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who would not wonder to think that this body, which so lately was not perceptible in that universe,
which universe was itself an imperceptible spot on When man considers himself, the first thing that the bosom of infiniiy, should now appear a colossus, claims his notice is his body; that is a certain por- a world, a universe, compared with that ultimate tion of matter evidently appertaining to himself. aiom of minuteness to which we cannot arrive. But if he would know what this is, he must com- He who thus thinks of himselt, will doubtless be pare himself with all that is superior or inferior 10 alarmed to see himself, as it were, suspended in the him; and thus he will ascertain his own just limits. mass of matter that is allotted to him, between these
Bút he must not rest contented with the examina- two abysses of infinity and nothingness, and equally tion of the things around him. Let him contem- remote from both. He will tremble at the percepplate universal nature in all the'height and fulness tion of these wonders; and I would think, that his of its majesty. Let him consider that glorious lu- curiosity changing into reverence, he would be minary, hung as an eternal lamp, to enlighten the more disposed to contemplate them in silence, than universe. Let him consider that this earth is a
to scrutinize them with presumption. For what mere point, compared with the vast circuit which after all is man, in nature? A nothing compared that bright orb describes.* Let him learn with with infinity-a universe compared with nothing, wonder, that this wide orbit itself is but a speck a mean between all and nothing. He is infinitely compared with the course of the stars, which roll distant from both extremes. His being is not less in the firmament of heaven. (And if here our remote from the nothing out of which he was formsight is limited, let the imagination take up the in- ed, than from the infinity in which he is lost. quiry and venture further. It will weary with con- His mind holds the same rank in the order of in. ceiving, far sooner than nature in supplying food telligent beings, as his body in material nature; and for thought. All that we see of the universe is but all that it can do, is to discern somewhat of the an almost imperceptible spot on the ample bosom middle of things, in an endless despair of ever of pature. No conception even approaches the knowing their beginning or their end. All things limits of its space. Let us labor as we will with are called out of nothing, and carried onward to our conceptions, we bring forth mere atoms, com- infinity. Who can follow in this endless race? pared with the immensity of that which really is. The Author of these wonders comprehends them. It is an infinite sphere, whose centre is every where, No other can. and whose circumference is no where. And, in fact,
This state which occupies the mean between two one of the most powerful sensible impressions of extremes, shows itself in all our powers. the omnipotence of God is, that our imagination is Our senses will not admit any thing extreme. lost in this thought. /
Too mnch noise confuses us, too much ligbt daz. Then let man return to himself, and consider zles, too great distance or nearness prevents vision, what he is, compared with all else that is. Let him too great prolixity or brevity weakens an argument, consider himself as a wanderer in this remote cor
too much pleasure gives pain, too much accordance ner of nature; and then from what he sees of this annoys. We relish neither extreme heat, nor exnarrow prison in which he lies—this visible world; treme cold. All excessive qualities are injurious let him learn to estimate rightly the earth, its king to us, and not perceptible. We do not feel them, doms, its cities, bimself, and his own real value. we suffer them. Extreme youth and extreme age What is man in this infinity? Who can compre- alike enfeeble the mind; too much or too little nouhend him?
