around us (e); we can see nothing; either what is hurtful or what is expedient for us. All our life-time we are continually ftumbling; ye we ftop not for this, nor walk more circumfpectly (f). Now, you fee what a mad thing it is to run headlong in the dark; yet truly this is what we do, that we may be ftill further off when we are recalled: and know not whither we are carried; yet we perfevere with speed in our respective journey.
However, if we please, we may obtain light; and there is but one way to be happy in this bleffing: which is, by the study of philosophy, i. e. of things human and divine ;—so that a man be not sprinkled only therewith, but is dipped in and feafoned;-and if, knowing these things, he reflects often upon them, and reminds himself of them;if he enquires into, and can rightly distinguish, good and evil; to which often is ascribed a false title;—if he seeks to know what is right and fit, and what the contrary;—but particularly, what is providence. Not that the fagacity of human understanding refts here: it is defirous VOL. II.
to look beyond this world; to know its feveral motions; from whence it first sprung, and to what period this vaft velocity is haftening. But alas! we have drawn off our minds from this divine contemplation; to fet them upon things low and mean; to be flaves to avarice; and having thrown afide all useful reflections on the works of creation, their boundaries, and the almighty rulers and governors of the univerfe; we pry into the bowels of the earth, to learn what evils we may dig from thence, not contented with fuch things as are offered to our view. For whatever was for our good, our God and Father hath graciously set before us (b). He hath not expected our laborious fearch after it; having been pleased to offer it freely: but what might hurt us, he hath buried very deep. We cannot complain therefore of any thing but ourfelves. Those things, which Nature had hid from us and forbidden, as tending to our deftruction, we have brought into light ourselves. We have devoted the mind to pleafure: the indulgence whereof is the foundation and fource of all evils. We have given ourselves up to ambition, and fame, and other affections as vain and fruitless.
Our evils What then do I exhort you to do? nothing new or strange. are not fo new as to require new remedies. Ali that I afk of you, is, that you would confider, and weigh well what is neceffary and what is fuperfluous neceflary things are every where obvious (i); but fuperfluities require the conftant labours of our whole mind and body. But you defire not, you fay, rich beds trimmed with gold, or furniture adorned with jewels. It may be fo; there is no reafon you fhould commend yourself for this: for what virtue is there in contemning fuch things as are not neceflary? Then it is that you may command yourself, when you can defpife even neceffaries: it is no great thing that you can live contented without a noble and royal equipage; that defire no wild boars of a thousand weight on the fide-table; nor a dish of the tongues of redwings, and other prodigies of luxury, that difdains whole animals, and only felects the nicer bits.
Then it is I fhall admire you, when you difdain 'not the coarfeft bread; when you are perfuaded, that herbs and vegetables, in cafe of
neceffity, were not provided only for the beafts of the field, but for the nourishment of man; when you fhall know, that the young shoots, or top twigs of trees can fill the belly; which we now flore with so many precious things, as if it were a treafure-houfe to preferve them. Whereas we need not be over-nice in filling it, it being nothing to the purpose what it receives, fince whatever it be, it cannot long keep it. And yet you take pleasure in feeing a courfe of many difhes, to fupply which both fea and land have been ran facked: fome animals are the more grateful, if brought young and fresh to the table; others that have been long fed and crammed, fo as to melt as it were in their own fat; nay, the artificial favour of them delights thee. But verily thefe meats, fo anxiously fought after, and fo varioufly and highly feafoned, when swallowed down, turn all to the fame filth. Would you despise the pleasure of dainty eating, only view it in its laft ftage.
