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THE PASSIONS. say as well as you can, for to give this rule is yet it cannot excuse those who do not make to suppose two things, both sometimes alike continual efforts to correct it. To acknowledge impracticable; the one that such a man can that we are constitutionally inclined to violate be found, and the other, that he will be heard the laws of God, and to live quietly in pracwith deference. When we are so happy as to tices directed by constitutional heat, is to have find this inestimable treasure, we have found a the interior tainted. It is an evidence that remedy of marvellous efficacy against the dis- the malady which at first attacked only the exorders which the passions produce in the mind. terior of the man, has communicated itself to Let us make the trial. 'Suppose a faithful all the frame, and infected the vitals. We friend should address one of you in this man- oppose this against the frivolous excuses of ner. Heaven has united in your favour the some sinners, who, while they abandon themmost happy circumstances. The blood of the selves like brute beasts to the most guilty pasgreatest heroes animates you, and your name sions, lay all the blame on the misfortune of alone is an encomium. Besides this you have their constitution. They say their will has no an affluent fortune, and Providence has given part in their excesses—they cannot change you abundance to support your dignity, and to their constitution—and God cannot justly discharge every thing that your splendid sta- blame them for irregularities, which proceeded tion requires. You have also a fine and acute from the natural union of the soul with the genius, and your natural talents are culti- body. Indeed they prove by their talk, that vated by an excellent education. Your health they would be very sorry not to have a constiseems free from the infirmities of life, and if tution to serve for an apology for sin, and to any man may hope for a long duration here, cover the licentiousness of casting off an obliyou are the man who may expect it. With gation, which the law of God, according to all these noble advantages you may aspire them, requires of none but such as have reat any thing. But one thing is wanting. ceived from nature the power of discharging You are dazzled with your own splendour, it. If these maxims be admitted, what beand your feeble eyes are almost put out with comes of the morality of Jesus Christ? What the brilliancy of your condition. Your ima- become of the commands concerning mortifigination struck with the idea of the prince cation and repentance? But people who talk whom you have the honour to serve, makes thus, intend less to correct their faults than to you consider yourself as a kind of royal per- palliate them; and this discourse is intended sonage. You have formed your family on the only for such as are willing to apply means to plan of the court. You are proud, arrogant, free themselves from the dominion of irreguhaughty. Your seat resembles a tribunal, and lar passions. all your expressions are sentences from which Certainly the best advice that can be given it is a crime to appeal. As you will never suf- to a man whose constitution inclines him to fer yourself to be contradicted, you seem to be sin, is, that he avoid opportunities, and flee applauded; but a sacrifice is made to your va- from such objects as affect and disconcert him. nity and not to your merit, and people bow It does not depend on you to be unconcerned not to your reason but to your tyranny. As in sight of an object fatal to your innocence: they fear you avail yourself of your credit to but it does depend on you to keep out of the brave others, each endeavours to oppose you, way of seeing it. It does not depend on you and to throw down in your absence the altar to be animated at the sight of a gaming table: he had erected in your presence, and on which but it does depend on you to avoid such whimno incense sincerely offered burns, except that sical places, where sharping goes for merit. which you yourself put there.
Let us not be presumptuous. Let us make
every thing possible to his love, his presump-
sistance of grace, the irregularities of our conHowever, though the irregularity of the stitution, and freeing ourselves from its domin: senses diminishes the atrociousness of the crime, I ion, so that we may be able, if not to seek our
temptations for the sake of the glory of subdu- of the spirits this way rather than that. What ing them, at least to resist them, and not suffer must happen then?' We have supposed, that them to conquer us, when in spite of all our some organs of a man constitutionally irregucaution they will attack us! Three remedies lar are more accessible than others. When we are necessary to our success in this painful un- are idle, and make no efforts to direct the anidertaking; to suspend acts—to flee idleness—to mal spirits, they naturally take the easiest way, mortify sense.
