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truth, little more than nominal; cases, enable us to devise methods ihat in the anatomy of the body, as for managing them skilfully:-an in the anatomy of the mind, facts intimate acquaintance with the naare obtained solely by accurate ob- ture and extent of associations, is of servations, yet no one ever doubled great value in education: and it the usefulness of that study ; and seems even probable, that, in the lhat, as the whole science of astro- progress of the science, some lights nomy evidently falls within the may be oblained for the assistance scope of the Reviewer's remarks, his of those who may suffer an accidentarguments, if they possess any al injury in any of their senses, or force, tend to depreciate a large who labour under the very common department of physics equally with and very alicting disorders of the the science of mind. In reply to judgment or imagination. Still, it some instances, adduced to shew that is impossible to contend that knowmen who never studied the philoso- ledge is power, to the same extent phy of mind have sufficient practi- in metaphysics, as in natural scical acquaintance with the relation ence; and though, when facts are subsisting between its faculties, Mr. once procured, it matters little wheStewart observes, that a considerable ther they were obtained by means proportion of ihe niosl important of observation or experiment, it theorems upon motion, the centre of cannot be denied that the more exgravity, the composition of forces, periments we can make, the more and other mathematical truths, are chances we have of discovering solved by every savage who feathers phenomena, and that, in the nature his arrow or loads it, or trains bis of things, experiments a 'e far more horse to particular exercises; and conveniently made upon matter, on the whole, he insists, in a series than upon mind. of arguments and illustrations, But we think that Mr. Stewart through which we have not space has permitted his opponents to narsufficient to follow bim, that he is row too much the grounds on which sanctioned by the justest views of the defence of metaphysical sludies the probable progress of philosophy, may be rested. Some knowledge, in re-afirming the beneficial tenden- to be sure, is power; perhaps, in a cy of the studies to which the best sense, all knowledge is so : but years of his life bave been devoted. knowledge is not merely power, nor
To this chapter the Edinburgh can its value be fairly measured Reviewers have rejoined, and de- only by this rule. Many branches fended their original positions with of inquiry well deserve the attensome eagerness; but we think, they tion of every inquisitive understandhave left the question about where ing; many have a tendency to forthey found it.
tify the mind, or to enlarge or to Upon the principal subject in de adoro. it; many contribute to the bate, whicia respects the utility or sources of elegant and harmless unprofitableness of metaphysical amusement, which have only a studies, we concor, in the main, with very remote effect in increasing the Mr. Stewart; yet we are far from powers
man, even upon the thinking that there is absolutely no- largest meaning that can be given thing in what is urged on the other to that expression. Nor is it in any side. When the Reviewer says
manner an objection to the philobroadly, that in metaphysics certain sophy of mind, that it is less useful ly knowledge is not power, we have than physical inquiries. Different no hesitation in saying, that certain- branches of knowledge are doubtless ly he is wrong. There can be no of different values, sometimes in the doubt that a knowledge of the con- nature of things, sometimes in relanection between the different facul. tion to certain individuals or to parlies of the mind, may, in many ticular objects; but any science is
worthy of cultivation which is likely ledge. A celebrated French wri* to be of some use to many persons, ter* thought he paid a high' comor of much use to a few. pliment to Mr. Locke, in saying What is ordinarily unprofitable, that “ he was the Hercules who had should not be generally pursued; fixed the boundaries of the human what is essentially frivolous, should understanding." Surely it is somebe universally neglected; but in the thing, indeed it is by no means a different branches of real knowledge little matter, that we are no longer we must permit men to choose pret- in danger of straining our faculties, ty freely, as their interests, or op- and wasting our time, in researches portunities, or tastes, may direct respecting general essences, subthem; and among these, we are in- stantial forms, and the like unintel: clined to think the metaphysical ligible jargon. In common life, and studies entitled to occupy a very re- conversation also, not to say in spectable station.
