Puslapio vaizdai

I can make nothing of this action, till I discover with what intention the money is given:: if it be given to discharge a debt, the action pleases me in a slight degree: if it be a grateful return, I feel a stronger emotion; and the pleafant emotion rises to a great height, when it is the intention of the giver to relieve a virtuous family from want. Actions are thus qualified by intention : but they are not qualified by the eyent; for an action well intended gives pleasure, whatever be the consequence. Further, human actions are perceived to be right or wrong; and this perception qualifies the pleasure or pain that results from them *.



* In tracing our emotions and passions to their origin, my first thought was, that qualities and actions are the primary causes of emotions; and that these emotions are afterward expanded upon the being to which these qualities and actions belong. But I am now convinced that this opinion is erroneous. An attribute is not, cven in imagination, separable from the being to which it belongs; and for that reason, cannot of itself be the cause of any emotion. We have, it is true, no knowledge of any being or substance but by means of its attributes ; and therefore no being can be agree. able to us otherwise than by their means. But still, when an emo. tion is raised, it is the being itself, as we apprehend the matter, that raises the emotion; and it raises it by means of one or other of its attributes. If it be urged, That we can in idea abstract a quality from the thing to which it belongs ; it might be answered, That an abstract idea, which ferves excellently the purposes of reasoning, is too faint and too much strained to produce any fort of emotion. But it is sufficient for the present purpose to answer, That the eye never abstracts : by this organ we perceive things as they really exist, and never perceive a quality as separated from the


Emotions are raised in us, not only by the qualities and actions of others, but also by their feelings : I cannot behold a man in distress, without partaking of his pain; nor in joy, without partaking of his pleasure.

The beings or things above described, occasion emotions in us, not only in the original survey, but also when recalled to the memory in idea : a field laid out with taste, is pleasant in the recollection, as well as when under our eye: a generous action described in words or colours, occafions a sensible emotion, as well as when we see it performed : and when we reflect upon the distress of any person, our pain is of the same kind with what we felt when eye-witnesses. word, an agreeable or disagreeable object recalled to the mind in idea, is the occasion of a pleasant or painful emotion, of the same kind with that produced when the object was present: the only difference is, that an idea being fainter than an original perception, the pleasure or pain produced by the former, is proportionably fainter than that produced by the latter.

In a

[ocr errors]

fubje&t. Hence it must be evident, that emotions are raised, not by qualities abstractly considered, but by the substance or body so and so qualified. Thus a spreading oak raises a pleasant emotion, by means of its colour, figure, umbrage, &c.; it is not the colour Itrictly speaking that produces the emotion, but the tree as coloured: it is not the figure abstractly confidered that produces the emotion, but the tree considered as of a certain figure. And hence


it appears, that the beauty of such an object is com. plex, resolvable into several beauties more simple.


by the

C 3

[ocr errors]

Having explained the nature of an emotion, .and mentioned several causes by which it is produced, we proceed to an observation of considerable importance in the science of human nature, That desire follows fome emotions, and not others. The emotion raised by a fine landscape, a magnificent building, or a number of fine faces in a crowded assembly, is seldom accompanied with desire : but the bulk of emotions are accompanied with desire, provided only a fit object for desire be fuggeited; which is remarkably the case of emotions rais :d by human actions and qualities: a virtuous action raiseth in every spectator a pleasant emotion, which is geneșalļy attended with desire to befriend the author of the action: a vicious action, on the contrary, produceth a painful emotion, attended with desire to punish the delinquent, Even things inanimate often raise emoțions accompanied with desire.; witness the goods of fortune, which are objects of desire almost universally; and the desire, when immoderate, obtains the name of avarice : the pleasant emotion produced in a spectator by a capital picture in the poslession of a prince, is seldom followed by desire; but if such a picture be exposed to sale, defire of having or possessing is the natural consequence of the emoțion.

It is a truth verified by induction, that every passion is accompanied with desire; and if an emoțion be sometimes accompanied with desire, fometinęs not, it comes to be a material inquiry, in


[ocr errors]

what respect a passion differs from an emotion, Is passion in its nature or feeling distinguishable from emotion! I have been apt to think that there must be a distinction; but after the strictest examination, I cannot perceive any such distinction: what is love to a mistress, for example, but a pleasant emotion raised by a fight or idea of the person beloved, joined with desire of enjoyment ? in what else consists the pallion of resentment, but in a painful emotion occasioned by the injury, accompanied with desire to chastise the author of the injury? In general, as to passion of every kind, we find no more in its composition but the particulars now mentioned, an emotion pleasant or painful, accompanied with desire. What then fall we say upon this sub

Are passion and emotion synonymous terms? This cannot be averred; because no feeling nor agitation of the mind void of desire, is termed a passion; and we have discovered that there are many emotions which pass away without raising desire of any kind. How is the difficulty to be solved? There appears to me but one folution, which I relish the more, as it renders the doctrine of the passions and emotions simple and perspicuous. The solution follows. An internal motion or agitation of the mind, when it paffeth away without desire, is denominated an emotion: when desire follows, the motion or agitation is denominated a pasion. A fine face, for example, raiseth in me a pleasant feeling: if this




[merged small][ocr errors]

feeling vanish without producing any effect, it is in proper language an emotion; but if the feeling, by reiterated views of the object, become fufficiently strong to occasion desire, it is no longer termed an emotion, but a passion. The same holds in all the other passions: the painful feeling raised in a spectator by a slight injury done to a stranger, being accompanied with no defire of revenge, is termed an emotion; but this injury raiseth in the stranger a stronger emotion, which being accompanied with desire of revenge, is a passion : external expressions of distress produce in the spectator a painful feeling, which being sometimes so flight as to pass away without any effect, is an emotion; but if the feeling be fo strong as to prompt desire of affording relief, it is a passion, and is termed pity : envy is emulation in excess; if the exaltation of a competitor be barely disagreeable, the painful feeling is reckoned an emotion; if it produce desire to depress him, it is reckoned a paflion.

To prevent mistakes, it must be observed, that desire here is taken in its proper fenfe, viz. that internal act, which, by influencing the will, makes us proceed to action. Desire in a lax fense respects also actions and events that depend not on us, as when I desire that

desire that my friend may have a son to reprefent him, or that my country may flourish in arts and sciences: but such internal act is more properly termed a wish than a desire. Having distinguished passion from emotion, we


« AnkstesnisTęsti »