and consequently direct their own course to We must suspend acts. Let us form a just those organs which passion has made easy of idea of temperament or constitution. It con- access. To avoid this disorder, we must be sists in one of these two things, or in both to employed, and always employed. This rule gether; in a disposition of organs in the nature is neither impracticable, nor difficult. We do of animal spirits. For example, a man is an- not mean, that the soul should be always on gry when the organs which serve that passion, the stretch in meditation or prayer. An innoare more accessible than others, and when his cent recreation, an easy conversation, agreeaanimal spirits are easily heated. Hence it ne- ble exercise, may have each its place in occucessarily follows, that two things must be done pations of this kind. For these reasons we to correct constitutional anger; the one, the applaud those, who make such maxims parts disposition of the organs must be changed; of the education of youth, as either to teach and the other, the nature of the spirits must be them an art, or employ them in some bodily changed, so that on the one hand, the spirits exercise. Not that we propose this maxim as no longer finding these organs disposed to give it is received in some families, where they think them passage, and on the other hand the spi- all the merit of a young gentleman consists in rits having lost a facility of taking fire, there hunting, riding, or some exercise of that kind; will be within the man none of the revolutions and that of a young lady, in distinguishing herof sense, which he could not resist when they self in dancing, music, or needle-work. We were excited.
mean, that these employments should be subA suspension of acts changes the disposition ordinate to others more serious, and more worof the organs. The more the spirits enter into thy of an immortal soul, that they should these organs, the more easy is the access, and serve only for relaxation, so that by thus takthe propensity insurmountable; the more acts ing part in the innocent pleasures of the world, of anger there are, the more incorrigible will we may be better prepared to avoid the guilty anger become; because the more acts of anger pursuits of it. there are, the more accessible will the organs The third remedy is mortification of the senses, of anger be, so that the animal spirits will na- a remedy which St. Paul always used, “I keep turally fall there by their own motion. The under my body, and bring it into subjection," i spirits then must be restrained. The bias they Cor. ix. 27. Few people have such sound notions. have to the ways to which they have been habi- Some casuists have stretched the subject betuated by the practice of sin must be turned, yond its due bounds so as to establish this prinand we must always remember a truth often ciple, that sinful man can enjoy no pleasure inculcated, that is, that the more acts of sin we without a crime, because sin having been his commit the more difficult to correct will habits delight, pain ought to be for ever his lot. of sin become; but that when by taking pains This principle may perhaps be probably consiwith ourselves, we have turned the course of dered in regard to unregenerate men: but it the spirits, they will take different ways, and cannot be admitted in regard to true Christhis is done by suspending the acts.
tians. Accordingly, we place among those It is not impossible to change even the na- who have unsound notions of mortification, all ture our animal spirits. This is done by such as make it consist in vain practices, usesuspending what contributed to nourish them less in themselves, and having no relation to. in a state of disorder. What contributes to the principal design of religion, “bodily exerthe nature of spirits Diet, exercise, air, the cises profiting little:” they are "commandwhole course of life we live. It is very diffi- ments of men,” in the language of Scripture. cult in a discourse like this, to give a full cata- But if some having entertained extravagant logue of remedies proper to regulate the ani- notions of mortification, others have restrained mal spirits and the humours of the body. I be the subject too much. Under pretence that lieve it would be dangerous to many people. the religion of Jesus Christ is spiritual, they Some men are so made, that reflections too ac- have neglected the study and practice of evancurate on this article would be more likely to gelical morality: but we have heard the exincrease their vices than to diminish them. ample of St. Paul, and it is our duty to imiHowever, there is not one person willing to tate it. We must“ keep under the body," and turn his attention to this subject who is not bring it into subjection,” the senses must be able to become a preacher to himself. Let a bridled by violence, innocent things must of man enter into himself, let him survey the his- ten be refused them, in order to obtain the tory of his excesses, let him examine all cir- mastery when they require unlawful things; cumstances, let him recollect what passed we must fast, we must avoid ease, because it within him on such and such occasions, let him tends to effeminacy. All this is difficult, I closely consider what moved and agitated him, grant: but if the undertaking be hazardous, and he will learn more by such a meditation, success will be glorious.* Thirty, forty years, than all sermons and casuistical books can employed in reforming an irregular constituteach him.
