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Leaving, therefore, the question concerning the origin of our active principles, and of the moral faculty, to be the subject of future discussion, I shall conclude this Section with a few remarks of a inore practical nature.

It has been shewn by different writers, how much of the beauty and sublimity of material objects arise from the ideas and feelings which we have been taught to associate with them. The impression produced on the external senses of a poet, by the most striking scene in nature, is precisely the same with what is produced on the senses of a peasant or a tradesman : yet how different is the degree of pleasure resulting from this impression! A great part of this difference is undoubtedly to be ascribed, to the ideas and feelings which the habitual studies and amusements of the poet have associated with his organical perceptions.

A similar observation may be applied to all the various objects of our pursuit in life. Hardly any one of them is appreciated by any two men in the same manner; and frequently what one man considers as essential to his happiness, is regarded with indifference or dislike by another. Of these differences of opinion, much is, no doubt, to be ascribed to a diversity of constitution, which renders a particular employment of the intellectual or active powers agreeable to one man, which is not equally so to another. But much is also to be ascribed to the effect of association ; which, prior to any experience of human life, connects pleasing ideas and pleasing feelings with different objects, in the minds of different persons.

In consequence of these associations, every man appears to his neighbour to pursue the object of his wishes, with a zeal disproportioned to its intrinsic value; and the philosopher (whose principal enjoyment arises from fpeculation) is frequently apt to smile at the ardour with which the active part of mankind pursue, what appear to him to be mere fhadows. The view of hu. man affairs, some writers have carried so far, as to represent life as a scene of mere illusions, where the mind refers to the objects around it, a colouring which exists only in itself; and where, as the Poet expresses it,

-“ Opinion gilds with varying rays,
u Those painted clouds which beautify our days."

It may be questioned, if these representations of hu. man life be useful or just. That the casual associations which the mind forms in childhood, and in early youth, are frequently a source of inconvenience and of misconduct, is sufficiently obvious; but that this tendency of our nature increases, on the whole, the sumof human enjoyment, appears to me to be indisputable ; and the instances in which it misleads us from our duty and our happiness, only prove, to what important ends it might be fubfervient, if it were kept under proper regulation.

Nor do these representations of life (admitting them in their full extent) justify the practical inferences which have been often deduced from them, with respect to the vanity of our pursuits. In every case, indeed, in which our enjoyment depends upon association, it may be said, in one sense, that it arises from the mind itself; but it does not therefore follow, that the external object which custom has rendered the cause or the occasion

of

of agreeable emotions, is indifferent to our happiness. The effect which the beauties of nature produce on the mind of the poet, is wonderfully heightened by association ; but his enjoyment is not, on that account, the less exquisite: nor are the objects of his admiration of the less value to his happiness, that they derive their principal charms from the embellishments of his fancy.

It is the business of education, not to counteract, in any instance, the established laws of our constitution, but to direct them to their proper purposes. That the influence of early associations on the mind might be employed, in the most effectual manner, to aid our moral principles, appears evidently from the effects which we daily see it produce, in reconciling men to a course of action which their reason forces them to condemn; and it is no less obvious that, by means of it, the happiness of human life might be increased, and its pains diminished, if the agreeable ideas and feelings which children are so apt to connect with events and with situations which depend on the caprice of fortune, were firmly associated in their apprehensions with the duties of their stations, with the pursuits of science, and with those beauties of nature which are open to all.

These obfervations coincide nearly with the ancient stoical doctrine concerning the influence of imagination* on morals ; a subject, on which many important remarks, (though expressed in a form different from that which modern philosophers have introduced, and, perhaps, not altogether so precise and accurate,) are to

* According to the use which I make of the words Imagination and Association, in this work, their effects are obviously diftinguish. able. I have thought it proper, however, to illustrate the difference between them a little more fully in Note [R].

be

be found in the Discourses of Epictetus, and in the Meditations of Antoninus *. This doctrine of the Stoical school, Dr. Akenside has in view in the fol. lowing passage :

Action treads the path “ In which Opinion says he follows good, “ Or flies from evil; and Opinion gives “ Report of good or evil, as the scene “ Was drawn by fancy, lovely or deform’d: “ Thus her report can never there be true, " Where fancy cheats the intellectual

eye “ With glaring colours and distorted lines. “ Is there a man, who at the sound of death u Sees ghaftly shapes of terror conjur'd up, 6 And black before him : nought but death-bed groans “ And fearful prayers, and plunging from the brink « Of light and being, down the gloomy air, 6 An unknown depth ? Alas! in such a mind, « If no bright forms of excellence attend “ The image of his country; nor the pomp u Of sacred senates, nor the guardian voice “ Of justice on her throne, nor aught that wakes “ The conscious bosom with a patriot’s flame : " Will not Opinion tell him, that to die, « Or stand the hazard, is a greater ill “ Than to betray his country? And in act « Will he not chuse to be a wretch and live? “ Here vice begins then t."

* See what Epictetus has remarked on the χρησις δια δεί φαντασιών. (Arrian, 1. i. c. 12.) “Oια αν πολλακις φαντασθης, τοιαυτη σου εσται η διανοια. βαπτεται γαρ υπο των φαντασιων η ψυχη. βαπτε αν Hitny, In ou EXELO, TWY TO18TW'Y COITO.TINY, &c. &c. Anton. I. v.

C. 16.

† Pleasures of Imagination, b. iii.

SECTION IV.

General Remarks on the Subjeats treated in the foregoing

Sections of this Chapter.

In perusing the foregoing Sections of this Chapter,

I am aware, that some of my readers may be apt to think that many of the observations which I have made, might easily be resolved into more general principles. I am also aware, that, to the followers of Dr. Hartley, a similar objection will occur against all the other parts of this work; and that it will appear to them the effect of inexcusable prejudice, that I should stop short fo frequently in the explanation of phenomena ; when he has accounted in fo fatisfactory a manner, by means of the association of ideas, for all the appearances which human nature exhibits.

To this objection, I shall not feel myself much in.. terested to reply, provided it be granted that my observations are candidly and accurately stated, so far as they reach. Supposing that in some cases I may have stopped short too soon, my speculations, although they may be censured as imperfect, cannot be considered as standing in opposition to the conclusions of more successful inquirers.

May I be allowed farther to observe, that such views of the human mind as are contained in this work, (even supposing the objection to be well

founded,)

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