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tain, by a tedious and uncertain process, that of which other ani- PART. II. mals are at once poffeffed by the fuggeftion of a specific propenfi- SECT. IV. CHAP. I. ty The bee, without any other direction than this, conftructs his cell upon a model which the moft perfect science of mechanism cannot improve; and poffeffes that skill, from the first, which in the human species, many ages and fucceffive trials are required to obtain.

Animals, in general, whatever be their distination, are enabled to fulfil it at once. They acquiefce in their state, or enjoy its advantages, without any fenfe of its wants or defects. Man, at his outfet, being worse provided than any other animal, is accordingly not difpofed to acquiefce in his primary ftate. The wants or defects of his first condition feem, in the exercise of his faculties, to prefs him with all the force of neceffity; but, after his first wants or defects are fupplied, fancy fucceeds to neceffity; and, whatever supply he may have gained, or accommodation provided for himself, he is ftill urged with a defire of fomewhat beyond the present attainment, and is as little difpofed to acquiefce in the highest, as in the lowest state of his animal accommodation. The fpur of impatience to better himself, which, in his rudest condition appears neceffary to his preservation, continued on to his state of highest attainment, feems to form in him a principle of progreffion, of indefinite or endless extent. He is made intelligent, not merely that he may be able to procure a supply to his animal wants, but his animal wants appear to be multiplied, and his fancy rendered infatiable, that he may find an early scope for the exercife of his intellectual powers, and, by the indefinite pursuit of their ends, make that progrefs in knowledge, which conftitutes fo effential a part in the excellence or perfection, of which his mind is fufceptible.




We may thus collect the specific excellence of any nature, from its capacity, and from the direction of its progrefs; and that of man, in particular, from his capacity of receiving information, of improving in difcernment and penetration, and from the progrefs he is qualified to make in these particulars. In him, the mere continuance of life is a courfe of obfervation, and repeated occafion, on which to exercise those faculties of the mind, which improve in being employed.

Man becomes powerful in the system of nature, in proportion as he becomes knowing or wife: And the species, in this particular, feems well apprised of the standard by which to ascertain its own merits or defects. Signal ability and understanding are admired, comparative incapacity, and dulnefs are defpifed. And there is, therefore, in refpect to him no difficulty in collecting the grounds of esteem or contempt, whether we confider a priori what is fuited to his destination, or attend to the reception which his qualities meet with in the estimation of his kind.

Philofophers have thought, that every fubject of commendation, to which human nature is competent; every virtue and every constituent of happiness, might be comprised under the title of wisdom, or the excellence of intelligent being; that, on the contrary every fubject of dispraise or contempt, every vice and every character of misery, might be comprised under the title of folly: But, it is not neceffary, nor perhaps even expedient, thus to force the attributes of human nature, under fingle appellations, however comprehenfive or general. Although it is both wife and profitable to love our fellow creatures, we can 'no more become affectionate to our friend, in the mere fearch of wisdom, than we can in fearch of our intereft. Our conftitution

must have the ingredient of benevolence, in order that a mind PART II. well informed may improve upon this principle of nature, and learn to direct it aright.


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"There are good qualities," fays the Duke de la Rochefoucault," which degenerate into faults when they are natural, and "others which are never perfect when they are acquired. It is neceffary, for instance, that we should become by reflection "fparing of our money and of our confidence; on the contrary, we should by nature be furnished with benevolence and va"lour." The understanding at the outfet has its perfection to acquire; the heart is good by the inspiration of nature.


But, in whatever terms we propofe to exprefs the standard of estimation relative to man whether wisdom, virtue, or goodness of heart, there are various conditions required to the performance of his part, and which must occur in every ftatement of qualities, that conftitute the specific excellence or perfection of his nature. He is formed for fociety, and is excellent in the degree in which he poffeffes the qualifications of an affociate and a friend. He is excellent, in the degree in which he loves his fellow creatures; he is defective, in the degree in which he hates them, or is indifferent to their welfare. Benevolence, therefore, is a principal excellence of human nature; and malice an article of extreme vileness or defect. These are the great fources of merit and demerit; of justice and beneficence, on the one hand; of wrong, iniquity, and cruelty, on the other; a distinction, to the reality of which mankind in all ages have borne the strongest testimony: To which, on the one hand, they have paid the higheft tribute of efteem and of love; and, on which, on the other, they have poured forth the highest measures of contempt and deteftation.





With refpect to Temperance, it is a beautiful part, we may again obferve, in the œconomy of animal life, that things pernicious are painful, and things falutary are pleafant; that even things falutary and pleasant, in the proper use of them become painful, in the abuse, or when carried to excefs. Under this constitution of nature, the mere animals are fafely directed through life; but man's animal frame is either originally lefs perfect in this respect, or is disturbed by the operations of a fancy, which lead him to look for enjoyments beyond the foundations which nature has laid.

By nature, the gratifications of appetite are occafional, and do not occupy any improper portion of time; but the voluptuary conceives them as a fource of continued enjoyment: And sensuality is a diftemper of the imagination, not a diforder in the ballance which nature has established between the animal and the rational part of man's conftitution. The voluptuary does not enjoy more than the abstemious; but he employs more of his time in vain attempts to reftore a fatiated appetite, and to render that continual, which nature has ordained to be occafional and temporary.

As great inequalities of character and eftimation refult from the different degrees in which men avoid the habits of debauchery on the one hand, or gain the habits of a just application to the better purfuits of a rational nature, on the other; there is, in this particular, much room for wisdom, and much danger from folly. In this, as in many other inftances, man is destined by nature to govern himself, or to make the best of materials which become pernicious, if he abuse or neglect them; and which, to fecure the proper use of them, require his utmost attention and




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This virtue, among the active qualifications of ferred to the title of application; for the pursuit, which the temperate withholds from the mere objects of animal gratification may be applied to the better and more worthy objects of human life. Senfuality, indeed, for the most part, is selfish and more folicitous about the gratifications of appetite, than about the concerns of other men; and temperance being an exemption, at least from this principle of felfishness, lays open the mind of man to those incitements of benevolence and candour, from which the difinterested are prepared to act. Temperance, therefore, in this point of view also, may be reckoned among the primary excellencies of human nature; intemperance or fenfuality may be reckoned among its most real defects.

With respect to Fortitude, the fourth in the enumeration of cardinal virtues, we may obferve that, in every active nature, besides the disposition, the application, and the measure of skill, in respect to which fuch natures may be unequally estimated, there is a measure of force alfo required to fupport their active exertions, and a measure of weakness fufficient to fruftrate the purpose of nature, or to betray the confidence that may be placed in the highest measures of skill and of good difpofition.



Force of mind has a peculiar reference to the state of man, to the difficulties, hardships. and dangers, in the midst of which he is destined to act. In the fupport of what is honourable and juft, he has fometimes occafion to fuffer what is inconvenient or painful to his animal frame. In espousing the cause of the just, he may incur the animofity and oppofition of the wicked.

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