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of the art; but Euclid, will furnish examples of perfect and complete reasoning. The ablest physiologists have observed, that the study of the six books of Euclid, and the short treatise generally appended thereto on plain trigonometry, has been found to develope an entirely new faculty in the mind, and, to produce a corresponding expression of increased intelligence in the coun
The art of arranging and methodizing our ideas, is so essential to the condition of having ideas, that it seems a prodigious oversight in the business of education, that the prime attention of the teacher should not have been given to the perfecting of that art. Rhetoric, or the art of well-expressing ideas, which if they have not previously been well arranged, cannot be well expressed will be best studied in the imitation of correct and pure models of eloquence. But as the imitative faculty makes no discernment, and we as instantly catch impressions of what is erroneous or defective, as of what is good and excellent; we shall have need heedfully to avoid lending ourselves to the reading or hearing of what is idly and viciously composed. Could we but get rid of the impediment of having so much to unlearn and to forget, the progress of knowledge would be illimitable!
Perhaps the very best exercise for the improvement of our communicative talent, would be to witness the first performance of some new play, and then to make ourselves its historian: or to try to put into writing, an historical detail of any scene which we have witnessed in real life. And having thus, by diligent improvement exalted our faculty of perceiving and reporting truth-there remains but the duty-that is to say, the unspeakable happiness of a consistent exercise of it.
3rd-The recommendation of the exercise of this faculty, is as unnecessary to the persons possessed of it, as it would be impotent and vain, to persons wholly destitute of it. The artist's
practiced hand would really find a difficulty in erring from the line of beauty, It would cost an effort, to depart from that line; while no power of precept, nor influence of moral suasion, could enforce its observance on the rough, untutored fist of barbarous ignorance.
The sole business of our consistent exercise of this faculty, will consist in summoning our recollection of its nature, and of the gradual means, whereby we ourselves have in some degree attained to it, (supposing we have attained) to subdue the impatience with which we are too apt to witness the total absence of it, which every day forces upon our observance in other men.
We must keep our good temper, and retain our social and affectionate feelings towards men, who may seem as if they were never made to be historians. We must be willing to take every thing else from them, even when we cannot take their word. The shrewd exercise of this faculty will often command an extent of vision, and elicit truths which immediate witnesses and actors
By the skilful
in the scene, were wholly ignorant of. collation of fact with fact, or even of one false statement with another false statement; you will find Gibbon (who may justly be called the prince of historians, and whose Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, especially the 15th and 16th chapters of it, will well reward your labour for almost committing them to memory throughout) you will find him, discovering to you the real state of things, and better acquainted with the process of the drama, than any who lived at the times, or who acted in the scenes he has pourtrayed. So excellent an art, so wonderous is the faculty of discriminating truth. The most just and excellent proverb in vino veritas-that truth is in wine, which is because its exhilarating influence, quickens the generous motions of the heart and allows not the black and melancholy humours which generate religion, to continue in the circulation; is the last argument I shall adduce, because as it marks the point of junction between the physical and moral nature of man-'tis more than volumes to the foolish, 'tis a word to the wise, showing us the main secret of nature, that after all it is a good-natured, bland, and jovial temper, which Truth delights in and with which she dwells.
DELENDA EST CARTHAGO.
OF SHAFTSBURY'S "CHARACTERISTICS."
Continued from p. 800, Vol. III.
Therefore my chief interest, it seems, must be to get an aim; and know certainly where my happiness and advantage lies. "Where can it lie but with my pleasure, since my advantage and good can never but be pleasing; and what is pleasing, can never be other than my advantage and good? Excellent! Let fancy therefore govern, and interest be what we please. For if that which pleases us be our good, because it pleases us; any thing may be our interest or good. Nothing can come more amiss. That which we fondly make our happiness at one time, we may as readily unmake again at another. No one can learn what good is. Nor can any one on this footing be said to understand his interest."
Here, we see, are strange embroils! But let us try to deal more candidly with ourselves, and frankly own that pleasure is no rule of GOOD; since when we follow pleasure merely, we are disgusted, and change from one sort to another, condemning that
at one time which at another we earnestly approve; and never judging equally of happiness, whilst we follow passion and mere humour.
A lover, for instance, when struck with the idea or fancy of his enjoyment, promises himself the highest felicity, if he succeeds in his new amour. He succeeds in it; finds not the felicity he expected; but promises himself the same again in some other. The same thing happens; he is disappointed as before; but still has faith. Wearied with this game he quits the chace; renounces the way of courtship and intrigue, and detests the ceremony and difficulty of the pleasure. A new species of amour invites him. Here too he meets the same inquietude and inconstancy. Scorning to grow sottish, and plunge in the lowest sink of vice, he shakes off his intemperance, despises gluttony and riot, and hearkens to ambition. He grows a man of business, and seeks authority and fame.
Quo teneam vultus mutantem Protea nodo.
HOR. epist. I, lib. 1.
Lest this, therefore, should be my own case, let me see whether I can controul my fancy, and fix it, if possible, on something which may hold good. When I exercise my reason on moral subjects; when I employ my affection in friendly and social actions, I find I can at that time sincerely enjoy myself. If there be a pleasure therefore of this kind why not indulge in it? Or what harm would there be, supposing it should grow greater by indulgence? If I am lazy and indulge myself in the languid pleasure; I know the harm and can foresee the drone. If I am luxurious, I know the harm of this also, and have the plain prospect of the sot. If avarice be my pleasure; the end, I know, is being a miser. But, if honesty be my delight, I know no other consequence from indulging such a passion, than that of growing better natured, and enjoying more and more the pleasures of society. On the other hand, if this honest pleasure be lost, by knavish indulgence and immorality, there can hardly be a satisfaction left of any kind; since good nature and social affection is so essential even to the pleasures of a debauchee.
