Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER XIII.

THE SECOND REVOLUTION.

JOHN LOCKE. 1632-1704. (Manual, pp. 249–254.)

FROM THE “ESSAY ON THE HUMAN UNDERSTANDING.” Book II.,

Ch. 7.

161. Uses OF PLEASURE AND PAIN. 3. The infinitely wise Author of our being, having given us the power over several parts of our bodies, to move or keep them at rest as we think fit, and also, by the motion of them, to move ourselves and other contiguous bodies, in which consist all the actions of our body; having also given a power to our minds, in several instances, to choose, amongst its ideas, which it will think on, and to pursue the inquiry of this or that subject with consideration and attention, to excite us to these actions of thinking and motion that we are capable of, has been pleased to join to several thoughts and several sensations a perception of delight. If this were wholly separated from all our outward sensations and inward thoughts, we should have no reason to prefer one thought or action to another, negligence to attention, or motion to rest, and so we should neither stir our bodies nor employ our minds, but let our thoughts (if I may so call it) run adrift, without any direction or design, and suffer the ideas of our minds, like unregarded shadows, to make their appearances there, as it happened, without attending to them; in which state man, however furnished with faculties of understanding and will, would be a very idle, inactive creature, and pass his time only in a lazy, lethargic dream. It has, therefore, pleased our wise Creator to annex to several objects, and the ideas which we receive from them, as also to several' of our thoughts, a concomitant pleasure, and that in several objects, to several degrees, that those faculties which he had endowed us with might not remain wholly idle and unemployed by us.

4. Pain has the same efficacy and use to set us on work that pleasure has, we being as ready to employ our faculties to avoid that as to pursue this; only this is worth our consideration, that pain is often produced by the same objects and ideas that produce pleasure in us. This their near conjunction, which makes us often feel pain in the sensations where we expected pleasure, gives us new occasion of admiring the wisdom and goodness of our Maker, who, designing the preservation of our being, has annexed pain to the application of many things to our bodies, to warn us of the harm that they will do, and as advices to withdraw from them. But he, not designing our preservation barely, but the preservation of every part and organ in its perfection, hath in many cases annexed pain to those very ideas which delight us. Thus heat, that is very agreeable to us in one degree, by a little greater increase of it proves no ordinary torment; and the most pleasant of all sensible objects, light itself, if there be too much of it, if increased beyond a due proportion to our eyes, causes a very painful sensation, which is wisely and favorably so ordered by nature, that when any object does, by the vehemency of its operation, disorder the instruments of sensation, whose structures cannot but be very nice and delicate, we might, by the pain, be warned to withdraw before the organ be quite put out of order, and so be unfitted for its proper function for the future. The consideration of those objects that produce it may well persuade us that this is the end or use of pain; for though great light be insufferable to our eyes, yet the highest degree of darkness does not at all disease them, because that, causing no disorderly motion in it, leaves that curious organ unharmed in its natural state. But yet excess of cold as well as heat pains us, because it is equally destructive to that temper which is necessary to the preservation of life, and the exercise of the several functions of the body, and which consists in a moderate degree of warmth, or, if you please, a motion of the insensible parts of our bodies, confined within certain bounds.'

1 Distinct, or different; an obsolete uso of the word screral.

1 It is worthy of remark that, in this passage, Locke clearly anticipates the recent doctrine that “heat is a mode of inotion."

162. Isaac BARROW. 1630–1677. (Manual, pp. 254–256.)

GOD. The first excellency peculiar to the Christian doctrine I observe to be this; that it assigneth a true, proper, and complete character or notion of God; complete, I mean, not absolutely, but in respect to our condition and capacity; such a notion as agreeth thoroughly with what the best reason dictateth, the works of nature declare, ancient tradition doth attest, and common experience doth intimate, concerning God; such a character as is apt to breed highest love and reverence in men's hearts towards him, to engage them in the strictest practice of duty and obedience to him. It ascribeth unto him all conceivable perfections of nature in the highest degree; it asserteth unto him all his due rights and prerogatives; it commendeth and justifieth to us all his actions and proceedings. For in his essence it representeth him one, eternal, perfectly simple and pure, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, independent, impassible, and immutable; as also, according to his essential disposition of will and natural manner of acting, most absolute and free, most good and benign, most holy and just, most veracious and constant; it acknowledgeth him the maker and upholder of all beings, of what nature and what degree soever, both material and immaterial, visible and invisible; it attributeth to him supreme majesty and authority over all. It informeth' us that he framed this visible world with especial regard to our use and benefit; that he preserveth it with the same gracious respect; that he governeth us with a particular care and providence, viewing all the thoughts, and ordering all the actions, of men to good ends, general or particular. It declareth him in his dealings with rational creatures very tender and careful of their good, exceeding beneficent and merciful towards them, compassionate of their evils, placable for their offences, accessible and inclinable to help them at their entreaty, or in their need, yet nowise fond or indulgent to them, not enduring them to proceed in perverse or wanton courses, but impartially just, and inflexibly severe towards all iniquity obstinately pursued; it, in short, describeth him most amiable in his goodness, most terrible in his justice, most glorious and venerable in all his ways of providence.

WHAT IS WIT?

