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do with things which exist by constitution, but with things which must have always been, and never could have been otherwise than they are.
Mind is a contingent substance; a physic as truly as any form of matter,-a conditional existence. It cannot, therefore, admit of this kind of proof, and most preposterous is it to call for it. “It may seem," says Warburton, “perhaps, too much a paradox to say that long habit in this science incapacitates the mind for reasoning at large, and especially in the search of moral truth; and yet I believe that nothing is more certain. The object of geometry is demonstration; and its subject admits of it, and is almost the only one which doth. In this science, whatever is not demonstration is nothing, or at least below the sublime enquirer's regard. Probability, through its almost infinite degrees, from simple ignorance up absolute certainty, is the terra incognita of the geometer. And yet here it is that the great business of the human mind is carried on, the search and discovery of all the important truths which concern us as reasonable beings."
Consciousness and intuition form the basis of this department of knowledge. I exist. I think. Nothing can be more certified than the convictions which every man possesses of these facts. These are our postulates, it is true; but they are also our axioms. They are resolveable into what Dr. Campbell styles the common sense.” And surely, if these be not allowed, our organs of sensation, history, mathematical truth, can have no existence to us. Consciousness gives me as full assurance of what falls under its cognizance as demonstrative certitude itself. It is no feeble guide; it is our first and best. The region of mind is its province. We thus can pursue our research, not into its nexus and essence, for the substrata of all qualities are by the very shape of our being necessarily concealed from us; but into its capabilities, its workings, its transitions, its excitements. This will require a habit of abstraction, a patience of investigation, which all may not find easy to exercise. We cannot contrive a glass-hive within which the mental operations shall be made visible; nor the solar microscope, under which its most delicate anatomy shall become transparent. But
a no intolerable share of attention is necessary; and whatever is in this way devoted will be munificently repaid. This, so far, may be considered only an internal process, the knowledge by the individual of himself. But we have to deal with the human mind as pertaining to all human beings-individuated, a monad, in each. Yet, while appearing so widely and similarly, we may discourse of it as separable from consciousness, a common and external thing. It may be subjected to ordinary tests.
We may bring to bear upon it, experiment, classification, and induction. For what is education but a course of experiments upon the mind? I am afraid that this is so well known, that there are some who, with a wanton curiosity and an idle parade, vary to exhibit them. And we almost unwittingly classify minds. We lay them out in specimens and orders. We speak of them as judicious, acute, strong, susceptible, poetic, argumentative, sentimental, figurative, chaste. Nor can it be doubted that induction may here be as justly introduced. Our thoughts, feelings, elements of character, motives of conduct, are so many phænomena which may be ascertained, established, compared, systematised. The only theory that can live, is the plainest presentation and the closest copy of mental facts. The inductive principle must not be confined, then, to the limits of our own intellect; we must seek information in the self-sketched portraitures of other minds. We must scan those events which, as on a theatre, bring forth our nature in its undissembled reality. Our mind must be studied in its relation to universal mind. The one is only the alphabet, the other is the volume; but from the endless combinations of the one is the other filled.
The mind has been represented as consisting, or as possessed, of various powers; with eyes like Argus, with arms like Briareus. To descend from these classical marvels, it has been made to run as a centipede, and to open into countless instruments as a Sheffield knife. Others have conceived that these enumerations were too extensive; they have reinserted all these powers into far fewer, some even into one. They have given way respectively, conceding the sovereignty to survivors or
survivor, as the Curiatii and Horatii contended on the condition that the final victor should decide the right of Alba or Rome.
The most intelligible view which can be entertained of the intellectual operations is, that the mind, uncompounded, homogeneous, is found in certain states; that these may be confidently expected in certain circumstances and from particular excitements, answering to a known relation of what we call cause and effect. I am much inclined to think that our best writers meant no more when they spoke of powers. Reid and Stewart were not likely men to ascribe to the intellect any
idea of muscular energies and organic instruments. It is, however, the merit of Brown, that he adopted a more precise phraseology, although Hume's hypothesis, substituting antecedence and sequence, the relation of time, for cause and effect, the relation of influence, —so intricately mixed up with it- is not essential to it, and, in my apprehension, tends to confound it.
