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Every man has at times in his mind the ideal of what he should be, but is not. This ideal may be high and complete, or it may be quite low and insufficient; yet, in all men that really seek to improve, it is better than the actual character. Perhaps no one is so satisfied with himself that he never wishes to be wiser, better, and more holy. Man never falls so low that he can see nothing higher than himself. This ideal man which project, as it were, out of ourselves, and seek to make real-this wisdom, goodness, and holiness, which we aim to transfer from our thoughts to our life-has an action more or
Alas! we know that ideals can never be completely embodied in practice. Ideals must ever lie a great way off-and we will thankfully content ourselves with any not intolerable approximation thereto ! Let no man, as Schiller says, too querulously measure by a scale of perfection the meagre product of reality" in this poor world of ours. We will esteem him no wise man; we will esteem him a sickly, discontented, foolish man. And yet, on the other hand, it is never to be forgotten that ideals do exist; that if they be not approximated to at all, the whole matter goes to wreck! Infallibly. No bricklayer builds a wall perpendicular-mathematically this is not possible; a certain degree of perpendicularity suffices him, and he, like a good bricklayer, who must have done with his job, leaves it so. And yet, if he sway too much from the perpendicular-above all, if he throw plummet and level quite away from him and pile brick on brick heedless, just as it comes to handsuch bricklayer, I think, is in a bad way. He has forgotten himself; but the law of gravitation does not forget to act on him; he and his wall rush down into a confused welter of ruins! Carlyle.
Ideality is a strong guardian of virtue; they who have tasted its genuine pleasures can never rest satisfied with those of mere sense. But it is possible to cultivate the taste to such a degree as to induce a fastidious refinement, when it becomes the inlet of more pain than pleasure. Nor is the worst of over-refinement the loss of selfish gratification: it is apt to interfere with benevolence, to avoid the sight of inelegant distress, to shrink from the contact of vulgar worth, and to lead us to despise those whose feeling of taste is less delicate and correct than our own. If the beautiful and the useful be incompatible, the beautiful must give way; as the means of the existence and comfort of the masses must be provided before the elegancies which can only conduce to the pleasure of the few. Selfishness, though refined, is still but selfishness, and refinement ought never to interfere with the means of doing good in the world as it at present exists.
Do not allow Idleness to deceive you; for, while you give him to-day, he steals to-morrow from you. Crowquill.
It it not desirable to appeal early to this feeling, or perhaps even directly to cultivate it. If the other faculties are well developed and properly cultivated, this will attain sufficient strength of itself. The beautiful is the clothing of the infinite; and in the contemplation of the beautiful, and the love of perfection-not in churches-we seek our highest and most intimate communion with God, and draw nearer and nearer to him. The
fine arts-painting, sculpture, music, as well hath to himself an idle and unprofitable carcass, A thousand evils do afflict that man, which as poetry-ought all to minister to ideality. The proper use of painting, for instance, ought to be to represent everything that is beautiful in the present, and to recall all that is worthy of remembrance in the past. To give body to those spiritual pictures of ideal beauty and perfection which ideality forms,-to give a faithful representation of the great and good that have departed, and to put vividly before us those actions and scenes, those pages from universal history, which have a tendency to refine, to exalt, and to enlarge the soul,-this is what painting ought to aim at. Charles Bray.
Idleness is the badge of gentry, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause, not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases: for the mind is naturally active; and if it be not,
occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy. Burton.
Eschew the idle life!
Flee, flee from doing nought!
labour, and not give up to indulgence and A man should inure himself to voluntary pleasure; as they beget no good constitution of body, nor knowledge of the mind. Socrates.
The idle, who are neither wise for this world nor the next, are emphatically fools at large. Archbishop Tillotson. IDLENESS-neither Pleasure nor Pain.
Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are out of the nurse's arms. Steele.
Grete rest stondeth in litel businesse. Chaucer.
If you ask me which is the real hereditary sin of human nature, do you imagine I shall answer, pride, or luxury, or ambition, or egotism? No: I shall say indolence. Who con. quers indolence will conquer all the rest. Indeed, all good principles must stagnate without mental activity. Zimmerman.
I look upon indolence as a sort of suicide; for the man is effectually destroyed, though the appetite of the brute may survive. Chesterfield.
Idleness is a constant sin, and but the devil's home for temptation, and for unprofitable, distracting musings. Barter.
IDLENESS-the Nurse of Sin.
Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and Solomon. an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
Idleness travels very slowly, and Poverty Hunter. soon overtakes her.
Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless ease. Franklin.
Down on the threshold, never more to rise.
It is impossible to make people understand
What, Dagon up again! I thought we had their ignorance, for it requires knowledge to perceive it; and, therefore, he that can perceive it, hath it not. Jeremy Taylor.
There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal whatsoever, in which the most ignorant were not the most violent: for a bee is not a busier animal than a blockhead. However, such instruments are necessary to politicians; and perhaps it may be with states as with clocks, which must have some lead weight hanging at them, to help and regulate the motion of the finer and more useful parts.
And rive the idol into winter fagots?
Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn f Job.
'Tis mad idolatry,
To make the service greater than the god.
IDOLS-of the Heathen.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. David.
IGNORANCE-Surprise caused by.
A man is never astonished or ashamed that he don't know what another does, but he is
surprised at the gross ignorance of the other in not knowin' what he does. Haliburton.
See the wretch that long has tost,
And walk and run again.
