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isolated, and alone with God in the universe; and the springs of his originality a secret that must remain forever with himself. In the possession of such a faculty, however, there can be no ground for assumption of superiority. Men differ greatly in the vigor and activity of their minds ; but all possess distinctive features of mental character, and no one deserves praise for originality any more than for distinctive features of face: only in as far as he has appropriately cultivated and given expression to it does he merit praise on that ground.

Many causes conduce to prevent the full development of pure originality, of which the chief are the force of common qualities and similar circumstances of life, having a tendency to drag all into the same track, and the influence over feeble minds exerted by those of great strength and activity, amounting in many cases to an actual despotism, under which they cower through life, without daring to represent themselves in form or expression.


If these emarks are correct, the man who well knows himself, and has courage to be true, will find no need for affected singularities. In faithful obedience to his spiritual nature, originality will take care of itself. But self-knowledge is an acquisition of neither common nor easy attainment. It is not enough to be acquainted with the principles of mental philosophy. To philosophy belongs only what is common to the race; self-knowledge must take cognizance of what is peculiar to the individual, and the very first step toward it demands a self-denial and control which few will take the trouble to exercise. As none can have any conception of what is peculiar in the mind of another, until it has manifested itself in some striking manner, nor even then completely, it follows that we are not to expect teachers to perform this duty for us. Every man who would accomplish the task of life, must examine, educate, and express himself. We must learn to distinguish between what we are, and what we have acquired; between convictions and prejudices; must acquire habits of reflection upon the working of our passions, and to this end must have them under control; observe the ground of our likings and dislikings; measure ourselves impartially with others, considering how far the same things are becoming to others and to ourselves; observe wherein we enjoy the greatest facility of execution, and compare our productions with others of a similar nature—so shall a light be reflected from the creations of the mind upon the mind itself. By such comparisons we the more readily detect our faults, in contrast with the excellence of others, and distinguish the features wherein we correctly differ, while we enlarge our knowledge of the

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general rules of art, in their bearing upon ourselves. The advice of a friend is also profitable, if you enjoy the good fortune of one honest enough to tell unpleasant as well as pleasant truths. And the word of an enemy may be turned to good account. For commonly it has some foundation in truth. But without a good degree of independent self-knowledge, it is impossible to estimate rightly, or usefully apply the opinions of either friend or foe; for, as a general rule, advice ought never to be taken implicitly. Thus, there is a clearness and steadiness of perception, and force of character, acquired by the very labor and balancing of estimates and opinions, requisite to the attainment of self-knowledge; and even should one discover in himself no great strength of mind, he fortifies what he has, by the process of finding out wherein his weakness lies.

The work of defining one's individuality to his own understanding is the more difficult, that the great outlines of humanity are the same in all, and the distinctive consist in the fainter colors, and more delicate shades. As all countenances are composed of the same principal parts, formed in the same general way; and by those minuter particulars alone, which few people detect in their own faces, are they instantly distinguished by one another: so in the mind, the little things which elude our own notice contain the mystery of our individual being. Faint though the colors, in any one part of the texture, they are so firmly fixed, that however diluted with common qualities, they are never effaced, but taken together, give their tinge to the whole web of the individual existence.

But even when the nature of this proper self has been ascertained, much still remains to be done, in order to admit and promote a free and adequate expression. One is not to take for granted that every state of mind he experiences is in every degree right and proper. A clear distinction must be made between natural character and acquired habits; for if compliance with the one gives pure originality, oddity is the only product of the other. Yet the indolent growth of obvious externals, too often substituted for the very difficult result of profound self-knowledge, is eagerly sought after by minds of an inferior stamp, and constitutes their peculiar claim to distinction. On the other hand, great genius, whether including clear self-intuition, or finding its full exercise only after such an attainment, certainly exhibits in its productions the highest degree of purity in this respect. In the mature works of Shakspeare there is nothing of the personal habits of the actor, nothing from which we could gather any of the circumstances of his life, yet the intellectual self of Shakspeare is so faithfully embodied therein, that no competent critic would ever mistake any of them for the offspring of another mind. On the other hand, the mannerism of Coleridge was an excrescence upon his genius, which, instead of removing, he had fostered by perversities, both ästhetic and moral. The bias of corrupt passions, and the errors of misinformation are obstacles to self-development, which few surmount; and ignorance, though unable to prevail over the noblest style of mind, slays its ten thousands of those who might otherwise fill valuable places in the realms of art. Original genius will never make up for the want of that knowledge of the external world which can be acquired only by learning. Much accumulation of facts from the wide fields of nature and human life, is needed as material whereon the mind may labor. Some there are, exceedingly afraid of knowing too much--so much as to crush their native genius—a very proper caution, if that genius is so great a stranger to its possessor as to run the risk of being mistaken for something else. But whoever is well acquainted with his own strength, and bent upon using it in an appropriate manner, will find no difficulty in abundant knowledge; and the ignorant of themselves will in vain hope to become great by remaining in unsophisticated ignorance of other things. No, emulous youth, mark well the bearing of your own existence, and then, instead of sipping cautiously and timidly at the fountains of knowledge-instead of acquiring just enough to make you vain smatterers, fear not for your originality in the most abundant acquisition. Originality belongs, not to what you acquire, but to what you produce. The sources of knowledge are the same to all; the vast stores of nature are thrown alike before the feeble and the strong; the spiritual world opens up

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