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itself, as the "sun breaks through clouds." But it is no less true, that circumstances are never without their influence; they give to the mind a new direction; and almost impart to it, in some instances, a new character. Hence the importance of this rule. We are to inquire amid what scenery of nature the writer dwelt? What early superstitions were made familiar to his mind? In what political and religious principles he was educated? What was his personal calling and the degree of his rank in life? What was his treatment from men? and what his peculiar views of human character? And it is not, until these things are made known to us, that we are fully prepared to estimate what he has written.


The remarks here made admit of an illustration in almost all writers of any original genius. But to take an instance, which is familiar, and on that account perhaps is best chosen, it may be confidently said, that they may illustrated from the writings of the New Testament. We observe a difference in the style of Matthew and Luke, of Paul and John. The situations in which they were placed, and circumstances under which they acted, had undoubtedly an influence on their character, and through their character on their writings, but this was not the whole origin of these peculiarities. Even the natural temperament of the writer, by a powerful sympathy, communicates itself to the written composition; and while that of Paul is abrupt and vehement, like the soul of its author, that of John seems to express, in its very words and combinations, his affectionate disposition.

The apostle Paul, in particular, is a fortunate instance, to show the importance of attending to the peculiarities of individual writers. Peculiarities-whatever cause they may have arisen from-may be discovered in his writings, in the use even of single words. For instance, the word, KATARGEIN, signifying to remove, destroy, kill, make free, is very seldom found in any Greek classick author, but is found twenty six times in the apostle's writings; only once in all the other books of the New Testament.

St. Paul has sometimes employed such words, as he found

used in common conversation, and which, although not unfrequent in common discourse, would have hardly been considered admissible in classical writers, certainly not in the sense, in which he employs them. The word, ExOUSIA, (1 Cor. xi. 10,) primarily means power, dignity, &c; but appears, by a fashion, which sometimes exists in language no less than in dress and in manners, to have been in the city of Corinth, the name of a woman's head-dress, which was worn, at the time of writing the Epistle to the Corinthians, in that city. There is no reason to think, that it is used in this sense by any other writer, either of the pure Greek, or of the Hebrastick. When, therefore, we learn in regard to the apostle Paul, that he was brought up in the doctrines of the Pharisees, that he afterwards embraced the christian religion, that he was driven from place to place, and resided in many cities, in Rome, in Ephesus, and particularly Corinth, that he was a person of great boldness, decision, and enterprise; a knowledge of these circumstances in his personal fortunes and character throws much light on his writings.

RULE FOURTH ;-The views, which have been given, lead us to remark, as another and fourth rule, that the interpreter should possess an intimate acquaintance with the particular subject, on which his author treats;--and not only this, should endeavour fully to possess himself of the spirit of the particular species of writing, of which the tract to be interpreted is a specimen, whether it be poetry, the style of essays, of mathematical treatises, of history, or of philosophy.

Nothing is more clear, than that the human mind, when called into exercise, will be differently affected according to the nature of that particular subject, to which its attention is directed. It will be characterized by calm reflections on the more intimate nature or the philosophy of created things; or will be thrown into a series of closely concatenated propositions; or will be animated by a creative power and form thousands of new and glowing images; or will be excited by strong and declamatory impulses according to the characteristick tendencies of the exercise,

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about which it is employed. The interpreter cannot do him justice without having his own mind brought into a similar position with the original author's; and in order to this, he must be acquainted not only with the subject of the particular writing in question, but also with the characteristicks and spirit of that species of writing, to which it belongs. It would be presumption, not to say injustice in a mathematician, who had exclusively devoted himself to his chosen science, to undertake to pass sentence on the productions of a poet; those mental tendencies and that state of mind, which are adapted to the last mentioned department of literature, not being fitted to the former. It would be no less presumption and injustice for a mere painter to assume the criticism of musical compositions, or for a mere man of polite letters to attempt the interpretation of the writings and an estimation of the character of mathematicians.

NOTE. It may seem to be a proper place here, to mention a peculiar difficulty in the interpretation of the Bible, arising from the nature of the subjects there treated of. Revelation is a communication of those things, which could not have been fully learnt, and some of them could not have been learnt in any degree, by our unassisted faculties. It is a declaration of such facts, as eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard.

As, therefore, we derive our ideas from sensation and from what takes place in our own minds, it ought not to surprise us, that our weak and limited understandings are incapable of forming a perfect conception of God, of angels, of spiritual bodies, of the soul being brought to judgment, of the resurrection from the dead, &c. The words, which are employed on these subjects, are not without meaning, but such is the nature of the things signified by the words, that the meaning of them is often necessarily obscure to us; and we here find a favourable opportunity both for the exercise of that religious feeling, which is termed faith, as to the things themselves, and also for the exercise of charity, when our own interpretations do not agree with those of any of our erring fellow beings.




§. 150. Of the meaning of mental association and of its general principles or laws.

Our thoughts and feelings follow each other in a regular train. Of this statement no one needs any other proof, than his individual experience --we all know, not only, that our minds are susceptible of new states, but what is more, that this capability of new states is not fortuitous, but has its laws. Therefore, we not only say, that our thoughts and feelings succeed each other, but that this antecedence and sequence is in a regular train ;-a circumstance in our intellectual economy, which, it may be just observed, has the most direct and important bearing on our preservation and happiness. To this regular and established consecution of the states of the mind we give the name of MENTAL ASSOCIATION.


The term, ASSOCIATION, is perhaps preferable to any othIt may, with no little appearance of reason, be objected to the word, SUGGESTION, which has sometimes been employed, that it seems to imply a positive power or efficiency of the preceding state of the mind in producing the subsequent. But of the existence of such an efficiency we have no evidence. All that we know is the fact, that our thoughts and feelings, under certain circumstances, appear together and keep each other company ;-And this is what is understood to be expressed, and is all, that is expressed, by the term, ASSOCIATION,

By the principles or laws of association, we mean no other, than the general designation of those circumstances, under which the regular consecution of mental states, which has been mentioned, occurs. The following may be mentioned as among the primary principles of association, although it is not necessary to take upon us to assert, either that the cnumeration is complete, or that some

better arrangement of these laws might not be proposed, —VİZ. RESEMBLANCE, CONTRAST, CONTIGUITY in time and place, and CAUSE AND EFFECT.

§. 151. Resemblance the first general principle of


New trains of ideas and new emotions are occasioned by resemblance; but when we say, that they are occasioned in this way, all that is meant is, that there is a new state of mind, immediately subsequent to the perception of the resembling object. Of the efficient cause of this new state of mind under these circumstances, we can only say, the Creator of the soul has seen fit to appoint this connection in its operations, without our being able, or deeming it necessary to give any further explanation. A traveller, wandering in a foreign land, finds himself in the course of his sojournings in the midst of aspects of nature not unlike those, where he has formerly resided, and the fact of this resemblance becomes the antecedent to new states of mind; there is distinctly brought before him the scenery, which he has left, his own woods, his waters, and his home. The result is the same in any other case, whenever there is a resemblance between what we now experience, and what we have previously experienced. We have been acquainted, for instance, at some former period with a person, whose features appeared to us to possess some peculiarity, a breadth and openness of the forehead, an uncommon expression of the eye, or some other striking mark; to-day we meet a stranger in the crowd, by which we are surrounded, whose features are of a somewhat similar cast, and the resemblance at once vividly suggests the likeness of our old acquaintance.

§. 152. Resemblance in every particular not necessary.

It is not necessary, that the RESEMBLANCE should be complete in every particular, in order to its being a principle or law of association. It so happens, for instance, that we see a painted portrait of a female countenance, which

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