Obrazy na stronie
PDF

In some fertile soils, together with great abundance they remained with him to the last.

He died on

of fish upon their coasts, and in regions where clothes the 25th of May 1805.

are unnecessary, a considerable degree of population may subsist without property in land, which is the case in the islands of Otaheite; but in less-favoured situations, as in the country of New Zealand, though this sort of property obtain in a small degree, the inhabitants, for want of a more secure and regular establishment of it, are driven oftentimes by the scarcity of provision to devour one another. II. It preserves the produce of the earth to maturity. We may judge what would be the effects of a community of right to the productions of the earth from the trifling specimens which we see of it at present. A cherry-tree in a hedgerow, nuts in a wood, the grass of an unstinted pasture, are seldom of much advantage to anybody, because people do not wait for the proper season of reaping them. Corn, if any were sown, would never ripen; lambs and calves would never grow up to sheep and cows, because the first person that met them would reflect that he had better take them as they are than leave them for another. III. It prevents contests. War and waste, tumult and confusion, must be unavoidable and eternal where there is not enough for all, and where there are no rules to adjust the division. IV. It improves the conveniency of living. This it does two ways. It enables mankind to divide themselves into distinct professions, which is impossible, unless a man can exchange the productions of his own art for what he wants from others, and exchange implies property. Much of the advantage of civilised over savage life depends upon this. When a man is, from necessity, his own tailor, tent-maker, carpenter, cook, huntsman, and fisherman, it is not probable that he will be expert at any of his callings. Hence the rude habitations, furniture, clothing, and implements of savages, and the tedious length of time which all their operations require. It likewise encourages those arts by which the accommodations of human life are supplied, by appropriating to the artist the benefit of his discoveries and improvements, without which appropriation, ingenuity will never be exerted with effect. Upon these several accounts we may venture, with a few exceptions, to pronounce that even the poorest and the worst provided, in countries where property and the consequences of property prevail, are in a better situation with respect to food, raiment, houses, and what are called the necessaries of life, than any are in places where most things remain in common. The balance, therefore, upon the whole, must preponderate in favour of property with a manifest and great exceSS. Inequality of property, in the degree in which it exists in most countries of Europe, abstractedly considered, is an evil; but it is an evil which flows from those rules concerning the acquisition and disposal of property, by which men are incited to industry, and by which the object of their industry is rendered secure and valuable. If there be any great inequality unconnected with this origin, it ought to be corrected.

In 1802 Paley published his Natural Theology, his last work. He enjoyed himself in the country with his duties and recreations: he was particularly fond of angling; and he mixed familiarly with his neighbours in all their plans of utility, sociality, and even conviviality. He disposed of his time with great regularity: in his garden he limited himself to one hour at a time, twice a day; in reading books of amusement, one hour at breakfast and another in the evening, and one for dinner and his newspaper. By #" dividing and husbanding his pleasures,

