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posite error, fault, or folly, the more humbled we should be at the thought, (which, in general, is a certain fact, though we are blind, perhaps, as to the particulars) that however right we are in this instance, in some others, too probably in very many others, we are quite as much in the wrong as those we now despise and blame. Error is just as ugly in us as in them: if our sense of it be a stronger, uglier still and more unpardonable: and yet, how many have fallen themselves into the very faults they most violently condemned."
« How true is all this! Let me add to it a thought that just now rises to my mind, or rather a whole group.". . !3.: , .
“It is true, the subject is inexhaustible; but our time, you know, was limited, and the clock is just striking."
On the Nature of human Happiness.
LISAURA was complaining one day to Paulina that happiness was no where to be found. “How do you contrive," said whe, “to be so cheerful and easy, so constantly contented in your appearance; when I am convinced, that, at the bottom, you must have some lurking dissatisfaction, some concealed uneasiness, that secretly diffuses its venom over your enjoyments ?”.
“ It is true," said Paulina,“ my history is pretty extraordinary, and my life has been crossed by a thousand accidents, that, reason and religion apart, would make my happiness appear doubtful enough. But pr’ythee, Lisaura, how do you come to suspect it, who, I am persuaded, know little of my real story, and are young enough to judge of the sincerity of other people's appearance by your own."
“ Why, it is from that very cause you name,” replied Lisaura. “ In all the bloom of health and
youth, in all the ease of situation imaginable, I still perceive a discontent that preys upon my heart. Sometimes I am anxious for the long futurity even of common life, that lies before me; that lies, like a wild, unknown, and barren plain, wrapped up in the thick fogs of uncertainty. Sometimes I lose myself in melancholy reflections on the past : my cares and attentions, which then so busily engaged me, seem now such a heap of impertinences and follies, that I sicken at them, and at myself; and, then, what a strong presumption do they give one, even against those of the present hour! That present hour, how vain is it, how uneasy, what a very trifle will entirely sour it! With all this, any body, that considered my situation in life, would pronounce me happy. How then can I be secure of the happiness of any other persou ?"
“Shall I tell you," answered Paulina, " why you are not sure of your own ?"
“0, most willingly,” cried Lisaura.
- "Well, then,” resumed Paulina - " but come, my dear, tell me a little of the assembly you were at last week.”
: “ The transition is a little hasty,” said Lisaura, smiling.
:-“ No matter for that; you will lose nothing by it
in the end : perhaps I may give you a more studied discourse in the afternoon."
:: “ Well, then, what can I tell you, but that I was fatigued to the greatest degree; and, after long expectation, and five hours' vain pursuit of amusement, came home at last utterly dissatis
" Amusement! That is a very general word: in what shape did you think that it was to appear to you ?”
Lisaura coloured, and Paulina went on.
; “ Your mistake, dear Lisaura, in life, is the very same that it was in this assembly, and will lead you into the same dissatisfied satiety. You, not you only, but most young people, form to yourself a general and vague idea of happiness, which, because it is uncertain in its being, is as variable as your temper; so that, whenever you meet with any thing that does not exactly suit the present humour, you imagine you have missed of happipess; and so, indeed, you have, but quite in a different way. The perfect idea of happiness belongs to another world; as such it is always to be kept in view; and therein consists the point of human happiness, which no vicissitudes of human affairs can alter.
= “ But human happiness has, separate from this, a
very real existence, and has distinguishing charac.' teristics of its own : one of these is imperfection ; and a necessary ope it is to be known. Our busi. ness, in this world, was not to sit down and be satisfied; but to rub on, through many difficulties and through many duties, with just accommodations enough to support us among them, in a cheerful frame of mind; such a cheerful and easy frame of mind, as is at all times disposed to relish the bearties of nature and the comforts of society, though not enough attached to them to make the parting difficult.
“To form any other notion of happiness than this, is a folly that will punish itself. Duty excepted, all the concerns of human life are of slight importance; and, when once we have possessed our minds of that belief, all those mysterious phantoms that gave us such real anxiety, will immediately disappear: the opinion of the world, figure, obscurity, poverty, wealth, contempt, fear, pain, affliction, will appear to be momentary concerns, and therefore little worth long hours of serious thought: yet all these things are worth so much, that, just as far as reason directs us, it is matter of duty to pursue or avoid them. But when choice has nothing to do, content is every thing. Content, did I say? I should have added, gratitude; for much, indeed, the state even of this world deserves. For that, however, I will refer you to Dr. Barrow : be lies upon my table, above stairs; and has something in his style so sweet, so strong, and animated,