Life's Progress Through The Passions eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about Life's Progress Through The Passions.

In a word, there is not one of all the various emotions which agitate the breast in maturity, that may not be discerned almost from the birth, hope, jealousy, and despair excepted, which, tho’ they bear the name in common with those other more natural dispositions of the mind, I look upon rather as consequentials of the passions, and arising from them, than properly passions themselves:  but however that be, it is certain, that they are altogether dependant on a fixation of ideas, reflection, and comparison, and therefore can have no entrance in the soul, or at least cannot be awakened in it, till some degree of knowledge is attained.

Thus do the dispositions of the infant indicate the future man; and though we see, in the behaviour of persons when grown up, so vast a difference, yet as all children at first act alike, I think it may be reasonably supposed, that were it not for some change in the constitution, an equal similitude of will, desires, and sentiments, would continue among us through maturity and old age; at least I am perfectly perswaded it would do so, among all those who are born in the same climate, and educated in the same principles:  for whatever may be said of a great genius, and natural endowments, there is certainly no real distinction between the soul of the man of wit and the ideot; and that disproportion, which we are apt to behold with so much wonder, is only in fact occasioned by some or other of those innumerable and hidden accidents, which from our first coming into the world, in a more or less degree, have, an effect upon the organs of sense; and they being the sole canals through which the spirit shews itself, according as they happen to be extended, contracted, or obstructed, the man must infallibly appear.

CHAP.  II.

Contains some proofs by what swift degrees the passions gain an ascendant over the mind, and grow up in proportion with our reason.

Natura had no sooner quitted the nursery, than he was put under the direction of the school, to which at first he was every day conducted either by a man or maid-servant; but when thought big enough to be trusted alone, would frequently play the truant, for which he generally received the discipline necessary on such occasions.—­He took his learning notwithstanding as well as could be expected;—­he had read the testament through at five years old, about seven was put into Latin, and began the rudiments of Greek before he had attained the age of nine.

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Life's Progress Through The Passions from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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