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OBSERVATION II.

Passions and Emotions are of a transitory nature; the Affections alone are permanent.

ACCORDING to the distinctions which have been made between Passions, Emotions, and Affections, it clearly appears that the two former are in their nature transient, and that the affections are capable of much longer duration. The passions have been represented as vivid sensations, passively or involuntarily, produced by some strong idea excited in the mind; and emotions as the external marks of these. But as this passive state of mind is transitory, so are its external marks; and as both gradually subside, they give place to some correspondent affection, which remains as long as our opinion, and the interest we take in the object, shall continue. It necessarily follows from these facts, that we are not to look to the passions and emotions either for permanent well-being, or for permanent wretchedness. They must either die away and leave no impression, as in

cases where the imagination was deceived, respecting the value or importance of the exciting cause, or they are the harbingers of some more durable affections; and it is the influence of these affections which has the permanent effect upon our well-being. Thus, when we give ourselves over to the delectable tumults of Joy, the joy is incidental. It is hastily introduced by the sudden perception or impressive sense of some acquisition, which we deem important to present or future welfare; of a something, which we expect to be more or less durable in its nature, or to diffuse its beneficent influence to a considerable extent. These advantages are concentrated, as it were, in the imagination, at the instant of joy. They operate upon the mind as the solar rays collected in a focus dart upon the surface of a body; and though the pleasures of joy are often greater than those derived from its causes, yet we naturally expect much more than the momentary well-being introduced by the emotion itself.

In the first impulse of Sorrow, the magnitude of the loss is the most impressive idea. As the mind becomes more intimately acquainted with the nature and extent of the privation, the agonies of sorrow will either subside into indif ference, from the perception that the loss was

not of that importance as had been imagined, and that it has been amply supplied by some valuable and unexpected blessing; or the vivid impression will be effaced by time, which always places before us a variety of objects new and interesting; or finally, the transports of sorrow will gradually give way to habitual grief and melancholy.

Thus Fear is inspired, and becomes agonizing, from the apprehension of some species of calamity; and the influential idea at the instant, is, that by the expected calamity we shall be lastingly deprived of some Good we wish to retain, or that it will be introductory to some durable Evil; though the fear itself may be much more painful than the evil we dread. Anger is roused by an immediate sense of injury committed or threatened; that is, by the apprehension of some robbery of the good to which we have a claim. Here again the mind, comparing the present with the past, or looking forwards to the future, perceives or apprehends a disagreeable change of circumstances or of state; and is incensed against the offending cause. When the first impulse subsides, it is succeeded by the affections of grief, resentment, indignation, &c. according to the nature of the insult suffered, or the aggravations of the offence; and these

become durable as the idea or perception of the injury received.

Nor does the transition which is sometimes made from affection to passion invalidate these remarks. It has been observed, that when the object possesses many complicated and interesting circumstances, these, by being placed before the memory, and distinctly examined, may gradually warm the imagination, and increase the strength of the affection, until the party be worked up into violent emotions. But when the passions are excited in this manner, they are also of short duration. The preternatural state of mind demands too great an expenditure of animal spirits, to render the passion lasting; and it soon relapses into the kindred affection. In cases deemed peculiarly interesting, and in persons of quick and lively feelings, gushes and fits of passion may be frequently excited by the same cause, and the mind may be placed alternately under the influence of the passion and affection; but wherever passions and emotions are permanently vehement, it becomes an indication of insanity. It is a morbid irritation, over which reason has totally lost its controuling power.

The permanent Affections are therefore to be considered as constituting that habitual state of mind, into which the primary passion im

pelled it. Our ideas, and with them our affections, concerning the object, are now changed. Instead of our former indifference, we contemplate it with some degree of pleasure or pain, become habitually attached to it, or indulge an habitual aversion respecting it.

Thus it is obvious that none of the leading passions and emotions constitute our permanent Welfare, or the contrary. They simply manifest the first impression which the sudden change of our state has made upon us. The lasting effects, in consequence of this change, are to be learned from the Affections. If the Good introduced by Joy prove itself to be a lasting good, though it may be partial and incomplete, it may inspire Contentment.

If it

be the completion of an ardent desire, it communicates Satisfaction. If it meet with approbation, and be reflected upon as the result of a plan well-intended, wisely formed, and successfully executed, it becomes the source of Complacency. Fear sinks into permanent Dread, or unmixed with any particle of hope, into lasting Despair; Sorrow into confirmed Melancholy; and Anger into Resentment and Displacency.

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