tion, ought not to be regretted. What a glory The second remedy is to avoid idleness. to have subdued the senses! What a glory What is idleness? It is that situation of soul,
* See a beautiful passage of Plato in his eighth book in which no effort is made to direct the course De legibus.
to have restored the soul to its primitive supe | let us abstain from pleasures to preclude the riority, to have crucified the body of sin," to possibility of remembering them; let retirement, lead it in triumph, and to destroy, that is to and, if it be practicable, perpetual privacy, from annihilate it, according to an expression of the moment we enter into the world to the day Scripture, and so to approach those pure spirits, we quit it, save us from all bad impressions, so in whom the motions of matter can make no that we may never know the effects which alteration!
worldly objects would produce in our passions. The disorders produced by the passions in This method, sure and effectual, is useless and the imagination, and against which also we impracticable in regard to such as have received ought to furnish you with some remedies, are bad impressions on their imagination. People like those complicated disorders, which require of this character ought to pursue the second opposite remedies, because they are the effect method we mentioned, that is to profit by their of opposite causes, so that the means employed losses, and derive wisdom from their errors. to diminish one part not unfrequently increase When you recollect sin, you may remember the another. It should seem at first, that the best folly and pain of it. Let the courtier whose remedy which can be applied to disorders in- imagination is yet full of the vain glory of a troduced by the passions into the imagination, splendid court, remember the intrigues he has is well to consider the nature of the objects of known there, the craft, the injustice, the the passions, and thoroughly to know the world: treachery, the dark and dismal plans that are and yet on the other hand, it may truly be said, formed and executed there. that the most certain way of succeeding would I would advise such a man, when his pasbe to know nothing at all about the world. If sions solicit him to sin, to call in the aid of you know the pleasures of the world, if you some other idea to strike and affect his imaknow by experience the pleasure of gratifying gination. Let him make choice of that out of a passion, you will fall into the misfortune we the truths of religion which seems most likely wish you to avoid; you will receive bad impres- to impress his mind, and let him learn the art sions; you will acquire dangerous recollections, of instantly opposing impression against imand a seducing memory will be a new occasion pression, and image against image; for example, of sin: but if you do not know the pleasures of let him often fix his attention on death, judgthe world, you will be likely to form ideas too ment, and hell; let him often say to himself, I flattering of it, you will create images more inust die soon, I must stand before a severe tribeautiful than the originals themselves, and by bunal, and appear in the presence of an imparthe immense value you set upon the victim, tial judge; let him go down in thought into that when you are just going to offer it up perhaps gull, where the wicked expiate in eternal toryou will retreat, and not make the sacrifice. ments their momentary pleasures; let him think Hence we often see persons whom the super- he hears the sound of the piercing cries of the stition or avarice of their families has in child- victims whom divine justice sacrifices in hell: hood confined in a nunnery (suppose it were let him often weigh in his mind the “chains of allowable in other cases, yet in this case done darkness” that load miserable creatures in hell; prematurely,) I say, these persons not knowing let him often approach the fire that consumes the world, wish for its pleasures with more ar- them; let him, so to speak, scent the smoke that dour than if they had actually experienced rises up for ever and ever; let him often think them. So they who have never been in com- of eternity, and place himself in that awful mopany with the great, generally imagine that ment, in which the angel will lift up his hand their society is full of charms, that all is plea- to heaven, and swear by him that liveth for sure in their company, and that a circle of rich ever and ever, that there shall be time no lonand fashionable people sitting in an elegant ger," Rev. x. 5, 6; and let the numerous reapartment is far more lively and animated than flections furnished by all these subjects be kept one composed of people of inferior rank, and as corps de reserve, always ready to fly to his middling fortune. Hence also it is, that they, aid, when the enemy approaches to attack him. who, after having lived a dissipated life, have In fine, to heal the disorders which the pasthe rare happiness of renouncing it, do so with sions produce in the heart, two things must be more sincerity than others, who never knew the done. First, the vanity of all the creatures vanity of such a life by experience. So very must be observed; and this will free us from the different are the remedies for disorders of the desire of possessing and collecting the whole in imagination.
