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cent, amiable, and virtuous sentiments and imaginations which it had conceived and brought forth; once his supremely vain and idolatrous delight.
“ In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair blazing, and the vestment warm;
The above will readily admit either of a mixed, or of a pure, moral, and intellectual interpretation. In the first case, suppose the man to be a desperate gamester, with a literal wife and children: it is evident that the course of his reprobacy and ruin will be mercifully checked and embittered, as described by the poet, with the consideration of the destruction which his selfish vices are bringing on his affectionate (suppose) wife and children, innocent victims, whose miserable and forlorn condition must, from time to time, pierce his heart, (though seized on, and enslaved by, infernal furies,) with unutterable anguish; which still is but vain and transient, and unable to set him free, so complete is the dominion of death and hell.
• In the pure abstract, individual case, we may say, In vain does his heart (wife) at intervals relent, and incite a transient feeling of benevolence, which shall never be practically realized : in vain do tender, amiable sentiments, the beautiful offspring of the pure, unsophisticated heart, the precious gifts of the God of love, peep out, as it were, for a moment, and for the last time, through the mingled storm of selfishness and infidelity, and strive with the eloquence of angels to recall him to himself, and to the life of charity. Alas!-these are the last efforts of expiring or departing love, of divine love, which, like the angels at Jerusalem, is about to quit the polluted temple, the den of dragons, for ever! The deadly winter of selfishness and misanthropy seizes even upon the strength of his rational faculty, and makes him persist, though he knows that it is death : it quickly destroys all moral sense, when it has first made him an atheist; and, creeping or rushing cold over the inmost vitals of sacred love, reduces him to the state of spiritual death; that is to say, an atheist both in head and heart; who (unless repentance be vouchsafed) will be shortly transferred (probably by a righteous suicide) to the grim fires of eternal vengeance. This, however, is a description of the agonising moral death of a child of ardent natural sentiments; whose temperament being more sanguine, suffers more ex
quisitely from the cruel frost of selfishness, and is sooner killed by it, from the fiery passions which are blended in the soil of such a heart. Thus, a native of the natural torrid zone would suffer much more, and be much sooner killed by the cold of a polar latitude, than an inhabitant of that latitude. Thus, men of a very cold and apathetic natural disposition, do not feel those exquisite pangs from the sight or experience of cruelty, malice, ingratitude, and revenge, which kill the souls of warmer temperaments with torrid misanthropy. They resenible the northern polar bears, whose natural furs and tough insensibility of nerves, (the latter being probably cause, and the former effect, just as the bearish manners of a churl proceed from the selfishness of his heart,) prevent the quick, tormenting, and burning progress, as it were, of the cold upon more sensible and irritable nerves. An injury, or insult, which would overset the balance of reason in a very sanguine temperament, and torrid climate of soul, and perhaps urge him to murder, sudden as the lightning's flash, will only extort, as it were, a deep growl and a bite, from a very cold and melancholic temperament. He is a surly biting bear; and considering all men, ultimately, in a nearly similar light, he naturally expects to be bit sometimes; and when it happens from his own want of caution, he chiefly blames himself for forgetting, even for a moment, that almost every man in the world will bite when he is provoked, or sees an opportunity.
Yet the burning furies of the torrid, and the frozen ones of the frigid zones, that is to say, ultimately, extreme selfishness, whether in the form of burning passion, or of apathetic indifference and insensibility, are one in tendency, though apparently opposite. Thus there are mountains close to the torrid zone covered with eternal snows, and the soil of India abounds with nitre. Hence, also we find a volcano in the frigid zone; for self, differently modified by temperament, by climate, morally and even naturally, perhaps is the common motive and principle of both, though often unknown to be such.
The immense balls of snow which often in winter descend from the glaciers of the Alps and the Appenines, and increasing in size and weight according to the greatness of the height from whence they roll, form at last hills of snow which overwhelm peaceful hamlets, and (according to Thomson's account) whole brigades of marching troops; these are true emblems of the horrors, mischiefs, and miseries which proceed from the tyranny of selfish, avaricious, rapacious, and unrelenting princes, and all other persons in very elevated stations ; whose pernicious examples of infidelity, avarice,
injustice, and oppression, are as destructive to the moral and religious principles, as to the property, natural life, and comfort of their subjects; and in exact proportion to the height or eminence of the persons from whom they proceed.
These furies increasing continually as they descend from the throne to the cottage, in the different forms of unbalanced selfishness, such for instance as that of snow hills, in the reign of an avaricious and cruel prince, crushing all ranks of civil life beneath their weight and severity: or in the form of a Thaw, inducing a torrent of luxury, and splendid vice and profusion, under perhaps his youthful successor ; who heated by the false fire of the passions, melts in wasteful dissipation those treasures which had been amassed by the grinding oppression of his predecessor during the winter of ruthless old age. These torrents of luxury and vanity are in the end equally, if not more irretrievably ruinous than the snow hills of stern tyranny, though less grim in appearance; for they carry away, not only the natural, but also the moral riches of the subjects, their good faith, honesty, and sobriety, and even their sense of religion, down the flood of the national intemperance of mind, with as much irresistible violence and ruin, as the natural floods do the fields, cattle, houses, and perhaps the country