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ART OF LIVING.
· Happy is life when sound health, pure feelings,
Of all the various branches of useful knowledge which it can be the object of our endeavours to possess and to promote, none appears to me of greater importance to every human being, than that knowledge which teaches us, in what manner, and by what means, we may hope to render our existence as pleasant or happy as it possibly can be. However, as to teach in a few short essays, like the following, so extensive a knowledge as the art of living, physically, mentally, and morally considered, could not be my object, even if I felt myself capable of undertaking so great a task, I have preferred, to single out for illustration, a few of its most important general principles, on the due knowledge and skilful application of which our happiness mainly depends, and which to know must therefore be of importance to us all. For to expect much happiness from an existence with the conditions, laws, and capabilities of which we hardly, if at all, are acquainted, would be expecting to reap where we have not
Any contribution then, however small, to a knowledge which so deeply affects the welfare of every human being, by enlarging our insight into the nature of human life, and by leading to a proper understanding and application of the means by which alone we may hope to preserve, to prolong, and to enjoy it, certainly merits, if not our approbation, at least our favourable regard. The experienced observer of human life will but too often have occasion to lament, that even men, on whom Providence has bestowed every desirable blessing, for want of this knowledge, complain of their fate ; and in vain travel over the whole world in search of happiness, while the purest spring of pleasure wells up unheeded at their very feet; and while others, only by means of this knowledge, succeed in extracting real and deep-felt enjoyment from circumstances and positions the most trying to man's temper and constitution, and which, to less gifted beings, would yield nothing but care, vexation, and troubl
But what is life? We all feel that we live, nor can we look about us without observing what we call life in almost every object of the whole creation which surrounds
but who has ever properly defined, in words, this mysterious power which we daily and hourly see; which not only directs and modifies the unceasing operations of the human body, but also animates whatever we behold, whether on earth or in the heavens; and which, by triumphing over the feebleness of man's material frame, often raises him far above the level of his corporeal nature ? This mysterious influence which we call life, though it is, in certain respects, in