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ephemeral popularity, after which they sink to a silent or dishonored grave, and a long oblivion. The productions of true genius, associated with good taste, on the other hand, will please as long as human nature remains what it is. Influence of Writers and Speakers of splendid Genius, but
incorrect Taste. . It is well known, that very strong conceptive and imaginative faculties (the peculiarities of true genius), sometimes exist in the absence of a well-balanced Judgment, and consequent good taste. The productions of such individuals will be characterized by surpassing excellences, and glaring defects. Yet the mass of their admirers will, in time, become as well-pleased with the latter as with the former; and the defects will be more frequently copied by imitators, perhaps, than the excellencies. The reason is this. The defects come to be associated with the feelings of interest and delight which the excellencies excite. The former are thus embalmed and consecrated by the latter. Every individual who would preserve his taste unvitiated, should be, in a special sense, on his guard under such circumstances.
Danger of vicious Associations. Great genius and great vices, polished manners and corrupt morals, and productions the most finished in respect to style and imagery, and the most foul in respect to sentiment, are not unfrequently associated among men. The imminent peril of intercommunion with such minds and with such productions, is manifest, in the light of the law of Association above illustrated. The feelings of sublimity, beauty, and delight awakened by the contemplation of great minds, polished manners, and the perfections of style and imagery, at first weaken, and finally entirely supplant the feelings of disgust,. abhorrence, and repellency, which the contemplation of vice, and corrupt principle, in their unassociated grossness, excites. The final result is, the acquirement of polished manners and style, with the loss of virtue and virtuous principles. That “which cannot be gotten for gold," and for.66 which silver cannot be weighed as the price thereof,” in comparison with which “no mention shall be made of coral or of pearls, and the price of which is abuve rubies,” has been exchanged for that which might have been attained in much higher perfection without this irreparable loss; but which may exist in
connection with the foulest morals, and an equal preëminence in guilt.
Unrighteous Prejudices, how justified. Every individual is familiar with the fact, that persons and classes of men, placed in circumstances degrading in public estimation, often become the victims of cruel and unrighteous prejudice. Some circumstance, aside from condition, is fastened upon as the cause of this feeling, which is thus justified, on the assumption that it is natural, and therefore necessary, designed and sanctioned by Providence. Feelings connected with individuals by accidental association, are assumed as resulting from the original constitution of our nature, and are justified on that assumption. Giving Individuals a bad Name, spreading false Reports, fc.
It is very frequently asserted as a proverb, that the evils resulting from giving persons a bad name, and spreading false reports respecting them, will ere long correct, and more than correct themselves, in consequence of a re-action of public feeling, as the truth comes to be known. This would be true, were men disposed to render impartial justice in all instances. But this is far from being the case. Pre-eminent virtues and endowments, together with a commanding influence, may often, under such circumstances, occasion a reaction of public feeling which will perfectly overwhelm the authors of the mischief. The standing of the mass of mankind, however, is not such as to occasion such reaction, even when the wrong done comes to be known. Hence it often happens that the feelings first awakened come to be permanently, to a greater or less degree, associated with them in the public mind. If this is not so, no thanks are due to those who first set the ball rolling. Influence of the associating Principle in perpetuating existing
mentai Characteristics. 6. To the pure,” says the Sacred Writer, “ all things are pure; but to the corrupt and unbelieving, there is nothing pure.” In other words, a mind truly pure comes to be so correllated to objects in respect to not only the action of the voluntary power, but also in respect to the Sensibility and Intelligence, that all things awaken thoughts and feelings tending to perpetuate and increase that purity. The same is
true with the vicious. Every object of thought and perception is brought into such a relation to their Minds, as to generate thoughts and feelings which tend only to develop and confirm existing tendencies to corruption. This law of selfperpetuation which virtue and vice respectively possess, is found in the associating principle. In a Mind which has long been the cage of impure thoughts and feelings, those feelings at last come to be associated with all objects of thought, and thus the entire current of thought and feeling is turned into an impure channel.
There are no limits to the application of the associating principle, as above illustrated. Its importance in mental science will be appreciated as it is understood in its endlessly diversified applications.
MEMORY AND RECOLLECTION.
Terms defined. Memory and Recollection are treated by philosophers only as important departments of the principle of Association. This, as we shall see, is demanded by sound philosophical analysis. The two terms above named are often used interchangeably, and never distinguished but by the following circumstances. In the process denominated Memory, notions, or conceptions of facts and events, are spontaneously recalled to the Mind. In that called Recollection, these Intellectual states are recalled by an effort of Will. States of Mind entering into and connected with these Pro
cesses. There are three distinct mental operations connected with each of these processes of Mind.
1. Some feeling or state of Mind which has formerly coexisted with the perception or apprehension of the object recalled—a feeling or state spontaneously recurring, or revived by some object of present thought, perception, or sensation.
2. A simple apprehension of the object or event itselfan apprehension attended with no belief or judgment whatever pertaining to the object
3. A recurrence, in thought, of the circumstances of time and place connected with the perception or apprehension of the object.
The above statement verified. That objects of Memory and Recollection are not recalled
directly and immediately, but are suggested, in the manner above described, is obvious from two considerations.
1. From universal Consciousness. Those who are least accustomed to analyze the operations of their own minds, as well as philosophers, have noticed this fact. Hence the common affirmations : “This reminds me of,” or “ This suggests to my mind such and such occurrences,” clearly showing, not merely that such events are suggested, but that the subjects of them are conscious of it.
2. When we wish to recollect any events, or in the common phrase, to recall them, we do not attempt to do this directly, but by directing the attention to various objects, at present before the Mind, that they may suggest those which we wish to recall. Memory and Recollection are, in this respect, subject to precisely the same law, and the law which governs each is the same which governs the entire phenomena of Association. The above remark is so obviously true, that philosophers, as stated above, almost universally treat of these subjects in the same connection, Memory being considered only as one department of Association. Principle on which Objects are remembered with Ease and
Distinctness. Taking this position for granted, or as having been already proved, it will follow, as a necessary consequence, that the ease and distinctness with which any objects or events will be recalled to the Mind, will always be proportioned to the depth and intensity of the impressions formerly received from them, and with the number of objects and events with which such impressions have heretofore co-existed, or may hereafter co-exist. This conclusion we also find to be confirmed by universal experience. When you hear the declaration, “Such and such events I shall never forget,” suppose you ask the reason for such an affirmation. The answer will invariably be, “ It made such a deep IMPRESSION upon my Mind.” On the other hand, if a person is asked for the reason why he recalls with such difficulty any particular event, he will uniformly answer, “ It made such a feeble impression upon my Mind.” Assuming that the state of the Sensibility is the regulating principle of suggestion, the fact is self-evident, that the ease with which any particular event will be recalled, depends not only upon the depth and intensity of the impression which it formerly made, but upon the