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The phrases in their context!


In general we may observe, that it is impossible to do good to others, from whatever motive, without feeling some touches of kindness and good-will towards them; as the injuries we do, not only cause hatred in the person, who suffers them, but even in ourselves.
These phaenomena, indeed, may in part be accounted for from other principles.
But here there occurs a considerable objection, which it will be necessary to examine before we proceed any farther.
I have endeavoured to prove, that power and riches, or poverty and meanness; which give rise to love or hatred, without producing any original pleasure or uneasiness; operate upon us by means of a secondary sensation derived from a sympathy with that pain or satisfaction, which they produce in the person, who possesses them.
From a sympathy with his pleasure there arises love; from that with his uneasiness, hatred.
But it is a maxim, which I have just now established, and which is absolutely necessary to the explication of the phaenomena of pity and malice, that it is not the present sensation or momentary pain or pleasure, which determines the character of any passion, but the general bent or tendency of it from the beginning to the end.
For this reason, pity or a sympathy with pain produces love, and that because it interests us in the fortunes of others, good or bad, and gives us a secondary sensation correspondent to the primary; in which it has the same influence with love and benevolence.
Since then this rule holds good in one case, why does it not prevail throughout, and why does sympathy in uneasiness ever produce any passion beside good-will and kindness? Is it becoming a philosopher to alter his method of reasoning, and run from one principle to its contrary, according to the particular phaenomenon, which he would explain?
I have mentioned two different causes, from which a transition of passion may arise, viz, a double relation of ideas and impressions, and what is similar to it, a conformity in the tendency and direction of any two desires, which arise from different principles.
Now I assert, that when a sympathy with uneasiness is weak, it produces hatred or contempt by the former cause; when strong, it produces love or tenderness by the latter.
This is the solution of the foregoing difficulty, which seems so urgent; and this is a principle founded on such evident arguments, that we ought to have established it, even though it were not necessary to the explication of any phaenomenon.
It is certain, that sympathy is not always limited to the present moment, but that we often feel by communication the pains and pleasures of others, which are not in being, and which we only anticipate by the force of imagination.
For supposing I saw a person perfectly unknown to me, who, while asleep in the fields, was in danger of being trod under foot by horses, I should immediately run to his assistance; and in this I should be actuated by the same principle of sympathy, which makes me concerned for the present sorrows of a stranger.
The bare mention of this is sufficient.
Sympathy being nothing but a lively idea converted into an impression, it is evident, that, in considering the future possible or probable condition of any person, we may enter into it with so vivid a conception as to make it our own concern; and by that means be sensible.
of pains and pleasures, which neither belong to ourselves, nor at the present instant have any real existence.
But however we may look forward to the future in sympathizing with any person, the extending of our sympathy depends in a great measure upon our sense of his present condition.
It is a great effort of imagination, to form such lively ideas even of the present sentiments of others as to feel these very sentiments; but it is impossible we coued extend this sympathy to the future, without being aided by some circumstance in the present, which strikes upon us in a lively manner.
When the present misery of another has any strong influence upon me, the vivacity of the conception is not confined merely to its immediate object, but diffuses its influence over all the related ideas, and gives me a lively notion of all the circumstances of that person, whether past, present, or future; possible, probable or certain.
By means of this lively notion I am interested in them; take part with them; and feel a sympathetic motion in my breast, conformable to whatever I imagine in his.
If I diminish the vivacity of the first conception, I diminish that of the related ideas; as pipes can convey no more water than what arises at the fountain.