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Tully, at some particular periods, and occurs more frequently in some of his works, than in others; not, as it should seem, from any peculiarities in the subjects themselves, but from the mere fondness which the writer felt for this phraseology at the precise moment of using it. The same kind of temporary par. ciality toward this or that mode of expreffion, may be traced in many other eminent writers. We Tall establish the juftness of our remark upon Cicero, by adding, that the phrase, of which we have been speaking, occurs rarely in the three books De Oreo rore, that in the Orator it is found five times, and in the Brutus fixteen.
In the Preface, we did not observe any Anglicisms; but we are sensible, how many expressions incur this reproachful appel. Jation, which may be justified by examples from the beft Roman writers. Henry Stephens has collected many instances, in which the French idiom coincides with the Latin. Vorsius has done the same in regard to the German language, and we should be happy to find that a similar work respecting the English were undertaken by some countryman of our own. We have lost, it is true, a Markland, a Toup, and a Tyrwhitt; but the cause of literature will yet find the most able supporters in those who are still living ornaments of the age; and whole modefty we will not on this occafion wound, by presenting their names to the Public.
The Editor seems to be not less familiarly acquainted with the writings of Cicero, than was Bellendenus. He sometimes applies pallages from the Epistolary and Philosophical works of that writer. He frequently draws expressions from the Orations :
but his chief source seems to be the Rhetorical writings. Our Editor does not however confine himself to Cicero; but readily admits any expression suited to his purpose, in Cælur, Sallust, V. Paterculus, Quintilian, and other approved Roman aja thors.
Though the Editor has derived his phraseology from poetry as well as prose, and from writers who Aourilhed in what is called the filver, as well as the golden age of Latinity, yet he has preserved a' very becoming uniformity of style. On him who writes in languages no longer spoken, the practice of drawing expressions from writers of different degrees of merit, is im. posed by necesity. It is warranted by the example of scholars, who prefer real perspicuity to false elegance. It has been vindicated by the pointed raillery of Erasmus, and the solid reasons ing of T. F. P.cus, Polician, and Budæus. It cannot therefore be arraigned at the tribunal of manly and liberal criticism. The present Editor, perhaps, does not stand in need of this defence. But we have written it in opposition to those puerile and pedantic opinions, which the German scholars of this century have industria 10
oully combated with great variety of erudition, and with sound. ness of argument yet greater.
In the application of brilliant passages from Greek and Roman authors, the Editor is often happy. His allufions to strik. ing facts and marked characters, recorded by the writers of antiquity, are numerous and appofire. He has, with great propriety, apologized for inserting so much Greek in a Latin text, and we are disposed to pardon this motley appearance, for the sake of the intrinsic beauties which Mine in the quotations, and of the consummate judgment with which many of them are introduced.
On political topics we allow to all writers that freedom which we ourselves exercise, in judging of public men and public measures. We do not, however, discover, either in Mr. Pitt, or his associates, those defects, which our Editor (o acrimoniously condemns; nor do we believe his favourite triumvirate possessed of that unsullied and transcendent merit which he so highly extols. But it falls not within the limits or the plan of our Review, to controvert every political tenet to which we do not entirely accede. It is not our wish to dispute the fincerity or the difin. terestedness of the Editor, in forming his own opinions. But it is our duty and our right to express some disapprobation of the fierce and imperious spirit, with which those opinions are fome. times maintained.
Whatever may be the excentricities of this unknown writer as a partizan, he certainly is intitled to much praise as an editor and as a scholar. The stubbornness of his political prejudices, and the asperity of his personal invectives, are, in a great measure, compensated by his candour toward the failings of learned men; by his admiration of their talents; and by his endeavours to perpetuate the memory, and to extend the utility, of their works.
Art. X. Sermons. By Samuel Charters, Minister of Wilton. 8vo.
5s. Boards. Edinburgh, printed for Creech, &c.; sold in London by
Cadell. 1786. T IKE the celebrated Sermons of Dr. Whichcote, these vaL luable discourses seem to be only hinis, on which the preacher delivered himself more at large from the pulpit; but, like them too, they contain many good thoughts, which may serve as materials for more regular compositions. Of the author's manner a short specimen may suffice to give a competent idea.
In enumerating the sources of evil-speaking, he mentions ignorance, idleness, wit, and pride. Oi wit he says:
• One who has wit is often so enamoured of it, só captivated with the attention the praise and the courtship it procures him, that he L14
cannot allow himself to moderate or correct it; he goes on indulging it in that train which takes best and raises the loudeft laugh. There is so much of ill-will and self-conceit in the world, as gives a relish to ill-natured jokes. There is often in the characters of wits themselves such adefect in more material accomplishments, and so much envy as to bend their own inclination to the malicious abuse of their talent. On these accounts it is no wonder so much scandal is spoke in the form of wit. Much of that which may seem innocent is not so. The moment one is held forth in a ridiculous point of view, a prejudice springs up against him. Wit embitters an evil report, and is a mean of spreading it. Thoughtless people spread it for the sake of a laugh.
. One of the first liberties which the witty assume, when they give way to evil speaking, is to break in on the limits of truth. They often find this necessary to make their story palatable. The mirth which it excites reconciles them to the impropriety of it, or rather diverts them from thinking it at all improper. The most of us are too apt to fall in with this; to consider the wit of a story that is false, and the mirth which it occasions as an apology for its fallehood; forgetting that truth is sacred, and that a good name is sacred.
