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Q. Whether doth it wax old or not?
A. All Writers do agree, and one Age teftifieth unto another, that it waxeth old as doth a Garment And Experience itself finds, that in the Fruitfulness and Operation of Herbs, Plants, and Vegetables, the Defect and Decay thereof is daily feen; and this leffening of the Operation and Vir, tue moft fenfibly perceived in the languishing Dolour of many incurable Diseases in thefe Times. Job xxxviii. 4. Where waft thou when I laid the Foundations of the Earth, declare, if thou haft Understanding? Who hath laid the Measures thereof, if thou knoweft, or who hath ftretched the Line upon it?
Q. Is the Life of a rich covetous Citizen, better than that of a rich country Farmer?
A. No; for it is better to be a Man among Beasts of the Field, than in the midst of a peopled City to be a Beast among Men. In the homely Village thou art more fafe than in a fortified Castle; the Stings of Envy, or the Bullets of Treafon are never fhot through those thin Walls. Sound Health is drank out of the wooden Difh, when the golden Cup boils over with Poison. The country Cottage is neither battered down in Time of War, nor pestered with clamorous Suits in Time of Peace; the Fall of Cedars, that tumble from the Top of Kingdoms, and the Ruin of great Houses that bury Families in their overthrow, and the Noife of Shipwrecks, that beget even Shrieks in the Hearts of Cities, feldom fend their Terrors there. The Countryman is thrice happy in this, that he plays not with his Wings in the golden Flames of the Court, nor putteth his foot in the bufy throng of the City; but refting contented in Winter to fit by a Country Fire, and in Summer to lay his Head on the green Pillows of the Earth, where his Sleep is foft Slumbers, and his waking, pleasant as golden Dreams; his highest Ambition is to get up to the Mountains,
where he thinks himself a petty King; the greateft Trees bow to do him Reverence, and the Willows that bend at every Blast he may count his Flatterers, and the Valleys humbled at his Feet, his Slaves; no Prince keeps more skilful Muficians, the Birds are his Concerts, and their Inftruments yield ten thousand several forts of Tunes. As the Poet farther writeth.
If Heaven the grateful Liberty would give,
Near fome fair Town I'd have a private Seat,
Nor fhould the Sons of Poverty repine,
Should be reliev'd with what my Wants could fpare;
For what our Maker has too largely given,
To feed the Stranger, and the neighbouring Poor:
In their Society I could not mifs,
A permanent, fincere, fubftantial Blifs.
Wou'd bounteous Heav'n once more indulge, I'd choose,
(For who would fo much Satisfaction lofe,
Law-Suits I'd fhun with as much ftudious Care,
A Plague to him, who'd be a Plague to me.
All Men might wish to live and dye like me.
Happinefs confifts not in Sovereignty, or Power, or in great Riches, but in a right Compofure of your Affections, and in directing all your Actions according to right Reafon. What are Riches? Riches are but Cyphers, it's the Mind that makes the Sum. What am I the better for a great Eftate if I am not content with it? for the Defire of having, will quickly take away all the Delights and Comforts in poffeffing. Alexander upon his Imperial Throne, with a reftlefs and an ambitious Mind, is in a worse Condition than Diogenes in his Tub. What are Crowns and Scepters but golden Fetters and fplendid Miferies, which if Men did but truly understand, there would be more Kingdoms than Kings to govern them; look not on the Splendor of a Crown, but upon the many Cares which accompany it; fix not your Eyes on the Purple, but upon the Mind of the King, more fad and dark than the Purple itself: Look not at the Squadrons of his Guards, but at the Armies
of his Moleftations that disturb him. A great Fortune is a great Slavery, and Thrones are but uneafy Seats. A contented Mind is of more Worth than all the Spice and Treafure in both the Indies; and he that enjoys himself in an innocent and homely Retreat, enjoys all the Wealth and Curiofities in the Univerfe. It is the Mind, not the Place, nor any outward Circumftance, that makes us happy; a Man must find Content in his own Bofom or no where, for without Content the greatest Poffeffions are no Satisfaction, and the Way to Heaven is as rear from a Cottage as a palace. Think Contentment the greatest Riches, and Covetousness the greatest Poverty He is not rich that has much, but he that has enough. That Man is poor who covets more, and yet wants a Heart to enjoy what he has already. A wife Man will be happy in all Conditions, because he fubjects all Things to himself; for he fubmits himself to Reason, and governs himself by Widom, not Paffion; he is never troubled for what he has not, but rejoices, and is thankful to God, from the Bottom of his Heart, for what he at prefent poffeffes. He is richeft who is contented, for Content is the Riches of Nature. When the Report came to Galienus the Emperor, that Egypt was loft, what then faid he?" Cannot I live without the Flax of Egypt?" And when he had Notice that a great Part of his Dominions in Afia were wafted, what then faid he?"Cannot I live without the "Delicacies of Afia?" It is an excellent Thing for Chriftians to fpeik thus of their Loffes, from a Principle of true Refignation and Dependance upon God. Habakkuk 3. 17. 18. Verfes. Altho the Fig-tree fhall not bloffom, neither shall Fruit be in the Vines, the Labour of the Olive fhall fail, and the Fields fhall yield no Meat, the Flock fhall be cut off from the Fold, and there fhall be no