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hcaven are acquainted with what happens in this lower world, they must disapprove of such a conduct as leads them to contend with their greatest benefactor and best friend. Shall the thing for med say to its Maker, why hast thou done so ? The time is fast approaching when you, being frced from all entanglements with this sublunary world, must visit those regions where you will again see your beloved spouse, in a state never to be interrupted, never to have an end, where you must be happy. This I have learned even from heathen sages, that all violent pains are short, and but of transitory duration. But we Christians are obliged to consider affliction in a quite different light, as the chastisement of our keavenly Father, whose benevolence is his darling attribute.
If the dissolution of the righteous is to exempt them from labor, though our temporal interest makes us eager to detain them longer wilk us, yet the sense of what they enjoy in heaven must be a great meame of abating our grief. Some, indeed, have so little comfort in this world that they are ready to say with Job of old : “ Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul ; which long for death and it cometh not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave.
Your most flattering hopes could not, in the course of nature, bare been many years longer gratified with his company; therefore you must not spend the remainder of your days in mourning, but being fully convinced of the vanity of every thing mortal, let us submit to every alteration as the servants of God, who_has graciously promised to lay no inore upon us than we can bear. That you may experience that mercy to assist you in this trial of your faith and patience, is the prayer of, dear madam,
Your ever affectionate friend.
LETTER 164. from a Gentleman to his friend in distressed circumstances, who
had endeavored to conceal his poverty. DEAR SIR,
I am extremely concerned to find you have so ill an opinion of me a " hide your misfortunes, and let me hear of them from another hand I know not how to interpret your conduct, as it makes me fear you nercr esteemed my friendship, if you could imagine that any alteration in your circumstances should ever be able to change my love. I had a different opinion of our mutual obligations to each other, and should have thought it an injury to your generous nature, had I concealed any thing concerning myself from you, though might have lessened me in your esteem. i hoped, till now, you had put the same confidence in me, who had nothing to recommend me to your favor, but plain sincerity of soul; and whose sole design was to promote the happiness of my friend.
I dare not quarrel with you now, lest you should consider me as tak. ing the advantage of you in your present distress, and induce you to break off a correspondence as dear to me as ever ; and this bads me to say something of real friendship in general. Real friendship is not confined to any station in life ; it is common in the meanest cottage, and has even sometimes been found in the palace. Simplicity of man ners, and integrity in all our actions, naturally lead us to expect sincèr
ity in the conduct of those with whom we are any way connected. The imperfections incident to human nature are so numerous, that we are solicitous of finding some person to whom we can unbosom our minds, and lay open the inmost recesses of our hearts. A real friend, in order to preserve the character he has assumed, will, in the first place, endeav. or to discharge every duty incumbent upon him to all his fellow car tures. But still there is something wanting ; and although we may be philanthropists in general, yet we like to place our affections on one particular object.
Why, my friend, any suspicion of my sincerity? Why did you conceal your distress from me? Friendship is of too sacred a nature to be Lrifled with, and the man who does not act consistent with his professions prostitutes that amiable appellation. No mental reservation can be used in friendship, for whenever that happens there is some doubt of sincerity, which for the most part ends either in total indifference, or which is infinitely worse, an absolute hatred. I am sorry to say, that there are few people who either know or value the blessings of friendship; if they did they would not, upon every frivolous occasion, find fault with the conduct of their fellow creatures.
At present, my dear friend, let my purse, however empty, be at you service, but let it never be more open than my heart. Conceal nothing from me, and all I have is yours. We were once friends, let us only remain so. Let me hear an account from
your present circumstances, and my last shilling shall be spent in your service. Let the sincerity of my friendship be estimated only according to my actions, and if it shall appear that I have acted inconsistent with the sacred name of friendship, let me be forever blotted out of your memory:
I am, sir, your sincere well wisher
LETTER 165. From a Gentleman lately returned from his travels to his Friend,
concerning Loyalty. DEAR SIR,
It is rery natural for the most curious travellers, after having spent Bc me time abroad, to return with joy to their own country; but much more pleasant to me who did not go out of it by my own choice, but impelled by necessity.
When I returned, I hoped to find a general tranquility among all ranks of people, and the animosities which subsisted when I went abroad, buried in perpetual oblivion. But I was strangely amazed to find tae same spirit of murmuring as before. In one place the ministry are said to be seeking the loaves and fishes, and the patriots are endeav. ering to dispossess them, with no other view than to obtain their places. In one place we are told, that the ministers are abandoned debauchees, and when the courtiers return the compliment to the patriots, the answer is, that a man may be an abandoned villain, a scandal to human nature, and yet a lover of his country. If you ask these several sorts of gentlemen what it is they wish for, you will find they have several ends in view. Some of them are men that have, by their extravagance, pent their fortunes, 1st their credit, and therefore are in violent hasta for a war, in hopes by plunder to replenish their jockets, like rultures who keep hovering over a dead carcase. They speak aloud just as thry would have it, that all things are running to "confusion. Others, like erowe, love the fruits of the earth, but hate the smell of gunpowder; and these affirm as positively, though not so loudy, that we shall be ineritably ruined unless there is a change of the ministry. A third sort of this disaffected party, are a set of men like moles, that are always digging under ground, and no kind of soil can escape their talons.
Besides these there is another party, whose designs are extremely for. eigu to any of the rest, and yet they are equally pernicious. There are several select companies of drunkards, who instead of minding their own business, assemble at different ale houses to settle the state of the nation over a tankard of porter or a bowl of punch
These may properly be called,
A pamper'd people, and detauched with ease,
No king can govern, and no God can ylease. The ghove gentry are a real nuisance to human society, as they raise groundless fears in the minds of peaceable people, who think it high time to feel their grievances when they really happen.