No works of a theological or philosophical nature have been so extensively popular among the educated classes of England as those of Paley. His perspicacity of intellect and simplicity of style are almost unrivalled. Though plain and homely, and often inelegant, he has such vigour and discrimination, and such a happy vein of illustration, that he is always read with pleasure and instruction. No reader is ever at a loss for his meaning, or finds him too difficult for comprehension. He had the rare art of popularising the most recondite knowledge, and blending the business of life with philosophy. The principles inculcated in some of his works have been disputed, particularly his doctrine of expediency as a rule of morals, which has been considered as trenching on the authority of revealed religion, and also lowering the standard of public duty. The system of Paley certainly would not tend to foster the great and heroic virtues. In his early life he is reported to have said, with respect to his subscription to the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England, that he was ‘too poor to keep a conscience;" and something of the same laxness of moral feeling pervades his ethical system. His abhorrence of all hypocrisy and pretence was probably at the root of this error. Like Dr Johnson, he was a practical moralist, and looked with distrust on any highstrained virtue or enthusiastic devotion. He did not write for philosophers or metaphysicians, but for the great body of the people anxious to acquire knowledge, and to be able to give ‘a reason for the hope that is in them. He considered the art of life to consist in properly “setting our habits, and for this no subtle distinctions or profound theories were necessary. His Moral and Political Philosophy is framed on this basis of utility, directed by strong sense, a discerning judgment, and a sincere regard for the true end of all knowledge—the well-being of mankind here and hereafter. Of Paley's other works, Sir James Mackintosh has pronounced the following opinion: “The most original and ingenious of his writings is the Horae Paulinae. The Evidences of Christianity are formed out of an admirable translation of Butler's Analogy, and a most skilful abridgment of Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History. He may be said to have thus given value to two works, of which the first was scarcely intelligible to most of those who were most desirous of profiting by it; and the second soon wearies out the greater part of readers, though the few who are more patient have almost always been gradually won over to feel pleasure in a display of knowledge, probity, charity, and meekness unmatched by an avowed advocate in a cause deeply interesting his warmest feelings. His Natural Theology is the wonderful work of a man who, after sixty, had studied anatomy in order to write it; and it could only have been surpassed by a man (Sir Charles Bell) who, to great originality of conception and clearness of exposition, added the advantage of a high place in the first class of physiologists.'

[The World was Made with a Benevolent Design.] [From Natural Theology.]

It is a happy world after all. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. In a spring noon or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. “The insect youth are on the wing. Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A bee amongst the flowers in spring is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment; so busy and so pleased: yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and, under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned to them. But the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification: what else should fix them so close to the operation and so long? Other species are running about with an alacrity in their motions which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures. If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it—which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement—all conduce to shew their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side in a calm evening upon a sandy shore and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this; if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view ! The young of all animals appear to me to receive pleasure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily faculties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing anything of the use of language, is in a high degree delighted with being able to speak. Its incessant repetition of a few articulate sounds, or perhaps of the single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first successful endeavours to walk, or rather to run—which precedes walking—although entirely ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future life, and even without applying it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with speaking, without having anything to say; and with walking, without knowing where to go. And, prior to both these, I am disposed to believe that the waking-hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with learning to see. But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent of creation hath provided. Happiness is found with the purring cat no less than with the playful kitten; in the arm-chair of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the dance or the animation of the chase. To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardour of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree,

an equivalent for them all, ‘perception of ease. Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigour of youth was to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important step the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease, is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a condition of great comfort, especially when riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life. It is well described by Rousseau to be the interval of repose and enjoyment between the hurry and the end of life. How far the same cause extends to other animal'natures, cannot be judged of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction with which most animals, as their activity subsides, seek and enjoy rest, affords reason to believe that this source of gratification is appointed to advanced life under all or most of its various forms. In the species with which we are best acquainted, namely, our own, I am far, even as an observer of human life, from thinking that youth is its happiest season, much less the only happy one.

[merged small][ocr errors]

DR RICHARD WATson, bishop of Llandaff (1737– 1816), did good service to the cause of revealed religion and social order by his replies to Gibbon the historian, and Thomas Paine. To the former, he addressed a series of letters, entitled An Apology for Christianity, in answer to Gibbon's celebrated chapters on the rise and progress of Christianity; and when Paine published his Age of Reason, the bishop met it with a vigorous and conclusive reply, which he termed An Apology for the Bible. Watson also published a few sermons, and a collection of theological tracts, selected from various authors, in six volumes. His Whig principles stood in the way of his church preferment, and he had not magnanimity enough to conceal his disappointment, which is strongly expressed in an autobiographical memoir published after his death by his son. Dr Watson, however, was a man of forcible intellect, and of various knowledge. His controversial works are highly honourable to him, both for the manly and candid spirit in which they are written, and the logical clearness and strength of his reasoning:

