mother of false religions. A correct Philosophy is the handmaid of true Religion.

In short, in every condition and relation in life, next to the wisdom, which, by direct inspiration," cometh from above," is a correct and comprehensive knowledge of Mental Philosophy, important to man. To the citizen, this science is useful by giving him the reasons of the duties devolved upon him in all the relations of life. To the theologian, it will be of great use, by enabling him not only to understand correctly the truths and principles of Christianity, but also to present them in such a manner that he will " commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God." How true also is the sentiment advanced by the great philosopher of England, to wit, that no man is qualified to fill the sphere of an enlightened statesman, who has not thought much and profoundly upon the infinite, the just, the right, the true, and the good.

State of Mind requisite to a successful prosecution of this Science.

It remains to speak upon one topic more, the spirit requisite to a successful prosecution of this science,

The first requisite that I mention is this, a deep conviction of the importance of the science. We pursue nothing with energy which, to our minds, does not possess an importance demanding the exertion of our entire powers. If I could impress the inquirer with a due conviction of the importance of our present investigations, and could excite in him a purpose of corresponding inflexibility to master the science, I should not have any unpleasant apprehensions in respect to the result.

I mention, in connection with the above, another requisite, to wit, a love of the science for its own sake; that is, for what presents itself to the mind, as intrinsic in the science itself, as well as an account of its relative value. That which strongly appeals, not only to our convictions of what is valuable, but to the sensibilities of our nature, we readily pursue with the most energy and untiring perseverance. But two things are requisite to excite in any mind this love for the science under consideration-a proper conviction of the importance of the science, and familiarity with its great truths and principles. We are naturally such philosophic beings, that almost nothing else delights us so much as phi

losophic truths and principles, when we once become acquainted with them.

Another essential requisite is the habit or spirit of self-reflection. All legitimate conclusions pertaining to this science rest upon the facts which lie under the eye of Consciousness. To know these facts, that eye must be fixed with long and intense gaze upon them, till their fundamental characteristics are distinctly revealed. Without the spirit of self-reflection the inquirer will make but poor progress in Mental Philosophy. With it, he will "go from strength to strength."


The inquirer who would make progress in this science, must also be deeply imbued with a teachable spirit. This is the true and only philosophic spirit. Under its influence the mind "cries after knowledge, and lifts up its voice for understanding "It seeks for her as silver, and searches for her as for hid treasures." "Wisdom enters into the heart, and knowledge is pleasant to the soul." The love of truth, for her own sake, takes full possession of the mind. To "sit under her banners," and "dwell in the light of her countenance," all opinions, all systems and prepossessions, contrary to her teachings, are readily sacrificed. Facts are weighed with the utmost care for the exclusive purpose of knowing their characteristics; and all conclusions, however contrary to all preformed theories, are readily admitted, which sustains to such facts the relation of logical antecedents or consequents. In this state of mind, the student will not fail to "understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, and every good path."

I mention as another indisputable requisite, untiring industry and perseverance. "There is no royal road to knowledge" of any kind; much less to a knowledge of ourselves. Before we attain that high eminence from which the goodly mountains, waving forests, verdant hills, luxuriant valleys, and majestic rivers of this "land of promise," this "land flowing with milk and honey," shall lie out with distinctness beneath the enraptured vision; we shall find many a tiresome wilderness to pass, many a rugged steep to climb, and sometimes, perhaps, almost "through the palpable obscure," will we be compelled to "find out our uncouth way." But when that eminence has been attained, no one feels that he has "labored in vain, and spent his strength for nought." Every individual, who is not fully prepared for the toil of hard and tireless thinking, had better abandon this study be

fore he commences it. Otherwise, in addition to all the wretchedness of ignorance, he will be subject to the more depressing influence of conscious unworthiness of the possession of the treasure of knowledge.

I will allude to but one requisite more-a deeply serious state of mind. In no other state are we prepared for deep communion with the mysteries, and for profound contemplations of the sublime and majestic creations of truth. To walk among her "cloud-capped towers, gorgeous palaces and solemn temples," and to worship at her shrine, there is no place for triflers here. A trifler neither knows himself nor respects himself. He is, therefore wholly unprepared to inquire for, or appreciate when found, the most momentous of all the revelations of truth, those respecting the nature, character and relations of himself.

The individual who commences, and continues to prosecute, his inquiries pertaining to this science, in the spirit above described, will find in the end a full reward of his labors. The object of the author is not to think for the inquirer, but to enable him to think for himself.



"ALL the facts," says Cousin, "which fall under the Consciousness of man, and consequently under the reflection of the philosopher, resolve themselves into three fundamental facts, which contain all others. These facts which, beyond doubt, are never in reality, solitary, and separate from each other, but which are essentially not the less distinct, and which a careful analysis ought to distinguish without dividing, in the complex phenomena of intellectual life; these three facts are expressed in the words TO FEEL, TO THINK, TO ACT." Is this a full and correct classification of the phenomena of the human mind? Are these distinctions real? Are all mental phenomena included in these fundamental facts? These questions I answer in the affirmative for the following reasons:

1. No mental phenomena can be conceived of, which do not fall under one or the other of these facts. What mental operation can we conceive of, which is not a thought, feeling, or choice, purpose, or determination?

2. These classes of phenomena differ from one another, not in degree but in kind. How entirely distinct, for example, is thought, in every degree and modification, from feeling, on the one hand, and mental determination, on the other. Feelings, also, of every kind and modification, stand at an equal remove from thoughts and mental acts or determinations. So of the class last mentioned. Choice in every degree or form makes, in its fundamental characteristics, no approach whatever to thoughts or feelings.

3. All men recognize the states of mind designated by the above expressions, as actually existing in human Consciousness, and as clearly distinguishable from each other. When

I affirm to the peasant, or to the philosopher, at one time, that I think so and so; at another that I have particular feelings; and at another still, that I have resolved, or determined upon a particular course of conduct; both alike readily apprehend my meaning, and understand me as referring to states of mind perfectly distinct.

4. In all known languages there are terms employed to designate these three classes of phenomena; terms, each of which is applied to one class exclusively, and never to either of the others. Thus, the term thought is never applied to any mental phenomena but those designated by the words to think. We never use it to designate feelings, or mental determinations of any kind. The terms sensation or emotion are never applied to any but the phenomena of feeling. In a similar manner we never apply the terms purpose, willing, determining, &c., to the phenomena of thought or feeling, but exclusively to those designated by the words to act. The existence of such terms undeniably evince, that the different classes of phenomena, under consideration, are recognized by universal Consciousness, not only as existing, but as entirely distinct from one another.

5. As a final reason I would adduce an argument presented in the work, recently published, on the Will. "The clearness and particularity with which the universal Intelligence has marked the distinction under consideration, is strikingly indicated by the fact, that there are qualifying terms in common use, which are applied to each of these classes of phenomena, and never to either of the others. It is true that there are such terms which are promiscuously applied to all classes of phenomena. There are terms, however, which are never applied but to one class. Thus we speak of clear thoughts, but never of clear feelings or determinations. We speak of irrepressible feelings and desires, but never of irrepressible thoughts or resolutions. We also speak of inflexible determinations, but never of inflexible feelings or conceptions. With what perfect distinctness, then, must the universal Consciousness have marked thoughts, feelings, and determinations, as phenomena entirely distinct from one another-phenomena differing not in degree but in kind”

Mental Faculties indicated by the phenomena above classified.

The three fold classification of mental phenomena, above. established and elucidated, clearly indicate a tri-unity of

« VorigeDoorgaan »