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The phrases in their context!


In this case, as well as in that of wit and eloquence, we must have recourse to a certain sense, which acts without reflection, and regards not the tendencies of qualities and characters.
Some moralists account for all the sentiments of virtue by this sense.
Their hypothesis is very plausible.
Nothing but a particular enquiry can give the preference to any other hypothesis.
When we find, that almost all the virtues have such particular tendencies; and also find, that these tendencies are sufficient alone to give a strong sentiment of approbation: We cannot doubt, after this, that qualities are approved of, in proportion to the advantage, which results from them.
The decorum or indecorum of a quality, with regard to the age, or character, or station, contributes also to its praise or blame.
This decorum depends, in a great measure, upon experience.
It is usual to see men lose their levity, as they advance in years.
Such a degree of gravity, therefore, and such years, are connected together in our thoughts.
When we observe them separated in any person's character, this imposes a kind of violence on our imagination, and is disagreeable.
That faculty of the soul, which, of all others, is of the least consequence to the character, and has the least virtue or vice in its several degrees, at the same time, that it admits of a great variety of degrees, is the memory.
Unless it rise up to that stupendous height as to surprize us, or sink so low as, in some measure, to affect the judgment, we commonly take no notice of its variations, nor ever mention them to the praise or dispraise of any person.
It is so far from being a virtue to have a good memory, that men generally affect to complain of a bad one; and endeavouring to persuade the world, that what they say is entirely of their own invention, sacrifice it to the praise of genius and judgment.
Yet to consider the matter abstractedly, it would be difficult to give a reason, why the faculty of recalling past ideas with truth and clearness, should not have as much merit in it, as the faculty of placing our present ideas, in such an order, as to form true propositions and opinions.
The reason of the difference certainly must be, that the memory is exerted without any sensation of pleasure or pain; and in all its middling degrees serves almost equally well in business and affairs.
But the least variations in the judgment are sensibly felt in their consequences; while at the same time that faculty is never exerted in any eminent degree, without an extraordinary delight and satisfaction.
The sympathy with this utility and pleasure bestows a merit on the understanding; and the absence of it makes us consider the memory as a faculty very indifferent to blame or praise.
Before I leave this subject of natural abilities, I must observe, that, perhaps, one source of the esteem and affection, which attends them, is derived from the importance and weight, which they bestow on the person possessed of them.
He becomes of greater consequence in life.
His resolutions and actions affect a greater number of his fellow-creatures.
Both his friendship and enmity are of moment.