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in the middle ages, having been all derived from, and counter, point first cultivated in, the papal chapel and court of Rome), then in the Hanseatic towns, next in the Netherlands ; and, by transplantation, during the fixteenth century, when commerce became general, to have grown, flourilhed, matured, and diffu. fed their influence in every part of Europe.'
The author, as we have observed in the preceding article, speaks of the addition, at some future time, of a third volume. We are happy to learn, that he has alreadly made a pretty confiderable progress in this truly desirable work; animated, we doube not, by the increafing facility and agreeableness of the remaining part of his talk. The future subjects, likewise, of his history will naturally become more and more interesting to a considerable majority of his readers, in proportion as he advances nearer to our own times. Art, VII. A Metaphysical Catechism; containing a Sum of the
Doctrines of Materialism and Neceflity, as at present professed.
8vo. IS. John ou. 1782, THE end of this publication is to represent the doctrines of
Materialism and Necessity in so simple and concise a manner, as to make them more easily comprehended. Metaphysical disquisitions are generally above the level of common underftandings; and those who have abilities for comprehending them, are seldom disposed to give themselves, the trouble of becoming metaphysicians at the first hand. They are generally contented with elementary knowledge, and that they are averle to glean from a bulky mass. It must be prepared by others who have more patience or more leisure. To gratify lo indo, lent a disposition is one object of the present writer. But it is not the sole object. No: while he illuftrates, he attempts to expose : and, in abridging a fyftem, he labours to fix on it its own confutation. The design is areful : and, to do the author justice, he conducts it with ingenuity and acuteness.
We will present the Reader with an extract from the cons clufion.
'& Upon the principles of necessity, how do you account for å lenle of merit and demerit, of selfapplause and self-reproach?
• A. These are only popular terms, and the ideas belonging to them only popular ideas. The bulk of mankind are very short-lighted. For want of clear and extenfive views they refer their actions to themfelves. They coofider themselves as the causes of them, But copld they open their eyes fufficiently, they would refer them constantly to the firft cause. A true Neceffarian never applauds or reproaches himself; never has a sense of merit or demerit. He has a sense of great or Imall value indeed; but it is such a fenfe as a hatchet, endowed with consciocfaels, would have of its being a good hatcher if it cut well, and bad batchet if it cut ill.
R. DO agents ?
2. Do not all laws divine and human suppose men to be free A. Yes; but law's were made for the vulgar. They fuggeft a proof, however, of the truth of the do&trine of necesity. They foppose men to be influeaced by mocives. They therefore present io them the two powerful motives of rewards and punilhments. If all men were true Necessarians there would be no occalion for laws.
• Q. But if men be not free agents, where is the justice of punishing when they transgress?
: A. Justice is a popular word. A true philosopher calls it propriety or «fefulness. Punilament is neceffary for the melioration of delin. quents
and of society. It is a motive which depends on a prior motive. It originates in the Deity, and tends to accomplish the great end of creation.
"Q. Is there then no such thing as virtue and vice, innocence and
A. These are all popular names, and convey fallacious ideas. Infead of them, a true philosopher, except when he speaks with the vulo gar, fays, worth and wortbleffness, good and ill; and in applying them to kuman chara&ers, be annexes no other idea to them than in apply. ing them to his pen and penknife.
2. On the system of necessity, what is the use or propriety of the religious exercises of repentance and prayer?
• d. They are of great use; but they are only for the vulgar. God, foreseeing that the bulk of mankind would be blind, and that they would erroneoudy refer their own adtions to themselves, has wise. ly adapted the system of religion that he has presented to them, and che modes of religious worship to their imperfect view of things. But a true Necesarian has no occaGon for these things. Unless he depart from his character, and think with the vulgar, it would be absurd in him to use them. While his eye is clear, and he can trace every thing to the Deity, and fee every thing in him, he has no cause to repent, no cause to pray. He knows that whatever is, is right. All his religious worship, therefore, confifts in praising the Author of all things. He resolves every thing into the agency of the Deity, and is fatis. fied. 2. Has not this doctrinc a tendency to produce universal ioactivity
X. By no means. The true philosophers are the most active creatures in the world. The Deity has provided sufficient motives to activity.
