December 22

SINCE, at all events, one must die, one must necessarily be found doing something, either tilling, or digging, or trading, or serving a consulship, or sick of an indigestion or a flux. At what employment, then, would you have death find you? For my part, I would have it be some humane, beneficent, public-spirited, gallant action. But if I cannot be found doing any such great things, yet, at least, I would be doing what I am incapable of being restrained from, what is given me to do, correcting myself, improving that faculty which makes use of the appearances of things, to procure tranquillity, and render to the several relations of life their due; and, if I am so fortunate, advancing to the third topic, a security of judging right. If death overtakes me in such a situation, it is enough for me if I can stretch out my hands to God and say, "The opportunities which Thou hast given me of comprehending and following the rules of Thy administration I have not neglected. As far as in me lay, I have not dishonoured Thee. See how I have used my perceptions, how my preconceptions. Have I at any time found fault with Thee? Have I been discontented at Thy dispensations, or wished them otherwise? Have I transgressed the relations of life? I thank Thee that Thou hast brought me into being. I am satisfied with the time that I have enjoyed the things whxh Thou hast given me. Receive them back again, and assign them to whatever place Thou wilt; for they were all Thine, and Thou gavest them to me."


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