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RETROSPECT OF THE ORDERS OF THE PHENOMENA OF MIND, AL
READY CONSIDERED.-OF EMOTIONS,CLASSIFICATION OF
DIATE EMOTIONS, INVOLVING NO MORAL AFFECTION.-11.
GENTLEMEN, after the attention which we have paid to the class of external affections of the mind, and to that great order of its internal affections, which I have denominated intellectual, the only remaining phenomena, which, according to our original division, remain to be considered by us, are our emotions.
This order of our internal feelings, is distinguished from the external class, by the circumstances which I have already pointed out, as the basis of the arrangement,—that they are not the immediate consequences of the presence of external objects; but, when excited by objects without, are excited only indirectly, through the medium of those direct feelings, which are commonly termed sensations or perceptions. They differ from the other order of the same internal class,—from the intellectual states of mind, which constitute our simple or relative suggestions of memory or judgment,-by that peculiar vividness of feeling, which every one understands, but which it is impossible to express, by any verbal definition; as truly impossible, as to define sweetness, or bitterness, a sound or a smell, in any
than by a statement of the circumstances in which they arise. There is no reason to fear, however, from this impossibility of verbal definition, that any one, who has tasted what is sweet or bitter, or enjoyed
the pleasures of melody and fragrance, will be at all in danger of confounding these terms; and, as little reason is there to fear, that our emotions will be confounded with our intellectual states of mind, by those who have simply remembered and compared, and have also loved, or hated, desired, or feared.
Before we proceed to consider the order of emotions, it may be interesting to cast a short glance over the other orders of the phenomena of mind, before considered by us.
In the view which we have taken of the external or sensitive affections of the mind, we have traced those laws, so simple and so efficacious, which give to the humblest individual, by the medium of his corporeal organs, the possession of that almost celestial scene, in which he is placed, till he arrives at that nobler abode which awaits him,-connecting him not merely with the earth which he treads, but indirectly, also with those other minds, which are journeying with him in the same career, and that enjoy at once, by the same medium of the senses, the same beauties and glories that are shed around them, with a profusion so divine, as almost to indicate, of themselves, that a path so magnificent is the path to Heaven. A few rays of light thus revealed to us, not forms and colours only, which are obviously visible, but latent thoughts, which no eye can see; a few particles of vibrating air, enable mind to communicate to mind, its most spiritual feelings,—to awake and be awakened mutually to science and benevolent exertion, as if truths, and generous wishes, and happiness itself, could be diffused in the very voice that scarcely floats upon the ear.
Such are our mere sensitive feelings, resulting from the influence of external things, on our corresponding organs, which are themselves external. The view of the intellectual states of the mind, to which we next proceeded, laid open to us phenomena still more astonishing-those capacities, by which we are enabled to discover in nature more than the causes of those brief separate sensations which follow the affections of our nerves,—to perceive in it proportion and design, and all those relations of parts to parts, by which it becomes to us a demonstration of the wisdom that formed it,---capacities, by which, in a single moment, we pass again over all the busiest adventures of all the years of our life, or, with a still more unlimited range of thoughts, are present, as it were, in that remote infinity of space, where no earthly form
has ever been, or, in the still more mysterious infinity of time, in ages, when the universe was not, nor anything, but that Eter. nal One, whose immutable existence is all which we conceive of eternity.
Such are the wonders, of which we acquire the knowledge, in those phenomena of the mind, which have been already reviewed by us. The order of feelings, which we are next to consider, are not less important-nor important only in themselves, but also in their relation to those other phenomena which have been the subjects of our inquiry ; since they comprehend all the higher delights which attend the exercise of our sensitive and intellectual functions. The mere pleasures of sense, indeed, as direct and simple pleasures, we do not owe to them; but we owe to them everything which confers on those pleasures a more ennobling value, by the enjoyments of social affection which are mingled with them, or the gratitude which, in the enjoyment of them, looks to their Divine Author. We might, perhaps, in like manner, have been so constituted, with respect to our intellectual states of mind, as to have had all the varieties of these, our remembrances, judgments, and creations of fancy, without our emotions. But without the emotions which accompany them, of how little value would the mere intellectual functions have been! It is to our vivid feelings of this class, we must look for those tender regards, which make our remembrances sacred for that love of truth and glory, and mankind, without which, to animate and reward us, in our discovery and diffusion of knowledge, the continued exercise of judgment would be a fatigue rather than a satisfaction and for all that de. lightful wonder which we feel, when we contemplate the admirable creations of fancy, or the still more admirable beauties of the unfading model-that model which is ever before us, and the imitation of which, as has been truly said, is the only initation that is itself originality. By our other mental functions, we are mere spectators of the machinery of the universe, living and inanimate; by our ernotions, we are admirers of nature, lovers of man, adorers of God. The earth, without them, would be only a field of colour, inhabited by beings who may contribute, indeed, more permanently, to our means of physical comfort, than any one of the inanimate forms which we behold, but who, beyond the moment in
which they are capable of affecting us with pain or pleasure, would be only like the other forms and colours, which would meet us whenever we turned our weary and listless eyes; and God himself, the source of all good, and the object of all worship, would be only the Being by whom the world was made.
