Slike strani

ing to the figure, the length, breadth, and thickness. In general, every artist abstracting from all other properties, confines his observations to those which have a more immediate connection with his profession.

41. It is observed above [14, note), that there can be no such thing as a general idea ; that all our perceptions are of particular objects, and that our secondary perceptions or ideas must be equally so. Precisely, for the same reason, there can be no such thing as an abstract idea. We cannot form an idea of a part without taking in the whole; or of motion, color, figure, independent of a body. No man will say that he can form any idea of beauty, till he think of a person endued with that quality; nor that he can form an idea of weight, till he takes under consideration a body that is weighty. And when he takes under consideration a body endued with one or other of the properties mentioned, the idea he forms is not an abstract or general idea, but the idea of a particular body with its properties. But though a part and the whole, a subject and its attributes, an effect and its cause, are so intimately connected, as that an idea cannot be formed of the one independent of the other, yet we can reason upon the one abstracting from the other.

This is done by words signifying the thing to which the reasoning is confined ; and such words are denominated abstract terms. The meaning and use of an abstract term are well understood, though of itself, unless other particulars be taken in, it raises no image nor idea in the mind. In language it serves an excellent purpose ; by it different figures, different colors, can be compared, without the trouble of conceiving them as belonging to any particular subject; and they contribute with words significant to raise images or ideas in the mind.

42. The power of abstraction is bestowed on man for the purpose solely of reasoning. It tends greatly to the facility as well as clearness of any process of reasoning, that laying aside every other circumstance, we can confine our attention to the single property we desire to investigate.

43. Abstract terms may be separated into three different kinds, all equally subservient to the reasoning faculty. Individuals appear to have no end; and did we not possess the faculty of distributing them into classes, the mind would be lost in an endless maze, and no progress be made in knowledge. It is by the faculty of abstraction that we distribute beings into genera and species : finding a number of individuals connected by certain qualities common to all, we give a name to these individuals considered as thus connected, which name, by gathering them together into one class, serves to express the whole of these individuals as distinct from others. Thus the word animal serves to denote every being that can move voluntarily; and the words man, horse, lion, &c., answer

similar purposes. This is the first and most common sort of abstraction ; and it is of the most extensive use, by enabling us to comprehend in our reasoning whole kinds and sorts, instead of individuals without end. The next sort of abstract terms comprehends a number of individual objects, considered as connected by some occasional relation. A great number of persons collected in one place, without any other relation but merely that of contiguity, are denominated a crowd : in forming this term we abstract from sex, from age, from condition, from dress, &c. A number of persons connected by the same laws and by the same government, are termed a nation; and a number of men under the same military command, are termed an army. A third sort of abstraction is, where a single property or part, which may be common to many individuals, is selected to be the subject of our contemplation; for example, whiteness, heat, beauty, length, roundness, head, arm.

44. Abstract terms are a happy invention : it is by their means, chiefly, that the particulars which make the subject of our reasoning, are brought into close union, and separated from all others however naturally connected. Without the aid of such terms, the mind could never be kept steady to its proper subject, but be perpetually in hazard of assuming foreign circumstances, or neglecting what are essential. We can, without the aid of language, compare real objects by intuition, when these objects are present; and when absent, we can compare them in idea. But when we advance farther, and attempt to make inferences and draw conclusions, we always employ abstract terms, even in thinking: it would be as difficult to reason without them, as to perform operations in algebra without signs; for there is scarce any reasoning without some degree of abstraction, and we cannot easily abstract without using abstract terms. Hence it follows, that without language man would scarce be a rational being. *

45. The same thing, in different respects, has different names. With respect to certain qualities, it is termed a substance ; with respect to other qualities, a body; and with respect to qualities of all sorts, a subject. It is termed a passive subject with respect to an action exerted upon it; an object with respect to a percipient; a cause with respect to the effect it produces; ard an effect with respect to its cause.

* (Compare Barron's Lectures, vol. ii. 377–86.)


