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or composition : They can have recourse to them for a renewal of their ideas when they grow languid or obscure, or when they feel their minds vigorous, and disposed to philofophize. But passions are excited independent of our volition, and arise or subside without our desire or concurrence, Compassion is never awakened but by the view of pain or of forrow. Refentient is never kindled but by actual suffering, or by the view of injustice. Will anger, jealousy, and revenge, attend the summons of the dispassionate fage, that he may examine their conduct, and difmiss them? Will pride and ambition obey the voice of the humble hermit, and aslift him in explaining the principles of human nature ? Or by what powerful fpell can

the abstracted philosopher, whose passions are all chastened and subdued, whose heart never throbs with defire, prevail or the amorous affections to


visit the ungenial clime of his breast, and submit their features to the rigour of his unrelenting scrutiny? The philosopher, accustomed to moderate his paflions, rather than indulge them, is of all men least able to provoke their violence; and, in order to succeed in his researches, he must recal the idea of feelings perceived at some former period ; or he must seize their impression, and mark their operations at the very moment they are accidentally excited. Thus, with other obvious disadvantages, he will often lose the opportunity of a happy mood, unable to avail himself of those animating returns of vivacity and attention essential to genius, but independent of the will.

Obfervations made, while the mind is inflamed, are difficult in the execution, incomplete, and erroneous. Eager paffions admit no partners, and endure no rivals in their authority. The moment


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reflection, or any foreign or opposing principle, begins to operate, they are either exceedingly exafperated, agitating the mind, and leaving it no leisure for speculation; or, if they are unable to maintain their afcendant, they become cool and indistinct; their aspect grows dim; and observations made during their decline are imperfect. The passions are swift and evanescent: We cannot arrest their celerity, nor suspend them in the mind during pleasure. You are moved by strong affection : Seize the opportunity, tet none of its motions escape you, and observe every sentiment it excites. You cannot. While the paffion prevails, you have no leisure for fpeculation; and be affured it hath fuffered abatement, if you have time to philofophize.

But you proceed by recollection. Still, however, your observations are limited, and your theory partial. To be acquainted B


with the nature of any passion, we must know by what combination of feelings it is excited ; to what temperament it is allied ; in what proportion it gathers force and swiftness; what propensities, and what associations of ideas either retard or accelerate its impetuosity; and how it may be opposed, weakened, or suppressed. But, if these circumstances escape the most vigilant and abstracted attention, when the mind is actually agitated, how can they be recollected when the passion is entirely quieted? Moreover, every passion is compounded of inferior and subordinate feelings, effential to its existence, in their own nature nicely and minutely varied, but whose different shades and gradations are difficult to be discerned. To these we must be acutely attentive; to mark how they are combined, blended, or opposed; how they are suddenly extinguished, in a moment renewed, and again ex


active memory

tinguished. But these Aeet volatile feelings, perceived only when the mind is affected, elude the most dexterous and


Add to this, that an idea of memory

is ever fainter and less distinet than an actual perception, especially if the idea to be renewed is of a spiritual nature, a thought, sentiment, or internal sensation.

Even allowing the possibility of accurate observation, our theories will continue partial and inadequate *. We have only one view of the subject, and know not what aspects it may assume, or what powers it may poffefs in the conftitution of another. No principle hath been more variously treated, nor hath given rise to a greater number of systems, than that by which we are denominated moral agents, and determine the merit or deme


B 2

• Dr. Reid's Inquiry, chap, I. sect. 2a

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