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which of these characters he esteems the better; his, who interests himself in the injuries of his friend, and zealously defends him with perfect calmness and serenity of temper; or his, who pursues the same conduct under the influence of reSentment.
If anger then is neither useful nor commendable, it is cera tainly the part of wisdom to suppress it entirely. We should rather confine it, you tell us, within certain bounds. But how shall we ascertain the limits, to which it may, and beyond which it ought not to pass ? When we receive a manifest injury, it seems we may refent it, provided we do it with moderation. When we suffer a worse abuse, our anger, I fuppose, may rise somewhat higher. Now, as the degrees of injustice are. infinite, if our anger must always be proportioned to the occasion, it may possibly proceed to the utmost extravagance. Shall we fet bounds to our resentment while we are yet calm? how can we be assured, that being once leti Joose, it will not carry us beyond them? or shall we give paflion the reins, imagining we can resume them at pleasure, or trufting it will tire or stop itself, as soon as it has run to its proper length ? As well might we think of giving laws to a tempeft; as well.might we endeavour to run mad by rule and method.
In reality, it is much easier to keep ourselves void of resentment, than to restrain it from excess, when it has gained ad. miffion; for if Reafon, while her strength is yet entire, is not able to preserve her dominion, what can me do when her ene. my has in part prevailed and weakened her force? To use the illustration of an excellent author, we can prevent the beginnings of some things, whose progress afterwards we cannot hinder. We can forbear to cast ourselves down from a precio pice, but if once we have taken the fatalleap, we must descend,
whether we will or no. Thus the mind, if duly cautious, may fiand firm upon the rock of tranquillity; but if the salhly forsakes the summit, she can scárce recover herself, but is hurried away downwards by her own passion, with increasing violence.
Do not say that we exhort you to attempt that which is impossible. Nature has put it in our power to resist the mo.. tions of anger, We only plead inability, when we want an excuse for own negligence.. Was a passionate man to forfeit an hundred pounds, as often as he was angry, or was he sure he must die the next moment after the first fally of his. raffion, we should find, he had a great command of his. temper, whenever he could prevail upon himself to exercise a proper attention about it. And shall we not esteem it. worthy of equal attention, worthy of our otmost care and pains, to obtain that immoveable tranquillity of mind, with
which we cannot relish either life itself, or any of its en.. joyments ?-Upon the whole then, we both may and ought, not merely to restrain, but extirpate anger. It is impatient of rule;, in proportion as it prevails, it will disquiet our minds ; it has nothing commendable in itself, nor will it answer any valuable purpose in life. .
VIRTUE OUR HIGHEST INTEREST. I
FIND myself existing upon a little spot, surrounded every way by an immense unknown expansion. Where am I? What sort of a place do I inhabit? Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience ? Is there no
excess of cold, none of heat, to offend me? Am I never annoyed by animals, either of my own kind, or a different? Is every thing subservient to me, as though I had ordered all myself ?-No-nothing like it—the farthest from it posfible.The world appears not then originally made for the private convenience of me alone?-It does not. But is it not possible fo to accommodate it, by my own particular industry ? --If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth; if this be beyond, me it is not posible-What confequence then follows i-Or can there be any other than this-If I seek an interest of my own, detached from that of others; I seek an interest which is chimerical, and can never have existence.
How then must I determine? Have I no interest at all? If I have not, I am a fool for staying here. It is a smoky house, and the sooner out of it the better. But why no intereft ? -Can I be contented with none, but one separate and detached ? - Is a social interest joined with others such an ab. furdity, as not to be admitted !The bee, the beaver, and the tribes of herding animals, are enough to convince me, that the thing is, fomewhere at least, posible. How then am I assured, that it is not equally true of man? -Admit it; and what follo:vs ?-f so, then Honour and Justice are my intereft--then the whole train of Moral Virtues are my interest ; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.
But farther still-I ftop not here I pursue this social intereit, as far as I can trace my several relations. I pass from my own flock, my own neighbourhood, my own nation, to the whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth.
Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of commerce; by the general intercourse of arts and letters; by that H4
common nature, of which we all participate ?- Again,
-I must have food and clothing-Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish-Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself? To the distant fun, from whose beams I derive vigour? To that ftupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and feafons ever uniformly pass on?
-Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment; fo absolntely do I depend on this common gene. Tal welfare.
WHAT then have I to do, but to enlarge Virtue into Piety? Not only honour and justice, and what I owe to man, is my interest; bat gratitude alfo, acquiescence, refignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its greater Governor, our common Parent.
But if all these moral and divine habits be my interest, I need not furely seek for a better. I have an interest com. patible with the spot on which I live-I have an interest which may exist, without altering the plan of Provi. dence; without mending or marring the general order of events.-I can bear whatever happens with manlike magnanimity; can be contented, and fully happy in the good which I poliess; and can pass through this turbid, this fickle, fleeting period, without bewailings, or envyings, or Igormurings, or complaints.
THE SAME SUBJECT. All men pursue Good, and would be happy, if they knew how : not happy for minutes, and miferable for
hours ; but happy, if pollbly, through every part of their existence. Either therefore there is a good of this steady durable kind, or there is none. If none, then all good must be transient and uncertain; and if so, an object of the lowest value, which can little deserve either our attention or inquiry. But if there be a better good, such a good as we are seeking; like every other thing, it must be derived from some cause; and that cause must be either external, internal, or mixed, in as much as except these three, there is no other postble. Now a steady, durable good, cannot be derived from an external cause; by reason, all derived from externals muft fluctuate, as they fluctuate. By the fame rule, not from a mixture of the two: because the part which is external will proportionally destroy its essence. What then remains but the cause internal; the very cause which we have supposed, when we place the Sovereign Good in Mind-in Rectitude of Conduct,
CHAP. IV. ON THE IMMORALITY OF THE SOUL. AMONG other excellent arguments for the immortality of the Soul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progress of the soul to its perfection, without a possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have written on this subject, tho' is seems to me to carry a great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the foul, which is capable of such immense perfections, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created! Are such abilities made for no