« AnteriorContinuar »
arts may be very delightful to an en, Where skill is of a masterly kind, lightened mind, not for itself, but what it proceeds from great powers given itis combined with. When very difficult by nature, and only consummated by dancing, for example, is very graceful art-and therefore let it no more be and expressive, there must be great joy said, when Michael Angelo paints in in perceiving, that the long and pain- the size of a hat a corse that seems six ful labour by which the difficulty has foet long, that it is merely a trick of been overcome has not killed the soul painting. It may be a sport of painting, of dancing in the dancer, but that her but full surely there is power there. delight in grace and natural feeling on the whole, may it be received, have carried her triumphantly through that skill, though offensive, when her severe discipline, and so entirely other things are sacrificed to it, is in subjected her art to her nature, that itself admirable and when in subjec. there is no trace in her motions of the tion to passion, extremely admirable? effort by which they were acquired - The knowledge of perfect Form is a but they might seem to be inspira- fit subject of much admiration-betions. Something of the same sort cause it implies a long course of noble is the pleasure which perfect skill studies-- which studies derive their gives, when unostentatiously used, as nobility from the nobleness of Form indicating greatness of mind. Skill itself-which brings us to the great merely can only be delightful by question, what is the real value of that illusion, of its seeming in its per- buauty: to what degree is it law. fection to be really an endowment ful that beautiful flesh should have of power from nature. But the fact power over the eyes of spirit and inis, it is no illusion---but a truth. tellect?
CORRECTION OF HUME'S DOCTRINE OF ASSOCIATION. Mr Hume, enumerating the chief the course of the operation of moral heads of Relation, considers the rela- powers, and the connected sequence tion of cause and effect as that which of phenomena, of which he had served connects together the successive events as the instrumental cause. But there and actions of a man's life, or of a is no man whose mind is so severed nation's history. We can see but one from all its natural tendencies that he principle of Unity to the events, acts, can look upon any individual of his changes, incidents of a man's life, and species in this manner. Let any one that is bimself; but one principle of ask himself by what tie it is that the Unity, to the same things in a na. events, incidents, and acts of the life tion's history, and that is our conception of another are connected in his own of the nation as a collective whole. It mind. He will quickly be aware that is true that the relation of causation there is a very different principle of mixes much in the series that is thus their union. There is not a stronger united. The man's character causes principle governing our thoughts than his actions, his actions affect his cha. this which makes individual man himracter, and thus influence again in self the conspicuous object of our redirectly his further actions. Besides, gard, and makes that which belongs to the events of his life have in them. him or befalls him important in our selves a succession of their own. One eyes, because it does belong to or has brings on another, in an endless chain befallen him. Take away the man, of causation from the beginning to the and leave merely the connected series end of his life. This is indisputable. of events, and we trow they would It shows, what may be often remarked not long remain together in our knowelsewhere, that the same series of ob- ledge ; but replace the man, whom jects may be united together to the we have loved or whom we merely mind under different views of connex. familiarly know, and what throngs of ion. If we could look on individual incidents, what innumerable recolleoman merely as a subject of philoso- tions, which have no other interest, no phical speculation, we might see in other tie in our mind, at once gather him only the subject round which a about him, and invest him to our imaseries of causes and effects were wound, gination with his own history! The and forget himself in investigating chain of causation subsists indeed to a wonderful extent, but we are not the vidual, it is evidently this, that they observers that are able to trace it. The all regard one object; it is in the man greater part of mankind knit their himself that they are all united, and thoughts of their fellows together by he is the bond of their connexion to our no such connexions. A principle so imagination. Thus when we think of abstract can extend through no long the great series of great actions which series of their thoughts. But give constitutes the history of Julius Casar them the man himself to remember their order in time is not the chief his life by, and you enchain indissolu- bond of their association. But they bly the train of its events from the are all associated round the image of cradle to the present hour. Even to that matchless warrior and statesman; those of highest and most cultivated and we think at once, in one wide mind, there is not much difference in complex emotion, of all his being, from this respect. The strong bondo of the hour he first appears before us, a human nature is upon them all ; and restless candidate for the lower office if philosophy had never undertaken to of the state, till, in the fulness of his explain on what ground we associate power, the brightness of his glory, and together the recollections that concern the darkness of his guilt, he breathes a brother or a friend, we could never out his mighty spirit at the base of have been much at a loss to discover Pompey's statue. This personal referit for ourselves.
