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prefent fubject. And it will not be difficult to form a scale of them, beginning at the meanest, and afcending gradually to thofe of the highest rank and dignity, Pleasure felt as at the organ of sense, named corporeal pleasure, is perceived to be low; and when indulged to excefs, beyond what nature demands, is perceived alfo to be mean.. Perfons therefore of any delicacy, diffemble the pleasure they have in eating and drinking. The pleasures of the eye and ear, which have no organic feeling *, are free from any fenfe of meanness; and for that reafon are indulged without any fhame. They even arise to a certain degree of dignity, when their objects are grand or elevated. The fame is the case of the fympathetic paffions. They raise the character confiderably, when their objects are of importance. A virtuous perfon behaving with fortitude and dignity under the most cruel misfortunes, makes a capital figure; and the fympathifing spectator feels in himself the fame dignity. Sympathetic distress at

See the Introduction.



the fame time never is mean: on the contrary, it is agreeable to the nature of a focial being, and has the general approbation. The rank that love poffeffes in this scale, depends in a great measure on its object. It poffeffes a low place when founded on external properties merely; and is mean when bestowed upon a person of a rank much inferior without any extraordinary qualification. But when founded on the more elevated internal properties, it affumes a confiderable degree of dignity. The fame is the cafe of friendship. When gratitude is warm, it animates the mind; but it scarce rifes to dignity. Joy bestows dignity when it proceeds from an elevated cause.

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So far as I can gather from induction, dignity is not a property of any disagreeable paffion. One is flight another fevere, one depreffes the mind another roufes and animates it; but there is no elevation, far lefs dignity, in any of them. Revenge, in particular, though it inflame and fwell the mind, is not accompanied with dignity, not even with elevation. It is not however felt VOL. II. E


as mean or groveling, unless when it takes indirect measures for its gratification. Shame and remorse, though they fink the fpirits, are not mean. Pride, a disagreeable pasfion, beftows no dignity in the eye of a fpectator. Vanity always appears mean; and extremely fo where founded, as commonly happens, on trivial qualifications.

I procced to the pleasures of the underftanding, which poffefs a high rank in point of dignity. Of this every one will be fenfible, when he confiders the important truths that have been laid open by science; fuch as general theorems, and the general laws that govern the material and moral worlds. The pleasures of the understanding are fuited to man as a rational and contemplative being; and they tend not a little to ennoble his nature. Even to the Deity he stretches his contemplations, which, in the discovery of infinite power wisdom and benevolence, afford delight of the most exalted kind. Hence it appears, that the fine arts ftudied ás a rational fcience, afford entertainment of great dignity; fuperior far to what they afford as a subject of tafte merely.


But contemplation, though in itself valuable, is chiefly refpected as fubfervient to action; for man is intended to be more an active than a contemplative being. being. He accordingly fhows more dignity in action than in contemplation. Generofity, magnanimity, heroifm, raise his character to the highest pitch. These best express the dignity of his nature, and advance him nearer to divinity than any other of his attributes.

By every production that shows art and contrivance, our curiofity is excited upon two points; firft how it was made, and next to what end. Of the two, the latter is the more important inquiry, because the means are ever fubordinate to the end; and in fact our curiofity is always more inflamed by the final than by the efficient caufe. This preference is no where more visible, than in contemplating the works of nature. If in the efficient caufe, wifdom and power be displayed, wisdom is not lefs confpicuous in the final caufe; and from it only can we infer benevolence, which of all the divine attributes is to man the most important.


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important. Having endeavoured to affign the efficient caufe of dignity and meanness, and to unfold the principle on which they are founded, we proceed to explain the final cause of the dignity or meannefs bestowed upon the feveral particulars above mentioned, beginning with corporeal pleasures. Thefe, fo far as ufeful, are like justice fenced with fufficient fanctions to prevent their being neglected. Hunger and thirst are painful fenfations; and we are incited to animal love by a vigorous propensity. Were they dignified over and above with a place in a high clafs, they would infallibly overturn the balance of the mind, by outweighing the focial affections. This is a fatisfactory final cause for refusing to corporeal pleasures any degree of dignity. And the final caufe is not lefs evident of their meanness, when they are indulged to excefs. The more refined pleasures of exter nal fenfe, conveyed by the eye and the ear from natural objects and from the fine arts, deferve a high place in our esteem, because of their fingular and extenfive utility. In fome cafes they arife to a confiderable dig

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