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suggestion that would occur to their minds, that they had mistaken their due. But in those whose pride is less confirmed, or whose minds are more dependent, that pride leads to vanity. Their own high ideas of their own powers and attainments require the sympathy of others to render them steady. Precisely as pride or vanity has the predominance, the want of such gratification will lead to greater independence, or greater submission; in the one case leaving the mind to the wayward wanderings of its own feelings, in the other forging more firmly the shackles which bind it to the world. Happy they who have learnt from various discipline, that higher approbation is to be sought for than the approbation of the world, or even than their own, and that neither possesses permanent value, except where sanctioned by that, which, when once the ruling object of the mind, will make all others comparatively insignificant. 48. We have stated that both pride and vanity may exist independently of each other : from what we have advancedit appears, that pride will exist thus separately only in a vigorous mind ; vanity, we would add, will be found independently of pride only in a weak mind. He who cannot rest satisfied without the sympathy of others must be ever varying in his ideas and fickle in his conduct. Without it he will possess no firmness, and with it no decision. The approbation which pride claims as its due, vanity seeks as a favour: if it receives it not, the vain mind desponds, for it has not learned to trust in itself. 49. It is difficult to form a comparative estimate of the injurious effects of pride and vanity. When the soil is good, both may produce good fruit: perhaps, however, pride presents the most effectual obstacles to improvement, and vanity tends most to render that improvement ineffectual. In the early periods of life, the good opinion of others is the highest stimulus which the mind can receive, and, well directed, it has its full effect in prompting to the attainment of moral and mental excellence. The circle at first is narrow : the few friends on whom we depend for the various comforts and enjoyments of life, are those, whose good opinion forms our first object. If these are, fortunately for us, correct in their appreciation of worth, their good opinion is the source of future excellence; it prompts to the formation of the most valuable habits, and lays the foundation for that desire of
honour, which afterwards raises the mind to Him whose approbation is happinessIf they make their approbation depend upon right conduct, and do not lavish their praise or their censure; but give it only where justly estimated praise or censure is due, the result is valuable ; if they teach to value the praise of the wise and the good only, vanity will in time be brought within proper limits; but they do not do all, if they do not teach, that the pleasure which they at present receive from their friends is afterwards to be chiefly sought for in that of their best friend, that his approbation is to be made the criterion of excellence, and that by this they must appreciate the worth of all other sources of honour. If indiscriminate vanity be not thus checked, the mind which seeks the good opinion of others will fall into the opinions and practices of others; unsteadiness of principles and of conduct must be expected, for that on which they are founded is variable as the wind. The stimulus of praise becomes necessary to happiness; and the mind is incapable of exertion where that praise is not to be obtained; is incapable of acting in opposition to the opinion of those whose censures it deems the worst of evils, whose praise it regards as the chief of goods.-The excessive desire of the good opinion even of the wise and good, is injurious to the mind. It enervates its powers of action, it renders it fickle and inconstant : it prevents from efforts leading to high utility, where those efforts may be misinterpreted: it checks the attention which should be paid to superior honour; and it prevents that ardent desire for the highest approbation, which should be made, as far as possible, the primary object of pursuit. 50. The virtue of humility is the most difficult to acquire of all the train, yet it is this which gives the true grace to the character. It is the characteristic of Christianity, and it is in this respect that the Christian so far excels the stoical system of morality: the whole structure of the latter was laid upon the foundation of human pride, and though frequently captivating to the imagination, which loves to view the elevated mind, yet it often af. fords a poor shelter to the children of humanity. Humility does not direct us to estimate ourselves lower than impartiality requires; but it is seldom that we need fear wandering into this extreme, except where it arises from that self-diffidence, which distrusts, merely because vanity has not yet lent its support. This excess of
diffidence is not unfrequently the cause of vanity; for the mind then feels the more eager desire to be well in the estimation of others; and, when their good opinion is obtained, fosters it with too great pleasure. , Still, however, the frequent mortifications it meets with tends to lower it in its own estimation, unless by degrees it learns to set a value upon its own requisition, independently of the captious applause of others; and then it deviates into the opposite extreme of self-sufficiency and pride. Here a strong mind, not under religious culture, will rest; a weak one will probably be again driven to that support, on which it originally rested its self-approbation. If it do not return to its former state, the attentions which vanity received as a favour, pride claims as its right: and in both cases endless inquietude, envy, and resentment, are the almost necessary attendantS. 51. The workings of vanity ought not to be viewed with too suspicious an eye in the early stages of intellectual and moral culture. Self-diffidence is almost necessary for that culture, and vanity we
have seen is frequently the offspring of
self-diffidence. Care however should be taken to prevent the love of praise from becoming a necessary stimulus to exertion. The stimulus should be lessened by degrees; and if done gradually, the habit which it was i. to generate will be formed, and the exercise of it continued, without this stimulus—Praise is probably employed in education more than is desirable, because more than is necessary; perhaps the simple expressions of sympathy in successful exertions would answer every purpose. The employment of them may however be varied by circumstances; but it should always be kept in view, that praise should be little employed in the culture of moral worth; to that, approbation should be given indirectly, and, when betowed upon intellectual acquirements, it should be distinctly seen that these are not held in the same rank with the performance of duty. The young should frequently be led; if self-diffidence do not make this a bar to exertion, to contemplate those who have made greater attainments than themselves, and seldom to refer to those who are below them; in this, however, such cases should be adduced as will prevent, or rather avoid, the excitement of envy ; and where emulation gives birth to envy, this should be carefully avoided. But, above all, they should be taught to
be discriminate in their desire of approbation, and be led by degrees to seek for that approbation, which alone is certain, and which alone is independently valuable. The eager desire of the praise of men debases the motives, weakens the mental powers, and produces corroding inquietude; the ardent pursuit of the former will supply motives to action continually increasing in purity, will strengthen the mind for valuable exertion, and prepare it for permanent happiness.
