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understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength; and to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
It is deeply to be lamented that the aids and decorations of Poetry, Eloquence, Painting, Sculpture, Music, have been given to the celebration of the passions in their fiercer mool. The
rage of Achilles, the romance of Alexander, the eagle-flight of Cæsar, too often inspire emulation rather than instil, by contrast and warning, into the youthful mind better counsels and purer feelings. The Bard loves the heavings of the darker emotion, the lay thus grows stirring, the song swells more mightily upon the heart. He is surrounded with an atmosphere of excitement; and this is what he wants. He is mosi bold when the heaven and the earth seem mingled in strife and tempest, his courage and mastery rise when the storm is loudest, he seizes the pine-branch new-kindled by the lightning to thread his way,-his lyre rings with each blast,--and he strides the genius of the uproar he has wooed and created ! Yet, were the poet permitted to read his future fame, he would foresee that it was not the terrible which ensured it, but the sylvan painting and the domestic hymn. The natural lives, because nature lives. The tender affects, because nature is tender. So many an episode survives, when the surrounding poem perishies.
All of our happiness and usefulness (for the influence of contingent circumstances is comparatively slender) must depend upon our accurate judgment of things. This must be our protection. It is only by guaging the objects and interests around us, that we can learn to feel properly towards them. I do not think it is just to say, if we must distinguish between judgment and passion, that our passion affects our judgment, but that our judgment regulates our passion. It is this illusory view, this false estimate, which stimulates us to grasp the shadow and embrace the air!
It is a fearful speculation with which we regard the outset of the course which man is formed to run.
Upon the discipline of these affections how much depends! They shall lift him to greatness, or burl him to shame! Who has not felt delight in watching the gentle current when newly welling from its little and almost hidden source ? How clear and undisturbed it flows! Its sound cannot reach the ear. It but just glances to meet the eye. Noi a sedge delays it. Not a pebble chafes it. The track begins to wind. The stream quickly augments. The gliding waters brighten with sunbeams, and play among margins of sweet flowers. But it is now too large not to be resisted. It foams upon the shelving rock. It thunders from the sudden precipice. It whirls into eddy. It sweeps into rapid. Ki is soon darkened and defiled by taint. It rolls a mud-tide. Its pellucid aspect and healthy crystal are destroyed. It is hurried amidst bars of sand and banks of come into the breakers of the ocean. It may be, however, that the gentle current shall steal more quietly, shall run more smoothly, shall retain its purity, shall glass each landscape at its side, shall spread a verdure and fertility whithersoever ii strays, shall at last form the lake of peace and beauty, shall lave the lovely islet, shall fill the bays of the indented strand, shall reflect the fair woodlands and gardens which overhang it, shall waft the fragrance of the berbs which fringe it, shall expand into a surface glittering under perpetual radiance and pulsing with perpetual music and reposing in perpetual calm !
Go to! I cry you mercy! The figure is extravagantly lengthened out !—It is not a figure! It is an Allegory,—an Allegory of the passions ! An Allegory has a meaning,—may each of us understand it !-and also a moral,-may each of us apply it!
ON PERSONAL IDENTITY.
PERSONAL IDENTITY constitutes a problem to the thinking : to the unreflecting it is arrant truism. Circumstances form the detached leaves of our history: this stamps the narrative consistent and unique. Some feel, however, that the tale is broken and incoherent as the Sibylline Books.
Books. What distaff can wind a thread of such continuity ? What hand, bending first the mighty bow, can aim the arrow through the disparted rings ?
Certain identities belong to constituted nature. Genera and species retain their arrangement. Processes are multiplied with an uniformity which gives them improperly the name of laws, though they are but the operations of unknown laws. “Nature's copy is eterne.” Human conduct presents the same counterparts,-and the vicissitudes of our history, however striking, the alternations of our character, however violent, obey some great assimilating rule. The pendulum, though agitated, describes but a given arc !
6. There is a history in all men's lives
Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd :
How any kind of identity can be preserved in a world of incessant change is, indeed, a curious enquiry. If we look into the vegetable kingdom, we may feel it difficult to show how the tree, forming its new barks, its enlarging roots, its widening branches, is in any sense the same with its seed-plant If we look into the animal kingdom, we may feel it difficult to show how the butterfly is, in any manner, the same with the nymph and the caterpillar. Yet that tree has never been another, a certain oneness has from the first stage of its life belonged to it, it has been itself throughout its growth. Yet the winged and the beautiful insect, though unlike the original reptile, has, throughout its metamorphosis, maintained a continuous being,—the chrysalis constituting a part of it as necessarily as the creeping and the fluttering form.
* Shakspeare.--Henry IV.
The thesis evidently confines itself to the identity of man,his identity through all variety of scene and course. I cannot define what is meant by self. I can say what it is not. Each man is, what no other man can be. We involuntarily conceive the distinction. No man can ask a question upon it for the sake of information.
In the case of Joseph, the subject of the mosi charming history ever written, this fact is happily illustrated ; addressing his brethren, he breaks into this touching appeal : “And behold your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you." And I would allude to the confession of the blind man who had washed in Siloam : “ The neighbours said, Is not this he that sat and begged ? Some said, This is he; others said, He is like him; but he said, I am he.”
All existence seems to involve, of necessity, the idea of unity. At least what we call the living self is indivisible. Leibnitz in this connection employs his favourite term with good effect: the word monad is most appropriate to the human mind. When we use the term unity in the abstract, we may divide it,-as we speak of fractional numbers. Of one, may conceive ten thousand parts. But when referred to mental substance, unity implies the inalienable, the inseparable ; without any thought of parts, or possible division of elements. We, therefore, call man an individual ; whatever is composed of parts may be divided, but man is individual : absolute unity is therefore his. We intend it in the strictest sense.
Hor: Lib. i. Sat, 3.