order to fill up the void which single enjoyments But as in complicated disorders, to which we leave. Secondly, we must ascend from creahave compared them, a wise physician chiefly tures to the Creator, in order to get rid of the attends to the most dangerous complaint, and folly of attributing to the world the perfection distributes his remedies so as to counteract and sufficiency of God. those which are less fatal, we will observe the Let us free our hearts from an avidity for same method on this occasion. Doubtless the new pleasures by comprehending all creatures most dangerous way to obtain a contempt for in our catalogue of vanities. I allow, inconthe pleasures of the world, is to get an experi- stancy, and love of novelty are in some sense mental knowledge of them, in order to detach rational. It is natural for a being exposed to ourselves more easily from them by the tho- trouble to choose to change his condition, and rough sense we have of their vanity. We ha- as that in which he is yields certain trouble, to zard a fall by approaching too near, and such try whether another will not be something eavery often is the ascendancy of the world over sier. It is natural to a man who has found us, that we cannot detach ourselves from it nothing but imperfect pleasure in former enjoythough we are disgusted with it. Let us en- ments, to desire new objects. The most noble deavour then to preserve our imagination pure; I souls, the greatest geniuses, the largest hearts
have often the most inconstancy and love of between the motions of my senses and agreeable
Strangers are generally very little beloved in world, which God has cursed. They are in the place of their exile. Although rational the "new heavens, and the new earth,” which people treat them with hospitality; though nareligion promises. To comprehend all crea- ture inspires some with respect for the wretched tures in a catalogue of vanities is an excellent of every character; though piety animates some rule to heal the heart of the disorders of passion. with veneration for people firm in their religious
Next we must frequently ascend from crea- sentiments; yet, it must be allowed, the bulk tures to the Creator, and cease to consider them of the people usually see them with other eyes; as the supreme good. We intend here a devo- they envy them the air they breathe, and the tion of all times, places, and circumstances; for, earth they walk on; they consider them as so my brethren, one great source of depravity in many usurpers of their rights; and they think, the most eminent saints is to restrain the spirit that as much as exiles partake of the benefits of of religion to certain times, places, and circum- government, and the liberty of trade, so much stances. There is an art of glorifying God by they retrench from the portion of the natives. exercising religion every where. “Whether ye Besides, the people commonly judge of merit eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to by fortune, and as fortune and banishment selthe glory of God," 1 Cor. x. 13. Do you enjoy dom go together, popular prejudice seldom runs the pleasures of sense? Say to yourself, God high in favour of exiles. Jealousy views them is the author of this pleasure. The nourish- with a suspicious eye, malice imputes crimes to ment I derive from my food is not necessarily them, injustice accuses them for public calamiproduced by aliments, they have no natural ties .
we will not enlarge. Let an power to move my nerves, God has communi- inviolable fidelity to the state, an unsuspected cated it to them; there is no necessary connexion I love to government, an unreserved conformity
to religion, silence accusation, and compel, so I thrones and crowns which God prepares. His to speak, an esteem that is not natural and free. riches are not of this world, they depend on Moreover, religious exiles have given up a great treasures in heaven, where “ thieves do not deal for conscience, and they must choose either break through and steal," Matt. vi. 20. It is to lose the reward of their former labours, or to allowable for a man educated in these great persevere. A man who has only taken a few principles, but whose infirmity prevents his aleasy steps in religion, if he let loose his passions, ways thinking on them; it is indeed allowable may be supposed rational in this, his life is all for a man, who cannot always bend his mind of a piece. He considers present interest as the to reflection, meditation, and elevation above supreme good, and he employs himself wholly the world; it is indeed allowable for such a in advancing his present interest, he lays down man sometimes to unbend his mind, to amuse a principle, he infers a consequence, and he himself with cultivating a tulip, or embellishmakes sin produce all possible advantage. An ing his head with a crown: but that this tulip, abominable principle certainly, but a uniform that this crown, should seriously occupy such train of principle and consequence; a fatal ad- a man; that they should take up the principal vantage