ence is as evidently the tie that likeWe just now observed, that this wise binds together all the events of series of causes and effects which is the man's own life in whose memory in fact so deeply involved in the they are connected. And thus for history of every human being, is in himself, and for the life of every hupart discernible by us, and mixes man being in whose fate or fortune he in that union of our thoughts which is in any way interested, this personal is collected upon the individual. Need reference which alone gave unity to we intimate how much our strong af- the events as they befell, gives them fections concur to establish these as- their proper unity to memory. It sociations ? The incidents that would gives them their proper historical soon be forgotten of another are long bond of unity. remembered of those in whom every How much of all the history of little occurrence has part in the inter- mankind is already exhausted under est of our hearts. What we have now this class of associations will be apsaid of individuals we should have to re- parent to every one who remembers peat of nations. There is a mighty series how small that portion of history is of events strongly bound together that which is independent of the names flows down the history of every peo- of distinguished individual actors. ple, a great series of causes and effects. But the same principle extended will The knowledge of these is the Under- at once comprehend all history. Re. standing of the Philosophy of His collect the history of any nation, tory; but we are warranted in asserts and consider what is the real bond of ing that this philosophical understand association to your own mind among ing, and this philosophical interest, the events which regard it. There are not the ground on which the events can be no doubt as to the answer. It that compose the history of a people is this simply, that they do regard it. are collected in our Imagination. We Athens and Sparta give unity to the love and admire the high characters events of their own history, as every of those who are illustrious in their man is himself the point of union to country's annals; and we gather round those of his life. Each nation is to them the events in which they parti- our conception an individual, undercipated. We love the nation itself; going through the period of its lengthand we remember its calamities and ened life the succession of events, or triumphs, its virtues, and the stain of achieving the succession of actions, its virtues, by the exultation and pain which make up the history of a life which we felt when first our imagina- perhaps of centuries. And each tion was kindled with their lofty people, while their race and name story, or their decline and fall. remaiu, whatever fortunes and revo
If we ask, then, what is the great lutions they may pass through, serves bond of connexion to our mind among still in the view of our mind to collect all the events of the life of any indi. together all the events and achievements that have been involved with whole gives its own unity to its own their race and name. The city, the history, and serves as much as the inrace, the nation, the community of dividual for the bond of connexion nations, whatever the collective whole which unites those events to the unmay be, of which the acts and fortunes derstandings and the memories of are the subjects for our thought, that
THE APATHY OF THE STOICS.
The two sections opposed to each its essential elements; and the moother in antiquity, were those of the rality which is to be suited for man to Epicureans and the Stoics. They embrace, must temper, restrain, and were opposed, indeed, not merely by govern passion, but must not reject it the language of their tenets, one sect from the system of his Being. maintaining that Pleasure is the great- It appears, then, that the principle est good, the other that Pain is no which they adopted as their great Evil; but by the spirit of their philo- maxim of wisdom-to follow, or consophy. The Epicureans sought tran- form to nature, was in one important quillity of enjoyment. The Stoics de respect departed from by them, through sired an arduous Virtue. The Epi- mperfect understanding of that nature cureans narrowed and degraded to the to which they purposed to conform. utmost the good they proposed, when They had begun, no doubt, in framing they made man himself the End of his their system, by adopting as its primary Virtue. The Stoics exalted that good and leading principle, the Supremacy to the utmost, when they endeavoured of Intellectual Reason, and the necesto make man himself nothing in his sity of the entire conquest of the inown regard, and required of him a ferior mind by that power. This conconformity to that absolute law of ception of sovereignty in the calm Virtue, of which his happiness would intellectual mind, and absolute subjecbe a necessary result indeed, but was tion of the inferior soul, led necesnot to be the object of his desire. sarily to a false view of the actual
