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ded to vicious propensities of nature, a cure will be doubly difficult, and next to hopeless.
Great care should be taken, not only that children be not led into temptation to this pernicious evil, but, also, that they be early and constantly guarded against it by all prudent means, and be made to get the habit of honestly speaking the truth on every occasion. Be not overmuch prying and severe, in regard to the mere frailties common to childhood. Many things you must overlook, or not seem to observe, unless you
would render your government over your children both odious and contemptiblé by your perpetual chiding. Never deceive your children in word or deed. Never fail to reprove them seriously for any, and every, act of false, hood, or equivocation, that you find them guilty of however much your vanity may be flattered with the cunning and dexterity of the little deceivers. Whenever they frankly own a fault, whilst you blame them for the fault, forget not to commend them for speaking the truth about it. ?
of habitual discontent, arising from imaginary wants,
rather than real ones.
The following short apologue of Sadi, an Asiatic sage, is full of valuable instruction :~"I never complained of my wretched forlorn condition, but on one oc. casion, when my feet were naked, and I had not wherewithal to shoe them. Soon after, meeting a man with out feet, I was thankful for the bounty of Providence to myself, and with perfect resignation submitted to my want of shoes."
The true secret of living happily lies in the philos. ophy of contentment, which is of more value than the imagined stone of the alchymist, which turns every thing to gold. It is to be lamented, however, that, in this age
of boasted light and improvement, the philosophy of contentment is very little studied or regarded. From various corrupted sources we have learned, not to be content, but dissatisfied, with the ordinary conditions of life. And though neither shoeless, nor destitute of any essential article of raiment or food, we are ready to consume our hearts with vexation because we are not seated at the upper end of fortune's table. The semblance of happiness is more sought after than the reality; the mere phantom of it, rather than the substance. The simple plainness of former days is despised. Plain apparel, plain fare, and plain houses and furniture, such as our worthy progenitors were quite contented with and very thankful for, our fastidious delicacy regards with scorn, and we must needs be fine, and fashionable, else pine our lives away in grief and shame.
Nor would it be either so alarming, or so lamentable, were this the folly of only a few. But the worst of it is, it has spread, like an epidemic, over the whole land, and throughout almost every class of society. Tens, and even hundreds of thousands, embracing both sexes alike, are the miserable victims of a morbid sensibility, and squeamishly dash from their lips the cup of ordinary comfort which they are presented with, because it is not filled to the brim, or because it is not spiced and sweetened exactly to their taste.
And where lies the remedy? It is not within the art of the apothecary, nor in the power of any nostrums of partial and limited effect. No, the people must be wise for themselves. The great body of the people,
coming once more to their sober senses, must
to return to the plain, frugal, uncostly habits of other times; and must strive, with general accord, to bring those long-discarded habits into fashion again, and to render them honourable by the suffrage of public opinion.
As the want of contentment is one of the most grievous wants that affect human life, it ought to be provided against with the utmost care, and particularly in the following ways.
1. In training up children, scarcely any thing is of greater importance than guarding them against the intrusion of too many artificial wants. I say
many, because some wants of this sort do naturally and necessarily grow out of civilization, and it is their excess only that tends to discontent and wretchedness. Of that excess the danger is great, inasmuch as the effects are always deplorable. What multitudes, at this very instant, are discontented and wretched, who might enjoy life comfortably had they been early taught to conform their desires to their conditions, and to act upon the principles of sober and rational economy. Nor is it of small importance in training up children, to accustom them to useful employ. A useless life is seldom found to be a contented one. Occupation is so necessary to human quiet, that to bring up children in idleness is the way
to make them a burden to themselves as well as community.
From this twofold cause, the excess of artificial wants and the neglect of forming habits of useful industry in the early period of life, there has sprung perhaps a full half of the discontent that secretly preys upon so many bosoms. In short, important as it is to teach children reading and writing and the use of figures, it is of still greater importance to regulate their tempers, to curs
their wayward desires, and to fix them in habits of industry, temperance and frugality; without which, the acquisition of learning could be but of little benefit to them.
2. The self-discipline of adult age, is an essential requisite toward leading and enjoying a contented life. A well discisplined mind studies to be content, and most commonly is so. It attains its desires by moderating and limiting them, and thus bringing them within the compass of its means. It accustoms itself to view, without envy, the wealth and grandeur which fall not to its lot, and which seldom render their possessors the more happy; and to be satisfied with, and thankful for, the mere necessary and common accommodations of the journey of life. In short, it depends much less upon our circumstances, whether we shall be happy or miserable in life, than on our tempers, and our view of things. Many enjoy themselves well in narrow circumstances, because they bring their minds to their situations. But when to narrow circumstances are added large desires and magnificent notions, it is then, and then only is it, that unhappiness results from the want of a fortune.
of several of the predisposing causes of unhappy mar
It is a common saying in the world, that there are but few happy marriages ; and doubly deplorable would be the condition of mankind, were it wholly true. It is
true, however, only in a qualified or limited sense:
• What! is marriage, in itself considered, a source of wretchedness rather than of weal ? Do they that marry, change their condition generally for the worse ? Are the married, for the most part, less happy than the unmarried So it is not ; nor will any assert it but the profane and licentious, or the inconsiderate. Yet, after all, but few marriages are exceeding happy. And why ? It is not for lack of excellence in the institution, nor because the connubial state is not in itself conducive to human comfort and weal. Elsewhere lie the reasons ; of which some will be included in the following particulars.
1. It often happens that too much is expected beforehand. In none of the conditions or relations of this life, is unalloyed happiness the lot of man ; and, by consequence, those who indulge the unreasonable expectation of finding it in the connubial state must inevitably drink of the bitter cup of disappointment.
2. Since the fall, the intercourse of connubial life is never (such as it primitively was) between persons of perfect innocence and virtue ; but it is, in all cases, betwixt those who are frail, infirm of mind, and more or less defective in heart. Now it is for want of duly considering this matter before their marriage, that a great many couples are unreasonably vexed at the infirmities, failings, and petty faults, which they perceive in each other afterwards ; charging upon wedlock the disappointment that originated in the illusions of their own fancies.
3. As in other contracts, so in that of marriage, the parties too often deal unfairly with one another, by artfully concealing their personal defects, and affecting qualities of which they are devoid.
That ornament of human nature, as well as of the society of Friends to which he belonged, namely, Dr.