lightful and fructifying of all the intellectual energies is the power of similarity and agreement, by which we rise from the individual to the general, trace sameness in diversity, and master, instead of being mastered by, the multiplicity of Nature.
Much more would be necessary to exhaust the nature of the opposition between exercises of memory and exercises of judgment. Language and science approximately represent the contrast, although language does not exclude judgment, and science demands memory. But, in the one region, mere adhesion is in the ascendant, and, in the other, the detection of similarity in diversity is the leading circumstance. There is thus a real transition, and change of strain, in passing from the one class of studies to the other; the only qualifying circumstance is that in early years, routine adhesion plays the greatest part—being, in fact, easier than the other line of exertion, for reasons that can be divined.
We can now see what are the departments that constitute the most effective transitions or diversions, whereby relief may be gained at one point, and acquirement pushed at some other. In the muscular acquirements, we have several distinct regions—the body generally, the hand in particular, the voice (articulate), and the voice (musical). To pass from one of these to the other is almost a total change. Then, as to the sense engaged, we may alternate between the eye and the ear, making another complete transition. Further, each of the sense organs has distinguishable susceptibilities, as color and form to the eye, articulation and music to the ear.
Another effective transition is from books or spoken teaching to concrete objects as set forth in the sciences of observation and experiment. The change is nearly the same as from an abstract subject like mathematics to one of the concrete and experimental sciences, as botany and chemistry. A still further change is from the world of matter to the world of mind, but this is liable to assume false and delusive appearances.
It has been well remarked that arithmetic is an effective transition from reading and writing. The whole strain and attitude of the mind are entirely different, when the pupil sets to perform sums after a reading-lesson. The mathematical sciences are naturally deemed the driest and hardest of occupations to the average mind; yet there may be occupations such as to make them an acceptable diversion. I have known clergymen whose relaxation from clerical duty consisted in algebraical and geometrical problems.
The fine-art acquisitions introduce an agreeable variety, partly by bringing distinctive organs into play, and partly by evoking a pleasurable interest that enters little, if at all, into other studies. The more genial part of moral training has a relationship to art. The severer exercises are a painful necessity, and not an agreeable transition from anything.