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man nature in the prospect of non-existence, that I can not but wonder, with many excellent writers, how it is possible for a man to outlive the expectation of it. For my own part, I think the Being of a God is so little to bé doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of, and such a truth as we meet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought.
9. If we look into the characters of this tribe of infidels, we generally find they are made up of pride, spleen and cavil : it is indeed no wonder, that men, who are uneasy to themselves, should be so to the rest of the world, and how is it possible for’a man to bę otherwise than uneasy in himself,' who is in danger every moment of loosing his entire existence and dropping into nothing?
10. The vicious man and Atheist have therefore no pretence to chearfulness, and would act very unreasonably, should they endeavour after it. It is impossible for any one to live in good humeur, and enjoy his present existence, who is apprehensive cither of torment or of annihilation ; of being miserable, or of not being at all.
11. After having mentioned these too great prinçi. ples, which are destructive of cheerfulness in their own nature, as well as in right reason, I cannot think of any other that ought to banish this bappy temper from a virtuous mind.
Pain and sickiless, shame and repro:ch, poverty and old age, nay, death itself, considering the shortness of their duration, and the advantage we may reap from them, do not deserve the name of evils.
12. A good mind may bear up under them with for: titude, with inciolence, and with cheerfulness of heart --the tossing of a tempest does not discompose him, which lie is sure will bring him to a joyful harbour.
13. A man who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason has two perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own nature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependence.
14. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence, which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which, after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations
naturally arise in the mind, when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity, when it takes a view of those improveable faculties, which in a few years, and even at its first setting out have made so considerable a progress, and which will be still receiving an increase of perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness?
15. The consciousness of such a Being spreads a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous inan, and makes him look upon himself every moment as more happy than he knows how to conceive.
16. The second source of cheerfulness to a good mind is its consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold hini as yet, but in the first faint discoveries of his perfectious, we see every thing that we can imagine, as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded by an immensity of love and mercy.
17. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies him to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truthi engage him to make those happy who desire it of him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.
18. Such eonsiderations, which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that secret heaviness of heart wbicha unthinking men are subject to when they lie under no real afitiction, all that anguish which we may feel from any evil that acactually oppresses us, to which I may likewise add those little cracklings of mirth and folly, that are apter to betray virtue than support it; and establish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to him whom we are made to please.
laid open, we should see but little différence be. tween that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infinite reveries, rumberless extravagancies, and a perpetual train of vanities which pass through both, The great diference is, that the first knows how to pick
and cull his thou;hts for conversation by suppressing some, and communicating o:hers, whereas the other lets them all ind.fferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, however, has rio place in private conversation, between intimate friends. On such occasions the wise:t men very often talk like the weakest ; for indeed the talking with a friend is bothing else but thinking aloud.
2. Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept delivered by some ancient writers, that a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to becume his friend ; and with his friend in such a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power tü hurt him. The first part of this sule, which regards our behaviour towards an enemy, is indeed very reasonable as well as prudential; balit the latter part of it, which regards our behaviour tous wards a friend, favours more of cunning than of discre. tien, and would cut a man off from the greatest plea. sures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation with a bosom friend. Besides, that when a friend is turned into an enemy, and (as the son of Siračb calls bim) a betrayer of secrets, the world is just enough to excuse the perfidiousness of the friend, rather than the indiscretion of the person who corifided in hiin."
3. Discretion dues not only sheit itself in words, but in all the circumstances of action; and is like an under: agent of Providence, to guide and direct us in the ordivary concerns of life.
4. Tirere are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is Bolle so useful as discretion; it is this indeed which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the ade antage of the person wlio is possessed of them. Without it, learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness : the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly ip errors, and active to his own prejudice.
s. Nor does discretion only make a man the master of bais own parts, but of other men's.
The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses. According ly; if we look into particular cominuaities and divisions
of men, we may observe, that it is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to the society. A man with great talents, but void of discretion, is like Polyhemus in the fable, strong and blind, and endured with an irresistible force, which, for want of sight, is of no use to him.
6. Though a man has all other perfections, and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and båt a compion share of others,' he may do what he pleases in his station of life.
7. At the same that I tak diseretion the most useful talent that a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous minds. Discretion points out the noblest ends to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of obtaining them : cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make tliem succeed.
8. Discretion has large and extended views, and like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon : cunning is a kind of short-sightedness, that discovers the : minutest objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives a greater authority to the person wlio possesses it : cunning, when it is once detected, loses its furce, and makes a man incapable of bringing about even those events which he might have done, had be passed only for a plain man. Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life : cunning is a kind of instinct that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare.
9. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understandings : cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons
who the fewest removes from them. In short, cunning'is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.
10. The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, makes him look forward into futurity, and con
sider what will be his condition millions of ages hetice, as well as what it is at present.
11. He knows, that the misery or happiness which are rezerve for hin in another world, lose nothing of the reality by being placed at so great a distance from him. The objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He considers that those pleasures and pains which lie hid in e:ernity, approach nearer to him every moment, and will be present with him in their full weight and meas: se, as much as those pains and pleasures which he feels at this very instant. For this reason he is careful to secure to himself that which is the proper happiness of his nature, and the ultimate design of his being
12. He carries his thouglits to the end of every aetion, and considers the most distant as well as the most immediate effects of it. He supercedes every little prospect of gain and advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent with his views of an bereafter. In a word, his hopes are full of immortality,' his schemes are large and glorious, and his.conduct suitable to one who knows his true interest, and how to pursue it by proper methods.
13: I have in this essay upon discretion, considered it both as an accomplishment and as a virtue, and have therefore described it in its full extent;, not only as it is conversant about wordly affairs, but as it regards one whole existence ; not only as it is ithe guide of a mosa tal creature, but as it is in general the director of a reasonable being. It is in this light that discretion is represen:ed by the wise man, who sometimes mentions. it under the name of discretion, and sometimes. under that of wisdom
14. It is indeed (as described in the latter part of this. paper) the greatest wisdom, but at the same time in the power of every one to attaith Its advantages are infinite, but its acquisition easy; or, to speak of her in the words of the apocryphal writer, “ Wisdom is glorious, "aud never fadeth away, yet she is easily seen of.them: " that love her, and fount of such as seek her.
5. "She preventetl them that define ber, in reaking