Cultivation of Humility.
52. In order to cultivate the tender plant of humility, we must clear away the high ideas we have of our own excellencies. All thoughts which please are apt to recur frequently, and their contraries to be kept out of sight; hence, by dwelling upon these excellencies, they will be magnified; by keeping our imperfections out of view, they are diminished; and the same causes too frequently lead to keep in view the defects of others, and neglect the consideration of their excellencies : and thus pride, that is, too high an opinion of ourselves, and too low an opinion of others, must be generated. . Now the only way to obtain a just opinion of ourselves is, to reverse this operation, and by express acts of volition dwell upon the excellencies of others and our own defects, and to pass by with little notice the defects of j and our own excellencies.—To cultivate humility, we must learn not to seek the applause of the world, but to acquiesce in the respect it pays us, however disproportioned this may be to the merit of the action under consideration. We should remember, that however beautiful the productions of nature and art which pass under our notice, it would be absurd to stay till long experience and accurate examination justified it, that they are unequalled in their kind: much less should we suppose this of those sources of honour which happen to be our lot, which are entirely magnified beyond the truth in our own eyes, from the interest we take in ourselves. —Humility will further be cultivated by receiving with readiness the censures and shame which we have deserved ; by acquiescing under them, where we think we have not deserved them; and in this last case always to suspect our own judgment.—The frequent recollection, that all our valued qualities proceed from God; that we have nothing which we did not receive from him ; and that there could be no reason in ourselves why he should select us to perform the particular part he hath assigned us; and the application of this important truth to the real occurrences of our lives, must greatly accelerate our progress to humility and self-annihilation. * iv. estimate of the peasures of selfinterest.
(Philosophy, mental, § 79, 84.)
53. We ought not primarily to pursue the means of obtaining the pleasures of sensation, imagination, or ambition, because these pleasures themselves, from what we have already seen, ought not to be made a primary object of pursuit. The means borrow all their value from the end, by association ; and if the original value of the end be not sufficient to justify our making them our primary object, the borrowed value of the means cannot.
