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lications, and repair to places of fashionable amusement and resort; partly that we may at least be upon a par with the majority of the persons we are likely to meet. But many do not thus prepare themselves, nor does perhaps any one upon all occasions.

There is another state of human existence in which we expressly dismiss from our hands the reins of the mind, and suffer our minutes and our hours to glide by us undisciplined and at random. This is, generally speaking, the case in a period of sickness. We have no longer the courage to be on the alert, and to superintend the march of our thoughts. It is the same with us for the most part when at any time we lie awake in our beds. To speak from my own experience, I am in a restless and uneasy state while I am alone in my sittingroom, unless I have some occupation of my own choice, writing or reading, or any of those employments the pursuit of which was chosen at first, and which is more or less under the direction of the will afterwards. But when awake in my bed, either in health or sickness, I am reasonably content to let my thoughts flow on agreeably to those laws of association by which I find them directed, without giving myself the trouble to direct them into one channel rather than another, or to marshal and actively to prescribe the various turns and mutations they may be impelled to pursue.

It is thus that we are sick; and it is thus that we

die. The man that guides the operations of his own mind, is either to a certain degree in bodily health, or in that health of mind which shall for a longer or shorter time stand forward as the substitute of the health of the body. When we die, we give up the game, and are not disposed to contend any further. It is a very usual thing to talk of the struggles of a man in articulo mortis. But this is probably, like so many other things that occur to us in this sublunary stage, a delusion. The bystander mistakes for a spontaneous contention and unwillingness to die, what is in reality nothing more than an involuntary contraction and convulsion of the nerves, to which the mind is no party, and is even very probably unconscious.—But enough of this, the final and most humiliating state through which mortal men may be called on to pass.

I find then in the history of almost every human creature four different states or modes of existence. First, there is sleep. In the strongest degree of contrast to this there is the frame in which we find ourselves, when we write, or invent and steadily pursue a consecutive train of thinking unattended with the implements of writing, or read in some book of science or otherwise which calls upon us for a fixed attention, or address ourselves to a smaller or greater audience, or are engaged in animated conversation. In each of these occupations the mind may emphatically be said to be on the alert.

But there are further two distinct states or kinds of mental indolence. The first is that which we frequently experience during a walk or any other species of bodily exercise, where, when the whole is at an end, we scarcely recollect any thing in which the mind has been employed, but have been in what I may call a healthful torpor, where our limbs have been sufficiently in action to continue our exercise, we have felt the fresh breeze playing on our cheeks, and have been in other respects in a frame of no unpleasing neutrality. This may be supposed greatly to contribute to our bodily health. It is the holiday of the faculties : and, as the bow, when it has been for a considerable time unbent, is said to recover its elasticity, so the mind, after a holiday of this sort, comes fresh, and with an increased alacrity, to those occupations which advance man most highly in the scale of being.

But there is a second state of mental indolence, not so complete as this, but which is still indolence, inasmuch as in it the mind is passive, and does not assume the reins of empire. Such is the state in which we are during our sleepless hours in bed ; and in this state our ideas, and the topics that successively occur, appear to go forward without remission, while it seems that it is this busy condition of the mind, and the involuntary activity of our thoughts, that prevent us from sleeping.

The distinction then between these two sorts of indolence is that in the latter our ideas are perfectly distinct, are attended with consciousness, and can, as we please, be called up to recollection. This therefore is not what we understand by reverie, In these waking hours which are spent by us in bed, the mind is no less busy, than it is in sleep during a dream. The other and more perfect sort of mental indolence, is that which we often experience during our exercise in the open air. This is of the same nature as the condition of thought which seems to be the necessary precursor of sleep, and is attended with no precise consciousness.

By the whole of the above statement we are led to a new and a modified estimate of the duration of human life.

If by life we understand mere susceptibility, a state of existence in which we are accessible at any moment to the onset of sensation, for example, of pain—in this sense our life is commensurate, or nearly commensurate, to the entire period, from the quickening of the child in the womb, to the minute at which sense deserts the dying man, and his body becomes an inanimate mass. But life, in the emphatical sense, and par

excellence, is reduced to much narrower limits. From this species of life it is unavoidable that we should strike off the whole of the interval that is spent in sleep; and thus, as a general rule, the natural day of twenty-four hours is immediately reduced to sixteen.

Of these sixteen hours again, there is a portion that falls under the direction of will and attention, and a portion that is passed by us in a state of mental indolence. By the ordinary and least cultivated class of mankind, the husbandman, the manufacturer, the soldier, the sailor, and the main body of the female sex, much the greater part of every day is resigned to a state of mental indolence. The will does not actively interfere, and the attention is not roused. Even the most intellectual beings of our species pass no inconsiderable portion of every day in a similar condition. Such is our state for the most part during the time that is given to bodily exercise, and during the time in which we read books of amusement merely, or are employed in witnessing public shews and exhibitions.

That portion of every day of our existence which is occupied by us with a mind attentive and on the alert, I would call life in a transcendant sense. The rest is scarcely better than a state of vegetation.

And yet not so either. The happiest and most valuable thoughts of the human mind will sometimes come when they are least sought for, and we least anticipated any such thing. In reading a romance, in witnessing a performance at a theatre, in our idlest and most sportive moods, a vein in the soil of intellect will sometimes unexpectedly be broken

“ richer than all the tribe” of contemporaneous thoughts, that shall raise him to whom it occurs, to a rank among his species altogether different from any thing he had looked for. Newton


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