صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

But they have passed away

From all that dims the tearful eye;

From all that wakes the ceaseless sigh;

From all the pangs that prey

On the bereaved heart, and most

When conscience dares not say, "the loved, but not the


This is the wo of woes!

The one o'ermastering agony;

To watch the sleep of those who die,

And feel 'tis not repose;

But they, who join the heavenly host

Why should we mourn for them? the loved, but not the


The spirit was but born,

The soul unfettered, when they fled

From earth-the living, not the dead

Then, wherefore should we mourn?

We, the wave-driven, the tempest-tossed,

When shall we be with them, the loved, but not the lost?



THERE has been some dispute respecting the term self-love, both as to its general propriety, and as to the mental feelings which ought to be referred to it. There can be no doubt that there is, in our constitution, a principle or propensity which leads us to study our own interest, gratification, and comfort, and that, in many instances, it becomes the ruling principle of the character. It is in this sense, I use the term self-love, without entering into any discussion regarding the logical propriety of it. Like the other mental feelings, it is to be considered as part of our moral constitution, and calculated to answer important purposes, provided it be kept in its proper place, and do not encroach upon the duties and affections which we owe to other men. When thus regulated, it constitutes

prudence, or a just regard to our own interest, safety, and happiness; when it becomes morbid in its exercise, it degenerates into selfishness.

A sound and rational self-love ought to lead us to seek our own true happiness, and should prove a check upon those appetites and passions which interfere with this; for many of them, it must be allowed, may be not less adverse to our own real interest and comfort than they are to our duty to other men. It should lead us, therefore, to avoid every thing, not only that is opposed to our interest, but that is calculated to impair our eace of mind, and that harmony of the moral feelings without which there can be no real happiness. This includes a due regulation of the desires, and a due exercise of the affections, as a moral condition which promotes our own happiness and comfort. Self-love, viewed in this manner, appears to be placed as a regulating principle among the other powers-much inferior, indeed, to the great principle of conscience, so far as regards the moral condition of the individual-but calculated to answer important purposes in promoting the harmonies of society. The impression on which its influence


rests, appears to be simply the comfort and satisfaction which arise to ourselves from a certain regulation of the desires, and a certain exercise of the affections, and the feelings of an opposite kind which follow a different conduct. These sources of satisfaction are manifold: we may reckon among them the pleasure attached to the exercise of the affections themselves-a feature of our moral constitution of the most interesting kind-the true mental peace and enjoyment which spring from benevolence, friendship, meekness, forgiveness, and the whole train of the kindly feelings-the gratitude of those who have experienced the effects of our kindness—the respect and approbation of those whose esteem we feel to be valuable, and the return of similar affections and good offices from other men. On the other hand, we have to keep in mind the mental agony and distraction which arise from jealousy, envy, hatred, and resentment-the sense of shame and disgrace which follow a certain line of conduct, and the distress which often arises purely from the contempt and disapprobation of our fellow-men.

Disgrace," says Butler, "is as much avoided as

bodily pain;" we may safely say that it is much more avoided, and that it inflicts a suffering of a much more severe and permanent nature. It must likewise accord with the observation of every one, that among the circumstances which most frequently injure our peace and impair our comfort, are those which ruffle the mind by mortifying our self-love. There is also a feeling of dissatisfaction and self-reproach which follows any neglect of a due exercise of the affections, and which, in a wellregulated mind, disturbs the mental tranquillity fully as much as the disapprobation of other men. It is further evident, that the man of ungoverned passions and ill-regulated affections, impairs his own peace and happiness as much as he violates his duties to others; for his course of life is productive not only of degradation in the eyes of his fellowmen, but often of mental anguish, misery, and premature death. To run the risk of such consequences for the gratification of a present appetite or passion, is clearly opposed to the dictates of a sound self-love; and when, in such a case, self-love prevails over an appetite or passion, we perceive it operating as a regulating principle in the moral

« السابقةمتابعة »