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though never so much against my will-I must grin, when my heart is ready to break, and talk, when my heart is so oppressed that I can scarce breathe. All my motions are watched, and all I do so observed, that if I eat less, or speak less, or look more grave, all is lost in the opinion of the world.” Washington frequently observed, towards the close of life, that he would not repass it, were it in his power to do so.
The happiness of a contented hod carrier, far surpasses that of the king or queen on a throne, or that of those in high stations in our own republican, but increasing aristocratic land. Public life is a bore. Our public men are bored constantly by a horde of boor borers. Happiness is not an inmate of the confused arena of public life. In peaceful retirement, amidst the domestic and social circle, she delights to take up her abode. With competence, she best associates, but smiles more propitiously on virtuous poverty, than on the pomp and show of wealth and high life.
But no earthly happiness is complete until religion throws its sacred halo around it.
Here is firm footing; here is solid rock!
Let those who are in full flight after eminence, remember they are not in pursuit of HAPPINESS, but are seeking EMINENCE ; don't mistake the name, by so doing, you might be put on the wrong track.
Envy, like the sun, does beat
Of all the ills that issued from the box of that ugly jade, Pandora, the production of Jupiter, envy inflicts the most misery upon the unfortunate subject over whom it reigns triumphant. Like Milton's fiend in Paradise, he sees, undelighted, all delight. The brightness of prosperity that surrounds others, pains the eyes of the envious man, more than the meridian rays of the sun.
It starts the involuntary tear, and casts a gloom over his mind. It brings into action, jealousy, revenge, falsehood, and the basest passions of the fallen nature of man. It goads him onward with a fearful impetus, like a locomotive; and often runs his car off the track, dashes it in pieces, and he is left, bruised and bleeding. Like the cuttle fish, he emits his black venom for the purpose of darkening the clear waters that surround his prosperous neighbors; and, like that phenomenon of the sea, the inky substance is confined to a narrow circumference, and only tends to hide himself. The success of those around him throws him into convulsions, and, like a man with the delirium tremens, he imagines all who approach him, demons, seeking to devour him. Like Haman, he often erects his own gallows in his zeal to hang others. His mind is like the troubled sea, casting up the mire of revenge, and the dirt of slander. His brain is enveloped in the fiery clouds of anger; his blood foams like alkali and acid combined; his heart is in constant commotion; his
ideas are multiform and perplexed. If in his power, he would bottle up the sunshine, rain, and dew of Heaven, to keep them from others. Uncharitable as it may be, he becomes an object of contempt, rather than pity. His disease is malum in se, and as difficult of cure as the leprosy, and quite as loathsome. The best remedy is religion; the surest, to have every body dead and he keep tavern. There is hope in the first; the patient would soon become weary of the last, and die of ennui.
Reader, if envy is rankling in your bosom, declare war against it at once; a war of extermination; no truce, no treaty, no compromise. Like the pirate on the high seas, it is an outlaw, an enemy to all mankind, and should be hung up at the yard arm, until it is dead, DEAD, DEAD.
It has been said this precept descended from Heaven-but, if we are close observers of mankind, and can realize how little we are acquainted with all that relates to ourselves, we may doubt whether it has reached the human family, and may yet be on its journey—or, at all events, has not yet commenced the successful discharge of its important mission to our planet. So keen is the vision of most men, when looking at those around them, that, with a beam in their own, they can see a mote in the eyes of their neighbors. Few there are, who know their own powers of intel
lect—the strength of their propensities for weal or wo —the good they can perform, or the evils they can perpetrate. At one period of life, a man may shudder at the relation of a vile act committed by his fellow man, and subsequently, go beyond him in the commission of crime-plainly showing, as did Peter, the Apostle, he did not know himself.
But few men analyze their own natures—and fewer, still, follow the lessons they learn in the school of self examination. We are prone to act from impulses not chastened by reason, and yield to circumstances, without tracing causes, or discerning effects. Too many there are, who tax all their powers to accomplish their ends, regardless of the means employed. This is the grand lever of the political demagogues and office seekers in our country, and is sometimes used in logrolling legislation. The principle is base in its conception, pernicious in its consequences. It is often predicated upon falsehood-always fraught with dishonor -and is never practised by the pure in heart.
If strangers to our own evil propensities, we are liable to be led captive at their will, and to be hurried on to the abyss of ruin—an end that no man aims at, when he spreads his sails to the breeze of time, and embarks on the ocean of life. Had he paused-become acquainted with himself, and weighed results—he might have seen the end, and avoided destruction. Charity for human nature, frail as it is, forbids the idea, that any man, at the commencement of his career upon the great theatre of life-intended to fill a drunkard's grave-spend a portion of his life in the penitentiary, or expiate his crimes upon the gallows.
In prosperity, many, who deservedly sustain a high
repatation for honesty, pure morality, and even of piety; and who are pained when they see a weak brother leave the paths of virtue, and are liberal in their censures upon him; when adversity overtakes them, they are left, as some say, to dissimulation-deceit, and sometimes, have their names enrolled on the calendar of crime-proving, by melancholy demonstration, that they did not know themselves. He that knows himself, knows others, and he alone is competent to speak and write of others.
Of all ignorance, that of ourselves is most lamentable. It engenders self conceit-makes us the dupes of knaves-enslaves us to the most cruel of all masters -our evil passions; renders us blind to our own interests-deprives us of happiness here, and endangers our future bliss. Many seem to be affected with a kind of delirium, like a person reduced to extreme weakness by disease-imagine they are strong, when they cannot sustain their own weight-hence, they are sure to fall when they attempt to go forward ; not being supported by their friends—reason, discretion, prudence, and virtue. If they knew themselves-realized their own weakness—the dangers of temptation—the proneness of human nature to turn from the highway that leads to pure happiness, and would make themselves acquainted with the inevitable results produced by familiar causes common sense, aside from Revelation, would warn them to avoid the quick-sands of error and the rocks of destruction, on which many a splendid craft has made shipwreck. Let all who desire a peaceful life and a happy end, obey the Heavenly precept KNOW THYSELF.