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ritual beings, and extending the interests of this globe- of this life to the universe, and to eternity. It seems only necessary to compare the manner in which the two opposite systems, the material, and the spiritual or ideal one, or even the common system combined of the two, have been received in the world, to infer that the spiritual one is congenial and acceptable to the mind, as the other is unsuitable and repulsive. Men of the highest reach of genius, of the quickest mental perception, most sound judgment and scrutinizing intellect, have opposed the purely material system; that is, that the mind is the result of organisation, and that all is material. Mankind, in general, have had it in abhorrence ; it has never been maintained earnestly, excepting by mere tyros in science, or long excepting by a few solitary individuals, much in the manner of a paradox, and on a footing somewhat similar to that of the hypothesis that vice is profitable and beneficial to a state, and deserving, for its own sake, of encouragement. Is the soul ever warmed or kindled by the cold doctrines of materialism? When we read or hear them announced, is there ever involuntary assent given, and approval ? This, at least, is a test of their unsuitableness to our natures. They are rejected almost instinctively by every generous mind, very much like the paradoxical notion of the beauty and utility of vice. But reverse the experiment; try the other doctrine, inculcating the spiritual essence and immortal being of man, and affections of a responsive kind will be roused in the soul; to use a beautiful expression of Bishop Berkeley's, “ like the tremblings of one lute, upon striking the unison strings of another.”
The total neglect, of late years, of metaphysical studies, or the peculiar direction which they have taken, when they have been at all followed, in our own country, has, I apprehend, more than anything else, favoured the germination of the system of materialism, and especially the appeals which have been made to common sense (vulgar sense), and the perplexed speculations which have been intemperately engaged in respecting causation. Re. flecting on the apparently unprofitable nature of metaphysical pursuits, - how they have encouraged paradoxes, how they have shaken ordinary belief, and have led from the ordinary ways of thought and judgment, and have tended to introduce scepticism and infidelity, it is not surprising that a distaste of them should have been acquired; and that active minds, throwing them aside, should have preferred physical pursuits, the results of which are certain, always interesting, and often useful. And being devoted to the contemplation of natural phenomena, neither is it surprising that they should forget, for a while, mind, or be disposed, at first, to consider mind in the same relations as they have been accustomed to consider matter — merely an assemblage of properties belonging to peculiar organisation. Thus showing that physical pursuits, exclusively followed, may lead, by an opposite road, to a conclusion as repulsive to our best feelings as the most vague and unsatisfactory metaphysical speculations; and proving that both may be abused, and that they are never more liable to abuse that when separated. Without metaphysical inquiry we must remain ignorant of our own powers of mind, and the boundaries of human knowledge; without physical investigation we must be almost as much without the elements of thought as of power over the elements. Conjoined, they mutually assist each other, and correct each other's wayward tendencies : the one gives wings, as it were, to the faculties, and the other weight, and regulates their noblest exertion; and they together enable the mind to attain the greatest elevation possible. At the same time, when at this exalted height, by opening the unbounded scene of the universe, and giving an impressive view of the mysteries of nature, they excite a feeling of humility in regard to self, of wonder and admiration in regard to the Eternal Mind, and thus conduce to faith in the mysteries of a system of religion whose plan is divine, and its object the salvation of man.
I shall close this chapter with a little poem, which, I believe, was written during this period of my brother's life. It displays the same habitual cast of thought as the preceding extracts in prose, and the same sentiments relative to the spiritual nature of man and his destinies:
“ The massy pillars of the earth,
The inert rocks, the solid stones,
• Which are to Nature lifeless bones,
And every atom, measured, weigh’d,
Or in the fertile furrow laid.
Fall in the noonday bright and clear,
Or waken freshness in the air :
Which from the farthest star descends,
Its course by worlds attracted bends,
" To reach the earth; the eternal laws
· Preserve one glorious wise design ; Order amidst confusion flows,
And all the system is divine.
“ If matter cannot be destroy'd,
The living mind can never die; If e'en creative when alloy'd,
How sure its immortality!
“ Then think that intellectual light
Thou loved'st on earth is burning still, Its lustre purer and more bright,
Obscured no more by mortal will.
“ All things most glorious on the earth,
Tho' transient and short-lived they seem, Have yet a source of heavenly birth
Immortal,- not a fleeting dream.
“ The lovely changeful light of even,
The fading gleams of morning skies,
From the eternal sun arise.”
HIS SECOND. JOURNEY ON THE CONTINENT. —NOTICES RESPECTING IT. —
OBSERVATIONS ON THE FORMATION OF MISTS. — EXTRACTS FROM HIS JOURNAL OF AN EXCURSION INTO THE TYROL. VERSES WRITTEN AT THE BATHS OF LUCCA. - EXPERIMENTS ON UNROLLING THE HERCULANEUM MSS. — FRAGMENT OF A DIALOGUE DESCRIPTIVE OF AN ERUPTION OF VESUVIUS. HIS RESEARCHES AT VESUVIUS. - OPINION CONCERNING THE NATURE OF VOLCANIC ACTION. — NOTICE OF SIR JOSEPH BANKS, WHOM HE SUCCEEDS AS PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY.-PARTICULARS OF HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THIS APPOINTMENT. — OBSERVATIONS ON THE OFFICE.
On the 26th May my brother quitted England, on his second Continental journey: he passed through Austrian Flanders into Germany, descended the Danube from Ratisbon, and arrived in Vienna about the 13th June. His progress thus far, as well as a short excursion into Hungary, is briefly noticed in the fol. lowing letter :
“ Vienna, 26th June. “ MY DEAR MOTHER, : “ We made a very prosperous journey here, and have had delightful weather.
- In Flanders I had the satisfaction of knowing that I have saved the lives of many miners by my lamp of safety.
“ We shall remain in the Austrian States a few weeks longer, and then go to Italy. Pray desire my sisters to address a few lines to me, poste restante, Venice.