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We finish this chapter with a few practical remarks on furnishing our minds with ideas.

It was observed in the seventy ninth section, that a few real ideas are of more consequence than many chimerical ones, and let it to be admitted to be a just remark. But of such ideas, as are real, as are consistent, as are distinct, and ready at command, there cannot be too many, any more than a man can have an excess of truth or an exuberance of moral virtue.

§. 92. The mind should be furnished with a store of ideas.

As early as possible should the mind be furnished with a rich variety of thoughts. Although it be proper and oftentimes necessary, that persons should direct their attention more to some particular subject than others, yet he cannot be considered as possessed of a good education, who is not in some degrée acquainted with many subjects.

Our acquisitions are not to be limited to the affairs of our own country, but we are to become acquainted with the history of other nations also; and while there is much to be learnt, that is modern, the records of antiquity are not to be neglected. We are to learn things both of a political and a religious kind, those, which have relation to the mechanick arts, the laws of nature, the intercourse of life, the principles of the mind, and on a variety of other subjects.

Some of the benefits of possessing a large fund of ideas, which are the elements or materials of our know edge, are these.

(1) It enables us to take a wide, and, therefore, in general a more accurate view of subjects.

In regard to every science there are some things true and some things false, and we are constantly liable to errour; it may, therefore, well be expected, that he, who has a large store of ideas in that science, which he can examine and compare together, stands so much the better

chance of having his sentiments well balanced and cor


A person, designing to pursue the study of law or of theology, may be of the opinion, that a knowledge of chymistry, of natural philosophy, or of the physiology of the human sytem, may be of no advantage to him, as a lawyer, theologian, &c., but there are many things, it may be replied, even if we admit the propriety of this opinion, the knowledge of which may not be so particularly beneficial in one's chosen pursuit, but of which, nevertheless, it would be highly discreditable to be ignorant.

Moreover, a lawyer, who is quite familiar with the principles of his particular department, may sometimes find himself a little perplexed, even when debating in a court of justice, in consequence of his ignorance of the chymical art, and a judge has been known to be confused, in making up a decision on a case of suspected murder, for want of a more intimate acquaintance with the philosophy of our animal organization.

(2) There is a second advantage, resulting from this enlarged and general acquaintance with things, viz. It will help, on the one hand, to preserve us from an excess of credulity or too readily believing every thing, which is propos ed to us for our assent, and, on the other, will be likely to guard us from a positive and, dogmatical turn of mind.

There are many things, which at first sight appeared strange and incredible, but were afterwards found by us to be true. The more extensive the range of our ideas, the more shall we have found of instances of this sort. Hence when any thing is stated, however strange it may at first appear, we shall not be disposed to affirm or deny in respect to it with dogmatism, but to inquire further.

The more we know also in general, the more we shall, consequently, know, in particular, of intentional deceptions, and of the various unavoidable causes of mistake, and shall thus be strengthened against the indulgence of an extreme credulity.

These are advantages, which are not to be lightly prized, and are a sufficient reason, why we should early at

tempt to furnish ourselves with many ideas on a variety of subjects, by our personal observation of what things take place around us, by reading judicious books, and by conWe may


One fruitful source of ideas is conversation. learn something even in conversing with those persons, who have not had the advantages of a liberal education, and whose time is perhaps chiefly taken up in the exercise of soine mechanick art, or in manual labour in the cultivation of the soil..

It is to be remarked further, that we are not to despise the conversation of those, who are of slow utterance, and whose conversation is thought to be rather uninteresting. It is a remark of Dean Swift, which has some philosophy in it, that the common fluency of speech in many persons is owing to a scarcity of words and ideas. For whoever, as he reasons on the subject, is master of language and has a mind full of ideas, will be apt, in speaking, to hesitate upon the choice of both. Whereas common speakers have only one set of ideas and one set of words to clothe them in, and these are always ready. It is something like people coming fast out of a church, when it is nearly empty, but slow when there is a large crowd.

NOTE. In passing from the origin of our ideas to the subject treated of in the next chapter, we have only to say, that we follow an order in the discussion, which naturally suggests itself. We do not mean to assert, that the 'arrangement will appear perfectly natural to every one at first sight, although it will be likely to, on a little examination.

Having spoken of the origin of our ideas, which are the materials, about which the mind employs itself, it surely comes in course to examine those states of mind, where there is supposed to be a real perception of external objects, but is not; and which, therefore, are a species of faise or illusive ideas, not resulting from the natural operations of the intellect, and not furnishing grounds of knowledge.



§. 93. What we are to understand by apparitions.

Angels have appeared on carth. The Almighty has permitted it, as one means of forwarding the Scripture revelation, so necessary to mankind; also other preternatural appearances in connection with the same great object.

It is hardly necessary to mention, among other instances, the appearance of the angel to Manoah and his wife, the sudden arrival of one of the same class of beings to release Peter from prison, and the circumstances of the Transfiguration.

As the canon of Scripture has long been closed, and the days of miracles are over, it does not rightly fall to us to consider the cases, to which we have alluded, and, further, they do not properly come under the head of APPARITIONS, since they were not merely imagined appearances, but real.

Apparitions are appearances, which seem to be real, but which exist only in the imagination.

There may be apparitions, then, of departed spirits, of angels, of celestial cities, of landscapes, of mountains and precipices, of festivals, triumphs, funeral processions, temples. There may be apparitions of all things, which exist, and of some things which do not exist.

We may imagine, that we see such things, as have been mentioned, and others, and firmly believe, that they are before us, or that we are in the midst of them, and all of it be merely a mental deception.

§. 94. Of the connection between the mind and body.

All apparitions, it may be said with safety, are owing

either to a permanently disordered state of the mind, or to some unnatural, temporary excitement; but mental diseases is a subject full of difficulty. Whether the immaterial principle have diseases of itself and peculiarly its own, independently of its connection with the body, or whether all its disorders may be traced to that connection, is a point, on which, in the present, limited state of our knowledge on this subject, it would be presumption to offer any positive opinion.

But whether all our intellectual derangements can be traced to the connection, existing between the mind and body, or not, it is very certain, that this is the case with very many of them. A few well known facts will help to illustrate the influence of the body over the mind.

(1) Old age may be considered as a disease, and the effects on the mind go, step and step, with those on the body. The mental vigour in those, who are experiencing the decrepitudes of age, is in most cases evidently impaired. The intellectual is hardly less deaf and blind, and stands hardly less in need of crutches to support it, than the bodily system.

(2) Violent, corporeal diseases in manhood, before any decays take place from age, often affect the powers of thought. Persons have been known after a violent fever or violent attacks of any other kind, to lose entirely the power of recollection; a circumstance to be remarked upon in the chapter on memory.

(3) Many things of a stimulating nature, when taken into the system, do in some way violently affect the mind. This is in particular true of the nitrous oxide gas ;—when it is inhaled in a considerable quantity, the conceptions are more vivid, associated trains of thought are of increased rapidity, and emotions are excited, corresponding to the acuteness of sensations and the vividness of ideas.

(4) In general, whenever the physical condition of the brain, which is a prominent organ in the process of perception, is affected, whether it be from a more than common fulness of the blood vessels, or from other causes,

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