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nobleman, who had a little before maintained in discourse, that a mind truly virtuous was incapable of entertaining an unlawful passion. The young nobleman had not long been in possession of his fair captive, when a complaint was made to Cyrus, that he not only solicited the lady Panthea to receive him in the place of her absent husband, but that, finding his entreaties had no effect, he was preparing to make use of force. Cyrus, who loved the young man, immediately sent for him, and in a gentle manner representing to him his fault, and putting him in mind of his former assertion, the unhappy youth, confounded with a quick sense of his guilt and shame, burst out into a flood of tears, and spoke as follows:
“O Cyrus, I am convinced that I have two souls; love has taught me this piece of philosophy. If I had but one soul, it could not at the same time pant after virtue and vice, wish and abhor the same thing. It is certain, therefore, we bave two souls; when the good soul rules, I undertake noble and virtuous actions but when the bad soul predominates, I am forced to do evil. All I can say at present is, that I find my good soul, encouraged by your presence, has got the better of my bad."
My readers will perhaps not allow this piece of philosophy; but, if they will not, they must confess, that passions as dissimilar are inet with in one and the same soul, as can be supposed to exist in two. We can hardly read the life of a great man who lived in former ages, or converse with any who is eminent among our contemporaries, that is not an instance of what I am saying.
Perhaps, however, one of the most correct and philosophic treatises that ever was written on the subject of human happiness, appeared in Dr. Paley's Moral Philosophy. An adherence to the principles which it lays down, and an avoidance of the mistaken hues in which short-sighted nature so frequently invests the persons and actions of mankind, would eradicate a great portion of those intellectual sufferings under which nearly all of us labour.
Yet oft' a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
Dr. Paley observes, that the word happy is a relative term; that is, when we call a man happy, we mean that he is happier than some others, with whom we compare him; than the generality of others; or than he himself was in some other situation: thus, speaking of one who has just compassed the object of a long pursuit, " Now,” we say, "he is happy," and, in a like comparative sense, (compared, that is, with the general lot of mankind,) we call a man happy who possesses health and competency. In strictness, any condition may be denominated happy, in which the amount or aggregate of pleasure exceeds that of pain; and the degree of happiness depends upon the quantity of this excess. And the greatest quantity of it ordinarily attainable in human life, is what we mean by happiness, when we inquire or pronounce what human happiness consists in.
In which inquiry, I will omit much usual declamation upon the dignity and capacity of our nature,--the superiority of the soul to the body, of the rational to the animal part of our constitution,~-upon the worthiness, refinement, and delicacy of some satisfactions, or the meanness, grossness, and sensuality of others : because I hold that pleasures differ in nothing, but in continuance and intensity; from a just computation of which, confirmed by what we observe of the apparent cheerfulness, tranquillity, and contentment of men of different tastes, tempers, stations, and pursuits, every question concerning human happiness must receive its decision.
It will be our business to shew, if we can.
11. What it does consist in. First, then, Happiness does not consist in the pleasures of sense, in whatever profasion or variety they
be enjoyed. By the pleasures of sense, I mean, as well the animal gratifications of eating, drinking, and that by which the species is continued, as the more refined pleasures of music, painting, architecture, gardening, splendid shows, theatric exhibitions, and the pleasures, lastly, of active sports, as of hunting, shooting, &c. For, u.
1. These pleasures continue but a little while at a time. This is true of them all, especially of the grosser sort of them. Laying aside the preparation and the expectation, and computing strictly the actual sensation, we shall be surprised to find how inconsiderable a portion of our time they occupy, how few hours in the four-and-twenty they are able to fill up.,
2. These pleasures, by repetition, lose their relish. It is a property of the machine, for which we know no remedy, that the organs, by which we perceive pleasure, are blunted and benumbed by being -frequently exercised in the same way. There is hardly any one who has not found the difference between a gratification when new, and when familiar; or any pleasure which does not become indifferent as it grows habitual.
