Puslapio vaizdai

into action by natural impulse singly, is neither focial nor felfifh: when exerted with a view to gratification, it is felfifh: when the motive of giving pleasure to its object is fuperadded, it is partly focial, partly selfish. A just action, when prompted by the principle of duty folely, is neither focial nor selfish. When I perform an act of justice with a view to the pleasure of gratification, the action is felfifh: I pay debt for my own fake, not with a view to benefit my creditor. But fuppofe the money has been advanced by a friend without intereft, purely to oblige me: in that cafe, together with the motive of gratification, there arifes a motive of gratitude, which respects the creditor folely, and prompts me to act in order to do him good; and the action is partly focial, partly felfifh. Suppose again I meet with a furprifing and unexpected act of generofity, that infpires me with love. to my benefactor, and the utmost gratitude: I burn to do him good: he is the fole object of my defire; and my own pleasure in gratifying the defire, vanisheth out of fight: in this cafe, the action I perform is purely

fifh motives. To enjoy the pleasure of a virtuous action, one must be virtuous; and to enjoy the pleasure of a charitable action, one must think charity laudable at leaft, if not a duty. It is otherwife where a man gives charity merely for the fake of oftentation; for this he may do without having any pity or benevolence in his temper.


focial. Thus it happens, that when a focial motive becomes ftrong, the action is exerted with a view fingly to the object of the paffion, and felf never comes in view. The fame effect of ftifling selfish motives, is equally remarkable in other paffions that are in no view focial. An action, for example, done to gratify my ambitious views, is felfifh; but if my ambition become headstrong, and blindly impel me to action, the action is neither selfish nor focial. flight degree of refentment, where my chief view in acting is the pleasure arising to myself from gratifying the paffion, is justly denominated felfish where revenge flames fo high as selfish : to have no other aim but the deftruction of its object, it is no longer selfish; but, in oppofition to a focial paffion, may be termed diffocial*.


When this analyfis of human nature is confidered, not one article of which can with truth be controverted, there is reafon to be furprised at the blindness of fome philofophers, who, by dark and confufed notions, are led to deny all

This word, hitherto not in ufc, feems to fulfil all that is required by Demetrius Phalereus (Of Elocution, Je?. 96.) in coining a new word: first, that it be perfpicucus; and next, that it be in the tone of the language; that we may not, fays our author, introduce among the Grecian vocables, words that found like thofe of Phrygia or Scythia.




motives to action but what arise from self-love. Man, for aught appears, might poffibly have been fo framed, as to be fufceptible of no paffions but what have felf for their object: but man thus framed, would be ill fitted for society: his conftitution, partly selfish, partly focial, fits him much better for his prefent fituation *.

Of self, every one hath a direct perception; of other things we have no knowledge but by means of their attributes: and hence it is, that of felf the perception is more lively than of any other thing. Self is an agreeable object; and, for the reafon now given, muft be more agreeable than any other object. Is this fufficient to account for the prevalence of felf-lové?

In the foregoing part of this chapter it is fuggefted, that fome circumstances make beings or things fit objects for defire, others not. This hint ought to be purfued. It is a truth afcertained

As the benevolence of many human actions is beyond the poffibility of doubt, the argument commonly infisted on for reconciling fuch actions to the selfish fyftem, is, that the only motive I can have to perform a benevolent action, or an action of any kind, is the pleasure that it affords me. So much then is yielded, that we are pleafed when we do good to others: which is a fair admiffion of the principle of benevolence; for without that principle, what pleasure could one have in doing good to others? And admitting a principle of benevolence, why may it not be a motive to action, as well as felfishnefs is, or any other principle?


by univerfal experience, that a thing which in our apprehension is beyond reach, never is the object of defire; no man, in his right senses, defires to walk on the clouds, or to defcend to the centre of the earth: we may amuse ourselves in a reverie, with building caftles in the air, and wishing for what can never happen; but fuch things never move defire. And indeed a defire to do what we are fenfible is beyond our power, would be altogether abfurd. In the next place, though the difficulty of attainment with respect to things within reach, often inflames defire; yet, where the profpect of attainment is faint, and the event extremely uncertain, the object, however agreeable, feldom raifeth any trong defire: thus beauty, or any other good quality, in a woman of rank, feldom raifes love in a man greatly her inferior. In the third place, different objects, equally within reach, raise emotions in different degrees; and when defire accompanies any of thefe emotions, its ftrength, as is natural, is proportioned to that of its caufe. Hence the remarkable difference among defires directed to beings inanimate, animate, and rational: the emotion caused by a rational being, is out of measure stronger than any caused by an animal without reafon; and an emotion raifed by fuch an animal, is stronger than what is caused by any thing inanimate. There is a fe parate reason why defire of which a rational being is the object, fhould be the strongest: our defires

D 2

defires fwell by partial gratification; and the means we have of gratifying defire, by benefiting or harming a rational being, are without end: defire directed to an inanimate being, fufceptible neither of pleasure nor pain, is not capable of a higher gratification than that of acquiring the property. Hence it is, that though every emotion accompanied with defire, is strictly fpeaking a paffion; yet commonly none of these are denominated paffions, but where a fenfible being, capable of pleasure and pain, is the object.


Power of Sounds to raife Emotions and Paffions.

PON a review, I find the foregoing section


almost wholly employed upon emotions and paflions raised by objects of fight, though they are also raised by objects of hearing. As this happened without intention, merely because fuch objects are familiar above others, I find it proper to add a fhort fection upon the power of founds to raife emotions and paffions.

I begin with comparing founds and visible objects with respect to their influence upon the mind. It has already been obferved, that of all external objects, rational beings, especially of our own fpecies, have the most powerful influence in raising emotions and paffions; and, as


« AnkstesnisTęsti »