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PART II. less a reward to him who labours in them, that he may be acting CHAP. I. under the influence of an affection, also, in its own nature comSECT. II. placent and agreeable.
Even the vulgar are aware that to be happy, they must be employed, or have fomething to do; and it is obvious to the most fuperficial obferver; that life is agreeable chiefly to thofe, who, being engaged in fome just and honourable pursuit, in any laudable profeffion, public truft, or employment, do not embarrass themfelves with any thing beyond the discharge of their duty. In contrast with thefe, we may place the examples of others who are ever fo intent on the future as to neglect the prefent. Who fhrink from the duties of their station, under the notion of trouble, who decline any concern in the welfare of others, as an avocation from the care of their own. They would have fomething to do: But feem to think that their occupations fhould approach the nearest that is poffible to idleness. They fly from business for it seems to be a tafk. They do not confider how they may benefit others; for, that were to neglect themselves: but they fwim rivers and fcale precipices, because they are at liberty to do fo, and because they can afford the expence of horfes and dogs.
Living natures in general are distinguished by the exertions they are qualified and difpofed to make. Man, as we obferved, ftands foremost in this diftinction. His exiftence confifts in a feries of active exertions, and he enjoys the exercife of his faculties in the conduct of affairs, and in bufinefs, no lefs than in what he is pleased to term amufement and pastime.
Benevolence is an active principle, and an agreeable state of the mind, rendering the presence and welfare of other men an occafion
occafion of pleasure, and fitting the individual to his relation in fraternity of natures like his own. The pleasures of fociety are the exercises of a focial nature. They mix with the functions of animal life, and are, in reality, the principal caufe of many enjoyments which are supposed to result from the gratifications of fense. The pleasures of the table, for instance, are more those of fociety than of gratified appetite. Whence it is elfe that the meal, when taken alone is a mere fupply of neceffity; but in company, and in the gaiety of fociable intercourse, is of fo much confideration among the enjoyments of life?
To be employed is agreeable; but employments differ no less than fenfations. The employments of a mild and benevolent affection are placid and happy. Those of a rancorous and malicious temper are convulfive and wretched.
Many of the objects which we endeavour to obtain in human life, like the game that is pursued by the hunter, are chiefly to be valued for the chace they occafion. But it is not, therefore, indifferent on what object we bestow our labour. As things visionary or impracticable lead to certain mortification and difappointment, fo things depending on chance, or the will of other men, if conceived to be neceffary, expose to like disappointment; or, under the apprehenfion of adverse events, are the occafions of continual anxiety, dependence, and fear.
Things that are not of themfelves of any abfolute value, but exist merely in being compared with what is poffeffed by other men, as dominion, precedence, and rank, renown, and celebrity; even riches and fortune, beyond what is neceffary to fubfiftence and well-being, engage us in pursuits that are not only precarious in the event, but in their nature fubjects of competition,
CHAP. I. SECT. II. m
PART II. jealoufy, envy and malice. The operation of parties in these purfuits are mutual impediment and mutual offence; and the efforts of one to better himself is confidered as an act of hoftility, or carries the afpect and the infection of malice to others.
Malice is known to be a state of extreme fuffering or pain; it operates abroad in pernicious effects, and appears on the countenance in peculiar features of deformity and horror. It has perhaps no other fource in the human mind, than this unhappy choice of an object, in which the prosperity and fuccess of one is disappointment and detriment to another. Or if this unhappy choice be sufficient to account for malice, we are forbidden by reason to look for any other caufe. It is a maxim in reason, that no more caufes are to be affigned, than exift in nature, and are fufficient to account for the phenomena *.
We may therefore venture to affume, that malice is no where instinctive, but must have proceeded originally upon fome preconceived notion of competition, of harm to one from the welfare of another, of provocation or fear; and is therefore, for the most part, entertained in the form either of Envy, Revenge, or Jealousy.
These are the great fources of mifery to mankind. Envy is pain inflicted by another's good. Revenge is pain to be removed or alleviated, only by another's fuffering. And Jealousy is pain fuffered under the apprehenfion of what another may do or may have done: All of them fufceptible of unequal degrees; but in the slightest degree unhappy, and in the highest degree constitu
* Vide Newtoni Principia, lib. 3. ab initio.
ent of extreme virulence and of anguifh, to which the prefence PART II.
Besides the propenfity of man to join the herd of his species, a difpofition, which operates even with the malevolent, and is common to all the gregarious animals; the candid have, in their minds, a principle of affection, and love; a capacity of goodness by which they are difpofed or qualified, in different forms, to make a common cause with their fellow-creatures. The distress of another is to them an occafion of commiferation or pity; his welfare an occasion of complacency and joy. To the fociable nature of man, the joint exertions or struggles of numbers in the fame caufe together, bring into actual exertion, the highest powers of enjoyment as well as of action,
Commiferation or pity, being a participation of diftrefs, implies fuffering, and yet is known to be agreeable; infomuch, that the humane do not wish to be relieved of their pain otherwise than by the relief they can give to those they commiferate or pity. They regret the fuffering of others; but enjoy their own sympathetic emotions; willingly fhed the tears of compaffion, and in this feel, with the poet, that,
The broadeft mirth unfeeling folly wears
Pity is prevented, in particular circumstances, by the preva lence of other paffions, whether indignation, refentment, or fear. Indignation hardens the heart against those who suffer for any VOL. II. · flagrant
PART II. flagrant crime; refentment against those who have given provocation; and fear, though not a difpofition to act offenfively, yet hardens the heart against the feelings of candour or pity, more perhaps than any other paffion: Hence, among the evils of cowardice we may justly reckon cruelty to the vanquished, no less than inability to contend with those that refift, or who alarm our fears.
Commiferation or pity, in the candid mind, is bestowed indifcriminately and univerfally on the innocent who fuffers: But benevolence, in its other forms, is particular in its choice, and implies predilection for an object; whether the companion with whom we are familiar, the friend we love, or the country to the fervice of which we are devoted.
An agreeable intercourse may have place, even with perfons unknown; or is eafily formed, amidst the first or most general appearances of intelligence and fairness of disposition. The manners of the candid, even among strangers, constitute a mutual exchange of good offices, and in human life are an ordinary and continual fource of agreeable sentiments.
In friendship, benevolence is the engagement of choice, and renders every interest mutual to the parties concerned. The affection in which it confifts, and the confidence it inspires, conftitute a principal source of fecurity and pleasure.
Over and above these operations of a benevolent affection, man is qualified to entertain the fame difpofition, in a form yet more comprehenfive. The collective body of men in a country or nation is, to its own members, an object of the most ardent affection.