54. Gross self-interest, or the treasuring up of the means of happiness from these sources of sensation, imagination, and ambition, bears a very near relation to ambition. Those who desire great degrees of riches, power, learning, &c. desire also that their acquisition should be known to the world: to be thought happy often constitutes a stronger motive for action than to be happy. The reason therefore which excludes ambition as a primary pursuit excludes self-interest also. Gross self-interest has a manifest tendency to deprive us of the pleasures of sympathy, and to expose to its pains. Rapaciousness extinguishes all sparks of good-will and generosity, and produces endless resentments and jealousies. And indeed a great part of the contentions and mutual injuries which we see in the world arise, because either one or both of the contending parties desire more than an equitable share of the means of happiness—Besides, gross self-interest has a most painful and peculiar tendency to increase itself, by the constant recurrence and consequent augmentation of the ideas and desires that relate to self, and the exclusion of those which relate to others.-This inconsistency of gross self-interest with sympathy would be an argument against it, barely upon the supposition that sympathy was one necessary part of our nature, which ought to have an equal share with sensation, imagination, and ambition: but as it now begins to appear, from the exclu
sion of those as primary objects, that more than an equal share is due to sympathy, the opposition between them is a strong argument against self-interest — There is in like manner an evident opposition between gross self-interest and the pleasures of theopathy and the moral sense; hence, if those be admitted as essential parts of our nature, and especially when it is shewn that they ought to be made primary objects of pursuit, an insuperable objection arises against our making the pleasures of self-interest our primary objects.-Gross self-interest, when indulged, destroys many of the pleasures of sensation, and most of those of imagination and ambition; that, is, many of those pleasures from which it takes its rise. This is peculiarly true and evident in the love of money, and it holds in a considerable degree with respect to other selfish pursuits. It must therefore destroy itself in part, as well as the pleasures of sympathy, theopathy, and the moral sense, with the refined self-interest founded upon them. And thus it happens, that in very avaricious persons, nothing remains but a sensual selfishness, and an uneasy bankering after money, which is a more imperfect state than that in which they were at their first setting out in infancy.—Men, in treasuring up the means of happiness without limit, seem to go upon the supposition, that their capacity for enjoying particular species of happiness is infinite, and consequently that the power of enjoyment depends upon the stock of means which they amass. But our capacity for enjoying happiness is confined and fluctuating; and there are many periods during which no object, however grateful to others, can afford any pleasure, owing to the diseased state of our minds or of our bodies.—Further, it is evident, in part, that self-interested men are not more happy than others, whatever means of happiness they may possess. Experience appears to confirm the reasoning already adduced, but it certainly confirms this conclusion. Those who are continually aiming to treasure up the means of happiness are in general remarkably miserable. The covetous man subjects himself to hardship, care, fear, ridicule, and contempt, and thus undergoes greater evils than what fall to the share of mankind upon an average. 55. Some degree of refined self-interest is the necessary consequence of the power of receiving the pleasures of sympathy and theopathy. He who has had
a sufficient experience of the pleasures of friendship, generosity, devotion, and self-approbation, cannot avoid the desire to have a return of them, when he is not under the particular influence of any one of them, merely on account of the pleasure which they have afforded. And if he have not advanced into very considerable purity of motives, will seek to excite those pleasures by treasuring up the means of them, and to keep himself in a disposition to use them, not from any particularly vivid love of his neighbour, or of God, or from a sense of duty, but entirely from the view of private Thappiness.-Refined self-interest is neither so common nor so conspicuous, in real life, as the gross self-interest. It rises late, and is never in any great magnitude in the bulk of mankind, through the want of the previous pleasures of sympathy, religion, and the moral sense, and in some it scarcely prevails at all; whereas gross self-interest rises early in infancy, and arrives at a considerable magnitude before adult age. 56. The objections which lie against making the pursuit of refined self-interest our ultimate object, though less obvious, do not appear less weighty than those which lie against gross self-interest. In the first place, the mind which has so far advanced towards perfection, as to make the means of obtaining the refined pleasures of religion and virtue the primary object, will be more likely, finally, to stop at this point, than he who was guided by gross self-interest. There is Ress the appearance of deficiency, and less Qpposition between it and the claims of benevolence and piety; and as it leads to the performance of laudable actions, the conscience is too apt to give approbation where, if all that influenced the mind were brought into full view, nothing but self would be seen. Hence there is little inducement to refine the motives, and purify them from their baser alloy ; and making self continually the motive, checks the natural progress of the affections to complete disinterestedIness. 57. To act with a direct view to the pleasures of benevolence and piety, seems to carry with it a degree of selfishness little superior to that of the refined sensualist, who chooses from among the objects of his degraded taste such only as will give the least alloyed pleasures, and those of the most continued duration. It differs from his selfishness, in producing VOL. IX.
