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other words, that every created being in the universe ought to study perfect rectitude in all his desires and wilhes. He who desires any thing contrary to the Divine Nature, and will, or to what is right and good, is guilty of rebellion against the Supreme Governor of the Universe.
The påslions, as they are commonly, but improperly called, of the human mind, are various, and some of them of so mixed and compounded a nature, that they are not easily ranged under classes. The following are the principal. Love, or complacence, or defire, whose object is, whatever appears to us good, amiable, or fit for us, as God, our fellow-creatures, virtue, beauty ; joy, excited by happiness, real or imaginary, in posleffion, or prospect ; fympathy, or a humane sense of the good or bad condition of our fellow-creatures; self-love; ambition, or desire of glory, true, or false; covetousness; love of life; appetites of eating, drinking, recreation, sleeping, and mutual desires of the sexes; mirth; anger; hatred; envy; malice; revenge; fear; jealousy; grief.
It is the whole soul, or whole man, that loves, hateş, defires, or fears. Every passion is a motion of the whole being, toward or from fome object, which appears to him either desirable or disagreeable. And objects appear to us desirable, or disagreeable, either from the rcal excellence our understanding perceives to be in them, as in virtue, beauty, proportion,—and their contraries, as vice, deformity, and confusion; or from tome peculiar fitness, or congruity between the objects and our particular make, or cast of mind, which is the pure arbitrary effect of our make; as in the reciprocal love of the sexes, and the antipathy we have at certain creatures.
Now the Divine Will, the dignity of our nature, and perfect rectitude, unite in requiring that every one of our passions, and appetites be properly directed, and exerted in a proper manner and degree; not that they be rooted out and destroyed, according to the romantic notion of the ancient Stoic Philosophers. It is in many cases equally unsuitable to the dignity of our nature, that the motions of our minds be too weak and languid,
as that they be too strong and vigorous. We may be as faulty in not sufficiently loving God and Virtue, as in loving the vanities of this world too much,
Previous to what may be more particularly observed on the conduct of the natural inclinations or passions of the mind, it may be proper briefly to mention fome general directions, which will be found of absolute necessity toward our undertaking the bufiness of regulating our passions with any reasonable prospect of success.
The first preparatory direction I shall give, is, To habituate ourselves as early, and as constantly as possible, to confideration.
The faculty or capacity of thought is what raises our nature above the animal. But if we do not use this noble faculty for the purpose of distinguishing between right and wrong, for finding out, and practising our duty, we had been as well without it. Nay, the beasts have the advantage of those of our species, who act the part of beasts; in as far as they are not capable of being called to an account, or punished, as unthinking men, for the neglect or abuse of the noblest of God's good good gifts,—sacred reason. It is dreadful to think of the conduct of by far the greatest part of our species, in respect of inconsiderateness. Mankind seem to think, nothing more is necessary, to remove at once all guilt, than only to drown all thought and reflection, and then give themselves up to be led or driven at the pleasure of passion or appetite. But how will those poor unthinking creatures be hereafter confounded, when they find the voluntary neglect of thought and confideration treated as a most atrocious insult upon the goodness of the Author of our being! And what indeed can be more impious, or contemptuous, than for beings endowed with a capacity of thought and understanding, to spurn from them the inestimable gift of heaven, or bury that talent which was given them to be used for the most important purposes of distinguishing between good and evil
, and pursuing their own happiness, and then pretend, in excuse for all the madness they are guilty of, that they did not think, because they cared not to take the pains ?
If thought be the very foundation of the dignity of our nature ; if one man is preferable to another, according as he exerts more reason, and shews more understanding in his conduct, what must be said of those, who glory in what ought to be their shame, in degrading themselves to the level of inferior beings?
Especially, what prospect dous the present age yield, in which we seem to vie with one another, who shall carry pleasure and vanity, to the greatest height, and who thall do the most to discountenance sober thought, and regular conduct? To determine of times and seafons, and how long a nation may continue to flourish, in which luxury and extravagance have taken place of all that is rational and manly; is what I do not pretend to. But I appeal to those who best understand human nature, and the nature of government, and who know the history of other states and kingdoms, which have been corrupted in the same manner, whether we have not every thing to fear from the present universal inconfiderate diffolution of manners, and decay of virtue, public and private.' May heaven take into its own hands the reformation of a degenerate people ; and give comfort, and more agreeable prospects, to those who bleed inwardly for the decline of their finking country!
