Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

are well founded in point of autho- advantage. This is followed by prac rity, (for all depends upon that,) posing the question, “Why, under the they afford a condescension to the regency of a supreme and benevolent state of our faculties, of which those, Will, should there be, in the world, who have reflected most upon the so much as there is of the appearance subject will be the first to acknow- of chance ?" p. 540. ledge the want and the value." In answering this question the aup. 475.

thor says, “ The appearance of chance The topics illustrated are, omnipo- will always bear proportion to the tence, omniscience, omnipresence, ignorance of the observer. The cast eternity, self-existence, necessary ex of a die as regularly follows the laws istence, spirituality.

of motion as the going of a watch; Chap. XXV. The unity of the yet because we can trace the operaDeity.

tion of those laws through the works The design of this chapter is to and movements of the watch, and shew the uniformity of the plan ob- cannot trace them in the shaking served in the universe which the au. and throwing of the die, (though thie thor exemplifies, and from which he laws be the same, and prevail equally deduces the following inferences. in both cases,) we call the turning

“ Certain, however, it is that the up of the number of the die chance, whole argument for the divine unity, the pointing of the index of the goes no further than to an unity of watch, machinery, order, or by some council.

name which exeludes chance. It is “ It may likewise be acknowledge the same in those events, which deed, that no arguments which we are pend upon the will of a free and rain possession of, exclude the mini- tional agent. The verdict of a jury, stry of subordinate agents. If such the sentence of a judge, the resolution there be, they act under a presiding, of an assembly, the issue of a cona controlling will; because they act tested election, will have more or less according to certain general restric. the appearance of chance, might be tions, by certain common rules, and, more or less tbe subject of a wager, as it should seem, upon a general according as we were less or more plan; but still such agents, and dif- acquainted with the reasons which ferent ranks and classes, and de- influenced the deliberation. The grees of them, may be employed.” difference resides in the information p.487.

of the observer, and not in the thing Chap. XXVI. The goodness of the itself; which, in all the cases proDeity.

posed, proceeds froin intelligence, This subject is divided into two from inind, from counsel, froin de. propositions, which, after ample illus. sign. tration, are repeated. “First, that, in * Now when this one cause of the a vast plurality of instances, in which appearance of chance, viz. the ignocontrivance is perceived, the design rance of the observer, comes to be of the contrivance is beneficial: se applied to the operations of the condly, that the Deity has added Deity, it is easy to foresee how fruit, pleasure to animal sensations beyond ful it must prove of difficulties and what was necessary for any other pur- of seeming confusion. It is only to pose, or when the purpose, so far as think of the Deity to perceive what it was necessary, might have been variety of objects, what distance of effected by the operation of pain. time, what extent of space and ac.

" Whilst these propositions can be tion, his counsels may, or rather must maintained, we are authorized to comprehend. Can it be wondered at, ascribe to the Deity the character of that of the purposes which dwell in benevolence: and what is benevo- such a mind as this, so small a part lence at all must in him be infinite should be known to us? It is only benevolence, by reason of the infinite, necessary therefore to bear in our that is to say, the incalculably great thought that, in proportion to the number of objects upon which it is inadequateness of our information, exercised.” P. 526, 527.

will be the quantity in the world The nature of the evils we expe- of apparent chance.' rience is considered in a variety of A variety of topics upon this subcases, and sliewn to be conducive to ject succeeds, and the author makes

p.550, 551.

more

AFT

manner.

the following conclusion upon the able part of his terrestrial creation. subjects contained in the chapter. That great office rests with him, be

cil have already observed that, it ours to hope and to prepare, unwhen we let in religious considera- der a firm and settled persuasion tions, we often let in light upon the that living and dying we are his; that difficulties of nature. So in the fact life is passed in his constant presence, now to be accounted for, the degree that death resigns us to his merciful of happiness, which we usually enjoy disposal.” p. 585, 586. in this life, may be better suited to a state of trial and probation than a greater degree would be. The truth is, we are rather too much delighted CXLII. Three Discourses, I. Or with the world than too little. Im

