Page images
[ocr errors]

culty of abstraction that we distribute beings into genera and Species: finding a number of individuals connected by certain qualities common to all, we give a name to these individuals. confidered as thus connected, which name, by gathering them together into one clafs, ferves in a curt manner to exprefs the whole of thefe individuals as diftinct from others. Thus the word animal ferves to denote every being which hath felf-motion; and the words man, horfe, lion, &c. answer fimilar purposes. This is the first and most common fort of abftraction; and it is of the most extenfive ufe, by enabling us to comprehend in our reafoning whole kinds and forts, inftead of individuals without end. The next fort of abstract ideas and terms comprehends a number of individual objects confidered as connected by fome occafional relation. A great number of perfons collected together in one place, without any other relation but merely that of contiguity, are denominated a crowd: in forming this term, we abstract from fex, from age, from condition, from drefs, &c. A number of perfons connected by being fubjected to the fame laws and to the fame government, are termed a nation: and a number of men fubjected to the fame military command, are termed an army. A third fort of abftraction is, where a fingle property or part, which may be common to many individuals, is felected to be the


fubject of our contemplation; for example, whitenefs, heat, beauty, length, roundness, head, arm.

42. Abstract terms are a happy invention: it is by their means chiefly, that the particulars which we make the fubject of our reasoning are brought into close union, and feparated from all others however naturally connected. Without the aid of fuch terms, the mind could never be kept steady to its proper fubject, but would perpetually be in hazard of affuming foreign circumstances, or neglecting what are effential. We can, without the aid of language, compare real objects by intuition, when these objects are prefent; and, when abfent, we can compare them by means of the ideas we have of them. But when we advance farther, and attempt to make inferences, and draw conclufions, we al ways employ abstract terms, even in thinking: it would be as difficult to reason without them, as to perform operations in algebra without signs; for there is scarce any reasoning without fome degree of abstraction, and we cannot abstract to purpose without making use of abstract terms. Hence it follows, that without language man would fcarce be a rational being.

43. The fame thing, in different refpects, has different names. With respect to certain qualities, it is termed a fubftance; with respect to other qualities, a body; and with respect to qualities of all forts, a fubject. It is termed a paf

five fubject with refpect to an action exerted upon it; an object with refpect to a percipient; a cause with respect to the effect it produces; and an effect with respect to its cause.


[blocks in formation]

{The volumes are denoted by numeral letters, the pages by figures.]

A Bftract idea) defined ii. 524.

ii. 524.

Abstract ideas of different kinds

Abstraction) power of ii. 523. Its ufe ii. 523. 524.

Abstract terms) ought to be avoided in poetry i. 225. ii. 348. Cannot
be compared but by being perfonified ii. 185. Perfonified ii. 234.
Defined ii. 524. The ufe of abstract terms ii. 526.

Accent) defined ii. 104.

The musical accents that are neceffary in an
hexameter line ii. 115. A low word must not be accented ii. 145.*
Rules for accenting English heroic verse ii. 145. 146. How far affect
ed by the pause ii. 150. Accent and pause have a mutual influence

ii. 154.

Action) what feelings are raised by human actions i. 35. 36. 211. 337.
We are impelled to action by defire i. 40. Some actions are instinc-
tive, fome intended as means to a certain end i. 43. Actions great
and elevated, low and groveling i. 211. Slowness and quickness in
acting, to what causes owing i. 293. 302. Emotions occafioned by
propriety of action i. 326. Occafioned by impropriety of action
i. 327. Human actions confidered with respect to dignity and mean-
nefs i. 342. Actions the interpreters of the heart i. 419. Action
is the fundamental part of epic and dramatic compositions ii. 380.
Unity of action ii. 400. We are confcious of internal action as in
the head ii. 500. Internal action may proceed without our being
confcious of it ii. 500.

Action and reaction betwixt a paffion and its object i. 112.

Actor) bombaft actor i. 234. An actor should feel the paffion he re-
prefents i. 439. Difference as to pronunciation betwixt the French
and English actors i. 443. Note.

Admiration i. 111. 245.

Eneid. See Virgil.

Affectation i. 325.

Affection) to children accounted for i. 63. To blood-relations i. 43.
Affection for what belongs to us i. 64. Social affections more refi.
ned than selfish i. 104. Affection in what manner inflamed into a
paflion i. 110. 111. Oppofed to propensity i. 114. Affection to
children endures longer than any other affection i. 115. Opinion



« PreviousContinue »