No man can be more a friend, and even advocate for the liberties of his country than myself; and a patriotic magistrate will at all times attend to the voice of the people, and as a common father, love to be put in mind of his duty. But when I find no fault committed by the administration, except such as is inseparably connected with human nature, I consider the abettors as real incendiaries, who want to create dissentions among a brave united people.
For my own part, when I consider the present distracted state of af. fairs, and compare it with my duty as an individual, I am ready to cry out with the Psalmist : “May peace be within her walls, and prosperity within her palaces !". May they prosper who wish her well, and seek her peace continually! and in this wish, I doubt not but you will join heartily with
To a young Man on Prudence. MY DEAR FRIEND,
The first thing necossary for a happy progress in business, is prudence or discretion. This, as it relates to trade, is a habit of mind enabling us to conduct our affairs in the wisest and best manner; or, in other words, t is pursuing the proper end, by the best means, and in the fittest time. It is not that serpentine craft, which lies in wait to captivate the unwary, impose upon the credulous, and overreach the weak understanding, and which teaches men to increase their wealth by injustice and fraud. God bas given to man no superior wisdom or skill, to be directed to ends so contrary to his own nature and will, and the good of mankind. But it is that honest wisdom, which is consistent with a good conscience, and an ornament to it. Prudence is subtility refined from all those base and anjust views, as subtility is wisdom corrupted by them. Wisdom, like light, is pleasant to behold; it quickens the spiriis, disposes the mind to a cheerful activity ind makes the passages of life clear and openi. Under God, it enables us to acquire and enjoy many advantages we could not otherwise attain; and obviates many evils and inconveniences to which we are liable, Whatever goou arises from deliberate advice, sagacious foresight, stable resolution, and orderly conduct, wisdom confers Whatever evils procceed froin blind ignorance, false presumption, unwary credulity, precipitate rashness, wisdom prevents. It begets in us the reasonable hope of success ; and quiets the heart in the want of it. God having given to man a considering mind, sagacity and foresight, which he has denied to other creatures, they who act foolishly, so far degrade the man, and resembl: the brute; and many are ruined by their own in. discretion and folly, without any other visible means than that they were themselves rash, wilful, or weak. But, when our intentions are good, and the means proper, we may hope that allwise goodness will prosper us; our successs will then be doubly pleasant. Or, if we are disappoint. ed, we shall disarm the affliction of what makes the deepest wound, the reflection that it was caused by our own folly. It is not supposed that our wisdom and prudence can control the events of divine Providence, or make our dependance upon God unnecessary. But it will hinder us from being our own destroyers, and is the means which the governor of the world uses to bestow prosperity and happiness where he is diposed to vouchsafe the enjoyment of them. A considerate head is often more successful than the laborious hand; though both should be united in most employments.
Your sincere friend.
Remember that human life is but as the journey of a day. We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigor and expectation, set forward with spirit and hope, with gaiety and with diligence, and travel on awhile in the straight road of piety, towards the mansions of rest. In a short time we remit our fervor, and endeavor to find some mitigation of our duty, and some more easy means of obtaining the same end. We then relax our vigor, and resolve to be no more terrified with crimes at a distance, but rely upon our own constancy, and venture to approach what we resolve never to touch. We thus enter the bowers of ease, and repose in the shades of security. Here the heart softens and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to aquire, whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not at least turn our eyes upon the gardens of pleasure. We approach them with scruple and hesitation; we enter them timorous and trembling, and always hope to pass through them without losing the road of virtue, which for awhile we keep in our sight, and to which we propose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation, and one compliance prepares us for another ; we, in time, lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees we let fall the remembrance of our orignal intention, and quit the only adequate object of rational desire. We en. langle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove
Aurough the labyrin n3 of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way, we then look back upon our lives with horror, with sorrow, with repentance; and wish, but too often vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of cirtue. Happy are they my friend, who learn not to despair, but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavors ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors; and that he who implores strength and courage from alove, shall find danger and difficulty give way before bim.
LETTER 168. Dr. Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, on the value of long established
Friendship. DEAR MADAM,
Since you have written to me with the attention and tenderness of ancient time, your letters give me a great part of the pleasure which a life of solitude admits. You will never bestow a share of your good will on one who deserves better. Those that have loved longest love best. A sudden blaze of kindness may, by a single blast of coldness be extinguished, but that fondness, which length of time has connected with many circumstances and occasions, though it may for a while be suppressed by disgust or resentine with, or without a cause, is hourly revived by accidental recollection To those that have lived long together, every thing heard, and every thing - en, recals some pleasure communicated, or some benefit conferred, some fatty quarrel, or some slight endearment. Esteem of great powers, or miable qualities newly d scovered, may embrojder a day or week, but a friendship of twenty years, is interwoven with the texture of life. A friend may be often found and lost, but an old friend never can be found, and nature has provided that he cannot casily be lost.
I have not forgotten the Davenants, though they seem to have forgotten me. I began very early to tell them what they have commonly found to be true. I am sorry to hear of their building. I have always warned those whom I loved, against that mode of ostentatious waste.
You seem to mention Lord Kilmurry, as a stranger. We were at his house in Cheshire; and he one day dined with Sir Lynch. What he tells me of the epigram is not true, but perhaps he does not know it to be false. Do not you remember how he rejoiced in having no park; he could not disoblige his neighbors by sending them no venison.
The frequency of death to those who look upon it in the leisure of Areadia, is very dreadful. We all all know what it should teach us ; let tis all be diligent to learn. Lucy Porter has lost her brother. But whom have I lost ? Let not your loss be be added to the mournful catalogue Write soon again to, madamn,
Yours, &c. 10