the Use of Books. II. On the Reperfect, broken, and precarious as

sult and Effects of Studr. III. On our pleasures are, they are

the Elements of Literary Taste. Dethan suificient to attach is to the

livered at the Anniversary Meetings eager pursuit of them. A regard to

of the Library Society at Chichester, à future state can hardly keep its

jan. 1800, 1801, 1802. By the Preplace as it is. If we were designed, sident, 12mo. Therefore, to be influenced by that regard, might not a more indulgent FTER a brief exordium the ausystem, a higher, or more uninter- thor enters upon the subject of rupted state of gratification, have in his first discourse in the following terfered with the design? At least it seems expedient that mankind should " We read either for amusement, or be susceptible of this influence, when for improvement, or for both: the prepresented to them; that the condi- sent question is, bow these may be tion of the world should not be such

most eflectually attained. as to exclude its operation, or eren “ With respect toamnsement; to weaken it more than it does. In though the very term implies somea religious view, (however we may thing rather occasional than habitual, complain of them in every other) it is extremely desirable that the privation, disappointment, and sa- source of it be not very soon exhaust tiety are not without the most salu- ed: the supplies of it, therefore, require tary tendencies." p. 570, 571. some degree of economy in their Chap. XXVII, Conclusion.

use : we must not draw on them too The author enforces investigation often, or too long at a time. Almost by the advantages to be derived from proverbially, unhappy are those who it, and the greater benefits expe- live only to be amused: a circumrienced from impression, observing stance icom which even the busy it is one thing to assent to a proposi- may draw a useful lesson of moderation, and a very diferent thing to tion in the pursuit of their amusehave imbibed its influence. The ments. If, therefore, we have not Doctor believes he shall not be con- tiine and opportunity for serious tradicted when he says, if one train study, and wish to derive amusement of thinking be more desirable than from books, we should, unless our another, it is that which regards the intervals for this recreation are very phænomena of nature with a con- short indeed, have recourse to such stant reference to a supreme intelli- books as may supply something begent Author. The last subject no- sides mere entertainment; something ticed is that of the resurrection of that may gently exercise and strengththe body, with which the work closes en, while it amuses the mind. Books thus : * Upon the whole, in every of this description will never tire; thing which respects this awful, bui, they will never produce that cloying as we trust, glorious change, we have effect, that sensation nearly approacha wise and powerful Being (the Au- ing disgust, so often experienced by thor, in nature, of infinitely various those who in reading seek for nothing expedients for infinitely various ends,) but amusement. I do not know that upon whom to rely for the choice I can illustrate my meaning more and appointment of means adequate clearly than by adverting to a species to the execution of any plan which of fictitious history, which has lately liis goodness or his justice may have become fashionable, and in which forpięd for the moral and account: the imperfection and defects of the design have been forgotten in the essayists, who have been enabled, by spirit and success of the execution. their attention to modern manners The object of the writers of these and newer foibles, to give additional novels is to lead the reader through interest to their lucubrations. poila series of unexpected and surpris. 15. ing adventures, and through scenes In pursuing his subject the author of astonishment and terror from the suggests some hints upon the post beginning of the story to the end. eligible plan for deriving improre. Nice discriminations of character, a ment from books. The advice of conduct and language answerable to Mr. Gibbon, which was that the such discriminations, and some im. student, before he entered on any portant moral lesson as the result of book or treatise of importance, should the whole, we either in vain look to revolve in his mind the subject, to find; or, if they are to be found, we review all that he knows of it, and have not time or leisure to consider with this preparation to begin to read, or to profit by them: a breathless is noticed, as is also Dr. Aikin's cuscuriosity alone is raised, which the tom of noting down the general imart of the writer enables him to sup. pression left on his mind after the port to the end of the work, at which, perusal of an author. The advanwhen the reader arrives, the senti- tages arising from attending to these ment which principally fills his mind plans are exemplified, and the orator, is regret that the entertainment is after describing the nature of the meover, mixed with a vacant, unplea. mory, and recommending a metho. sant, and complicated feeling, made dical and systematic arrangement of up of restlessness and fatigue, impa- subjects read in an appendix, gives tience and satiety. Now let any one an example of a common place-book compare the effect of reading one of upon a systematic plan. the best of this sort of novels, through The plan of the second discourse the whole of which curiosity is is founded upon BACON's division of stretched to the utmost, and the human learning into three parts, in amusement imparted (considered reference to the three parts of man's merely as such) is of the very highest understanding. " History belonging to kind, with the state of mind in which the province of memory, poetry to that he is left by the perusal of an essay of the imagination; and philosophy to or å tale by HAWKESWORTH, JOHN that of reason." SON, or ADDISON ; and he will hardly On the subject of history, the auhesitate a inoment which kind of thor unites under one head for coaentertainment to prefer : by the lat. sideration natural history and natural ter he will feel his mind braced and philosophy, and shews ihe beneficial fortified, and free to enter with ala. effects of such a study. It is also no crity on any new amusement or em- ticed, that an “exact and profound ployment that offers itself. One prin- knowledge of the records of anticipal cause of this difference is, that quity, and of the earliest history, tra. the entertainment derived from the ditions, and mythology of the most Jatter kind of reading is moderate ; ancient people, and of the most re• for such is the constitution, both of mote regions, has enabled soine