DR SAMUEL HoRSLEY, bishop of St Asaph (1783– 1806), was one of the most conspicuous churchmen of his day. He belonged to the high-church. party; and strenuously resisted all political or ecclesiastical change. He was learned and eloquent, but prone to controversy, and deficient in charity and the milder virtues. His character was not unlike that of one of his patrons, Chancellor Thurlow, stern and unbending, but cast in a manly mould. He was an indefatigable student. His first public appearance was in the character of a man of science. He was some time secretary of the Royal Society-wrote various short treatises on scientific subjects, and published an edition of Sir Isaac Newton's works. As a critic and scholar, he had few equals; and his disquisitions on the prophets Isaiah and #". his translations of the Psalms, and his Biblical Criticisms (in four volumes), justly entitled him to the honour of the mitre. His sermons, in three volumes, are about the best in the language: clear, nervous, and profound, he entered undauntedly upon the most difficult subjects, and dispelled, by research and argument, the doubt that hung over several passages of Scripture. He was for many years engaged in a controversy with Dr Priestley on the subject of the divinity of Christ. Both of the combatants lost their temper; but when Priestley resorted to a charge of “incompetency and ignorance,' it was evident that he felt himself sinking in the struggle. In intellect and scholarship, Horsley was vastly superior to his antagonist. The political opinions and intolerance of the bishop were more successfully attacked by Robert Hall, in his Apology jor the Freedom of the Press. DR BEILBY PoRTEoUs, bishop of London (1731– 1808), was a popular dignitary of the church, author of a variety of sermons and tracts connected with church-discipline. He distinguished himself at

Tomb of Bishop Porteous at Sunbridge, Kent.

college by a prize poem On Death, which has been often reprinted: it is but a feeble transcript of Blair's Grave. Dr Porteous warmly befriended Beattie the poet (whom he wished to take orders in the Church of England), and he is said to have assisted Hannah More in her novel of Caelebs. GILBERT WAKEFIELD (1756–1801) enjoyed celebrity both as a writer on controversial divinity and a classical critic. He left the church in consequence of his embracing Unitarian opinions, and afterwards left also the dissenting establishment at Hackney, to which he had attached himself. He published translations of some of the epistles in the New Testament, and an entire translation of the same sacred volume, with notes. He was also author of a work on Christian evidence, in reply to Paine. The bishop of Llandaff having in 1798 written an address against the principles of the French Revolution, Wakefield replied to it, and was subjected to a crown prosecution for libel; he was found guilty, and £tenced to two years' imprisonment. He

published editions of Horace, Virgil, Lucretius, &c., which ranked him among the first scholars of his time. Wakefield was an honest, precipitate, and simple-minded man; a Pythagorean in his diet, and eccentric in many of his habits and opinions. “He was, says one of his biographers, “as violent against Greek accents as he was against the Trinity, and anathematised the final N as strongly as episcopacy.’

MR WILBER FORCE.

The infidel principles which abounded at the period of the French Revolution, and continued to agitate both France and England for some years, induced a disregard of vital piety long afterwards in the higher circles of British society. To counteract this, MR WILBERFoRCE, then member of parliament for the county of York, published in 1797 A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. Five editions of the work were sold within six months, and it still continues, in various languages, to form a popular religious treatise. The author attested, by his daily life, the sincerity of his opinions. William Wilberforce was the son of a wealthy merchant, and born at Hull in 1759. He was educated at Cambridge, and on completing his twenty-first year, was returned to parliament for his native town. He soon distinguished himself by his talents, and became the idol of the fashionable world, dancing at Almack's, and singing before the Prince of Wales. In 1784, while pursuing a continental tour with some relations, in company with Dean Milner, the latter so impressed him with the truths of Christianity, that Wilberforce entered upon a new life, and abandoned all his former gaieties. In parliament, he pursued a strictly independent course. For twenty years he laboured for the abolition of the slave-trade, a question with which his name is inseparably entwined. His time, his talents, influence, and prayers, were directed towards the consummation of this object, and at length, in 1807, he had the high gratification of seeing it accomplished. The religion of Wilberforce was mild and cheerful, unmixed with austerity or gloom. He closed his long and illustrious life on the 27th July 1833, one of those men who, by their virtues, talents, and energy, impress their own character on the age in which they live. His latter years realised his own beautiful description

[On the Effects of Religion.]

