« PreviousContinue »
Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes;
Man is a compound of body and of soul, and constitutes that important link in the great chain of beings, which connects the intellectual with the material world. From this description of human nature, it would be absurd to suppose that the life of man should be entirely devoted to the contemplations of reason, or, on the other hand, to the gratifications of Sense. To enjoy only those pleasures which spring from one half of our nature, whilst we deprive ourselves wholly of those which spring from the other, would be to revolt from the wise appointment of Providence, and to act in opposition to the end of our creation. Our reason demonstrates that we are formed for enjoying the pleasures of contemplation; and our passions, with equal evidence, demonstrate that we are formed for enjoying the pleasures of Sense.
The latter arise from our faculties of seeing, hearmg, smelling, tasting, and feeling. The organ of sight, fixed in its elevated situation, commands the most extensive prospects; and conveys to our apprehension all the graces of blooming nature, and all the glories of the visible heavens.
The visual orbs
BALLY. Again :
Who form'd the curious organ of the eye,
Our sight (as observed by an amiable writer) is the most perfect and delightful of all our senses. The sense of feeling may indeed give us a notion of extension, shape, and of every other idea that enters at the eye, except that of colours; but it is very much straightened and confined in its operations, as to the number, bulk, and distance of its particular objects. Sight seems designed to supply all these defects, and may be considered as a more delicate and diffusive kind of touch, that spreads itself over an infinite multitude of bodies, comprehending the largest figures, and bringing into our reach some of the most remote parts of the universe.
This wonderful sense feasts on all the beauties of nature, and penetrates into her most hidden treasures; by its power, the faculties of the mind are enlarged and strengthened, the affections refined, the imagination enriched, the memory replenished, the judgment invigorated, the taste purified, and the invention exeited. The eye has a powerful effect upon the heart; the look of sorrow excites compassion, the glance of cheerfulness inspires delight, friendship, and love. Eloquent is the language of expressive looks, by which kindred minds hold silent but heartfelt intercourse. A look from the eye of the commander inspirits the soldier to deeds of bravery. The piercing beam from the eye of wisdom arrests folly in its shameful course. The frown of virtue makes vice tremble, while the smile of her approbation encourages to goodness.
The following beautiful lines on an object connected with the organ of sight, “ a tear,” are from the pen of Rogers :
Oh! that the chemist's magic art
Could crystallize this sacred treasure !
A secret source of pensive pleasure.
It's lustre caught from Chloe's eye;
The spring of Sensibility!
In thee the rays of virtue shine
Than any gem that gilds the inine.
Who ever fly'st to bring relief,
Of Love or Pity, Joy or Grief.
lo every clime, in every age;
In Reason's philosophic page.
And bids it trickle from its source,
the Earth a sphere, And guides the Planets in their course. Vision is perhaps the most intricate and wonderful faculty bestowed on man. Trees and forests, hills and dales, rocks and plains, and all the beauties which the earth affords, furnish pleasures for this sense. And when we raise our eyes to the heavens, what delightful spectacles are presented to us! As,
when the Moon, refulgent lamp of night,
And tip with silver ev'ry mountain's head :
Then shine the vales; the rocks in prospect rise ;
Pope's Homer. By the sense of hearing, intelligence is conveyed to the soul ; it is the receptacle of speech. This wonderful faculty, by its various modulations, expresses all the mutualities of nature, all the sentiments of mind, and all the faculties of the human heart.
The channell’d ear, with many a winding maze,
SHAKSPEARE. The pleasures arising from the sense of hearing are almost infinite. A large proportion of the joys which the heart experiences, arrive through this avenue. The periods of music will be treated on hereafter. I shall conclude my observations on this sense, by introducing the following extract from Derham :-
“ Who but an intelligent Being, what less than an omnipotent and infinitely wise God, could contrive and make such a medium, so susceptible of every impression that the sense of hearing hath occasion for, to empower all animals to express their sense and meaning to others; to make known their fears and their wants, their pains and sorrows, in mournful tones; their joys and pleasures in more harmonious notes ; to send their minds to great distances in a short time; or to express their thoughts near at hand with a gentle voice or in secret whispers. Who less than the same most wise and indulgent Creator, could form such an economy as that of melody and music; that the medium should so readily receive every impression of sound, and convey the melodious vibration of every musical string, the harmonious pulses of every animal voice, and of every musical pipe, and the ear be as well adapted, and as ready to receive all their impressions, as the medium to convey them ; and finally, that music should not only affect the fancy with delight, but also give relief to the mourner, and peace to those who are excited by strong passions. Who then can reflect upon all this curious apparatus of the sense of hearing, and not give the great Creator his due praise ? Who can survey all this admirable work, and not as readily own it to be the operation of an omnipotent and infinitely wise and good Being, as the most artful melodies we hear, are the voice or performances of a living creature.”
By the sense of smelling, we imbibe all the balmy fragrance of spring, all the aromatic exhalations of autumn, and banquet on the dainties of nature.
Not a breeze
AKENSIDE. It is said, the pleasures of smell are peculiar to man, for though some animals may seem to possess this sense in a higher degree than human beings, yet perhaps man, alone, really enjoys the odoriferous sweets of the earth, and employs them to increase the strength and activity of his passions.
Another source of constant pleasure is the sense of taste. Dr. Paley very judiciously infers the goodness of the Deity, from the circumstance of his having added pleasure to the act of eating; as the pain would have been sufficient to have impelled man to partake of food, had there been no pleasure in the act. He observes,-
The provision which is made of a variety of objects not necessary to life, and ministering only to our pleasures, and the properties given to the necessaries of life themselves, by which they contribute to pleasure as well as preservation, shew a further design than that of giving existence. A single instance will make all this clear. Assuming the necessity of food for the support of animal life, it is requisite that the animal be provided with organs, fitted for the procuring, receiving, and digesting of its food. It may be also necessary, that the animal be impelled by its sensations to exert its organs. But the pain of hunger would do all this. Why add pleasure to the act of eating ; sweetness and relish to food? Why a new and appropriate sense for the perception of the pleasure? Why should the juice of a