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Art. I.-- An Essay on the Eristence of the consideration of the objections to
a Supreme Creator, possessed of Infinite the two latter, arising from the existPower, Wisdom and Goodness : con- ence of natural and moral evil; and taining also the Refutation from the Third comprehends the solution Reason and Revelation of the Ob- given to these difficulties by Revelation, 'jections urged against his Wisdom especially by the Gospel, together with and Goodness; and deducing from some Praciical Inferences deducible the whole Subject the most important from the speculative part of the Essay. Practical Inferences. By William After some observations on the Laurence Brown, D.D. Principal meaning of the terms Necessary Existof Marischal-College and University ence, Cause and Effect, the author arof Aberdeen, &c. &c. 2 vol. 8vo. ranges his proofs of the existence of pp. 782. Hamilton.
God into the metaphysical proof; the TE opened this book with consi- proof from design; from the constitugreat minds which have engaged in the mind; from the almost universal asinvestigation of the subject of which it sent of mankind to the truth of this treats, the number and importance of opinion; from the appearances which the facts which they have left upon re- the world exhibits of a recent origin, cord relative to it, and the variety and and the traditions concerning it; and beauty of the illustrations with which from the testimony of Scripture. they have adorned it; though we did The metaphysical proof stated originot anticipate much that was new, yet ' nally by Clarke with an acuteness and we did allow ourselves to hope that ihe force, which, notwithstanding an exbenevolent and pious bequest of Mr. treme prolixity, and even when his arguBurnett would call forth a work of abi- ments fail to produce conviction, awe lity and usefulness, possessing at least the mind intoveneration of the strength closeness of reasoning and clearness of and profoundness of the understanding illustration—a work which the philo- that conceived them, is here given sopher might read with pleasure, and without closeness and without ability: the theological student and the general it extends through nearly thirty pages reader with profit. When we heard with an uncommon feebleness ; it has that the prize had been adjudged to the scarcely the strength of the echo of an Essay of the Principal of Marischal- echo; and in the very midst of an arCollege, we were still willing to believe gument which supposes the greatest that our expectatioo was well founded: precision and accuracy, there occur page after page, notwithstanding the such affirmations as the following: misgivings which soon began to gather on our minds, we clung fondly to this the existence of mind as a substance entirely
“ We have eridence equally strong for hope, trusting that the author would distinct from the body, as we have for the rise with the interest and importance existence of this last, and of its peculiar of the subject ;—but after having read properties, namely, consciousness and the to the end, we closed the book with internal perception of our mental energies, the melancholy regret that the munih- as entirely distinct from any quality of cence of the worthy founder of this matter. Nay, perhaps this evidence is prize should only have added another stronger than that of our external senses, proof to the sad catalogue which shows by which we ascertain corporeal substance that the best efforts of benevolence are and the properties belonging to it.”—P. doomed in this world to disappointment.
And again : The Reverend Principal divides his
“ Nor in reality is it more difficult to Essay into Three Books. The First admit the creation of matter, that is, its treats of the Evidence of the Being of original production, than the production of God; the Second of his Perfections, any thing which did not exist before. The namely, his Power, Wisdom and only difference lies in the superior power Goodness, and enters particularly into required and in the nature of the effects.
To all genius a species of creative power, stance which brings it home to the that is, a faculty of producing something understanding with irresistible persuanew is ascribed. A fine statue is indeed sion, and upon which the mind may hewn out of a block of marble ; but where rest in those moments of doubt and were the beauty, the synimetry, the pro- difficulty which sometimes come to portion and exquisite composition which all. Nothing it is true was more easy; the statue displays ?”
it had indeed been perfectly done beAgain :
fore; but Paley by no means exhausted “ In fact, if the case be accurately ex- the subject; and if Doctor Brown did amined, it displayed perhaps a greater not chuse to repeat what this admirable exertion of divine power to superinduce on writer has said about the structure of rude, uninformed matter, that symmetry, the valves of the human heart, or the beauty and admirable construction which ligament attached to the head of the the universe exhibits, than to call into thigh bone, all nature was open before beiog the chaotic mass.”—Pp. 70.72. him—the sublime and most interesting
So that according to the learned adaptations of objects to each other Principal, it is more difficult to con- on the most magnificent and on the ceive how a beautiful statue should be humblest scale with which chemistry hewn out of a block of marble, than has made us acquainted; the structure how marble itself should be produced of the simplest Hower or the formation out of nothing.
