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How to Find Happiness: Selections from the Works of Pierre Gassendi (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2

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Some Particulars needful to be examined, and considered, which will contribute very much to the Repose and Happiness of the Mind.

“The first particular, is the knowledge and fear of God. And certainly this philosopher had good reason to recommend to us in the first place, the right ideas that we are to entertain of this Sovereign Being; because he that has a right notion of Him, is so much inflamed with Love and Affection for God, that he constantly endeavors to please Him by an honest and a virtuous life, always trusting in His infinite goodness, and expecting all things from Him, who is the fountain of all good: By this means he spends his life sweetly, peaceably, and pleasantly. […]

The second particular relates to death. Epicurus judges, that we ought to accustom ourselves to think upon it, that we might learn by that means as much as is possible to free ourselves from such fears of death, as might disturb our tranquility, and consequently the happiness of our life. […]”

“Let us calmly and quietly, without repining, enjoy this gift of life, whether it be bestowed upon us for a longer or a shorter time. It is certain, that our Maker may deprive us of it without doing us any wrong. Let us thankfully acknowledge His liberality, from whom we have received it, and add this to the number of those benefits, which we daily draw from His bounty.

Nature favors us for a while with the use of the prospect of those enjoyments: Be not angry, that we must withdraw when the time is expired; for we were admitted upon no other terms, but to yield our places to others, as our ancestors have done to us. Our bodies are naturally inclinable to corruption, and the manner of our nativity renders our death unavoidable. If to be born is pleasant, let not our dissolution be grievous to us, to make use of Seneca’s Words. If the striving against this fatality could any ways advantage us, we should then perhaps approve of the endeavors that are made, but all our strugglings are to no purpose, we do but add to our pain.”
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