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But fince he has not done it, I fhall attempt to write one myself in the fpirit of that divine author.
There were two families which, from the beginning of the world, were as oppofite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, the other in hell. The youngest defcendent of the firft family was Pleafure, who was the daughter of Happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the gods. Thefe, as I faid before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the oppofite family was Pain, who was the Son of Mifery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the furies. The habitation of this race of beings was in hell.
The middle ftation of nature between these two oppofite extremes was the earth, which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind, neither fo virtuous as the one, nor fo vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualities of these two oppofite families. Jupiter confidering that this fpecies, commonly called man, was too virtuous to be miferable, and too vicious to be happy; that he might make a diftinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the above-mentioned families, Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, and Pain, who was the fon of Mifery, to meet one another upon this part of nature which lay in the half-way between them, having promised to fettle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the divifion of it, fo as to share mankind between them.
Pleafure and Pain were no fooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleafure fhould take poffeffion of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part of that species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them had a right to him; for that, contrary to what they bad feen, in their old places of refidence, there was no perfon jo vicious who had not fome good in him, nor any perfon fo virtuous who had not in him fome evil. The truth of it is, they generally found upon fearch, that in the most vicious man Pleasure might lay claim to an hundredth part, and that in the most virtuous man Pain might come G 2
in for at least two thirds. This they faw would occafion endlefs difputes between them, unless they could come to Some accommodation. To this end there was a marriage propofed between them, and at length concluded: by this means it is that we find Pleasure and Pain are fuch confrant yoke-fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far afunder. If Pain comes into a heart, he is quickly followed by Pleasure; and if Pleasure enter, you may be fure Pain is not far off.
But notwithstanding this marriage was very con-venient for the tavo parties, it did not seem to answer the intention of Jupiter in fending them among mankind. To remedy therefore this inconvenience, it was ftipulated between them by article, and confirmed by the confent of each family, that notwithstanding they bere poffeffed the Species indifferently; upon the death of every single perfon, if he was found to have in him a certain proportion of evil, he fhould be dispatched into the infernal regions by a paffport from Pain, there to dwell with mifery, vice, and the furies: Or on the contrary, if he had in him a certain proportion of good, he should be difpatched into heaven by a pasport from Pleasure, there to dwell with happiness, virtue, and the gods.
The Purfuit of Knowledge recommended to Youth.
AM very much concerned when I fee young gentlemen of fortune and quality fo wholly fet upon pleafures and diverfions, that they neglect all thofe improvements in wisdom and knowledge which may make them eafy to themselves and ufeful to the world. The greateft part of our British youth lofe their figure and grow out of fashion by that time they are five and twenty. As foon as the natural gaiety and amiableness of the young man wears off, they have nothing left to recommend them, but lie by the rest of their lives among the lumber and refuse of the fpecies. It fometimes happens indeed, that for want of applying themselves in due
due time to the purfuits of knowledge, they take up a book in their declining years, and grow very hopeful scholars by that time they are threefcore. I must therefore earnestly prefs my readers, who are in the flower of their youth, to labour at thofe accomplishments which may fet off their persons when their bloom is gone, and to lay in timely provifions for manhood and old age. In fhort, I would advise the youth of fifteen to be dreffing up every day the man of fifty, or to confider how to make himself venerable at threefcore.
Young men, who are naturally ambitious, would do well to obferve how the greateft men of antiquity made it their ambition to excel all their contemporaries in knowledge. Julius Cæfar and Alexander, the moft celebrated inftances of human greatnefs, took a particular care to distinguish themselves by their skill in the arts and fciences. We have ftill extant feveral remains of the former, which juftify the character given of him by the learned men of his own age. As for the latter, it is a known faying of his, that he was more obliged to Aristotle who had inftructed him, than to Philip who had given him life and empire. There is a letter of his recorded by Plutarch and Aulus Gellius, which he wrote to Ariftotle upon hearing that he had published thofe lectures he had given him in private. This letter was written in the following words at a time when he was in the heighth of his Perfian conquefts.
ALEXANDER to ARISTOTLE, greeting,
OU have not done well to publish your books of felect knowledge; for what is there now in which I can furpafs others, if those things which I have been inftructed in are communicated to every body? For my own part 1 declare to you, I would ⚫ rather excel others in knowledge than power.
We fee by this letter, that the love of conqueft was but the fecond ambition in Alexander's foul.` Knowledge is indeed that which, next to virtue, truly and G 3 effentially
effentially raifes one man above another. It finishes one half of the human foul. It makes being pleasant to us, fills the mind with entertaining views, and adminifters to it a perpetual feries of gratifications. It gives eafe to folitude, and gracefulness to retirement. It fills a publick station with fuitable abilities, and adds a luftre to thofe who are in poffeffion of them.
Learning, by which I mean all ufeful knowledge, whether fpeculative or practical, is in popular and mixt governments the natural fource of wealth and honour. If we look into most of the reigns from the conqueft, we fhall find that the favourites of each reign have been thofe who have raifed themselves. The greatest men are generally the growth of that particular age in which they flourish. A fuperior capacity for business, and a more extenfive knowledge, are the fteps by which a new man often mounts to favour, and outfhines the rest of his contemporaries. But when men are actually born to titles, it is almoft impoffible that they fhould fail of receiving an additional greatnefs, if they take care to accomplish themselves for it.
The ftory of Solomon's choice does not only inftruct us in that point of hiftory, but furnishes out a very fine moral to us, namely, that he who applies his heart to wifdom, does at the fame time take the most proper method for gaining long life, riches and reputation, which are very often not only the rewards but the effects of wisdom.
As it is very fuitable to my prefent fubject, I fhall first of all quote this paffage in the words of facred writ, and afterwards mention an allegory, in which this whole paffage is represented by a famous French poet: not queftioning but it will be very pleafing to fuch of my readers as have a taste of fine writing.
"In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a "dream by night: and God faid, Afk what I fhall give "thee. And Solomon faid, Thou haft fhewed unto
thy fervant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth and in righteoufnefs, and in uprightnefs of heart with thee, and thou "haft kept for him this great kindness, that thou haft
given him a fon to fit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou haft made thy fer vant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. Give therefore thy fervant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may difcern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy fo great a people? And the fpeech pleafed the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God faid unto him, Because thou haft asked this thing, and haft not asked for thy felf long life, neither haft afked riches for thyfelf, nor haft asked the life of thine enemies, ◄◄ but haft asked for thy felf, understanding to difcern judgment: Behold I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wife and understanding heart, fo that there was none like thee before "thee, neither after thee fhall any arise like unto thee. "And I have also given thee that which thou hast not "asked, both riches and honour, so that there shall not "be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. "And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my fta"tutes and my commandments, as thy father David "did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a Dream.".
The French poet has fhadowed this story in an allegory, of which he seems to have taken the hint from the fable of the three goddeffes appearing to Paris, or rather from the vifion of Hercules, recorded by Xenophon, where Pleasure and Virtue are reprefented as real perfons making their court to the hero with all their feveral charms and allurements. Health, Wealth, Victory and Honour are introduced fucceffively in their proper emblems and characters, each of them fpreading her temptations, and recommending herfelf to the young monarch's choice. Wisdom enters the last, and fo captivates him with her appearance, that he gives himself up to her. Upon which the informs him, that those who appeared before her were nothing else but her equipage, and that fince he had placed his heart upon Wisdom, Health, Wealth, Victory and Honour should always wait on her as her handmaids.