Imatges de pÓgina


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Estimate of the Philosophical Character of the Antagonists of Holbes. 695
mg; but it is so ill suited to the taste with the paradoxes of Hobbes, and
of the present age, that, since the time with the no less dangerous errors
of Mr. Härris and Dr. Price, I recently propagated among the people
scarcely recollect the slightest refer- by their religious instructors, to turn
ence to it in the writings of our Bri- the thoughts of sober and speculative
tish metaphysicians. Of its faults towards ethical disquisitions.
(heside the general disposition of the The established clergy assumed a
author to discuss questions placed higher tone than before in their ser-
altogether beyond the reach of our mons; sometimes employing them in
faculties), the most prominent is the combating that Epicurean and Ma-
wild hypothesis of a plastic nature; or, chiavellian philosophy which was then.
in other words, " of a vital and spi- fashionable" at court, and which may
ritual, but uniutelligent and necessary be always suspected to form the secret
agent, created by the Deity for the creed of the enemies of civil and
execution of his purposes." "Notwith- religious liberty ;-on other occasions,
standing, however, these, and many to overwhelm, with the united force
other abatements of its merits, the of arguıment and learning, the extra-
Intellectual System will for ever remain vagancies by which the ignorant en
a precious mine of information to thusiasts of the preceding period had
those whose curiosity may lead them exposed Christianity itself to the scoffs
to study the spirit of the ancient of their libertine opponents. Among
theories ; and to it we may justly the divines who appeared at this era,
apply what Leibnitz has somewhere it is impossible to pass over in silence
said, with far less reason, of the works the name of Barrow, whose theolo-
of the schoolmen, “ Scholasticos gical works (adorned throughout by
agnosco abundare ineptiis ; sed aurum classical erudition, and by a vigorous,
est in illo cæno."*

though unpolished eloquence), ex-
Before dismissing the doctrines of hibit, in every page, marks of the
Hobbes, it may be worth while to same inventive genius which, in ma-
remark, that all his leading principles thematics, has secured to him a rank
are traced by Cudworth to the remains second alone to that of Newton. . As
of the ancient sceptics, by some of a writer, he is equally distinguished
whom, as well as by Hobbes, they by the redundancy of his matter, and
seem to have been adopted from á by the pregnant brevity of his expres.
wish to flatter the uncontrolled pas- sion; but what more peculiarly cha-
sions of sovereigns. Not that I am racterizes his manner, is a certain
disposed to call in question the origi- air of powerful and of conscious fa-
nality of Hobbes; for it appears, from cility in the execution of whatever he
the testimony of all his friends, that undertakes. Whether the subject, be
he had much less pleasure in reading mathematical, metaphysical, or theo-
than in thinking. "If I had read," logical, he seems always to bring to it
he was accustomed to


“ as much a mind which feels itself superior to as some others, I should have been as the occasion; and which, in conignorant as they are." But similar tending with the greatest difficulties, political circumstances invariably re- puts forth but half its strength." produce similar philosophical iheo- He has somewhere spoken of his ries; and it is one of the numerous Lectiones Mathematicæ (which it may. disadvantages attending an inventive in passing, be remarked, display meiamind; not properly furnished with physical talents of the highest order), acquired information, to be con- as extemporaneous effusions of his tinnally liable to a waste of its powers pen; and I have no doubt that the on subjects previously exhausted. same epithet is still more literally

The sudden tide of licentiousness, applicable to his pulpit Jiscourses. It
both in principles and in practice, is, indeed, only thus we can account
which burst into th island at the for the variety and extent of his volu.
moment of the Restoration, conspired minous remains, when we recollect

that the author died at the age of
The Intellectual System was pub- forty-sixst
lished in 1678. The Treatise concerning
Eternal and Inmutable Morality did not + In a note annexed to an English
appcar till a considerable number of years translation of the Cardinal Maury's Prix-
after tbe author's death.

