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every oppressor might justify his tyranny by alleging that his victims were so inured by habit to suffering and slavery, that they had ceased to be conscious of them; and the same plea might be laid as a flattering unction to their souls, by those who passively subscribe to the sentence which comprises the poor man's lot in three short words : to be born, to suffer, and to die.

Again, the influence of attention in prolonging and reviving passive impressions must be taken into account. Sounds to which the car is so accustomed, that they convey no impression to the mind, are heard as distinctly as the first time the moment that we attend to them. Any impression that arouses the active faculties, not only retains its full force whilst those are exercised, but even gains in strength and intensity. This accounts for the daily renewed pleasure which we can derive from a beautiful view or picture. Although the first impression was passive, yet when the active faculties of attention, comparison, and association are roused, they lead us perpetually to discover new beauties in the object which, if merely passively contemplated, would have long ceased to produce any impression at all.

But the impressions conveyed through the senses are not the only ones under which the mind remains passive. tions are as involuntary as our sensations, and we can no more will at any particular moment to love or hate, to admire or loathe, than we can will to hear music in the creaking of a wheel, or to see beauty in a formless mass. The term passion, by which these emotions are designated, shows that this truth has always been felt and recognized. Whilst the mind remains passive under them, these emotions follow the same law as our sensations, and grow weaker with every repetition. Thus the sense of remorse is lessened with every fresh act of guilt which calls it forth, till at last it ceases to be felt altogether; and in the same manner the excitement of our best and purest feelings may (as in the case of the mere sentimentalist) produce only practical indifference to virtue. These feelings, however, were not given us to die away in barren passivity. Their office is to

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rouse the will into activity, by presenting it with motives to action. Pity, for instance, is the motive to acts of benevolence, resentment, to acts of revenge ; and when thus carried into action, the passive emotion becomes an active principle. In this manner every passion, good or evil, may be trained into a principle of action, or, as Butler terms it, an inward, practical principle; and the acts which flow from it, often repeated, form a moral habit. We go on to quote Dr. Butler's own words:

“ Habits of the mind are produced by the exertion of inward, practical principles, i. e. by carrying them into act, or acting upon them; the principles of obedience, of veracity, justice, and charity. Nor can those habits be formed by any external course of action, otherwise than as it proceeds from these principles : because it is only these inward principles exerted, which are strictly acts of obedience, of veracity, of justice, and of charity. So, likewise, habits of attention, industry, self-government, are in the same manner acquired by exercise, and habits of envy and revenge by indulgence, whether in outward act, or in thought and intention, i. e. inward act; for such intention is an act. Resolutions, also, to do well, are properly acts. And endeavoring to enforce upon our own minds a practical sense of virtue, or to beget in others that practical sense of it which a man really has himself, is a virtuous act. All these, therefore, may and will contribute towards forming good habits. But going over the theory of virtue in one's thoughts, talking well, and drawing fine pictures of it; this is so far from necessarily or certainly conducing to form a habit of it in him who thus employs himself, that it may harden the mind in a contrary course, and render it gradually more insensible, - i. e. form a habit of insensibility to all moral considerations. For, from our very faculty of habits, passive impressions, by being repeated, grow weaker. Thoughts, by often passing through the mind, are felt less sensibly; being accustomed to danger, begets intrepidity, i. e. lessens fear; to distress, lessens the passion of pity; to instances of others' mortality, lessens the sensible apprehension of our own. And from these two observations together, that practical habits are formed and strengthened by repeated acts, and that passive impressions grow weaker by being repeated upon us, it must follow that active habits may be gradually forming and strengthening, by a course of acting upon such and such motives and excitements, whilst these motives and excitements themselves are, by proportionable degrees, growing less sensible, i. e. are continually less and less sensibly felt, even as the active habits strengthen. And experience confirms this. For active principles, at the very time that they are less lively in perception than they were, are found to be, somehow, wrought more thoroughly into the temper and character, and become more effectual in influencing our practice. The three things just before mentioned may afford instances of it. Perception of danger is a natural excitement of passive fear and active caution; and by being inured to danger, habits of the latter are gradually wrought, at the same time that the former gradually lessens. Perception of distress in others, is a natural excitement, passively to pity, and actively to relieve it ; but let a man set himself to attend to, inquire out, and relieve distressed persons, and he cannot but grow less and less sensibly affected with the various miseries of life with which he must become acquainted; when yet, at the same time, benevolence, considered not as a passion, but as a practical principle of action, will strengthen; and whilst he passively compassionates the distressed less, he will acquire a greater aptitude actively to assist and befriend them. So, also, at the same time that the daily instances of men's dying around us give us daily a less sensible passive feeling or apprehension of our own mortality, such instances greatly contribute to the strengthening a practical regard to it in serious men, i. e. to forming a habit of acting with a constant view to it. And this seems again further to show, that passive impressions made upon our minds by admonition, experience, example, though they may have a remote efficacy, and a very great one, towards forming active habits, yet can have this efficacy no otherwise than by inducing us to such a course of action ; and that it is not being affected so and so, but acting, which forms those habits; only it must be always remembered, that real endeavors to enforce good impres. sions upon ourselves are a species of virtuous action.


