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by previous indulgence in the pleasures of the table. He had entered into a criminal assignation, and was conscious he was about to do his neighbour the greatest of all injuries, violate his conscience and offend his God. A new turn was given to his thoughts by his religious book. Conscience was roused and began to smite him, and our feelings are never so pungent as when we pass from one extreme to another. If we have any of the dying embers of piety in the heart, they are never so apt to be kindled anew as when we are on the eve of some horrible crime. The soul is, then, alive to all the acutest compunctions of conscience. Colonel Gardiner falls into a partial slumber. Oppressed with his previous banquet, the crudities of indigested food disturb his slumbers. He starts up suddenly, and the candle throwing its glare of light in his face, his mind glances with the rapidity of lightning along that succession of ideas with which it had been occupied in reading his book, and he converts that light into supernatural illumination, while a distinct image conjured up by his fears is presented to his eye, and unreal sounds assail his ear. In all this we perceive nothing out of the ordinary laws of human nature. From such views as these let the happy moral effect be produced upon our mind, of purging it by philosophy from superstitious fears. Religion has a sufficiently pungent and powerful effect upon the heart and life, when its doctrines are received in their native purity and vigour, without requiring any reinforcement from such a questionable source, to accomplish its benign purpose, in ameliorating the condition, controlling the passions, and promoting the eternal salvation of mankind. Those who allow themselves to be disturbed by idle fears of ghosts, apparitions, ominous dreams, frightful sights, sounds indicative of future evil, and all the wretched trumpery of ignorance and blind credulity, do as much dishonour to their religion, as to the dignity of their own nature. It is not by starts and convulsive struggles, that the divine
grace draws us towards God and our supreme good, but by as regular, uniform and invariable laws, as those by which the planets are moved in their spheres. Let us not form low and unworthy conceptions of the Creator, but endeavour to elevate our thoughts to the dignity and the beneficence of his nature, as well as the full extent of that comprehensive scheme of providence which he has established over the universe. His kingdom ruleth over all, and under the operation of those laws by which he governs the world, the righteous shall surely be rewarded, and the wicked punished; but his government is steady and immutable, not consisting of temporary expedients, and irregular efforts of authority. Ever since those stupendous exercises of omnipotent power which were made from the necessity of the case, in the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensation, for the introduction and final establishment of our religion, the cr. der of grace has been subjected to as regular and invariable laws, as the departments of the physical, or moral world.
Of Discernment, Judgment, Wit, Attention, Inten
After the power of perception, and thinking in general, the next faculty of the mind which claims our notice, is that of discernment, by which is meant that power by which we are able to discriminate our perceptions and thoughts from each other, or rather those objects and qualities, either in the external or internal world, which present themselves to the contemplation of the mind. A mere dim perception of the existence of things without us, or of the operations of the soul within, would be but a dull and undesirable state of being, when compared with that which is enjoyed by man, who has his curiosity kept perpetually excited, and his feel. ings interested by the variety of objects, each differing in some degree from the other, continually offering themselves to his view. This discernment of objects and qualities, no doubt, becomes more acute in proportion as animals are elevated in the scale of being. In those of the lowest grade it can scarcely be extended beyond those instinctive perceptions of their food, drink, and other objects which are indispensably necessary to their comfort and preservation. In man this faculty of discernment, commencing its operations with his first and simplest sensations about the things with which he is conversant, is strengthened and matured by ex• ercise; until at length when the understanding is cultivated
and enlarged by science and study, it is sharpened into a deep insight into the whole complicated structure and operations of nature. He who possesses and has cultivated this power, perceives objects in nature that lie concealed from the vulgar; discriminates those which would be confounded by others, and looks with a keener vision upon every de
partment both of the physical and moral world. Commen• cing its operations in enabling us to distinguish the differ
ent colours, tastes, smells, sounds, together with the various acts of the mind, it afterwards looks around with penetrating sight upon the face of nature, discovering its beauties and deformities, separating the true from the false causes which are assigned for its effects, revealing to us the sound from the unsound, in propositions and reasonings, inferring the characters and dispositions of mankind, from the expressions of their countenances, disclosing to us the excellencies and blemishes in style and composition, together with a finished and imperfect execution in the arts. With the operations of this power of discernment, are intimately connected those of attention, intension, and judgment.
Attention implies that notice which the mind pays to the several objects that come under its review, when it not only cursorily surveys them, but dwells upon them by voluntary choice. Intension, or study, is that act of the mind, by which we fasten its notice upon any subject still more deeply, so as to investigate it fully; survey it on all sides, and examine it with the minutest scrutiny. Judgment is that power by which, without going through the operose process of reasoning, we form just estimates of the order and succession of things around us, the characters and conduct of mankind, the probable results of measures proposed to be adopted; and in fine, which, in the absence of demonstrative evidence, enables us to decide upon probabilities. Judgment, therefore, it will be seen, implies a previous exercise of the powers of attention and of discernment, and is most inti