ciples of Eloquence, it is stated, upon the

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To the extreme rapidity with which sages here, merely to shew the very Barrow committed his thoughts to litile attention that had been paid, at writing, I ain inclined to ascribe the the era in question, to ethical science, hasty and not altogether copsistent by one of the most learned and proopinions which he has hazarded on found divines of his age. This is the some important topics. I shall con- more remarkable, as his works every fine myself to a single example, which where inculcate the purest lessons of 1 select in preference to others, as it practical morality, and evince a sinbears directly on the most interesting gular acuteness and justness of eye in of all questions connected with the the observation of human character. theory of morals. “If we scan," says Whoever compares the views of Barhe, " the particular nature, and search row, when he touches on the theory

into the original causes of the several of morals, with those opened about · kinds of naughty dispositions in our fifty years afterwards by Dr. Butler,

souls, and of miscarriages in our lives, in his Discourses on Human Nature, we shall find inordinate self-love to be will be abundantly satisfied, that, in a main ingredient, and a common this science, as well as in others, the source of them all; so that a divine of progress of the philosophical spirit great name had some reason to affirm, during the intervening period was not

that original sin (or that innate disinconsiderable. temper from which men generally The naine of WILKINS, (although become 80 very prone to evil, and he too wrote with some reputation averse to good), doth consist in self- against the Epicureans of his day), is love, disposing us to all kinds of irre- now remembered chiefly in consegularity and excess. In another pas- quence of his treatises concerning a sage, the same author expresses him- universal language and a real character. self thus : “ Reason dictateth and pre- With all the ingenuity displayed in scribeth to us, that we should have a them, they cannot be considered as sober regard to our true good and accessions of much value to science : welfare; to our best interests and solid and the long period since elapsed, content; to that which (all things during which no attempt has been being rightly stated, considered and made to turn them to any practical computed) will, in the final event, use, affords of itself no slight presumpprove most beneficial and satisfactory tion against the solidity of the project. to us : a self-love working in prosecu- A few years before the death of tion of such things, common sense Hobbes, Dr. CUMBERLAND (aftercannot but allow and approve." wards Bishop of Peterborough) pub

Of these two opposite and irrecon- lished a book; entitled, De Legibus cilable opinions, the latter is incom- Natura, Disquisitio Philosophica; the parably the least wide of the truth; principal aim of which was to conand accordingly Mr. Locke, and his firm and illustrate, in opposition to innumerable followers, both in Eng- Hobbes, the conclusions of Grotius, land and on the Continent, have concerning Natural Law. The work maintained, that virtue and an en- is executed with ability, and discovers lightened self-love are one and the juster views of the object of moral same. I have quoted the two pas- science, than any modern system that

had yet appeared; the author resting authority of a manuscript of Dr. Dod- the strength of his argument, not, as dridge, that most of Barrow's sermons Grotius had done, on an accuinulawere transcribed three times, and sometion of authorities, but on the princimuch oftener. They seem to me to con- ples of the human frame, and the tain very strong intrinsic evidence of the mutual relations of the human race. incorrectness of this anecdote.

Mr. Abra- The circumstance, however, which ham Hill, (in his Account of the Life of chiefly entitles this publication to our tents himself with saying, that « Some notice is, that it seems to have been of his sermons were written four or fire the earliest on the subject which altimes over;"mentioning, at the same tracted, in any considerable degree, time, a circumstance which may account the attention of English scholars. for tbis fact, in perfect consistency with from this time, the writings of Growhat I have stated above,—that “ Barrow tius and of Puffendorff began to be was very ready to lend bis sermons as often generally studied, and soon after made as desired."

their way into the Universities. In

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Free Speech on the Sulject of Reformation. 1530.

697 Scotland, the impression produced by abuse that we do not seek to rectify? them was more peculiarly remarkable. Or can there be such a rectification as They were every where adopted as the that there shall be no abuses? Or are best manuals of ethical and of political not clergymen to rectify the abuses of instruction that could be put into the clergy? Or shall men find fault the hands of students; and gradually with other mens' manners while they contributed to form that memorable forget their own; and punish where school, from whence so many phi- they have no authority to correct? If losophers and philosophical historiaus we be not executive in our laws, let were afterwards to proceed.

each man suffer for his delinquency;

or, if we have not power, aid us with Free Speech on the Sulject of Reforma- your assistance, and we shall give you

tion, in the House of Commons, in the ihanks. But, my Lords, I hear there Reign of Henry VIII. 1530. is a motion made, that the small mo

(We extract the following very sin- nasteries should be given up into the gular speech, with the necessary preface, king's hands, which makes nie fear from Collett's Parliamentary History of that it is not so much the good as the England, I. 501-508. It may be goods of the church that is looked after. found also in less modern language, in Truly, my Lords, how this may sound Collier's Eccles. Ilist. (folio) II. 45–47. in yonr ears I cannot tell, but to me it Collier makes this comment upon it ;~ appears no otherwise, than as if our “ This odd speech not mentioned holy mother the church were to beeither by Hollingshead, Goodwin or come a bondinaid, and now brought Stow: neither does Lord Herbert tell into servility and thraldom; and by us the person's name. All that I shall little and little to be quite banished out observe upon this Free-thinker is, that of those dwelling-places, which the he gives too much liberty to private piety and liberality of our forefathers, reason. His maxims are dangerous, as most bountiful benefactors, have and his scheme ill suited to the general conferred upon her. Otherwise, to capacity.” Ed.]