• Another liberty which they assume, in process of time, is to turn virtue itself into ridicule. They are happy to ridicule that virtue which they cannot imitate, and which is a perpetual reproach. The modest and diffident, who are thus evil spoken of on account of their virtue, may be tempted to conceal or to abandon it.
• It were easy to show how the witty, who give way to evil speak. ing, are gradually betrayed into the worst kind of it, and how it produces the worst effects both on themselves and others. Every one against whom they employ their malicious wit becomes an enemy. Their passion for wit grows so violent, that they sometimes sacrifice a friend io it. Even those who court, admire, and flatter a witty man, dare not trust him. His ill-natured affeciions get quite the better of the social and kind. I hat talent which at first made him known and fought, which heightened social enjoyment, and made him the general favourite ; has now, by an unhappy abuse, estranged him from the genuine pleasures of society. He is now a melancholy proof, that even in this lite judgments are prepared for the scorner.
o Perions of wit, who regard their own character and comfort, will carefully avoid this channel of evil speaking. It is not the way to be trulled, it is not the way to be honoured, it is not the way to be useful.'
This abrupt tyle being so different from the modern taste in writing, we are apprehensive, that even solid and useful observations (and there are many, very many such in the work) will scarcely be able, in such an unusual dress, to obtain that audience from ehe public, to which real merit, in whatever garb, is juftly entitled.
ART. XI. T'he Elements of the Science of Ethics, on the Principles of
Natural Philosophy. By John Bruce, A.M. Professor of Philoso... phy, and Fellow of the Royal Society at Edinburgh. 8vo. 55.
V ways engaged the choughts of the learned; and has produced, in every age and country where philosophy has been cultivated, many curious and ingenious fpeculations. To the universal defire of becoming acquainted with the nature and faculties of our own mind, we owe the valuable productions of a Plato, an Aristocle, and a Cicero, among the ancients; a Locke, a Clarke, a Hutcheson, and a Smith, among the moderns. It is no wonder that the subject should have engayed the attention of these great men, since it is in itself a pleasing enquiry, and an investigation which must ever be productive of fingular benehis to mankind, independent of that natural propensity and laudable curiosity, which incites the inquisitive mind to explain the many and apparently insurmountable difficulties, with which the subject of Ethics has been surrounded.
The Author of the present períormance has followed a differ. ent path from that which has been pursued by any of his pre. decessors. He has endeavoured to reduce the Icience of morals to the same certainty that attends other sciences. He has attempted to disipate the clouds which obscure it, by subjecting it to the same rules that are oblerved in natural philosophy.
The science of Physics has always proceeded on a natural his. tory, or analysis of phenomena ; and by a scient fic ule of experiments and evidence, conclusions and inductions have been eftablished which describe the laws of nature relative to material objects. Thus, experiment and observa'ion 'were the means by which attraction was first discovered ; and 2 careful attention to yarious phenomena led the contemplative philosopher to form a fyftem agreeable to the laws of nature, and to establish a science on the same basis as that on which nature herself is founded, namely on the immutable and everlasting principles of truth.
Mr. Bruce, considering the different situations of these two sciences, and that the subject of each of them is nature, was ina duced to attempt applying the method of ftudying natural philofophy to the science of ethics.
He begins with explaining the obje&ts of philosophy, and, observing that they are all to be found in nature, he marks out the specific diftinctions of each, and shews how the objects to which ethics relate, may be obterved with as much certainty and advantage, as those of the material world, which engage the attention of the natural philosopher,
The first part of this work is employed in giving a history of etbics. Our Author, considering ethics as an art, is induced to treat largely on art in general, which he defines to be the application of rules to the purposes of life. It would be in vain, he thinks, to seek for the origin of arts in the defaced vestiges of antiquity; he therefore traces the origin of arts from the characters of the human mind in the progreffive situation of man from rudeness to refinement. The love of life, of pleasure, and of novelty, are, in his opinion, uniform propenfities in the mind, which impel it to the invention and improvement of the arts. These propensities are separately created, and the progreflive methods, by which they create or improve, respectively, the necessary, the fine, and the liberal arts, are pointed out. Mr. Bruce then thews how these same propensities produce the ethi. cal arts, or those which regulate our conduct; these he divides into necessary, useful, and liberal. The first appearance of ethics, as an ari, is visible in the rude forms of subordination and jurila di&tion ; ethics, as an art, he thinks, is observable in the proverbs and maxims of every early and rude people, but more especially in those collections of proverbs, made by wise men and distinguished characters, and in the instruction given by allegories and fables ; but above all, in the arrangement of the cardinal virtues by the Greek moralists. Our Author takes a very extensive view of the several stages of the art, and dwells long on the improvements it underwent by the Greeks, who referred all the maxims of morality to the duties which we owe to ourselves, comprehended under the three great divisions, Temperance, Fortitude, and Prudence; and to the duties which we owe to mankind, included under the very general term of Juftice.
Mr. Bruce then proceeds to consider ethics as a science. In this part of the work the reader is presented with a concise and comprehensive history of the moral philosophy of the ancients; and with many sensible remarks on the causes which retard the progress of science in general, but more especially the science of the human mind.
In the next chapter, our Author, confidering the fate of ethics both as an art and a science among the moderns, enters into a paticular detail of the tenets of most of the modern moralifts: the opinions of Hobbes, Malebranche, Cudworth, Clarke, Hutchinson *, Hume, and Smith, are separately examined.
The second part of this work is entitled “Of the Principles of Natural Philosophy. Mr. Bruce here news the neceffity of me. thod in the study of nature; but he is somewhat defective in the practice of that accuracy which he recommends. It is uni
* The Author means Hutcheson, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow.