Four Dissertations; I. the Natural History of Religion. II. of the Passions. III. of Tragedy. IV. of the Standard of Taste
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1757 edition. Excerpt: ... the idea of a station or situation altogether desirable. The draughts of life, according to the poet's fiction, are always mixed from the vessels on each hand of Jupiter Or if any cup be presented altogether pure, it is drawn only, as the fame poet tells us, . from the left-handed vessel. The more exquisite any good is, ofwhich a small specimen is afforded us, the sharper is the evil, allied to it; and few exceptions are found to this uniform law of nature. T he most sprightly wit borders on madness; the highest effusions of joy produce the deepest melancholy; the most ravishing pleasures are attended with the most cruel lassitude and disgust $ the most flattering hopes make way for the severest disappointments. And in general, no course of life has such sasety (for happiness is not to be dreamed of) as the temperate and moderate, which maintains, as far as possible, a mediocrity, and a kind of insensibility, in every thing. As the good, the great, the sublime, the ravishing are found eminently in the genuine principles of theism; it may be expected, from the analogy of nature, that the base, the absurd, the mean, the terrifying will be discovered equally in religious fictions and chimeras. The universal propensity to believe in invisible, intelligent power, if not an original instinct, being at least a general attendant of human nature, it may be considered as a kind of mark or stampv which the divine workman has set upon his work; and nothing surely can more dignify mankind, than to be thus selected from all the other parts of the creation, and to bear the image or impression of the universal Creator. But consult this image, as it commonly appears in the popular religions of the world. How is the deity disfigured in our representations of him!..
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