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.

The sentence passed on him was, to be hanged in chains, which was accordingly executed in a few days; though Natura, pitying his case, in consideration of the greatness of the temptation, laboured for a mitigation of his doom.—­He never saw the unfortunate Maria afterwards, but heard she was in a condition little different from madness, which making her parents think it improper she should return to England, they conveyed her to Liege, where they placed her as a pensioner in the convent of English nuns, there to remain till time and reflection should make a change in her, fit to appear again in the world; which proceeding in them shewed, that whatever aversion some people have to this, or that form of religion, they can countenance, nay, pretend to approve it, when it happens to prove for their convenience to do so.

Natura was now intirely cured of his passion, but could not avoid feeling a very tender commiseration for her, who had been the unhappy object of it; he found also, on meditating on every passage of this adventure, that she was infinitely less to blame, in regard to him, than her parents had been; and that what he had accused, as cruel in her, was much more kind than the favour they had pretended for him.—­When he reflected on the gulph of misery he had so narrowly escaped, he was filled with the most grateful sentiments to that Providence which had protected him; and also made sensible, that what we often pray for, as the greatest of blessings, would, if obtained, prove the severest curse:—­a reflection highly necessary for all who desire any thing with too much ardency.

CHAP.  V.

Shews that there is no one human advantage to which all others should be sacrificed:—­the force of ambition, and the folly of suffering it to gain too great an ascendant over us;—­public grandeur little capable of atoning for private discontent; among which jealousy, whether of love or honour, is the most tormenting.

The desire of being well settled in the world is both natural and laudable; but then great care ought to be taken to moderate this passion, in order to prevent it from engrossing the mind too much; for it is the nature of ambition, not only to stop at nothing that tends to its gratification, but also to be ever craving new acquisitions, ever unsatisfied with the former.—­One favourite point is no sooner gained, than another appears in view, and is pursued with the same eagerness:—­what we once thought the summum bonum of our happiness, seems nothing when we have attained to the possession of it, while that which is unaccomplished, fires us with impatience, and robs us of every enjoyment we might take in life.

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