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upon the matter and motion of the blood or animal fpirits.
When the fancy is bound by paffion, I know no way to fet the mind free and at liberty, to profecute what thoughts the man would make choice of, but to allay the present paffion, or counterbalance it with another; which is an art to be got by ftudy, and acquaintance with the paffions.
Those who find themselves apt to be carried away with the spontaneous current of their own thoughts, not excited by any paffion or intereft, must be very wary and careful in all the instances of it to stop it, and never humour their minds in being thus triflingly bufy. Men know the value of their corporeal liberty, and therefore fuffer not willingly fetters and chains to be put upon them. To have the mind captivated is, for the time, certainly the greater evil of the two, and deferves our utmost care and endeavours to preferve the freedom of our better part. In this cafe our pains will not be loft; ftriving and struggling will prevail, if we conftantly, on all fuch occafions, make use of it. We must never indulge these trivial attentions of thought; as foon as we find the mind makes itself a business of nothing, we should immediately disturb and check it, introduce new and more serious confiderations, and not leave till we have beaten it off from the purfuit it was upon. This, at first, if we have let the contrary practice grow to an habit, will perhaps be difficult; but conftant endeavours will by degrees prevail, and at laft make it eafy. And when a man is pretty well advanced, and can command his mind off at pleasure from incidental and undefigned purfuits, it may not be amifs for him to go on farther, and make attempts upon meditations of greater moment, that at the laft he may have a full power over his own mind, and be fo fully mafter of his own thoughts, as to be able to transfer them from one fubject to another, with the fame ease that he can lay by any thing he has in his hand, and take fomething elfe that he has a mind to in the room of it. This liberty of mind is of great ufe both in bufinefs and ftudy,
and he that has got it will have no fmall advantage of ease and dispatch in all that is the chofen and useful employment of his understanding.
The third and laft way which I mentioned the mind to be sometimes taken up with, I mean the chiming of fome particular words or fentence in the memory, and, as it were, making a noife in the head, and the like, feldom happens but when the mind is lazy, or very loofely and negligently employed. It were better indeed to be without fuch impertinent and useless repetitions any obvious idea, when it is roving carelessly at a venture, being of more use, and apter to fuggeft fomething worth confideration, than the infignificant buzz of purely empty founds. But fince the roufing of the mind, and setting the understanding on work with fome degrees of vigour, does for the most part presently fet it free from these idle companions; it may not be amifs, whenever we find ourselves troubled with them, to make use of so profitable a remedy that is always at hand