« FöregåendeFortsätt »
is the office of this philosophy to analyse the motions, to observe the states, of the intellect; to ascertain in what succession they arise, and by what connection they are associated. But it is a cheat if there be no mind, but only a rout of lawless vagrants.
In the philosophy of education, it is assumed. “Arduous task !" might each pædagogue sigh, instead of what he must now feel “ delightful,” were the tyro's identity as often rubbed out as his slate. The word education implies a drawing out, and it is the pupil's self which is educed.
In the philosophy of character this is a first principle. It is in all respects the self-evolved. It has its inconsistencies. “Nil fuit unquam sic impar sibi.” A character may present the impostor and the dupe, may compound the tyrannical and the abject,—but all this may be in the modification of the mind. It is so distinct that two characters were never seen so much alike as sometimes are found two faces. To borrow medical phrase, it is idiosyncrasous. In the child we prognosticate the man, and see “big passions strutting on a petty stage.” The " ruling passion is strong in death.” “E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires." The character we have worn still invests us, and to the last we fold it around us, as the dying Cæsar his robe.
In the philosophy of motive, this cannot be disregarded. Congeniality must exist between all motive and the mind it impels. Liberty supposes a law of action as much as necessity itself. We may, therefore, surmise, from a knowledge of the self-same mind, what, in particular circumstances, and under particular inducements, will be its course.
The philosophy of habit pre-supposes it. An act on repetition becomes easy, and then all but involuntary. Explain the process as you will, the repetition must be understood of one and the self-same agent.
The philosophy of experimental, inductive, observation implies it. All we chiefly know, of that which we denominate cause and effect, is a series of notices we have taken of certain things, some occurring according to a priority of time to others. But such knowledge, surely, depends for its arrangement and comparison upon the identity of the observer.
The philosophy of self-love is redeemed by it. It is not low or mean. A wretched selfism may pass under its name, but self-love is essential to conscious being. Its own interests can never clash with those of others : its interests cannot but promote the general welfare. Such is the construction of the universe, and such is the harmony of its arrangements ! “ Selflove and social is the same” !* Far from us the philosophy of those,
“ Who when the human soul
Moral philosophy is founded upon it. The quality of every action depends on the disposition of the agent. An action cannot be considered apart. Its effect may, but it cannot be withdrawn from its moral relations. If man be always a new being, upon what agents can his actions be devolved ? Still this identity is not at variance with a penitent disposition or a reformed life. Such questions, this is not the time nor place to agitate. Self may admit of different exercises under different impressions. As the wretched immortals in Vathek, the hand pressed upon the heart shows that with the new feelings may be mingled uneffaced recollections. And only in the boldest poetry can any say with our Fifth Henry
“ For heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turned away my former self !"
It is in the forgetfulness of this invincible, inevitable, identity, that sin principally consists. The thought of such continuity is shunned. We are held by it to the past and to the future. For the one we are accountable: we are hastening to “ receive the things done in our bodies, according to that we have done, whether it be good or bad.”
would rush into dissipation, a word most expressive of his fond attempt. But he shall recognise his every act, he shall trace out his entire being, and find that in all the mysterious chain not a joint is wanting. The soul is a solitary essence, and its relation is with One who is only more alone! Its passage for Judgment is
“ Φυγη μονου προς Μονον.»
Happy are they who, on this necessary identity, graft an uniformity of virtuous and benevolent excellence, whose character, thus pure and good, is as sustained. Happy are they who can review the stages of their earthly course with an unshrinking glance, who can blend the sweet visions of youth with the more chastened aspirations of maturity; and who, whilst they see that
6 The child is Father to the man,
But most happy they (o terque quaterque beati !) who can calmly await, while they confidently believe, the immortal future, who can realise it as a condition of conscious identity with their present history and being without dismay, and who can hail the evolutions of their destiny without wishing the stupor of a Metempsychosis, or the oblivion of a Lethe !
Plotinus.–6 Enneas.-Lib: ix. cap: 11.
“ Ποτερα δη κερτομών λεγες ταδε ;
SOPHOCLES.-Philoct : lin : 1274.
“Et mala si qua tibi dixit dementia nostra,
TIBULLUS.—Lib: i. Eleg : 2.
“Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such
MENENIUS, IN CORIOLANUS.
If it had so pleased the Almighty Power which has formed us, our mind might have been associated with a material substance most unfitted for its external indications. It might have been fettered with conditions most restrictive and enslaving. No proof can be shown that it might not have been connected with inorganic and inanimate envelopment. Suppose the rock had been its accompaniment,—or “the cloven pine,"-or “the knotty entrails of the oak.” It might have been bound to a very inferior animal form,-masked by an elephant's face, or trailed in a serpent's chain. But there is in the human body a most wondrous contrivance, a most exact vehicle, for the thinking principle, evidently joined together by a Common Creator, for their mutual convenience and their respective ends. The Head chiefly, as primarily, impresses us in our survey of the human structure. Its form is rather elliptical, than duly spherical. The brow is piled up until it attains a certain vertex. Here are the features and the principal organs. The symbols of intellectual power and dignity are arrayed around this vault.
A system of Cranioscopy has, within a few recent years, been much discussed. We propose a slight consideration of it. Some think it so firmly proved that, like the Family of the Primroses, they “ still resolve to hold up their heads." Others regard it as so unreasonable, that they could “brain it with a lady's fan.”
There exists a general opinion that Craniology is an anatomical study ; that it must be left for the scalpel to decide, and be referred to the dissector to adjudge, the truth of the case. The surgical and medical professions are naturally regarded as the best qualified to examine the conflicting evidence. They have constituted the principal circle, hitherto, through which