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Robertson and Blair, and was irreproachably correct and amiable in every relation of life;—and who, perceiving with alarm the tendency of some of their speculations, applies to Warburton for an antidote to the poison he may have imbibed. In Warburton he will then read that Bolingbroke was a paltry driveller-Voltaire a pitiable scoundrel—and Ilume a puny dialectician, who ought to be sel on the pillory, and whose heart was as base and corrupl as his understanding is contemptible! Now, what, we would ask any map of common candour and observation, is the effect which is likely to be produced on the mind of any ingenuous and able young man by this style of confutation? Infallibly to make him take part with the reviled and insulted literali, -to throw aside the right reverend confuler with contempt and disgust,--and most probably to conceive a fatal prejudice against the cause of religion itsell, thus unhappily associated with coarse and ignoble scurrility. He must know to a certainly, in the first place, that the contempt of the orthodox champion is either assecled, or proceeds from most gross ignorance and incapacity;--since the ability of The reviled writers is proved, not only by his own feeling and experience, but by the suffrage of the public and of all men of intelligence. He must think, in the second place, that the impulations on their mural worth are false' and calumnious, both from the fact of their long friendship with the purest and most exalted characters of their age, and from the obvious irrelevancy of this topic in a fair refulation of their errors;--and then, applying the ordinary maxims by which we judge of a disputant's cause from his lemper and his fairness, he disables both the judgment and the candour of his instructor, and conceives a strong prejudice in favour of the cause which has been attacked in a manner so unwarrantable.

We have had occasion, oftener than once, to trace an effect like this from this fierce and overbearing aspect of orthodoxy ;-—and we appeal to the judgment of all our readers, whether it be not the very eflecl which it is calculated to produce on all youthful minds of the least strength and originality. It is to such persons, however, and to such only, that the refutation of infidel writers ought to be addressed. There is no need to wrile books against Hume and Voltaire for the use of the learned and orthodox part of the Eng. lish clergy. Such works are necessarily supposed to be intended for the benefit of young persons, who have either contracted some partiality for these seductive writers, or are otherwise in danger of being misled by them. It is to be presumed, therefore, that they know and admire their real ercellences;-and it might consequently be inferred, that they will not listen with peculiar complacency to a refutation of their errors, which sels out with a torrent of illiberal and unjust abuse of their talents and characters.

We are convinced, therefore, that the bullying and abusive tone of the Warburtonian school, even in its contention with infidels, has done more harm to the cause of religion, and alienaled more youthful and aspiring minds from the true faith, than any other error into which zeal has ever betrayed orthodoxy. It may afford a sort of vindictive delight to the zealols who stand in no need of the instruction of which it should be the vehicle; but it will, to a certainly, revolt and disgust all those lo whom that instruction was necessary, -enlist all the generous feelings of their nature on the side of infidelity,--and make piety and reason itself appear like prejudice aid bigotry. We think it fortunale, therefore, upon the whole, {hat the controversial writings of Warburton are already sunk in oblivion, -since, even if we thought more highly than we do of the substantial

merit of his arguments, we should still be of opinion that they were likely to do more mischief than the greater part of the sophistries which it was their professed object to counteract and discredit.

PALEY.*

The name of Dr. Paley, though scarcely to be reckoned among those of the great theologians and philosophers of England, is probably associated with as large and as enviable a portion of public approbation, as that of any living ecclesiastic. With less learning and less originality than some of his distinguished predecessors, it would be difficult, perhaps, to point out his superior in soundness of judgment, or in vigilant and comprehensive sagacity. With great strength of reasoning and power of decision, he has also united more moderation and liberality of sentiment, than is usually to be found among disputants; and added weight to his argument by a certain plaioness and sobriety of manner, that is infinitely better calculated to produce conviction than the sallies of an ambitious eloquence.

His great merit lies in the clear perception of the strong or the difficult parts of a question, and in the judicious selection and perspicuous arrangement of his arguments: invention is less within his province; and, even when his conclusions appear to partake of originality, it will commonly be found that they have been suggested by a minute and scrupulous examination of propositions that had been furnished by others. His common way is, to break down a subject into as many distinct parts as it really appears to contain, and to make each of them the subject of a separate and rigorous investigation. In consequence of this, his arguments frequently appear to be narrow and circumscribed in their application; and the reader is sometimes apt to wish for the excursive speculation and ample range of a less accurate reasoner. The truth is, however, that, upon many subjects, it is impossible to attain precision, without this formality and detail. Sophistry always delights in generalities; and fallacy is never so safe from detection, as when inquiry is eluded by rapidity of progression, and the mind hurried from one half view of a subject to another, without ever being permitted to reflect upon what has been presented to it.

