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the same time we learn from daily experience, that the train of our thoughts is not merely casual : and if it depend not upon will, nor upon chance, by what law is it governed ? The question is of importance in the science of human nature; and I promise beforehand, that it will be found of great importance in the fine arts.

It appears that the relations by which things are linked together, have a great influence in directing the train of thought; because we find by experience, that ideas are connected in the mind precisely as their objects are externally. Taking a view of external objects, we see that their inherent properties are not more remarkable than the various relations by which they are connected together : one thing perceived to be a cause, is connected with its several effects; some things are connected by contiguity in time, others by contiguity in place; some are connected by resemblance, fome by contrast; some go before, fome follow : not a single thing appears folitary and altogether devoid of connection; the only difference is, that some are intimately connected, fome more flightly; some near, fome at a diItance.

Experience may fatisfy us of what reason makes probable, that the train of our thoughts is in a great measure regulated by the foregoing connections. Where a number of things are linked together, the idea of any one suggests the rest; and in this manner is a train of thoughts compo

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fed : such is the law of succession; whether an original law, or whether directed by some latent principle, is doubtful; and probably will for ever remain fo. This law, however, is not inviolable: it sometimes happens, though rarely, that an idea presents itself to the mind without any connection, so far at least as can be discovered.

But though we cannot add to the train an unconnected idea, yet it frequently depends on our will to attend to some ideas, and to dismiss others. There are few things but what are connected with many others; and when a thing thus connected becomes a subject of thought, it generally suggests many of its connections: among these a choice is afforded; we can insist upon one, rejecting others; and we can even infist upon what has the slightest connection. Where ideas are left to their natural course, they are generally continued through the Itrongest connections: the mind extends its view to a fon more readily than to a servant, and more readily to a neighbour than to one living at a distance. This order, as observed, may be varied by will, but still within the limits of connected objects; for though we can vary the order of a natural train, we cannot dissolve it altogether, by carrying on our thoughts in a loose manner without any connection. So far doth our power extend; and such power

is sufficient for all useful purposes : to give us more power, would probably be detrimental instead of being falutary. Vol. I. В.


Will is not the only cause that prevents a train of thought from being continued through the strongest connections : much depends on the prefent tone of mind; for a subject that accords with this tone is always welcome. Thus, in good spirits, a chearful fubject will be introduced by the flightest connection; and one that is melancholy, not less readily in low spirits : an interesting subject is recalled, from time to time, by any connection indifferently, itrong or weak; which is finely touched by Shakespear, with relation to a rich cargo at sea :

My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at fea.
I should not see the fandy hour-glass rụn,
But I should think of shallows and of flats;
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs,
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church,
And see the holy edifice of ftone,
And not bethink me strait of dangerous rocks?
Which touching but my gentle vessel's fide,
Would scatter, all the fpices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my filks ;
And, in a word, but now worth this,
And now worth nothing.

Merchant of Venice, acl 1. sc. I.

Another cause clearly distinguishable from that now mentioned, hath also a considerable influence to vary the natural train of ideas; which

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is, that in some minds of a singular frame, thoughts and circumstances crowd upon each other by the slightest connection. I ascribe this to a defect in the faculty of discernment; for a person who cannot accurately distinguish between a slight connection and one that is more solid, is equally affected with both : such a person must necessarily have a great flow of ideas, because they are introduced by any relation indifferently; and the flighter relations, being without number, must furnish ideas without end. This doctrine is, in a lively manner, illustrated by Shake{pear :

Falstaff. What is the gross fum that I owe thee?

Hostess. Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself and thy money too.

Thou didst swear to me on a parcel-gilt goblet, fitting in my Dolphin chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun-week, when the Prince broke thy head for likening him to a singing man of Windsor, thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me, and make me my Lady thy wife. Canst thou deny it? Did not Goodwife Keech, the butcher's wife, come in then, and call me Goflip Quickly ? Coming in to borrow a mess of vinegar ; telling us she had a good dish of prawns; whereby thou didst desire to eat some; whereby I told thee they were ill for a green wound? And didst not thou, when she was gone down stairs, desire me to be no more so familiarity with such poor people, saying, that ere long they fhould call me Madam? And didit thou not kiss me, and bid me fetch thee thirty shillings ? I put thee now to thy book-oath, deny it if thou canst.

Second part, Henry IV. acł 2. sc. 2.

On the other hand, a man of accurate judgement cannot have a great flow of ideas ; becaufe the flighter relations, making no figure in his mind, have no power to introduce ideas. And hence it is, that accurate judgement is not friendly to declamation or copious eloquence. This reasoning is confirmed by experience ; for it is a noted observation, That a great or comprehensive memory is feldom connected with a good judge


As an additional confirmation, I appeal to another noted observation, That wit and judgement are feldom united. Wit consists chiefly in joining things by distant and fanciful relations, which surprise because they are unexpected : such relations being of the slightest kind, readily occur to that person only who makes every relation equally welcome. Wit, upon that account, is, in a good measure, incompatible with solid judgement; which, neglecting trivial relations, adlieres to what are substantial and permanent. Thus memory and wit are often conjoined: folid judgement seldom with either.

Every man who attends to his own ideas, will discover order as well as connection in their fucceffion. There is implanted in the breast of every man a principle of order, which governs the arrangement of his perceptions, of his ideas, and of his actions. With regard to perceptions I observe, that to things of equal rank, where there is no room for a preference, order cannot be ap

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