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almost valid by the common feeling of men) even to deeds of a murderous kind; and they actually avail to put out of view the exaggerations which self-love has added to the sense of wrong. Thus it is that some, who, in no other case would for a moment harbour so hateful and torturing a passion, yield to its sway when thus injured, and feel as if uncondemned by even the strictest rules of virtue. It is true that principles of conduct of a higher kind are applicable, as well to this, as to all other instances of injury, and are fully adequate to assuage even so extreme a vindictive impulse. But whether they are actually brought to bear upon it or not, it is certain that the revenge of jealousy affords evidence that the elements of the moral system are the foundation of even the most fatal of the malignant passions, and in their most aggravated forms.
Let leave here be taken to draw an inference which suggests itself, bearing perhaps upon the future destinies of man. Does not then the history of human nature declare that all other emotions of the soul, as well as every
inducement of interest or pride, may give way, and be borne down by the sovereign desire of retribution ? Has not this feeling more than once impelled a father to consign his sons to the sword of public justice? Has it not strengthened the arm of a man, not murderous in disposition, to drive an assassin's sword into the
heart of his friend? Has it not brought together an armed nation around the walls of a devoted city, the site of which, after being soaked with the blood of men, women, and babes, was to be covered with perpetual ruin ? Does not this same robust instinct every day sustain the most humane minds in discharging the sad duty of conducting a fellow-man to death? We see too, to what a degree of frenzy the common desire of retribution may be inflamed by the suggestions of self-love. Now may it not be conceived of that an equal intensity of this emotion might be obtained by the means of some other sentiment than self-love, and by one more firm because more sound than the selfish principle ? If so, then we have under our actual inspection powers which, in a future life, may be found vigorous enough to carry human nature through scenes or through services too appalling even to think or speak of. If, for example, it were asked—“ Is it credible that man, his sensibilities being such as they are, should take his part, even as spectator, in the final procedures of the Divine Government ?” We might fairly reply by referring to certain signal instances of the force of the vindictive passions, and on the ground of such facts assume it as possible that, whoever could go so far, might go further still. And this hypothetic inference would not be invalidated merely because revenge is malign and evil : for although it be so, the fulcrum of its power is nothing else than the unalterable laws of the moral world; we only want therefore a righteous motive to supplant the selfish one, and then an equal, or perhaps a much greater force, would be displayed by these same principles.
If it be allowable to advance to this point, we then shall need only one more idea to give distinctness to our conception of the retributive processes of the future world;—and it is thisThat the infatuations of self-love, which, in the present state, defend every mind from the application to itself of the desire of retribution-in the same manner as the principle of animal life defends the vital organs of a body from the chemical action of its own caustic secretionsthat these infatuations, we say, being then quite dispersed, the Instinct of Justice-perhaps the most potent of all the elements of the spiritual life, shall turn inward upon each consciously guilty heart, so that every such heart shall become the prey of a reflected rage, intense and corrosive as the most virulent revenge! Whoever is now hurrying on without thought of consequences through a course of crimes, would do well to imagine the condition of a being left without relief to breathe upon itself the flames of an insatiable hatred!
ALLIANCE OF THE MALIGN EMOTIONS WITH THE
If nature denies to the irascible passions any attendant sense of pleasure, she absolutely refuses them also, at least in their simple state, the power of awakening the sympathy, or of exciting
The copiousness of our subject must exclude whatever does not directly conduce to its illustration. Otherwise it would be proper here to mention those complex dispositions which spring from the union of the malignant passions with the elements of individual character. The irascible sentiment, for example, takes a specific form from the peculiarities of the animal structure. Combined with conscious muscular vigour, and a sanguineous temperament, it becomes a stormy rage, and constitutes either the bully, or the dread devastator of kingdoms, as circumstances may determine. The same irascibility, joined with a feeble constitution, begets petulance, in those various forms which depend upon the particular seat of debility; namely, whether it be the nervous system-the arterial system—the mesenteric glands—the liver, or the stomach; each of which imparts a peculiarity to the temper. An attentive observer of the early developement of character will also leave room, in any theory of the passions he may construct, for a hitherto unexplored and undefined influence of conformationought we to say of the brain, or of the mind? How much soever (from various motives) any might wish to simplify their philosophy of human nature, and especially to exclude from it certain facts which give rise to painful perplexities, they can do so only (as we think) by refusing to turn the eye toward the real world.
After receiving their first characteristic from the physical temperament, the malign emotions next ally themselves with the instinct of
middle power, in the hands of nature, which, because they may be combined more readily than some higher principles, with the gross and dark ingredients of the human mind, serve so much the better to chasten or ameliorate what cannot be quite expelled. Except for emotions of this order, Alexander would have been as Tamerlane; and Tamerlane as the Angel of Death.
The beneficial provisions of Nature are especially to be observed in one remarkable factnamely— That the alliance of the malign passions with the Imagination—an alliance from which the former draw both their mitigation, and an extension of their field, is not permitted to take place upon the narrow ground of self-love.This fact, for such we deem it, deserves to be distinctly noticed.
Nothing appears too great, sometimes, to be grasped by the conceits of self-importance; nothing too big for the stomach of vanity: and yet it is found that the Imagination refuses to yield itself, except for a moment, or in a very limited degree, to those excitements that are drawn from the solitary bosom of the individual. Man, much as he may boast himself, is by far too poor at home to maintain the expense of his own splendid conceptions of personal greatness. Not even when he revolves the vast idea of his immortality, is he able to accumulate the materials of sublimity, without looking abroad