rishment weakens its operation; by too much or But to show him another prodigy equally asto- tov little instruction it becomes stupid. Extreme nishing, let him search among the minutest objects things are not ours, any more than if they were round him. Let a mite, for instance, exhibit to him, not; we are not made for them. Either they escape in the exceeding smallness of its frame, portions us, or we them. yet incomparably smaller; limbs well articulated; This is our real condition. It is this which conveins in those limbs; blood in those veins; humors fines our knowledge within certain limits that we in that blood; globules in that humor; and gases cannot pass, being equally incapable of universal in those globules;—and then dividing again their knowledge, or of total ignorance; we are placed in smallest objects, let him exhaust the powers of his a vast medium; ever Noating uncertainly between conception, and then let the lowest particle that he ignorance and knowledge; if we attempt to go farcan imagine become the subject of our discourse. ther forward, our object wavers and eludes our grasp He thinks, perhaps, that this is the minutest atom -it retires and dies with an eternal flight, and noof nature, but I will open to him, within it, a new thing can stay its course. and fathomless abyss. I can exhibit to him yet, not This is our natural condition; yet it is ever oponly the visible universe, but even all that he is posed to our inclination. We burn with desire to capable of conceiving of the immensity of nature, sound the utmost depth, and to raise a fabric tha: embosomed in this imperceptible atom. Let him shall reach infinity. But all we build up crumbles, see there an infinity of worlds, each of which has and the earth opens in a fathomless abyss beneath its firmament, its planets, its earth; bearing the our deepest foundation. same proportion to the other parts as in the visible 2. I can readily conceive of a man without hands world: and in this earth, animals, and even mites or feet; and I could conceive of him without a head, again, in which he shall trace the same discoveries if experience had not taught me that by this he which the first mites yielded; and then again the thinks. Thought then is the essence of man, and same in others without end and without repose. He without this we cannot conceive of him. is lost in these wonders, equally astonishing in their What is it in us which feels pleasure? Is it the minuteness, as the former by their extent. And hand ? the arm ? the flesh ? the blood ? It must be
something immaterial. * The Copernican system was not then generally 3. Man is so great, that his greatness appears received by the members of the Romish church. even in the consciousness of his misery. A tree
THE VANITY OF MAN.
does not know itself to be miserable. It is true that henceforth it may not blind him in making his it is misery indeed to know one's self to be misera- choice, nor impede his progress when he has chosen. ble; but then it is greatness also. In this way, all 9. I blame with equal severity those who elevaie man's miseries go to prove his greatness. They man, those who depress him, and those who think are the miseries of a mighty potentate-of a de- it right merely to divert him. I can only approve throned monarch.
of those who seek in tears for happiness. 4. What man is unhappy because he is not a king, The stoics say, Turn in upon yourselves, and except a king dethroned. Was Paulus Emilius con- there you will find your repose. This however is sidered miserable that he was no longer consul. On not true. Others say, Go forth from yourselves, the contrary every one thought that he was happy and seek for happiness in diversion. This is not in having it over, for it was not his condition to be true either. Disease will come. Alas! happiness always consul. But Perseus, whose permanent state is neither within us, nor without us. It is in the should have been royalty, was considered to be so union of ourselves with God. wretched in being no longer a king, that men won- 10. There are two ways of regarding human dered how he could endure life. Who complains nature, one according to the end of man, and then of having only one mouth? Who would not com- it is grand and incomprehensible; the other accordplain of having, but one eye? No man mourns ing to his habits, as we judge of the nature of a ihat he has not three eyes; yet each would sorrow horse or a dog, by the habit of observing his going, deeply if he had but one.
and then man is abject and vile. It is owing to 5. We have so exalted a notion of the human these two different ways that philosophers judge so soul, that we cannot bear to be despised by it, or differently and dispute so keenly; for one denies even not to be esteemed by it. Man, in fact, places what the other assumes. One says, man is not born all his happiness in this esteem.
for this noble end; for all his actions are opposed to If on the one hand this false glory that men seek it. The other says, when he commits such base and after is a mark of their misery and degradation, it grovelling actions, he wanders from the end of his is on the other a proof of their excellence. For being. Instinct and experience, taken together, whatever possessions a man has on the earth, and show to man the whole of what he is. whatever health or comfort he enjoys, he is not sa- 11. I feel that I might not have been; for when I tisfied without the esteem of his fellow-men. He speak of myself, I mean my thinking being; and I, rates so highly the human mind, that whatever be who think, would not have been, if my mother had his worldly advantages, if he does not stand, as well been killed before I was quickened.' Then I am also in man's estimation, he counts himself wretch- not a necessary being, nor am I eternal, nor infied. That position is the loveliest spot in the world. nite; but I see clearly that there is in nature, a be. · Nothing can eradicate the desire for it. And this ing who is necessary, eternal, infinite. quality is the most indelible in the human heart; so that even those who most thoroughly despise men,
CHAPTER II. and consider them equal with the brutes, still wish to be admired by them; their feelings contradict their principles. Their nature which is stronger We are not satisfied with the life that we have than their reasonings, convinces them more forcibly in ourselves-in our own peculiar being. We wish of the greatness of man, than their reason can do to live also an ideal life in the mind of others; and of his vileness.
