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as when I saw how poorly and meanly the learn, ed Octavius was to leave the world, through the want of it.
How often had I envied his great learning, his skill in languages, his knowledge of antiquity, his address, and fine manner of expressing himself upon all subjects ! But when I saw, how poorly it all ended, what was to be the last year of such a life, and how foolishly the master of all these accomplishments was then forced to talk, for want of being acquainted with the joys and expectations of piety; I was thoroughly convinced, that there was nothing to be envied or desired, but a life of true piety ;, nor any thing so poor and comfortless, as a death without it.
As the young Eugenius was thus edified and instructed in the present case ; so, if you are so happy, as to have any thing of his thoughtful temper, you will meet with a variety of instructions of this kind ; you will find, that argumenis for the wisdom and happiness of a strict piety, offer themselves in all places, and appeal to all your senses in the plainest manner.
You will find, that all the world preaches to an attentive mind; and that, if you have but
ears to hear, almost every thing you meet, teaches you some lesson of wisdom.
But, if to these admonitions and instructions, which we receive from our senses, from an experience of the state of human fife ; if to these we add the lights of religion, those great truths, which the son of God has taught us; it will be then as much past all doubt, that there is but one happiness for man, as that there is but one God,
For, since religion teaches us, that our souls are immortal, that piety and devotion will carry them to an eternal enjoyment of God; and that carnal, worldly tempers will sink them into everlasting misery with damned spirits; what gross nonsense and stupidity is it, to give the name of joy. or happiness to any thing but that, which carries us to this joy and happiness in God ?
Negotius is a temperate, honest man. He served his time under a master of great trade ; but has by his own management made it a more considerable business, than ever it was before. For thirty years last past, he has written fifty or sixty letters in a week, and is busy in corresponding with all parts of Europe, The general good of trade seems to Negotius to be the general good of life. Whomsoever he admires, whatever he commends or condemns, either in church
or state, is admired, commended, or condemned, with some regard to trade.
As money is continually pouring in upon him, so he often lets it go in various kinds of expense and generosity, and sometimes in ways of charity
Negotius is always ready to join in any pub. lick contribution. If a purse is making at any place, where he happens to be, whether it be to buy a plate for a horse race, or to redeem á prisoner out of jail, you are always sure of having something from him.
He has given a fine ring of bells to a church in the country'; and there is much expectation, that he will some time or other make a more beautiful front to the market house, than has yet been seen in any place. For it is the generous spirit of Negotius to do nothing in a mean way.
If you ask, what it is, which has secured Negotius from all scandalous vices, it is the same thing, that has kept him from all strictness of devotion ; it is his great business. He has alway's had too many important things in his head, his thoughts have been too much employed, to suffer him to fall either into any courses of rakery, or to feel the necessity of an inward, solid piety
For this reason he hears of the pleasures of debauchery, and the pleasures of piety, with the same indifference ; and has no more desire of living in the one, than in the other ; because neither of them consists with that turn of mind, and multiplicity of business, which are his happiness.
If Negotius were asked, what it is, which he drives at in life? He would be as much at a loss for an answer, as if he were asked, what any other person is thinking of. For, though he always seems to himself to know what he is doing, and has many things in his head, which are the motives of his actions ; yet he cannot tell you of any one general end of life, which he has chosen with deliberation, as being truly worthy of all his labours and pains.
He has several confused notions in his head, which have been a long time there ; such as these, namely, that it is something great to have more business, than other people; to have more dealings upon his hands, than a hundred of the same profession; to grow continually richer and richer, and to raise an immense fortune, before he dies. The thing, which seems to give Negotius the greatest life and spirit, and to be most in his thoughts, is an expectation, that he
shall die richer, than any of his business ever did.
The generality of people, when they think of happiness, think upon Negotius, in whose life every instance of happiness is supposed to meet; sober, prudent, rich, prosperous, generous, and charitable. ; But let it be supposed, that Negotius, when he first entered into business, happening to read the gospel with attention, and eyes open, found, that he had a much greater business upon his hands, than that, to which he had served an apa prenticeship; that there were things, which be. long to man, of much more importance, than all, which our eyes can see ; so glorious, as to deserve all our thoughts ; so dangerous, as to need all our care ; and so certain, as never to deceive the faithful labourer.
Let it be supposed, that, from reading this book, he had discovered, that his soul was more to him, than his body ; that it was better to grow in the virtues of the soul, than to have a large body, or a full purse ; that it was better to fit for heaven, than to have variety of fine houses upon the earth; that it was better to secure an everlasting happiness, than to have plenty of things, which he cannot keep; better to live in