I would have my Readers endeavour to moralize this natural Pleasure of the Soul, and to improve this vernal Delight, as Milton calls it, into a Christian Virtue. When we find our selves inspired with this pleasing Instinct, this secret Satisfaction and Complacency arising from the Beauties of the Creation, let us consider to whom we stand indebted for all these Entertainments of Sense, and who it is that thus opens his Hand and fills the World with Good. The Apostle instructs us to take advantage of our present Temper of Mind, to graft upon it such a religious Exercise as is particularly conformable to it, by that Precept which advises those who are sad to pray, and those who are merry to sing Psalms. The Chearfulness of Heart which springs up in us from the Survey of Nature’s Works, is an admirable Preparation for Gratitude. The Mind has gone a great way towards Praise and Thanksgiving, that is filled with such a secret Gladness: A grateful Reflection on the supreme Cause who produces it, sanctifies it in the Soul, and gives it its proper Value. Such an habitual Disposition of Mind consecrates every Field and Wood, turns an ordinary Walk into a morning or evening Sacrifice, and will improve those transient Gleams of Joy, which naturally brighten up and refresh the Soul on such Occasions, into an inviolable and perpetual State of Bliss and Happiness.
[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, Bk iv. ll. 148-156.]
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No. 394. Monday, June 2, 1712. Steele.
’Bene colligitur haec Pueris et
Mulierculis et Servis et Servorum
simillimis Liberis esse grata. Gravi vero homini et ea quae fiunt
Judicio certo ponderanti probari posse nullo modo.’
I have been considering the little and frivolous things which give Men Accesses to one another, and Power with each other, not only in the common and indifferent Accidents of Life, but also in Matters of greater importance. You see in Elections for Members to sit in Parliament, how far saluting Rows of old Women, drinking with Clowns, and being upon a level with the lowest Part of Mankind in that wherein they themselves are lowest, their Diversions, will carry a Candidate. A Capacity for prostituting a Man’s Self in his Behaviour, and descending to the present Humour of the Vulgar, is perhaps as good an Ingredient as any other for making a considerable Figure in the World; and if a Man has nothing else, or better, to think of, he could not make his way to Wealth and Distinction by properer Methods, than studying the particular Bent or Inclination of People with whom he converses, and working from the Observation of such their Biass in all Matters wherein he has any Intercourse with them: For his Ease and Comfort he may assure himself, he need not be at the Expence of any great Talent or Virtue to please even those