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der to be in a proper temper of heart for making others fo
I have no great liking to fyftems on a fubject fo various as human nature; yet I am convinced that this theory in general is right. When all is not eafy within, the heart is apt to fhut against the concerns of others. A fournefs arifes, of a very unfocial nature. If we have any pity, it is for ourselves; and we feem to think that our being fellow-fufferers is a full discharge of the debt of humanity. But when felf-complacency applies it's gentle influence, the heart foftens and relaxes, and makes room for the effufions of benevolence. From a breaft at eafe, the first wish that seems to grow, is that of imparting happiness to others. The affections expand when there is no immediate preffure on their fprings; and we feel a kind of avaricious defire of enlarging our enjoyments, by banishing mifery from the ciеation.
Here, continued he, laying his hand on Thomson's Seasons, here is a man who painted, as eminently as he felt, every fine sensation of the heart. A paffage in his Autumn beautifully difplays this turn of the mind. With every uneafy pafhon lulled to reft, he fteals you into the sweet, ferene, romantic haunt of the GENIUS of PHILOSOPHIC MELANCHOLY.
At his approach the imagination warms, the foul dilates; every good, every generous and tender fentiment crowds forward, and among the first,
The love of nature unconfined, and chief
Of human race; THE LARGE AMBITIOUS WISH TO MAKE THEM BLEST.
All these are the throbbings of a felf-contented mind, raifed into rapture by a contemplation on surrounding
happiness. Depend upon it, that every kind and focial affection is related to the finiling family of pleafure.
But I ought to be more precife. My intention is, that, to love others, we must first be happy in ourfelves. Yet you will fay, that the rich or powerful are by no means eminent for their benevolence, and that the mere man of pleasure is too frequently callous to every thing befides. What then becomes of my theory? But underftand me rightly. When I speak of happiness, it is confcious happiness that I mean. No other deferves the name. All elfe is a restless purfuit, in which new objects fucceflively ftart, and there must ever be fome great defideratum, which, by keeping up difcontent, muft keep down philanthropy. I fear there are many minds which have been prevented by the very advantages that surround them, from ever fettling into felf enjoyment. The felicity to which I point can only be found in a mind that will be kind enough to itself, and just enough to its Creator, to turn its view frequently inward, and make a fair estimate of it's own poffeffions. Without this, the greatest bleffings of our nature will be overlooked; I mean thofe, which are every hour, every moment, indulged to us, and are not valued merely because they are poured on us in profufion. The pleasures administered by any fingle fenfe, are above the price of gold. Our ftores are great, but reflection only can give them value. An habitual review of the fair circumftances of our lot, would give a perpetual relish to existence. It would produce not only a ferenity, but also that active chearfulness of heart which is fo favourable to the interefts of fociety. It would banith repining, liftlefnefs, and C 3 gloom
gloom, and fill the foul with a bright and steady funfhine, which is the proper climate of virtue, and particularly genial to the growth of benevolence.
I request, Sir, continued he, you will earneftly recommend this practice to your readers. It will neither retard any of the honest purfuits, nor interrupt the rational enjoyments of life; but on the contrary will give fpirit to the one, and a double relish to the other. Let every man daily review what he poffeffes; let him turn a pitying eye on what others want. The bleflings of life have a promifcuous glare of white, which makes them difficult to be counted, until laid on a dark foil; and then we are aftonished at their number. Our cup will be conftantly kept full by the hand of Reflection, and its abundance will flow over to the relief of others. Every act of this kind must terminate in devotion. Struck with the idea of its own happiness, the foul melts naturally into gratitude to the GREAT GIVER, and tender affection to the general race of man. N.
Thursday, April 12, 1770.
O felix bominum genus,
Y laft paper has produced me two letters, in a different from each other, which I hall beg leave to prefent to my readers, giving the due precedence to my fair correfpondent.
To Mr. FLYN.
AM a girl of feventeen, tall, ftrait, and genteel, with a fweet face. I have a great flock of health and fpirits, very indulgent parents, and a profpect of a good fortune. Yet, with all thefe, Mr. FLYN, I ain very unhappy. The truth is, Sir, I want to be married; and that fingle deficiency deftroys all the pleasure of my life. Your old gentleman's prefcriptions I have tried to no purpose. Several times in the day I run over the long lift of what I have; yet, in spite of me, my contemplations all terminate on what I have not, Reflecting on the wants of others only brings my own more ftrongly to my mind, and the fight of an old maid, fo far from raifing my compassion, or yielding me any comfort, frightens me out of my wits, left I hould become one of the dreary class. Well does your friend obferve that the pleasures of a single fenfe are above the price of gold. Ah! Sir, he speaks from experience; and my imagination gives full credit to his affertion. But I have heard Mr. WALKER, the philofopher, fay, that the fenfes are of no ufe to us, without the impulse of their corresponding objects, The eye can feel no joy in the dark, nor the ear in the midft of filence. This doctrine exactly fuits my cafe. I have a vast quantity of affections about me, but no one to bestow them on; and love and tenderness enough to make twenty men happy, yet cannot meet with one in a humour to be made fo.
This, Sir, is my hard fituation. Your friend's maxims of happiness must be fome way deficient, or cafe a very fingular one. I am fatisfied that I fhould be the best natured, beft tempered, moft bene
volent creature upon earth, if I were but married; but, if fomething is not foon done, the old maid will creep fatt upon me, and I fhall hate my felf, and all the world. At all events, be kind enough to let him know, how I am circumftanced; and tell him, that, if he does not either point out to me how to get a husband, or how to be eafy without one, I fhall difclaim him for ever as a monitor, and reft convinced, that he has either forgot, or never understood human nature.
I am. Sir,
Your moft humble Servant,
The letter with which you have honoured me, brings to my recollection a wifh which I have often formed, when I have been fitting penfively in my shop, which was, that I could, at pleafure, make every book on my shelves fart up in the proper form of it's author, just as he was at the age of five and twenty, and ftill continue at my difpofal. This would effectually fecure to me the cuftom of the whole fair fex, and prevent any of my wares from lying on hands. Those that could not fell as books, may do very well as men; and a very heavy performance may go off at a good price in the shape of a handsome young fellow. Were this the cafe, it would give me the greatest pleafure to lay the largest and most valuable folio in my house, at the feet of so much beauty, merit, and diftrefs. But, as it is, I can only refer you to thofe places where fuch articles are daily exhibited. Notwithflanding the fprightly humour of your epistle, I am convinced that your good fenfe will not fuffer