and the fall of the dew of heaven that The proof of the being of God, from ministers to its sustenance. And the the manifestation of design in the works omission to state in detail at least some of nature, is in itself complete and de- one of those striking and wonderful cisive. On this rock the Theist may adaptations with which by the light of take his stand ; and it is not possible philosophy we know that every part of for all the artifice which human inge- nature abounds, and the simple statenuity can employ, to shake for a mo- ment of which baffles the sceptic and ment the firm foundation of his faith. ' silences his sophisms in the same manWherever there is design there must ner as the philosopher by the act of have been a designer; wherever there walking silenced the sciolist who enis contrivance there must have been a deavoured to persuade him that there contriver. This simple argument is was no such thing as motion in the level to the comprehension of every world, appears to us to be a capital capacity; and to him who is worthy defect, because it is neglecting by far of the name of a philosopher, it appears the most convincing argument in supwith an evidence which is absolutely port of the truth, for the clear and pa irresistible. Show to any rational being pular illustration of which the prize a piece of mechanism, explain to hini was instituted. how one part is adapted to another, In the next chapter Doctor Brown, and how all the various parts are fitted wonderful as it may seem, endeavours to bring about some one particular re- to prove the existence of God from the sult; and he must adunit the existence immateriality of the soul. Now withof a wisdom to conceive and of a power out entering into the dark and difficult to execute that result. If he affirm dispute which has been agitated about that he does not, all reasoning must be the nature of matter and of mind, we at an end with him; for it is no longer are humbly of opinion that no judicious possible to hold an argument with a person who has at all attended to that person who declares that he does not controversy, or who is even acquainted perceive the relation between what is with the opinions of Metaphysicians admitted to be contrivance and what is and Theists in the present age, would termed a contriver. In the great con- have ventured to ground such a truth troversy therefore between the Theist upon such a basis. But indeed there and the Atheist, the only question of is in every part of this work a looseness, real importance is—Are there or are an inattention to the strict accuracy of there not indications of design in the the statements, the appositeness of the works of nature? Doctor Brown says illustrations, the proper selection and there are, and he refers in general to the judicious application of the arguseveral things in evidence of the fact, ments, which take from it all its value but he does not prove the fact. He as a philosophical, and much, very does not give, and he does not attempt much, of its usefulness as a popular to give any. illustration of it, any in- work. What is to be thought of the Review.- Brown's Prize Essay.
537 acuteness of the map as a philosopher, almost universal assent of mankind to and of his attainments as the Principal this opinion, which is not a very solid of a University, who could give the argument; from the appearance which following account of conscience, and the world exhibits of a recent origin, endeavour to confirm it by the illustra- and from the tradititions concerning tion with which it is concluded! it, which is equally equivocal and
“By conscience, or a moral sense, I inconclusive; from the Scriptures, understand that internal perception which which in this
argument cannot be we have of right and wrong, of moral referred to as affording any proof withgood and evil, of virtue and vice, ante- out really, not apparently, reasoning cedently to any reasoning concerning the in a circle; and omitting also the more remote consequences of babits and chapters on the conclusion which actions, either to individuals or to society. follows these various proofs of the This intero al sense furnislıes principles for existence of God, and on the causes of judying of moral subjects, as intellect af- Atheism, which are the commonfords principles for truth and error. The
place observations of a thousand serexercise of the moral faculty, however, it
mons expressed in a most commonis to be remarked, is always accompanied place manner; we come to the Second by certain feelings either of complacence Book, which treats of the perfections or disgust." “ We feel contempt or indignation rising
of the Deity, namely, his infinite in our minds towards those who have acted power, wisdom and goodness. And in an unworthy and base manner, and love here we are happy to say the author and esteem for such as maintain a conduct writes with somewhat more closeness just and beneficent. These principles, when and accuracy.
