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guilty of, whether in the sentiments of our hearts, or the conduct of our actions. As milk is the first nourishment of the body, so prejudice is the first thing given to the mind to feed upon.- No sooner does the thinking faculty begin to show itself, than prejudice mingles with it, and spoils its operations: whatever we are either caught, or happen of ourselves to like or dislike, we, for the most part, continue to applaud or condemn to our life's end. So difficult it is to eradicate, in age, those sentiments imbibed in our youth.
It is this fatal propensity which binds, asit were, our reason in chains, and will not suffer it to look abroad, or exert any of its powers: hence are our conceptions bounded;-our notions mearly narrow ;-our ideas, for the most part, unjust; and our judgment shamefullylecl astray. The brightest rays of truth in vain shine upon our minds, when prejudice has shut our eyes against them. We are even rendered by it wholly incapable of examining any thing, and take all upon trust that it presents us: this not only makes usliable to be guilty of injustice, ill-nature, and ill manners to others, but also insensible of what is owing to ourselves ;we run with all our night from a real and substantial good, and court an empty name, a mere nothing. We mistake infainy for renown, and ruin for advantage: in short, where a strong prejudice prevails, all is sure to go amiss.
What I would be understood to mean, by the word prejudice, is not that liking or disliking, which naturally arises. on the sight of any new object presented to us. As, for example, we may happen to fall into the company of iwo personis equally deserving, and equally strangers to us, and with neither of whom we either have, on expect to have, the least concern: yet shall we have in.spite of us, and with out being able to give any reason for it, greater goud wishesfor thic ore than the other. But this is occasioned by that sympathy wbich nature has implanted in all created beings.
This, therefore, is what we call fancy, and very much wiffereót from prejudice, which indeed enterschiefythrough. the ears. When our notions of persons or things, which we of ourselves know nothing of, are guided, and our approbation, or disapprobation of them excited merely by whal we are told, and which afterwards we refuse to be convinced is false, then it is that we may be said to be governed by that settled prepossession so dangerous to the world, and to our characters, interest, and happiness; for the other is light, volatile, and of little consequence,
"To avoid being led away by such a dangerous error, we should take nothing upon trust, but all upon trial. Whether in the study of the arts, or in our inquiries concerning religion, politics, or any thing else, we should sit down with a determined resolution to hear impartially both sides, and to be directed by that which our reason most approves. Had not somegreat persons divested themselves of prejudices, we had never been favoured with all those valuable improvements in experimental philosophy, made of late years in differeat parts of Earope. After ally it is no easy matter to divest Ourselves of acquired prejudices, and it is a me. lancholy reflection, that part of our years are spent in acquiring such fatal nutions, that there is scarce time left to eradicate them:
So from the time we first begin to know,
I am, sir, your sincere friend.
The four following letters are on subjects of the utmost
importance. From a gentleman lately entered upon house-keeping, to a
friend. Dear Sir, I.
Fwe reflect on the nature of the human species, we shall beconvinced that all mankind were originally designed by the great Creator for social creatures. Forcan we imagine, that man, above all other animals, is born the most indigent, helpless, and abject our mutual dependance on each other is, therefore, one of the first things we should know, and be convinced of; and, consequently, we ought to aid and çelieve one another, and promote the happiness of every in dividual, as far as is consistent with truth, and the dictates of right reason. Can we suppose, that the Supreme Being bestowed upon us the wonderful faculty of expressing and communicating to othersvarideas by sounds, for no purpose! Is it reasonable to think that man ought to live in solitude and expect happiness only from himself? in other parts of the creation, the wisdom of Providence has done nothing in vain. The use of words was not given us to converse with brutes, for they neither understand nor return them. It is therefore evident, they were designed for the mutual intercourse of the human species. Besides, the same passions are common to all men; love and hatred, hape and fear, pleasure and pain, are the same in every individual, who acts conformable to his nature. This likeness in our desires must necessarily attract us, and create in us such an esteem for each other, that nothing bui unnatural dispositions, or the greatest corruption can dissolve. Let us suppose a man banished into the remotest wilderness, without the commerce, the company, or the friendship of his fellow-beings, how dismal must his condition be! he may, perhaps, find means to continue his existence by taking such animals as the desert affords, and by gathering such fruits and vegetables as the earth spontaneously yields: but his life must be a continual scene of horror and despair; no friend to converse with; no mortal to defend him from the ravenous jaws of the savage inhabitants of the forest ; no physician to administer the salutary productions of nature, when pain and sickness make their approach. In short, he would be so far from arriving at happiness, that he would scarce desire to support his existence, and even court the king of terrors to terminate at once his sorrows with his life.