books, how many foolish sentences, Many worthy men entertain, in which are thought wise by those deed, strong prejudices against these who utter them, would be saved, if pursuits; but let it be recollected,
men were more generally persuaded that reflective understandings are that, when they talk of abstract ideas, naturally metaphysical. It happens, they use words without a meaning; we believe, to almost every man of that, when they speak of images ima vigorous intellect, at some period of his life, and generally very early,
* Mons. Voltaire. It has been the fa. to feel considerable curiosity re- shion of late, with the Edinburgh Reviewers, specting the nature of his faculties, when iliis name is mentioned, to couple it and tbe modes of exercising them; with the great," “ the illustrious," or some
We really to arrest the progress of his thoughts, such high-sounding epithet. for the purpose of contemplating
think this not in very good taste. There is them more accurately ; to consider in such a superatundance of encomium.
an appearance of a little sectarian eageruess, with some anxiety the manner of his Voltaire was jusily eminent as a poet and a existence; what it is he means when wit; he was an entertaining historian; and, be speaks of his ideas, thoughts, as far as liis philosoplig extended (for he was
sentiments; what life is; what is not profound in any science, though he had · death; what time, what eternity ; an insight into all), he was sound and clear
what space, and matter, and motions. headed. The vivacity of his parts, and va. Good men, who discern, or who fan- riety of his attainments, entitle him to be cy they discern, the dangers attend. considered as an extraordinary man; but it ing such speculations, may warn the is very questionable whether he deserves the young and inquisitive; but it is im- character of a great ruun. The unjust treat
ment he experienced in early lise, is some possible, for those who have a glimpse of light, to rest contentedly during that period; but what apology can be
excuse for his prejudices against religion in darkness; and surely it is more offered for the miserable and devoted fury rational fairly to ascertain, by a well- with which lie persecuted Christianity during directed course of inquiry, what can all his later years? Or what shall we say of be known respecting these things, the temper, wisdom, and enlargement of a and what must remain nidden, than philosopher, who could see nu distinction to suffer the mind to run out into between the blind bigotry of a popish estaevery sort of vagrant theory, or sink, blislıment, and that pure, practical, and be. after a few excursions, into that nign spirit which breathes through every senseless scepticismı which is really
page of the New Testament? If Voltaire the refuge of indolence, not the in any tranch of pvilosophical discussion,
had shewn half the ignorance and timerity resting place of maply thought and with which his striciures on the Holy Scripcandid investigation.
tures are justly chargeable, we suspect the It is not enough considered, how votes of our northern brethren would have useful it is for us to be acquainted been more divided than they appear to be with the real limits of our know- respecting his merits.
pressed on the sensorium, they nei- profess to regard only the external ther understand themselves, nor elle condition of mankind, have perbaps able any body else to understand less counection with inquiries conthem; and that, though they should cerning the mind, than the sciences dispute about mind and matter from already mentioned; yet every body the cock-crow till the curfew, they has doubtless heard of political mehave not in reality the least ac- taphysics : and though we should quaintance with the one or the have no objection to admit that the other. These things, and many questions in that department which like them, bave been taught us by have occasioned the most eager conthe men who have inquired into the troversies are for the most part friorigin of our knowledge, the least volous, yet so long as there are fooluseful pari unquestionably of me ish men who will insist upon distaphysical science; yet, unprofit. cussing them, it is exceedingly proable as it now appears to us, so cu- per that there should be wise men rious and inviting as to bave attracte sufficiently prepared to diseuss them ed the full attention of some of the also. Lastly, in theology, the most most powerful understandings that important and interesting of all stuhave appeared in modern Europe. dies to an immortal and accountable