He see ns
to have ther of morals or of speculative reason, are
formed in the abstract a just concepnot the mere effect of education, but are tion of the divine goodness, for he implanted in the soul. For without sludy defines it to beor inquiry they present themselves to the mind. Nay, what is more, if they were
« That affection and babit of mind not innate principles, education could no
which prompts to communicate and to more be carried on, than a building could diffuse bappiness, which is gratified by the be raised without a foundation, or a tree contemplation of it; and is averse from produced without its original seed.
the infliction and the view of misery.' that edrcation does is to direct, improve
“ The goodness of the Deity being an and enlarge these original principles, and to attribute strictly moral must be a constant lead them to their proper results. Who- and immutable disposition to communicate ever contests this affirmation, may try to
and extend the higbest measure of happiinstruct a dog or a horse in morality ?” — ness to all his creatures. This definition Pp. 112. 116.
when applied to omnipotence and infinite
wisdom implies the commmunication of all Here the learned Principal affirms possible happiness to the whole and to that conscience, or as he terms it the every part of his sensitive creation.”. moral sense, is an innate principle; “ If it could be shewn that in any case and his proof is that if it were not so, such faculties were clearly designed for education could no more be carried on misery, and the beings to which they than a tree could be produced without belonged were irresistibly impelled to its seed : and why? Because do what the exercise of them, the inference would you will you cannot instruct a dog in be unavoidable that the Supreme Power morality! But the worthy Principal
was malevolent. But the first branch of would find it rather a difficult task to this supposition is contrary to universal teach a dog mathematics, or even to fact, and the second is in itself incompremake it enunciate his favourite propo- that any being, endued with activity,
hensible. For it is impossible to conceive sition that the whole is greater than a part : yet because his labour would be would delight to exercise powers which
were constantly attended with pain and entirely thrown away upon such a
misery. Inactivity must in this case be pupil, but would not be wasted upon a the inevitable result. We must therefore boy, the learned Principal must admit, conclude that he also has bestowed on every upon his own showing, that mathema- sensitive being its powers of perception tics and even the very faculty of speech and action; must desire those to be exerare in the boy innate principles. cised and to produce their natural results ;
Passing over the chapters on the and since in the exercise and gratification proof of the being of God, from the of those the happiness of every such being
in reality consists, that he intended the his prepossessions to impose upor utmost happiness of which every living his own understanding, or our increature was susceptible; that is, he is in- dignation at the insult which he prefinitely good.”—Pp. 222, 223, 228. sumes to offer to that of his reader. After this will any intelligent person
But the occasion on which these believe that Principal Brown advo- absurdities are affirmed, together with cates the cause of Endless Torments, several others connected with them, and endeavours to show that it is poi much more than the ability with inconsistent with the infinite goodness which they are defended, appears to of him who possesses Almighty power, us to justify a more particular comwhile the very notion of irifinite good- ment; and we shall endeavour to ness comprehends, according to Doctor show the utter fallacy of the reasoning, Brown, the design to promote the if reasoning it can be called, attempted ni most happiness of which any living by Doctor Brown. The learned Princreature is susceptible. Admitting the cipal of the University of Aberdeen sincerity, what can be thought of the has undertaken the task of clearing up understanding of a man who can all the difficulties which rest on the assert with all the gravity of the phi- works and the dispensations of the losopher such a palpable contradiction. Deity, and of reconciling with his In the senseless declaimer of the taber- constant and immutable disposition nacle, who despising the aid of human to communicate all possible happiness learning and reflection to qualify hiin to the whole and to every part of the for the office he assumes, and follow- sensitive creation, the doctrine of the ing only " the inspiration from endless misery of the great majority of above," suspends his hearers nightly mankind, by the aid of free agency! over a bottomless gulph, foaming with We shall see what he makes of it. fire and brimstone, prepared for all
S. S. who despise the message of the man
[To be Continued.j of God, for all heretics of all sorts, as well as for all who plume themselves Art. II.-Philosophic Etymology, o on being adorned with “ the white- Rational Grammar. By James Gilwash of morality;"* in this man we christ. 8vo. Pp. 270. Punter. 1816. do not wonder at inconsistencies and
Y the title prefixed to his worki, contradictions, for we know that they
are taken such possession of his out, intends it should be understood mind that he does not perceive even that Grammar is no where else to be the impieties which he continually found in company with reason. Perutters, and that he has most solemnly haps, there is not in the history of and piously renounced reason ; but in letiers an instance that can parallel the man who pretends to have taken the arrogant manner in which Mr. her as his guide and by the light with Gilchrist advances to demand audience which she has illumined bis mind to of the public. Ile steps forwards with have investigated the wonders of an air of bold superiority, plants him. nature, to have looked through them self firmly at the bar of opinion, and mp to their great Author, and to have requires that his book be “ rigorously contemplated. his excellencies till he examined, well and truly tried.” has come to the sublime conclusion This indeed is right; but if his own that it must be his constant and book should not have a fair and imparimmutable disposition to communi- tial trial, he will have principally cate all possible happiness to the bimself to blame. Mr. Gilchrist's whole and to every part of his sensi- peculiar manner has made it impostive crcation,-for him to affirm that sible that his work should be tried it is perfectly consistent with this con- ' dispassionately by many of those who stant' and immutable disposition to are (if any are) qualified to sit in doom myriads and myriads of his judgment upon it. He who writes creatures to unutterable torments in for the instruction of the public must hell-fire for ever, awakens our pity at chuse his own manner, or rather if the weakness which can thus permit he possesses original powers, nature
has determined it for him ;-but it is A favourite phrase of the Rev. Rowland unfortunate for the writer, and for the Hill's.
