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our minds free from the tyranny of lawless paffions, vigilance must be exerted where we are weakest and most exposed. We muft therefore be attentive to the ftate and conftitution of our own minds; we must discover to what habits we are moft addicted, and of what propenfities we ought chiefly to beware: We must deliberate with ourselves on what refources we can moft affuredly depend, and what motives are beft calculated to repel the invader. Now, the ftudy of human nature, accuftoming us to turn our attention inwards, and reflect on the various propenfities and inclinations of the heart, facilitates felf-examination, and renders it habitual.
Independent of utility, the study of the human mind is recommended in a peculiar manner to the curious and inquifitive; and is capable of yielding delight by the novelty, beauty, and magnificence, of the A 3
object. Many find amusement in fearching into the conftitution of the material world; and, with unwearied diligence, pursue the progrefs of nature in the growth of a plant, or the formation of an infect. They spare neither labour nor expence, to fill their cabinets with every curious production: They travel from climate to climate: They fubmit with chearfulness to fatigue, and inclement feafons; and think their induftry fufficiently compenfated, by the discovery of fome unufual phaenomenon. Not a pebble that lies on the fhore, not a leaf that waves in the foreft, but attracts their notice, and ftimulates their inquiry. Events, or incidents, that the vulgar regard with terror or indifference, afford them fupreme delight: They rejoice at the return of a comet, and celebrate the blooming of an aloe, more than the birth of an emperor, Nothing is left unexplored: Air,
ocean, the minuteft objects of fenfe, as well as the greatest and most remote, are accurately and attentively fcrutinized. But, though these researches are laudable, and are fuited to the dignity and capacity of the human mind, we ought to remember, that Mind itself deferves our attention. Endowed with the fuperior powers of feeling and understanding, capable of thought and reflection, active, confcious, fufceptible of delight, and provident of futurity, it claims to itself a duration, when the moft fplendid objects around us fhall be destroyed. Obferve the vigilance of the fenfes in collecting ideas from every part of the creation: Memory preferves them as the materials of thought, and the principles of knowledge: Our reasoning faculty feparates, combines, or compares them, in order to discover their relations and confequences: And imagination, sedulous to amufe, arranges them into vaA 4 rious
rious groups and affemblages. If we confider the paffions and feelings of the heart; if we reflect on their diverfity, and contemplate the various aspects they affume, the violence of fome will terrify and astonish, the fantastic extravagance of many will excite amazement; and others, foft and complacent, will footh us, and yield delight. Shall we affert, therefore, that the study of human nature is barren or unpleasant? Or that mind, thus actuated and informed, is lefs worthy of our notice than the infect produced at noon-tide, to finish its existence with the setting fun? “Shall a man," fays Socrates, " be skilled in the geography of foreign countries, and continue ignorant of the foil and limits of his own? Shall he inquire into the qualities of external objects, and pay no attention to the mind?"
But, though the utility or pleasure refulting from the study of human nature
áre manifeft, the progrefs men have hitherto made in it neither correfponds with the dignity of the fubject, nor with our advances in other branches of fcience. Neither is our knowledge of the passions and faculties of the mind proportioned to the numerous theories men have fabricated concerning them. On the contrary, the numerous theories of human nature that have appeared in various ages and languages, have been fo different from one another, and withal fo plaufible and impofing, that, instead of informing, they perplex. From this uncertainty and diverfity of opinion, fome have afferted, that the mind of man, on account of its tranfcendent excellence, and the inconceivable delicacy of its ftructure, can never be the object of precife inquiry. Others, again, from very different premifes, deduce the fame conclufion, forming their opinions on the numerous, and apparently difcordant,