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trary to what we desire; for if the accomplishment of desire produce joy, it is equally natural that disappointment should produce sorrow.
An event, fortunate or unfortunate, that falls out by accident, without being foreseen or thought of, and which therefore could not be the object of desire, raiseth an emotion of the same kind with that now mentioned; but the cause must be different; for there can be no gratification where there is no desire. We have not, however, far to seek for a cause it is involved in the nature of man, that he cannot be indifferent to an event that concerns him or any of his connexions; if it be fortunate, it gives him joy; if unfortunate, it gives him sorrow.
In no situation doth joy rise to a greater height, than upon the removal of any violent distress of mind or body; and in no situation doth sorrow rise to a greater height, than upon the removal of what makes us happy. The sensibility of our na. ture serves in part to account for these effects. Other causes concur. One is, that violent distress always raises an anxious desire to be free from it; and therefore its removal is a high gratification: nor can we be possessed of any thing that makes us happy, without wishing its continuance; and therefore its removal, by crossing our wishes, must create sorrow. (The principle of contrast is another cause an emotion of joy arising upon the removal of pain, is increased by contrast when we reflect upon our former distress: an emotion of sorrow, upon being deprived of any good, is increased by contrast when we reflect upon our former happi
Jaffier. There's not a wretch that lives on common charity,
But's happier than me. For I have known
Have slept with soft content about my head,
Whose blossom 'scap'd, yet's withered in the ripening. Venice Preserved, Act I. Sc. 1.
It hath always been reckoned difficult to account for the extreme pleasure that follows a cessation of bodily pain; as when one is relieved from the rack, or from a violent fit of the stone. What is said explains this difficulty, in the easiest and simplest manner: cessation of bodily pain is not of itself a pleasure, for a non-ens or a negative can neither give pleasure nor pain; but man is so framed by nature as to rejoice when he is eased of pain, as well as to be sorrowful when deprived of any enjoyment. This branch of our constitution is chiefly the cause of the pleasure. The gratification of desire comes in as an accessory cause: and contrast joins its force, by increasing the sense of our present happiness. In the case of an acute pain, a peculiar circumstance contributes its part: the brisk circulation of the animal spirits occasioned by acute pain, continues after the pain is gone, and produceth a very pleasant emotion. Sickness hath not that effect, because it is always attended with a depression of spirits.
Hence it is, that the gradual diminution of acute pain, occasions a mixt emotion, partly pleasant, partly painful: the partial diminution produceth joy in proportion; but the remaining pain balanceth the joy. This mixt emotion, however, hath no long endurance; for the joy that ariseth upon the diminution of pain, soon vanisheth, and leaveth in the undisturbed possession that degree of pain which remains.
What is above observed about bodily pain, is equally applicable to the distresses of the mind;
and accordingly it is a common artifice, to prepare us for the reception of good news by alarming our fears.
Sympathetic Emotion of Virtue, and its cause.
ONE feeling there is that merits a deliberate view, for its singularity as well as utility. Whether to call it an emotion or a passion, seems uncertain the former it can scarce be, because it involves desire; the latter it can scarce be, because it has no object. But this feeling, and its nature, will be best understood from examples. A signal act of gratitude produceth in the spectator or reader, not only love or esteem for the author, but also a separate feeling, being a vague feeling of gratitude without an object; a feeling, however, that disposes the spectator or reader to acts of gratitude, more than upon an ordinary occasion. This feeling is overlooked by writers upon ethics; but a man may be convinced of its reality, by attentively watching his own heart when he thinks warmly of any signal act of gratitude: he will be conscious of the feeling, as distinct from the esteem or admiration he has for the grateful person. The feeling is singular in the following respect, that it is accompanied with a desire to perform acts of gratitude, without having any object; though in that state, the mind, wonderfully bent on an object, neglects no opportunity to vent itself: any act of kindness or good-will, that would pass unregarded upon another occasion, is greedily seized; and the vague feeling is converted into a real passion of gratitude in such a state, favours are returned double.
In like manner, a courageous action produceth in a spectator the passion of admiration directed to the author and beside this well-known passion, a separate feeling is raised in the spectator; which (may be called an emotion of courage; because, while under its influence, he is conscious of a boldness and intrepidity beyond what is usual, and longs for proper objects upon which to exert this
Spumantemque dari, pecora inter inertia, votis
Non altramente il tauro, oue l'irriti
So full of valour that they smote the air
Tasso, Canto vii. st. 55.
Tempest, Act IV. Sc. 4.
The emotions raised by music independent of words, must be all of this nature: courage roused by martial music performed upon instruments without a voice, cannot be directed to any object; nor can grief or pity raised by melancholy music of the same kind have an object.
For another example, let us figure some grand and heroic action, highly agreeable to the spectator: beside veneration for the author, the spectator feels in himself an unusual dignity of character, which disposeth him to great and noble actions and herein chiefly consists the extreme delight every one hath in the histories of conquerors and heroes. VOL. I.
This singular feeling, which may be termed the sympathetic emotion of virtue, resembles, in one respect, the well known appetites that lead to the propagation and preservation of the species. The appetites of hunger, thirst, and animal love, arise in the mind before they are directed to any object; and in no case whatever is the mind more solicitous for a proper object, than when under the influence of any of these appetites.
The feeling I have endeavoured to unfold, may well be termed the sympathetic emotion of virtue; for it is raised in the spectator, or in a reader, by virtuous actions of every kind, and by no other sort. When we contemplate a virtuous action, which fails not to prompt our love for the author, our propensity at the same time to such actions is so much enlivened, as to become for a time an actual emotion. But no man hath a propensity to vice as such on the contrary, a wicked deed disgusts him, and makes him abhor the author; and this abhorrence is a strong antidote against vice, as long as any impression remains of the wicked action.
In a rough road, a halt to view a fine country is refreshing; and here a delightful prospect opens upon us. It is indeed wonderful to observe what incitements there are to virtue in the human frame: justice is perceived to be our duty; and it is guarded by natural punishments, from which the guilty never escape; to perform noble and generous actions, a warm sense of their dignity and superior excellence is a most efficacious incitement.* And to leave virtue in no quarter unsupported, here is unfolded an admirable contrivance, by which good example commands the heart, and adds to virtue
* See Essays on Morality and Natural Religion, part I. ess. ii. ch. 4.