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lead: fear and suspicion are given to guard him from
you at such times, is as much the work of God, as the splendour of the lightning is His work; but that feeling may degenerate into the fury of a savage, or be disciplined into the rational opposition of a wise and a good man. You must be affected by the distinctions of your fellow-creatures, — you cannot help it; but you may envy those distinctions, or you may emulate them. The dread of shame may enervate you
for every manly exertion, or be the vigilant guardian of purity and innocence. In a strong mind, fear grows up into cautious sagacity; grief, into amiable tender
Without the noble toil of moral education, the one is abject cowardice, the other eternal gloom; therefore, there is the good, and there is the evil! Every man's destiny is in his own hands. Nature has given us those beginnings, which are the elements of the foulest vices, and the seeds of every sweet and immortal virtue: but though Nature has given you the liberty to choose, she has terrified you by her punishments, and lured you by her rewards, to choose aright; for she
has not only taken care that envy, and cowardice, and melancholy, and revenge, shall carry with them their own curse, — but she has rewarded emulation, courage, patience, cheerfulness, and dignity, with that feeling of calm pleasure, which makes it the highest act of human wisdom to labour for their attainment.
ON THE BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS.
OF THE AGREEABLE AND BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS, AND THEIR ORIGIN. —
OF THE NATURAL SIGNS OF THE PASSIONS. — OF THE AFFINITY BETWEEN THE PASSIONS. OF THE EFFECT OF CONTRARY PASSIONS ON EACH OTHER.
my last Lecture, I treated on such of the active powers as had the evil of others for their object; or were characterised by the pain which they inflicted on him, in whose mind they were observed. I come now to an opposite set of agents, – those which have the good of others for their object, or are characterised by the pleasure which they impart to that person, in whom they are observable. I am aware this division of the principles of our nature, which lead us to action, is not perfectly accurate; but it is accurate enough for that very general view which I propose to take of them, and which, I believe, is all that could be tolerated in a Lecture of this nature.
The origin of these benevolent affections, I should explain exactly after the same manner as their opposite, the malevolent feelings: the one, proceed from pain, guided by association ; the other, from pleasure, guided by association. To trace them up to this origin, would be merely to repeat my last Lecture over again,
with the alteration of a single word — pleasure for pain; and therefore, I shall pass it over, presuming that I have sufficiently explained myself on that subject.
The pleasing and benevolent affections of our nature, may be divided into the memory of past good; the enjoyment of present good; the anticipation of future good; and benevolence, or a desire to do good to others. The memory of past good, and the memory of past evil, are both without a specific name in our language ; though it should seem, that they require one, as much as hope or fear, — to which, in point of time, they are contrasted. We all know that present happiness is very materially affected by happiness in prospect; but, perhaps, it is not enough urged as a motive for benevolence.
Mankind are always happier for having been happy; so that if you make them happy now, you make them happy twenty years hence, by the memory of it. A childhood past with a due mixture of rational indulgence, under fond and wise parents, diffuses over the whole of life, a feeling of calm pleasure ; and, in extreme old age, is the very last remembrance which time can erase from the mind of man. No enjoyment, however inconsiderable, is confined to the present moment. A man is the happier for life, from having made once an agreeable tour, or lived for any length of time with pleasant people, or enjoyed any considerable interval of innocent pleasure: and it is most probably the recollection of their past pleasures, which contributes to render old men so inattentive to the scenes before them; and carries them back to a world that is past, and to scenes never to be renewed again.
The recollection of pleasures that are past, is tinged with a certain degree of melancholy, — as every survey we take of distant periods of time always is. This gives it its peculiar characteristic, and distinguishes it
from the animated sensations of present enjoyment: but still, such recollection is always one of the favourite occupations of the human mind; and, to many dispositions, the most fruitful source of happiness.
In the passion of fear, there is always a mixed expectation of good and evil; but the evil preponderates. When all expectation of good ceases, the feeling which takes place, is that of despair. In hope, the expectation of good preponderates. But there is no name for that feeling, when all expectation of evil ceases, and the good appears certain ; — this is the opposite of despair. Upon this tendency to look forward to future happiness, or back upon happiness past, is founded a very obvious distinction in human character:— contemplative men, of a poetical cast, who are always looking with a kind of fond enthusiasm upon the past, and contrasting it with the prospect which lies open before them; and bustling active men of the world, whose face is always turned the way they are going, — in whose mind the memory of the past has very little share, but who look keenly forward in the game of life, with all the eagerness of the most sanguine hope. For my part, I must confess myself rather an admirer of the active school, and no great friend to that pleasant, but disqualifying melancholy, which makes a man believe he has extracted all the pleasure and enjoyment from human life, before he has past half through it, – that no grass is green, except the grass where he played when he was a boy, - and that all the pleasures of which a man of genuine feeling and taste partakes, ought, like the wine he drinks, to be fifteen or twenty years old. So far as the contemplation of the past, does not go to put us out of conceit with the future, it is wise: when it does, it is the idleness of genius and feeling; but it is idleness, and is a corruption which comes from those imperfect moralists, the poets, who are ever disposed to chaunt mankind out of the vigorous cheerfulness of hope, and