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sary for you, both as men and christians, and for that state of happiness hereafter, from which envy and competion will be utterly excluded. Cul. tivate a vigorous good will to all "men, and instead of repining at their happiness, you will make it an occasion of increasing your own. With such a temper, if others weep you will weep with them, and your sympathy will be repaid with substantial pleasure; if others rejoice you will rejoice with them, and so your enjoyment will be doubled.
3. Ambition is also a turbulent and dangerous passion, against which it will be necessary for you to be as much on your guard. .
This is sometimes called emulation—which in a qualified sense, is an argument of a generous spirit; and under proper regulations, highly useful both to individuals and society.
• It gives animation and vigor both to the body and mind; and often produceth excellence in knowledge, art and enterprize, which without it, would never have appeared. It is however too commonly accompanied with envy, by which it is at least hurtful to those who possess it. Ambition in its customary acceptation, is generally attended with malevolence, in a less or greater degree, according to the objects to which it aspires. When it aims at distinction in wealth and figure, in fame of valor and conquest, in authority and dominion; and especially when it is intense and
violent, it occasions more disorder in the mind, and greater evils toʻsociety than any other passion. There is nothing, however mean and criminal in itself, or injurious to others, that it does not employ in its service. Dissimulation, flattery and falshood, bribery, injustice and cruelty, faction and tumult, bloodshed and desolation, are often made subservient to its purposes. Nor are the ties of friendship or even of nature strong enough to restrain it, when it is necessary to its views, that they should be broken.
Indeed, the greatest part of the history of the world is made up of horrid details of war, cruelty and massacre, produced by the phrenzy and mad ness of ambition. Wie
But happy for mankind, there are few in cir. cumstances to admit of prospects sufficient to excite it to that ferocity, which equally destroys, without hesitation or remorse, the rights and peace of individuals, and nations.
In the bulk of men, it aims at nothing more than to gain some trifling advantage in name or appearance above those who are in the same way, or condition of life, or to make a show of dignity and importance, above their real merit and circumstances.
The following are the more common instances of it; and therefore, most deserving of our attention. It prompts some to make a figure in dress,
equipage and manner of living, which they have
not ability to support. By this unreasonable va-nity they often exhaust, in a little time, the fund
they set out upon; and which with more moderate views, might have supported them with comfort, decency and credit. The consequence of which is that they are obliged to fall back, with mortification and dishonor, into circumstances which they before despised; and there perhaps, to continue, And it often happens, that they who have innocently contributed to its gratification, are involved in the ruin that follows it. The hireling and mechanic are defrauded of the reward of their labors, the merchant of the value of his goods, and perhaps the orphan of his portion and dependance.
;" It puts others upon wild and extravagant projects, which, if practicable at all, cost more in the execution, than they are afterwards' worth; yet, when such men have set out in a favorite enterprize, they will continue in their error, to the detriment, if not ruin of their estates, and families; * rather than be thought destitute of spirit and per- ' severance; or weak enough to attempt that, which they could not effect. Fini*
By the same vanity, others engage in employments, and set up for offices, for which they have, no competent qualifications, and the consequence is, that if they do not bring upon themselves con
tempt; they are at least, not entitled to respect; whereas, with a just estimate of their talents and merit, in other occupations or departments, they might not only have benefited society, but perhaps have acquired distinguished reputation:
In these instances, if ambition be not attended with envy and ill will of others; it at least perverts the reason, and destroys the peace and enjoyment of the ambitious, and interrupts that order which is necessary for the good of society. : To guard against this disquieting and injurious passion, consider, how little figure and distinction in the eyes of the world, will avail to real happiness, while your minds are in a state incapable of enjoying it. If you had all the notice and respect that were ever gained by wealth, power, and office, it would be impossible for you to be happy, while you are so discontented in your present si. tuation, as to be continually aiming at new honors, and pre-eminence. It is the nature of ambition to grow more restless and importunate, by every new attainment. · Success in its pursuits is but new fuel thrown into the flame that is already too strong, and which must at length, consume the breast where it is kindled. • If it were even possible for the objects of ambition to afford their possessors all that they wish for, yet, how soon must they vanish away, and be no more to them, than they were to others a thousand years before!
Affliction will render you insensible to their impression; and death will destroy the remembrance of them forever.
Distinction is at an end in the grave. “ The honorable man and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator,” lie on the same level with those who died unhonored and unnoticed. * Moderate your fondness for every thing that has no other good, but that which depends on opinion and caprice. $“ The world passeth away; and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” D ito
. In the same degree as you aim at the things of another world, you will be cured of a passionate fondness for the imaginary advantages of the present. Endeavor to excel in virtue, in which there can be neither injury nor excess; and in which, to be superior to others, is only to be more honorable in the sight of God, and more happy in yourselves., ..
This is distinction worthy of a rational and immortal being; and will give you, in the most obscure condition of life, a pleasure infinitely more solid and permanent, than any you can derive from the exterior advantages of the world; though you possessed them in the highest degree, that human vanity has ever aspired to.