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1. IMMEDIATE EMOTIONS, IN WHICH SOME MORAL FEELING
IS NECESSARILY INVOLVED.—2. LOVE-HATE, CONTINU-
In my last Lecture, Gentlemen, I began the consideration of that order of our emotions, in which some moral relation is involved; and considered, in the first place, those vivid feelings, which arise in the mind on the contemplation of virtuous or vicious ac. tions, and which, as we shall afterwards find, are truly all that distinguishes these actions to our moral regard, as vice or virtue. At present, however, they are not considered by us ethically, in their relation to conduct,-for, in this light, they are to be reviewed by us afterwards—but merely as mental phenomena-feelings or affections indicative of certain susceptibilities in the mind of being thus affected.
Next to these, in our arrangement, are the emotions of love and hatred,
-to the consideration of which, therefore, I proceeded. The remarks which I made, were chiefly illustrative of a distinction, which is of great importance in the theory of morals, with respect to the pleasure excited by the objects of our regard, -a pleasure, which is, indeed, inseparable from the regard,-and without which, therefore, of course, no regard can be felt,,but which is not, itself, the cause or object of the affection. My wish in these remarks, was to guard you against the sophistry of many philosophers, who seem to think that they have shewn man to be necessarily selfish, merely by shewing that it is delightful for him to love those, whom it is virtue to love; and whom it would have been impossible for him not to love, even though no happiness had attended the affection, as it is impossible for him not to despise or dislike the mean and the profligate, though no pleasure attends the contemplation. A little attention to this opposite class of feelings, which are not more essential to our nature than 'the others, might have been sufficient to shew, that the delight of loving is not the cause of love. We despise, without any pleasure in despising, certainly, at least, not on account of any pleasure that can be imagined to be felt in despising. We love, in like manner, not for the pleasure of loving, but on account of the qualities which it is at once delightful for us to love, and impossible for us not to love. We cannot feel the pleasure of loving, unless we have previously begun to love; and it is surely as absurd an error, in this as in any other branch of physics, to ascribe to that which is second in a progressive scale, the production of that very primary cause, of which itself is the result.
The pleasure which accompanies the benevolent affections, that has been thus most strangely converted into the cause of those very benevolent affections, which it necessarily presupposes, is a convincing proof, how much the happiness of his creatures must have been in the contemplation of Him, who thus adapted their nature as much to the production of good, as to the enjoyment of it. We are formed to be malevolent in certain circumstances, as in other circumstances we are formed to be benevolent; but we are not formed to have equal enjoyment in both. The benevolent affections, of course, lead to the actions, by which happiness is directly diffused, -there is no moment, at which they may not operate, with advantage to society ;-and the more constant their operation, and the more widely spread, the greater, consequently, is the result of social good. The Deity, therefore, has not merely rendered us susceptible of these affections—he has made the continuance of them delightful, that we may not merely indulge them, but dwell in the indulgence.
66 Thus hath God, Still looking to his own high purpose, fix'd The virtues of his creatures ; thus he rules The parent's fondness, and the patriot's zeal, Thus the warm sense of honour and of shame, The vows of gratitude, the faith of love, The joy of human life, the earthly Heaven."
The moral affections, which lead to the infliction of evil, are occasionally as necessary, as the benevolent affections. If vice exist, it must be loathed by us, or we may learn to imitate it. If an individual have injured another individual, there must be indignation, to feel the wrong which has been done, and a zeal to avenge it. The malevolent affections, then, are evidently a part of virtue, as long as vice exists ; but they are necessary, only for the occasional purposes of nature, not for her general and permanént interest, in our welfare. If all men were uniformly benevolent, the earth, indeed, might exhibit an appearance, on the contemplation of which, it would be delightful to dwell. But a world of beings, universally and permanently hating and hated, is a world, that fortunately could not exist long; and that, while it existed, could be only a place of torture, in which crimes were every moment punished, and every moment renewed, -or rather, in which crimes, and the mental punishment of crimes, were mingled in one dreadful confusion.