Since choice, as well as necessity and conveniency, should induce all men to unite and form societies, it is the indispensable duty of every individual to become an useful member, and contribute all in his power to promote the happiness of the whole. In order to this, before we embark in any action, we should reflect on the consequences which must oawrally flow from it by imagining it to bave been already done by another; and we shall immediately be able to judge of the modes of pleasure or pain it will give to others, from the manner of its affecting ourselves. Toareasonable being, nothing brings pain but vice, or pleasure but virtue. This precaution musi tend to promote benevolence, friendship, and honesty among mankind; whereas the not observing it, subjects us to the tyraony of our passions, lo gratify which, men frequently become faithless, cruel, dishonest, and traj. torous. We are convinced, that men mustlivein sociclies; and, in order lo live bappy, it is evident they must be sis,
tuous, since nothing else in our power can mutually secure us; human beings are so circumstanced, that they should love, assist, and protect each other. The great end of our being is happiness; it cannot be supposed, that the omnipotent Author of nature intended any being should inevitably be miserable. Human happiness is always proportional to the perception we have of ideas or things; that is, the same object may give a higher degree of happiness to one person than to another, but no degree of buman happiness can subsist without society: men, therefore, enter into societies for the mutual happiness of each other; and that every individual should enjoy the advantages resulting from such an union, by regulating all human actions by some standard or law. In childhood the laws of action naturally Aow from the modes of pleasure and pain, which sensible objects impress on their iender organs. Those of men fundamentally arise from the former, but with this difference, that the reasoning faculty, now grown strong by experience, determines these things to be good or evil, in the same manner, in which we before affirmed this, or that, to be pleasure or paio. Hence it is evident, that the spring of action is the same both in the mind and in the body; for that which is evił to the mind, is by the same rule painful to the body; and that which is truly pleasing to the body, is also good to the mind. It is therefore evident, that the ideas of good and evil are naturally evident to the mind, by the assistance of reason. The very laws of property may be examined by these first principles of pleasure and pain. While we are infants, we are subject to the law of our senses; when we are men, to that of our reason. And, therefore, unless we abandon reason, the characteristic of our nature, we must regulate our actions by her precepts.
Though a man has a freedom of will, he is not, on that account, lawless, and at liberty to commit what outrages or violence his vicious appetites suggest. The will, as well as the appetite, are the servants of reason, and should be governed by her, as she is by her own laws: we may, therefore, rationally conclude, ihat men should live in perpetual obedience to some law: and, as the law of reason is the most suitable to human nature, it is consequently the most eligible. The immutable will of the Supreme Being is a kind of law which he has imposed upon himself; those immense orbs, which regularly move through the system of the universe, have motion and gravitation, atlraction and repulsion, as signed for their laws: and man has reason. And it is reasonable to think, that the same economy runs through all the heings in nature.
From what has been said, it evidently appears, that societies are not only the source of happiness, but also absolutely necessary; and that they cannot subsist without some law. Nor should man, notwithstanding the loud demands of his passions, think himsellenslaved for living under thedominion of reason, since the great Creator himself regulates his conduct by a law, which, from the archangeableness of his pature, has subsisted from, and will continue to all eternity. Why then should not we strictly conform ourselves to the principles of reason: if pleasure be desirable, as most surely it is, we can only hope to obtain it by following her dictates. Those pleasures we enjoy, contrary to her precepts, always leave a sting behind them, infinitely superior to the joys we find in their possession. We should, therefore, always let season direct our actions, and remember the golden rule of doing to others what we ourselves, in their circumstances, should desire from another. This is alone sufficient to conduct a man innocently and safely through the journey of lite, till death draws the veil, which separates this from the world of spirits.
l-am, sir, yours affectionately. LETTER CXXVIII.
From the same, on pride. Dear Sir,
HE great inequality that we often perceive in the pro
ductions of the mind of the same man, is not in the least to be wondered at; for, as 'man's body is composed of the
elements, so it varies with the weatber, and changes oftener .than the moon: so the soul, though in itself immutable, yet it is connected with, and compelled to act in and through Those corporeal organs, which are always changing, mast of necessity, have its
powers of acting more or less impeded ;; must rise and fall like the mercury in the glass, according to their degree of clearness. Hence the mind is one hour pure as ethereal air, the next, foul as the thickest fog.
For pride, that busy sin,
Warts. Since the powers of the mind do thus depend upon the organs of the body, which vary like the wind, where is the