An able physician once said, that in a dangerous illness, a Christian would have a better chance of recovery than an unbeliever; that religious resignation was a better soothing medicine than poppy, and a better cordial than ether: an habitual horror of death overshadows the mind, darkening the little daylight of life. An indulgence in a morbid excess of apprehension, not only embitters a man's
existence, but often shortens its duration. He
IMAGINATION-accompanied by Ac- So that I know not what to stay upon,
Wherever men are assembled in societies, and are not swallowed up in sloth or most debasing passion, there the great elements of our nature are in action; and much as in this day, to look upon the face of life, it appears to IMAGINATION-Characteristics of. be removed from all poetry, we cannot but believe that, in the very heart of our most civilized life-in our cities, in each great metropolis of commerce, in the midst of the most active concentration of all those relations of being which seem most at war with imagination-there the materials which imagination seeks in human life are yet to be found. It were much to be wished, therefore, for the sake both of our literature and of our life, that imagination would again be content to dwell with life; that we had less of poetry, and more of strength; and that imagination were again to be found, as it used to be, one of the elements of life itself, a strong principle of our nature, living in the midst of our affections and passions, blending with, kindling, invigorating, and exalting them all. Professor Wilson. IMAGINATION-Activity of the,
The faculty of imagination is the great spring of human activity, and the principal source of human improvement. As it delights in presenting to the mind scenes and characters more perfect than those which we are acquainted with, it prevents us from ever being completely satisfied with our present condition, or with our past attainments, and engages us continually in the pursuit of some untried enjoyment, or of some ideal excellence. Hence the ardour of the selfish to better their fortunes, and to add to their personal accomplishments; and hence the zeal of the patriot and the philosopher to advance the virtue and the happiness of the human race. Destroy this faculty, and the condition of man will become as stationary as that of the brutes.
Dugald Stewart. IMAGINATION-Divine Attribute of
It is the divine attribute of the imagination, that it is irrepressible, unconfinable; that when the real world is shut out, it can create a world for itself, and with a necromantic power can conjure up glorious shapes and forms, and brilliant visions to make solitude populous, and irradiate the gloom of a dungeon.
My brain, methinks, is like an hour-glass,
I did wed
Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought. Imagination is of three kinds: joined with belief of that which is to come; joined with memory of that which is past; and of things present. Brous
Imagination is that faculty which arouses the passions by the impression of exterior objects; it is influenced by these objects, and consequently it is in affinity with them; it is contagious; its fear or courage flies from imagination to imagination; the same in love, hate, joy, or grief: hence I conclude it to be a most subtle atmosphere. Lord John Russell
IMAGINATION-Creations of the.
Whatever makes the past or the future predominate over the present, exalts us in the scale of thinking beings.
IMAGINATION-Pictures of the.
When at eve, at the bounding of the landscape, the heavens appear to recline so slowly on the earth, imagination pictures beyond the horizon an asylum of hope, a native land of love; and nature seems silently to repeat that man is immortal. Madame de Stael. IMAGINATION-superseded by Reason. But lost, for ever lost, to me, those joys Which reason scatters and which time destroys' No more the midnight fairy tribe I view, All in the merry moonshine tippling dew; E'en the last lingering fiction of the brainThe churchyard ghost-is now at rest again.
IMAGINATION-Shadows of the.
The imagination has a shadow as well as the body, that keeps just a little ahead of you, or follows close behind your heels; it don't do to let it frighten you. Haliburton.
A good imitation is the most perfect originality. Voltaire.
Amongst the causes assigned for the continuance and diffusion of the same moral sentiments amongst mankind, may be mentioned imitation. The efficacy of this principle is most observable in children; indeed, if there be anything in them which deserves the name of an instinct, it is their propensity to imitation. Now there is nothing which children imitate, or apply more readily, than expressions of affection and aversion, of approbation, hatred, resentment, and the like; and when these passions and expressions are once connected, which they soon will be by the same association which unites words with their ideas, the passion will follow the expression, and attach upon the object to which the child has been accustomed to apply the epithet.
Even in a moral point of view, I think the analogies derived from the transformation of insects admit of some beautiful applications, which have not been neglected by pious entomologists. The three states-of the caterpillar, larva, and butterfly-have, since the time of the Greek poets, been applied to typify the human being-its terrestrial form, apparent death, and ultimate celestial destination; and it seems more extraordinary that a sordid and crawling worm should become a beautiful and active fly-that an inhabitant of the dark and fetid dunghill should in an instant entirely change its form, rise into the blue air, and enjoy the sunbeams,-than that a being, whose pursuits here have been after an undying name, and whose purest happiness has been derived from the acquisition of intellectual power and finite knowledge, should rise hereafter into a state of being where immortality is no longer a name, and ascend to the source of Unbounded Power and Infinite Wisdom. Sir Humphrey Davy.
Bonaparte was visiting the picture gallery of Soult with Dénon, and was struck with one of Raffaelle's pictures, which Dénon complimented with the term 46 immortal." "How
long may it last?" asked Bonaparte.
The caterpillar, on being converted into an inert scaly mass, does not appear to be fitting itself for an inhabitant of the air, and can have no consciousness of the brilliancy of its future being. We are masters of the earth, but perhaps we are the slaves of some great and unknown beings. The fly, that we crush with our finger, or feed with our viands, has no knowledge of man, and no consciousness of his superiority. We suppose that we are quainted with matter and all its elements, yet we cannot even guess at the cause of electricity, or explain the laws of the formation of the stones that fall from meteors. There may be beings, thinking beings, near or surrounding us, which we do not perceive, which we cannot imagine. We know very little, but, in my opinion, we know enough to hope for the immortality, the individual immortality, of the better part of man. Sir Humphrey Davy.
How gloomy would be the mansions of the dead to him, who did not know that he should never die; that what now acts shall continue its agency, and what now thinks shall think on for ever. Johnson.
Is it less strange that thou shouldst live at all?
The Deity, who saw