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be happy all the while this prodigious mass of sand was consuming by this slow method till there was not a grain of it left, on condition you were to be miserable for ever after; or supposing that you might be happy for ever after, on condition you would be miserable till the whole mass of sand were thus annihilated at the rate of one sand in a thousand years: which of these two cases would you make your choice?
It must be confessed in this case, so many thousands of years are to the imagination as a kind of eternity, though in reality they do not bear so great a proportion to that duration which is to follow them, as a unit does to the greatest number which you can put together in figures, or as one of those sands to the supposed heap. Reason therefore tells us, without any manner of hesitation, which would be the better part in this choice. However, as I have before intimated, our reason might in such a case be so overset by the imagination, as to dispose some persons to sink under the consideration of the great length of the first part of this duration, and of the great distance of that second duration, which is to succeed it. The mind, I say, might give itself up to that happiness which is at hand, considering that is so very near, and that it would last so very long. But when the choice we actually have before us is this, whether we will choose to be happy for the space of only threescore and ten years, nay, perhaps, of only twenty or ten years, I might say of only a day or an hour, and miserable to all eternity; or, on the contrary, miserable for this short term of years, and happy for a whole eternity; what words are sufficient to express that folly and want of consideration which in such a case makes a wrong choice?
I here put the case even at the worst, by supposing (what seldom happens) that a course of virtue makes us miserable in this life; but if we suppose (as it generally happens) that virtue will make us more happy, even in this life, than a contrary course of vice; how can we sufficiently admire the stupidity or madness of those persons who are capable of making so absurd a choice!
Every wise man, therefore, will consider this life only as it may conduce to the happiness of the other, and cheer
But to what horrid deviations from these benevolent intentions are we daily witnesses! No small part of mankind derive their chief amusements from the deaths and sufferings of inferior animals; a much greater, consider them as only engines of wood, or iron, useful in their several occupations. The carman drives his horse, and the carpenter his nail, by repeated blows; and so long as these produce the desired effect, and they both go, they neither reflect nor care whe ther either of them have any sense of feeling. The butcher knocks down the stately ox, with no more compassion than the blacksmith hammers a horse-shoe; and plunges his knife into the throat of the innocent lamb, with as little reluctance as the tailor sticks his needle into the collar of a coat.
If there are some few, who, formed in a softer mould, view with pity the sufferings of these defenceless creatures, there is scarce one who entertains the least idea, that justice or gratitude can be due to their merits, or their services. The social and friendly dog is hanged without remorse, if, by barking in defence of his master's person and property, he happens unknowingly to disturb his rest: the generous horse, who has carried his ungrateful master for many years with ease and safety, worn out with age and infirmities, contracted in his service, is by him condemned to end his miserable days in a dust-cart; and the sluggish bear, in contradiction to his nature, is taught to dance, for the diversion of a malignant mob, by placing red-hot irons under his feet. These, with innumerable other acts of cruelty, injustice, and ingratitude, are every day committed, not only with impunity, but without censure, and even without observation; but we may be assured, that they cannot finally pass away unnoticed and unretaliated. JENYNS.
37.-EFFECTS OF SYMPATHY IN THE DISTRESSES OF OTHERS.
To examine this point concerning the effect of tragedy in a proper manner, we must previously consider, how we are affected by the feelings of our fellow-creatures in circumstances of real distress. I am convinced we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes
and pains of others; for, let the affection be what it will in appearance, if it does not make us shun such objects, if, on the contrary, it induces us to approach them, if it makes us dwell upon them; in this case I suppose we must have a delight or pleasure, of some species or other, in contemplat ing objects of this kind. Do we not read the authentic histories of scenes of this nature with as much pleasure as romances or poems, where the incidents are fictitious? The prosperity of no empire, and the grandeur of no king, can so agreeably affect in the reading as the ruin of the state of Macedon, and the distresses of its unhappy prince. Such a catastrophe touches us in history as much as the destruction of Troy does in fable. Our delight, in cases of this kind, is very greatly heightened, if the sufferer be some excellent person who sinks under an unworthy fortune. Scipio and Cato are both virtuous characters; but we are more deeply affected by the violent death of the one, and the ruin of the great cause he adhered to, than with the deserved triumphs and uninterrupted prosperity of the other; for terror is a passion which always produces delight when it does not press too close, and pity is a passion accompanied with pleasure, because it arises from love and social affection. Whenever we are formed by nature to any active purpose, the passion which animates us to it is attended with delight, or a pleasure of some kind, let the subject matter be what it will; and as our Creator has designed we should be united together by so strong a bond as that of sympathy, he has therefore twisted along with it a proportionable quantity of this ingredient; and always in the greatest proportion where our sympathy is most wanted, in the distresses of others. If this passion was simply painful, we should shun, with the greatest care, all persons and places that could excite such a passion; as some, who are so far gone in indolence as not to endure any strong impression, actually do. But the case is widely different with the greater part of mankind; there is no spectacle we so eagerly pursue as that of some uncommon and grievous calamity; so that whether the misfortune is before our eyes, or whether they are turned back to it in history, it always touches with delight; but it is not an unmixed delight, but blended with no small uneasiness. The delight we have in
fully sacrifice the pleasures of a few years to those of an eternity.
42.-LUXURY AND AVARICE."
MOST of the trades, professions, and ways of living among mankind, take their original either from the love of pleasure or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into Luxury, and the latter into Avarice.
When a government flourishes in conquests, and is secure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money, by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury very often become one complicated principle of nature in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that, in his time, when the most formidable states of the world were subdued by the Romans, the republic sunk into these two vices of a quite different nature, luxury and avarice; and accordingly describes Catiline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his own. This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in its height of power and riches, holds good of all governments that are settled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in pomp and splendour, and, having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoyment of all the pleasures they can get into their possession; which naturally produces avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.
As I was humouring myself in the speculation of these two great principles of action, I could not forbear throwing my thoughts into a little kind of allegory or fable, with which I shall here present my reader.
There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a perpetual war against each other: the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of
them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of mankind. Luxury had many generals under him, who did him great service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp, and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness; he had likewise a privy counsellor who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear: the name of this privy counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice had conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, and concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his sight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various. Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; nay, the same person would very often side with one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed the wise men of the world stood neuter; but, alas! their numbers were not considerable. At length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors was to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy, with a frankness of heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the instigations of Poverty, that pernicious counsellor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundless apprehensions and prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first minister of his antagonist) to be a much more destructive counsellor than Poverty; for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures, banishing all the necessary cautions against want, and consequently undermining those principles on which the government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary, that each of them should immediately dismiss his privy counsellor. When things were thus far