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2. The next Source of Impatience before mentioned is Sorrow : which sometimes is mere Sympathy with the Calamities of others. But this does not commonly rise to the Height of Impatience : much oftener we are impatient with the wretched through our Want of Sympathy. There are those however, who are made so uneasy by the Distresses which they see, that they will not bear the Uneafiness of attending to them enough to give them due Affistance. Now this excessive Tenderness is an unhappy Infirmity. It argues indeed somewhat of a right Disposition : but perverted to a quite different Purpose from what Nature meant. And we should moderate the passive Feeling, in order to exert the requisite active Goodness ; nor would this, on Trial, be found
difficult. But our Grief is usually for Things happening, which we apprehend to be Evils to ourselves : and they may be of various Sorts. The more considerable are, Unkindness or Loss of Friends, Diminutions of Fortune, Disappointments in worldly Views, Imputations on our Characters, Consciousness of imprudent or sinful Behaviour. All these
All these may be needlessly aggravated by the voluntary Workings
of our own Minds; and so far belong to the Head of Discontent : but much of the Con: cern, which they give, is unavoidable, and relates to the present Subject.
Unkindness, where we had peculiar Reason to expect the contrary, is one of the bitterest Afflictions of Life. We should labour to prevent it, by chusing the Objects both of our Love and Efteem with great Caution; and restrain our Affection towards them within due Bounds ; instead of letting it run, or perhaps forcing it, into romantic Extremes, which must end in something wrong; and we should most attentively endeavour to give no Cause of Dislike and Alienation. When it happens notwithstanding, that our most reasonable Hopes are frustrated ; Change of Opinion concerning the blameable Party must naturally, if we are considerate, produce in us Change of Regard. And we must comfort ourselves, that the Fault is not on our Side ; take Care to continue still equally unreproachable ; apply our Thoughts to the Duties of such other connections and Ties, as remain upon us after this is weakened or dissolved; raise our Hearts more to him, who always makes a gracious Return; and then no Ingratitude or Infidelity,
which we can experience on Earth, will be able to overwhelm us.
Concern for the Loss of our Friends by Death, in itself a sore Trial, is aggravated sometimes by a confufed Imagination, as if Death were a Misfortune to them :, whereas, if they were good and virtuous, it is in Truth the greatest possible Gain. It can therefore be only ourselves, that we bemoan with Justice : and the Damage to us may be very confiderable : for which Reason we should be sollicitous, both to make all the Improvement by our Friends, and shew all the Kindness to them, that we can, whilst we have them ; left we should regret our Negligence, when it is too late. But, though the common Fault is under-rating the Value of those, who are near and ought to be dear to us, yet present Grief on losing them may possibly overdo it; and we may find ourselves able to go on without them far more tolerably, than we imagined. Necessity will put us on exerting our Powers : we shall seek for other Helps and other Comforts ; and, in some Degree at least, we shall find them. Or, fuppofing the Accident to be as grievous, and as irreparable, as we appreVOL. V.
hend it ; yet this Consolation is left, that the painful Feeling of it will greatly diminish, however impossible we may at the Time conceive that to be. Indeed some appear unwilling that this should happen ; and account it a Duty to afflict themselves as much and as long as they can : whilst others go on to do it, though they profess to believe it a great Sin. But, in Reality, moderate Concern, for a moderate Season, is the useful Dictate of Nature: and immoderate Concern is pardonable Weakness; only it ought not to be wilfully indulged, wrought up to a great Height and lengthened. Even if we affect to do these Things, God has mercifully provided, in the unchangeable Frame of our Nature, that they shall have an End: and we should, instead of absurdly refifting him,co-operate with him by prudentReflection: not aim at Insensibility; but only at fuch a rational Degree of Disengagement, as fuits our Condition ; thus preparing by due Behaviour under one Stroke, to bear others which are to be expected. Persons on a Journey quit many Things, one after another, that are very agreeable to them ; regret them all, but go
forward however with composed Minds. Now we are Travellers through Life; our Friends are so
too : our appointed Stages are different; and we must learn to part.
Another Cause of Sorrow, Loss of worldly Substance, if it be so great as to bring on absolute painful Want, hath been already considered : and if it doth no more than lower us in Comparison with others, will be considered hereafter. But a few Things may be observed here. We commonly urge it, as a great Aggravation of our Grief, if we not only are destitute of the Conveniences, which wealthier Per. fons enjoy, but have had them and known them, and been deprived of them. Now surely, on the Whole, our Condition is better for this, than if we had never had them, unless we make it worse by repining. Besides, when we had them, did they make us extremely happy? In all Likelihood far from it. And why then should foregoing them make us extremely miserable ? Or how happy foever we were before, why should we not now be as easy as we can? Why indeed should we not provide for such Accidents, by living in the Midst of Plenty, as if we had less of it, and doing Good with the Remainder ? This would be the best Use of it, were we ever so sure of keeping the Whole ; but hath á fingular Advantage, if we