IF a dwelling-house, by reason of its ill situation or contrivance, be not commodiously light and airy, or too much exposed to ill weather and unhealthy, it is most advisable entirely to quit such a habitation, unless perhaps, through continuance of time, neighborhood of friends, or any other endearing circumstance, a man should become much wedded to the place; in which case it may be possible, by the alteration of windows and new placing of doors and staircases, either to remove or to lessen these inconveniences. By such like remedies, even whole cities have been much amended and improved both as to health and pleasantness; and it is said of the place of my nativity particularly, that, while it once lay open to the western winds, and to the beams of the declining sun streaming over the top of Parnassus, it was by Chaeron turned toward the east; but it is thought that Empedocles the naturalist secured that whole region round about from the pestilence, by closing up the rift of a certain mountain, from whence a contagious southerly damp breathed forth upon the flat of that country. And now, since there are several noxious qualities and distempered passions that lurk within the body too, which is the more immediate habitation of the soul,—and which, like the dark and tempestuous weather that is with out, do cloud and disturb it,—therefore the like method which has been observed in curing the defects and annoyances [p. 425] of an ill-contrived and unhealthy dwelling may be followed here, in rendering the body a more commodious, serviceable, and delightful mansion for the soul. Wherein that it may enjoy its desired calmness and serenity, it will conduce beyond all other expedients whatsoever, that those blind, tumultuous, and extravagant passions should be expelled or extinguished utterly; or, if that cannot be, yet that they be so far reduced and moderated, and so prudently applied and accommodated to their proper objects, that the mischief and disorder of them (at least) may be removed.

Among these may deservedly be accounted that sort of curiosity, which, by its studious prying into the evils of mankind, seems to be a distemper of envy and ill-nature.

Why envious wretch, with such a piercing ray,
Blind to thine own, dost others' faults survey?

If the knowledge of ill can reward the industrious search with so much delight and pleasure, turn the point of thy curiosity upon thyself and thine own affairs, and thou shalt within doors find matter enough for the most laborious enquiries, plentiful as

Water in Aliso's stream, or leaves about the oak.

So vast a heap of offences shalt thou find in thy own conversation, such variety of perturbations in thy soul, and manifold failures in thy duty. To take a distinct and orderly survey of all which, that of Xenophon will be good direction, who said, that it was the manner of discreet housekeepers to place their weapons of war, utensils for the kitchen, instruments of husbandry, and furniture for religious and sacred services, each in several and proper repositories. So every man that would make an exact enquiry into and take a just account of himself, should first make a particular search into the several mischiefs that proceed from each passion within him, whether it be envy or jealousy, covetousness or cowardice, or any other vicious [p. 426] inclination; and then distribute and range them all (as it were) into distinct apartments.

This done, make thy reviews upon them with the most accurate inspection, so that nothing may divert thee from the severest scrutiny; obstruct every prospect that looks towards thy neighbors' quarters, and close up all those avenues which may lead thee to any foreign curiosity; become an eavesdropper to thine own house, listen to the whispers of thine own walls, and observe those secret arts of the female closet, the close intrigues of the parlor, and the treacherous practices of thy servants, which thy own windows will discover to thee. Here this inquisitive and busy disposition may find an employment that will be of use and advantage, and is neither ill-natured nor impertinent; while every man shall call himself to this strict examination:

Where have I err'd? What have I said, or done?
What duty, when, and how have I foregone?

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