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particulars here related, belong not less to the brute creation than to man. If men are imperfectly acquainted with their external figure and appearance, this may well be conceived to be still more predicable of the inferior animals. It is true that all of them seem to be aware of the part in their structure, where lie their main strength and means of hostility. Thus the bull attacks with his horns, and the horse with his heels, the beast of prey
with his claws, the bird with his beak, and insects and other venomous creatures with their sting. We know not by what impulse they are prompted to the use of the various means which are so intimately connected with their preservation and welfare ; and we call it instinct. We may be certain it does not arise from a careful survey of their parts and members, and a methodised selection of the means which shall be found most effectual for the accomplishment of their ends. There is no premeditation ; and, without anatomical knowledge, or any distinct acquaintance with their image and likeness, they proceed straight to their purpose. Hence, even as men, they are more familiar with the figures and appearance of their fellows, their allies, or their enemies, than with their own.
Man is a creature of mingled substance. I am many times a day compelled to acknowledge what a low, mean and contemptible being I am. Philip of Macedon had no need to give it in charge to a page, to repair to him every morning, and repeat,
“Remember, sir, you are a man.” A variety of circumstances occur to us, while we eat, and drink, and submit to the humiliating necessities of nature, that may well inculcate into us this salutary lesson. The wonder rather is, that man, who has so many things to put him in mind to be humble and despise himself, should ever have been susceptible of pride and disdain. Nebuchadnezzar must indeed have been the most besotted of mortals, if it were necessary that he should be driven from among men, and made to eat grass like an ox, to convince him that he was not the equal of the power that made him.
But fortunately, as I have said, man is a “stranger at home.” Were it not for this, how incomprehensible would be
The ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
The marshal's truncheon, and the judge's robe ! How ludicrous would be the long procession and the caparisoned horse, the gilded chariot and the flowing train, the colours flying, the drums beat. ing, and the sound of trumpets rending the air, which after all only introduce to us an ordinary inan, no otherwise perhaps distinguished from the vilest of the ragged spectators, than by the accident of his birth!
But what is of more importance in the temporary oblivion we are enabled to throw over the refuse of the body, it is thus we arrive at the majesty
of man. That sublimity of conception which renders the poet, and the man of great literary and original endowments “in apprehension like a God,” we could not have, if we were not privileged occasionally to cast away the slough and exuvie of the body from incumbering and dishonouring us, even as Ulysses passed over his threshold, stripped of the rags that had obscured him, while Minerva enlarged his frame, and gave loftiness to his stature, added a youthful beauty and grace to his motions, and caused his eyes to flash with more than mortal fire. With what disdain, when I have been rapt in the loftiest moods of mind, do I look down upon my limbs, the house of clay that contains me, the gross flesh and blood of which my frame is composed, and wonder at a lodging, poorly fitted to entertain so divine a guest !
A still more important chapter in the history of the human mind has its origin in these considerations. Hence it is that unenlightened man, in almost all ages and countries, has been induced, independently of diviné revelation, to regard death, the most awful event to which we are subject, as not being the termination of his existence. We see the body of our friend become insensible, and remain without motion, or any external indication of what we call life. We can shut it up in an apartment, and visit it from day to day. If we had
perseverance enough, and could so far conquer the repugnance and humiliating feeling with which the
experiment would be attended, we might follow step by step the process of decomposition and putrefaction, and observe by what degrees the “ dust returned unto earth as it was.” But, in spite of this demonstration of the senses, man still believes that there is something in him that lives after death. The mind is so infinitely superior in character to this case of flesh that incloses it, that he cannot persuade himself that it and the body perish together.
There are two considerations, the force of which made man a religious animal. The first is, his proneness to ascribe hostility or benevolent intention to every thing of a memorable sort that occurs to him in the order of nature. The second is that of which I have just treated, the superior dignity of mind over body. This, we persuade ourselves, shall subsist uninjured by the mutations of our corporeal frame, and undestroyed by the wreck of the material universe.
OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF TALENTS.
Πολύ τε διαφέρειν ου δεί νομίζειν άνθρωπον ανθρώπου, κράτιστον δε είναι όστις εν τοις αναγκαιοτάτοις παιδεύεται.
Tuucydides, Lib. I, cap. 84.
PRESUMED DEARTH OF INTELLECTUAL POWER.-SCHOOLS
FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH CONSIDERED.-THE BOY
AND THE MAN COMPARED.
One of the earliest judgments that is usually made by those whose attention is turned to the characters of men in the social state, is of the great inequality with which the gifts of the understanding are distributed among us.
Go into a miscellaneous society ; sit down at table with ten or twelve men ; repair to a club where as many are assembled in an evening to relax from the toils of the day—it is almost proverbial, that one or two of these persons will perhaps be brilliant, and the rest "weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.”
Go into a numerous school—the case will be still more striking. I have been present where two men of superior endowments endeavoured to enter into a calculation on the subject; and they agreed that