to society more valuable effects; but, from what has been stated respecting the progress of the affections in mental PhiLosophy, it appears that it is very considerably below that state in which the af. fection is perfect: and we have already seen that it stops its progress towards that perfection. It may fairly be admitted in the commencement of a virtuous course, as a step towards improvement; but if the mind be suffered to rest here, we cannot esteem its progress great.— In addition to these objections, some very forcible ones will appear among those which lie against acting with an explicit view to our greatest happiness on the whole, making even the highest least debasing, because least specific, kind of self-interest our ground of action. 58. Rational self-interest is certainly to be put upon a very different footing from the gross and refined; agreeably to which the Scriptures promise general hopes and fears, and especially those of a future state, and inculcate them as good and proper motives: and they may, therefore, certainly be considered as auxiliary in our moral progress. But Christianity holds out still more refined motives, distinct from hope and fear, the love of God and our neighbour, the law of our minds, &c. that is, the motives of sympathy, theopathy, and the moral sense. Rational self-interest will lead to the formation of these, and to the destruction of the impure motives to action; and precisely as far as it does this, it may be reckoned a virtue. When it tends to cherish the impure motives, or simply to obstruct the growth of the pure motives, then it must be considered as a vice. That we ought not to rest satisfied with that state in the moral progress, in which an explicit and direct view to the greatest general happiness or misery is made the primary motive to action, may be argued from the consideration, that a constant attention even to these most general hopes and fears, would extinguish, by degrees, our love of God and our neighbour, and this especially by augmenting the ideas and desires which centre immediately in self to an undue height.—While our own happiness, even the most refined and general, is the explicit motive, benevolence and piety will never acquire that disinterestedness, which will prompt to their respective course of conduct, without any exterior stimulus, simply by the impulse of the affection.—Rational self-interest will at times be present to the Q q
mind even of those who have advanced highest in the scale of present excellence; and in the early stages of the moral progress may be called in as a most careful auxiliary, and important support; but even this must be made subordinate to the cultivation of those affections, which are only perfect as they approach disinterestedness. 59. We shall conclude this head in the words of Dr. Reid, with a few alterations. —Though a steady pursuit of our own real good may, in an enlightened mind, produce a degree of virtue which is entitled to some approbation, yet it can never, while the mind rests with this explicit regard to self, produce the noblest kind of virtue which claims our highest love and esteem.—We account him a wise man who is wise for himself; and if he prosecute his end through difficulties and temptations, his character is far superior to that of the man, who, having the same end in view, is continually starting out of the road, from an attachment to his appetites and passions, and doing every day what he knows he shall heartily repent—Yet, after all, this wise man, whose thoughts and cares are all centred ultimately in himself, who indulges even his social and divine affections only with a view to his own good, is not the man whom we cordially esteem, nor who possesses the noble elevation of mind which commands our admiration. Our cordial esteem and admiration are due, are given, only to him, whose soul is not contracted within itself, but embraces a more extensive object ; who loves religion, not for her dowry only, but for her own sake; whose benevolence is not selfish, but generous and disinterested ; who, forgetful of himself, has the common good at heart, not as a means only, but as an end; who abhors what God and conscience condemn, however attractive its appearance; who chooses, without hesitation, what God and conscience approve, though surrounded with ten-fold dangers.-Such a man we esteem the perfect man, compared with whom, he, who has no other aim than good to himself, is a mean and despicable character—To serve God and be useful to mankind, without any concern about our own good and happiness, is probably beyond the pitch of human nature. But to serve God and to be useful to men, merely to obtain good to ourselves, or to avoid ill, is imperfect service, and not of that liberal nature which true devotion and real virtue requires. 60. Though we might be apt to think
that he has the best chance for Inappimess, who has no other end of his delibe. rate actions but his own good, yet a little consideration will satisfy us of the contrary. A concern for our own good is not a principle that of itself gives any enjoyment; on the contrary it is apt to fill the mind with fear, and care, and anxiety. And these concomitants of this principle often give pain and uneasiness, which counterbalance the good they have in view. We may compare, in point of present happiness, two imaginary characters; the first, of the man who has no other ultimate end of his deliberate actions than his own good, and who has no regard to religion and duty but as means to that end ; the second, of the man who is not indifferent with regard to his own good, but has another ultimate end, (per. fectly consistent with it,) a disinterested love of goodness for its own sake, or a regard to duty as an end. Comparing these two characters in point of happiness, that we may give all possible advantage to the selfish principle, we shall suppose the man, who is actuated solely by it, to be so far enlightened as to see it his interest to live soberly, righteously, and piously, in the world, and that he follows the same course of conduct from the motive of his own good only, which the other does, in a greatmeasure, or in some measure, from a sense of duty. The one labours for hire, without any love to the work; the other loves the work, and thinks it the most noble and the most honourable he can be employed in. In the first, it is mortification and self-denial, to which he submits only through necessity; to the other, it is victory and triumph in the most honourable warfare.— It ought further to be considered, that though wise men have concluded that virtue is the only road to happiness, and the commands of a benevolent Creator necessarily lead us to consider it as such, yet he who follows it only as a means to an end, and who obeys God only for the sake of the rewards he has attached to obedience, would, in all probability, be continually wandering from the direct path, and seeking for happiness where it was not to be found.—The road to duty is so plain, that the man who seeks it with an upright heart cannot greatly wander from it; but the road to happiness, (except where that confidence in the Supreme Being is formed, which supposes the pious affections to have become disinterested,) would be found dark and intricate, full of thorns