for this purpose, we constrain ourselves to put on 6. Man ts but a reed; and the weakest in nature; appearances. We labor incessantly to adorn and but then he is a reed that thinks. It does not need sustain this ideal being, while we neglect the real the universe to crush him: a breath of air, a drop one. And if we possess any degree of equanimity,
of water will kill him. But even if the material generosity, or fidelity, we strive to make it known, 2 universe should overwhelm him, inan would be that we may clothe with these virtues that being of
more noble than that which destroys him; because the imagination. Nay, we would even cast off these he knows that he dies, while the universe knows virtues in reality, to secure them in the opinion of nothing of the advantage which it obtains over others; and willingly be cowards, to acquire the him.
reputation of courage. What a proof of the empOur true dignity then, consists in thought. From liness of our real being, that we are not satisfied thence we must derive our elevation, not from space with the one without the other, and that we often or duration. Let us endeavor then to think well; sacrifice the one to the other; for he is counted inthis is the principle of morals.
famous who would not die to save his reputation. 7. It is dangerous to show man unreservedly how Glory is so enchanting, that we love whatever nearly he resembles the brute creation, without we associate it with, even though it be death. pointing out, at the same time, his greatness. It is 2. Pride countervails all our miseries, for it eidangerous also lo exhibit his greatness exclusively, ther hides them, or if it discloses them, it boasts of without his degradation. It is yet more dangerous acknowledging them. Pride has so thoroughly got to leave him ignorant of both, but it is highly pro- possession of us, even in the midst of our miseries fitable to teach him both together.
and our faults, that we are prepared to sacrifice life 8. Let man then rightly estimate himself-let him with joy, if it may but be talked of. love himself, for he has a nature capable of good; 3. Vanity is so rooted in the heart of man, that but yet let him not love the evils that he finds there. the lowest drudge of the camp, the street, or the Let him despise himself, because this capacity is kitchen, must have his boast and his admirers. It. without an object; but let him not on that account is the same with the philosophers. Those who despise the natural capacity itself. Let him both write to gain fame, would have the reputation of love and hate himself. There is in him the power having written welí; and those who read it, would of discerning truth, and of being happy, but he is have the reputation of having read it; and I who not in possession of certain and satisfying truth. I am writing ihis, feel probably the same wish, and would lead man to desire to find truth, to sit loose they who read this, feel it also. to his passions, and to be ready to follow truth 4. Notwithstanding the sight of all those miseries wherever he may find it. and knowing how sadly which wring us, and threaten our destruction, we his powers of comprehension are clouded by his have still an instinct that we cannot repress, which passions, I would wish him to hate in himselt that elevates us above our sorrows. concupiscence which overrules his judgment, thats 5. We are so presumptuous that we wish to be
known to all the world, and even to those who Hence it is that those who have any interest in come after us; and we are so vain, that the esteem securing our regard, shrink from the performance of five or six persons immediately around us, is of an office which they know to be disagreeable to enough to seduce and satisfy us.