To the question what the thing we speak of is, or what this facetiousness doth import? I might reply, as Democritus did to him that asked the definition of a man, 'Tis that which we all see and know: any one better apprehends what it is by acquaintance than I can inform him by description. It is indeed a thing so versatile and multiform, appearing in so many shapes, so many postures, so many garbs, so variously apprehended by several eyes and judgments, that it seemeth no less hard to settle a clear and certain notion thereof, than to make a portrait of Proteus, or to define the figure of a fleeting air. Sometimes it lieth in pat allusion to a known story, or in seasonable application of a trivial saying, or in forging an apposite tale: sometimes it playeth in words and phrases, taking advantage from the ambiguity of their sense, or the affinity of their sound: sometimes it is wrapped in a dress of humorous expression: sometimes it lurketh under an odd similitude: sometimes it is lodged in a sly question, in a smart answer, in a quirkish reason, in a shrewd imitation, in cunningly diverting, or cleverly retorting an objection: sometimes it is couched in a bold scheme of speech, in a tart irony, in a lusty hyperbole, in a startling metaphor, in a plausible reconciling of contradictions, or in acute nonsense : sometimes a scenical representation of persons 'or things, a counterfeit speech, a mimical look or gesture passeth for it: sometimes an affected simplicity, sometimes a presumptuous bluntness, giveth it being: sometimes it riseth from a lucky hitting upon what is strange, sometimes from a crafty wresting obvious matter to the purpose: often it consisteth in one knows not what, and springeth up one can hardly tell how. Its ways are unaccountable and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless rovings of fancy and windings of language. It is, in short, a manner of speaking out of the simple and plain way (such as reason teacheth and proveth things by), which, by a pretty surprising uncouthness in conceit or expression, doth affect and amuse the fancy, stirring in it some wonder, and breeding some delight thereto.

JOHN TILLOTSON. 1630–1694. (Manual, p. 256.)

163. HAPPINESS IS GOODNESS.

Another most considerable and essential ingredient of happiness is goodness, without which, as there can be no true majesty and greatness, so either can thei be any felicity or happiness. Now goodness is a generous disposition of mind to communicate and diffuse itself, by making others partakers of its happiness in such degrees as they are capable of it, and as wisdom shall direct. For he is not so happy as may be, who hath not the pleasure of making others so, and of seeing them put into a happy condition by his means, which is the highest pleasure, I had almost said pride, but I may truly say glory, of a good and great mind. For by such communications of himself, an immense and all-sufficient being doth not lessen himself, or put anything out of his power, but doth rather enlarge and magnify himself; and does, as I may say, give great ease and delight to a full and fruitful being, without the least diminution of his power and happiness. For the cause and original of all other beings can make nothing so independent upon itself as not still to maintain his interest in it, to have it always under his power and government; and no being can rebel against his Maker, without extreme hazard to himself.

Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of all other virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a being, upon all proper and fitting occaSions; that is, that so perfect a being do nothing that is contrary to or unbecoming his holiness and righteousness, his truth and faithfulness, which are essential to a perfect being; and for such a being to act contrary to them in any case, would be to create disquiet and disturbance to itself. For this is a certain rule, and never fails, that nothing can act contrary to its own nature without reluctancy and displeasure, which in moral agents is that which we call guilt; for guilt is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariseth in one's mind, from the consciousness of having done something which is contrary to the perfective principles of his being, that is, something that doth not become him, and which, being what he is, he ought not to have done; which we cannot imagine ever to befall so perfect and immutable a being as God is.

Perfect happiness implies in it the settled and secure possession of

all those excellences and perfections; for if any of these were liable to fail, or be diminished, so much would be taken off from perfect and complete happiness. If the Deity were subject to any change or impairment of his condition, so that either his knowledge, or power, or wisdom, or goodness, or any other perfection, could any ways decline or fall off, there would be a proportionate abatement of happiness. And from all those do result, in the last place, infinite contentment and satisfaction, pleasure and delight, which is the very essence of happiness.

Infinite contentment and satisfaction in this condition. And well may happiness be contented with itself; that is, with such a condition, that he that is possessed of it, can neither desire it should be better, nor have any cause to fear it should be worse.

Pleasure and delight, which is something more than contentment; for one may be contented with an affliction, and painful condition, in which he is far from taking any pleasure or delight. "No affliction is joyous for the present but grievous," as the apostle speaks. But there cannot be a perfect happiness without pleasure in our condition. Full pleasure is a certain mixture of love and joy, hard to be expressed in words, but certainly known by inward sense and experience.

ROBERT SOUTH. 1633-1716. (Manual, p. 257.)

164. THE STATE OF MAN BEFORE THE FALL. The understanding, the noblest faculty of the mind, was then sublime, clear, and aspiring, and as it were the soul's upper region, lofty and serene, free from the vapors and disturbances of the inferior affections. It was the leading, controlling faculty; all the passions wore the colors of reason; it did not so much persuade as command; it was not consul, but dictator. Discourse was then almost as quick as intuition; it was nimble in proposing, firm in concluding; it could sooner determine than now it can dispute. Like the sun, it had both light and agility; it knew no rest but in motion; no quiet but in activity. It did not so properly apprehend as irradiate the object; not so much find as make things intelligible. It arbitrated upon the seve eral reports of sense, and all the varieties of imagination; not, like a drowsy judge, only hearing, but also directing their verdict. In short, it was vegete,' quick, and lively; open as the day, untainted as the morning, full of the innocence and sprightliness of youth; it gave the soul a bright and full view into all things; and was not only a window, but itself the prospect. Adam came into the world a philosopher, which sufficiently appeared by his writing the nature of things upon their names; he could view essences in themselves, and read forms without the comment of their respective properties; he could see consequents yet dormant in their principles, and effects yet unborn

1 Vigorous.

« VorigeDoorgaan »