46. That nothing external is perceived till first it makes an impression upon the organ of sense, is an observation that holds equally in every one of the external senses. But there is a difference as to our knowledge of that impression : in touching, tasting, and smelling, we are sensible of the impression; that, for example, which is made upon the hand by a stone, upon the palate by an apricot, and upon the nostrils by a rose. It is otherwise in seeing and hearing; for I am not sensible of the impression made upon my eye when I behold a tree; nor of the impression made upon my ear, when I listen to a song (13). That difference in the manner of perceiving external objects, distinguisheth remarkably hearing and seeing from the other senses; and I am ready to show, that it distinguisheth still more remarkably the feelings of the former from that of the latter; every feeling, pleasant or painful, must be in the mind; and yet, because in tasting, touching, and smelling, we are sensible of the impression made upon the organ, we are led to place there also the pleasant or painful feeling caused by that impression ;* but, with respect to seeing and hearing, being insensible of the organic impression, we are not misled to assign a wrong place to the pleasant or painful feelings caused by that impression; and therefore we naturally place them in the mind, where they really are: upon that account, they are conceived to be more refined and spiritual, than what are derived from tasting, touching, and smelling; for the latter feelings, seeming to exist externally at the organ of sense, are conceived to be merely corporeal.

The pleasures of the eye and the ear, being thus elevated above those of the other external senses, acquire so much dignity as to become a laudable entertainment. They are not, however, set on a level with the purely intellectual; being no less inferior in dignity to intellectual pleasures, than superior to the organic or corporeal: they indeed resemble the latter, being, like them, produced by external objects; but they also resemble the former, being, like

* After the utmost efforts, we find it beyond our power to conceive the flavor of a rose to exist in the mind: we are necessarily led to conceive that pleasure as existing in the nostrils along with the impression made by the rose upon that organ. And the same will be the result of experiments with respect to every feeling of taste, touch, and smell. Touch affords the most satisfactory experiments. Were it not that the delusion is detected by philosophy, no person would hesitate to pronounce, that the pleasure arising from touching a sinooth, soft, and velvet surface, has its existence at the ends of the fingers, without once dreaming of its existing anywhere else.

them, produced without any sensible organic impression. Their mixed nature and middle place between organic and intellectual pleasures, qualify them to associate with both.

The pleasures of the eye and the ear have other valuable properties besides those of dignity and elevation : being sweet and moderately exhilarating, they are in their tone equally distant from the turbulence of passion, and the languor of indolence: and by that tone are perfectly well qualified, not only to revive the spirits when sunk by sensual gratification, but also to relax them when overstrained in any violent pursuit. Here is a remedy provided for many distresses; and, to be convinced of its salutary effects, it will be sufficient to run over the following particulars. Organic pleasures hare naturally a short duration; when prolonged, they lose their relish; when indulged to excess, they beget satiety and disgust; and, to restore a proper tone of mind, nothing can be more happily contrived than the exhilarating pleasures of the eye and ear. * On the other hand, any intense exercise of intellectual powers becomes painful by overstraining the mind : cessation from such exercise gives not instant relief; it is necessary that the void be filled with some amusement, gently relaxing the spirits.

47. The transition is sweet and easy, from corporeal pleasures to the more refined pleasures of sense; and no less so, from these to the exalted pleasures of morality and religion. We stand therefore engaged in honor, as well as interest, to second the purposes of nature, by cultivating the pleasures of the eye and car, those especially that require extraordinary culture, such as arise from poetry, painting, seulpture, music, gardening, and architecture. This especially is the duty of the opulent, who have leisure to improve their minds and their feelings. The fine arts are contrived to give pleasure to the

* ["Now this" (says Dr. Mark Hopkins) “ is precisely the use, and all the uso that many make of the fine arts, and I may add, to some extent of the beauties of nature too. How many wealthy sensnalists are there in our cities who give an appearance of elevation and refinement to their

low and selfish mode of life, by collecting about them specimens of the arts ! These men may be best compared to that amphibious aniinal, the frog. They come up occasionally from that lower element in which they live, into a region of light and beauty; but no sooner are they a little refreshed, than they plunge again into the mud of sensual gratification. It is men like these, who, when their capacity for the lower pleasures is exhausted, drive in the carriages about the cities of the Old World" (perhaps we are not yet sufficiently corrupt), and set up to virtuosi. It is easy to see how such a taste inust bear upon morals."]

