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imagination are supplied by the senses ; and the geni: eral truths which occupy the philosopher, would be wholly unintelligible to him, if he was a total stranger to all experience with respect to the course of nature and of human life. The obfervations, indeed, which are made by men of a warm imagination, are likely to be inaccurate and fallacious ; and those of the speculative philosopher are frequently carried no farther than is necessary to enable him to comprehend the terms which relate to the subjects of his reasoning ; but both the one and the other must have looked abroad occasionally at nature, and at the world ; if not to ascertain facts by actual examination, at least to store their minds with ideas.
The metaphysician, whose attention is directed to the faculties and operations of the mind, is the only man who poffeffes within himself the materials of his speculations and reasonings. It is accordingly among this class of literary men, that habits of inat. tention to things external have been carried to the greatest extreme.
It is observed by Dr. Reid, that the power of reflection, (by which he means the power of attending to the subjects of our conciousness,) is the last of our intellectual faculties which unfolds itself; and that in the greater part of mankind it never unfolds itself at all. It is a power, indeed, which being subservient merely to the gratification of metaphysical curiosity, it is not essentially necessary for us to poffefs, in any considerable degree. The power of observation, on the other hand, which is necessary for the preservation even of our animal existence, discovers itself in infants long before they attain the use of speech ; or rather, I should have said, as soon as they come into the world : and where nature is allowed free scope, it continues active and vigorous through life. It was plainly the intention of nature, that in infancy and youth it should occupy the mind almost exclu.
sively, and that we should acquire all our necessary information before engaging in fpeculations which are less essential : and accordingly this is the history of the intellectual progress, in by far the greater number of individuals. In consequence of this, the difficulty of metaphysical researches is undoubtedly much increased ; for the mind being constantly occupied in the earlier part of life about the properties and laws of inatter, acquires habits of inatten. tion to the subjects of consciousness, which are not to be surmounted, without a degree of patience and perseverance of which few men are capable : but the inconvenience would evidently have been greatly increased, if the order of nature had, ir this respect, been reversed, and if the curiosity had been excited at as early a period, by the phenomena of the intellectual world, as by those of the material. Of what would have happened on this supposition, we may form a judgment from those men who, in confequence of an excessive indulgence in metaphysical pursuits, have weakened, to an unnatural degree, their capacity of attending to external objects and occurrences. Few metaphysicians, perhaps, are to be found, who are not deficient in the power of observation : for, although a taste for such abstract fpeculations is far from being common, it is more apt, perhaps, than any other, when it has once been formed, to take an exclusive hold of the mind, and to shut up the other sources of intellectual improve.
As the metaphysician carries within himself the materials of his reatoning, he is not under a necefsity of looking abroad for subjects of speculation or amusement ; and unless he be very careful to guard against the effects of his favorite pursuits, he is in inore danger than literary men of any other denomination, to lose all interest about the common and proper objects of human curiosity.
To prevent any danger from this quarter, I apprehend that the study of the mind should form the last branch of the education of youth ; an order which nature herself feems to point out, by what I have already remarked, with respect to the developement of our faculties. After the understanding is well ftored with particular facts, and has been converfant with particular scientific pursuits, it will be enabled to fpeculate concerning its own powers with additional advantage, and will run no hazard of indulging too far in such inquiries. Nothing can be more absurd, on this as well as on many other accounts, than the common practice which is followed in our universities, of beginning a course of philofophical education with the study of logic. If this order were completely reversed ; and if the study of logic were delayed till after the mind of the student was well stored with particular facts in physics, in chemistry, in natural and civil history ; his attention might be led with the most important advantage, and without any danger to his power of observation, to an examination of his own faculties; which, be. fides opening to him a new and pleasing field of speculation, would enable him to form an estimate of his own powers, of the acquisitions he has made, of the habits he has fornied, and of the farther ima provements of which his mind is susceptible.
In general, wherever habits of inattention, and an incapacity of obfervation, are very remarkable, they will be found to have arisen from fome defect in ear. ly education. I already remarked, that, when nature is allowed free scope, the curiosity, during early youth, is alive to every external object, and to every external occurrence, while the powers of imagination and reflection do not display themselves till a much later period ; the former till about the age of puberty, and the latter till we approach to manhood. It sometimes, however, happens that, in consequence of a peculiar disposition of mind, or of an infirm bodily conftitution, a child is led to seek amusement from books, and to lose a relish for those recreations which are suited to his age. In such instances, the ordinary progress of the intellectual powers is prematurely quickened ; but that best of all educations is loft, which nature has prepared both for the philosopher and the man of the world, amidst the active sports and the hazardous adventures of childhood. It is from these alone, that we can acquire, not only that force of character which is suited to the more arduous situations of life, but that complete and prompt command of attention to things external, without which the higheft endowments of the understanding, however they may fit a man for the folitary speculations of the closet, are but of little use in the practice of affairs, or for enabling him to profit by his personal experience.
Where, however, such habits of inattention have unfortunately been contracted, we ought not to deIpair of them as perfectly incurable. The attention, indeed, as I formerly remarked, can seldom be forced in particular instances; but we may gradually learn to place the objects we wish to attend to, in lights more interesting than those in which we have been accustomed to view them. Much may be expected from a change of scene, and a change of pursuits ; but above all, much may be expected from foreign travel. The objects which we meet with excite our surprise by their novelty ; and in this manner we not only gradually acquire the power of observing and examining them with attention, but, from the effects of contrast, the curiosity comes to be roused with respect to the corresponding objects in our own country, which, from our early familiarity with them, we had formerly been accustomed to overlook. In this respect the effects of foreign travel, in direct
ing the attention to familiar objects and occurrences, is somewhat analogous to that which the study of a dead or a foreign language produces, in leading the curiosity to examine the grammatical structure of our
Considerable advantage may also be derived, in overcoming the habits of inattention, which we may have contracted to particular subjects, from studying the systems, true or false, which philosophers have proposed for explaining or for arranging the facts connected with them. By means of these systems, not only is the curiosity circumscribed and directed, instead of being allowed to wander at random, but, in consequence of our being enabled to connect facts vith general principles, it becomes interested in the examination of those particulars which would otherwise have escaped our notice.
Of the Connection between Memory and philosophical
IT is commonly supposed, that genius is seldom united with a very tenacious memory.' So far, however, as my own observation has reached, I can scarcely recollect one person who pofsefses the former of these qualities, without a more than ordinary Share of the latter.
On a fuperficial view of the subject, indeed, the common opinion has some appearance of truth; for, we are naturally led, in confequence of the topics about which conversation is usually employed, to eftimate the extent of memory, by the impression which trivial occurrences make upon it; and these in general escape the recollection of a man of ability, not because he is unable to retain them, but because