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the vividness of pleasurable feelings, the general result is, that painful feelings are rendered inordinately intense, while pleasurable feelings become so faint as to be no longer the object of mental consciousness.




“ The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact.”-SHAKSPEARE.

BEFORE proceeding in this investigation, a summary may be presented of some of the conclusions to which we have arrived in the foregoing chapters.

Morbific excitements of the mind were, in their operations, considered as either partial or general.

The indications of partial morbific excitements are manifested by the renovation of past feelings only in an intense state; actual impressions continuing in general unaffected. Nor are the illusions which follow to be traced to affections common to every organ of sensation. Phantasms of vision, for instance, may accrue without being necessarily attended by equally intense ideas of sound or of touch.

The indications of a general morbific excitement, or ecstacy, are manifested by actual impressions as well as recollected images of the mind having been rendered unduly intense; ideas, however, being more vivid than sensations. With respect to the illusions

which follow, they are of so complete a nature as to indicate, that every organ of sensation has been more or less affected by the excitement.

It was also explained, that hope and fear possessed a powerful vivifying influence, and that all mental illusions, whether arising from partial or general morbific excitements, were heightened in their effect, in proportion to the intensity of the natural emotions of hope or fear which the subject of them was calculated from moral causes to excite.

These moral causes, therefore, it will be my present object to consider with more attention, but particularly with reference to the occasions on which the susceptibility of the human mind to its various affections is manifested.

All the moral propensities or dispositions of man depend upon ultimate laws, determining on what definite occasions various degrees of vividness shall be dispensed to the pleasurable and painful feelings of the mind. Such definite occasions are connected with the acquisition or privation, 1st, of knowledge; 2dly, of power ; 3dly, of society ; 4thly, of the means of evincing gratitude; 5thly, of the means of resentment; 6thly, of the esteem of our fellow-creatures. A sense of the acquisition of any of these objects is in each individual attended with a more or less vivid degree of pleasure; and a sense of the privation of any of them is attended with a more or less vivid degree of pain. Nor is it less favourable to the enjoyments of social intercourse, that there should exist a law by which the congratulations of sympathizing friends should add to the vividness of the joys we experience, or that

their condolence should allay the poignancy of the most bitter affliction.

But with regard to the particular constitutional circumstances of the human system, which may be deemed necessary for the development of laws upon which the moral character of man depends, I shall offer no opinion. I have already hinted, that the susceptibility possessed by our mental feelings of various degrees of pleasure and pain may not depend upon one circumstance only connected with the animal economy, but may involve the co-operation of many causes - far beyond the reach of human inquiry. It may depend in some measure upon certain peculiarities of the nervous system, contemplated as the source whence various degrees of mental vividness are derived; or it may depend upon the greater or less tendency of vascular organs to be affected by the nervous influence; or, lastly, it may involve some characteristic of the immaterial mind itself.

Having explained the moral occasions upon which our feelings are excited, it may be added, that their vivifying influence extends to all impressions which may be connected with them in any known relationship. But as all pleasurable or painful trains of feel. ing, when renewed, shew a tendency, on each occasion of their recurrence, to become fainter and fainter, the anticipation of good or evil, which vivifies our feelings, excites them in a degree proportional to the natural susceptibility of the mind to receive more or less pleasure and pain on various moral occasions, and proportional to the probability or improbability of an expected possession or privation ; the affections thus

induced being those which we express by the terms Hope and Fear.

These observations being premised, I shall now confine my attention far less to partial morbific causes of mental excitement, than to those general ones which conjointly influence both actual impressions and the renovated feelings of the mind.

It was demonstrated, that during every ecstacy, or general excitement of the mind, either pleasurable feelings were excited and painful ones depressed, or, vice versa, painful feelings were excited, and pleasurable ones depressed. Now, in each of these cases, the depressed feelings might be rendered so faint as to cease being the object of mental consciousness.

But it was likewise observed, that a morbific cause, in imparting a pleasurable or painful addition to the vividness of our feelings, possesses nothing more than a co-operating influence; the proper quality of our feelings being previously determined by natural objects of sensation, which, from the various modes in which they act, give to the different dispositions of mankind their peculiar character, and, thereby, come to be regarded in the light of moral agents. If a morbific cause, therefore, when operating on the states of the mind, should be endowed for the time with a pleasurable power, it merely singles out (as it were) and vivifies all the sensations and ideas which are of themselves naturally pleasurable, but has no direct influence on feelings of an opposite quality; and, vice versa, the same rule holds good with a morbific cause capable of rendering painful feelings more vivid.

According to this view, we must regard each mor

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