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and for a considerable time. If you have resolution enough to do this, you cannot but love learning; for the mind always loves that to which it has been long, steadily and voluntarily attached. Habits are formed, which render what was at first disagreeable, not only pleasant but necessary.
Pleasant, indeed, are all the paths which lead to polite and elegant literature. Yours then, is surely a lot particularly happy. Your education is of such a sort, that its principal scope is, to prepare you to receive a refined pleasure during your life. Elegance, or delicacy of taste, is one of the first objects of classical discipline; and it is this fine quality, which opens a new world to the scholar's view. Elegance of taste has a connexion with many virtues, and all of them virtues of the most amiable kind. It tends to render you, at once, good and agreeable. You must, therefore, be an enemy to your own enjoyment, if you enter on the discipline which leads to the attainment of a classical and liberal education, with reluctance. Value duly the opportunities you enjoy, and which are denied to thousands of your fellow creatures.
Without exemplary diligence you will make but a contemptible proficiency. You may, indeed,pass through the forms of schools and universities; but you will bring nothing away from them,of real value. The proper sort and degree of diligence, you cannot possess, but by the efforts of your own resolution. Your instructor may indeed confine you within the walls of a school, a certain number of hours. He may place books before you, and compel you to fix your eyes upon them; but no authority can chain down your mind. Your thoughts will escape from every external restraint, and, amidst the most serious lectures, may be ranging in the wild pursuits of trifles and vice. Rules, restraints, commands and punishments, may, indeed, assist in strengthening your resolution; but, without your own voluntary choice, your diligence will not often conduce to your pleasure and advantage. Though this truth is obvious, yet it seems to be a secret to those parents, who expect to find their son's improvement increase, in proportion
to the number of tutors, and external assistance which their opulence has enabled them to provide. These assistances, indeed, are sometimes afforded, chiefly, that the young heir to a title or estate may indulge himself in idleness and nominal pleasures. The lesson is con
strued to him, and the exercise written for him, by the private tutor, while the hapless youth is engaged in some ruinous pleasure, which,at the same time, prevents him from learning any thing desirable, and leads to the formation of destructive habits, which can seldom be removed.
But the principle obstacle to your improvement at school, especially if you are too plentifully supplied with money,is a perverse ambition of being distinguished as a boy of spirit, in mischievous pranks, in neglecting the tasks and lessons, and for every vice and irregularity which the puerile age can admit. Yo will have sense enough, I hope, to discover, beneath the mask of gaiety and good nature, that malignant spirit of detraction, which endeavors to render the boy who applies to books, and to all the duties and proper business of the school, ridiculous. You will see, by the light of your reason, that the ridicule is misapplied. You will dis. cover, that the boys who have recourse to ridicule, are, for the most part, stupid, unfeeling, ignorant and vi cious. Their noisy folly, their bold confidence, their contempt of learning, and their defiance of authority, are for the most part, the genuine effects of hardened insensibility. Let not their insults and ill treatment dispirit you. If you yield to them, with a tame and abject submission, they will not fail to triumph over you with additional insolence. Display a fortitude in your pursuits, equal in degree to the obstinacy in which they persist in theirs. Your fortitude will soon overcome theirs, which is, indeed, seldom any thing more than the audacity of a bully. Indeed, you cannot go through a school with ease to yourself, and with success, without a considerable share of courage. I do not mean that sort of courage which leads to battles and contentions, but which enables you to have a will of your own, and to pursue what is right, amidst all the persecutions of
surrounding enviers, dunces, and detractors. Ridicule is the weapon made use of at school, as well as in the world, when the fortresses of virtue are to be assailed. You will effectually repel the attack by a dauntless spirit and unyielding perseverance. Though numbers are against you, yet, with truth and rectitude on your side, you may, though alone, be equal to an army.
By laying in a store of useful knowledge, adorning your mind with elegant literature, improving and establishing your conduct by virtuous principles, you can"not fail of being a comfort to those friends who have supported you, of being happy with yourself, and of being well received by mankind. Honor and success in life will probably attend you. Under all circumstances, you will have an internal source of consolation and entertainment, of which no sublunary vicissitude can deprive you. Time will show how much wiser has been your choice, than that of your idle companions, who would gladly have drawn you into their association, or rather into their conspiracy, as it has been called, against good manners, and against all that is honorable and useful. While you appear in society as a respectable and valua ble member of it, they will, perhaps, have sacrificed at the shrine of vanity, pride and extravagance, and false pleasure, their health and their sense, their for tune and their character.