I remember to have heard my tutor, Attalus, make the following harangue with great applaufe: "Riches, faid he, have a long while impofed upon me. I was amazed, when, in one place, or another, "I faw their glittering fplendor. I concluded, what I did not see was alike rich and beautiful with what was exhibited to view. But "in a late pageant I faw the whole wealth of the city, gold and filver, finely emboffed; jewels of various dies and of an exquisite water ; "and the richest apparel, brought not only from beyond our own "territories, but from beyond the confines of our most distant enemies. "On one hand, a tribe of boys, fair and comely, both in fhape and drefs; on the other, a range of beautiful women; with
things, which the fortune of the greatest empire displayed, as reconnoitring at once all her treasures. And what is all this, faid I to myself, but to provoke the fenfual appetites of man, forward enough of "themselves? What means all this pomp of money? We are furely affembled here to learn covetousness. But, in truth, I carried away "with me lefs defire for it, than I had entertained before. I defpifed riches, not because they are fuperfluous; but because they are trifles. "Saw you not, that in a few hours time, the whole train, though marching flow and in orderly ranks, paffed by? And fhall that
take up our whole life, which we should have thought long and te"dious if it had taken up the whole day?"He likewife added, "Riches really feem to me as fuperfluous to the poffeffors as to the fpectators. This then is what I fay to myself, whenever such a gaudy scene dazzles mine eyes; when I behold a fine house, a spruce "train of fervants, or a litter fupported by handsome strong-back'd "lacqueys (1): what do you wonder at? why are you amazed? it is all pomp: these things are made a few of, they are not possessed, they please a moment, and pass by. Turn yourself rather to true riches; learn to be content with a little, and with a truly great and noble fpirit. cry out, Give me water, give me a barley cake, and I will not envy Jupiter his happiness. No; even if these things are wanting. It is "fcandalous to place the happiness of life in gold and filver, it is no lefs fo to place it in water and barley-bread. But what fall I do if "I have not thefe? Is there any remedy against extreme want and penury? Yes, hunger will foon put an end to hunger (m). Other"wife where would be the difference between being a slave to great or "little things? It is no matter how great the thing is, that fortune "hath denied us; if we muft depend upon the pleasure of another for " even this our water and barley-bread (n). He only is free; not over "whom Fortune hath the leaft power, but over whom she hath no power at all. Thus it is then you must covet nothing, if you "would rival Jupiter, who hath nothing to ask.”
Thus fpake Attalus to us; and Nature faith the fame to all mankind. Which words if you frequently revolve in your mind, you will certainly make yourself not feemingly, but really, happy: and in effect you will think yourself fo; let others think as they please,
(a) See Epp. 25. 93. The antients called them deuTepos ♪árμoves, Gods of an inferior class; nay, they even fuppofed them mortal. But the general opinion was, that the beings they called Genii or Dæmons were certain spirits that administered, under the Supreme Being, the affairs of men, taking care of the virtuous, and punishing the bad, and fometimes communicating with the best; as particularly, the genius of Socrates always warned him of approaching dangers, and taught him to avoid them. Plutarch.
Scit Genius, natale comes qui temperat aftrum
Makes This a Gentleman, and That a Clown.
They rather, fays Muret. affigned a Genius to a man, and a Juno to a woman; as in Tibullus one fwears to her lover,
Perque tuos oculos, per Geniumque rogo.
And he again to her ;
Hæc per fancta tuæ Junonis numina juro
As in Petronius-Quirtilla curfing herself, fays,
"And the tame demon that should guard my throne,
"Shrinks at a Genius greater than his own." Shakespear.
So Macbeth, fpeaking of Macduff,
There is none but he
Whose being I do fear
and under him My Genius is rebuk'd; as it is faid
Antony's was by Cæfar.
Vid. Erafm. Adagi i. 1. 72. Lipf. Manud. 11. 19.
(b) This reminds me of an epitaph which I wrote many years ago upon a young gentleman; but it was thought too true for an epitaph, and therefore not accepted.
Here lies friend, whofe death this truth confefs'd,
That mortals feldom know when they are bless'd;
Because he had no enemies, he tried
To be his own: fo drank, fell fick, and died.
This likewife puts me in mind of what I have heard or read of a poor man, who, in Queen Mary's days, as he was drawn upon a fledge to execution on account of his religion, the fledge broke and fractured his leg; upon which he was compaffionately carried into an houfe, and within a few days Queen Mary died, and his life was faved.
(c) The end of all things is at hand, be ye fober therefore, and watch unto prayer. i. Pet. 4. 7. (d) Let us turn our endeavours towards fuch remedies, as prudence and philofophy are found