reader too, when instruction is given,
Review.-Gilchrist's Philosophic Etymology.
if the manner be such as must disgust opinion and general consent to be spitemany and offend all.
Our author's fully spit in my face : but delicate mouths manner is precisely of that kind, and never spit fire ; and the saliva of polite in so remarkable á degree as to make taste has the singular property of taking it probable that the merits of his pro- away all the dangerous and deadly qualities duction may never be fairly examined. of the venom of classical hostility; so that It is the insolence of triumph before the bite of a well-trained literary riper is the battle is won. Such vaunting of
as harmless as the hiss of a goose. Perhis own powers and contempt of all haps some great critical gander will come who have gone before him or who Happing and flourishing out of the flock to
peck at the legs of the present author; stand beside him, have made it but a single kick or two (and it cannot impossible that he should fail without surely be unpolite to kick gander-chanutter disgrace. For him hayaw pions), will send the hero back into his απολυςθανειν ομως ευγενες αμαρτημα own crowd and muddy hole. I know what would be an insufficient apology, and courtly simperers will think and say (or one which he would disdair to make rather hins-for the timid things dare not even if it had not classical authority. speak out!, of this contemptuous, unLike some performers whom we have charitable, unpolite, unphilosophic style secn, he moves to the front of the of writing ; but I should despise myself if stage with so confident an air, that I could admire what they admire, or wonder or ridicule, applauses or 'hisses praise what they praise; "and I should
loatbe my existence with consciousness of Maist pursue him as he withdraws. hypocritically cloaking my real opinions We introduce our notice of this ex- and feelings to appear orthodox, or become traordinary production with these re- popular among a canting, mystical, visionmarks both from regard to justice, ary race of roters, eternally saying after and with a view to prevent those who couisecrated authorities.”—Pp. 216, 217. may open the book from throwing it down instantly in disgust. As to
If the present volume had contained the writer himself, we fear that ani- nothing better than invective of this madversion will be lost upon him. sort against schools and scholars, we His feeling is that of a man, who has should have left to others, if any risen upon a dark world to enlighten should think it worth their while, to and astonish it by his brightness. The invite attention to such odious effuvoice of rebuke may provoke a smile sions of angry vanity. But the author at the admonisher, but the man who believes that he has made a great thinks it an act of condescension on
discovery, that he has solved the his part to instruct his kind, is a problem of language in all its varieties, hopeless subject of correction. Indeed, that, in short, he has in his hand the Mr. Gilchrist appears to anticipate
key of grammar, and he is graciously with great satisfaction censure and willing, though in a most ungracious condemnation from the greater part of manner, to put it into the hands of as literary men.
many as are not too much stultified by
scholarship to make use of it. Our “I mean to use great freedoms with readers will not be displeased to hear some of the literary idols ; and to deliver him speak for himself on this subject; some very illegitimate doctrines concerning for though, meaning to be the plain style: the giants of taste, criticism and blunt man he continually violates the learning may be expected to rise in a body; respect which man owes to man, still if, however, they will stipulate to keep there is matter in him, and his coarselightness and delicacy out of the fray, I will undertake single-handed to put them
ness is not without originality. Mr. all down with such weapons only as
Gilchrist has introduced his dise, etymology supplies : I have some con
coveries by a history of his own mind fidence in myself—inuch confidence in my in its progress to knowledge. weapons-very great confidence in the
“ When the author of the following goodness of my cause."-P. 204.
work began to study philology, it was Again, in get more chosen phrase :
with a logical rather than grammatical
view. He had found his learning, such as “ I expect a thousand classical tongues it was, an inconvenience and intellectual to be darted at me for my provoking doc- cumbrance : nor was it merely foreign trines; and much literary dribble-many speech that he found as a vail of obscuroted niorsels and critical crudities, with rity or net of entanglement upon his unthe very quintessence of established derstanding ; even the English language