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thy mercies. But ah, how much more might we be and afford the one to the other than we actually are and do! How much more contented and cheerful and happy might we here live together than it commonly happens! How much farther proceed in virtue and perfection! What incitement, what means and opportunities to that end haft thou granted us in social life! Every kind office we reciprocally perform, every business that we pursue in common, and every pleasure that we commonly enjoy, might and should at the same time be an exercise in virtue and an approximation to perfection ; every assistance we afford our brethren, every satisfaction we procure them, at the same time be a benefit and a blessing to ourselves ! Yes, if we so much more esteemed each other as we might and should, so much more loved each other, so much more readily served each other, so much more closely blended our wants and businesses and pleasures together; if fincerity and affection accompanied us in every society, there animated all our discourses and actions; if we there looked not merely at our own things, but also and still more on the things of others, and our thoughts and sentiments were constantly in unison with our words and deeds: what a source of virtue and happiness would social life be to us! What a prepa. rative to that better superior life, that will unite all wife and good persons together, that kingdom of reason and yirtue to come! God, do thou teach

us then properly to understand and to use our advantages. Grant us still more and more to be kind ly affectioned one to another. Inspire into us all a constantly greater avidity and zeal to serve and to aflift each other, and to promote our reciprocal happiness to the utmost of our power. Grant that we way be ever taking a greater interest in the concerns and fortunes of our brethren, fo as cordially to rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with them that weep. Let our converse with each other be constantly more edifying, always more useful, and the fatisfactions we mutually enjoy, be conftantly more innocent, more honourable and fruitful in good works. Oh that in this respect the {pirit of christianity might animate and guide us, and dignify all that we think and do! Bless to this end the confiderations in which we are now to be employed, and hear our prayer through Jesus Christ, our lord, in whose name we further implore thee, saying: Our father, &c.

EPHES. V. 15, 16.

See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wile,

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

THAT social life has a particular value, that it

is good and desirable, is what no one doubts; of this, my pious hearers, our own experience assures us. But how it is to be ordered, what we are to observe, and what avoid in it, if we desire it to be of great value: and what peculiarly gives it this value: are questions we do not often enough consider, though the solution of them is of the utmost importance in the use and enjoyment of it. The former of these questions I have answered in my preceding discourse. We thence faw what good qualities, what virtues, we are to bring with us into social life, and there employ, and at the same time what faults we should avoid, if we desire it to afford us real pleasure and folid advantage. It must be namely honesty and openness of heart, but not rudeness; generous freedom, but not licentiousness and arrogance; polite, elegant, engaging manners, but not foppishness or formal and affected behaviour; it must be benevolence and philanthropy, but not coldness and jealousy, not flattery, not artificial sensibility ; it must be rational and discreet affability, but not loquacity ; innocent mirth, but not licentiousness and diffolute revelry; that must prevail in social life, in order that it may procure us pleasure no less diversified than pure, profit no less durable than real.


The other question still remaining to be answered is, What confers this value on social life? Where. in does it confift? What is the utility, what are the pleasures it procures us? To reply expressly to this question is the object of my present discourse. Happy for him who shall learn from it more juftly

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to prize and more circumspectly to use, the value of the riches it poffefses, the means of improvement and happiness it offers !

Social life is first the most natural and the most abundant source of the knowledge of mankind. And, without the discrimination of characters, we can neither be so useful to our brethren nor they to us, as our obligations and our common interest require. The moralist, who in the filence of retirement reflects upon mankind, and at the same time narrowly observes himself, may certainly make great progress in the knowledge of human nature: he may make acute and just remarks on the capacities and powers of the human intellect, on the process and connection of its ideas, on its present and fu. ture destination, on human passions, prejudices, vir. tues and vices; he may investigate the motives of human actions, and weigh the intrinsic value of their sentiments and actions. But it is only in intercourse with them, it is only in social life, that he will learn to apply the principles and rules by which he judges of mankind, to a thousand particular perfons and occurrences, and put their precision to the proof. There will he first learn to judge of the infinite variety of human opinions, and manners, of human dispositions and tempers. There he perceives the lineaments of human nature multiplied and diversified a thousand ways, sees the several faculties of the human mind as variously exerted; the human propensities and pallions shewing themselves under


the most variegated and dissimilar aspects, and producing as numerous and different effects. There will he find combinations and mixtures of strength and weakness, of wisdom and folly, of good and bad qualities, of virtues and defects, which, remote from the actual world, he would scarcely have thought poflible. And how much must this extend and correct his knowledge of mankind! How many phænomena in the moral world will it elucidate, how many mysteries unravel, which before were inexplicable to him, and which by mere meditation he could never have solved!

In society we learn, not only to know mankind in general, but in particular those individuals among whom we live, and with whom we are obliged to associate, our acquaintance, our fellow-citizens, our friends, every person with whom we are connected by business, by office and employment, and by ordinary affairs. There, on numberless occasions, their principles, their prejudices, their errors, their propensities, their passions, their found and their weak fide, discover themselves to us by degrees. There we learn to know the measure of their intelligence, the range of their observation, their habits of life, the degree of their strength or their weakness, the avenues to their heart, and the influence which certain persons or things have over them. There we may consequently learn, how far we may rely upon them, or whether rely upon them at all,


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