Puslapio vaizdai
[merged small][ocr errors]


by reiterated views, is swelled into a passion involving desire of that person's happiness; and this defiçe being often put in exercise, works gradually a change internally, and at last produceth in me a settled habit of affection for that person, now my friend : affection thus produced, operates precisely like an original propensity; for to. enliven it into a passion, no more is required but the real or ideal presence of the object. The habit of aversion or of hatred is brought on in the same And here I must observe by the

way, that love and hatred signify commonly affection and aversion, not passion. The bulk of our paffions, are indeed affection or aversion inflamed into a passion by different circumstances : the affection of love I bear to my son, is inflamed into the passion of fear when he is in danger; becomes hope when he hath a prospect of good fortune; becomes admiration when he performs a laudable action; and shame when he commits any wrong: aversion becomes fear when there is a prospect of good fortune to my enemy; becomes hope when he is in danger; becomes joy when he is in diftress; and sorrow when a laudable action is

pera formed by him.

Fourthly, passions generally have a tendency to excess, occasioned by the following means. The mind affected by any passion, is not in a proper state for distinct perception nor cool reflection : on the contrary, it always hath a strong bias to the object of an agreeable passion, and a bias not less




[ocr errors]


strong against the object of a disagreeable paffion. The object of love, for example, however indifferent to others, is to the lover's conviction a paragon; and of hatred, is vice itfelf without alloy. What lefs can fuch delusion operate, than to swell the paffion beyond what it was at first? for if the seeing or conversing with a fine woman, have had the effect to carry me from indifference to love; how much stronger must her influence be, when now 'to my conviction the has become an angel ? and hatred as well as other paffions must run the fame course. Thus between a paffion and its object there is a natural operation, refembling action and reaction in physics : a paffion acting upon its object, magnifies it greatly in appearance; and this magnified object reacting upon the passion, fwells and inflames it mightily.

Fifthly, the growth of fome paffions depends often on occasional circumstances : obstacles to gratification, for instance, never fail to augment and inflame a passion ; because a constant endeavour to remove an obstacle, preserves the object of the passion ever in view, which swells the paffion by impressions frequently reiterated : thus the restraint of conscience, when an obstacle to love, agitates the mind and inflames the paffion :


[ocr errors]

Quod licet, ingratum eft : quod non licet, acrius urit.
Si nunquam Danaën habuisset ahenea turris,
Non effet Danaë de Jove facta parens.

Ovid, Amor. I. 2.


At the same time, the mind, distressed with the obstacle, becomes impatient for want of -gratification, and consequently more desirous of it. Shakespear expresses this observation finely :

[ocr errors][merged small]

We need no better example than a lover who hath many rivals. . Even the caprices of a mistress have the effect to inflame love: these occasioning uncertainty of success, tend naturally to make the anxious lover overvalue the happiness of fruition.

So much upon the growth of passions: their continuance and decay come next under consideration.. And, first, it is a general law of nature, That things sudden in their growth, are equally sudden in their decay. This is commonly the case of anger. And with respect to wonder and surprise, which also suddenly decay, another reason concurs, that their causes are of short duration : novelty foon degenerates into familiarity; and the unexpectedness of an object, is foon funk in the pleasure that the object affords. Fear, which is a passion of greater importance as tending to self-preservation, is often instantaneous; and yet is of equal duration with its cause : nay it frequently subsists after the cause is removed.

In the next place, a passion founded on a peculiar propensity, subsists generally for ever; which

; is the case of pride, envy, and malice: objects VOL.I.



are never wanting to inflame the propensity into a passion.

Thirdly, it may be laid down as a general law of nature, That every passion ceases upon attaining its ultimate end. To explain this law, we must distinguish between a particular and a general end. I call a particular end what may be accomplished by a single act: a general end, on the contrary, admits acts without number; because it cannot be faid, that a general end is ever fully accomplished, while the object of the passion subfists. Gratitude and revenge are examples of the first kind : the ends they aim at may be accomplished by a single act; and when this act is performed, the passions are necessarily at an end. Love and hatred are examples of the other kind: the desire of doing good or of doing mischief to an individual, is a general end, which admits acts without number, aud which seldom is fully accomplished: therefore these passions have frequently the same duration with their objects,

Lastly, it will afford us another general view, to consider the difference between an original propensity, and affection or aversion produced by custom. The former adheres too close to the conftitution ever to be eradicated; and for that rea

! fon, the passions to which it gives birth, continue during life with no remarkable diminution. The latter, which owe their birth and increment to time, owe their decay to the fame cause : affection and aversion decay gradually as they grow;


and accordingly long absence extinguisheth hatred as well as love. Affection decays more gratíually between persons who, living together, have daily occasion to testify mutually their good-will and kindness : and when affection is decay'd, habit supplies its place; for it makes these persons necessary to each other, by the pain of separation *. Affection to children hath a long endurance, longer perhaps than any other affection : its growth keeps pace with that of its objects: they display new beauties and qualifications daily, to feed and augment the affection : but whenever the affection becomes stationary, it must begin to decay; with a flow pace indeed, in proportion to its increment. In short, man with respect to this life, is a temporary being: he grows, becomes stationary, decays; and so must all his powers and passions.

[blocks in formation]



10 have a thorough knowledge of the human

passions and emotions, it is not sufficient that they be examined singly and separately: as a plurality of them are sometimes felt at the same

• Sec chap. 14.



« AnkstesnisTęsti »