• 2. You resolve all things into the agency of the Deity, is then God the author of fin?
• A. “ of him, and to him, and through him, are all things."
• Q. Were your do&rines generally embraced and pra&ised, would they not destroy the peace, and even the existence of society?
• 4. They are great and glorious doctrines.'
It is sufficiently obvious, that the main design of this Ihrewd pamphlet, is to expose what is deemed of a pernicious tendency,
among mankind ?
in the late disquisitions of that enterprising writer in theology and metaphysics, Dr. PRIESTLEY, His system of materialism is represented as absurd and inconsistent; and his principles of necelfity as irreligious and immoral. As a mere speculatift, fecluded from society, and reasoning only on abstract and metaphysical grounds, the writer of this article confesses, that he has not been able to withstand the force of Dr. Priestley's arguments on these subjects. Hitherto he has not seen
them answered so fully and satisfactorily, as not to leave the Doctor ample scope to turn every objection that hath been alleged against him back on the oponent. The capital points, on which the most popular objections fix, are by no means peculiar to his system. Remove a few specious appearances, divest the subje&t of a few commodious forms, and the svitem of immaterialism and liberty, generally espoused (by Christians at least), is liable ultimately to objections, equally insurmountable with those which attend the opposite system of materialism and neceffity. While certain data respeáing the attributes and providence of the Deity are mutually acceded to, the latter is not more embarrassed with difficulties than the former; perhaps these difficulties may less affect it on the whole, though confidered in a detached view, some parts of it may have the appearance of an immoral tendency; and it is these parts, brought forward in a strong light, and heightened with the colours of rhetoric, which principally affect the minds of common and superficial speculatists; and when the imagination is terrified by a display of pretended consequences, reason too frequently submits in Glence; and because it is awed, it is thought to be convinced.
We acknowledge, however, that we do not see the utility of the system contended for by Dr. Priestley, when viewed in a moral and civil light. A few refined and philosophic minds may be capable of comprehending the full extent of this system; and to understandings so enlarged and so cultivated, it may not prove detrimental. But when only partially understood (and it is only So understood by the generality), it may prove highly prejudicial to the more fubitantial interests of virtue and piety: lis good consequences lie very remote from the apprehension of common minds, and can only be perceived, after a long chain of reasoning, and never properly felt but by an association of ideas, which can only be acquired by a habit of close reflection, joined to a high degree of mental purity and devotion. In Thort, the syftem of materialism and neceffity, if it be true, is not fit for common use; and, if it be false, its opponents will say, that its pernicious tendency encreases and aggravates the error.
ART. VIII. Hymn to the Sun; and the Tomb, an Elegy; in Poetic
Prose. By the Abbé de Reyrac, Cenfor Regius, Correspondent to the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres of Paris. Trans. lated from the Fifth Edition of the Original French, by O B , Esq; of the Middle Temple. 12mo. 2 5. Kearsley. 1782. ENELON, the author of Telemachus, seems to have been
the parent of that species of writing which is called Poetic Profe. For that kind of rhythmus, in prosaic compofitions, which was so much studied and admired by the antients, upon which Dionyfius Halicarnaffenfis has written a distinct treatise, and which Cicero particularly infifts upon in several parts of his works, is of a very different nature. It was an object of great attention among the Greek and Roman writers, to chuse and arrange their words in such manner as to produce a certain melodious flow of sounds, which constitutes one principal excellence in their writings. But they do not appear to have had any idea of that motley species of style, in which all the peculiarities of poetical conception and diction are united with the loole arrange. ment of prosaic composition. They would not have honoured, with the name of poetry, a kind of writing which wants one of its distinguishing characters, measured versification; they would probably
have treated it with contempt, under the appellation of disjetti membra poëta.