us; they treat us as we wish to be treated; we hate 6. Curiosity is but vanity: too frequently we only the truth, and they conceal it; we wish to be flatwish to know more, that we may lalk of it. No tered, and they flatter; we love to be deceived, and man would venture to sea, if he were never to they deceive us. speak about what he sees for the mere pleasure of Ånd hence it arises that each step of good forseeing, without ever speaking of it to others. tune by which we are elevated in the world, re
7. We do not care io get a name in the towns moves us farther from truth; because men fear to through which we are travelling: but if we come annoy others, just in proportion as their good will to sojourn there a short time, we soon become desi- is likely to be useful, or their dislike dangerous. A rous of it: and what time is sufficient for thisA a prince shall be the talk of all Europe, and he only period proportioned to our vain and pitiful duration. know it not. I do not wonder at this
. To speak 8. The nature of self-love and of human egotism, the truth is useful to him to whom it is spoken, but is to love self only, and to consult only self-interest. sadly the reverse to him who speaks it, for it makes But to what a state is man reduced! He cannot him hated. Now they who live with princes, love prevent this object of his love from being fall of de- their own interests beiter than that of him whom fects and miseries. He wishes to be great, but he they serve, and do not therefore care to seek his besees himself little: he wishes to be happy, but he nefii by telling him the trnth to their own injury. sees himself miserable: he wishes to be perfect, but This evil
. is doubtless more serious and more comhe sees that he is full of imperfections: he wishes mon, in cases of commanding rank and fortune, but to be the object of men's love and esteem, and he the very lowest are not free from it; because there sees that his errors deserve their hatred and con- is always some benefit to be obtained by means of tempt. This state of disappointment generates in man's esteem. So that human life is perpetual de him the most wretched and criminal passion that|lusion-nothing goes on but mutual faitery and can be imagined: he conceives a deadly hatred mutual deceit: no one speaks of us in our presence, against that truth which reproves nim, and convin- as he does in our absence. The degree of union ces him of his faults: he desires to destroy it, and that there is among men, is founded on this mutual unable actually to destroy it in its essential nature, deception; and few friendships would subsist, if he blots it out as far as possible from his own know each one knew what his friend says of him when ledge and from that of others: that is, he does his he is not present, although at the time he speaks utmost to conceal his faults both from others and sincerely and without prejudice. from himself, and will not suffer others to exhibit Man, then, is nothing but disguise, falsehood, and them to him, or to examine them themselves. hypocrisy, both towards himself and others. He
It is surely an evil to be full of faults; but it is a does not wish them to tell him the truth-he will far greater evil to be unwilling to know them, since not tell it to them: and all these dispositions, so far that is to add to them the guilt of a voluntary delu- removed from justice and sound reason, have their sion. We do not like others to deceive us; we do root naturally in his heart. not think it right that they should wish to be esteemed by us beyond their deserts: it is not right
CHAPTER III. then that we should deceive them, and that we should wish them to esteem us more than we de
That which astonishes me most is, that no man So that when they discover in us nothing but the is astonished at his own weakness. Men act seriimperfections and vices which we really possess, it ously; and each one follows his occupation, not beis evident that in this they do us no wrong, because cause it is actually good to follow it, since that is they are not the cause of those errors ; and that the custom; but as if each one knew precisely they even do us good, since they aid us in avoiding a where to find reason and truth. Each one howreal evil-the ignorance of these our imperfections. ever finds himself deceived repeatedly, and yet by We should not be indignant that they discover a foolish humility thinks that the failure is in bis these errors if they really exist, nor that they should own conduct, and not in the faculty of discerning know us to be what we really are, and despise us, truth, of which he continually boasts. It is well that if we really are despicable.
there are so many of these persons in the world, These are the thoughts that would rise spontane- since they serve to show that man is capable of ously in a heart full of equity and justice: what holding the most extravagant opinions; inasmuch then shall we say of our own when we see its dispo- as he can believe that he is not naturally and inevisition to be just the reverse. For is it not true that tably in a state of moral weakness; but that on the we hate the truth, and those who tell it us; and that contrary, he has naturally wisdom adequate to his we love men to be deceived in our favor, and wish circumstances. to be estimated by them very differently from what 2. The weakness of human reason appears more we really are?
evidently in those who know it not, than in those There are different degrees of this aversion for who know it. truth; but we may affirm that in some degree it ex- He who is too young will not judge wisely; no ists in every one, because it is inseparable from self- more will he that is too old. If we think too little love. It is this vile sensitiveness to applause, which or too much on a subject we are equally bewildercompels those whose duty it is to reprove another, ed, and cannot discover truth. If a man reviews to soften the severity of ihe shock, by so many cir- his work directly after he has done it, he is pré-oc. cuitous and alleviating expressions. They must ap-cupied by the lively impression of it:' if he reviews pear to attenuate the fault; they inust seem to ex- it a long time after, he can scarcely get into the spi-. cuse what they mean to reprove; they must mix rit of it again. with the correction the language of praise, and the There is but one indivisible point from which we assurances of affection and esteem. Yet still this should look at a picture; all others are too near, pill is always bitter to self-love: we take as little of too distant, too high, or too low: Perspective fixes it as we can, always with disgust, and often with a this point precisely in the art of painting; but who secret grudge against those who presume to admi- shall fix it in regard to truth and morals ? nister it.