A distinction has been frequently taken between the intellectual and active faculties. To such distinction we cannot subscribe. The passions are set down by it as the inferior principles of our nature; a sort of lower house, drawing the bills and voting the supplies which the upper one can only pass and expend; and but admissible, by a peculiar courtesy, into the Painted Chamber of the imagination, to conference with their noble and approved good masters.
Only let it be understood that our present discussion does not embrace the animal appetites, but the passions of the human mind. Those appetites are to be known by the uneasy sensations which precede their indulgence, by their inconstancy, by their being soon sated, by the interval necessary to their return. Such are hunger and thirst, and whatever we crave in conjunction and sympathy with exclusively sentient beings. Higher instincts might be subjoined to these appetites; attachment to life, desire of pleasure, delight in feelings and displays of crescent power, parental love, the gregarious principle, the ambition of distinction, adherence to soil and locality, selfdefence. But these are not comprehended in the present plan ; though it is but just to admit that these higher instincts may be so ennobled and refined, that they shall expand and heighten into the purest charities and most distinguished virtues.
When we feel and cherish a passion for any thing, our mind is in a particular state; the same is true when the passion is against any thing. We desire, or we deprecate, that object, because we judge it good or evil. It is an unmingled intellectual act. They are the most immediate and vivid of our judgments, but are they not judgments still ? Are they not the choice of what seems best to us at the time? Are they not voluntary and independent? It may be answered, that they affect us differently from other judgments; that these powerful emotions are widely remote from the collected, and, in opposition to this opinion, from the dispassionate, exercise of the thinking principle. The reply I shall offer is threefold.
(1.) The difference arises from a dissimilarity in the exciting objects. Beauty in form, in excellence, in sentiment, affects us as the settlement of an abstract truth cannot do. A noble action, a splendid prize, will agitate the mind with a quick enjoyment which it cannot know in treating an indifferent and phlegmatic question. We have only to remember the disagreement between an aggravated insult and a mathematical position, to account for the disagreement between the feelings stimulated, the indignation aroused, at the one, and the imperturbable calmness with which we assent to the other. A stronger or weaker impression, a warmer or staider opinion, is due to reason which discriminates the diversity of things.
(2.) This inequality of judgment, proportioned as it is to the varied properties which it considers, has a special design
Our passions are intended to be prompt, decisive, influential ;-they are the main-springs of conduct. Our fixed principles, speaking philosophically, would be too inert and unstirring. The bark needs the gale, and not alone the helm. But how deplorable would it be if these incentives were not of the reason, if the passions were not judgments, if our acts were stimulated by principles unworthy of comparison with the
masterdom of thought and reflection in which we may gratefully exult!
(3.) There will be no difficulty, the end and final cause of our passions being established, in tracing back their descriptive intensity and vigour to the constitution and original biasses of our mind. We are made to think after peculiar laws and methods. The evidence of general truth all minds receive in the same manner; the evidence is adapted to all minds. The same rule which directs us to judge of some things as indifferent, disposes us to regard others as most attractive and momentous. It is but a matter, at best, of curious speculation whether the quadrature of the circle can be accomplished ; it is no very grave interest that most can take in the fact, that the asymptote of the hyperbola may eternally approach the curve of the hyperbola, and yet can never meet it. But bring me into circumstances of another kind, and my love is kindled, and my sensibility is thrilled, and my fear is raised, and my pity is wrung, and the genial current of my soul is swollen and accelerated. If it be the enquiry, Why these are stronger affections or states of the mind? It is a sufficient reply, that thus is it constituted.
No one can take a comprehensive view of the human intellect without investigating its passions. The word passion is conventionally used to denote anger, as affection is employed to describe love. But this must not be their meanings in our nomenclature. There may be a passion of complacency, and an affection of hatred. Nor must etymology be our guide. Passion would then signify suffering, passive susceptibility. We construe it as the more vehement conception and judgment of the soul. Cicero calls the passions, perturbationes.
Reid, perhaps, does not so greatly excel in his discussion of the passions as in the other portions of his masterly treatise. He seems to think that the term rather expresses a quality of ardency in the other particular affections which he has described, than any particular class of affections themselves. So far he is right in making passion an accident and adjunct; but then this accident and adjunct he considers as inconsistent with proper deliberation.