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intellectual powers that were given to us for much nobler purposes, such romantic speculations lead us always into the neighbourhood of forbiddea re. gions. They place us od dangerous grouod. They are, for the most paré, coupected with some one bad passion; and they always nourish a giddy and frivolous turn of thought. They unfit the wind for applying with vigour to rational pursuits, or for acquiesciog io sober plans of conduct. From that ideal world in which it allows itself to dwell, it returns to the commerce of men, unbept add-relaxed, sickly and táinted, averse to discharging the duties, and sometimes disqualified even for relishing the pleasures of ordinary life.
On the evils which flove from unrestrained passions.
When man revolted from his Maker, his pas. sions rebelled against himself; and, from being originally the ministers of reason, have become the tyrants of the soul. Hence, in treating of this sub. ject, two things may be assumed as principles; first, that through the present weakness of the under: standing, our passions are often directed towards improper objects; and next, that even when their direction is just, and their objecis are innocent, they perpetually tend to ruo ioto excess; they always hurry us towards their gratification, with a blind and dangerous impetuosity. On these two points, then, lurps the whole goveroment of our passions; first, to ascertain the proper objects of their pursuil; and next, to restrain them in that pur. buit, when they would carry us beyond the bouods of reason.
If there is any passion which intrudes itself unseasonably into our mind, which darkens and troubles our judgment, or habitually discomposes our temper: which unfits us for properly discharging the dutics, or disqualifies us for cheerfully
enjoying the comforts of life, we may certainly conclude it to have gained a dangerous ascendani, The great object which we ought to propose to our. selves, is, to acquire a firm and steadtast miod, which the infatuation of passion shall pot seduce, nor irs violence shake; which, resting on fixed priociples, shall, in the midst of contending emotions, remain free, and master of itself, able to listen calmly to the voice of conscience, apd prepared to obey its dictates without hesitation.
To obtain, if possible, such command of passion, is one of the highest attainmeots of the rational pa. ture. Arguments to show its importance crowd upoo us from every quarter. If there be
fertile source of mischief to human life, it is, beyond doubt, the misrule of passion. It is this which poisons the enjoyment of individuals, overturns the order of society, and strews the path of life with so many miseries, as to render it ipdeed the vale of tears. All those great scenes of public calamity, which we behold with astonishmcat and horror, have originated from the source of violeot passions. These have overspread the earth with bloodshed. These have pointed the assassin's dagger, and file led the poisoned bowl. These, in every age, have furnished too copious materials for the orator's pa. thetic declamation, and for the poet's tragical song.
Wheo from public life we descend to private conduct, though passion operates pot there in so wide and destructive a sphere, we shall find its in Auence to be no less baneful. I oeed not meprion the black and fierce passions, such as covy, jealousy, and revenge, whose effects ore obviously Doxious, and whose agitacions are immediate mise ry. But take any ot the licencious and scosual kind. Suppose it to have unlimited scope; trace it throughout iis course; and we shall Gnd that gradually, as it rises, it taints the souodaess, and troubles he peace, of his miod over whom it reigas; that,
in its progress, it engages him in pursuits which are marked either with danger or with shame; that, io the end, it wasses his fortune, destroys his healıb, or debases his character; and aggravates all the inisories io which it has involved him, with the code cluding pangs of bitter remorse, Through all the stages of this fatal course, how many have hereto. fore rup? What multitudes do we daily behold pursuing it, with blind and headlong steps?
On the proper state of our temper, with respect to
one another, It is evident, in the general, that if we consula either public welfare, or private happiness, Chris. tiao charity ought to regulate our disposition in mutual lorercourse. But as this grea: priociple ad. mits of several diversified appearances, let us con sider some of the chief forms under which it ought to show itself, in the usual tenour of life.
What, first, presents itself to be recommended, is a peaceable temper; a disposition averse to give offence, and desirous of cultivating harmony, and amicable jotercourse in society. This supposes yielding and condescending manners, vowillingness to contend with others about trifles, aod, in cod. tests that are unavoidable, proper moderation of spirit, Such a temper is the first principle of selfenjoyment. It is the basis of all order and happiDess among mankind. The positive and conten tious, the rude and quarrelsome, are the bane of society. They seem destined to blast the small share of comfort which nature has here allotted to
But they capoot disturb the peace of others, more than they break their own. The hurricane sages first in their own bosom, before it is let forth upoo the world. In the tempests which they raise,
they are always tost; and frequently it is their lot to perish.
A peaceable temper must be supported by a can. did one, or a disposition to view the cobduct of others with fairness and impartiality. "This staods opposed to a jealous and suspicious temper, which ascribes every action to the worst motive, and throws a black shade over every character. If we would be happy in ourselves, or in our concexions with others, let us guard against this maligoant spirit. Let us study that charity "which shinketh no evil;” that temper which, without degenerating into credulity, will dispose us to be just; and which will allow us io observe an error without imputing it as a crime. Thus we shall be kept free from that contioual irri. tation, which imaginary injuries raise in a suspi. cious breast; and shall walk among men prethren, not as our enemies.
But to be peaceable, and to be candid, is not all that is required of a good man. He must cultivate a kind, generous, and sympathising temper, which feels for distress, wherever it is beheld; which en. ters joto the concerns of his friends with ardour; and to all with whom he has intercourse, is gentle, obliging, and humane. How amiable appears such a dispositiun, when contrasted with a malicious or envious temper, which wraps itself up in its own narrow interest, looks with an evil eye on the success of others, and with an unnatural satisfaction, feeds on their disappointments or miseries! How little does he know of the true happiness of life, who is a stranger to that intercourse of good offices and kind affections, which, by a pleasing charm, attaches men to one another, and circulates joy from heart to hearı!
We are not to imagine, that a benevolent tem. per finds no exercise, unless when opportunities offer of performing actions of high generosity, or of extensive utility. These may seldom occur.
The condition of the greater part of mankind, io a good measure, precludes them. But, in the ordi dary round of human affairs, many occasions daily present themselves, of mitigating the vexations which others suffer; of soothing their minds; of aiding their interest; of promotiog their cheerfulness, or ease.. Such occasions may relate to the smaller incidents of lite. But let us remember, that of small iocidents the system of human life is chiefly composed. The attentions which respect these, when suggested by real benignity of temper, are often more material to the happiness of those around us, thao actions, which carry the appearance of greater digoity and splendour. No wise or goud man ought to account any rules of behaviour as below his regard, which tend to cement the great brotherhood of mankind in comfortable union.
Particularly amidst that familiar intercourse which belongs to domestic life, all the virtues of temper find an ample range. It is very unfortuoate, that within that circle, men too ofteo thiok themselves at liberty to give unrestrained vent to the caprice of passion and humour. Where as there, on the contrary, more than any where else, it con. ceros them to attend to the governmeot of their heart; to check what is sioleor in their tempers, and to softer what is harsh io their manners. For there the temper is formed. There, the real character. displays itself. The forms of the world disguise men when abroad. But within his own family, every man is known to be what he truly is.In all our intercourse theo with others, particularly in that which is closest and most inrimare, let us cultivate a peaceable, a candid, a gentle, and frieodly tem. per. This is the temper to which, by repeated iojunctions, our holy religion seeks to form us. This Was the temper of Christ. This is the temper of Heaveo,