Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

whom they find passing, one after another, through the change called death, about which their curiosity will not be at all satisfied by inerely learning its name. These inqui.. rses will often begin to interest them, and therefore these doctrines and sanctions of religion may be beneficially introduced into their minds, sooner a great deal than our asthor seems willing they should hear any thing about God as a Judge, or a future state of retribution. Besides, we do not know what the economy may be at Edgeworth's Town, but in a family where there is any avowed attention to religion, where the children are made acquainted with efen only select portions of the Scriptures, where there are any visible acts of devotion, and where it is a practice to attend public worship, it is quite impossible to prevent thein from acquiring the ideas in question in some form; and therefore, unless parents will adopt systematically, and maintain with the most vigilant care, the practical habits of atheists, in order to keep the children's minds clear of these ideas, there is an absolute necessity of presenting these ideas in a correct though inadequate form as early as possible to the mind, to prevent their being fixed there in a form that shall be absurd and injurious.

The Essay proceeds to indicate the practical discipline for cultivating, or rather creating, the virtues of economy, charity, tolerance, and firmness of mind. Here we meet with one of the many instances of compromise between absolute principle and convenience.

In marking the difference between education for different professiops, we may observe that a clergyman's should essentially differ from a lawyer's in one respect. A boy intended for the bar may be, in sonie degree, indulged in that pertinacious temper, which glories in supporting an opinion by all the arguments that can be adduced in its favour : but a boy designed for the church should never be encouraged to argue for victory; he should never be applauded for pleading his cause well, for supporting his own opinion, or for decrying or expósing to ridicule that of his opponent.' p. 88.

It seems quite a settled principle of our author's morality, thus to make the character of the man not only secondary to the professional character, but a sacrifice to it. Nor can we know where the operation of this principle is to be limited, nor whether it has any limits. If, as in the case before us, the love of truth, and, by infallible consequence, the practical love of justice, may thus be exploded, by a formal sanction to the love of victory, and to a pertinacity regardless of right and wrong, for the sake of producing professional expertness,—what other virtue should we hesitate to sacrifice to the same object? Thus expli

citly tolerate and encourage in the pupil the contempt of one essential part of moral rectitude, and he may very justly laugh at his parents and tutors, when they are gravely, en, joining him not to violate any of the rest. He may tell them, he apprehends, it may be of service, in prosecuting some of his designs, to throw aside one or two more of the articles commonly put by moralists among the essentials of virtue; and that therefore, if they, please, he had rather be excused listening to any canting lectures about integrity: And if the pure laws of moral excellence are to be depo. sed from their authority at all, we presume the benefit of the exemption ought not to be confined to the persons intend ed to figure at the bar. Some other employments, to which the bar professes to be in deadly hostility, have also their pupils and their adepts, to whoin the abrogation of the rigid standard of morality will be exceedingly welcome and convenient; and more professions than these essays ex: tend to, might have been treated of in the book, much to the edification of many acute and active young persons who are at all times training to them.-Let it be also considered in what a ludicrous predicament the theory of morals

would be placed, in a family in which there were several sons, educatiug for different professions, under the immediate care of their parents; a case which our author regards as very desirable.' One son, let it be supposed, is to be a lawyer, another à clergyman. The young clergyman receives, the sight and hearing of his brother, daily lessons on the indispensable duty of maintaining an ardent love of truth, and an honest candid simplicity, that adınits every argument in its proper force, and would feel it a violation of principle -not of reason or decorum only, but of conscientious prin, ciple - to defend error through obstinacy or the desire of victory, But the very spirit and conduct which the young clergyman is taught to regard as immoral, is by the same instructors, on the same day, in the same rooin, encouraged in the young Jawyer by a tolerance, which, if he acquits bimself cleverly, will approach to applause. What are these virtuous instructors to do; or say, when the young lawyer lauglis aloud at his brother while undergoing their moral lecture, and at them for making it; or when their clerical pupil asks them, with ingenuous distress, what they really mean by the terms duty, morality, virtuous principle, and the like, seeing the pretended moral principle and its direct reverse are thus to be regarded as equally right. We can conceive no expedient for these worthy parents to adopt in such a case, but to dismiss at once the hypocrisy

L.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

of an illusory diction, and frankly avow, that, as to the point of virtue and matter of conscience involved in the honesty enjoined on the clergyman, that is all a joke ; but that the plain thing is, there is a professional propriety in the clergyman's cultivating the quality in question, and a professional convenience in the lawyer's despising it.

The remainder of the essay briefly traces, without affecting any ‘novelty of system, the proper course of a young clergyman's studies, previously to his going to college, at college, and in' his subsequent years. The Frenth and English modes of eloquence are contrasted, and the latter, for very good reasons, preferred. There are some plain and useful suggestions of methods of discipline, by which the preacher should accomplish himself as a good speaker. He is advised to study the púlpit manners of living preachers, not for so poor and absurd an object as the imitation of even the best of them, but to perfect his abstract idea of excellence by means of a consideration of various examples, better and worse, for he recommends the student to hear some of the worst specimens as well as the best. Among the vilest sort, he says, should be classed all those cleri cal coxcombs, who show, that they are more intent on the nice management of a cambric bandkerchief, or the display of a brilliant ring on their white hands, than upon the truths of the Gospel, or the salvation of their auditors.' The following is an useful caution.

