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DIRECTIONS FOR PLACING THE PLATES.

PAGE

89

Jerome in the Wilderness
The Bishop of Allig throwing his Garment

over St. Francis Amelle telling her Rofary Petrarch in Solitude.

158

168

309

OR,

The pernicious Influence

OF

A TOTAL SECLUSION FROM SOCIETY

UPON
The Mind and the Heart.

CHAPTER THE FIRST.

INTRODUCTION.'

SOLITUDE, in its ftri& and literal accepta.

in its tion, is equally unfriendly to the happiness and foreign to the nature of mankind. An inclination to exercise the faculty of speech, * to interchange the sentiments of the mind, to indulge VOL. II. B

the

* ARISTOTLE says, that as Nature does nothing in vain, and as man is the only animal whom she hath endued with the privilege of speech, he must have been formed for social delights: an opinion which the celebrated PUFFENDORF has, in common with all writers upon natural law, adopted. “ That man," says he, " was designed by nature for a life of society, this " alone might be a sufficient argument, that he only, of all " living creatures, is endued with the power of expressing his “ mind to others by articulate sounds ; a faculty which, ab

ftracting from the social condition, we cannot conceive to be " of any use or advantage to mankind."

the affections of the heart, and to receive themfelves, while they bestow on others, a kind altistance and support, drives men, by an ever active, and almost irrefiftible impulse, from So. Litude to SOCIETY; and teaches them that the highest temporal felicity they are capable of enjoying, must be sought for in a suitable union of the sexes, and in a friendly intercourse with their fellow-creatures.* The profoundest deductions of reason, the highest Aights of fancy, the finest sensibilities of the heart, the happiest discoveries of fcience, and the moft valuable productions of art, are feebly felt, and imperfectly enjoyed, in the cold and cheerless region of Solitude. It is not to the senseless rock, or to the passing gale, that we can satisfactorily communicate our pleasures and our pains.* The heavy sighs which incessantly transpire from the vacant bofoms of the folitary hermit, and the surly misanthropist, indicate the absence of those high delights which ever accompany congenial sentiment and mutual affection.7 The soul sinks under a situation in which there are no kindred bosoms to participate its joys, and sympathize in its forrows; and feels, strongly feels, that the beneficient Creator has so framed and moulded the temper of our minds, that SOCIETY is the earB 2'

discoveries

* “ Man,” fays a profound philosopher, “ is an animal ex. " tremely desirous of his own preservation; of himself ex“ posed to many wants, unable to secure his own safety " and maintenance without the affiftance of his fellows, and “ capable of returning the kindness by the furtherance of " mutual good. But then he is often malicious, infolent, “ easily provoked, and as powerful in effecting mischief as he is * ready in designing it. Now that such a creature may be pre. # served and supported, and may enjoy the good things attend“ing his condition of life, it is necessary that he should be social ; that is, that he should unite himself to those of his

own species, and in such a manner regulate his behaviour to$6 wards them, as they may have no fair reason to do him " harm; but rather incline to promote his interests, and to “ secure his rights and concerns. It seems, therefore, to be a “ fundamental law of nature, that every man ought, as far as in him lies, to promote and preserve a peaceful sociableness with others, agreeable to the main end and dispostion of the human race: that is, such a disposition of one man towards all others, * as shall unite him to them by benevolence, by peace, by “ charity, and, as it were, by a filent and secret obligation."

lieft

* Cicero, reasoning upon the principles of the Stoics, insists that " no man would choose to live in absolute Solitude, al" though he might enjoy an infinity of pleasures.”

+ " He who, disgusted, quits the social fcene,
" And trees and beasts prefer to courts and men,
" In the remoteft glen, or loneliest grot,
" Still meets the spectre of distempered thought.
“ His mind as dreary as the pathless woods ;
56 His breast as turb'lent as descending floods;
“ His heart with strong and raging passions torn;
“ No sweet companion near, with whom to mourn:
"" The echoing rocks return his fruitless lighs,
* And from himself th' unhappy HERMIT flies."

lieft impulse and the most powerful inclination of our hearts.

“ Unhappy hel who from the first of joys,
“ Society, cut off, is left alone
" Amid this world of death-

Society, however, although it is thus pointed out to us, as it were, by the finger of the Almighty, as the means of reaching our highest possible state of earthly felicity, is so pregnant with dangers, that it depends entirely on ourselves, whether the indulgence of this instinctive propensity shall be productive of happiness or misery.

all have cause to smile,
*** But such as to themselves that cause deny.
« Our faults are at the bottom of our pains ;
“ Error, in acts or judgment, is the source
« Of endless forrow,

The pleasures of Society, like pleasures of every other kind, must, to be pure and permanent, be temperate and discreet. While paffion animates, and sensibility cherishes, reason must direct, and virtue be the object of our course. Those who search for happiness in a vague, desultory, and indiscriminate intercourse with the world; who imagine the palace of Plea

sure

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