3. That queen of error, whom we call fancy and
THE WEAKNESS OF MAN.
opinion, is the more deceitful because she does not | We scarcely think at all of the present; or if we deceive always. She would be the infallible rule do, it is only to borrow the light which it gives, for of truth if she were the infallible rule of falsehood: regulating the future. The present is never our but being only most frequently in error, she gives object: the past and the present we use as means; no evidence of her real quality, for she marks with the future only is our object. Thus in fact we the same character both that which is true and that never live, we only hope to live; and thus ever which is false.
doing nothing, but preparing to be happy, it is cerThis haughty power, the enemy of reason, and tau: that we never shall be so, unless we seek a whose delight is to keep reason in subjection, in or- higher felicity than this short life can yield. der to show what influence she has in all things, 6. Our imagination so magnises this present exhas established in man a second nature. She has istence, by the power of continual reflection on it; her happy and her unhappy, her sick and her and so attenuates eternity, by not thinking of it at healthy, her rich and her poor, her fools and her all, that we reduce an.eternity to nothingness, and sages; and nothing is more distressing than to see expand a mere nothing to an eternity; and this hathat she fills her guests with a far more ample sa- bit is so inveterately rooted in us, that all the force tisfaction, than reason gives; since those who think of reason cannot induce us to lay it aside. themselves wise have a delight in themselves, far 7. Cromwell would have laid desolate all Chrisbeyond that in which the really prudent dare to in- tendom. The royal family was ruined; his own dulge. They treat other men imperiously; they was completely established; but for a small grain dispute with fierceness and assurance whilst others of sand, which entered the urethra, even Rome. do so with fear and caution; and this satisfied would have trembled before him; but when only air often gives them advantage in the opinion of this atom of gravel, which elsewhere was as nothe hearers: so much do the imaginary wise find thing, was placed in that spot, behold he dies, his favor among judges of the same kind. Opinion family is degraded, and the king restored ! cannot make fools wise, but she makes them con
8. We see scarcely any thing, just or unjust, that tent, to the great disparagement of reason, who can does not change its quality with its climate. Three only make her friends wretched. The one covers degrees of latitude upset all the principles of jurisher votaries with glory, the other with shame.
prudence; a meridian determines what is truth, or Who confers reputation ? who gives respect and a few years of 'seuled authority. Fundaraental veneration to persons, to books, to great men? Who laws may vary. Right has its epochs. Droll justice but opinion?' How utterly insufficient are all the indeed, that a river or a mountain limits! Truth riches of t e world without her approbation !
on one side of the Pyrenees is error on the other. Opinion settles every thing. She constitutes beauty, justice, happiness, which is the whole of been ranked among virtuous actions. Is there any
9. Theft, incest, parricide, infanticide, each has this world. I would like much 10 see that Italian thing more ridiculous, than that a man has the work, of which I have only heard the title, It is riglie to kill me, because he lives across the water, called “Opinion, the Queen of the World.”. It is and that his prince has a quarrel with mine, though worth many other books. I subscribe to it without I have none with him ? knowing it, error excepted. 4. The most imporiant concern in life, is the
There are certainly natural laws, but this corchoice of an occupation ; yet chance seems to de- rupted reason has corrupted every thing, Nihil cide it. Custom makes masons, soldiers, brick- amplius nostri est ; quod nostrum dicimus, artis est ; layers, &c. They say, " That's' a capital work- ex senatus consultis et plebiscitis crimina exercentur, man," or when speaking of soldiers, " What fools ut olim vitiis sic nunc legibus laboramus. those men are:" others again say, "There is no
From this confusion it arises that one affirms thing noble but war, all men but soldiers are con- that the essential principle of justice is the authority temptible.". And according as men, during their of the legislature; another, the convenience of the childhood, have heard those several occupations sovereign; another, present custom; and this is praised and others vilified, they make their choice; the safest. There is nothing, if we follow the light for naturally we love wisdom and hate folly. It is of reason only, that is in itself, independently just. these words that influence us; we err only in the Time alters every thing; custom makes equity, application of them; and the force of custom is simply because it is received. That is the mystic such, that in some countries, the whole population basis of its authority, and he who traces it to its are masons; in others, soldiers. Now we do not origin, annihilates it
. Nothing is so faulty as those conceive that nature is so uniform. It is custom laws which redress faults. He who obeys them bewhich does this, and carries nature with it. There cause they are just, obeys that which he has conare cases, however, in which nature prevails, and ceived to be justice, but not the essence of the law. binds man to his specific object, in defiance of cus- Its whole force lies in this, It is law and nothing tom, whether bad or good.
