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not prove to be what we fully imagined we Should.

Still, at least, you will say, what you wish for would make you very happy : and therefore you regret the Want of it.

But regret it as little as possible, and be as happy as you can without it. Perhaps you would be scarcely, perhaps not at all, happier than you are. Multitudes find this to be trųe every Day: they obtain what they desire ; and very soon after, if not instantly, perceive that their Condition is never the better for it. But they are thought happy, you will say, and admired or envied : and that alone is a desirable Thing. Now surely it is very poor Comfort, indeed 'it is rather an Aggravation of Sorrow, when we feel our Condition wretched or insipid, to have it thought joyful and desirable ; to be congratulated on our Situation, when we know it is a Subject of Condoleance; and so to have Pity from none, but the ill Will of

many, load us with more Uneasiness, when we inwardly groan under too much already. The wise King faith; Wrath is cruel, and Anger is outrageous : but who can stand before Envy ? Our Desire of producing it in others is imProv. xxvii. 4:

moral;

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But whatever may happen to others, you think

you should enjoy all the Benefits of these Pre-eminences, and avoid all the Evils incident to them. But why do you think so ? You are just of the same Make with the rest of Mankind, and liable to all their Frailties. Your Confidence in yourself is a Mark, not of Ability, but of Weakness and Ignorance in a Point of the greatest Consequence. If you were but humbler, you would be much safer : and one material Source of Safety would be Content. For Discontent brings People into Mischiefs innumerable. It is a painful State in itself : preys upon the Spirits, deadens the Sense of every Enjoyment in Life, fours the Temper, and produces great Wickedness, as well as Misery.

Displeasure with their own Condition tempts many to aim at bettering it unlawfully, by Force or Fraud ; and dreadful must the Uneasiness be, which can drive them to a Method of Relief, so evidently criminal. For however some may pretend they cannot see what Right others have to enjoy so much more of the World than themselves; yet let but any one, who hath less Enjoyment of it, apply this Reasoning to them, and act upon it, then

they

they can perceive exceeding plainly, that his Dislike of his own Circumstances in

any

Respect, is no Manner of Reason, or Excuse, for his using other than honest Means to mend them. For why should their Property, their Character, their Quiet, suffer, because he is uneasy? And yet, what dreadful Havock is there often made of all these from no better a Motive ! The Kings and Princes of the Earth ravage Nations, murder and distress Millions the powerful and wealthy, of lower Degree, oppress and injure their Fellow-creatures in more Ways, than can be reckoned up, merely to obtain Advantages, perhaps to which they have no Title, certainly which they of all Men least need, 'solely because they cannot rest without them; though at the fame Time they have no Satisfaction, worth naming, from them. And in lower Life, what Numbers are there, who disturb their Neighbours, to a great Extent sometimes, and put Things in a Ferment all around them, only to cafry fome Point, which possibly they ought not to carry, or which is of little Use to them ; nay, it may be, only to grieve some innocent Object of their Resentment, or to find any EmployVol. V,

Р

ment,

moral; for it is a Desire of giving them Pain : and the Imprudence fully equals the Guilt. For all Pre-eminences, especially when accompanied with Ostentation of them, or too visible Complacence in them, to which all who have them are extremely subject, ftir up Malignity in the Observers of them: who often find Means to make those very miserable, whom they would have let alone, and suffered to go on quietly, if they had not been provoked by thinking them over-happy.

But supposing the Advantages, which you pine for, whatever they be, would raise no Malice against you, but only Admiration of you : how often hath that, nay even the Shadow of it, mere Flattery, made Persons vain and indiscreet, milled them into great Errors, and plunged them into grievous Misery !

Indeed, without either, all Sorts of Superiority carry their Dangers along with them. If you were placed in a higher Station, perhaps you would be at a Loss how to behave in it; for there are many Difficulties in all such ; you would be found by others, you would find yourself, in one Respect or another, unequal to it: or if not, it might tempt you to Pride and Abuse of Power. If

you were

possessed

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possessed of great Wealth, it might lead you, for it hath led many, either to endless Defires of still more; or to Expensiveness and thoughtless Extravagance, that would end in Distress ; or to Sensuality and vicious Indulgences, or to contemptible Indolence and Uselessness. Accomplishments of Person expose the Poffeffors of them to immoderate Self-esteem, to Neglect of useful Attainments, to Dissipation of their Time, often in the unfittest Company, to improper Freedoms, to great Hazards of their Reputation and their Innocence. Health and Strength encourage Men to venture upon Irregularities, that prove ruinous to both, and to their Fortunes at the same Time; whilst they, whom Infirmity obliges to be careful, prolong their Days in Comfort. Strength of Genius, and Extent of Knowledge, often bewilder Persons in fruitless Researches, or prompt them to dangerous and hurtful Singularities of Opinion : Quickness of Parts, and Agreeableness in Conversation, frequently betray them into grievous Imprudences of various kinds, contrary to their own Interest, to the Peace of those around them, to Piety, Morals, and common Decency,

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