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THE NATURE OF SENSATIONS, EMOTIONS, PASSIONS,
HABITS, AND ASSOCIATIONS.
The capabilities of the senses. The difference be-
- The cause of emo-
THE PLEASURES RECEIVED BY THE SENSES.
On rural and other senery.
The remains of antiquity.
On a taste for music. Natural and unnatural
ON LAUGHTER AND WEEPING.
excite laughter. - The difficulty of refraining, on
Various kinds of joy and sorrow. The effects arising
from excessive feelings. — Joy and sorrow dependent
The influence of
HAPPINESS is a subject which has enganad the pen of moralists, historians, and poets, in tery country and in every age; and yet there are few works which are expressly devoted to the regulation of human conduct for the purpose of producing enjoyment. Happiness is that sensation of pleasure or delight by which we are satisfied with ourselves and with all around us. It is a tranquillity ; a sweet serenity; an assemblage of enchanting imagery, through which the imagination ranges: it is fairer than the visions of Eastern skies, and more. delightful than the perennial glories of a Mahometan paradise. But happiness, pure nd unalloyed, is seldom to be found. The sun of enjoyment is frequently clouded; the ocean of life is agitated by storms.
Life without happiness is useless : it is a dreary vacuity of good; an accumulation of evil. We were brought into existence for the purpose of enjoyment. All animated beings, from the insect to the archangel, are pursuing felicity. The fly which buzzes drowsily on a summer's day; the bee which melodiously murmurs among the flowers; the lark which cheerfülly greets the sun at his rising; the eagle which soars above the fleecy clouds; the goat that gambols on the precipice; and the fierce animals that roam the forests, are all in the pursuit of happiness.
But what is happiness? And how is it attained ? - These are interesting questions, the answers, however, have been exceedingly numerous :
“Some place the bliss in action, some in ease;
Those call it pleasure, and contentment these:
One person fancies he shall possess happiness when he has increased his possessions; when his wealth is doubled or trebled; and thus he goes onward, toiling and fretting himself with the cares of this life. Another supposes that the pleasures of the world — the routs, the balls, and the endless amusements; the fashion, the folly, and the dissipation, — will exhilarate his mind. The epicure thinks he shall obtain happiness by indulging his palate; by exciting and then gratifying it with dainty food. The intemperate looks for enjoymen, in the bottle. The lover of science seeks for felicity in learning. The man of ambition endeavours to obtain happiness by climbing the ladder of power and honour: he subjects himself to mortifications and difficulties for the attainment of the perishable crown which sparkles in his view. But we must enquire whether these anxious pursuers of happiness obtain the object of their wishes; or, whether they are like the deluded man who would grasp the rainbow !
A person may possess houses and lands; he may boast of an elegant mansion for his residence; he may rapidly increase in wealth; and yet he may be hopeless and joyless.
“ Happiness," as Hooker observes,
66 is the contentment of our desires.” But the rich man may be discontented; he may be anxiously desirous of more. Happiness is present enjoyment. If a
If a man be dissatisfied with his advantages, and pleased only with the anticipations of the future, he sacrifices possession for reversion; he tramples on the substance, and seeks for the shadow. Riches may roll around him like a flood, and the world may foolishly exclaim — " How happy is that man! He obtains easily what we cannot procure with all our toil !” But if gold were as plentiful as sand, we should treat it with similar contempt. A curious bird, or a rare and costly plant or mineral, excites our attention; but if either of these became plentiful, we should view it without interest. The value of money is relative: it supplies the wants, and improves the comforts, of those who properly use it; but it affords no benefit to those who hoard it: since whatever exceeds the actual or