W1158 ESSAY BY MARGARETTE BARKER LERNED [MCQUESTEN]
Nov 9 1825
From: Adams Female Academy Londonderry, New Hampshire
Uncertainty attends all the advantages of this world
Mankind are as eager in the pursuit of worldly advantages, as if they were sure that all their wishes would be realized, in the accomplishment of their designs. But our own experience and the experience of those who have gone before us, bear ample testimony not only to the unsatisfying nature, but to the uncertainty of all worldly good. Our situations and prospects may be ever so flattering and we may fancy ourselves happy in the pofsefsion1 of all that the world holds dear, and anticipate undisturbed pleasure, yet some unforeseen event may occur, that will reverse our situation, disappoint our most sanguine expectations and mar all our enjoyments.
Today we may be what the world calls rich and happy, tomorrow our lives may "take to themselves wings and fly away." Or if we are surrounded with friends, they may soon be removed from us, or become our enemies. If elevated to stations of honor, we find they are equally uncertain. There is nothing in this world, on which we can place any dependence for happiness, all its promises of felicity are uncertain, we know not what a day or an hour may bring forth. A person is possession of his reason, when just launching into eternity, would look back on that time as lost, or worse than lost, which had been spent exclusively in pursuit of worldly honor. We may learn from this the folly of placing our supreme affections on those things, which cannot afford happiness in the possession, and of which the remembrance would give us pain.
Margarette B. Lerned
Adams Female Academy
Londonderry, New Hampshire
November 9, 1825
1 For a note on Adams Female Academy, and on Margarette Barker Lerned, see W1100.
2 Margarette uses the now archaic "fs" construction for the "ss" sound, which we have transcribed as "ss" for ease of reading.
3 Although the initials "C.J." appear at the bottom of the document, the essay is written in a hand and style that is very much like Margarette Lerned [McQuesten's].