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nization of man. The wild ideas of the hermit ANTHONY,* who, in his gloomy retreat, fancied that BEELZEBUB appeared to him in the form of a beautiful female, to torture his fenfes, and difturb
*ST. ANTHONY was born in Egypt in the year 252, and inherited a large fortune, which he diftributed among his neighbours and the poor; retired into Solitude; founded a religious order; built many monasteries; and died in the year 356. Many ridiculous ftories are told of his conflicts with the devil, and of his miracles. There are feven epiftles extant attributed to him. He is sometimes represented with a fire by his fide, to fignify that he relieved perfons from the inflammation called after his name; but is always accompanied by a Hog, on account of his having been a fwineherd, and curing all disorders in that animal. To do him the greater honour, the Romanifts, in feveral places, keep, at common charges, a hog, denominated St. Anthony's Hog, for which they have great veneration. Some will have St. Anthony's picture on the walls of their houses, hoping by that to be preferved from the plague: and the Italians, who do not know the true fignification of the fire painted at the fide of their faint, conclude that he preferves their houfes from conflagration. Both painters and poets have made very free with this faint and his followers: the former, by the many ludicrous pictures of his temptation; and the latter, by divers epigrams on his difciples or friars, one of which is the following, printed in STEPHENS's World of Wonders.
"Once fed thou ANTHONY a herd of fwine,
And now a herd of monks thou feedeft ftill.
For wit and gut alike they both ha' been:
Both loved filth alike; both like to fill
More beaftly, fottish, swinish, than this last.
Thou feedeft not thy monks with oaken mast."
turb his repose, originated in his natural character and difpofition. His diftempered fancy conjured up a fiend, which, in fact, existed in his unfubdued paffions and incontinent defires.
From the inchanting cup
SOLITUDE excites and strengthens the powers of the imagination to an uncommon degree, and thereby
*There are," fays LORD SHAFTSBURY, "certain huThe mours in mankind, which of neceffity must have vent. human mind and body are both of them naturally subject to commotions; and as there are strange ferments in the blood, which in many bodies occafion an extraordinary discharge, fo in Reafon too there are heterogeneous particles, which must be thrown off by fermentation. Should phyficians endeavour abfolutely to allay thofe ferments of the body, and strike in the humours which difcover themselves in fuch eruptions, they might, instead of making a cure, bid fair, perhaps, to raise a plague, and turn a fpring ague, or an autumn furfeit, into an epidemical malignant fever. They are certainly as ill phyficians of the body politic, who would need be tampering with these mental eruptions, and, under the fpecious pretence of healing this itch of SUPERSTITION, and faving fouls from the contagion of ENTHUSIASM, fhould fet all nature in an uproar, and turn a few innocent carbuncles into an inflammation and mortal gangrene.
thereby enfeebles the effect of the controuling powers of Reafon. The office of the latter faculty of the mind is to examine with nice difcernment and fcrupulous attention, to compare the feveral properties of thoughts and things with each other, and to acquire, by cool and deliberate investigation, correct ideas of their combinations and effects. The exercise of this power fufpends the vehemence of action, and abates the ardour of defire: but Fancy performs her airy excurfions upon light and vagrant wings, and flying round her objects without examination, embraces every pleafing image with encreafing delight. Judgment separates and affociates the ideas the mind: has gained by fenfation and reflection, and by determining their agreement or disagreement, fearches after truth through the medium of probability; but the imagination employs itself in raising unsubstantial images, and pourtraying the form of things unknown in nature, and foreign to truth. It has, indeed, like memory, the power of reviving in the mind the ideas which, after having been imprinted there, have disappeared; but it differs from that faculty by altering, enlarging, diverfifying, and frequently distorting, the fubjects of its power.
It bodies forth the form of things unknown,
And gives to airy nothings
A local habitation and a name.
But the irregular and wild defires which feize upon the mind through the avenues of an untamed fancy, and difordered imagination, are not exclufively the produce of Solitude. The choice of WISDOM or FOLLY is offered to us in all places, and under every circumftance; but the mind of man is unhappily prone to that which is leaft worthy of it. I fhall, therefore, endeavour to fhew, by fome general obfervations, in what inftances Solitude is moft likely to create those flights of imagination which miflead the mind and corrupt the heart.
Imagination is faid to be the fimple apprehenfion of corporeal objects when they are abfent, which absence of the object it contemplates diftinguishes this faculty from fenfation, and has occafioned fome metaphyficians to call it recorded fenfation. Upon the due regulation, and proper management,
*The influence of the imagination on the conduct of life is faid to be one of the most important points in moral philofophy. It were eafy, by an induction of facts, to prove that the imagination directs almost all the paffions, and mixes with almost every circumftance of action or pleasure. Let any man, even of the coldest head, and fobereft induftry, analyze the idea of what he calls his intereft; he will find that it confifts chiefly of certain degrees of decency, beauty, and order, variously combined into one fyftem, the idol of which he seeks to enjoy by labour, hazard, and felf-denial. It is, on this account, of the
management, of this great and extraordinary power of the mind, depends, in a great measure, the happiness or mifery of life. It ought to confift of a happy combination of those ideas we receive through the organs of bodily fense, and those which we derive from the faculties of moral perception; but it too frequently confifts of a capricious and ill-formed mixture of heterogeneous images, which, though true in themselves, are falfe in the way they are applied. Thus a perfon, the circulation of whose blood in any particular member is fuddenly stopped, imagines that needles are pricking the difordered part. The sensation in this cafe is real, but the conclufion from it is fallacious. So in every mental illufion, Imagination, when the first begins to exercise her powers, feizes on fome fact, of the real nature of which the mind has but an obscure idea, and, for want of tracing it through all its connections and dependencies, misleads Reason into the darkest paths of error. The wild conjectures, and extravagant opinions, which have iffued from this fource are innumerable. The Imagination
laft confequence to regulate thofe images by the standard of nature, and the general good; otherwife the imagination, by heightening fome objects beyond their real excellence and beauty, or by representing others in a more odious or terrible shape than they deferve, may of course engage the mind in pursuits utterly inconfiftent with the moral order of things.