• It is of greater consequence to him than it may at first sight appear, to avoid, while he is young, any peculiarities of accent or gesture, or any habitual tricks while he is studying or thinking earnestly ; because these habits may recur in public when he is speaking with earnestness, and when he is so far engrossed by his subject as to speak as he would do in private conversation. Nothing therefore should be considered as trio vial which may lessen the effect of that earoestness, that total forgetful. ness of self, which is the greatest charm of eloquence. A preacher should be able, without apprehension, to let his natural gestures appear, and his auditors, when they are moved by his earnestness, should not be in danger of having their feelings checked or changed by any thing in his manner or accept that would raise any disagreeable or ludicrous ideas.'p. 103.

He concludes by recommending the clergyman to acquaint himself accurately with the various modes of faith, worship, and religious establishment, in our own and other countries, in order to keep himself clear of bigotry and party violence, and to become qualified to act the part of a wise and libe ral moderator among others.

On taking leave of the clerical profession, the author ap. pears to take a final and willing leave of religion. The

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

word is admitted, indeed, two or three times, in enumerating the requisite instructions for the other professions ; it is in. troduced just as a notice that the subject has been duly disposed of already ; and the writer appears glad to be thus left at full liberty to sketch the whole scheme of the education of the soldier, physician, lawyer, and statesman, without formally including this ungracious article. Sucia a thing as a solemn regard to the Governor of tbe world, and a rigorous adherence to his revealed laws, was deemed too trifling or too fanatical to be brought forwards in each of the delineations of professional excellence, as a purifier of motives, as a prescriber of ends, and a regulator in the choice of means, in every department of human action. It was not that the author was anxious to avoid repetition; for most of the other requisite branches of instruction, and qualities of chasacter, which have been illustrated and enforced as indispensable or highly useful for one profession, are again fully in sisted on with reference to another, and still another. Nor do we complain of this repetition. The value of what may be called a philosophical memory, of a most carefully cultivated reasoning faculty, of intellectual and moral self-coinmand, of a certain portion of learning and science, and of extensive knowledge of mankind, is obviously so great to all persons employed in important concerns, that the reader is willing and pleased to have thein brought again in view, in order to its being shewn in what manner they are indispensable in the education of the physician, or the lawyer, or the statesman. But, while such ample liberty is taken of enlarging again, iti the successive divisions of the work, on several qualifications which are not merely professional, but are indispensable to professional men, just because they are indispensable to all enlightened and useful men, we own we cannot help receiving an unfavourable impression of the moral quality of a work, from seeing so careful an omission, (except in the part where it was unavoidably to be noticed as professionally necessary,) of that one qualification of human character, which is the only secure basis of any virtue, and gives the purest lustre to every talent.

(To be concluded in the next Number.). Art. 111. A Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry. By Robert

Woodhouse, A. M.F. R. S. Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge, 8vo.
Pp. xii. 199. Price 78. 6d. boards. Black, Parry, and Co. 1809.
OH that mine adversary had written a book! is lan-

guage that has proceeded from the mouth of maily an aggrieved mortal, since the time when it was first used by the afficted Job ; and we can readily imagine that see

[ocr errors]

veral of the unhappy wights, who have smarted under the severity of Mr. Woodhouse's critical lash in the Monthly and Critical Reviews, * have more than once adopted this exclamation. We can perceive, too, that when an old reviewer publishes a book, many authors, who have real or fancied ground for complaint, very cheerfully become volunteer reviewers, and contribute to the several journals the result of their disinterested, candid, and dispassionate examinations, We have not yet, however, received any communications of this kind; and, as we think it a point of courtesy to treat our brother reviewer with all possible respeet, civility, and kindness, we have usell our utmost diligence to get the start of our correspondents, and lay before the public our own impartial, unbiassed opinion of Mr. Woodhouse's Treatise.

This performance is intended to communicate something more than the mere elements of the science, in the sense to which they have usually been restricted. Besides the resolution of triangles, Mr, W. proposes to develope a variety of trigonometrical formulæ, having especial regard to such as may be preparatory to the study of Mathematical Philosophy, and particularly of Physical Astronomy; all inquiries into which having been conducted, since the time of New, ton, as our author reinarks, by trigonometrical symbols.

« If we would understand these enquiries, we must subnrit pretiously to learn the language in which they are made. Complaints are frequently heard against the abstruseness of foreign mathematical writings : but the abstruseness arises perhaps more from the strangeness of the lan guage than the real intricacy of the subject of investigation ; foreign mathematicians suppose their readers to be acquainted with the former ; and is it strange, if they embarrass those who are obliged, at the mame time, to attend to the peculiar nature of the subject, and the meaning of terms and phrases, that is, obliged at once to learn a language

and a science ?" The treatise commences with the division of the circle into degrees, &c. the definitions of sines, cosines, tangents, and other linear-angular quantities : expressions for these quantities are given, first, when the radius of the circle is supposed equal to unity, and then when radius =r, is introduced. Then the sine and cosine of an angle of a plane triangle are expressed in terms of the sides, the proportin onality of the sides of triangles to the sines of their oppon site angles is shewn, expressions are deduced for the area of a triangle, and several of the most useful formulæ for the sine and cosine of the sumn of two ares. The author then

*See Ecl. Rev. vol, iv. p. 425.

« PoprzedniaDalej »