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of which it is the evidence. For let any one impartially confider, which of thefe characters he esteems the better; his, who interests himself in the injuries of his friend, and zealously defends him with perfect calmness and serenity of temper; or his, who pursues the same conduct under the influence of refentment.
If anger then is neither useful nor commendable, it is certainly the part of wisdom to suppress it entirely. We hould rather confine it, you tell us, within certain bounds. But how shall we ascertain the limits, to which it may, and beyond which it ought not to pass ? When we receive a manifest injury, it seems we may refent it, provided we do it with moderation. When we suffer a worse abufe, our anger, I suppose, may rise fomewhat higher. Now as the degrees of injustice are infinite, if our anger must always be proportioned to the occafion, it may possibly proceed to the utmost extravagance. Shall we set bounds to our resentment while we are yet calm? how can we be assured, that being once let loose, it will not carry us beyond them? or shall we give passion the reins, imagining we can resume them at pleasure, or trusting it will tire or stop itself, as soon as it has run to its proper length ? As well might we think of giving laws to a tempest; as well might we endeavour to run məd by rule and method.
In reality, it is much easier to keep ourselves void of resentment, than to restrain it from excess, when it has gained admision; for if reason, while her strength is yet entire, is not able to preserve her dominion, what can she do when her enemy has in part prevailed and weakened her force ? Touse the illustration of an excellent author, we can prevent the beginnings of some things, whose progress afterwards we cannot hinder. We can forbear to calt ourselves down from
a precipice, but if once we have taken the fatal leap, we mult defcend, whether we will or no. Thus the mind, if duly cautious, may stand firm upon the rock of tranquillity; but if she rafhly forsakes the summit, she can scarce recover herself, but is hurried away downwards by her own paffion, with increasing violence.
Do not say, that we exhort you to attempt that which is impossible. Nature has put it in our power to resist the motions of anger. We only plead inability, when we want an excuse for our own negligence. Was a passionate man to førfeit a hundred pounds, as often as he was angry, or was hę sure he must die the next moment after the first fally of his passion, we should find, he had a great command of his temper, whenever he could prevail upon bimself to exercise a proper attention about it. And shall we not esteem is worthy of equal attention, worthy of our utmost care and pains, to obtain that immoveable tranquillity of mind, without which we cannot relis either life itself, or any of its enjoy. ments? - Upon the whole then, we both may and ought, not merely to restrain, but extirpate anger. It is impatient of rule; in proportion as it prevails, it will disquiet our minds; it has nothing commendable in itself, nor will it answer any valuable purpose in life.
CH A P.
VIRTUE OUR HIGHEST INTEREST.
FIND myself existing upon a littlę spot, surrounded
every way by an immenfe unknown expansion.- Where am I? What sort of place do I inhabit ? Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience? Is there no excess of cold, none of heat, to offend me? Am I never annoyed by animals, either of my own kind, or a dif. ferent? Is every thing subfervient to me, as though I had order'd all myself?-No-nothing like it - the fartheft from it possible--The world appears not then originally made for the private convenience of me alone ? --It does not. - But is it not poflible so to accommodate it, by my own particular industry i — If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth; if this be beyond me, 'tis not pofsible - What consequence then follows ? Or can therę bę any other than this-If I seek an interest of my own, detached from that of others; I seek an interest which is chi. merical, and can never have existence.
there letters ; hours, abilities
How then must I determine? Have I no interest at all? -If I have not, I am a fool for staying here. 'Tis a smoaky house, and the sooner out of it the better. - But why no intereft :-Can I be contented with nonę, but one Separate and detached? Is a focial interest joined with others such an absurdity, as not to be admitted? The bee, the beaver, and the tribes of herding animals, are enough to convince me, that the thing is, somewhere at least, poffibię. How then am I affured, that 'tis not equally true of man : Admit it; and what follows? - If so, then, Honour and Justice are my intereft-then the whole train of Moral Virtues are my interest; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.
But farther still--I stop not here-I pursue this social interest, as far as I can trace my several relations. I pass from my own stock, my own neighbourhood, my own nation, to the whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth. Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of commerce ; by the general intercourse of arts and letters; by that common nature, of which we all participate! Again -I must have food and clothing.– Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perifh. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself? To the distant fun, from whose beams I derive vigour? To that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of hea. ven, by which the times and seafons ever uniformly pass on?
Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment; fo absolutely do I depend on this common general welfare.
What then have I to do, but to enlarge Virtue into Piety? Not only honour and justice, and what I owe to man, is my intereft; but gratitude also, acquiescence, refignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its greater Governor, our common Parent.
But if all these moral and divine habits be my interest, I need not surely seek for a better. I have an interest compatible with the spot on which I live-I have an interest which may exist, without altering the plan of Providence; without mending or marring the general order of events.-I can bear whatever happens with manlike magnanimity; can be contented, and fully happy in the good which I possess'; and can pass through this turbid, this fickle, fleeting period, without bewailings, or envyings, or murmurings, or complaints.
LL men pursue Good, and would be happy, if they
hours, but happy, if possible, through every part of their existence. Either therefore there is a good of this steady durable kind, or there is none. If none, then all good must be transient and uncertain and if so, an object of lowest value, which can little deserve either our attention, or inquiry. But if there be a better good, such a good as we are seeking ; like every other thing, it must be derived from some cause; and that cause must be either external, internal, or mixed, in as much as except these three, there is no other poflible. Now a steady, durable good, cannot be derived from an external cause, by reason all derived from externals must fluctuate, as they fluctuate. By the same rule, not from a mixture of the two; because the part which is external will proportionally destroy its essence. What then remains but the cause internal; the very cause which we have fupposed, when we place the Sovereign Good in Mind--in Rectitude of Conduct ?
CH A P.
ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
MONG other excellent arguments for the immortality
of the Soul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progress of the soul to its perfeion, without a possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have written on this subject, though it seems to' me to carry a great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the foul, which is capable of such immense perfections, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created! Are such