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the error would not be carried far :—but there are, to a young mind, in this country and at this time, numerous powerful causes concurring to inflame this disposition, till the excess of the affection above the worth of its object, is beyond all computation. To trace these causes it will be necessary to follow the history of a pure and noble mind from the first moment of that critical passage from seclusion to the world, which changes all the circumstances of its intellectual existence, shews it for the first time the real scene of living men, and calls up the new feeling of numerous relations by which it is to be connected with them.
To the young adventurer in life, who enters upon his course with such a mind, every thing seems made for delusion. He comes with a spirit whose dearest feelings and highest thoughts have sprung up under the influences of nature. He transfers to the realities of life the high wild fancies of visionary boyhood : he brings with him into the world the passions of solitary and untamed imagination, and hopes which he has learned from dreams. Those dreams have been of the great and wonderful,
and lovely, of all which in these has yet been disclosed to him: his thoughts have dwelt among the wonders of nature, and among the loftiest spirits of men--heroes, and sages, and saints ;-those whose deeds, and thoughts, and hopes, were high above ordinary mortality, have been the familiar companions of his soul. To love and to admire has been the joy of his existence. Love and admiration are the pleasures he will demand of the world. For these he has searched eagerly into the ages that are gone: but with more ardent and peremptory expectation he requires them of that in which his own lot is cast: for to look on life with hopes of happiness is a necessity of his nature, and to him there is no happiness but such as is surrounded with excellence.
See first how this spirit will affect his judgment of moral character, in those with whom chance may connect him in the common relations of life. It is of those with whom he is to live, that his soul first demands this food of her desires. From their conversation, their looks, their actions, their lives, she asks for excellence. To ask from all and to ask in
vain, would be too dismal to bear: it would disturb him too deeply with doubt and perplexity, and fear. In this hope, and in the revolting of his thoughts from the possibility of disappointment, there is a preparation for self-delusion: there is an unconscious determination that his soul shall be satisfied ; an obstinate will to find good every where. And thus his first study of mankind is a continued effort to read in them the expression of his own feelings. He catches at every uncertain shew and shadowy resemblance of what he seeks ; and unsuspicious in innocence, he is first won with those appearances of good which are in fact only false pretensions. But this error is not carried far: for there is a sort of instinct of rectitude, which like the pressure of a talisman given to baffle the illusions of enchantment, warns a pure mind against hypocrisy.-There is another delusion more difficult to resist and more slowly dissipated. It is when he finds, as he often will, some of the real features of excellence in the purity of their native form. For then his rapid imagination will gather round them all the kindred features that are
wanting to perfect beauty; and make for him, where he could not find, the moral creature of his expectation :-peopling, even from this human world, his little circle of affection, with forms as fair as his heart desired for its love.
But when, from the eminence of life which he has reached, he lifts up his eyes, and sends out his spirit to range over the great scene that is opening before him and around him, the whole prospect of civilized life--so wide and so magnificent:—when he begins to contemplate, in their various stations of power or splendour, the leaders of mankind-those men on whose wisdom are hung the fortunes of nations—those whose genius and valour wield the heroism of a people ;-or those, in no inferior “pride of place,” whose sway is over the mind of society,--chiefs in the realm of imagination,-interpreters of the secrets of nature, --rulers of human opinion—what wonder, when he looks on all this living scene, that his heart should burn with strong affection, that he should feel that his own happiness will be for ever interwoven with the interests of mankind ? Here then the sanguine hope with which he
looks on life, will again be blended with his passionate desire of excellence; and he will still be impelled to single out some, on whom his imagination and his hopes may repose. To whatever department of human thought or action his mind is turned with interest, either by the sway of public passion or by its own impulse, among statesmen, and warriors, and philosophers, and poets, he will distinguish some favoured names on which he may satisfy his admiration. And there, just as in the little circle of his own acquaintance, seizing eagerly on every merit they possess, he will supply more from his own credulous hope, completing real with imagined excellence, till living men, with all their imperfections, become to him the representatives of his perfect ideal creation :Till, multiplying his objects of reverence, as he enlarges his prospect of life, he will have surrounded himself with idols of his own hands, and his imagination will seem to discern a glory in the countenance of the age, which is but the reflection of its own effulgence.
He will possess, therefore, in the creative power of generous hope, a preparation for