In such circumstances, what is it which we may conceire to be the plan of the Divine Goodness? It is that very plan, which we see at present executed, in our moral constitution. We are made capable of a malevolence, that may be said to be virtuous, when it operates, for the terror of injustice, that otherwise would walk, not in darkness, through the world, but in open light, perpetrating its iniquities, without shame or remorse, and perpetrating them with impunity. But, that even this virtuous malevolence may not outlast the necessity for it, it is made painful for us to be malevolent, even in this best sense. We require to warm our mind, with the repeated image of every thing which has been suffered by the good; or of every thing which the good would suffer, in consequence of the impunity of the wicked, before we can bring ourselves to feel delight in the punishment, even of the most wicked, at least when the insolence of power and impunity is gone, and the offender is trembling at the feet of those whom he had injured. There are gentle feelings of mercy, that continually rise upon the heart, in such a case,-feelings that check even the pure and sacred resentment of indignation itself, and make rigid justice an effort, and, perhaps, one of the most painful efforts of virtue.
“ To love is to enjoy,” it has been said, “ to hate is to suffer ;" and, in conformity with this remark, the same writer observes,
that “ though it may not be always unjust, it must be always absurd to bate, for any length of time, since it is to give him whom we hate, the advantage of occupying us with a painful feeling. Of two enemies, therefore, which is the more unhappy? He, we may always answer, whose hatred is the greater. The mere remembrance of his enemy, is an incessant uneasiness and agitation; and he endures, in his long enmity, far more pain than he wishes to inflict.”
The annexation of pain to the emotions, that would lead to the infliction of pain, is, as I have said, a very striking proof, that he who formed man, did not intend him for purposes of malignity,– as the delight, attached to all our benevolent emotions, may be considered as a positive proof, that it was for purposes of benevolence that man was formed, -purposes which make every generous exertion more delightful to the active mind itself, than to the individual whose happiness it might have seemed exclusively to promote. By this double influence of every tender affection, as it flows from breast to breast, there is, even in the simplest offices of regard, a continual multiplication of pleasure, when the sole result is joy ; and, even when the social kindnesses of life do lead to sorrow, they lead to a sorrow which is so tempered with a gentle delight, that the whole mingled emotion has a tenderness, which the heart would be unwilling to relinquish, if it were absolute indifference, that was to be given in exchange.
" Who that bears
And turns his tears to rapture !"* • Pleasures of Imagination, second form of the poem, B. II. v. 609--624. VOL. II.
Such, then, are the comparative influences on our happiness and misery, of the emotions of love and hatred ; and it cannot, after such a comparison, seem wonderful, that we should cling to the one of these orders of emotions, almost with the avidity with which we cling to life. It is affection, in some of its forms, which, if I may use so bold a phrase, animates even life itself, that, without it, scarcely could be worthy of the name. He who is without affection, may exist, indeed, in a populous city, with crowds around him, wherever he may chance to turn; but, even there, he lives in a desert, or he lives only among statues, that move and speak, but are incapable of saying any thing to his heart. How pathetically, and almost how sublimely, does one of the female saints of the Romish Church express the importance of affection to happiness, when, in speaking of the great enemy of mankind, whose situation might seem to present so many other conceptions of misery, she singles out this one circumstance, and she says,"How sad is the state of that being condemned to love nothing !" "If we had been destined to live abandoned to ourselves, on Mount Caucasus, or in the deserts of Africa,” says Barthelemi, “perhaps nature would have denied us a feeling heart-but, if she had given us one, rather than love nothing, that heart would have tamed tigers, and animated rocks.?* This, indeed, I may remark, strong
I as the expression of Barthelemi may seem, is no more than what man truly does. So susceptible is he of kind affection, that he does animate, with his regard, the very rocks, if only they are rocks that have been long familiar to him. The single survivor of a shipwreck, who has spent many dreary years on some island, of which he has been the only human inhabitant, will, in the rapture of deliverance, when he ascends the vessel that is to restore him to society and his country, feel, perhaps, no grief mingling with a joy so overwhelming. But, when the overwhelming emotion has in part subsided,-and, when he sees the island dimly fading from his view, there will be a feeling of grief, that will overcome, for the moment, even the tumultuous joy. The thought that he is never to see again that cave which was so long his home, and that shore which he has so often trod, will rise so sadly to his mind, that it will be to him, before reflection, almost like a momentary
* Voyage du Jeune Apacharsis, Chap. LXXVIII.