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bly t) the ends for which they were given us. Fantastical pleasures are those which have no natural fitness to delight our minds, presuppose some particular whim or talte accidentally prevailing in a set of people to which it is owing that they please.
Now I take it, that the tranquillity and chearfulness with which I have passed my life, are the effect of having, ever fiece I came to years of discretion, continued my inclinations to the former fort of pleasures. But as my experience can be a rule only to my own actions, it may probably be a ftronger motive to induce others to the same scheme of life, if they would consider that we are prompted to natural pleasures by an instinct impressed on our minds by the author of our nature, who best understands our frames, and confequently best knows what those pleasures are, which will give us the least uneasiness in the pursuit, and the greatest satisfaction in the enjoyment of them. Hence it foilows, that the objects of our natural desires are cheap or easy to be obtained; it being a maxim that holds throughout the whole fyftem of created beings, w that nothing is made in vain,” much less the intincts and appetites of animals, which the benevolence as well as wisdom of the Deity, is concerned to provide for. Nor is the fruition of those objects lefs pleasing, than the acquisition is easy; and the pleafure is heightened by the sense of having answered fome natural end, and the consciousness of acting in concert with the supreme governor of the universe.
Under natural pleasures I comprehend those which are universally suited, as well to the rational as the sensual part of our nature. And of the pleasures which affect our senses, those only are to be esteemed natural that are contained within the rules of reason, which is allowed to be as necessary an ingredient of human nature as sense. And, indeed, excesies of any kind are hardly to be esteemed pleasures, much less natural pleasures.
It is evident, that a desire terminated in money is fantastical; fo is the desire of outward diftin&ions, which bring no delight of sense, nor recommend us as useful to mankind; and the desire of things merely because they are new or foreign. Men, who are indis. posed to a due exertion of their higher parts, are driven to such pursuits as these from the restlessness of the mind, and the fenfitive appetites being easily fatisfied. It is, in some fort, owing to the bounty of Providence, that disdaining a cheap and vulgar happiness, they frame to themselves imaginary goods, in which there is nothing can raise desire, but the difficulty of obtaining them. Thus men become the contrivers of their own misery, as a punishment on themselves for departing from the measures of nature. Having by an habitual reflection on these truths made them familias, the effect is, that I, among a number of persons who have debauched their natural talte, fee things in a peculiar light, which I have arrived at, not by any uncommon force of genius or acquired knowledge, but only by unlearning the false notions inftilled by custom and education.
The various objects that compose the world were by nature formed to delight our senles; and as it is this alone that makes them desirable to an uncorrupted taite, a man may be said naturally to possess them, when he poffeffeth those enioyments which they are fitted by nature to yield. Hence it is usual with me to consider myself as having a natural property in every object that administers pleasure to me.
When I am in the country, all the fine seats near the place of my residence, and to which I have access, I regard as mine. The ame I think of the groves and fields where I walk, and muse on the folly of the civil landlord in London, who has the fantastical pleasure of draining dry rent into his coffers, but is a stranger to fresh air and rural enjoyments. By these principles I am poffessed of half a dozen of the finest seats in England, which in the eye of the law belong to certain of my acquaintance, who being men of business choose to live near the court.
In some great families, where I choo e to pass my time, a stranger would be apt to rank ise with the ober domeftics; but in my own thoughts, and natu,
ral judgment, I am master of the house, and he who goes by that name is my steward, who eases me of the, care of providing for myself the conveniencies and pleasures of life.
When I walk the streets, I use the foregoing natural maxim, (viz. That he is the true poffeffor of a thing who enjoys it, and not he that owns it without the enjoyment of it) to convince myself that I have a property in the gay part of all the gilt chariots that I meet, which I regard as amusements designed to delight my eyes, and the imagination of those kind people who fit in them gaily attired only to please me. I have a real, and they only an imaginary pleasure from their exterior embellishments. Upon the same principle, I have discovered that I am the natural proprietor of all the diamond necklaces, the crosses stars, brocades, and embroidered clothes, which I see at a play or birth-night, as giving more natural delight to the spectator, than to those that wear them. And I look on the beaux and ladies as so many paraquets in an aviary, or tulips in a garden, designed purely for my diversion. A gallery of pictures, a cabinet or library that I have free access to, I think my own.