If we ask what was the defect of the constitution of human nature ;- it led Stoical System, it was manifestly this, to regarding the Passions not as imthat it was inapplicable to human portant and vital elements of the whole nature. In saying which, we do not being, but as disorders of the mind, mean merely to allege that that high- from which it must by all means be est perfection at which they aimed was freed. This consequence necessarily by man unattainable, which would be followed, because the rising up of no objection, since the continual ap- every passion is attended, while it proaches to the highest state proposed lasts, with a disturbance of the soul in are all that are requisite under any which reason is confused and sus. imaginable system. But we mean that pended, whence they gave them no the spirit of their philosophy does not higher name than Perturbations. They accord with the general spirit of hu- did not perceive how imperfect, and man nature. Those who could be its insufficient to the distinction of our followers are but a few out of the being is reason alone; that these whole number of mankind. - those troubling and impetuous movements only of high intellectual capacity, and of the soul,-joy, sorrow,desire, anger, of great-native energy of character. fear,—are the very declarations of our They profess, indeed, to lay Virtue open nature as to its own good and evil ; to all mankind, and call on all to apply that they are the teachers of reason, themselves to its pursuit. But to the which, without them, is uninstructed greater number of those to whom it is as to human good. The vehement offered, their method of Virtue is im- and impetuous fear in the soul of a practicable. That exclusion of Pas- parent in the sudden danger of a sion which they require, and which child-the flame of indignant hate they express by Apathy, meaning, which passes over the heart at the however, not insensibility, but freedom hearing or witnessing some atrocious from the perturbation of passion— crime—the sleepless passion which that exclusion is in fact the exclusion seizes the spirit of a young patriot of Human Nature. Passion is one of warrior when the foot of a foe is
VOL. XLIV, NO, CCLXXIII.
on the soil—these, and a thousand even emotion itself, as far as its desuch movements, full of the most dis- gree or direction is condemned by turbing and oppressive passion, are so virtue ; it implies the immediate subfar from weaknesses or disorders of jection of our actions to the law of our nature, that they are the only way virtue, whatever the violence of the in which our nature can possibly make feelings may be that struggle against itself known to our own understanding it. But it leaves, at the same time, a -the only way by which the strength, wide field of nature open, within which the character, the reality of our most every principle of emotion which is necessary affections can be understood implanted in our bosoms may act; by us. It is the only way in which within which even their strong and they can be known as subsisting in our stormy agitation is no violation of the minds, and, consequently, the only way moral character of our mind, nor of in which we can receive the instruction that due authority of reason, to which of nature as to good and evil. Reason is the whole tenor of our lives must, disturbed and shaken while the sudden though every moment cannot, be submovement of passion lasts ; but, after- jected. wards, does not the less reassume her The great defect, then, of the Stoical sway when she may at leisure con- speculative doctrines, appears to be an sider and understand the passion of ignorance of the nature and office of which she could not restrain the rise. Passion in the human mind-conceiv. That self-command which virtue and ing it to be a disorder and not a neces. reason require, is, therefore, something sary power-and not perceiving that different from that complete suppres. our highest and noblest affections par. sion of all emotion which was proposed take of this quality as essentially as all by the Stoics. It implies the subjuga- the others, tion, slowly effected as it must be, of
SPIRIT OF THE AGE.
In considering mental pursuits under We cannot, in remembering what the most general and comprehensive human nature has done for itself to view, we observe that they may be establish its strength by its own classed as of two kinds: those studies works, forget our love and admiration which are derived from Imagination, of those surpassing productions which and those which are derived from In- have so much lifted up the spirits that tellect. Now, it is certain that no- gave them birth, and have maintained thing lifts up higher our conception at such a lofty pitch of genius the of the power of the human mind than mind of a country through following the highest productions of those arts generations.. It rests upon such which are the offspring of imagina- works ; it will not willingly fall from tion. Wherever they have flourished them into abasement. they adorn the people in our eyes. Yet it is to be observed, that the Because in these the soul, delivering pursuits of those arts which are deitself up to the full transport of its rived from imagination, however capowers, seeks nothing but to express pable they may be of the utmost in durable forms the very visions of greatness of the human mind, does beauty and greatness which visit it not supply that kind of continued in its height of conception. Such strength which the mind requires. In have been the works of mighty sculp- the luxury of a people their arts take tors and painters ; such the works of the tone of the times. Imagination those who have reared up on the is too much in sympathy with pleaearth edifices that have stood proudly sure, it yields itself too casily to the on the soil adorning it with a magni- enchantment from which the mind ficence that was not misplaced amidst itself seeks deliverance. Accordingly, the magnificence of nature. Such all the arts to which imagination have been those poets whose great gives birth have greatly changed works have remained to their people, their character with the changing gedilating the bosoms of thousands with nius of a people. Strong, masculine, what one mind, only in one age, could and rude in elder times, and bearing have conceived.
