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In the midft of the current of life was the gulph of INTEMPERANCE, a dreadful whirlpool, interfperfed with rocks, of which the pointed crags were concealed • under water, and the tops covered with herbage, on which EASE fpread couches of repose, and with fhades where PLEASURE warbled the fong of invitation. Within fight of these rocks all who failed on the ocean of life muft neceffarily pafs. REASON, indeed, was always at hand to fteer the paffengers through a narrow out-let by which they might efcape; but very few could by her intreaties or remonftrances, be induced to put the rudder into her hand, without ftipulating that the fhould approach fo near unto the rocks of PLEASURE, ~ that they might folace themfelves with a fhort enjoyment of that delicious region, after which they always determined to pursue their course without any other deviation.

REASON was too often prevailed upon fo far by these promifes, as to venture her charge within the eddy of the gulph of INTEMPERANCE, where, indeed, the circumvolution was weak, but yet interrupted the courfe of the veffel, and drew it, by infenfible rotations, towards the centre. She then repented her temerity, and with all her force endeavoured to retreat; but the draught of the gulph was generally too ftrong to be over-come; and the paffenger having danced in circles with. a pleafing and giddy velocity, was at laft overwhelmed and loft. Thofe few whom REASON was able to extricate, generally fuffered fo many fhocks upon the points which thot out from the rocks of PLEASURE, that they were unable to continue their courfe with the fameftrength and facility as before, but floated along timoroufly and feebly, endangered by every breeze, and fhattered by every ruffle of the water, till they funk, 、 by flow degrees, after long ftruggles, and innumerable expedients, always repining at their own folly, and warning others against the first approach to the gulph-of INTEMPERANCE.

There were artists who profeffed to repair the breaches and stop the leaks of the veffels which had been shattered on the rocks of PLEASURE.

Many appeared!

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to have great confidence in their skill, and fome, indeed, were preferved by it from finking, who had received only a fingle blow; but I remarked that few veffels lafted long which had been much repaired, nor was it found that the artists themselves continued afloat longer than those who had least of their affistance.

The only advantage, which, in the voyage of life, the cautious had above the negligent, was, that they funk later, and more fuddenly; for they paffed forward till they had fometimes feen all thofe in whose - company they had iffued from the ftreights of infancy, perih in the way, and at laft were overset by a crofs breeze, without the toil of refiftance, or the anguish of expectation. But fuch as had often fallen against the rocks of PLEASURE, commonly fubfided by fenfible degrees, contended long with the encroaching waters, and harraffed themselves by labours that scarce HOPE herself could flatter with fuccefs.

As I was looking upon the various fate of the multitude about me, I was fuddenly alarmed with an admonition from fome unknown Power. "Gaze not idly 66 upon others when thou thyself art finking. Whence "is this thoughtless tranquillity, when thou and they "are equally endangered !" I looked, and feeing the gulph of INTEMPERANCE before me, started and awaked.

On the Defire of Gain.

[Ramb. No. 131.]


HERE is fcarcely any fentiment in which, amidst the innumerable varieties of inclination that nature or accident have fcattered in the world, we find greater numbers concurring than in the wish for riches ; a with indeed fo prevalent that it may be confidered as univerfal and tranfcendental, as the defire in which all other defires are included, and of which the various purposes which actuate mankind are only fubordinate Species and different modifications.


Wealth is indeed the general center of inclination, the point to which all minds preserve an invariable tendency, and from which they afterwards diverge in numberlefs directions. Whatever is the remote or ultimate defign, the immediate care is to be rich; and in whatever enjoyment we intend finally to acquiefce, we fel dom confider it as attainable but by the means of money. Of wealth therefore all unanimoufly confefs the value, nor is there any difagreement but about the use.

No defire can be formed which riches do not affift as to gratify. He that places his happiness in fplendid equipage or numerous dependents, in refined praife or popular acclamations, in the accumulation of curiofities or the revels of luxury, in fplendid edifices or wide plantations, muft ftill either by birth or acquifition poffefs riches. They may be confidered as the elemental principles of pleasure, which may be combined with endlefs diverfity; as the effential and neceffary fubftance, of which only the form is left to be adjusted by choice.