3. The eagerness for high and intense delights takes away the relish for all others; and as such delights fall rarely in our way, the greater part of our time becomes from this cause empty and uneasy.
There is hardly any delusion by which imen, are greater - sufferers in their happiness, than by their expecting too much from what is called pleasure; that is, from those intense delights, which vulgarly engross the name of pleasure. The very expectation spoils them. When they do come, we are often engaged in taking pains to persuade ourselves how much we are pleased, rather than enjoying any pleasure, which springs naturally out of the object. And whenever we depend upon being vastly delighted, we always go home secretly grieved at missing our aim. Likewise, as has been observed just now, when this humour of being prodigiously delighted has once taken hold of the imagination, it hinders us from providing for, or acquiescing in, those gently soothing engagements, the due variety and succession of which, are the only things that supply a vein or continued stream of happiness. ... What I have been able to observe of that part of mankind whose professed pursuit is pleasure, and who are withheld in the pursuit by no restraints of forstune or "scruples of conscience, corresponds sufficiently with this account. I have commonly remarked in such men, a restless and inextinguishable passion for variety, a great part of their time to be vacant, and so much of it irksome; and that, with whatever eagerness and expectation they set out, they become, by degrees, fastidious in their choice of pleasure, languid in the enjoyment, yet miserable under the want of it.
The truth seems to be, that there is a limit at which these pleasures soon arrive, and from which they ever afterwards decline. They are by necessity of short duration, as the organs cannot hold on their emotions beyond a certain length of time; and if you endeavour to compensate for this imperfection in their nature by the frequency with which you repeat them, you suffer more than you gain, by the fatigue of the faculties, and the diminution of sensibility.
We have said nothing in this account of the loss of opportunities, or the decay of faculties, which, whenever they happen, leave the voluptuary destitute and desperate; teased by desires that can never be gratified, and the memory of pleasures which must return no more.
It will also be allowed by those who have experienced it, and perhaps by those alone, that pleasure which is purchased by the incumbrance of our fortune, is purchased too dear; the pleasure never compensating for the perpetual irritation of embarrassed circumstances. : «These pleasures, after all, have their value: and, as the young are always too eager in their pursuit of them, the old are sometimes too remiss; that is, too stuctious of their ease, to be at the pains for them which they really deserve !
Secondly, Neither does happiness consist in an exemption from pain, labour, care, business, suspense, molestation, and “those evils which are without,“ such a state being usually attended, not with ease, but with depression of spirit, a tastefulness in all our ideas, imaginary apxieties, and the whole train of hypochondriacal affections.
For which reason, the expectations of those who retire from their shops and counting-houses, to enjoy the remainder of their days in leisure and tranquillity, are seldom answered by the effect; much less of such, as, in a fit chagrin, shut themselves up in cloisters and bermitages, or quit the world, and their stations in it, for solitude and repose.
Where there exists a known external cause of uneasiness, the cause may be removed, and the uneasiness will cease. But those imaginary distresses which men feel for want of real ones, and which are equally tormenting, and so far equally real, as they depend upon no single or assignable subject of uneasiness, admit oftentimes of no application or relief.
Hence a inoderate pain, upon which the attention may fasten and spend itself, is, to many, a refresh ment; as a fit of the gout will sometimes cure the spleen: and the same of any less violent agitation of the mind, as a literary controversy, a lawsuit, a con: tested election, and, above all, gaming, the passion for which, in men of fortune and liberal minds, is only to be accounted for on this principle.
Thirdly, Neither does happiness consist in greatness, rank, or elevated station.
Were it true that all superiority afforded pleasure, it would follow, that, by how much we were the greater, that is, the more persons we were superior to, in the same proportion, so far as depended upon this cause, we should be the happier; but so it is, that no superiority yields any satisfaction, save that which we possess or obtain over those with whom we immediately, compare ourselves. The shepherd perceives no pleasure in his superiority over his dog; the farmer, in his superiority over the shepherd; the lord, in his