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he will do well to husband it with a little frugal humility: The last thing he must do, (and if he does nothing else I should hope it would be sufficient) is to take down his Bible from the shelf, and look out for the parable of the Pharisee and Publican; it is a short story and soon read, but the moral is so much to his purpose, that he may depend upon it, if that does not correct his pride, his pride is incorrigible, and all the Observers in the world will be but waste paper in his service.
Μακάριος ὅστις ουσίαν καὶ νοῦν ἔχει
Abundance is a blessing to the wise;
Learn this, ye men of wealth-a heavy purse
THERE are so many striking advantages in the possession of wealth, that the inheritance of a great estate, devolving upon a man in the vigour of mind and body, appears to the eye of speculation as a lot of singular felicity.
There are some countries, where no subject can properly be said to be independent; but in a constitution so happily tempered as our's, that blessing seems peculiarly annexed to affluence. The English landed gentleman, who can set his foot upon his own soil, and say to all the world-This is my
freehold; the law defends my right: Touch it who dare!
is surely as independent as any man within the rules of society can be, so long as he encumbers himself by no exceedings of expence beyond the compass of his income: If a great estate therefore gives a man independence, it gives him that, which all, who do not possess it, seem to sigh for.
When I consider the numberless indulgencies, which are the concomitants of great fortune, and the facility it affords to the gratification of every generous passion, I am mortified to find how few, who are possessed of these advantages, avail themselves of their situation to any worthy purposes: That happy temper, which can preserve a medium between dissipation and avarice, is not often to be found, and where I meet one man, who can laudably acquit himself under the test of prosperity, I could instance numbers, who deport themselves with honour under the visitation of adversity. Man must be in a certain degree the artificer of his own happiness; the tools and materials may be put into his hands by the bounty of Providence, but the workmanship must be his own.
I lately took a journey into a distant county, upon a visit to a gentleman of fortune, whom I shall call Attalus. I had never seen him since his accession to a very considerable estate; and as I have met with few acquaintance in life of more pleasant qualities, or a more social temper than Attalus, before this great property unexpectedly devolved upon him, I flattered myself that fortune had in this instance bestowed her favours upon one who deserved them; and that I should find in Attalus's society the pleasing gratification of seeing all those maxims, which I had hitherto revolved in my mind as matter of speculation only, now brought forth into
actual practice; for amongst all my observations upon human affairs, few have given me greater and more frequent disappointment, than the almost general abuse of riches. Those rules of liberal œconomy, which would make wealth a blessing to its owner and to all he were connected with, seem so obvious to me, who have no other interest in the subject than what meditation affords, that I am apt to wonder how men can make such false estimates of the true enjoyments of life, and wander out of the way of happiness, to which the heart and understanding seem to point the road too plainly to admit of a mistake.
With these sanguine expectations I pursued my journey towards the magnificent seat of Attalus, and in my approach it was with pleasure I remarked the beauty of the country about it; I recollected how much he used to be devoted to rural exercises, and I found him situated in the very spot most favorable to his beloved amusements; the soil was clean, the hills easy, and the downs were chequered with thick copses, that seemed the finest nurseries in nature for a sportsman's game: When I entered upon his ornamented demesne, nothing could be more enchanting than the scenery; the ground was finely shaped into hill and vale; the horizon every where bold and romantic, and the hand of art had evidently improved the workmanship of nature with consummate taste; upon the broken declivity stately groves of beech were happily disposed; the lawn was of the finest verdure gently sloping from the house; a rapid river of the purest transparency ran through it, and fell over a rocky channel into a noble lake within view of the mansion; behind this upon the northern and eastern flanks I could discern the tops of very stately trees, that sheltered a
spacious enclosure of pleasure-ground and gardens, with all the delicious accompaniments of hot-houses and conservatories.
It was a scene to seize the imagination with rapture; a poet's language would have run spontaneously into metre at the sight of it: What a subject,' said I within myself, is here present for those ingenious bards, who have the happy talent of describing nature in her fairest forms! Oh! that I could plant the delightful author of The Task in this very spot! perhaps whilst his eye-in a fine phrensy rolling-glanced over this enchanting prospect, he might burst forth into the following, or something like the following, rhapsody-'
Blest above men, if he perceives and feels
Where can the world display a fairer scene?
Where at the summons of the surly drum
Nought but the gleam of arms, now here, now there
Over the meagre earth; for there no youth,
For a precarious meal, poor at the best.
Oh, Albion! oh, blest isle, on whose white cliffs Peace builds her halcyon nest, thou, who embrac'd By the uxorious ocean sit'st secure,
Smiling and gay and crown'd with every wreath,
Mark! how the sturdy peasant breasts the storm,