When the pulse beats high, and we are flushed with youth, and health, and vigour; when all goes on prosperously, and success seems almost to anticipate our wishes, then we feel not the want of the consolations of religion; but when fortune frowns, or friends forsake us; when sorrow, or sickness, or old age comes upon us, then it is that the superiority of the pleasures of religion is established over those of dissipation and vanity, which are ever apt to fly from us when we are most in want of their aid. There is scarcely a more melancholy sight to a considerate mind, than that of an old man who is a stranger to those only true sources of satisfaction. How affecting, and at the same time how disgusting, is it to see such a one awkwardly catching at the pleasures of his younger years, which are now beyond his reach; or feebly attempting to retain them, while they mock his endeavours and elude his grasp! To such a one gloomily, indeed, does the evening of life set in 1 All is sour and cheerless. He can neither look backward with complacency, nor forward with hope;

[graphic]
[graphic]

while the aged Christian, relying on the assured mercy of his Redeemer, can calmly reflect that his dismission is at hand; that his redemption draweth nigh. While his strength declines, and his faculties decay, he can quietly repose himself on the fidelity of God; and at the very entrance of the valley of the shadow of death, he can lift up an eye, dim perhaps and feeble, yet occasionally sparkling with hope, and confidently looking forward to the near possession of his heavenly inheritance, ‘to those joys which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. What striking lessons have we had of the precarious tenure of all sublunary possessions! Wealth, and power, and prosperity, how peculiarly transitory and uncertain | But religion dispenses her choicest cordials in the seasons of exigence, in poverty, in exile, in sickness, and in death. The essential superiority of that support which is derived from religion is less felt, at least it is less apparent, when the Christian is in full possession of riches and splendour, and rank, and all the gifts of nature and fortune. But when all these are swept away by the rude hand of time or the rough blasts of adversity, the true Christian stands, like the glory of the forest, erect and vigorous; stripped, indeed, of his summer foliage, but more than ever discovering to the observing eye the solid strength of his substantial texture.

[ocr errors]

DR JoHN JoBTIN (1698–1770), a prebendary of St Paul's, and archdeacon of London, was early distinguished as a scholar and an independent theologian. His Remarks upon Ecclesiastical History, published at intervals between 1751 and 1754, with an addition of two more volumes after his death, have been greatly admired, and he wrote Sir Dissertations upon Various Subjects (1755), which evince his classical taste and acquirements. His other works are a Life of Erasmus, 1758; Remarks upon the Works of Erasmus, 1760; and several tracts, philological, critical, and miscellaneous. Seven volumes of his Sermons were published after his decease.

DR RICHARD HURD (1720–1808), a friend and disciple of Warburton, was author of an Introduction to the Study of the Prophecies, being the substance of twelve discourses delivered at Cambridge. Hurd was a man of taste and learning, author of a commentary on Horace, and editor of Cowley's works. He rose to enjoy high church preferment, and died bishop of Worcester, after having declined the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.

DR GEORGE HoRNE (1730–1792) was another divine whose talents and learning raised him to the bench of bishops. He wrote various works, the most important of which is a Commentary on the Book of Psalms, which appeared in 1776 in two volumes quarto. It is still a text-book with theological students and divines, and unites extensive erudition with fervent piety.

