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We estimate their importance, not as they really are, but as they affect us in our present state ; we undervalue and despise them.
Qu'en ses plus beaux habits l'Aurore au teint vera
We may also observe, that social and beneficent affections are in their own nature gay and exhilarating; and that, by extending their influence to other passions that are not opposed to them, they accelerate their motions and augment their vivacity. They animate, and even inAame the inferior appetites; and where reason, and other serious principles are not invested with supreme authority, they expose us to the anarchy of unlawful pas. L3
fions. There are many instances of menbetrayed into habits of profligacy and dif sipation, by the influence of their social affections. These men, disappointed and chagreened with the world, and consequently, with every pleasure, to whose energy the love of society contributed, consider the enjoyments arising from inferior appetites, not as they really are, when governed, and guided by reason, but immoderate and pernicious, agreeably to their own experience. Reformed profligates are in general the most eloquent teachers of abstinency, and self-denial. Polemo, converted by Xenocrates from a course of, wild extravagance, became eminent in the school of Plato. The wisdom of Solomon
401 was, in like manner, the child of folly. And the melancholy Jaques would not, have moralized so profoundly, had he not been, as we are told in the play, a dif. sipated and sensual libertine,
To the foregoing observations, and to the confiftency of Jaques's character, one thing may be objected: He is fond of music, But surely music is an enjoyment of sense; it affords pleasure; it is admitted to every joyous scene, and augments their gaiety. How can this be explained ?
Though action seems effential to our happiness, the mind never exerts itself, unless it be actuated by some passion or desire. Thinking appears to be necessary to its existence; for surely that quality is necessary, without which the object cannot be conceived. But the existence of think. ing depends upon thoughts or ideas : And, consequently, whether the mind is active or not; ideas are present to the thinking faculty. The motions and laws observed by our thoughts in the impressions they make on us, vary according as the soul may be influenced by various paflions. At one time, they move with incredible celesity; they seem to rush upon us in the
wildest disorder; and those of the most opposite character and complexion unite in the same assemblage. At other times, they are slow, regular, and uniform. Now, it is obvious, that their rapidity must be occasioned by the eagerness of an impelling passion, and that their wild extravagance proceeds from the energies of various palsions operating at once or alternately, Paffions, appetites, and desires are the principles of action, and govern the motions of our thoughts : Yet they are themselves dependent: They depend on our present humour, or state of mind, and on our temporary capacity of receiving pleasure or pain. It is always to obtain some enjoyment, or to avoid some pain or uneasiness, that we indulge the violence of desire, and enter eagerly into the hurry of thoughts and of action. But, if we are languid and desponding, if melancholy diffuses itself through the soul, we no longer cherish the gay illusions of hope ;
no pleasure seems worthy of our attention ; we reject consolation, and brood over the images of our distress. In this state of
d, we are animated by no vigorous or lively passion ; our thoughts are quickened by no violent impulse; They resemble one another: We frequently return to the same images : Our tone of mind continues the same, unless a desire or with intervenes, that our condition were some how different; and as this suggests to us a state of circumstances and events very different from what we suffer, our affiliction is aggravated by the contrast, and we sink into deeper sorrow. Precisely agreeable to this description, is the character of melancholy music. The sounds, that is, the ideas it conveys to the mind, move slowly; they partake of little variety, or, if they are considerably varied, it is by a contrast that heightens the expression. The idea of a sound has certainly no resemblance to that of a misfortune :