Almost all the writings of Dr. Paley relate to the highest and most important questions upon which human reason can be exercised, and

appear to have been composed with suitable caution and deliberation. They are elaborate, rather than ingenious; and seem to have been diligently meditated, and carefully arranged, rather than to have been conceived in any fervour of imagination, or poured forth in any conviction of their infallibility. The utmost pains are taken, therefore, to render every thing intelligible and precise; and more anxiety is shown, that nothing necessary shall be omitted, than that all superfluity should be excluded. All cavil is prevented by a jealous strictness of expression; and a few homely illustrations are commonly sufficient to expose those illusions, by which a false philosophy is supported in so many of her unsubstantial speculations.

The progress of time, and the improving ingenuity of scepticism, have

Dr. Paley's Natural Theology.---Vol. i. page 287. January, 1803.

given a new aspect lo all our philosophical productions. It is no longer enough for a writer on morality or religion to explain and enforce his own conceptions upon those important subjects; he must make way for their reception by the extirpation of a multitude of errors, and must be upon the alert at every stage of his progress. He must advance with circumspection as well as boldness, and fortify every position against the attacks of a vigilant and formidable adversary. As the forms of error, too, are infinite and contradictory, he must incessantly be changing his posture of defence, or direction of attack; what serves for the confutation of one set of opponents, being frequently the pretext of hostility to a second. In this situation, the management of such subjects can only be entrusted with safely to skilful reasoners, and expert logicians; men, who will neither give quarler to sophistry, nor consume their forces in unprofitable contentions; who will confine their bostility to the proper object of resentment, and neither use their victories with insolence, nor refuse to yield what they have neither power nor inducement to retain. The great art in all controversies of this nature, is, first, to bring the argument to a point, and then to urge it steadily and closely to an issue. We do not know any writer who has observed both precepts with greater judgment and address than Dr. Paley. All this we say in reference to his former publicalions : that which is now before us will not detract from his reputation, and probably will not extend it.

On the subject of Natural Theology, no one looks for originality, and no one pretends to discovery. Its great disadvantage is its extreme simplicity, and the vast multiplicity of obvious and decisive evidences that may every where be found for its illustration. The great book of the universe lies open to all mankind; and he who cannot read in it the name and the titles of its Author, will probably derive but little benefit from the labours of any commentator: their instructions may elucidate a few dark passages, and exalt our admiration of many that we already perceive to be beautiful: but the bulk of the volume is legible, without assistance; and, much as we may find out by study and meditation, it will still be as nothing, in comparison with what is forced upon our apprehension. No thinking man, we conceive, can doubt that there are marks of design in the universe; and any enumeration of the instances in which this design is manifest, appears, at first sight, to be both unnecessary and impossible. A single example seems altogether as conclusive as a thousand : and he that cannot discover any traces of contrivance in the formation of an eye, will probably relain his atheism at the end of a whole system of physiology. We are apt therefore to suspect, that the chief value of those publications that aim at establishing the being of an intelligent Creator, by a copious induction of the marks of intelligence in the creation, consists, either in their subserviency to the pleasures of devout meditation, or in the novelty, arrangement, and importance of the physical truths they contain. L'pon a more mature consideration, however, we are persuaded that this is but a secondary merit in the work that is now before us, and that the reverend author has done a great, and by no means an unnecessary service, to the cause of religion by its publication. It may be worth while to consider in what ils utility principally consists, and what is the chief difference between the task of an adyocale of natural theology in former, and in the present times.

The ancient sceptics seem to have had nothing to set up against a designing Deity, but the obscure omnipotency of Chance, and the experimental combinations of a chaos of restless aloms. The task of the Theistic phi

losophers was, therefore, abundantly easy in those days; and though their physical science was by no means very correct or extensive, they seem lo have performed it in a bold and satisfactory manner. They appealed at once to the order and symmetry of nature, and to the regularity and magnificence of the grand structure of the universe. The great phenomena of the heavens, in particular, appear to have arrested their attention ; and the magnitude and uniformity of the planetary movements, seem to have afforded a sufficient proof of Divine power and intelligence. It did not appear lo them any objection to this argument, that nothing analogous to those phenomena could be found among the products of human intelligence, or that they were unable to explain the means which Divine Wisdom had employed to produce them. Quis hunc hominem dixerit,says Cicero, “ qui cum tam certos cæli motus, tam ratos astrorum ordines, tamque inter se connexa et apta viderit, neget his ullam inesse rationem, eoque casu fieri dicat, quæ quanto consilio gerantur, nullo consilio assequi possumus?”