It may, perhaps, be some apology for the introduction of this kind of writing among the French, that their language is too soft and feeble to suit the majesty of poetry in her fublimer elevations. But this can be no reason for taking pains to transplant fuch heterogeneous ' productions into the English language, which is more capable of the strength and harmony of poetic compofition.
The original work here tranflated has doubtless some merit, in the boldness of its conceptions, and the animated turn of its language. But, in its English dress, the incongruous union of poetical images and sentiments, with an inharmonious and often inelegant profaic diction, cannot but disgust every reader who pofleftes any fhare of claflical taste.
1 Of this the reader will be sufficiently sensible from perusing the following extract:
• O Sun! The rosy-finger'd morn scarce opes the flaming doors of the eait, when, like a proud conqueror, impatient co signalize himself by new triumphs, thou tears from the heavenly vault thy shining oilk ;-forth with thou departeit, and doft magnificently raise thyself above the whole world; thou displayelt with pomp thy ardent fires, ard dariet them rapidly through the valt plains of air, to enlighten at once all the different parts of the world. Already every thing is on "fe. The ars grow pale and are fufcated;- followed by the blaze of
day, day, the night, afighted, Aies away-precipitates herself into the bottom of the deep, and involves in ber dark veil, the god of filence and of sleep. Toe fleeting dreams fly before thy car of robies and of adamant, and side into the bottom of the shades.
• Thou gildest the lofty summit of the high mountains, and the majestic tops of haughty pines and oaks, neighbours of the thunder.. Thou shineft in the most profound vallies. Amazed at 'thy lively splendoor, all the universe rooses. A thousand birds futter about on the boughs of the tender shrubs, whose powers they shake .off, and come together in a choir, to celebrate thy fplendour by their melodious songs.
• Roused by these charming concerts, the king of nature-man, raises his 'noble countenance, chat imperious countenance, made to contemplate the heavens, and command all beings. He' awakes with joy, and goes forth to admire thy rising and enjoy thy gifts.
* The thonder, whose redoubled claps, shook, during the night, the foundations of the earth, the dreadfol thunder-bolts, that were heard, at the close of day, to rush, with a bellowing noise, through that vast chain of mountains, and resound in the neighbouring vallies, yumble no more in the air. The sky was never more serene; nature , never appeared more beautiful.
• Ab! how pleasing of a fine morning, to gather, in those meads, the flowers which the fun begets. How delightful! to respire an air embalmed with the sweetest perfumes, and to bebold chat enamelled plain, whose tender and springing verdure gladdens the fight. Peace. able rivoler, I will follow the
course of thy tranquil ftream, that meanders and flows gently through those happy plains, o'er which thou feddelt freshness and fecundity. Delightful walks, what tranquillity you afford to my mind!
• Here, bending o'er this limpid balin, I behold the sports of the nimble inhabitants of the water, excited by the heat of the air, they Swim, dive, and eagerly cross one another ;-they glide o’er each other a hundred times without corrupting the purity of the water,
There, I admire the beauty of a fately swan, who, proud of the whiteness of his plumage, clears its alabaster in the rays of the sunextends bis fining wings, and, fovereign of the food, rides at plea. fure on its surface; at one time yielding to the current-at another opposing it with a majestic haughtiness.
• There, I hear with rapture a flock of birds, who falute the approach of spring, on the branches of that solitary poplar, that shades those happy banks. The jealous nigbtingale swells her flexible throat, and warbles forth her notes. Her rivals abashed, are filent ;-they feem to suspend their songs, to liften in filence to the melodious ac. cents of the sylvan muse-to her varied noces, prolonged and quavercd with so much art.
• Enchanting inhabitants of those lovely regions, who delight, by your concerts, heavenly minds, and foften the troubles of this tranfient life, alas ! yoor songs, your joys will soon be at an end : already the merciless bird catcher advances haftily, and surveys with furtive eye that thorny bush, those hospitable branches, that, by the thickDels of their foliage, feemed to offer you an impenetrable shelter. Insensible to your cries, already he feals his fingers into your peft, and