more. He who looks into the principle will find it 5. We think very little of time present; we anti- so weak and flimsy, that if he is not accustomed to cipate the future, as being too slow, and with a the prodigies of the human imagination, he would view to hasten it onward; we recall the past to stay wonder how a century could have nourished it it as too swiftly gone. We are so thoughtless, that with so much pomp and veneration. we thus wander through the hours which are not The secret for overturning a state, is to shake to here, regardless only of the moment that is actually their foundation established customs, by going back our own :-o vain, that we dream of the times to their origin, and showing the defect of the auwhich are not, and suffer that only which does thority or the principle on which they rest. "We exist, to escape us without a thought. This is be- must return,” say they, "to those fundamental and cause, generally, the present gives us pain; we primitive laws of the state, which corrupt custom hide it from our sight, because it afflicts us; and has abolished.” This is a sure play for losing every even if it ministers pleasure, we grieve to see it thing. In such a balance nothing will appear right; flying: and hence we bring up the future to sustain yet ihe people listen eagerly to such discourses. it, and speculate on doing things which are not in They throw off the yoke as soon as they perceive our power, at a time which we can have no as- it; and the great make their advantage of this to surance that we shall ever see.
ruin both them and these curious inspectors of esLet any man examine his thoughts; he will find tablished customs. Yet there is an error directly them ever occupied with the past or the future. I the reverse of this, and there are men who think
that any thing can be done justly, which has a pre- brings down the most elevated subjects to our own cedent in its favor.
low standard. Whence one of the wisest legislators said, " That 16. Justice and truth are two points of such exfor the welfare of man, he must frequently be de- quisite delicacy, that our coarse and blunted instruceived;" and another great, politician says, Cum ments will not touch them accurately. If they do veritatem qua liberetur ignoret, expedit quod fallatur. find out the point, so as to rest upon it, they bruise Man should not ascertain the truth of the usurpa- and injure it, and lean at last more on the error tion; for it was introduced in ancient times, with that surrounds it, than on the truth itself. out good reason. But now it must always be held 17. It is not only old and early impressions that up as authentic and eternal; we must veil its ori- deceive us: the charms of novelly have the same gin, if we wish it to be perpetuated.
Hence arise all the differences among 10. Set the greatest philosopher in the world upon men, who reproach each other, either with followa plank, even broader than the space he occupies ing the false impressions of their infancy, or with in walking on plain ground, and if there is a preci- hastily running after new ones. pice below him, though reason convinces hím of Who keeps the golden mean? Let him stand his safety, his imagination will prevail to alarm forth and prove it. There is not a single principle, him: the very thought of it would make some however simply natural, and existing from childperspire and turn pale. Who does not know that hood, that may not be made to appear a false imThere are persons so nervous, that the sight of a cat, pression, conveyed by instruction or the senses. or a rat, or the crushing of a bit of coal, will al- Because, say they, you have believed from your inmost drive them out of their senses.
