THE UNDERSTANDING. S3

has always some object that it applies to; which, when we are lazy or unconcerned, we can easily change, and at pleasure transfer our thoughts to another, and from thence to a third, which has no relation to either of the former. Hence men forwardly conclude, and frequently say, nothing is so free as thought, and it were well it were so; but the contrary will be found true in several instances; and there are many cases wherein there is nothing more restive and ungovern- able than our thoughts : they will not be directed what objects to pursue, nor to be taken ofl‘ from those they have once fixed on, but run away with a man in pur- suit of those ideas they have in view, lethim do what he can, '

I will not here mention again what I have above taken notice of, how hard it is to get the mind nar- rowed by a custom of thirty or forty years standing to a scanty collection of obvious and common ideas, to enlarge itself to a more copious stock, and grow

' into an acquaintance with those that would afford

more abundant matter of useful contemplation; it is not of this I am here speaking. The inconvenience I would here represent and find a remedy for, is the diflicnlty there is sometimes to transfer our minds from one subject to another, in cases where the ideas are equally familiar to us.

Matters that are recommended to our thoughts by any of our passions, take possession of our minds with a kind of authority, and will not be kept out or dislodg- ed, but as if the passion that rules, were, for the time, the sherifi‘ of the place, and came with all the posse, the understanding is seized and taken with the object it introduces, as if it had a legal right to be alone con- sidered there. There is scarce any body, I think, of so calm a temper, who hath not sometime found this tyranny on his understanding, and suifered under the inconvenience of it. \Vho is there almost whose mind, at some time or other, love or anger, fear or grief, has not so fastened to some clog, that it could not turn itself to any other object. I call it a clog, for it hangs upon the mind so as to hinder its vigour and activity in the pursuit of other conteurplations, and advances