« PreviousContinue »
rolling from one thing to another, or leaping from the top of one to the height of another object, I must now endeavour to rank and digest them in order and method, that they may for the future be more steady and regular in their pursuits. I know the devil and my corrupt nature will labour to break the ranks, and confound the order of them. What stratagem, therefore, shall I use to prevent this confusion? I shall endeavour, by the grace of God, whensoever I find any idle thoughts frisk and rove out of the way, to call them in again, and set them to work upon one or other of those objects before mentioned, and to keep them for some time fixed and intent upon it; and considering the relations and dependencies of One thing upon another, not to suffer any foreign ideas, such I mean as are impertinent to the chain of thoughts I am upon, to justle thein out, or divert my mind another way; no, not though they be otherwise good thoughts; for thoughts, in themselves good, when they crowd in unseasonably, are sometimes attended with very ill effects, by interrupting and preventing some good purposes and resolutions, which might prove effectual for promoting God's glory, the good of others, and the comfort of my own soul, .
One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading,
Milton's PARADISE REGAINED.
It only remains now to speak of the prevention and cure of blasphenous thoughts. Here it must be premised, that these being for the most part injections of Satan, no effectual remedy can be prescribed with respect to them, any more than with regard to his other devices. Do what we will, he may continue to vex, though he may not be permitted to burt us. We are exhorted to wash our hearts from wickedness, that corruption being more subdued, Satan might not find so much upon which to fasten his temptations. It is the foulness of our hearts that gives him such an advantage; keep, therefore, your hearts with all diligence, and find out the special causes and occasions of such wicked thoughts.
Imagination. Imagination, employed in its most trivial exertion, is often called fancy. A sublime poet is a man of vast imagination, a witty author is a person of lively fancy.
Beattie. Imagination has no limits, and is a sphere which you may move on to eternity.
Pope. Imagination is a boundless, restless faculty, free from all engagements; it digs without a spade ; sails without ships; Alies without wings; builds without expense; fights without bloodshed; striding in a moment from the centre to the circumference of the world; by a kind of omnipotency, creating and annihilating things in an instant; and marrying things divorced in nature.
The ethereal flame of imagination requires a conductor as much as an electric fluid.
By the flattering pencil of imagination the cold skeleton of abstract reasoning assumes living and vermillion flesh; by that, the sciences tourish and are embellished; woods speak, echoes sigh, rocks weep, marble breatbes, and all inanimate bodies are inspired with life; it is that which adds to the tenderness of an amorous beart, and poignant taste of pleasures.
Man a Machine.
SHAKSPEARE. In poetry, imagination deifies the striking objects of nature; soars into an ideal world; aggrandizes temporal beings; assembles scattered lines of beauty; creates unknown essences; and (astonished at its own work) takes its visions at last for realities,
Bitusbé on the marvellous. The delight of sensual intercourse is ascribed chiefly to the imagination. Were it not for this, a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as a duchess; which is not the case.
Dr. S. Johnson. Imagination, in a poet, is a faculty so wild and lawless, that, like a bigt-ranging spaniel, it must have clogs to it, lest it out-run the judgment.
Borrow'd from midnight, torn from fairy fields
WATTS. By imagination, we understand a creativg power, possessed by the mind, enabling it to form numberless ideas, which are not the
immediate result of external impressions, or of recollection. By the imagination, every man creates thoughts ; they are entirely his own, and they might never bave existed, had they not occurred to his individual mind. It is by the force of imagination that certain images, fancies, and conceits, frequently present themselves, although they may not be authorized by reason, nor have any prototype in nature,
Cogan. Imagination is properly the act of the mind, which assembles, compounds, and divides its ideas out in the order in wbich they first came into the mind; for that is the province of memory; but in any order, and upon any principle it chooses. It ranges abroad through the immense magazine and repository of ideas treasured up there; aud joins together, or separates, at pleasure, ideas, qualities, and forms. It may be called the servant, or labourer of the mind, continually employed to bring before it its amazing storebouse of materials, with which it builds up its conclusions, It is the patient drudge, toiling for the common benefit and assistance of all other powers. Without imagination, we cannot reason. The office of the understanding is merely that of the judge, to pass sentence upon the cause before it; the imagination collects and arranges the evidence, and brings it before the deciding power, in such a form as may lead to an accurate and judicious determination.
Barnes's Manchester Memoirs. Imagination, not being tied to the laws of matter, it may, at pleasure, join that which nature bath severed, and sever that which nature hath joined.
Lord Bacon. Imagination sometimes puts sceptres into our hands, or mitres on our beads; shifts the scene of pleasure with endless variety; bids all the forms of beauty sparkle before us; and gluts us with every change of visionary luxury.
Idler. After all, imagination is but transient; the gay colouring which it gives at the first glance, you lose, when brought into execution; like those various figures in the gilded clouds, which while we gaze long upon, to separate the parts of each imaginary image, the whole faints before the eye, and decays into confusion. Pope's Letters.