[ocr errors][merged small]

BLAIR, born in Edinburgh in 1718. He was at first minister of a country church in Fifeshire, but, being celebrated for his pulpit eloquence, he was successively preferred to the Canongate, Lady Yester's, and the High Church in Edinburgh. In 1759 he commenced a course of lectures on rhetoric and belles-lettres, which extended his literary reputation; and in 1763 he published his Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, a production evincing both critical taste and learning. In 1777 appeared the first volume of his Sermons, which was so well received that the author published three other volumes, and a fifth which he had prepared, was printed after his death. A royal pension of £200 per annum further rewarded its author. Blair next published his Rhetorical Lectures, and they also met with a favourable reception. Though somewhat hard and dry in style and manner, this work forms a useful guide to the young student: it is carefully arranged, contains abundance of examples in every department of literary composition, and has also detailed criticisms on ancient and modern authors. The sermons, however, are the most valuable of Blair's works. They are written with taste and elegance, and by inculcating Christian morality without any allusion to controversial topics, are suited to all classes of Christians. Profound thought, or reasoning, or impassioned eloquence, they certainly do not possess, and in this respect they must be considered inferior to the posthumous sermons of Logan the poet, which, if occasionally irregular, or faulty in style, have more of devotional ardour and vivid description. In society,

'Dr Blair was cheerful and polite, the friend of

literature as well as of virtue. His predominant weakness seems to have been vanity, which was soon discovered by Burns, in his memorable residence in Edinburgh in 1787. Blair died on the 27th of December 1800.

[On the Cultivation of Taste.] [From Blair's Lectures.]

Such studies have this peculiar advantage, that they exercise our reason without fatiguing it. They lead to inquiries acute, but not painful; profound, but not dry or abstruse. They strew flowers in the path of science, and while they keep the mind bent in some degree and active, they relieve it at the same time from that more toilsome labour to which it must submit in the acquisition of necessary erudition or the investigation of abstract truth.

The cultivation of taste is further recommended by the happy effects which it naturally tends to produce on human life. The most busy man in the most active sphere cannot be always occupied by business. Men of serious professions cannot always be on the stretch of serious thought. Neither can the most gay and flourishing situations of fortune afford any man the power of filling all his hours with pleasure. Life must always languish in the hands of the idle. It will frequently languish even in the hands of the busy, if they have not some employment subsidiary to that which forms their main pursuit. How, then, shall these vacant spaces, those unemployed intervals, which more or less occur in the life of every one, be filled up? How can we contrive to dispose of them in any way that shall be more agreeable in itself, or more consonant to the dignity of the human mind, than in the entertainments of taste, and the study of polite literature? He who is so happy as to have acquired a relish for these, has always at hand an innocent and irreproachable amusement for his leisure hours, to save him from the danger of many a pernicious passion. H: not in hazard of being a burden to himself. He is not obliged to fly to low company, or to court the riot of loose pleasures, in order to cure the tediousness of existence. Providence seems plainly to have pointed out this useful purpose to which the pleasures of taste may be applied, by interposing them in a middle station between the pleasures of sense and those of pure intellect. We were not designed to grovel always among objects so low as the former; nor are we capable of dwelling constantly in so high a region as the latter. The pleasures of taste refresh the mind after the toils of the intellect and the labours of abstract study; and they gradually raise it above the attachments of sense, and prepare it for the enjoyments of virtue. So consonant is this to experience, that, in the education of youth, no object has in every age appeared more important to wise men than to tincture them early with a relish for the entertainments of taste. The transition is commonly made with ease from these to the discharge of the higher and more important duties of life. Good hopes may be entertained of those whose minds have this liberal and elegant turn. It is favourable to many virtues. Whereas, to be entirely devoid of relish for eloquence, poetry, or any of the fine arts, is justly construed to be an unpromising symptom of youth; and raises suspicions of their being prone to low gratifications, or destined to drudge in the more vulgar and illiberal pursuits of life. There are indeed few good dispositions of any kind with which the improvement of taste is not more or less connected. A cultivated taste increases sensibility to all the tender and humane passions, by giving them frequent exercise; while it tends to weaken the more violent and fierce emotions.

Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.

[These polished arts have humanised mankind, Softened the rude, and calmed the boisterous mind.]

The elevated sentiments and high examples which poetry, eloquence, and history are often bringing under our view, naturally tend to nourish in our minds public spirit, the love of glory, contempt of external fortune, and the admiration of what is truly illustrious and great.