· Thus, by accustoming ourselves to any course of action, we get an aptness to go on, a facility, readiness, and often pleasure, in it. The inclinations which rendered us averse to it grow weaker: the difficulties in it, not only the imaginary but the real ones, lessen : the reasons for it offer themselves of course to our thoughts upon all occasions: and the least glimpse of them is sufficient to make us go on in a course of action to which we have been accustomed. And practical principles appear to grow stronger, absolutely in themselves, by exercise, as well as relatively, with regard to contrary principles ; which, by being accustomed to submit, do so habitually, and of course, And thus a new character, in several respects, may be formed ; and many habitudes of life, not given by nature, but which nature directs us to acquire.

We can add nothing either of explanation or illustration to this admirable passage, and shall simply point out a few of its practical consequences. It enables us at once to detect the two opposite errors which produce the failures in education already noticed, and which are probably at the bottom of every unsuccessful attempt at self-training. Either the external acts are exclusively watched and controlled, without regard to the inward principle or motive whence they spring; or the teacher rests contented with having excited virtuous emotions, and lets them pass away without being carried into action. In both cases, the habit formed is just as likely to be the very opposite of the one aimed at. The child on whom a mere routine of duty is im. posed, may follow it with the regularity of a machine, whilst inwardly cherishing a dislike to authority and disregard of duty which will show themselves in open insubordination as soon as the external restraint is removed ; on the other hand, where the only aim has been to excite the feelings, we shall often be startled by the painful contrast of virtuous sentiments and vicious

* Analogy of Religion, Nat. and Rev., Part I. Chap. V.

actions, passive admiration of what is good and true, and prac. tical neglect of all goodness and truth.

There is no moral habit more important than that of preserving the due connection between our good feelings, as motives, and our actions. It is only by maintaining this connection, and carrying each virtuous emotion into immediate act, at least so far as to resolve to act upon it, that it can be trained into a practical principle. This, again, gives us a rule for correcting bad habits ; for if we steadfastly refuse to carry the evil passion into act, and exert the mind in a contrary direction, by fixing attention upon different and higher motives, it will gradually die away and be replaced by an active principle of virtue.

The struggle against bad habits is generally the first and most painful step in self-education. Few, indeed, are those whose early training has left them only the care of maintaining the good habits already implanted! The reverse is usually the case, and the good seed has to be sown in a neglected soil, where weeds have long taken root and flourished. It will be well to enter upon the task without delay, for the evil habits of early life are to those of maturity as the slender fibre of the seedling to the wide-spread roots of the forest oak; whilst in the very inverse proportion is the hopeful energy of youth, to the feeble will of a mind long unused to self-government, and shrinking from any conflict with the power to which it has through life passively submitted. It is a common mistake to allow the force of habit only with regard to the past, and to overlook its possible influence over the future. We are glad to plead it as a justification for what we know to be wrong, but tacitly deny its efficacy as an instrument of improvement. Young persons are very apt in this way to consider any bad habit engendered by their education as an invincible evil, which must be submitted to by themselves and their friends, as they would submit to any bodily infirmity. They profess, indeed, to lament over it, and to wish that it were otherwise ; but we are inclined to think that, if the regret were sincere, it would be accompanied by active exertion to remove its cause, and earnestness in applying the means of self-improvement. Ostentatious

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