the stamp of the bold spirit which created them, they have at a later inadequacy of such means of protecperiod becomeunnerved and effeminate tion, if we conceived this strength to -- tainted with the weakness of a be placed only in those highest luxurious age—and breathing back minds, which distinguish theinselves on the soul of the people the same in- above all others by their intellectual dolent softness they had already re- achievements, but which will appear ceived from it.
to us not void of consolation and enIf therefore the mind is, by its couragement, when we look upon our. own pursuits, to supply itself with own country, and consider to how strength, it is not on such as these great an extent the generous activity that it must rely—not on a faculty of intellect may be diffused throughwhich is itself susceptible of so much out a people; when we conceive that influence from extraneous causes. It the strength thus given does not remust rely on those faculties which are side in a few elected spirits, but that self-dependent - on those which de- all the thousands of minds that draw rive the law of their action from each from itself the impulses to intelwithin.
lectual exertion, are carrying on each Such are pre-eminently those facul- within itself the work of this defence, ties of which the pursuit is Truth. uniting, though they know it not, Truth, in all the various forms in their individual strengths to maintain which it can be made the subject of a great common cause of the whole human contemplation. Truth in the united society. How noble and calm observation of nature-in the severest is that human spirit which in all its sciences-and in that science which hours of more undisturbed and self.. begins and ends in the Mind itself. collected thought, reflects in itself, as Such, above all, is that moral wisdom in a mirror, the harmonies of the which draws from the whole internal worlds ! being the strength by which it seeks But there are peculiar characteristo subject, not merely the appearance tic circumstances of the mind and of human life to its intelligence, but state of this nation at the present time, the actions of human life, by its will. which, besides those common causes
In those works which the mind of injury to the spirit of a people frames for its own delight merely, it which have been already spoken of, obeys an uncertain law. But when include dangers of a different kind, it applies itself to know that which and which lead us to consider in this has been and is, it no longer floats on application also, the influence that uncertainty. It then seeks to know; may be derived from the tenor of our and there is but one measure which intellectual pursuits. can satisfy its desire_namely, the se- The present age exhibits a remarkverest knowledge of reality.
able character of energy and ardour in In these sciences, too, there is such all the ordinary pursuits of human a conformity to the intellectual na- life. Each mind is seen rushing ture of man, that to pursue them is to eagerly to its allotted task, and scarce bring forth his innermost powers into feeling there is any other call upon its action. The field, too, that lies be- powers than to strive vigorously and fore him is boundless; he can never successfully in the animated conflict. know all. What he learns, is a step The highest orders among ourselves only to what is beyond. He is going are less solicited to ease than they are forward in a continual march ; and called to struggles and duties in the from his own mind must he derive the public business of the state. Such is constant supply of power by which the effect of that particular constituhe is to effect his progressive con- tion of our polity, that the life of no quest?
order is that of repose.
The thirst Pearful, then, as from the history for reputation, the pride of rising to
, of the world, we may judge the danger higher eminence in the ranks of soto be which menaces a people from ciety, the ardour for wealth, the very the enervating influences of civilisa- rivalry that is engendered in the midst tion—it appears that the proper of conflicting interests, have seized on strength which nature has provided the spirit of the land, and in the midst to man for direct resistance is in the of what the history of mankind would character and power of his intellec- have prepared an observer to expect as tual mind. A view, which might a life of ease, have produced a restless give us great reason to apprehend the and eager activity of powers, which