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proceed to confider paffion more at large, with respect especially to its power of producing ac
We have daily and conftant experience for our authority, that no man ever proceeds to action but through some antecedent defire or impulse. So well established is this obfervation, and fo deeply rooted in the mind, that we can fcarce imagine a different system of action: even a child will fay familiarly, What should make me do this or that, when I have no inclination to it? Taking it then for granted, that the existence of action depends on antecedent defire; it follows, that where there is no defire there can be no action. This This opens another fhining diftinction between emotions and paffions: the former, being without defire, are in their nature quiefcent; the latter, being accompanied with defire, have a tendency to action, and always produce action where they meet with no obstruction.
Hence it follows, that every paffion must have an object, viz. that being or thing to which it is directed, and with a view to which every action prompted by it is performed. And to what being or thing is a paffion directed? Plainly to the fame being or thing that occafioned it; which will be evident from induction. A fine woman causes in me the paffion of love, which is directed to her as its object: a man, by injuring me, raises my resentment, and becomes thereby the object of my refentment. Thus the cause of a
paffion, and its object, are the fame in different refpects. An emotion, on the other hand, being in its nature quiefcent, and merely a paffive feeling, must have a caufe; but cannot be faid, properly speaking, to have an object.
The objects of our paffions may be distinguished into two kinds, general and particular. A man, a house, a garden, is a particular object: fame, esteem, opulence, honour, are general objects, because each of them comprehends many particulars. The paffions directed to general objects are commonly termed appetites, in contradistinction to paffions directed to particular objects, which retain their proper name: thus we fay an appetite for fame, for glory, for conqueft, for riches; but we fay the paffion of friendship, of love, of gratitude, of envy, of refentment. And we must remark a material difference between appetites and paffions, which intitles them to be diftinguished by different names: the latter have no existence till a proper object be prefented; whereas the former exist first, and then are directed to an object; a paffion comes after its object; an appetite goes before it, which is obvious in the appetites of hunger, thirst, and animal love, and is the fame in the other appetites above mentioned.
Where the object is fo powerful as to make a deep impreffion, the mind is inflamed, and is hurried to action with a strong impulfe. Where the object is less powerful, fo as not to inflame the
mind, nothing is felt but defire without any fenfible perturbation: the principle of duty affords one illuftrious inftance; for it frequently generates defire, and moves us to act coolly and deliberately, fo foon as we conceive the action in view to be our duty: it only becomes a warm paffion, when the mind is inflamed by the importance of the object.
The actions of brute creatures are generally directed by instinct, meaning blind impulfe or defire without any view to confequences. Man is framed to be governed by reafon: he generally acts with deliberation, and in order to bring about fome defireable end; and in that cafe his actions are means employed to bring about the end defired; thus I give charity in order to relieve a perfon from want: I perform a grateful action as a duty incumbent on me and I fight for my country in order to repel its enemies. At the fame time, we discover actions in the human fpecies that are not governed by reason, nor with any view to confequences. Infants, like brutes, are mostly governed by instinct, without the least view to any end, good or ill. And even adult perfons act sometimes inftinctively: thus one in extreme hunger fnatches at food, without the flightest confideration whether it be falutary: avarice prompts to accumulate wealth without the leaft view of use; and thereby abfurdly converts means into an end; and animal love often hur
ries to fruition, without a thought even of gratification.
A paffion when it flames fo high as to impel us blindly to act without any view to confequences, good or ill, may in that ftate be termed inftinctive; and when it is fo moderate as to admit reafon, and to prompt actions with a view to an end, it may in that state be termed deliberative.
With refpect to actions exerted as means to an end, defire to bring about the end is what determines the will to exert the action; and defire confidered in this view is termed a motive: thus the fame mental act, that is termed defire with refpect to an end in view, is termed a motive with refpect to its power of determining the will. Inftinctive actions have a cause, viz. the impulfe of the paffion; but they cannot be faid to have a motive, because they are not done with any view to confequences.
We learn from experience, that the gratification of every defire is pleasant; and accordingly, the forefight of this pleasure becomes often an additional motive for acting. Thus a child eats by the mere impulfe of hunger: a young man thinks of the pleasure of gratification, which being a motive for him to eat, fortifies the original impulfe and a man farther advanced in life, hath the additional motive that it will contribute to his health.
From thefe premifes, it is eafy to determine,
with the greateft accuracy, what paffions and actions are felfish, what focial: it is the end in view that determines them to belong to the one clafs or to the other; where the end in view is my own good, they are felfish; where the end in view is the good of another, they are focial. Hence it follows, that inftinctive actions, where we act blindly and by mere impulfe, cannot be reckoned either focial or felfish; thus, eating, when prompted by an impulfe merely of nature, is neither focial nor felfish; but add a motive, That it will contribute to my pleasure or my health, and it becomes in a measure selfish. On the other hand, when affection moves me to exert actions to the end folely of advancing my friend's happiness, without the flightest regard to my own gratification, fuch actions are justly denominated focial; and fo is also the affection that is their caufe: if another motive be added, That gratifying the affection will contribute to my own happiness, the actions become partly felfish. If charity be given with the fingle view of relieving & perfon from diftrefs, the action is purely focial; but if it be partly in view to enjoy the pleasure of a virtuous action, the action is fo far felfifh *.
A felfish motive proceeding from a focial principle, fuch as that mentioned, is the moft refpectable of all felfifh 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 least, if not a duty. It is otherwise where a man gives charity, merely for the fake of reputation; for this he may do without having any pity or benevolence in his temper.