In a word, all that I defire is the use of things, let who will have the keeping of them. By which maxim I am grown one of the richest men in Great Britain ; with this difference, that I am not a prey to my own cares, or the envy of others.
The same principles I find, of great use in my private economy. As I cannot go to the price of history. painting, I have purchased at easy rates several beautifully designed pieces of landskip and perspective, which are much more pleasing to a natural taste than unknown faces or Dutch gambols, though done by the best mafters : my couches, beds, and window-curtains are of Irish-stuff, which those of that nation work very fine, and with a delightful mixture of colours. There is not a piece of china in my house; but I have glasses of all forts, and some tinged with the finest colours, which are not the less pleasing, because they are domeftic, and cheaper than foreign toys. Every thing
is neat, entire and clean, and fitted to the taste of one who had rather be happy than be thought rich.
Every day, numberless innocent and natural gratifications occur to me, while I behold my fellow creatures labouring in a toilsome and absurd pursuit of trifles; one, that he may be called by a particular appellation : another, that he may wear a particular ornament, which I regard as a bit of ribband that has an agreeable effect on my sight, but is so far from supplying the place of merit, where it is not, that it serves only to make the want of it more conspicuous. Fair weather is the joy of my soul; about noon I behold a blue sky with rapture, and receive great confolation from the sofy dalhes of light which adorn the clouds of the morning and evening. When I am loft among green trees, I do not envy a great man with a great croud at his levee. And I often lay aside thoughts of going to an opera, that I may enjoy the filent pleasure of walking by moon light, or viewing the stars sparkle in their azure ground; which I look upon as part of my possessions, not without a secret indignation at the tastelessnefs of mortal men, who, in their race through life, overlook the real enjoyments of it.
But the pleasure which naturally affects a human mind with the most lively and transporting touches, I take to be the sense that we act in the eye of infinite wisdom, power and goodness, that will crown our virtuous endeavours here, with a happiness hereafter, large as our desires, and lasting as our immortal fouls. This is a perpetual spring of gladness in the mind. This leffens our calamities, and doubles our joys. Witbout this the highest state of life is infipid, and with it the lowest is a paradise. What unnatural wretches then are those who can be so stupid as to imagine a merit, in endeavouring to rob virtue of her support, and a man of his present as well as future bliss? But as I have frequently taken occasion to animadvert on that species of mortals, fo I propose to rea peat my animadversions on them, 'till I fee fome fymptoms of amendment. .
The Observance of Sunday recommended. An Allegory.
(Rambler, No. 30.]
HERE are few tasks more ungrateful, than for
persons of modesty to speak their own praises, In some cases, however, this must be done for the general good, and a generous spirit will on such occafions assert its merit, and vindicate itself with becoming warmth.
My circumstances, fir, are very hard and peculiar. Could the world be brought to treat me as I deserve, it would be a publick benefit. This makes me apply to you, that my case being fairly stated in generally esteemed, 1 may suffer no longer from ignorant and childish prejudices.
My elder brother was a Jew. A very respectable person, but somewhat auftere in his manner : highly and deservedly valued by his near relations and intimates, but utterly unfit for mixing in a larger society, or gaining a general acquaintance among mankind. In a venerable old age he retired from the world, and I in the bloom of youth came into it, succeeding him in all his dignities, and formed, as I might reasonably Aatter myfelf, to be the object of universal love and esteem. Joy and gladness were born with me; chearfulness, good humour and benevolence always attended and endeared my infancy. That time is long past. So long that idle imaginations are apt to fancy me wrinkled, old, and disagreeable; but, unless my looking-glass deceives me, I have not yet loft one charm, one beauty of my
earliest years. However, thus far is too certain, I am to every body just what they chule to think me ; fo that to very few I appear in my right hape ; and though naturally I am the friend of human kind, to few, very few comparatively, am I useful or agreeable.
This is the more grievous, as it is utterly impoflible for me to avoid being in all sorts of places and companies; and I am therefore liable to meet with perpetual affronts and injuries. Though I have as natural an antipathy to cards and dice, as some people have