the animal and intellectual nature of learned men (among whom Mr. BRY• • man, that if he wishes to prolong and Ant and SIR WILLIAM Jones claim

make the most of his gratifications, the first rank) to confirm by external ke must avoid excess.

testimony the truth of the priocipal “The field of amusing literature facts recorded in the most ancient in this country is extremely ample, and the most authentic history ex. the soil rich, and cultivated with great tant; I mean that of the Bible." care. If the reader's taste inicline p. 14. him to poetry, the harvest is so plen. From this the author proceeds to teous, that the chief dilliculty will be “ another, and an important result found in the selection of the fruits from even superficial knowledge Some of the principal writers of Eng- of history, and much more from an lish periodical papers have just been intimate acquaintance with it, rementioned. The superior and almost mains to be considered. Princes and unrivalled reputation of these has statesmen, intoxicated with the power yet left unclaimed a considerable and influence they actually possess, share of praise, which we readily are extremely liable to dream that concede to the productions of later they are masters of what they do not possess, and accordingly make “ One of the most important æras frequent attempts to produce consi- in the history of our own country is derable and permanent changes in the period when Henry VII. allowed the state of society. Vain and pre- his nobility to alienate their estates. sumptuous attempt! these deluded Little did this sellish and politic men know not that they are instru• prince think that by this permission ments in the hands of a superior in- he was preparing the way for a protelligence to work out not their own digious diminution of the regal designs, but his. They mean to pro- power, and at length for the suspenduce one effect, and another ex- sion of the monarchy itself. As little tremely different is the result; and did his son imagine that the proflithis is often the case with the few who gate and capricious measures he aare actuated by benevolent and pub- dopted would lead to the abolition lic spirited motives, as with the far of the mode of worship to which he greater pumber who act only from was devoted, and to the admission the basest and most selfish ones. To of the opinions of the reformed church, give a few instances: the assassination which he bated. of Julius Cæsar was doubtless in it- « The efforts of the Emperor self a most unjustifiable, treacherous, Charles V. in the earlier part of and cruel deed; yet of the chief ac- his reign, to oppose the reformafor in that tragedy it has been not tion in Germany, and at a later pemore beautifully than truly said, riod of his life to suppress it in the

Low Countries, produced an effect • This was the noblest Roman of them all :

exactly opposite to what he intended; * All the conspirators, save only he, as did the more violent and cruelinea• Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar :: sures of his son, the result of which ' He, only, in a general honest thought,

was the dismemberment and emanci. "And common good to all, made one of pation of some of his most valuable

them. • His life was gentle, and the elements

provinces. · So mixed in him, that Nature might stand

“ Our own times have witnessed

instances of the same kind by no up . And say to all the world, this was a man." means less striking than those just

mentioned; but on this delicate subCertainly, in the part which he took, ject it would be improper to enlarge. Brutus had no view but that of restor. On the whole, the inference which ing, as he thought, the liberty of we must inevitably draw from some Rome: but what was the sequel, and of the most important events recorded in all probability the effect, in a great in the ample page of history, is, that degree, of this attempt !--the esta- the world is governed, not by the wisblishment, after a few years, of a ty- dom or the cuill of man, but by the proranny a thousand times more jealous, vidence of God.P: 16-20. sanguinary, and odious, than that On the subject of theology the aumild though absolute sway, to a sub-'thor introduces the following rejection to which Brutus thought death inarks. itself preferable.