In this broad and general way did the theists of antiquity propose their evidence of the Divine intelligence, finding it easier, and probably thinking : it more magnificent, and better suited to the dignity of the Deity, that the

proofs of his existence should be derived from the great and sublime parts of his creation, than from the petty contrivances of animal or vegetable organization. If a sovereign mind was allowed to have planned the great system of the universe, they had no objection to admit, that bees and worms might be generated spontaneously, or even that men and animals might be hatched by the heat of the sun on the fertile banks of the Nile.

In the mean time, physical science was making slow but continual advances; and curious inquirers were able to penetrate into the more immediate causes of many of the appearances of nature.

Elated with these discoveries, which ought to have increased their veneration for the supreme Contriver of the whole, they immediately fancied they had found out the great secret of nature; and, ascribing imaginary qualities and energies to different classes of bodies, they dethroned the Deity by the agency of secondary causes, and erected a system of materialism in his stead. It was in those circumstances, we are persuaded, that certain false opinions as to

the opposition of religion and philosophy originated, though they have been 3

revived and maintained, in later times, by causes of a different description. Those whose dispositions inclined them to devout contemplation, were accustomed to look upon the wonders of nature in the gross; to consider them as environed with a certain awful mystery; and to discountenance every attempt to pry into their origin, as a presumptuous and profane interference with the councils of Omnipotence. Inquisitive naturalists, on the other hand, were apt to forget the Lawgiver in their zealous admiration of the law; and, mocking at the pious horror of the ignorant, considered the mighty fabric of the universe as little better than a piece of mechanical jugglery, that could only command our admiration, while the cause of its movements was concealed.

This, however, was an error that was rectified by the progress of those very speculations by which it had apparently been produced. When men began to reason more correctly upon the appearances of nature, they soon learned to perceive that the minule texture of animal and vegetable bodies contained more wonderful indications of contrivance and design than the great ma sses of astronomy; and that, from the greater complication of

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their parts, and our more intimate experience of their uses, they were infinitely better filted to attest the adaptation of means to ends, than the remoter wonders of the heavens. Boyle and Newton carried this principle of philosophical piety along with them into all their speculations. The microscopical observers caught the same spirit. Ray and Derham successively digested all the physics of their day into a system of natural theology. A late editor of Dr. Derham has inserted most of the modern discoveries : and, as nothing useful or meritorious can be safe from the zeal of injudicious admirers, a genius of Germany has recently presented the public with a demonstration of the being and attributes of the Deity, deduced from the history and habitudes of insects.

In this situation, it may at first sight appear to have been superfluous for Dr. Paloy to come forward with a new work upon a subject in itself so simple, and already so learnedly discussed. It is to be observed, however, that most of the preceding publications are addressed to readers that are supposed to be already entirely convinced of the existence of a designing Creator, and seem to have been chiefly intended to promote a habit of pious meditation, and to afford materials for devout reflection on the goodness and wisdom of the Deity. They are not constructed, at least, with any express reference to the objections of atheistical writers, and neither guard against the cavils which they have made as to certain parts of the evidence, nor directly confute the false constructions they have altempted to put upon others. A work was still wanted, therefore, in which the evidences of a wise and beneficent Creator might be detailed wilh sufficient amplitude, while every thing was omitted that the most scrupulous scepticism could challenge, and in which the fallacy of every atheistical hypothesis might be distinctly exposed, both by a strict examination of its principle, and by the selection of such obvious phenomena as were inconsistent with the supposition of its truth. Such a work we conceive Dr. Paley had in view to compose when he entered upon this subject, and such undoubtedly is the plan and the tendency of the publication now before us.

ALISON.

Remarks on Alison's Serinons.*

The style of these Sermons is something new, we think, in the literature of this country. It is more uniformly elevated, more profusely figured-and, above all, more curiously modulated, and balanced upon a more exact and delicate rhythm, than any English composition in mere prose with which we are acquainted. In these, as well as in some more substantial characteristics, it reminds us more of the beautiful moral harangues that occur in the Telcmaque of Fenelon, or of the celebrated Oraisons Funèbres of Bossuet, than of any thing of British growth and manufacture :-Nor do we hesitate at all to set Mr. Alison fairly down by the side of the last named of those illustrious Prelates. He is less lofty, perhaps ; but more tender and more varied

Sermons, chiefly on Particular Occasions, by Archibald Alison, LL.D.-Pol. xxiii. page 12. September, 1814

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