« EdellinenJatka »
children are led into these circles of infatuation, and made to despise the simple and natural manners of youth. From mansions and shops and common dwellings we see increasing numbers pouring forth to balls, and assemblies, and routs, and concerts, and public spectacles, and theatrical entertainments; every evening has some foreign claim.
"Who will shew me any good?" is the cry. The world passing along hears it, and says, Follow me, emulate this splendour, mix with this throng, pursue these diversions. We comply. We run, and we run in vain. The prize was nigh us when we began; but our folly drew us away from it. Let us return home, and we shall find it. Let us remember that happiness prefers calmness to noise, and the shades to publicity; that it depends more upon things cheap and common, than upon things expensive and singular; that it is not an exotic which we are to import from the ends of the earth, but a plant which grows in our own field and in our own garden. Every man may be made happy, if you could induce him to make a proper estimate of happiness; if you could keep him from judging after outward appearances; if you could persuade him to stoop, rather than to aspire, to kneel, rather than to fly. To confine us to our respective stations, God has wisely rendered happiness only attainable in them; were it placed, not in the way of duty, but on the other side of the boundary, the very position would lead us astray, and seduce us to transgress. But home is not always heaven, nor is domestic life necessarily productive of domestic happiness. Hence it becomes needful,
PART II. To open its SOURCES, and examine on what it DEPENDS.
It does not depend upon RANK and AFFLUEnce. It is confined to no particular condition; the servant may enjoy it as well as the master; the mechanic as well as the nobleman. It exhilarates the cottage as well as the palace. What am I saying? What says, common opinion? Does it not invariably associate more enjoyment with the lowly roof, than with the towering mansion? Ask those who have risen from inferior life, whether their satisfaction has increased with their circumstances; whether they have never advanced to the brow of the eminence they have ascended, and looking down sighed, "Ah! happy vale, "from how much was I sheltered while I was in "thee!" There can be indeed but one opinion concerning the wretchedness of those who have not the necessaries of life. But "Nature is content with lit"tle, and Grace with less." "Better is a dinner of "herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred "therewith." 66 Better is a dry morsel and quiet"ness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices and "strife." This blessedness then results not from worldly things; and we mention this the more readily, because some seem afraid to enter a state honourable in all, because they have before them no openings of wealth. Others dread the increase of children as an accession of misery; while many are waiting for a larger fortune, a more spacious house, and more splendid furniture, before they can even THINK of enjoying themselves.
We may also observe, that some individuals seem
much more qualified to enjoy this happiness than othSome have little tafte for any thing. They are made up of ftupidities; they have eyes, but see not; ears, but hear not. They are the automatons of nature; the machines of Providence; doing the work which the conftitution of the world requires of them, devoid of any lively emotions. If they ever feel, it is only from the impression of something tumultuous and violent; if they are ever pleased, it is only by factitious joys. But others are full of life and sensibility; they are susceptible of delicate impressions; they love every thing tranquil; relish every thing simple; enjoy every thing natural; and are touched and dissolved by a thousand pleasing circumftances which convey nothing to others.
There are however some things which have an indispensable influence in producing and maintaining the welfare of families, which fall more properly under our cultivation; Order, Good Temper, Good Sense, Religious Principles. These will bless thy dwelling, and fill thy "tabernacle with the voice of re“joicing."
Firft. Without ORDER you can never rule well your own house. "God is not the God of confusion." He loves order; order pervades all his works. He overlooks nothing. "He calleth the ftars by their "names;" "he numbereth the hairs of our head." "He appointeth the moon for seasons, and the sun "knoweth his going down." There is no discord, no clashing in all the immense, the amazing whole! He has interposed his authority, and enjoined us "to do "every thin decently and in order." And this com
mand is founded in regard to our advantage. It calls upon you to lay down rules, and to walk by them; to assign every thing its proper place, its allowance of time, its degree of importance; to observe regularity in your meals, in your devotions, in your From order spring frugality, economy, charity. From order result beauty, harmony, conWithout order there can be no government, no happiness; peace flies from confusion; disorder entangles all our affairs, hides from us the end, and keeps from us the clue; we lose self-possession, and become miserable, because perplexed, hurried, oppressed, easily provoked,
Secondly. Many things will arise to try your TÉMPER; and he is unqualified for social life who has no rule over his own spirit: "who cannot bear," to use the words of a good writer, "the frailties of his fel"low-creatures with common charity, and the vexa❝ations of life with common patience." Peter, addressing wives, reminds them that "the ornament of a meek "and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price." And Solomon often mentions the opposite blemish in illuftrating the female character. "It is better to "dwell in a corner of the house-top, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." "The contentions of
a wife are a continual dropping," and so on. We fhould deem it invidious to exemplify this imperfection in one sex only; we would address you equally; and call upon you as you value a peaceful abode, to maintain a controul over your tempers. Beware of passion ; say little when under irritation; turn aside; take time to reflect and to cool; a word spoken unadvisedly
with your lips may produce a wound which weeks cannot heal. " I would reprove thee," said the philosopher, "were I not angry." It is a noble It is a noble suggestion. Apply it in your reprehension of servants, and correction of children. But there is something against which you should be more upon your guard than occasional sallies of passion; I mean habitual pettishness. The former may be compared to a brisk shower which is soon over; the latter to a sleet drizzling rain driving all the day long. The mischief which is such a disturber of social enjoyment, is not the anger which is lengthened into malice, or vented in revenge; but that which oozes out in constant fretfulness, murmuring and complaint; it is that which renders a man not formidable, but troublesome: it is that which converts him, not into a tiger, but into a gnat. Good humour is the cordial, the balm of life. The possessor of it spreads satisfaction wherever he comes, and he' partakes of the pleasure he gives. Easy in himself, he is seldom offended with those around him. Calm and placid within, every thing without wears the most favourable appearance; while the mind, agitated by peevishness or passion, like a ruffled pool, even reflects every agreeable and lovely image false and distorted.
Thirdly. The influence and advantage of GOOD SENSE are incalculable. What streams, what vessels are the noisy? The shallow, the empty. Who are the unyielding? The ignorant, who mistake obstinacy for firmness. Who are the infallible? They who have not reflection enough to see how liable and how likely we are to err; they who cannot comprehend how much it adds to a man's wisdom to discover, and