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Essay on the Pursuit of the Pleasures ' of Taste and Imagination . Jan . 7 , 1814 . *? hc pleasures of imagination are thi next remove above the sensible ones , and kavey in their proper place and degree-, a gfeat efficacy in iJnproving and perfecting Qitrndtares . Hartley .
Though happiness is the end and object of all created beings , and is deliberately pursued by tiibSk of them who are intelligent .
they seek it , however , by very different' means , in their use of which ttey bften lose sight of the gffafrd ptffpose they originally had ifi view . Men are wise or
irrational adfcofdihg to the rule of life by which they act . To make the attainment of the pleasures of serisi * , of even of those of taste afiict imagination , our first concern , is to neglect highej : interests atid stronger obligations ; to give them no share of our trme and
atteirtibrij notwithstanding our situation in the world enables us to procure them , is one of those instances of singularity from which ifrbre evil than advantage may arise . There is a middle point between excess and needless
mortification and self-denial , which it should be biitaim to reach . Suppose that a man apply himself to the business of adorning his person , his habitation , his possessions , or of so improving in
reputed accomplishments , as to increase , on some occasions , the joys of the social circle . Within certain bounds he may follow this employment and be blameless . But the moment it begins to occupy the chief portion of his time
and faculties , it becomes a crime ; when it passes its just degree , it produces selfish qualities * It is a familiar remark that rnany of the votaries of the elegant arts , are vain and conceited , arc intoxicated with the incense they offer to their idols . The
observation does not hold good of those who exercise the highest of these arts as means of subsistence : on the contrary , eminent painters * statuaries , sculptors and architects , are distinguished by strength of understanding and simplicity of character . But men fond of acquiring their works and designs , and of sitting in judgment on their
merits- —the tribe of imitators and connoisseurs—frequently overrate their own attainments , which they estimate mdr& by their rarity than by their use . For this reason
genuine knowledge is far ife'Ss in danger of swelling with vfcriity than an imagined taste in decorations . At every step he tak&s a man of science is sensible of his
deficiencies , and is therefore humble . What is merely or principally ornamental , denotes a certain station in society , which they who fill it are commonly desirous of seeing acknowledged-Ostentation and display attend not seldom on the pursuit of the
pleasures derived from the elegancies of life ; and they are infallible signs of excess in those pursuits . While men of solid knowledge are , the most part , reluctaot to exhibit it , he who cultivates , supremely or chiefly , a taste For ornamencs , is restless till its existence and effects ar #
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MISGiELLANEOtJS COMMTJNlCAftONS .
VOL . IX . »
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1814, page 17, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2436/page/17/