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The rush of the passions, on such occasions, is impetuous, just in proportion to the force that may have been overthrown; and whatever has given way before the torrent goes forward to swell the tide. There are those who, from their personal history, might confirm the truth that, when they have fallen, their fall was aggravated, not softened, by whatever advantages they possessed of intelligence or sensibility. And it is especially to be observed that, when the balance of the mind has once been lost, the power of intelligence or of knowledge to enhance the vehemence of malignant emotions, or to exaggerate preposterous conceits, is immeasurably greater on occasions of general excitement, or of public delusion, than in the instance of private and individual errors. Whence in fact does knowledge draw the chief part of its controlling force over the mind, but from the susceptibility it engenders to the opinions of those around us ? In entering the commonwealth of intelligence do we not come under an influence that will probably out-measure the accession we may make of personal power ? It is only on particular occasions that we regulate our conduct, or repress the violence of passion by selfderived inferences from what we know; while ordinarily and almost unconsciously, we apply to our modes of action and to our sentiments, those general maxims that float in the society of which we are members. If every man's personal intelligence absolutely governed his behaviour, the empire of knowledge would indeed be much more firm than it is, because truth would take effect at all points of the surface of society, instead of touching only a few. But this not being the fact, whatever blind impulse awakens the passions of mankind affects all, individually, in a degree that bears little relation to the individual intelligence of each. The movements of a community when once excited, are far more passionate and less rational, than an estimate of its average intelligence might lead us to expect.

If it be so, it must happen that when once a turn is made in the general tendency of men's feelings—when once a certain order of sentiment, or a certain course of conduct has come to be authenticated; - if, for example, some dark, cruel, or profligate rule of policy is assented to as necessary or just, all men in particular, in yielding themselves to the stream of affairs, will plunge into it with an impetuosity proportioned to their personal intelligence and energy of mind. Every man in assenting to the general conclusion, because assented to by others, would strengthen himself and others, in the common purpose, by all those means of knowledge and powers of argument which he possessed. If the error or extravagance had been his own, exclusively, his faculty and furniture of mind would have been employed in defending himself from


the assaults of other men's good sense; and human nature does not, under such circumstances, often accumulate much force.—But the same faculties moving forward with the multitude, on a broad triumphant road, swell and expand and possess themselves of the full dominion of the soul.

At this present moment of general indifference the breaking forth of any species of fanaticism may seem highly improbable. We ought however to look beyond to-day and yesterday ;we should survey the general face of history, and should inspect too the depths of the human heart, and calculate the power of its stronger passions. — Disbelief is the ephemeron of our times; but disbelief, far from being natural to man, can never be more than a reaction that comes on, as a faintness, after a season of credulity and superstition. And how soon may a revulsion take place! How soon, after the hour of exhaustion has gone by, may the pleasurable excitements of high belief and of unbounded confidence be eagerly courted !-courted by the vulgar in compliance with its relish of whatever is pungent and intense ;--courted by the noble as a means, or as a pretext of power ;-courted by the frivolous as a relief from lassitude; and by the profound and thoughtful, as the proper element of minds of that order!

Whenever the turn of Belief shall come round (we are not here speaking of a genuine religious faith) empassioned sentiments, of all kinds, will follow without delay: nor can any thing less than a revival of Christianity in its fullest force then avail to ward off those excesses of fanaticism and intolerance, and spiritual arrogance which heretofore have raged in the world. The connexion of CREDULITY with VIRULENCE is deep seated in the principles of human nature, and it should not be deemed impertinent or unseasonable at any time to attempt to trace to its origin this order of sentiments, or to lay bare the fibres of its strength:-unless indeed, we will profess to think that man is no more what once he was.




Every term, whether popular or scientific, which may be employed to designate the affections or the individual dispositions of the human mind, is more or less indeterminate, and is liable to many loose and improper extensions of the sense which a strict definition might assign to it. This disadvantage — the irremediable grievance of intellectual philosophy, has its origin in the obscurity and intricacy of the subject; and is besides much aggravated by the changing fashions of speech, which neither observe scientific precision, nor are watched over with any care. Men speak not entirely as they think; but as they think and hear; and in what relates to things impalpable few either think or hear attentively. All ethical and religious phrases, and those psychological terms which derive their specific sense from the principles of religion, besides partaking fully of the abovenamed disparagements, common to intellectual

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