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matter aright, they would see that it is better for them to want, Boston's Four-fold State.
than to have that something.
Against our peace we arm our will;
True Christian contentment with our state and lot, comprehends in it such things as these:
That our desires of wordly good are low and moderate; that we are not eager after much, nor "seek great things for ourselves;" but that our desires be reduced within the bounds of necessity and reasonable convenience, or at least are not hot and impetuous after more. To this the apostle exhorts, 1 Tim. vi. 8. “Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content;" that is, let us be able to acquiesce and be easy, though we should be allowed no more. find Jacob forming his desires with such moderation, at his setting out in the world, and when he was to enter upon a journey of some length and distance from his father's house : he asked not riches and grandeur, but that God would give him bread to eat, and raiment to put on. (Gen. xxviii. 20.) And it will be the wisdom and the happiness of other young people, to set out in the world without mounting their desires very high; at least, with a resolution to be easy, though they should be able to compass no more than a subsist ence. A man that cannot be easy with that, knows not in truth what would make him easy; for covetousness is insatiable. We see people arriving at one enjoyment after another, which once seemed the top of their ambition; and yet so far from contentment, that their desires grow faster than their substance; and they are as eager to improve a good estate, when they are become masters of it, as if they were still drudging for food and raiment. Christ warns us against this sort of covetousness, which consists in insatiable desire. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in
the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke xii. 15. In the parable which immediately succeeds this caution, the rich fool, whom Christ describes and blames, is charged with no injustice or evil practices, but only with insatiable desires of abundance, and too intense a concern to lay up goods for many years. The apostle exhorts the Hebrews, (Heb. xiii. 15.) "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have." Till we arrive at such a temper, that we can be content and easy with what we have at present, covetousness is predominant; and the same principle will keep us uneasy in any future circumstances, when they may become present. Evans's Practical Discourses.
The discontented man is ever restless and uneasy, dissatisfied with his station in life, his connexions, and almost every circumstance that happens to him. He is continually peevish and fretful, impa tient of every injury he receives, and unduly depressed with every disappointment he suffers. He considers most other persons happier than himself, and enjoys hardly any of the blessings of Providence with a calm and grateful mind. He is "careful and troubled about many things;" anxious for to-morrow, "what he shall eat, what he shall drink, and wherewithal he shall be clothed."
Stennett's Personal Religion.
Content is wealth, the riches of the mind;
It is universally admitted, that if there be such a thing as an innate practical principle in the human soul, it is that every individual pants for happiness, by an irresistible necessity. But then, how me lancholy it is to notice what is, perhaps, as unexceptionably certain, that so large a portion of mankind agree to seek for it in some ima ginary scheme and in investigating the cause of a mistake so general, as well as fatal, our maturest reflection cannot be satisfied with ascribing it to any one source, but that of their utter ignoranée
of its true nature. They run about with the dark lanthorn of their reason, in pursuit of good, as Diogenes did to find an honest man; but, alas! how seldom do they make the discovery! Neither is it at all surprising, when it is recollected that their intellectual blindness misleads them to take every direction for this purpose, excepting that which is at all likely to crown their labour with success. Whatever different paths mankind pursue,
Oh Happiness, 'tis thee we keep in view!
MRS. ROWE'S LETTERS.
The word happy, applied to any state or condition of human life, will admit of no positive definition, but is merely a relative term; that is, when we call a man happy, we mean that he is happier than some others with whom we compare him; than the generality of others; or than he himself was in some other situation. Moralists justly observe, that happiness does not consist in the pleasures of sense; as eating, drinking, music, painting, theatrical exhibitions, &c. for these pleasures continue but a little while, by repetition lose their relish, and, by high expectation, often bring disappointment. Nor does happiness consist in an exemption from labour, care, busi➡ ness, &c. such a state being usually attended with depression of spirits, imaginary anxieties, and the whole train of hypocondriacal affections. Nor is it to be found in greatness, rank, or elevated stations, as matter of fact abundantly testifies; but happiness con
sists in the enjoyment of the divine favour, a good conscience, and, uniform conduct. In subordination to these, human happiness may be greatly promoted by the exercise of the social affections; the pursuit of some engaging end; the prudent constitution of the habits; and the enjoyment of our health.
Buck's Theological Dictionary.
There is, in the human mind, a constant and a natural tendency towards futurity. Our thoughts are perpetually wandering from the present moment, and looking forwards to something that is to take place hereafter. Be our happiness never so great, yet it is not sufficient to gratify and content the soul. There is always a void left in it, which can never be filled up, without calling in the aid of futurity, without the anticipation of something more than we at present possess. Whatever may chance to be our ruling passion, whether it be the love of wealth, of power, of honour, of pleasure, we are never satisfied with that share of it which we enjoy, but are always thirsting and reaching after more; are perpetually forming projects, from which we promise ourselves greater satisfaction than any we have yet experienced. There is constantly some favourite object in view, some point to be attained; and we are continually hurrying over some period of our existence, in order to arrive at certain imaginary stations, or resting-places, where we hope to find that quiet and content, which have hitherto eluded our search. We reach those wished-for situations, but "we find no rest for the sole of our foot." The imaginary horizon of our prospect flies before us as we advance; no sooner do we gain one eminence, than another instantly appears beyond it; and when that is passed, still others present themselves in endless succession to our view. Thus are we continually drawn on through life, with the same delusive expectations. We live upon the future, though the future constantly deceives us; we continue grasping at distant happiness, though it always escapes out of our hands; and go on to the very end, pressing forwards towards some imagined good, with the same eagerness and alacrity, as if we had never suffered the least disappointment in our pursuit. Bishop Porteus.
Order is nature's law; and this confess'd,
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense. What can add to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience? To one in this situation, all accessions of fortune may properly be said to be superfluous; and if he be much elevated on account of them, it must be the `effect of frivolous levity. Adam Smith.
Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise, that has survived the Fall!
No principle can be of greater importance to the true felicity of man, than this: because all imaginary schemes of happiness, which are sure to issue in the most bitter, if not irreparable disappointment, originate in false ideas of happiness itself.
Temple of Truth.
The happy man is not he, whose happiness is his only care; but he, who, with perfect resignation, leaves the care of his happiness to his Maker, whilst he pursues with ardour the road of his duty. This gives an elevation to his mind, which is real happiness; instead of care, and fear, and anxiety, and disappointment, it brings peace and joy. It gives a relish to every good we enjoy; it smooths the brow of care, calms the perturbed mind, and makes the pillow of suffering and death the rest of happiness.
In order to be happy, we should be select in our friends, and choose them more for their good sense, than their knowledge; more for being Christians than philosophers; be contented with a small, but certain income; have no master, and few servants; be without ambition, envy, avarice, or a law-suit; preserve our health by exer