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beneficence is unlimited: we are free from suspicion: our friendships are eagerly adopted; they are ardent and sincere. This conduct
may, for a time, be flattered : our fond imaginations may heighten every trivial act of complacency into a testimony of unfeigned esteem: and thus, deceived by delusive appearances, we become still more credulous and profuse. But the fairy vision will soon vanish: and the novice who vainly trusted to the benevolence of mankind, will suddenly find himself alone and desolate, in the midst of a selfish and deceitful world: like an enchanted traveller, who imagines he is journeying through a region of delight, till he drinks of some bitter fountain, and instantly, instead of flowery fields and meadows, he finds himself destitute and forlorn, amid the horrors of a dreary desart.
It seems an invariable law in the conduct of our passions, that, independent of the object they pursue, they should yield us pleasure, merely by their exercise and operation. It is known by experience, that the pain of disappointed passion is not solely occasioned by our being deprived of some desirable object, but by having the current of the mind opposed ; so that the excited passion recoils exasperated upon the heart. The anguish of this situation is strongly expressed by Seneca, “ In angusto inclusæ cupidi“tates fine exitu seipsas strangulant.” There can be no doubt, than anger, malice, and all the malevolent and irregular passions, independent of their fatal consequences, leave the mind in a state of anxiety and disorder. One should therefore imagine, that satisfaction would arise from their being repulsed, and that men would felicitate themselves for a recovery so essential to their son and self-love may consider it in this view, and our sense of propriety may hinder us from complaining; but the heart is secretly dejected, and the unbidden sigh betrays us. The gloom, however, is soon dispersed. Yet it proves that the mind suffers more when its operations are suddenly suspended, than when it languishes in a state of listless inactivity. Thus, our benevolent - affections, considered merely as principles of action, partaking of the same common
nature with other passions and affections, if their tenor be interrupted, occasion pain.
But the peculiar character of these dispositions renders the anguish occasioned by their suspension more exquisitely painful. They are of a soft exhilarating nature'; they elevate and enlarge our conceptions, they refine our feelings, they quicken our sensibility, and stimulate our love of pleasure: they diffuse joy and serenity through the soul, and, by a delightful illusion, give every thing around us a smiling aspect. To a mild and benevolent temper, even inanimate objects, the beauties of nature, the skies, the groves, and the fountains, communicate unusual pleasure, and of a quality too refined to be relished by malignant spirits. But, proportioned to the delight annexed to the exercise of social affections, is the pain arising from their suspension.
Social affections confer happiness, not only by the feelings they excite in us, but by procuring us the friendship and esteem of others. Adequate returns of tenderness are
essential to their existence. By disdain and indifference they languish; they render us anxious, and desponding.
Other advantages less immediate, and which concern our fortune and external circumstances, often depend on the benevolence and sincerity of our friends. though it be contrary to the rules of prudence, and the maxims of the world, to repose such entire confidence in the virtue of mankind as to render it possible for them to injure or ruin us; yet there are cases of strong necessity that mock reserve ; and there are instances of men so unsuspecting, or so improvident, as to allow themselves, by excessive facility, to be over-reached and undone.
The disappointments of social affection may give us uneasiness of another kind : they may offend against the goud opinion we are apt to entertain of ourselves ; principle rivetted in our constitution, useful and necessary in itself, but, by disposing us to overweening conceit, liable to be perverted.
Pain and uneasiness give rise to sorrow; and sorrow varies according to the sources
from which it flows: it is either gentle and languishing, or imbittered with rancour and animosity.
When the uneasiness arises from the sudden and untoward suspension of our emotions, or from the disappointment of some ardent affection, it is of a mild and dejected nature. It may dispose us to remonstrate, but not to inveigh. It is modest and unassuming. It even induces us to think indifferently of ourselves, and, by laying the blame on our own unworthiness, to excuse the inattention or disdain of others.
Perhaps I was void of all thought;
Perhaps it was plain to foresee,
By a swain more engaging than me.
Sorrow of this tender complexion, leading us to complain, but not to accuse, and finding remonstrances and complaint ineffectual, retires from society, and ponders its woe in secret.
Ye woods, spread your branches apace,
To your deepest recesses I fly;
I would vanish from every eye.