POSTSCRIPT.

EVEN in conversations about simple matters, statements clearly made are often misconceived from impatience of attention. The tendency to conclude quickly from small evidence, which leads most people to judge of strangers on a first meeting, and which causes them to express surprise when to the question—"How do you like so and so," you reply that you have formed no opinion, is often betrayed in their habits as listeners.Continually it turns out that from the beginning of a sentence in course of utterance, they have inferred an entire meaning; and, ignoring the qualifying clauses which follow, quite misapprehend the idea conveyed. This impatience of attention is connected with, and often results from, inability to grasp as a whole the elements of a complex proposition.One who undertakes to explain an involved matter to a person of undisciplined intelligence, finds that though the person has understood each part of the explanation, he has failed to co-ordinate the parts; because the first has dropped out of his mind before the last is reached.

This holds not of listeners only, but of many readers. Either a premature conclusion positively formed from the earlier portions of an exposition, makes further reading seem superfluous; or else the explanations afterwards read do not adequately modify this conclusion which has already obtained possession, and on behalf of which some amour propre is enlisted; or else there is an incapacity for comprehending in their totality the assembled propositions, of which the earlier are made tenable only by combination with the later. I am led to make these remarks by finding how greatly misunderstood have been some of the doctrines set forth in

-369-

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