† A taste for natural objects is born with us in perfection; for relishing a fine countenance, a rich landscape, or a vivid color, culture is necessary. The observation holds equally in natural sounds, such as the singing of birds, or the inurmuring of a brook. Nature here, the artificer of the object as well as of the percipient, hath accurately suited them to each other. But of a poem, a can. tata, a picture, or other artificial production, a true relish is not commonly attained, without some study and much practice.

46. What precedes the perception of an external object--The difference noticed with regard to the various senses. - The location of pleasant or painful feelings. - Tho rank to be Assigned to the pleasures of the oye and ear. Their salutary iniluence.--Comparison wita atryanie or corporeal pleasures.--The use that profligate uen often make of the fine arts.

eye and the ear, disregarding the inferior senses. A taste for these arts is a plant that grows naturally in many soils ; but, without culture, scarce to perfection in any soil : it is susceptible of much refinement; and is, by proper care, greatly improved. In this respect, a taste in the fine arts goes hand iv hand with the moral sense, to which indeed it is nearly allied : both of them discover what is right and what is wrong; fashion, temper and education have an influence to vitiate both, or to preserve them pure and untainted : neither of them is arbitrary or local : being routed in human nature, and governed by principles common to all men. The design of the present undertaking, which aspires not to morality, is, to examine the sensitive branch of human nature, to trace the objects that are naturally agreeable, as well as those that are naturally disagreeable; and by these means to discover, if we can, what are the genuine principles of the fine arts. The man who aspires to be a critic in these arts, must pierce still deeper : he must acquire a clear perception of what objects are lofty, what low, what proper or improper, what manly, and what mean or trivial. Hence a foundation for reasoning upon the taste of any individual, and for passing sentence upon it: where it is conformable to principles, we can pronounce with certainty that it is correct; otherwise, that it is incorrect, and perhaps whimsical. Thus the fine arts, like morals, become a rational science; and, like morals, may be cultivated to a high degree of refinement.

[The following observations of Dr. Mark Hopkins are appropriate and important: “ The fine arts may be made to payder directly to vice. "From the middle rank, which the pleasures derived from them hold, they readily associate, as has been said, both with the higher and the lower. Thus innsic nay quicken the devotions of a seraph, and lend its strains to cheer the carousals of the bacchanal; and poetry, painting, and sculpture, while they have power to clevate, and charm, and purify the inind, may be made direct stimulants to the vilest and lowest passions. It is indeed from this quarter that we are to look for danger from the prevalence of these arts. It was thus that they corrnpted the ancient cities ; and those who have seen the abominable statuary of HerenJaneum and Pompeii, do not wonder that they were buried under a sea of fire. The same process of corruption through these arts, has gone to a fearful extent on the eastern continent, and has commenced in this country. Clothed in this garment of light, vice finds access where it otherwise could not. Under the pretence of promoting the fine arts, modesty is cast aside, and indecent pictures are exhibited, and respectable people go to see thein. If I might utier a word of warnirig to the young, it would be to beware of vice dressed in the garments of taste. The beanties of nature are capable of no such perversion. All the associations connected with them tend to clevate and to purify tho minci. No case can be adduced in which a taste for gardening or for natural objects has corrupted a people. While, therefore, I believe that the cultivation of the arts, in their genuine spirit of beauty and of purity, has a tendency to improve the character, it would appear that they are greatly liable to abuse, and that they have been extensively abused.'']

+ (Upon the subject of Taste and Genius, Cousin this remarks: “Three

47. The easy transition from corporeal pleasuros to those of a higher order.--The arts which it is our interest to cultivate-Value of the fine arts. what?—The great liability of tủe fine arts to perversion and abuse.--Design of the present volume.--Cousin's account of Tasto and Genius.

A taste for these allied to

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