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It is better to go to the house of mourning, than
to the house of feasting
HAT I deny-but let us hear the wise
man's reafoning upon it for that is
, the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart: Sorrow is better than laughter for a crack'd-brain'd order of Carthufian monks, I grant, but not for men of the world. For what purpose, do you imagine, has God made us? for the social sweets of the well-watered vallies where he has planted us, or for the dry and dismal deserts of a Sierra Morena ? are the fad accidents of life, and theuncheary hours which perpetually overtake us, are they not enough, but we must fally forth in quest of them,-belye our own hearts, and fay, as your text would have us, that they are better than those of joy? did the Best of B4 :
Beings send us into the world for this end
to go weeping through it,-to vex and shorten · a life Thort and vexatious enough already ? do
you think, my good preacher, that he who is infinitely happy, can envy us our enjoyments ? or that a being so infinitely kind would grudge a mournful traveller the short rest and refreshments necessary to support his spirits thro' the stages of a weary pilgrimage? or that he would call him to a severe reckoning, because in his way he had hastily snatched at some little fugacious pleasures, merely to sweeten this uneasy journey of life, and reconcile him to the suggedness of the road, and the many hard juftlings he is sure to meet with? Consider, I beseech you, what provision and accommoda. tion, the Author of our being has prepared for us, that we might not go on our way forrowing - how many caravansaras of rest-what powers and faculties he has given us for taking it--what apt objects he has placed in our way to entertain us;- some of which he has made so fair, so exquisitely fitted for this end, that they have power over us for a time to charm away the sense of pain, to chear up the dejected heart under poverty and sickness, and make it go and remember its miseries no more.
I will not contend, at present, against this rhetoric; I would chuse rather, for a moment, to go on with the allegory, and say we are travellers, and, in the moft affecting sense of that idea, that like travellers, though upon business of the last and nearest concern to us, may surely be allowed to amuse ourselves with the natural or artificial beauties of the country we are passing through, without reproach of forgetting the main errand we are sent upon; and if we can so order it, as not to be led out of the way, by the variety of prospects, edifices, and ruins which solicit us, it would be a nonsensical piece of saint-errantry to shut our eyes.
· But let us not lose sight of the argument in pursuit of the simile.
Let us remember, various as our excursions are,—that we have still set our faces towards Jerusalem-that we have a place of rest and happiness, towards which we hasten, and that the way to get there is not so much to please our hearts, as to improve them in virtue; that mirth and feasting are usually no friends