But the advantages which belong being, who is there that is not sen. to the study of the philosophy of sible of the value of metaphysical the mind, are not merely negative. knowledge in conducting us through Not to mention the hints that have the great questions of predestination, been obtained from the researches election, and free-agency? What of metaphysicians for the judicious violence have some Calvinistic dimanagement of the understanding, vines done to the common sense and and the more perfeet lights which feelings of mankind, what perilous may be anticipated from their fue approaches to practical Antinomian. ture labours, this science borders se ism have they sometimes made, in closely upon others of the most un- the stiff, unqualified, and really unquestionable importance, that some philosophical statement of their fainsight into it seems necessary for vourite doctrines! What mere verthe perfect understanding of subjects bal frivolities, what contradictory which nobody thinks himself at li- propositions, and sometimes what berty to despise. Its connection dangerous errors and heresies, have with physics is so close, that the an- some Arminian writers fallen into, cient writers classed them together, from their ignorance of the diffor, rather, considered the philosophy culties which unquestionably emof mind as a part of the philosophy barrass their tenets respecting the of nature. Of philology, at least will! one half, and that the most impor- There is another view in which tant balf, is strictly metaphysical the value of the metaphysics deIn morals the case is so nearly simi- serves to be considered; we mean, Jar, that a man might as reasonably in respect of the discipline they afentitle himself a learned physician ford to the understanding. In the though he had never studied apa. English universities, the certain scidomy, as esteem himself an adept in ences are those wbich alone have moral science without having ob- been employed in the institution of tained an intimate acquaintance with youth. In a neighbouring realm, the affections, passions, and senti- young minds are exercised chiefly ments of the human heart. Indeed, in morals, politics, public law, and all moral writers must be in a greater metaphysics. Far be from us the or less degree metaphysical; though, presumption of deciding which of 20 be sure, it must be owned that the two schemes is the most successall metaphysical writers have not ful; but we have no doubt at all been very moral. Politics, which which is, in its principle, the most reasonable. The great objects in the with him. They are perpetually instruction of young persons, so far present and ready for his use; “perat least as intellectual cultivation is noctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusregarded, and we suspect even a ticantur:" and the most vulgar inlittle further, are, to form their minds cidents of life, which only distract to babits of thought at once bold the thoughts of other speculators, and cautious, patient and discursive; furnish to him not unfrequently octo teach them that the memory is to casions for examining anew the be the handmaid of the understand. principles be has established, and ing, not the mistress; to instil an supply hints for their enlargement, ardent curiosity and thirst of know- illustration, or correction. ledge, yet to accustom them at the The considerations last mentioned sanie time to estimate their progress are nearly allied to others of stil! rather by the value and accuracy higher importance. A branch of than by the apparent extent of their the metaphysics (as we have already acquirements. For these purposes, observed) borders upon erbics, and perhaps for every purpose of intel- embraces the study of those interlectual institution, those sciences in nal principles which evidently are which the evidence is only probable of a moral nature. Such are love, possess manifest advantages over compassion, sympathy, generosity, those in which it is demonstrative; gratitude, courage, and the like. and, among the former, none are better Surely if self-discipline be imporfitted to discipline the understanding tant, and if man possesses in any than the metaphysics. The sube degree the power of directing or jects wbich they present for exami- regulating his own emotions, that nation are exactly those about which science cannot be useless which inthe mind is apt to be curious, at a troduces us to a more perfect actime when its curiosity is unpreju- quaintance with ourselves; which diced, before it has received a par. lays open to us the very springs of ticular direction from worldly in action; which discloses not merely terests and habits. They are neither, the full-grown thought or inclinalike geometrical studies, so perfectly tion, but the secret cell where its abstruse as to connect themselves seed was deposited, the soil where it very rarely with the practical pur- began to germinate, the neighboursuits of life; nos, like political in- ing affections to which its young quiries, apt to become vulgar and fibres first attached themselves, and Unscientific from a multitude of lo- from whence, perhaps, they drew cal details and temporary interests. their chief nutriment. It is prinThey form, beyond all other sciences, cipally on this account that aimost reflective habits of mind. In other all the best practical writers on pursuits, these are for