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ture, are Things, every one of them defigned and fitted to give us Pleasure, if we would but be fo kind to ourfelves as to take it. Consciousness, that through the Grace of God's holy Spirit we mean, and on the Whole behave well, Perfuafion that, through the Merits of his bleffed Son, we are interested in his Favour, Hopes that his fatherly Providence will watch over us here, and his Goodness make us perfectly happy hereafter, these are Bleffings of a higher Order, which we all may have; and as no one ought to be, or with Reason can be, content without them, fo every one furely may well be content with them; and think himself enough diftinguished by fuch Mercies, let him have ever fo few Advantages befides. And we should accustom ourfelves to look, more than we do, on the bright Side of our Condition; not in order to grow vain and contemptuous upon it, which is the common Ufe that is made of contemplating it, but to enjoy it with humble Complacency. We should place a just Value on all our greater Comforts: and fetch out of the very least as much as they will afford us. Applying our Minds to become easy and satisfied is evidently right: but why fhould
we reafon ourselves into being miferable, and refolve not to be the better for any Thing, because we have not this or that ?
Perhaps indeed you will allow, that grieving merely because you are not poffeffed of Things, that are plainly above you, is very blameable; and will alledge, that you are not guilty of it; that you are willing to be inferior both to what you might have been, and to what many others are. But ftill you will plead, that fuch and fuch have no Title to Pre-eminence over you, or even Equality with you: yet they have obtained it, and that you cannot bear. Now confider; these very Perfons, who give you Diffatisfaction and Envy, if you knew all, you might see Cause to pity. You know not how little Delight they may have in all their feeming Advantages; or what Sufferings they may on one Account or another undergo; nay, how dearly they may pay for what you imagine to be a principal Part of their Felicity. For usually there are great Deductions to be made from all Appearances of Prosperity amongst Men; and often they, whofe outward Shew is moft admired, are the moft wretched within. Indeed, though doubtless there are many, with whom you would
wish to change fome Things, there are few, if any, with whom you would consent to an intire Change; and take their Perfon, their Age, their Health, their Temper, their Situation, their Employment, their Connections, their Vexations, their Hazards, their Circumstances of all Kinds, for yours. And if you scarce know, with whose Condition, upon the Whole, you would be better pleased; why are you not pleased with your own? For furely, it would be too unreasonable to defire, that you should pick and chufe from each only what you like, and unite it all in yourself.
But further, your Condition is just what it is, let that of others be what it will fuppofing they enjoy more, or fuffer lefs, than you; ftill your Enjoyments and Sufferings are just the same, as if this were quite the Reverfe. And why do you fet yourself to think the contrary, and difquiet yourself with a false Imagination? There will, and there must be Inequalities in the World. Nothing can prevent it, but continual Miracles: and if it were prevented and we were all on a Level, we should probably, on the Whole, have great Cause to be forry. Think then: why is it harder,
harder, that you fhould be inferior to others, than that they should be inferior to you? Would your State be ever the better, if theirs were made worfe? Would you wish theirs to be worse, that you might have Comfort in the Comparison? If you would, yours is already much better than you deserve. Impatience and exceffive Agitation, under great Pain, Sorrow, Fear, Provocation, is at fome Times, and in fome Degree, hardly poffible to be avoided, and therefore excufable. But the Discontent of those, who have no fuch Evils to complain of, is of their own Choice: they might be eafy if they would. And refolving not to be fo, because they imagine others are more fo than they, is not only Unreasonableness, but Ill-will and Malice. The Torment, which they feel, is a guilty one: it punishes them justly here; and they will be liable, for indulging fo unchristian, fo inhuman, a Temper, inftead of rejoicing with them that rejoice, to far feverer Punishments hereafter.
But you will fay perhaps, that your Inferiority in this or that Particular makes you defpifed: and who can hear Contempt? But indeed fcarce any one is defpifed for being
a Rom. xii. 15.
what he is, and cannot help being, but only for affecting to be what he should not or cannot be. The lowest in all Refpects may be ufeful; and if they behave properly, will be valued according to their Usefulness. At least they can never deferve Contempt: and the Consciousness that they do not, will enable them to flight and overlook the little they may meet with and indeed often to defpife those who defpife them. For worldly Advantages only ferve to leffen the Efteem of such as use them ill: and fome of the greateft, and, in their own and the vulgar Opinion, the most accomplished, are often the fartheft of all People from being truly refpectable.
But probably you will plead further, that the Perfons, who excite your Diffatisfaction, are vicious, or at least unworthy of their Preeminences: and they will do Harm with them, or however little or no Good. Now in all Likelihood you think them worse, or lefs worthy than they are: they may have good Qualities with their Faults, though you are unwilling to see them; and you certainly have Faults with your good Qualities, though you are defirous to overlook them: and how much better