XXII.—Advantages of, and Motives to Cheerfulness. SPECTATOR.
CHEERFULNESS is in the first place the best promoter of health. Repinings, and secret murmurs of the heart, give imperceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vital parts are composed, and wear out the machine insensibly; not to mention those violent ferments which they stir up in the blood, and those irregular, disturbed motions which they raise in the animal spirits. 1 scarce remember, in my own observation, to have met with many old men, or with such, who (to use our English phrase) wear well, that had not at least a certain indolence in their humor, if not a more than ordinary gaiety and cheerfulness of heart. The truth of it is, health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other.
with this difference, that we seldom meet with a great degree of health, which is not attended with a certain cheerfulness, but very often see cheerfulness where there is no degree of health.
Cheerfulness bears the same friendly regard to the mind as to the body; it banishes all anxious care and discontent, soothes and composes the passions and keeps the soul in a perpetual calm.
If we consider the world in its subserviency to man, one would think it was made for our use; but if we consider it in its natural beauty and harmony, one would be apt to conclude, it was made for our pleasure. The sun, which is the great soul of the universe, and produces all the necessaries of life,has a particular influence in cheering the mind of man,and making the heart glad. Those several living creatures which are made for our service or sustenance, at the same time either fill the woods with their music, furnish us with game, or raise pleasing ideas in us by the delightfulness of their appearFountains, lakes and rivers are as refreshing to the imagination, as to the soil through which they pass. There are writers of great distinction, who have made it an argument for Providence, that the whole earth is covered with green, rather than with any other color, as being such a right mixture of light and shade, that it comforts and strengthens the eye, instead of weakening or grieving it. For this reason, several painters have a green cloth hanging near them, to ease the eye upon, after too great an application to their coloring. A famous modern philosopher accounts for it in the following manner: All colors that are more luminous, overpower and dissipate the animal spirits which are employed in sight; on the contrary, those that are more obscure, do not give the animal spirits a sufficient exercise; whereas, the rays that produce in us the idea of green, fall upon the eye in such a due proportion, that they give the animal spirits their proper play, and by keeping up the struggle in a just balance, excite a very pleasing and agreeable sensation. Let the cause be what it will, the effect is certain; for
which reason the poets ascribe to this particular color, the epithet of cheerful.
To consider further this double end in the works of nature and how they are at the same time both useful and entertaining, we find that the most important parts in the vegitable world, are those which are the most beau. tiful. These are the seeds by which the several races of plants are propagated and continue, and which are always lodged in flowers or blossoms. Nature seems to hide her principal design, and to be industrious in making the earth gay and delightful, while she is carrying on her great work, and intent upon her own preservation. The husbandman, after the same manner, is em ployed in laying out the whole country into a kind of garden or landscape, and making every thing smile about him, whilst, in reality he thinks of nothing, but of the harvest and increase which is to arise from it.
We may further observe how Providence has taken care to keep up this cheerfulness in the mind of man, by having formed it after such a manner, as to make it capable of conceiving delight from several objects which seem to have very little use in them; as from the wildness of rocks and deserts, and the like grotesque parts of nature. Those who are versed in philosophy, may still carry this consideration higher, by observing, that if matter had appeared to us endowed only with those real qualities which it actually possesses, it would have made but a very joyless and uncomfortable figure; and why has Providence given it a power of producing in us such imaginary qualities, as tastes and colors, sounds and smells, heat and cold, but that man, while he is conversant in the lower stations of nature, might have his mind cheered and delighted with agreeable sensations? In short, the whole universe is a kind of theatre, filled with objects that either raise in us pleasure,amusement or admiration.
The reader's own thoughts will suggest to him the vicissitudes of day and night, the change of seasons, with all that variety of scenes which diversify the face of nature and fill the mind with a perpetual succession of beautiful and pleasing images.