fancy that a chest was emply when you saw that 11. Would you not say of that venerable magis- there was nothing in it, you have assumed that a trate, whose years command the respect of a whole vacuum is possible. But this is a strong delusion people, that he is under the control of pure and of your senses, confirmed by habit, which science dignified wisdom, and that he judges of things as
Others on the contrary say, Because they are, without being influenced by those adven- you have been taught in the schools, that there is titious circumstances which warp the imagination no vacuum in nalure, your common sense, which of the weak. But see him enter the very court previous to this delusive impression, saw the thing where he is to administer justice; see him prepare clearly enough, has been corrupted, and must be to hear with a gravity the most exemplary; but if corrected by a recurrence to the dictates of nature. an advocate appears to whom nature has given a Now, which is the deceiver here, our senses or our hoarse voice, or a droll expression of countenance- education ? if his barber bas but half shaved him, or an acci
18. All the occupations of men bave respect to dental splash of mud has fallen on him, I'll
engage the obtaining of property; and yet the title by for the loss of the judge's self-possession.
which they possess it, is at first only the whim of 12. The mind of the greatest man on earth, is the original legislator: and after all, no power that not so independent of circumstances, as not to feel they have, will insure possession. A thousand acinconvenienced by the merest buzzing noise about cidents may rob them of it. It is the same with him: it does not need the report of a cannon to
scientific atiainment: Disease takes it away. disturb his thoughts. The creaking of a vane or
19. What are our natural principles but the rea pully is quite enough. Do not wonder that he sult of custom? In children, they are those which reasons ill just now; a fly is buzzing by his ear; it have resulted from the custom of their parents, as is quite enough to unfit him for giving good coun
the chace in animals. sel. If you wish him to see the rights of the case,
A different custom would give different natural drive away that insect, which suspends his reasoning principles. Experience proves this. And if there powers, and frets that mighly mind which governs
are some that custom cannot eradicate, there are cities and kingdoms.
some impressions arising from custom, that nature belief; not that it produces belief
, but that things in their children. What is this natural principle 13. The will is one of the principal sources of cannot do away. This depends on disposition.
Parents fear the destruction of natural affection appear true or false to us according to the way they are 'looked at. The will, which inclines to one which destroys the first. Why is not custom na
so liable to decay? Habit is a second nature, thing more than another, turns away the mind from considering the qualities of that which it does ture? I suspect that this nature itself is but a first not approve; and thus the whole mind led by the custom, as custom is a second nature. will or inclination, limits its observation to what it
20. If we were to dream every night the same approves, and thus forming its judgment on what it thing, it would probably have as much effect upon sees: it insensibly regulates its belief by the in- us, as the objects which we see daily; and it an clinations of the will, i. e. by its own preferences.
artisan were sure of dreaming every night for some
hours' continuance, that he was a king, I think he 14. Disease is another source of error. It im- would be almost as happy as a king, who should pairs the judgment and the senses: and if serious dream every night for twelve hours successively, disorders do visibly produce this effect, doubtless that he was an artisan. we should dream every minor ailments do so in proportion.
night that we are pursued by enemies, and harassed Self-interest also is a surprising means of in- by distressing phantoms, and that we passed all our ducing a voluntary blindness. Affection or dislike days in different occupations, as if we were travelwill alter our notions of justice. For instance, ling; we should suffer almost as much as if this when an advocate is well paid beforehand, how were true, and we should dread to sleep, just as much more just he thinks the cause which he has much as we dread to awake, when we fear to enter to plead. Yet owing to another strange peculiarity really upon such affiietions. In fact, these dreams of the human mind, I have known men who, lest would be almost as serious an evil as the reality. they should serve their own interest, have been But because these dreams are all different, what we cruelly unjust, through a contrary bias: so that the see in them afflicts us much less than what we see sure way to lose a good cause, was to get it recom- when awake, on account of its continuity ;-a conmended to them by one of their near relations. tinuity, however, not so equal and uniform that it
15. The imagination often magnifies the veriest undergoes no change, but less violently, as in a trifle, by a false and romantic preference, till it fills voyage ; and then we say, "I seem to myself to the whole soul; or in its heedless presumption, dream ;" for life is a dream a little less variable.