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In an indolent state, or in a reverie, objects: make but a flight imprefsion; far from what they make when they command our attention. In a train of perceptions, no single object makes such a figure as it would do single and apart: for when the attention is divided among many objects, no single object is intitled to a large fhare. Hence the stillness of night contributes to terror, there being nothing to divert the attention.
Horror ubique animos, fimul ipfa filentia terrent,
Zara, Silence and folitude are ev'ry where!
groans And howls of flaves condemn'd, from clink of
Yet more this stillnefs terrifies my soul
... Mourning Bride, alt 5.sc. 8.
And hence it is, that an object seen at the termination of a confined view, is more agreeable than when seen in a group with the surrounding objects.
The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
Merchant of Venice,
34. In matters of flight importance, attention, in a great measure, is directed by will; and for that reason, it is our own fault if trifling objects make any deep impression. Had we power equally to with-hold dur attention from matters of importance," "we might be proof against any deep impression. But our power fails us here: an interesting object seizes and fixes the attention beyond the possibility of control ; and while our attention is thus forcibly attached by one ob
ject, others may solicit for admittance; but in vain, for they will not be regarded. Thus a small misfortune is scarce felt in presence of a greater :
Lear. Thou think'it 'tis much, that this conten
King Lear, aft 3. fc. 5.
3.35. Genus, Speçies, modification, are terms invented to distinguish beings from each other. Individuals are distinguished by their, qualities : a large class of individuals enjoying qualities in common, is termed a genus : a subdivision of such class is termed a species. Again, that circumstance which diftinguisheth one genus, one species, or even one individual, from another, is term
ed a modification: the same particular that is, termed a property or quality when confir dered as belonging to an individual or a class of individuals, is termed a modification when considered as distinguishing the individual or the class from another. A black skin and soft curled hair, are properties of a nes gro: the same circumstances considered as marks that distinguish a negro from a man of a different species, are denominated mom difications.
36. Objects of sight, being complex, are distinguishable into the several particulars that enter into the composition: thefe oba jects are all of them coloured ; and they all haye length, breadth, and thickness. When I behold a spreading oak, I distinguish in this object, fize, figure, colour, and fometimes motion : viewing a flowing river, I distinguish colour, figure, and constant motion: a dye has colour, black spots, fix plain surfaces, all equal and uniform." The objects of touch, have all of them extenfion: Some of them are felt rough, fome smooth: fome of them are hard, some soft. With respect to the other senses, fome of their ob
jects are simple, some complex: a found, a taste, a smell, may be so simple as not to be distinguishable into any parts : others are perceived to be compounded of different founds, different tastes, and different smells. 37.
The eye at one look can take in a number of objects, as of trees in a field, or men in a crowd: 'as these objects are distinct from each other, each having a separate and independent existence, they are distinguishable in the mind as well as in reality; and there is nothing more easy, than to abstract from fome and to confine our contemplation to others. A large oak with its spreading branches, fixes our attention upon itself, and abstracts us from the shrubs that surround it. In the same manner, with respect to compounded sounds, tastes, or smells, we can fix our thoughts upon any one of the component parts, abstracting our attention from the rest. But the
of abstraction is not confined to objects that are separable in reality as well as mentally: it also takes place where there can be no real separation. The size, the figure, the colour, of a tree, are inseparably connected, Vol.III.