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It is impossible ever to enjoy ourselves rightly, if our conduct be not such as to preserve the harmony, and order of our faculties, and the original frame and constitution of our minds : all true happiness, as all that is truly beautiful, can only result from order.
Whilst there is a conflict between the two principles of passion and reason, we must be miserable in proportion to the struggle ; and when the victory is gained, and reason so far subdued, as seldom to trouble us with its remonstrances, the happiness we have then is not the happiness of our rational nature, but the happiness only of the inferior and sensual part of us, and consequenily a very low and imperfect happiness, to what the other would have afforded us.
If we reflect on any one passion and disposition of the mind, abstract from virtue, we shall soon see the disconnexion between that and true solid happi. ness. It is of the very essence, for instance, of envy, to be uneasy and disquieted. Pride meets with provocations and disturbances upon almost every occasion. Covetousness is ever attended with solici. tude and anxiety. Ambition has its disappointinents to sour us, but never the good fortune to satisfy us; its appetite grows the keener by indulgence, and all we can gratify it with at present serves but the more to inflame its insatiable desires.
The passions, by being too much conversant with carthly objects, can never fix in us a proper composure and acquiescence of mind. Nothing but an indifference to the things of this world, an entire submission to the will of Providence here, and a well grounded expectation of happiness hereafter, can give us a true satisfactory enjoyment of ourselves. Virtue is the best guard against the many unavoidable evils incident to us; nothing better alleviates the weight of the afflictions, or gives a truer relish of the blessings, of human life.
What is without us has not the least connexion with happiness, only so far as the preservation of our lives and health depends upon it. Health of boày, though so far necessary that we cannot be perfectly happy without it, is not sufficient to make us happy of itself. Happiness springs immediately from the mind; health is but to be considered as a candidate or circumstance, without which this bappiness cannot be tasted pure and unabated.
Virtue is the best preservative of health, as it prescribes temperance, and such a regulation of our passions as is most conducive to the well being of the animal economy; so that it is, at the same time, the only true happiness of the mind, and the best means of preserving the health of the body.
If our desires are to the things of this world, they are never to be satisfied ; if our great view is upon those of the next, the expectation of them is an in. finitely higher satisfaction than the enjoyment of those of the present.
There is no happiness then but in a virtuous and self-approving conduct : unless our actions will bear the test of our sober judgment, and reflections upon .them, they are not the actions, and consequently not the happiness, of a rational being.
From the Pennsylvania Gazette, No. 409, Oct. 14,
The world, but a few ages since, was in a very poor condition as to trade and navigation ; nor indeed were they much better in other matters of useful knowledge. It was a green-headed time; every useful improvement was hid from them; they had neither looked into heaven or earth, into sea nor land, as has been done since. They had philosophy without experiment, mathematics without instruments, geometry without scale, astronomy without demonstration.
They made war without powder, shot, cannon, or mortars ; nay, the mob made their bonfires without squibs or crackers. They went to sea without compass, and sailed without the needle. They viewed the stars without telescopes, and measured latitudes without observation. Learning had no printingpress, writing no paper, and paper no ink: the lover was forced to send his mistress a deal board for a love-letter, and a billet-doux might he about the size of an ordinary trencher. They were clothed without manufacture, and their richest robes were the skins of the most formidable monsters : they carried on trade without books, and correspondence without posts : their merchants kept no accounts, their shopkeepers no cash-books : they had surgery withaut anatomy, and physicians without the materia medica; they gave emetics without ipecacuanha, drew blisters without cantharides, and cured agues without the bark.
As for geographical discoveries, they had neither seen the North Cape, nor the Cape of Good Hope, south. All the discovered inhabited world which they knew and conversed with, was circumscribed within very narrow limits, viz. France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Greece ; the Lesser Asia, the west part of Persia, Arabia, the north parts of Africa, and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea ; and this was the whole world to them. Not that even these countries were fully known either; and several parts of them were not inquired into at all. Germany was known little farther than the banks of the Elbe, Poland as little beyond the Vistula, or Hungary as little beyond the Danube; Muscovy or Russia perfectly unknown, as much as China beyond it; and India only by a little commerce upon the coast, about Surat and Malabar; Africa had been more unknown, but by the ruin of the Carthaginians; all the western coast of it was sunk out of knowledge again, and forgotten; the northern coast of Africa in the Mediterranean remained nnknown, and that was all; for the Saracens, overrunning the nations which were planted there, ruined commerce as well as religion. The Baltic Sea was not discovered, nor even the navigation of it known; for the Teutonic knights came not thither till the 13th century.
America was not heard of, nor so much as a sug. gestion in the minds of men that any part of the
world lay that way. The coasts of Greenland, or Spitsbergen, and the whale fishing, not known : the best navigators in the world, at that time, would have fed from a whale with much more fright and horror than from the devil, in the most terrible shapes they had been told he appeared in.
The coasts of Angola, Congo, the Gold and the Grain coasts, on the west of Africa, whence, since that time, such immense wealth has been drawn, not discovered, nor the least inquiry made after them. All the East India and China trade, not undiscovered, but out of the reach of expectation. Coffee and tea (those modern blessings of mankind) had never been heard of: all the unbounded ocean, we now call the South Sea, was hid and unknown; all the Atlantic ocean, beyond the mouth of the Straits, was frightful and terrible in the distant prospects, nor durst any one pcep into it, otherwise than as they might creep along the coast of Africa towards Sallee, or Santa Cruz. The North Sea was hid in a veil of impenetrable darkness; the White Sea, or Archangel, was a very modern discovery, not found out till sir Hugh Willoughby doubled the North Cape, and paid dear for his adventure ; being frozen to death, with all his crew, on the coast of Lapland ; while his companion's ship, with the famous Mr. Chancellor, went on to the gulf of Russia, called the White Sea, where no Christian strangers had ever been before him.
In these narrow circumstances stood the world's knowledge at the beginning of the 13th century,