If therefore the only pleasure I can freely and without reserve indulge, be that of the honest and moral kind; if the rational and social enjoyments be so constant in itself, and so essential to happiness, why should I not bring my other pleasures to correspond and be friends with it, rather than raise myself other pleasures, which are destructive of this foundation, and have no relation with one another?
P. 315. The more eagerly we grasp at life, the more impotent we are in the enjoyment of it. By this avidity, its very lees and dregs are swallowed. The ideas of sordid pleasure are advanced. Worth, manhood, generosity, and all the nobler
opinions and sentiments of honest good, and virtuous pleasure, disappear, and fly before this queen of terrors.
It is a mighty delight, which a sort of counter-philosophers take in seconding this phantom, and playing her upon our understandings, whenever they would take occasion to confound
Who would not willingly make life to pass as quickly as was possible; when the nobler pleasures of it were already lost or corrupted by a wretched fear of death? The intense selfishness and meanness which accompanies this fear, must reduce us to a low ebb of enjoyment, and in a manner bring to nothing that main sum of satisfactory sensations, by which we vulgarly rate the happiness of our private state and fortune.
But see! A lovely form advances to our assistance, introduced by the prime muse, the beauteous Calliope! She shows us what real beauty is, and what those numbers are, which make life perfect, and bestow the chief enjoyment. She sets virtue before our eyes, and teaches us how to rate life, from the experience of the most heroic spirits. She brings her sisters, Clio and Urania, to support her. From the former she borrows whatever is memorable in history, and ancient times, to confront the tragic spectre, and show the fixed contempt which the happiest and freest nations, as well as single heroes, and private men worthy of any note, have ever expressed for that impostor. From the latter she borrows what is sublimest in philosophy, to explain the laws of nature, the order of the universe, and represent to us the justice of accompanying this amiable administration. She shows us that by this just compliance we are made happiest; and that the measure of a happy life is not from the fewer or more suns which we behold, the fewer or more breaths we draw, or meals which we repeat; but from the having once lived well, acted our part handsomely, and made our exit cheerfully, and as became us.
P. 318. See! The enchantress Indolence presents herself, in all the pomp of ease and lazy luxury. She promises the sweetest life, and invites to her pillow; enjoins us to expose ourselves to no adventurous attempt, and forbids us any engagement which may bring us into action. "Where, then, are the pleasures which ambition promises and love affords? How is the gay world enjoyed? Or are those to be esteemed no pleasures, which are lost by dullness and inaction? But indolence is the highest pleasure. To live and not to feel! To feel no trouble. What good then?-Life itself.-And is this properly to live? Is sleeping, life? Is this what I should study to prolong?" Here the fantastic tribe itself seems scandalized. A civil war begins. The major part of the capacious dames range themselves on reason's side and declare against the languid syren. Ambition blushes at the offered sweet. Conceit and Vanity take superior airs. Even Luxury herself, in her polite and elegant
humour, reproves the apostate-sister, and marks her as an alien to true pleasure. "Away, thou drowsy phantom! Haunt me no more. For I have learned from better than thy sisterhood, that life and happiness consist in action and enjoyment."
P. 322. This indeed is but too certain; that as long as we enjoy a mind; as long as we have appetites and sense, fancies of all kinds will be hard at work; and whether we are in company, or alone, they must range still and be active. They must have their field. The question is, whether they shall have it wholly to themselves, or whether they shall have some controuler or manager. If none; it is this, I fear, that leads to madness. It is this and nothing else, that can be called madness or loss of reason.
Every man indeed who is not absolutely beside himself, must of necessity hold his fancies under some kind of discipline and management. The stricter this discipline is, the more the man is rational and in his wits. The looser it is, the more fantastical he must be, and the nearer to the madman's state. This is a business which can never stand still. I must always be winner or loser at the game. Either I work upon my fancies, or they on me. If I give quarter they will not. There can be no truce, no suspension of arms between us. The one or the other must be superior, and have the command. For if the fancies are left to themselves, the government must, of course be theirs. And then, what difference between such a state and madness.
"Of antres vast, and desarts wild,
And of the cannibals that each other eat!
The Anthropophagi! and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These to hear
It is certain there is a very great affinity between the passion of superstition, and that of tales. The love of strange narrations, and the ardent appetite towards unnatural objects, has a near alliance with the like appetite towards the supernatural, such as are called prodigious, and of dire omen. For so the mind forebodes, on every sight or hearing of this kind. Fate, destiny, or the anger of heaven, seems denoted, and as it were delineated by the monstrous birth, the horrid fact, or dire event. For this reason the very persons of such relaters or tale-tellers, with a small help of dismal habit, suitable countenance and tone, become sacred and tremendous in the eyes of mortals, who are thús addicted from their youth. The tender virgins, losing their natural softness, assume this tragic passion, of which they are highly susceptible, especially when a suitable kind of eloquence and action attend the character of the narrator. A thousand Desdemonas are then ready to present themselves, and would