Puslapio vaizdai

nation, and makes us, with avidity, fearch for the fame gratification in whatever other object it can be found. And thus frequency and uniformity in gratifying the fame paffion upon difierent objects, produceth at the long-run a habit. In this manner, one acquires an habitual delight in high and poignant fauces, rich drefs, fine equipages, crowds of company, and in whatever is commonly termed pleasure. There concurs at the fame time, to introduce this habit, a peculiarity obferved above, that reiteration of acts enlarges the capacity of the mind, to admit a more plentiful gratification than originally, with regard to frequency as well as quantity.

Hence it appears, that though a specific habit cannot be formed but upon a moderate pleasure, a generic habit may be formed with refpect to a'ny fort of pleasure, moderate or immoderate, that hath variety of objects. The only difference is, that a weak pleasure runs naturally into a fpecific habit; whereas an intenfe pleasure is altogether averfe to fuch a habit. In a word, it is only in fingular cafes that a moderate pleasure produces a generic habit; but an intense pleafure cannot produce any other habit.

The appetites that refpect the preservation and propagation of the fpecies, are formed into habit in a peculiar manner: the time as well as measure of their gratification are much under the power of cuftom; which, by introducing a change upon the body, occafions a proportional change

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change in the appetites. Thus, if the body be gradually formed to a certain quantity of food at regular times, the appetite is regulated accordingly; and the appetite is again changed, when a different habit of body is introduced by a different practice. Here it would feem, that the change is not made upon the mind, which is commonly the cafe in paffive habits, but upon the body.

When rich food is brought down by ingredients of a plainer taste, the composition is fufceptible of a specific habit. Thus the fweet tafte of fugar, rendered lefs poignant in a mixture, may, in course of time, produce a specific habit for fuch mixture. As moderate pleasures, by be→ coming more intenfe, tend to generic habits; fo intense pleasures, by becoming more moderate, tend to specific habits.

The beauty of the human figure, by a special recommendation of nature, appears to us fupreme, amid the great variety of beauteous forms bestow'd upon animals. The various degrees in which individuals enjoy this property, render it an object, fometimes of a moderate, fometimes of an intense paffion. The moderate paffion, admitting frequent reiteration without diminution, and occupying the mind without exhaufting it, becomes gradually stronger till it settle ina habit. Nay more, inftances are not wanting, of an ugly face, at first difagreeable, afterward rendered indifferent by familiarity, and at the long-run agreeable

able by cuftom.

On the other hand, confummate beauty, at the very first view, fills the mind fo as to admit no increase. Enjoyment in this cafe leffens the pleasure *; and if often repeated, ends commonly in fatiety and difguft. The impreffions made fucceffively by confummate beauty, ftrong at firft, and gradually becoming faint, constitute a series opposite to that of faint impreffions waxing gradually stronger, till they produce a fpecific habit. But the mind, when accustomed to beauty, contracts a relish for it in general, though often repelled from particular objects by the pain of fatiety and thus a generic habit is formed, of which inconftancy in love is the neceffary confequence; for a generic habit, comprehending every beautiful object, is an invincible obstruction to a specific habit, which is confined to one.

But a matter which is of great importance to the youth of both fexes, deferves more than a curfory view. Though the pleafant emotion of beauty differs widely from the corporeal appetite, yet both coinciding may be directed to the fame object; and when that is the cafe, they produce a very strong complex paffion † ; which is incapable of increase, because the mind, as to pleafure, is limited rather more than as to pain: enjoyment in this cafe must be exquifite; and therefore more apt to produce fatiety, than in any o

* See chap. 2. part 3.

+ See chap. 2. part 4.


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ther cafe whatever.

This is a never-failing effect, where confummate beauty in the one party, meets with a warm imagination and great fenfibility in the other. What I am here explaining, is true without exaggeration; and they must be infenfible upon whom this doctrine makes no impreffion it deferves well to be pondered by the young and the amorous, who in forming the matrimonial fociety, are too often blindly impelled by the animal pleafure merely, inflamed by beauty. It may indeed happen, after this pleasure is gone, and go it must with a fwift pace, that a new connection is formed upon more dignified and more lafting principles: but this is a dangerous experiment; for even fuppofing good fenfe, good temper, and internal merit of every fort, which is a very favourable fuppofition, yet a new connection upon thefe qualifications is rarely formed: it generally, or rather always happens, that fuch qualifications, the only folid foundation of an indiffoluble connection, are rendered altogether invifible, by fatiety of enjoyment creating difguft.

One effect of cuftom, different from any that have been explained, muft not be omitted, because it makes a great figure in human nature: Though custom augments moderate pleasures, f and leffens those that are intenfe, it has a different effect with refpect to pain; for it blunts the edge of every fort of pain and diftrefs, faint or aUninterrupted mifery, therefore, is at



tended with one good effect: if its torments be inceffant, cuftom hardens us to bear them.

The changes made in forming habits, are curious. Moderate pleafures are augmented gradually by reiteration, till they become habitual; and then are at their height: but they are not long stationary; for from that point they gradually decay, till they vanish altogether. The pain occafioned by want of gratification, runs a different course it increafes uniformly; and at last becomes extreme, when the pleasure of gratification is reduced to nothing:

It fo falls out,

That what we have we prize not to the worth,
While we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue that poffeffion would not shew us
Whilft it was ours.

Much ado about nothing, act 4. fc. 2.

The effect of custom with relation to a fpecific habit, is difplay'd through all its varieties in the ufe of tobacco. The taste of this plant is at first extremely unpleasant: our disgust leffens gradually, till it vanish altogether; at which period the tafte is neither agreeable nor difagreeable: continuing the ufe of this plant, we begin to relish it; and our relish improves by ufe, till it arrive at perfection: from this period it gradually decays, while the habit is in a state of increment, and confequently the pain of want. The refult

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