“ The usual division of this subject "To pass from ancient history to is into natural and revealed religion. events of later date, and from a cha. I confess myself to be of the opinion racter of eminent virtue to one of at of those who believe that, in the least equal depšavity; we may re- common acceptation of the plırase, mark, that the craft, perfidy, and there is properly no such thing as violence which Louis XI. of France natural religion ; that the crude ideas employed for the purpose of annex. and superstitious practices of uncultiing to his own dominions the valua- vated nations are only the long accu. ble territories of the princess of Bur. mulated and infinitely varied corrupgundy, had the immediate effect of tions of some tradition nearly, it is throwing them into the possession of probable, coeval with the world; and the house of Austria. "Thus Louis' that the form of natural religion, (to use the words of an eloquent his- which was so fashionable in this toriau) contributed, far contrary to country in the beginning and towards . his intention, to raise up a rival the middle of the last century, is only power, which, during two centuries, a faint copy, a dim reflection of the has thwarted the measures, opposed light of revealed truth. Since the the arms, and checked the progress period just mentioned, the system of of his successors.'

ibose who reject revelation has un

[ocr errors]

dergone a considerable change ; in- and in the particular arguments he has somuch.that few will now be found adduced for that purpose, is a que to take much interest, either in the tion which may be safely left to the general principle, or in the particular decision of any competent and imdoctrines of the religion of nuure. My partial person, who will take the trospresent concern is, therefore, only ble of comparing his operations ca with revealed religion, and that I may the subject with what has been said not altogether exhaust your patience, in reply to him by Dr. Watson in his I shall confine myself to the subject Apology for Christianity, and by Dr. of the Christian Revelation.

Priestley in his Letters to a philosophia .“ I affirm then, without fear of being unbeliever. contradicted by any competent judge “ Should any one desire to know of the subject, that the historical evi- what some of the latest and most endences of the origin and first propagation terprizing infidels (particularly of the of Christianity, are incontestable: they French nation) have attempted on have never even been shaken by the this most untractable subject of the most powerful and best directed at historical evidences of the Christian Te. tacks: the minutest scrutiny into the velation ; he may consult the writing incidental facts connected with the of M. Volney, M. Dupuis, and N. story, (a kind of test peculiarly deli- Boulanger, in which he will find either cate and decisive) has only afforded an ignorance, or a perversion of the additional confirmation of its truth, most commonly known facts that will while the authenticity of its earliest astonish him, together with a degree records bas been confirmed by a suc- of absurdity and intrepidity (if that cession of testimonies far superior, be the proper word) far more characboth in number and weight, to what teristic of an unsettled and disordered any other writings of equal age, or mind, than of even the semblance of indeed of any age, can boast. sound reason and argument." - 49

“ That Mír. Gibbon, who from his ~53. intimate acquaintance with bistory, has been justly thought to have perceived more clearly than the gene- CXLIII. ORIGINAL POEMS AND rality of unbelievers, the force of this

TRANSLATIONS ; particularly 4argument, was proportionably im

bra. From Lorenzo de Medici. Ches pressed by it, appears from his ori

by Susanna WATTS, 8vo. ginal and set it

contents of this ascribed the rapid spread of Christianity tocertain causes, which, though Medici--Sonnet, from ditio-Sonnet, be calls them subordinate, he mani- from Card. Bembo-Flight to Paris festly considers as the real and sole - German Drama - Quadrille-A causes of the effect: the principal of Forloru Stranger- Pope's Prologue these are, the zeal of the primitive con- to Cato imitated–The Lark's Hyma veris, ine strictness of their morals and --Prologue for the Theatre, Boiany discipline, and the doctrine of future re- Bay-Rhymes in praise of Rhymewarris. But, as has been most justly General Prologue-Autumnal scene observerl, this eminent historian.gives --Love Song-Provincial Prologue . no account at all of the cause of the Complaint of the Genius of Flowers 'great zeal of the primitive Chris- --Canzonette from Metastasio-Can

lians, of the strictness of their dis- tatas, ditto-Prologue. ·cipline, or how so many persons As the principal poem, Ambra, does • were induced to believe these flat- not so well admit an extract, we pre• tering promises of future happiness, sent our readers with two or three of (so as to live and die in the firm be- the shorter pieces. • lief of it., Consequently, the great

SONNET from Lorenzo. difficulty of the ready reception of the gospel, and the rapid spread of

“Full oft my mind recalls, with tende:

care, • Christianity, without being support

And memory ever shall preserve the trace, 'ed by miracles, reinains just as he

The vest that wrapt her form, the time, • found it, that is, wholly unaccounted

the place, • jor. How far Mr. Gibbon has suc.

When first I gaz'd, enraptur'd on my fair: Creded in his general attempt to dis- How then she look'd, thou, Love ! ant vei credit the evidences of Christianity, aware,

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »