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fects of a painting, or sit in judgment upon any other work of art. For, whatever we perceive to be beautiful or sublime in such works, could never possess the qualities of beauty or sublimity independently of our mental frame, and we never apply those epithets to them, except it be with reference to certain principles within us.

But we leave these and all other considerations, tending to show the utility of this science, with a single reflection more, trusting, that it will be enough to justify us in our pursuits.

§. 12. Teaches us to revere the wisdom of our Crealor.

We are taught by this science to revere the wisdom of our Creator.

We are frequently referred in theological writings to the works of creation, as a proof of his greatness and wisdom; and the remark has been made, not without reason, that the "stars teach as well as shine." The discoveries of modern astronomy not only assure us, that there is a God, but impart this additional assurance, that he is above all others, to whom the attributes of divinity may have been at any time ascribed.

But it must be added, that of all things created, whether in the heavens above or in the earth beneath, the human mind is that principle, which evinces the most wonderful construction, which discloses the most astonishing movements. There is much to excite our admiration in the harmonious movements of the planetary orbs, in the rapidity of light, in the process of vegetation; but still greater cause for it in the principle of thought, in the inexpressible quickness of its operations, in the harmony of its laws, and in the greatness of its researches. How striking are the powers of that intellect, which, although it have a local habitation, is able to look out from the place of its immediate residence, to pursue its researches among those remote worlds, which journey in the vault of heaven, and to converse both with the ages past and to come.

It ought not to be expected that we should be intimate

ly acquainted with a principle possessing such striking pow ers, without some reverential feelings towards him, who is the author of it.

§. 13. Of the mental effort necessary in this study.

This science demands great mental effort on the part of the student. This effort is of a peculiar kind. It consists essentially in a continued and unbroken fixedness of attention. Such an effort is painful to many, and perhaps this is one cause of the unfavourable reception, which this department of knowledge has often met with. But the ad vantages attending it are so numerous, it is to be hoped, they will overcome any disinclination to mental exertion. The fruits of the earth are purchased by the sweat of the brow, and it has never been ordered, that the reverse of this shall take place in the matters of knowledge, and that the fruits of science shall be reaped by the hands of idleNo man has ever become learned without toil; and let it be remembered, if there be many obstacles in the acquisition of any particular science, that he, who overcomes a multiplication of difficulties, deserves greater honour than he, who contends only with a few,




§. 14. Introductory remarks on this subject.

It is often highly important, in the investigations of a science, to state, at the commencement of such investigations, what things are to be considered as preliminary and taken for granted, and what are not. If this precaution had always been observed, which, where there is any room for mistake or misapprehension, seems so reasona

ble, how many useless disputes would have been avoided; -the paths to knowledge would have been rendered more direct and easy, instead of being prolonged and perplexed. It is impossible to proceed with inquiries in the science of INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY, as it will be found to be in almost every other, without a proper understanding of those fundamental principles, which are necessarily involved in what follows.

Those preliminary principles, which are necessary to be admitted, and without which we are unable to proceed with any satisfaction and profit in our inquiries, will be called, for the sake of distinction and convenience, PRIMA


There would seem to be no impropriety in calling them TRUTHS, since they are forced upon us, as it were, by our very constitution; all mankind admit them in practice, however they may affect to deny them with their lips; and they are as plain and incontrovertible at their very first enunciation, as any discoveries in physicks or any demonstrations in geometry. We call them PRIMARY, because they are the ultimate propositions, into which all reasoning resolves itself, and are necessarily involved and implied in all the investigations, which we shall make on the present subject.

The first of this class of truths, which will come under consideration, is this;

§. 15. A belief in our personal existence.

Des Cartes formed the singular resolution, not to believe his own existence, until he could prove it.

He reasoned thus; Cogito, ergo sum, I think, therefore, I exist. This argument, which he considered conclusive and incontrovertible, evidently involves what is termed a petitio principii or begging of the question.

It is easy to perceive, that the very thing to be proved is assumed. COGITO is equivalent to the proposition, I am a thinking being; and ERGO sux may be literally interpreted, therefore, I am in being. His premises had already im

plied, that he existed as a thinking being, and it is these very premises, which he employs in proof of his existence. The acuteness, which has generally been attributed to him, evidently failed him in this instance. The argument of Des Cartes was unsuccessful, and no one, who has attempted to prove the same point, has succeeded any better.

It is necessary to take different ground from that taken by this philosopher and his followers. We consider the belief of our existence a PRIMARY TRUTH. A few remarks may tend to show the propriety of thus doing.

There was a time when man did not exist. He had no form, no knowledge. Light, and motion, and matter were things, in which he had no concern. He was created from nothing with such powers and such laws to his powers, as his Creator saw fit to give.

We are called upon to mark the history of this new created being.

At one year of age, or, if it be preferred, before one half or quarter of that period is passed, we will suppose, that some object, external to himself, is, for the first time, presented to his senses. The consequence is, that there is an impression made on the senses, and a perception of the object, presented to them. But it is impossible for him, as I think every one will allow, to perceive the object without a simultaneous conviction of the existence of the percipient. Nothing can be heard, or seen, or touched without an attendant belief, that there is a being, who hears, and handles, and beholds. This is a conclusion, which is necessarily involved in our mental constitution and which, as it has such an origin, neither requires any argument nor fears any refutation.

Malebranche in his search after truth speaks much, if the expressions be admissible, in commendation of the spirit of doubting. But then he bestows this commendation with such limitations as will prevent those evils, which result from too freely giving up to a sceptical spirit.

"To doubt (says he) with judgment and reason, is not so small a thing as people imagine, for here it may be said,

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that there's a great difference between doubting and doubt. ing. We doubt through passion and brutality, through blindness and malice, and, lastly, through fancy, and only because we would doubt. But we doubt also with prudence and caution, with wisdom and penetration of mind. Academicks and atheists doubt upon the first grounds, true philosophers on the second. The first is a doubt of darkness, which does not conduct us into the light, but always removes us from it." (B. I. ch. 20.)

We may remark in view of these observations of Malebranche, that such is the doubting of those over-scrupulous inquirers, who demand proof of their own existence. Such scepticism as that is truly a doubt of darknes, which does not conduct us into the light, but always removes us from it.


A second of those truths, which we term PRIMARY, is

§. 16. A belief of our personal identity.

The proof of our personal identity is sometimes refer red to what is termed consciousness. We are said to be .conscious of our identity. When these expressions are used, it is meant by them, that we have a conviction of the understanding, or we know ourselves to have enjoyed a continuance of being. If any thing more than this be intended, it will be found to be an use of terms without meaning.

We have employed the phrase, PERSONAL IDENTITY.

The words, person and personal, convey a complex idea. They have indeed particular reference to that indestructible principle, which we denominate the mind; but they have reference to it, considered in its connection with the body.

By mental identity we have reference to the continuance and oneness of the thinking principle merely.

By bodily identity we mean the sameness of the bodily shape and general organization. We cannot attach any other meaning to the latter phrase in consequence of the constant changes in the material particles, which compose our systems.

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