To return ; let any person consider the natural effets which an attentive and habitual confideration of his own character and conduct are likely to produce; and then judge, whether it is not his duty to refolve to act the part of a reasonable creature. With refpect to the conduct of his paflions and appetites, let a man make it his constant custom to spend some time every day in considering the following points, viz. Whether he indulges passion and appetite beyond the intention of nature ; whether, for example, he sets his heart upon gratifying the bodily appetites, for the sake of luxurious. indulgence, or if he only consults health, in eating, drinking, sleeping, and recreations; whether he gives himself up to anger upon small or no provocation ; whether he sets his love wholly upon the varities of life, or if he aspires habitually after something nobler than any worldly pursuit, and so of the reft
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man accustom himself to recollect every evening the misearriages of the day in respect of his passions and appetites, and he will foon find, if he be faithful to himself, which are prevalent, and ought to be subdued.
Unless we can bring our minds to fome tolerable degree of tranquillity and fobriety, we cannot hope to redress the irregularities of our passions and inclinations. What condition must that soul be in, which is continually engaged, and dittracted various ways after pleasure, horour, or riches? If any irregularity, or redundancy, springs up in such a mind, there it must abide, and flourish, and Itrengthen more and more, till it become too deeply rooted ever to be eradicated. How do we accordingly see the gay, the ambitious, and the covetous, give themselves to be driven in a perpetual whirl of amusen:ents and pursuits, to the absolute neglect of all that is worth attending to ? But if the men of business cannot find time, for getting of money, and the sons and daughters of pleasure are too much engaged in hearing music, feeing plays, and in the endless drudgery of the card-table ; to find time for getting acquainted with themselves, and regulating their minds, I can tell them one truth, and a terrible one; They muit find time to die, whether they have prepared themfelves for death or not.
Before any thing can be done to purpose toward bringing the passions under due subjection, it will be necessary to bring down high-fwelling pride and selfopinion, and to cultivate humility, the foundation of all virtues. For this purpose, it will be our wisdom to endeavour to view ourlelves in the light we may suppose we appear in before that Eye which sees all things exactly as they are. We are therefore to consider, that we do not appear to our Maker under the same diftinctions as we do to one another. He does not regard one as a king, another as a hero, or a third as a learned man! He looks down from where he fits enthroned above all conceivable height, through the vast scale of being, and beholds innumerable different orders, all gradually defcending from himself, the highest created nature infinitely inferior to his own original perfection! At a
very great distance below the summit of created excellence, and at the very lowelt degree of rational nature, we may suppose the All-comprehensive Eye to behold our humble species just rising above the animal rank! How poor a figure must we make before him in this our infancy of being, placed on this speck of creation, 'creeping about like insects for a day, and then sinking into the dust! Nor is this all. For what appearance must a set of such lawless beings as we are, make before that Eye which is too pure to look upon evil without abhorrence? How must we appear to perfect Reclitude and Purity, guilty and polluted as we are, and covered with the stains of wickedness, which are the disgrace of any rational nature? Is pride fit for such an order of creatures as we are, in our present state of humiliation and pollution ? Can we value ourselves upon any thing of our own ? Have we any thing, that we have not received ? And does any reatonable creature boast of what it owes to another? Have we not infinite reason to loathe ourselves, and to be covered with shame and confusion? And are shame and pride, in any respect, confilient?
The few advantages we poilets at present want only to be considered, to convince us how little they are to be boasted of. The whole of our bodily perfections may be summoned up in two words, strength, an:! beauty. As for the first, this is a poor qualification to boast of, in which we are, to say the least, equalled by the plodding ox, and stupid ass. Besides, it is but three days sickness, or the loss of a little blood, and a Hercules becomes as manageable as a child ! Who then would boast of what is so very precarious ?
As to beauty, that fatal ornament of the female part of our species, which has exhausted the human wit in raptures to its praise, which so often proves the misfortune of its poffeffor, and the disquiet of him who gives himself to the admiration of it; which has ruined cities, armies, and the virtue of thousands : What is beauty ? A pleasing glare of white and red reflected from a skin, incomparably exceeded by the glofly hue of the humble daily, which was made to be trod upon by every quadruped. The mild glitter ofaneye, outshone by every