The neceffity of riches being thus apparent, it is not wonderful that almost every mind has been employed in endeavours to acquire them; that multitudes have vied with each other in arts by which life is furnished with accommodations, and which therefore mankind may reasonably be expected to reward.

It had indeed been happy, if this predominant appetite had operated only in concurrence with virtue, by influencing none but those who were zealous to deferve what they were eager to poffefs, and had abilities to improve their own fortunes by contributing to the ease or happiness of others. To have riches and to have merit would then have been the fame, and fuccefs might reasonably have been confidered as a proof of excellence.

But we do not find that any of the wishes of men keep a ftated proportion to their powers of attainment. Many envy and defire wealth, who can never procure it by honeft industry or useful knowledge. They therefore turn their eyes about to examine what other methods can be found of gaining that which none, however impotent or worthlefs, will be content to want.

A little

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A little enquiry will difcover that there are nearer ways to profit than through the intricacies of art, or up the fteeps of labour; that what wifdom and virtue fcarcely receive at the close of life, as the recompence of long toil and repeated efforts, is brought within the reach of fubtilty and difhonefty by more expeditious and compendious measures: that the wealth of credulity is an open prey to falfehood; and that the poffeffions of ignorance and imbecility are eafily ftolen away by the conveyances of fecret artifice, or feized by the gripe of unrefifted violence.

It is likewise not hard to discover, that riches always procure protection for themselves, that they dazzle the eyes of enquiry, divert the celerity of purfuit, or appeafe the ferocity of vengeance. When any man is inconteftibly known to have large poffeffions, very few. think it requifite to inquire by what practices they were obtained; the refentment of mankind rages only against the ftruggles of feeble and timorous corruption, but when it has furmounted the first oppofition, it is after'wards fupported by favour, and animated by applaufe.

The profpect of gaining speedily what is ardently defired, and the certainty of obtaining by every acceffion of advantage an addition of fecurity, have fo far prevailed upon the paffions of mankind, that the peace of life is deftroyed by a general and inceffant ftruggle for riches. It is obferved of gold, by an old epigrammatift, that to have it is to be in fear, and to want it is to be in forrow. There is no condition which is not difquieted either with the care of gaining or of keeping money; and the race of man may be divided in a political eftimate between those who are practifing fraud, and those who are repelling it.

If we confider the prefent ftate of the world, it will be found, that all confidence is loft among mankind, that no man ventures to act where money can be endangered upon the faith of another. It is impoffible to fee the long scrolls in which every contract is included, with all their appendages of feals and atteftation, without wondering at the depravity of thofe beings, who must be restrained from violation of promise by fuch formal

formal and public evidences, and precluded from equivocation and fubterfuge by fuch punctilious minutenefs. Among all the fatires to which folly and wickedness have given occafion, none is equally fevere with a bond or a fettlement.

Of the various arts by which riches may be obtained, the greater part are at the first view irreconcileable with the laws of virtue; fome are openly flagitious, and practifed not only in neglect, but in defiance of faith and juftice; and the reft are on every fide fo entangled with dubious tendencies, and fo befet with perpetual temptations, that very few, even of those who are not yet abandoned, are able to preserve their innocence, or can produce any other claim to pardon than that they. have deviated from the right less than others, and have: fooner and more diligently endeavoured to return.

One of the chief characteristicks of the golden age, of the age in which neither care nor danger had intruded on mankind, is the community of poffeffions :: ftrife and fraud were totally excluded, and every turbulent paffion was ftilled, by plenty and equality. Such were indeed happy times, but fuch times can return no more. Community of poffeffion muft always include fpontaneity of production; for what is only to be obtained by labour, must be of right the property of him by whofe labour it is gained. And while a rightfulclaim to pleasure or to affluence must be procured either by flow industry or uncertain hazard, there will always. be multitudes whom cowardice or impatience will incite to more fafe and more speedy methods, who will ftrive to pluck the fruit without cultivating the tree, and to fhare the advantages of victory, without partaking the. danger of the battle.

In later ages, the conviction of danger to which virtue is expofed while the mind continues open to the influence of riches, has determined many to vows of perpetual poverty; they have fuppreffed defire by cutting off the poffibility of gratification, and fecured their peace by destroying the enemy whom they had no hope. of reducing to quiet fubjection. But by debarring. themselves from evil, they have refcinded many oppor


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