I will not go so far as to say that the improvement of taste and of virtue is the same, or that they may always be expected to coexist in an equal degree. More powerful correctives than taste can apply are necessary for reforming the corrupt propensities which too frequently prevail among mankind. Elegant speculations are sometimes found to float on the surface of the mind, while bad passions possess the interior regions of the heart. At the same time, this cannot but be admitted, that the exercise of taste is, in its native tendency, moral and purifying. From reading the most admired productions of genius, whether in poetry or prose, almost every one rises with some good impressions left on his mind; and though these may not always be durable, they are at least to be ranked among the means of disposing the heart to virtue. One thing is certain, that without possessing the virtuous affections in a strong degree, no man can attain eminence in the sublime parts of eloquence. He must feel what a good man feels, if he expects greatly to move or to interest mankind. They are the ardent sentiments of honour, virtue, magnanimity, and public spirit, that only can kindle that fire of genius, and call up into the mind those high ideas, which attract the admiration of ages; and if this spirit be necessary to produce the most distinguished efforts of eloquence, it must be necessary also to our *: them with proper taste and feeling.

[Difference between Taste and Genius.] [From the same.]

Taste and genius are two words frequently joined together, and therefore, by inaccurate thinkers, confounded. They signify, however, two quite different things. The difference between them can be clearly pointed out, and it is of importance to remember it. Taste consists in the power of judging; genius in the power of executing. One may have a considerable degree of taste in poetry, eloquence, or any of the fine arts, who has little or hardly any genius for composition or execution in any of these arts; but genius cannot be found without including taste also. Genius, therefore, deserves to be considered as a higher power of the mind than taste. Genius always imports something inventive or creative, which does not rest in mere sensibility to beauty where it is perceived, but which can, moreover, produce new beauties, and exhibit them in such a manner as strongly to impress the minds of others. Refined taste forms a good critic; but genius is further necessary to form the poet or the orator.

It is proper also to observe, that genius is a word which, in common acceptation, extends much further than to the objects of taste. It is used to signify that talent or aptitude which we receive from nature for excelling in any one thing whatever. Thus, we speak of a genius for mathematics, as well as a genius for poetry—of a genius for war, for politics, or for any mechanical employment.

This talent or aptitude for excelling in some one particular is, I have said, what we receive from nature. By art and study, no doubt, it may be greatly improved, but by them alone it cannot be acquired. As genius is a higher faculty than taste, it is ever, according to the usual frugality of nature, more limited in the sphere of its operations. It is not uncommon to meet with persons who have an excellent taste in several of the polite arts, such as music, poetry, painting, and eloquence, all together; but to find one who is an excellent performer in all these arts, is much more rare, or rather, indeed, such a one is not to be looked for. A sort of universal genius, or one who is equally and indifferently turned towards several different professions and arts, is not likely to excel in any; although there may be some few exceptions, yet in general it holds, that when the bent of the mind is wholly directed towards some one object, exclusive in a manner of others, there is the fairest prospect of eminence in that, whatever it be. The rays must converge to a point, in order to glow intensely.

[ocr errors]

DR GEORGE CAMPBELL, professor of divinity, and afterwards principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, was a theologian and critic of more vigorous intellect and various learning than Dr Blair. His Dissertation on Miracles, written in reply to Hume, is a conclusive and masterly piece of reasoning; and his Philosophy of Rhetoric—published in 1776—is perhaps the best book of the kind since Aristotle. Most of the other works on this subject are little else but compilations, but Campbell brought to it a high degree of philosophical acumen and learned research. Its utility is also equal to its depth and originality: the philosopher finds in it exercise for his ingenuity, and the student may safely consult it for its practical suggestions and illustrations. Dr Campbell's other works are, a Translation of the Four Gospels, worthy of his talents; some sermons preached on public occasions; and a series of Lectures

« PoprzedniaDalej »