in a future state, but a real advantage attention of a Christian, who has such refined in the present: but such a stranger as we have ideas and such glorious hopes, this, this is endescribed, a man banished his country for reli- tirely incompatible. gion, if he continues to gratify fleshly passions, 3. In fine, we are strangers and pilgrims by is a contradictory creature, a sort of idiot, who necessity of nature as mortal men. If this life is at one and the same time a martyr to vice were eternal, it would be a question whether and a martyr to virtue. He has the fatal secret it were more advantageous for man to gratify of rendering both time and eternity wretched, his passions than to subdue them; whether and arming against himself heaven and earth, the tranquillity, the equanimity, the calm of a God and Satan, paradise and hell. On the man perfectly free, and entirely master of himone hand, for the sake of religion he quits every self, would not be preferable to the troubles, thing dear, and renounces the pleasure of his conflicts, and turbulence, of a man in bondage native soil, the society of his friends, family to his passions. Passing this question, we will connexions, and every prospect of preferment grant, that were this life eternal, prudence and and fortune; thus he is a martyr for virtue, by self-love, well understood, would require some this he renders the present life inconvenient, indulgence of passion. In this case there and arms against himself the world, Satan, and would be an immense distance between the hell. On the other hand, he stabs the practical rich and the poor, and riches should be acpart of religion, violates all the sacred laws of quired; there would be an immense distance austerity, retirement, humility, patience, and between the high and the low, and elevation love, all which religion most earnestly recom- should be sought; there would be an immense mends; by so doing he becomes a martyr for distance between him who mortified his senses, sin, renders futurity miserable, and arms against and him who gratified them, and sensual pleahimself God, heaven, and eternity. The same sures would be requisite. God who forbade superstition and idolatry, en- But death, death renders all these things joined all the virtues we have enumerated, and alike; at least, it makes so little difference beprohibited every opposite vice. If men be de- tween the one and the other, that it is hardly termined to be damned, better go the broad discernible. The most sensible motive there than the narrow way. Who but a madman fore to abate the passions, is death. The tomb would attempt to go to hell by encountering is the best course of morality. Study avarice the difficulties that lie in the way to heaven! in the coffin of a miser; this is the man who
2. The believers to whom Peter wrote were accumulated heap upon heap, riches upon strangers as Christians, and therefore strangers riches, see a few boards enclose him, and a few because believers. What is the fundamental square inches of earth contain him. Study maxim of the Christian religion? Jesus Christ ambition in the grave of that enterprising told Pilate, “ My kingdom is not of this world,” man; see his noble designs, his extensive proJohn xviii. 36. This is the maxim of a Chris-jects, his boundless expedients are all shattertian, the first great leading principle, “his ed and sunk in this fatal gulf of human prokingdom is not of this world;" his happiness jects. Approach the tomb of the proud man, and misery, his elevation and depression, de- and there investigate pride; see the mouth pend on nothing in this world.
that pronounced lofty expressions, condemned The first principle is the ground of the apos- to eternal silence, the piercing eyes that contle's exhortation. The passions destroy this vulsed the world with fear, covered with a maxim by supposing the world capable of midnight bloom, the formidable arm, that dismaking us happy or miserable. Revenge sup- tributed the destinies of mankind, without moposes our honour to depend on the world, on tion and life. Go to the tomb of the noblethe opinion of those idiots who have determin- man, and there study quality; behold his ed that a man of honour ought to revenge an magnificent titles, his royal ancestors, his flataffront. Ambition supposes our elevation to tering inscriptions, his learned genealogies, are depend on the world, that is, on the dignities all gone, or going to be lost with himself in which ambitious men idolize. Avarice sup- the same dust. Study voluptuousness at the poses our riches depend on this world, on gold, grave of the voluptuous; see, his senses are silver, and estates.
destroyed, his organs broken to pieces, his These are not the ideas of a Christian. His bones scattered at the grave's mouth, and the honour is not of this world, it depends on the whole temple of sensual pleasure subverted ideas of God, who is a just dispenser of glory. from its foundations. His elevation is not of this world, it depends on Here we finish this discourse. There is a