Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The passions, as well as the affections, therefore, are feelings, or secret springs of action, modified by association of idea. The affections are wholly intellectual; the passions are partly intellectual and partly corporeal. Hence the passions are the mental and corporeal effects of certain peculiar sensations which have been impressed on the mind by various mechanical stimuli. When the mind is anxious of possessing objects which are expected to yield agreeable impressions, such anticipations are called hope. The actual possession of the objects desired is called joy. The ideas or reflexions of such objects between the sexes excite the passion of love.

"Good shepherd, tell this youth what 'tis to love!"

"It is to be all made of phantasy:

All made of passion and all made of wishes:

All adoration, duty, and obedience :

All humbleness, all patience, and impatience :

All purity, all trial, all observance.Ӡ

As soon as a heart, before hard and obdurate, is softened in this flame, we shall observe arising along with it," says Dr. Hutcheson, "a love of poetry, music, the beauty of nature in rural scenes, a contempt of the selfish pleasures of the external senses, a neat dress, a benevolent deportment, a delight in, and emulation of every thing which is gallant, generous, and friendly.”

The probability of enduring sensations which have before caused disagreeable impressions, excites the passion of fear: the suffering of them, grief: the ideas of the objects, hatred.

"The internal affections necessarily arise according to our opinion of their objects."—"An Inquiry concerning Moral Good and Evil," page 288.-Hutcheson.

+ Shakspeare's Winter's Tale.

According to these definitions and illustrations, the passions correspond with various ideas which men have of rational desire or aversion; and, as before mentioned, they are accompanied by confused bodily sensations: and the external attributes of them are visible in the face and various parts of the body:-so that the impressions of good or pleasurable objects excite love; and those of evil or painful objects excite hatred :—and they are variously modified in proportion to the degree of the certainty or uncertainty of the presence or absence of the good or evil. The passions, consequently, arise from a sense of right and wrong.

*

This compendium corresponds with the account of Dr. Hutcheson; which the following short extract will prove:

"We may easily conceive our affections and passions,” says Hutcheson, "in this manner. The apprehension of good, either to ourselves or others, as attainable, raises desire; the like apprehension of evil, or of the loss of good, raises aversion, or desire of removing or preventing it. These two are the proper affections, distinct from all sensation: we may call both desires if we please. The reflection upon the presence or certain futurity of any good, raises the sensation of joy, which is distinct from those immediate sensations which arise from the object itself. A like sensation is raised, when we reflect upon the removal or prevention of evil which once threatened ourselves or others. The reflection upon the presence of evil, or the certain prospect of it, or of the loss of good, is the occasion of the sensation of sorrow,

* Dramatic and epic poetry are entirely addressed to this sense, and raise our passions by the fortunes of characters, distinctly represented as naturally good or evil.-Hutcheson.

distinct from the immediate sensations arising from the objects or events themselves. These affections, viz. desire, aversion, joy, and sorrow, we may, after MAL BRANCHE," continues Hutcheson, "call spiritual or pure affections; because the purest spirit, were it subject to any evil, might be capable of them. But beside these affections, which seem to arise necessarily from a rational apprehension of good or evil, there are in our nature violent confused sensations, connected with bodily motions, from which our affections are denominated passions."

""*

CHAP. VI

Locke's notion of matter and substance-controversy between Locke and the Bishop of Worcester-the inference of Locke shewn to be the highest probability and opinion; that of the Bishop of Worcester, the demonstration and certainty, that "the thinking thing in us is immaterial"-argument of modern chemists confuted the commencement of the study of philosophy and true theoretic science aided by the light of Revelation.

IF

F there is any truth in these remarks, it is plain, that the notion of Locke respecting passion began and ended in the "instrumentality of the outward organs." But it is presumed, that this should be merely viewed as an oversight; it ought not to be received as a reason for concluding, that the author of "The Essay on Human Understanding" would have agreed with M. Bichat in his conception respecting the "passion of a cabbage!” and for this evident reason; because the arguments of Locke respecting the passions, do not, by any means, correspond with those which he himself has brought for

* The Nature and Conduct of the Passions, pages 62 and 63.—Hutcheson:

ward concerning matter and spiritual substance. But the arguments of Locke on these subjects have been strangely misunderstood. It very commonly happens, that those who have read detached passages only of one side of a controversy, are the very persons who arrogate to themselves the power and right of deciding upon the merits of all that has been said and written upon it. Thus, from a hasty perusal of one or two detached sentences, to be selected from the celebrated controversy of Locke and the Bishop of Worcester, the name even of the great and enlightened author of "The Essay on Human Understanding" has been impugned. But those who, in any tolerable degree, are acquainted with this controversy, will perceive, that when the author of the "Remarks on Scepticism," says that matter is incapable of thought, he is supported in the most unqualified manner by Locke. "If we suppose nothing to be first, matter can never begin to be; if we suppose bare matter without motion to be eternal, motion can never begin to be: if matter and motion be supposed eternal, thought can never begin to be; for if matter could produce thought, then thought must be in the power of matter; and if it be in matter as such, it must be the inseparable property of all matter; which is contrary to the sense and experience of mankind." This is the substance of the argument used by Locke, to prove an infinite spiritual being: and was agreeable to the opinions of his antagonist, the Bishop of Worcester; who cited the passage to shew that he was "far from weakening the force of it." And yet there are some men, such individuals as have been mentioned, or individuals but a few gradations removed from them, and most undoubtedly of sceptical opinions, who maintain that a sedulous perusal of the writings of

Locke would tend to make the reader a materialist. The remarks of these persons are most artfully introduced to the minds of the young, with a mention of the well-known conclusion of Locke, that "all the great ends of morality and religion are well enough secured without a demonstration that the thinking thing in us is immaterial.” The meaning of this sentence is no sooner received by artless and unwary young men, than their preceptor quotes a detached sentence from the "Essay on Human Understanding," to shew "that we have the ideas of matter and thinking, but possibly, shall never be able to know whether any material being thinks or not; it being impossible for us, by the contemplation of our own ideas, without revelation, to discover whether omnipotency hath not given to some systems of matter, fitly disposed, a power to perceive or think." The sceptic (no doubt very charitably) assists his pupil to interpret the passage in perverting the language and argument of the antagonist of Locke to his own purpose. "If this be true then, for all that we can know by our ideas of matter and thinking, matter may have a power of thinking; and if this hold, then it is impossible to prove a spiritual substance in us, from the idea of thinking; for how can we be assured by our ideas, that God hath not given such a power of thinking, to matter so disposed as our bodies are? Especially since it is said, 'that in respect of our notions, it is not much more remote from our comprehension to conceive that God can, if he pleases, superadd to our idea of matter a faculty of thinking.'" It is then answered, "whoever asserts this can never prove a spiritual substance in us from a faculty of thinking; because he cannot know from the idea of matter and thinking, that matter so disposed cannot

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »