Изображения страниц

cessfully employed in subserviency this despot, and restore the underto the happiness of mankind.” standing to its natural freedom, the

That spirit of inquiry, which we discipline of the schools must be derive from nature, and which utterly abolished, and the props of commonly discovers itself with the authority must be left to moulder first dawning of the human intel. away, by long interruptions in the lect, may be aptly denominated progress of learning ; youth must the love of wisdom. In this sense no longer be harassed by the study the prattling infant is as much a of heathen writers, vulgarly called philosopher, as the hoary-headed Classicks, because of the danger of sage. Curiosity, which, instead of corrupting their morals ; and, to being satiated, grows hungry by finish the climax, the holy bible, indulgence, first busies itself about instead of a code of divine inspirathe names of natural bodies ; next, tion, the refuge of mortals on earth their peculiar properties and appro- and their only guide to heaven, has priate uses ; then, the causes of lately been discovered to be only a their existence. Such is the phi compilation of monkish impostors. losophy of nature; and moral phi. The obstacles to the attainment of losophy, necessarily, pursues the knowledge, one would think, were same track in her investigation of already sufficiently numerous, withthe operations of mind ; for valu- out the auxiliary aid of systematick able or useful discoveries, both degradation; for the labourersin the depend upon a previous knowledge vineyard of wisdom, and the suitors of fact, obtained by careful experi- in the courts of the Muses, have ment and critical observation. been few, in all ages, and their re

While the study of moral phi.' ward has more frequently been losophy has confessedly fallen into stripes, than blessings, from their neglect, the institutions of modern cotemporaries ; but the honour of times are chiefly designed to facil. laying the foundation for an instiitate the acquisition of natural tute of ignorance exclusively beknowledge ; but, for lessons of longs to the age of reason. mcrality, we have the inestimable Within a century past scepti. privilege of resorting to the tem- cism has aimed many open and ples of our God. It is to be fear many insidious blows at the purest ed, that the rage of innovation, system of morals that ever blessed aided by an artificial aversion and mankind, by studied attempts to an unnatural distaste for ancient bring in question its divine origin. wisdom, which infidelity has lately What aggravates the iniquity of wrought up to a pitch of extrava- these pernicious labours is, the gance, has already produced alarm- unwelconie recollection, that they ing consequences to society. That have been, for the most part, the fetters of superstition, rivetted achieved by men of superiour sci. by ancient authority, have scarcely entifick attainments, whose exer: less retarded the progress of im- cises of intellect, in every other provement, than the mournful des- branch of learning, reflect lustre olations of war, is a favourite doc- upon letters. Pitiful employtrine of the times ; and it is by no ment ! shameful perversion of means uncommon to hear a reve- mental endowments! To partic. rence for the ancients derided, as ularize individuals, who have lent a tyrannical usurpation over hu- their aid to underinine the fabrick man reason. In order to dethrone of Christian faith, becomes not this occasion. How largely this phi. under Epicurus; hypocritical under losophy has contributed to produce Zeno ; impudent under Diogenes ; those revolutions of states and em covetous under Demochares; voluppires, of which the scene is prin- tuous under Metrodorus; fantastical cipally laid in Europe, is an inqui- under Crates; scurrilous under Mery, which, by its interest, might nippus ; licentious under Pyrrho; reward the patient research of and quarrelsome under Cleanthes."* scholars and statesmen.

It is nevertheless sufficiently atIt is not, in fact, nor ought it to be tested, that the lonick and Italick mentioned as any disparagement of schools, at the head of which were the ancient moralists,that their writ. Thales and Pythagoras, split into ings breathe not the pure ethereal numerous sects, as various in their precepts of the Christian doctrines. doctrines, as in their modes of With devotional fervour many of teaching. Each had its favourite them sought for the knowledge of hypothesis, while all were confes. truths, which by the help of reve. sedly occupied in the search after lation are happily familiarized to happiness, or the greatest good. us ; but it did not comport with some place the bliss in action, some in the views of God to: man, that dis

ease, coveries of his divine attributes Those call it pleasure, and contentment should result from the most un

these ; wearied exercise of unassisted rea

Some, sunk to bcasts, find pleasure end .

in pain, son. Yet, by the systems of mor- Some, swellid to Gods, confess ev'n vir. als which were taught in the tue vain ; schools of the first masters of phi- Or, indolent, to each extreme they fall, losophy, the condition of the hu- To trust in every tl.ing, or doubt of all. man race was raised from debase. As the natural propensities of ment; the violence of the passions men dictated, and as their disporeceived a salutary check; and the sitions inclined, they were led to prevalence of corruption and im- embrace opposite schemes for the piety became more rare among attainment of a common end; and mankind. Had the lives and the a supposed affinity between the doctrines of their adherents been different temperaments of men coincident with the original tenets and the sects themselves has been of the first teachers, Philosophy assigned as the impelling motive had never“ given occasion for her to a choice of masters. « Nothenemies to blaspheme.” She ing," says De Pauw, “ being more might not have been doomed to natural, than that those, who were ring all the changes of the Me- born with great force of mind and tempsichosis of vice and impurity. strong nerves, should discover a Such a barometer, as has been predilection for stoicism, while graduated for the philosophy of mortals, endowed by nature with Greece, had never been applied to more delicacy of fibres, fled for re. the purpose of noting the fluctua. fuge to the myrtles of Epicurus. tions in the state of the moral People, whose temper partook of atmosphere, even among the hea. no extreme, were inclined for the then.

Lyceum, or the Academy ; such It could not with truth have been as possessed solidity of understand. said of the philosophy, which Plato and Aristotle admired, that it became

Encyclopædia. Tit. Philosophy. 6s impious under Diagoras ; vicious † Pope. Essay on Man.

ing ranged themselves with Aris- tion of men in despite of them. totle ; and those who had only gen selves, is of all employments the nius, or even pretensions to that most thankless; and it is a solemn endowment, went to augment the truth, that the best and richest crowd of Platonists."

gifts of providence, in the persons It is assumed, as an historical and characters of eminent men, fact, that the Inaxiins of moral have been slighted, if not rejected philosophy taught in the schools with loathing, by those for whom of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the blessing was designed. Jeruvery powerfully contributed to dis- salem stoned and killed her procipline the minds of men for the phets. Athens poisoned her Soreception of the sublimer doctrines crates. Rome murdered her Ci. of Christianity; though, it is no cero. The JewSBut I forbear less certain, that the active jealou- further to trespass on holy ground. sy of many, styling themselves The fate of Socrates is most condisciples of Plato, had an influence nected with my subject. Though in retarding the establishment of not untarnished with suspicion, his the Christian Religion. Their life and character are for the most hostility, so well attested, is ascrib- part represented in the most ami. ed with some plausibility to their able light. His cotemporaries settled veneration for the head of shrink from a comparison, betheir sect, and an apprehension, cause the example he gave is rethat the new system would speed- proachful of their dissoluteness of ily eradicate their favourite philo- manners. sophy, which, of all others, in the Athens was infested with a opinion of a modern enthusiast, swarm of false pretenders to wis« discovers the greatest conformi. dom, denominated Sophists, whose ty with Revelation." Whether trade was disputation and the sum this honour be ascribed to the senti- of whose merit is comprised in a ments of Plato or of Socrates, is short sentence...they had the art perhaps not very material ; but, as “to make the worse appear the betthe former was a disciple of the ter reason.” From this vermin latter, the praise of conformity be- it was the ambition of Socrates to longs rather to the master, than the rid his country. Their hypocrisy, scholar.

not surpassed by that of the scribes The united testimony of ancient and pharisees, he knew and desand modern writers gives rank to pised ; their ignorance he knew, Socrates, as the most extraordina- and exposed it. While they prery person, that ever appeared in tended to such acquisitions of the heathen world; and, in our day, knowledge, and such a knack of we have seen a philosophical pa imparting it to others, that, as a rallel, between the character of facetious Frenchman professed to Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth, teach the art of painting, so they produce an interesting controver could teach the art of wisdom, in sy, between two learned Theolo. three hour's time, Socrates, who gians.

was wiser than them all, professed To combat vulgar errours ; to to know but this, that he knew stem the torrent of popular preju- nothing. At an advanced period dice ; and to meliorate the condi- of his life, the rancour of those

enemies, whom all his life had ex. | Priestley and Linn's controversy. asperated, enkindled the resenta

ment of his countrymen, by im- the merits of moral treatises, peaching him of the heinous sin adjudge the prize to Tully, of of “ endeavouring to bring wis- whose book of Offices the famous dom and things together, and make Barbeyrac* has recorded his testitruth consist with sober sense." mony, that “ without dispute it is That he corrupted the youth, and the best treatise of morality, with refused homage to the gods of his which all antiquity has furnished country, were other articles in the us." charges preferred against Socrates Should a parallel be run between to the Athenian senate. The stage Socrates and Cicero, with a view had been employed as an instru- to determine which has most inment, by the force of ridicule, to fluenced the manners and opinions destroy the influence of his capti- of posterity, the palm of victory vating manners and seducing opin- would unquestionably be decreed ions, and the ribaldry of Aristo- to the Roman. In ethicks and phanes occasionally bespattered the jurisprudence, in oratory and potransparent crapery of the Socratick lite literature, whether in theory portrait of Divinity. In spite of or in practice, it must be inquired his able defonce, bis enemies pre- respecting Cicero, as Cicero invaiied upon the fickle and wayward quired of Pisistratus, " who of passions of the populace, and they those times surpassed him in learndecreed death by poison as his ing, or what orator was more eloportion. Of his conduct while in quent or accomplished ?” prison, after sentence had been In a disquisition upon philosopronounced against him, and the phy, to omit the name of Chanmagnanimity of the last scene of cellor Bacon, the great reformer, his life, none are ignorant. Cicero might be thought little less parand science wept his unnatural donable, than for a treatise upon death.

the reformation in religion to forWho noble ends, by noble means, ob- get the name of Luther. tains,

It was he, who, in the language Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains, of Sir William Jones, t " so eleLike good Aurelius, let him reign or gantly analysed human knowledge

bleed, Like Socrates that man is great indeed.*

according to the three great facul

ties of the mind, memory, reason, Notwithstanding the partial esti

and imagination, which we conmation, in which Socrates was held stantly find employed in arranging by antiquity, and however extraor

and retaining, comparing and disdinary the appearance of such a lu

tinguishing, combining and diverminary may be considered in refer

sifying the ideas which we receive ence to the period of his life,it is on

through our senses, or acquire by ly from the writings of his two dis

reflection ; hence the three main ciples, Xenophon and Plato,that tes

branches of learning are History, timonials of his wisdom are to be

Science, and Art. The first comcollected. These have afforded prehends either an account of nat. matter for enthusiastick encomium

ural productions, or the genuine to all students in ethicks to the pre records of empires and states ; the sent day ; but there are those, of

# Barbevrac. Preface to Puffendorf. no mean taste, who, comparing + Sir William Jones's Works. Dis.

course pronounced before the Asiatick * Pope. Essay on Man.


second embraces the whole circlements in agriculture, commerce, of pure and mixed mathematicks, and manufactures. Civil polity is together with ethicks and law, so in the hands of the people...let them far as they depend on the reason. look to it ; while science and the ing faculty ; and the third includes whole family of her kindred, may all the beauties of imagery, and the be safely confided to the fostering charms of invention, displayed in care of our Alma Mater. modulated language, or represent Upon you, my brethren, who ed by colour, figure, or sound.” are still detained in academick

It was Bacon, who first gave the groves, it would be superAuous to plan of those institutions for the inculcate emulation. “Verily the acquisition of natural science, reward is great." Slaves to no which, since his day, have multi- sect, but followers of all who point plied in, at least, three quarters of the path to truth, let it be your the globe ; the objects of whose in- pride, as it is your precious preroquiries are “ Man and Nature, gative, like the Eclectick Philosowhatever is performed by the one, phers, to profit of all the good and or produced by the other.”

discard all the pernicious tenets of Of those institutions in our own ancient or modern times. Like country, professing similar objects, good soldiers in the ranks of Mi.. it is remarkable, that the most con- nerva, learn to vanquish every obspicuous were founded amid the stacle in your march to the fortress din of arms, and in the very heat of knowledge, and as a motto for of our struggle for independence ; your banners, while scaling the affording an honourable illustration ramparts of her citadel, may cach of the truth of a maxim, that the individual adopt the inspiration of love of liberty and that of solid the Mantuan Muse. and useful knowledge walk hand in hand.

“ Tentanda via est quâ me quoque Philosophy, indeed, is no longer


Tollere humo ; victorqué virum volifollowed as a profession, but in

tare per ora.” every branch of profitable knowledge, the labourers are many.

“ I too will boldly strive my flight to Freedom of inquiry, aided by facil

raise, ities in communicating the result

And wing’d by victory, catch the gale

of praise.” of laborious investigation, has al.

Sotheby Trans. ready led to valuable improve

Translated for the Anthology from the Cours de Literature of La Harpe.

(Concluded from p. 466.] HERE Narcissus begins to be or his mother, or Burrhus, but he more at his ease. He wished to only still fears the publick opinion, sound the soul of Nero : it opens, the last restraint of a perverse and and he sees, that nature has not and powerful man, when he has cast one sigh, that there is there some vanity. Nero has yet a little no remorse, not one sentiment of left ; and it is by this vanity that virtue ; that Nero has done noth- Narcissus proceeds to get the mas. ing from any regard to his brother, tery of him.

Vol. III. No. 10. 3R

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »