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I cannot refrain from inserting the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, as elegantly translated by Fitzgerald:
First, the Supreme doth highest rev'rence claim;
How quick, how various are the turns of fate;
Tho' still the good man stands secure from harms,
Among the various ends of thy desires,
The accidents of life, such as natural evils, the bad passions of men, and the disappointments which arise from our ignorance, create great part of the misery which we see among mankind. But the torrent which overwhelms the vale beneath him, cannot reach the elevation on which the man of virtue and religion stands. He has no unrepented guilt to oppress his mind, no apprehensions of future punishment to appal his heart. The rational views he entertains concerning the universal Parent, lead him to rejoice in the divine government. The conviction that the world is managed by wisdom which cannot err, and benevolence which wills the happiness of the universe, causes him to submit to unavoidable evils, as the wise appointments of Heaven. The consciousness of sincerity is the source of daily pleasure. And his prospects, with regard to the present life, as well as that which is to come, are satisfactory to his mind and conscience.
I am confident that we may safely conclude, with Dr. Paley, that,
"It is a happy world, after all. The air,-the earth,—the water,-teem with delightful existence. In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. The insect youth are on the wing.' Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the cheerfullest objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment; so busy, and so pleased: yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and, under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned to them.
"But the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification. What else should fix them so close to the
operation, and so long? Other species are running about with an alacrity in their motions which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures.
"If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it, (which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement,) all conduce to shew their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side, in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or, rather, a very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water. When the cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this: if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment, what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!"
Cease then, nor ORDER Imperfection name:
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear.
All nature is but art unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
HAVING proved, I hope satisfactorily, in the foregoing pages, that the detail of Human Life was intended to be, and really is, diversified with many kinds of intrinsic satisfaction-having analyzed the sources from which intellectual and corporeal delights are conveyed to the human race-having stripped them of all meretricious glare, and set up a landmark, beyond which indulgence in them becomes criminal-having pointed out the reasons why men, in their pursuit of happiness, venture "like little wanton boys that swim on bladders," so much positive good, and yet so frequently fail in obtaining this "god of their idolatry"having pointed out the mistakes in which this vain contest originated-having endeavoured, without unfeelingly "exposing our father's nakedness," to depict the miseries that are inseparable from this fallen state, and, in doing so, having defended the wisdom, the benevolence, and the goodness of the great Creator, in attaching such penalties to it-there remains nothing essential to the completion of our design, unless it be a compendious recapitulation of those points of duty,