In the picture which I have now given of our emotions, however, I have presented them to you in their fairest aspects ; there are aspects, which they assume, as terrible as these are attractive; but even, terrible as they are, they are not the less interesting objects of our contemplation. They are the eneinies with which our moral combat, in the warfare of life, is to be carried on; and, if there be enemies that are to assail us, it is good for us to know all the arms and all the arts with which we are to be assailed; as it is good for us to know all the misery which would await our defeat, as much as all the happiness which would crown our success, that our conflict may be the stronger, and our victory, therefore, the more
In the list of our emotions of this formidable class, is to be found every passion which can render life guilty and miserable, a single hour of which, if that hour be an hour of uncontrolled dominion, may destroy happiness for ever, and leave little more of virtue than is necessary for giving all its horror to remorse. There are feelings, as blasting to every desire of good that may still linger in the heart of the frail victim who is not yet wholly corrupted, as those poisonous gales of the desert, which not merely lift in whirlwinds the sands that have often been tossed before, but wither even the few fresh leaves, which, on some spot of scanty verdure, have still been flourishing amid the general sterility. When we consider the
generous, as well as the selfish and malignant desires of man, in the effects to which they have led, -that is to say, when we consider the varieties of some of our mental affections of this class,-we may be said to consider everything which man has done and suffered, because we consider everything from which his actions and his very sufferings have flowed. All civil history is nothing more than the record of the passions of a few leaders of mankind. “Happy, therefore," it has been said, “ the people whose history is the most wearisome to read. Whatever the Cæsars, and Alexanders, and the other disturbers of the peace of nations, have perpetrated, may have been
planned with relation to the particular circumstances of the time; but this very plan, even when accommodated to temporary circumstances, was the work of some human emotion which is not of a month, or year, or age, but of every time. In perusing the nar. ratives of what they did, we feel, that we are reading not so much the history of the individuals, as the history of our common nature, -of those passions by which we are agitated, and which, while the race of mankind continue to subsist, will always, but for the securer restraints which political wisdom and the general state of society may have imposed, be sufficiently ready to repeat the same project of personal advancement, at the same expense of individual virtue and public happiness." The study of the mental phenomena, in their general aspect, as it is the study of the sources of human action, is thus, in one sense, a sort of compendious history of the civil affairs of the world, a history not merely of the past and the present, but of the future also. It resembles, in this respect, what we are told of the hero of a metaphysical romance, -that in physiognomy his penetration was such, that “from the picture of any person he could write his life, and from the features of the parents, draw the features of any child that was to be born."
Such, in some measure, though certainly far less exact, is that future history of the world, which a speculator on the state and prospects of civil society draws from a knowledge of the nature of man. He may err, indeed, in his picture of unexisting things; but every political regulation must, in part, at least, proceed on views of events that do not yet exist, as thus prophetically imaged in the very nature of the mind, or it scarcely can deserve the name of an act of legislative wisdom; and he is truly the wisest politician, who is, in this sense, the most accurate historian of the future.
In now entering on the consideration of that order of our feelings, which I have comprehended under the name of Emotions, it may seer doubtful whether it would be more expedient to treat of them simply as elementary feelings, or in those complex forms in which they usually exist, and have received certain definite characteristic names that are familiar to you. This latter mode appears to me, on the whole, more advisable, as affording many advantages, direct and indirect, and allowing equally the necessaVOL. II.