Page images

source of agreeable recollections, in which wholesome labour might appear combined with harmless enjoyment, and such as God approves. Then might one look back on the past with complacency; and reflect on its direction with gratitude, declaring with the Psalmist, “The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Ps. xvi. 7); though one should be no better than a ploughman, or a shepherd.

And this may indicate a propriety in distinguishing memories still farther into two sorts, for the convenience of characterizing them both subjectively and objectively; which is into natural and moral; the first relating merely to the property, the second to consequences founded thereon, such as those above mentioned, and others of the kind: which being more moral or objective are not to be mentioned at present. For we are now to consider the characteristics of a serviceable memory distinct from the moral. And so distinguishing them again, we may observe of natural memories or mere retentions, that these, like other natural things, being greatly subject to the influence of art, will admit of as many varieties as there are varieties of arts, employments and concerns in life, for each of which there may be such a characteristic as a particularly good memory; and the instances of these which occur sometimes, are extremely curious. Also in point of strength or retention, there may be room for improvement, as memories are found to differ greatly in this respect, and one memory to be often more of a memory than others. As apprehension is the basis of memory, it will generally be found perhaps, that the soundest memory accompanies the clearest apprehension: and if so, the same means and assistance may serve for one as for the other; v. g. observation, precision, habit, and most especially interest; properties that are highly conducive, if not indispensable to success or good characteristics, also in other departments, as for ex

ample in

3, That of judgment : of which the two principal sub

jective characteristic kinds are founded on the distinction of subject or judge, whether it be God or man, and may be termed accordingly divine and human, or effective and constructive, which will amount to the same; the divine judgment, or principle of judging being effective, while the human is only constructive. For God judging any thing to be or not to be, will thereby make it immediately either to be or not to be, precisely as he judges ; but man cannot make any action or thing to be either better or worse by his judgment, let him put what construction he will on it; the impotency of human judgment being as general (Thank God !) as its fallibility, according to the Protestant faith, is universal. Hence the only good, or, as generally said, sound judgment will be that which proceeds from, or is founded on the will of God.

4, And it is the same with respect to the good of the fourth intellectual department, v. g. of the will. For if we talk of good will—and good will there may be no doubt, without this reference, it must be only as a relative and rather objective property, as of a will that is good for some party or purpose, but not therefore necessarily good in itself,-- if there can be any fault in partiality. Whereas, the will that is founded on, or conformed to, the will of God, will be, not relatively, but absolutely good, as God is good.

5, As the property of imagination is the highest step in the climax of intellect, of all its properties the most active and aspiring, the medium of inspiration, the sense of prophecy, the connecting link between a human and any superior intelligence, its good subjective characteristics will rank proportionably high, being designated therefore by such lofty names, as illumination, splendour, brilliancy, and others taken from the sovereign element of light, which itself also is frequently referred to this highest species of intellect; as when we talk of the light of the imagination, &c.

It is not here meant to be asserted, that every kind of the

[merged small][ocr errors]

imagination is good or every degree great: nor can it be dissembled, that there are evil casts of this property likewise, as we may find, on considering the sinister side of the subject; neither is such a degree as a grovelling imagination a thing unheard of on that side. But, not to separate the kinds founded on one criterion, although some of them should happen to be bad or indifferent, if others be good ; there are three several kinds of imagination adapted to the single criterion' of affinity, or of the element to which they may be supposed to be each respectively the most akin. For the imagination, like the apprehension, and every other property of the intellectual combination, though more intellectual upon the whole than of any other class or complexion, will vary its affinities nevertheless, being more related to matter in most men, than either to spirit or intellect; and in some again more to spirit, in others more to its own class, i. e. to intellect. And hence these three several kinds of imagination may be conceived ; 1, carnal ; 2, spiritual; 3, intellectual; the operation and effects of which are very distinct, so distinct indeed, that one of these kinds will appear to have no eyes for the objects, no wings for the pursuits, no admiration for the depositaries of the other. Thus a carnal imagination has no eyes for any but carnal objects, “having eyes full of adultery” (Pet. II. ii. 14), and closed, as our Saviour intimates, to the pure mystery of the kingdom (Mat. xiii. 11). “But blessed are your eyes : for they see” (Ib. 16), says he to his enlightened disciples, “Children of light," as they are elsewhere called : whose regenerated spirits seem to prefer their native element, and love to wander from the body, whether in rambling through the fields of science here below, or dwelling aloft in heavenly contemplation. It is every man as he prefers, or according to his natural, if not according to his new, affinity: and farther than that, no reason can be assigned for the difference we observe among men, both in the measure and application, not only of this, but of every other property or endowment.

* And now, deferring the farther consideration of this subject to the opportunity which a consideration of good objective characteristics on the same basis will afford, let us straightway proceed to this class in which it occurs though late, bringing up the rear of the same, as it may be said: the class itself being of all that are here named most responsible, and consequently most interesting.






SEC. 1.


1, Honour and Honesty.-2, Bounty, Hospitality, &c.—3, Content and Moderation. — 4, Frugality and Economy.—5, Neatness, &c.—6, Prudence, &c.

“ This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord : and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”—Isal. liv. 17.

The good and evil following or resulting from spiritual and intellectual acts, consequently from the more complex constituents that are formed of such acts, and ultimately from the subjects that are thus combined, will be named objective, generally from their direction, as before explained*; and otherwise also, particularly after the particular objects of such direction, whether they be incidental or constituent. But every objective characteristic, though named from its particular object, or sort of objects, will belong essentially to the subject or bearer; comprising, first the more complex, and therein also the simple constituent to which such characteristic attaches or belongs, and from which it follows or results to the object as aforesaid and before signified.

* Page 51.

« PreviousContinue »