the most part religion have been metaphysical. exercised only in forming general They are not satisfied to shew wbat conclusions; but in the metaphysics is the meaning or what the extent the whole process is reflective. Re- of any precept; but they endeaflection is requisite for observing the vour to trace the avenues by which phenomena on which we are to rea. it may be conducted to the recesses son; it is requisite for separating, of the heart, and to detect the princomparing, and combining ihem; it ciples of our nature to which it has is requisite ultimately for ascertain the nearest alliance, or from which ing the laws to which they are sub- the most obstinate hostility may be jected. To all this must be added, expected. Any one may satisfy chat, while other sciences require a bimself of the truth of this, by openconsiderable apparatus of books and ing at hazard the practical works of opportunities of general information, Baxter, Owen, Leighton, Watts, the metaphysician carries the ma. Witherspoon, Edwards, and readterials of his art constantly about ing on for a few pages. Many a pious man, who has been accustom- slight investigation: if this, or any ed to run on against metaphysics thing like this meaning, belongs to with more zeal than knowledge, the word scepticism, we cannot hemight undoubtedly be convicted (to sitate to say, that those who object his great surprise) of being himself to the metaphysical studies on such pretiy deep in that science; which grounds, pass upon them, in the form he would be found to have studied of a censure, a very high eulogium. through a large part of his life, not There is hardly any habit more per.
indeed very systematically, but to a nicious, not merely in scientific remuch better purpose iban a consie searches, but daily and hourly in derable majority of those who have every department of life, than that written upon it the most abstrusely, loose indolent way which men hare Many pious persons might also be of jumping upon their conclusions in found, wbo, in part at least, for want all sorts of subjects, and accepting, of that knowledge which metaphy. almost without examination, sentisics would bave given, deceive them. ments and maxims of the most exselves in many things of great prac- tensive practical import. If, on the tical importance; are insensible to other hand, by scepricism is intend. the growth of the most dangerous ed a disposition of mind unfavourassociations ; mistake the real able to the cordial reception of the sources of their errors in conduct; truths of religion, upon what epiconfound the more amiable natural dence is it asserted, that metaphysidispositions with tbe evidences and cal studies have the tendency im. fruits of sanctification; or remain in- puted to them? Was Locke a stepsensible to dormant principles of sin, tic? Was Clark a scepric? Was which they might have discovered Berkley a sceptic? All these great and mortified, ill a powerful temp- men not only openly professed their tation draws them forth to a terrible belief in Christianity, but thought and fatal activity.
they could not better employ their These are some of the advantages best years and maturest faculties which may fairly be considered as than by consecrating them to the belonging to the cultivation of those detence of those iruths, which studies which are commonly called thoughtless, licentious men are ap! metaphysical. To all this, and to to deride, but which it is the pecuwhatever else has by different wri- liar character of a truly elevated ters been urged in favour of such understanding to feel and venerate. pursuits, the common reply is, that Bishop Berkley, in particolar, was “ they are exceedingly dangerous; led to the adoption of his peculiar they make men sceptical.” Now it theory in metaphysics principally is natural to ask the many worthy from an anxiety to refute the sceptics and respectable persons by whom of his day, whose reasonings were this objection is made (what per- all founded on the received opinions baps they have not always recole respecting a material world; and, in lected to ask themselves), What is the work which he entitled " The it you mean by scepticism?" If Minute Philosopher," he has disthat word is used to denote a babit cussed at large all the prevailing of mind slow and cautious in form- ojections to natural and revealed re ing its conclusions, sufficiently dis-ligion, and employed much of bis trust tul of itself to be desirous of metaphysical learning, particularly knowing wbat can be argued against his important discoveries respecting the inferences which it inclines to vision, and his very fine and origi. adopt, and even so far diffident of nal speculations on the nature of its performances as to be perfectly language, as materials for replying willing, upon the appearance of new to those objections. Mr. Home, iolights, to re-examine those positions deed, whom every body knows te which had been adopted upon to have been sceptical enough, bas ap