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There is never, observes Madame d’Arblay, in her diary, such a superfluity of actual happiness as to make it either rational or justifiable to feed upon expected misery. “That portion of philosophy which belongs to making the most of the present day, grows upon me strongly; and, as I have suffered infinitely from its neglect, it is what I most encourage, and, indeed, require.” Kindly ordained, she takes it, is the concealment of
“the day of sorrow ;
From the debts not due till to-morrow.” It is one of Scott's young heroes who opens a letter of troublous tidings with the confession that, until now, he had rarely known what it was to sustain a moment's real sorrow; what he called such was, he now felt assured, only the weariness of mind which, having nothing actually present to complain of, turns upon itself, and becomes anxious about the future-disregarding the Scriptural monition that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Is there, Armstrong asks,
“an evil worse than fear itself?
Enjoy the present ; nor, with needless cares
For what may come; and leave the rest to Heaven.” Prevision and imagination, as Rousseau says, multiply the evils of our lot : “ Pour moi,” he professes--however the profession may have squared with the practice—"j'ai beau savoir que je souffrirai demain, il me suffit de ne pas souffrir aujourd'hui pour être tranquille." It is certainly a frenzy, quoth old Montaigne, to go now and whip yourself, because it may so fall out that fortune may one day decree you a whipping, and to put on your furred gown at Midsummer, because you will stand
in need of it at Christmas. It was one of Madame de Sévigné's maxims in life to “regarder l'avenir comme une obscurité, dont il peut arriver des biens et des clartés à quoi l'on ne s'attend pas." Milton's Adam laments the mournful privilege of
visions ill foreseen.” Better had he lived ignorant of future ! so had borne his part of evil only, each day's lot enough to bear. So again, in Milton's Masque, the elder brother bids the younger be not over-exquisite to cast the fashion of uncertain evils :
“For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
And run to meet what he would most avoid ?”
“though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.” “ Melancholy commonly flies to the future for its aliment," says Sydney Smith, “and it must be encountered,” he adds, “by diminishing the range of our views.” The great remedy for melancholy, he insists in another place, is to take short views of life.” Are you happy now? Then why destroy present happiness by a distant misery, which may never come at all ? For “every substantial grief has twenty shadows, and most of them shadows of your own making.” One of his correspondents he emphatically counsels to dispel that prophetic gloom which dives into futurity, to extract sorrow from days and years to come, and which considers its own unhappy visions as the decrees of Providence. “We know nothing of to-morrow, our business is to be good and happy to day.” In effect, like Maucroix,
“Il rit de ces prudents qui, par trop de sagesse,
Et des soucis cuisants."
tial, perhaps, of French philosophers avow his resolve á vivre désormais au jour la journée, to take short views of life, and regard distant objects as at once illusive and elusory. “Usons de chaque jour sans trop de prévoyance du lendemain," says another. And it was an old French poet, fourscore and upwards, who in 1700 wrote the four verses which since then have been often cited :
“Chaque jour est un bien que du ciel je reçois,
Je jouis aujourd'hui de celui qu'il me donne ;
Et celui de demain n'appartient a personne.” Dr. Boyd recognises as sound philosophy in Sydney Smith, the advising us, whether physically or morally, to “take short views.” One of his illustrations to the purpose is, that it would knock you up at once if, when the railway carriage moved out of the station at Edinburgh, you began to trace in your mind's eye the whole route to London. Never do that, he says ; think first of Dunbar, then of Newcastle, then of York, and, putting the thing thus, you will get over the distance without fatigue of mind. What little child, he asks, would have heart to begin the alphabet, if, before he did so, you put clearly before him all the school and college work of which it is the beginning? “The poor little thing would knock up at once, wearied out by your want of skill in putting things. And so it is that Providence, kindly and gradually putting things, whiles us onward, still keeping hope and heart, through the trials and cares of life.” Every dog has its day, quaintly observes A. H. K. B. on another occasion ; but the day of the rational dog is overclouded in a fashion unknown to his inferior fellow-creatures; it is overclouded by the anticipation of the coming day which will not be his. And the essayist reminds us accordingly how “that great though morbid man, John Foster,” could not heartily enjoy the summer weather, for thinking how every sunny day that shone upon him was a downward step towards the winter gloom-each indication that the season was advancing, though only to greater beauty, filling him with a sort of forecast regret. “I have seen a fearful sight to-day," he would say, “ I have seen a buttercup." And we know, of course, adds his critic, “ that in his case there was nothing like affectation ; it was only that, unhappily for himself, the bent of his mind was so onwardlooking, that he saw only a premonition of December in the roses of June." Waife, in Lord Lytton's story, checks his grandchild's query when, happy, and unaccustomed to happi. ness, and therefore distrusting its continuance, she wistfully exclaims, “It cannot last, can it?” “'Tis no use in this life, my dear,” Waife tells her, “no use at all disturbing present happiness by asking, ‘Can it last?' To-day is man's, to-morrow his Maker's.” Life being a succession of stages, urges another practical philosopher, we should think of one stage at a time. Most people, he judiciously reminds us, can bear one day's evil ; what breaks men down is the trying to bear on one day the evil of two days, twenty days, a hundred days. “We can bear a day of pain, followed by a night of pain, and that again by a day of pain, and thus onward. But we can bear each day and night of pain, only by taking each by itself. We can break each rod, but not the bundle.” And the sufferer, in real great suffering, is well described as turning to the wall in blank despair, when he looks too far on. To cite another illustration of A. K. H. B.'s, we should, for certain purposes, look not at the entire chain, but at each successive link of it; we know, of course, that each link will be succeeded by the next; but we should think of them one at a time.
Do not say, wait the end, is a maxim of Paul Louis Courier's, who declares that, saving the respect due to the ancients, nothing is more false than that rule. “ The evil of to-morrow shall never deprive me of the good of to-day,” is one of the brilliant Frenchman's resolves. Another brilliant but highly bilious Frenchman testifies from observation and experience to the necessity, in the long run, of living from day to day, without indulgence either in unavailing regrets or anxious forecast, “ on s'aperçoit qu'il faut vivre au jour le jour, oublier beaucoup, enfin éponger la vie à mésure qu'elle s'écoule.” But it may too truly be said of this philosopher that he wrote, and lived, as one having no hope, and without God in the world.
Horace was in his placid Il Penseroso mood when he counselled the acceptance of each new-born day as possibly one's last, and appropriating it accordingly :
“Inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras,
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum :
Grata superveniet quæ non sperabitur hora.” We might suggest suggestive parallels by the score, as this from a play of Leigh Hunt's,
“One day—could you not try one day and then
Enjoy or fear another as it suited ?
Trust me if one day would not give you strength,” for morrows in store. Or this, from a poem of Owen Meredith's:
“Be quiet! Take things as they come ;
Each hour will draw out some surprise.
Thou shalt have thanks from evening skies.”
I SAMUEL xvi. 23. IN the days when Saul loved David greatly, and found comI fort in the constant presence of his favourite, it sometimes “ came to pass that when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand : so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."
That there is something more than ordinary in music, Bishop Beveridge, in his “ Private Thoughts,” infers from this factthat David made use of the harp for driving away the evil spirit from Saul, as well as for bringing the good spirit upon himself. The gentle prelate therefore recognises in music a sort of secret and charming power, such as naturally dispels “those black humours which the evil spirit is apt to brood upon,” and such too as composes the mind into a more regular, sweet, and docile disposition, thereby rendering it “the fitter for the Holy