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their pursuits by a joyless desire of accu-mulating what they cannot consume themselves, and what they must leave to those who they know, have but little regard for them, and for whom they have but little regard.
A series of family cases in which a considerable degree of anxiety and painful sympathy have a good effect) greatly improves, and as it were mellows, the mind of man.
It is a kind of exercise and difcipline, which eminently fits him for great and generous conduct; and, in fact, makes him a superior kind of being, with respect to the generality of those who have had no family connections.
On the other hand, a course of lewd indulgence, without family cases, finks a man below his natural level. Promifcuous commerce gives an indelible vicious taint to the imagination, so that, to the latest term of life, those ideas will be
predominant, which are proper only to
youthful youthful vigour. And what in nature is more wretched, absurd, and despicable ; than to have the mind continually haunted with the idea of pleasures which cannot be enjoyed; and which ought to have been long abandoned, for entertainments more suited to years; and from which, if persons had been properly trained, they would, in the course of nature, have been prepared to receive much greater and superior satisfaction.
Besides, all the pleasures of the fexes in the human species, who cannot sink themselves so low as the brutes, depend much upon opinion, or particular mental attachment; and consequently, they are greatly heightened by sentiments of love and affetiion, which have no place with common prostirutes, or concubines, where the connection is only occasional or temporary, and consequently flight. Those persons, therefore, who give theinselves up to the lawless indulgence of their passions, besides being exposed to the most loathsome
and painful disorders, besides exhausting the powers of nature prematurely, and subjecting themselves to severe remorse of mind, have not (whatever they may fancy or pretend) any thing like the real pleasure and satisfaction that persons generally have in the married state,
As we ought not to make the gratification of our external senses the main end of life, so neither ought we to indulge our taste for the more refined pleasures, those called the pleasures of imagination, without some bounds. The cultivation of a taste for propriety, beauty, and sublimity, in objects natural or artificial, particularly for the pleasures of music, painting, and poetry, is very proper
younger life; as it serves to draw off the attention from gross animal gratifications, and to bring us a step farther into intellectual life; fo as to lay a foundation for higher attainments. But if we stop here, and devote
our whole time,' and all our faculties to these objects, we shall certainly fall short of the proper end of life. .
1. These objects, in general, only give pleasure to a certain degree, and are a source of more pain than pleasure when a person's taste is arrived to a certain pitch of correctness and delicacy: for then hardly any thing will please, but every thing will give disgust that comes not up to such an ideal standard of perfection as few things in this world ever reach : fo so that, upon the whole, in this life, at least in this country, a perfon whose taste is no higher than a mediocrity stands the best chance for enjoying the pleasures of imagination; and consequently all the time and application that is more than necessary to acquire this mediocrity of taste; or excellence in the arts respecting it, are wholly lost.
Since, however, the persons and objects with which a man is habitually converE
sant, are much in his own power, a considerable refinement of taste may not, perhaps, in all cases, impair the happiness of life, but, under the direction of prudence may multiply the pleasures of it, and give a perfon a more exquisite enjoyment of it.
2. Very great refinement of taste, and great excellence in those arts which are the object of it, are the parents of such excessive vanity, as exposes a man to a variety of mortifications, and disappointments in life. They are also very apt to produce envy, jealousy, peevishness, malice, and other dispositions of mind, which are both uneasy to a man's self, and disqualify him for contributing to the pleasure and happiness of others. This is more especially the case where a man's excellence lies chiefly in a single thing, which, from confining his attention to it, will be imagined to be of extraordinary consequence, while every other kind of excellence will be undervalued.