what tendeth these portentous and cuMAY

ANY abuses which the laity re- rious petitions from the Commons ?

ceived daily from the clergy were To no other intent or purpose, but to loudly complained of; and the king, bring the clergy in contempt with the being now willing that they should be laity, that they may seize their patristrictly inquired into, referred the re- mony. But, my Lords, beware of dress thereof to the Commons in this yourselves and your country; beware parliament. Complaints also being of your holy mother the Catholic made in that House against exactions church; the people are subject to nofor probats of testimonies and mor- velties, and Lutheranism spreads itself tuaries; for pluralities, non-residence, amongst us. Remember Germany and against priests that were farmers of and Bohemia, what miseries are belands, tanners, wool-buyers, &c. the fallen them already; and let our neighs spirituality were much offended at bours' houses that are now on fire teach these proceedings; and, when the bills us how to beware of our own disasters. for regulating these exorbitances were Wherefore, my Lords, I will tell you brought before the House of Lords, plainly what l'think ; that, except ye John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, resist manfully, by your authorities, made, a remarkable speech against this violent heap of mischiefs offered them, of which the following is a copy, by the Commons, you shall see all as it is printed in a small treatise on obedience first drawn from the clergy, the life and death of that prelate, by and secondly from yourselves; and if Dr. Thomas Bailey.

you search into the true causes of all • My Lords---Here are certain bills these mischiefs which reign amongst exhibited against the clergy, wherein them, you shall find that they all arise there are complaints made against the through want of faith.' viciousness, ness, rapacity and The same authority tells us, that cruelty of bishops, abbots, priests and this speech pleased or displeased several their officials. But, my Lords, are all of the House of Lords, as they were vicious, all idle, all ravenous and cruel diversely inclined to forward or Aalter priests or bishops? And for such as the King's designs. But none made a are such, are there not laws provided reply to it, but only the Duke of Noralready against such? Is there any folk, who said to the Bishop, “ My

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Lord of Rochester, many of these my opinion any rule to others when words inight have been well spared; any better expedient shall be offered, but I wist it is often seen that the but that I would be glad we considered greatest clerks are not always the wisest hereof, as the greatest affair that doth inen.” To which the Bishop replied, or may concern us. For if in all hu

My Lord, I do not remeinber any man actions it be hard to find that fools in my time that ever proved great medium or even temper which may clerks."

keep us from declining into extremes, When the Commons heard of this it will be much more difficult in relispeech, they conceived so great indig- gious worship; both as the path is nation against the Bishop, that they supposed narrower, and the precipices immediately sent their Speaker, Audley, more dangerous on every side. And attended with a number of the mem- because each man is created by God a bers, to complain of it to the King; free citizen of the world, and'obliged and to let his Majesty know, “ how to nothing so much as the inquiry of grievously they thought themselves in those means by which he may attain jared thereby, for charging them with his everlasting happiness, it will be fit lack of faith, as if they had been infidels to examine to whose tuition and conta or heretics," &c. To satisfy the Com- duct he commit himself. For as see mions, the King sent for the Bishop of veral teachers, not only differing in Rochester, and demanded of him why language, habit, and ceremony, or at he spoke in sınch a manner? The pre- least in some of these, but peremplate answered, “ that being in parlia- tory and opposite in their doctrines; ment, he spake his mind freely in de present themselves, much circumspecfence of the church, which he saw tion must be used. Here then taking daily injured and oppressed by the his prospect, he shall find these guides common people, whose office it was, directing him to several ways, whereof not. to judge of her manners, much the 1st yet extends no further than to less to reforin them. And therefore the laws and religions of each man's he said he thought himself in conscience native soil or diocese, without passing bound to defend her in all that lay those bounds. The end, reaching within his power." However, the much further, branches itself into that King advised him “ to use his words diversity of religions and philosophies, more temperately another time." that not only are, but have been ex.

But the injury the Commons thought tant in former times, nntil he be able they had received, by this reflection, to determine which is best. But in was not so easily digested; for, one of either of these, no little difficulties the members making use of the gospel will occur. For, if each man ought doctrine so far, says Lord Herbert, as to to be secure of all that is taught at take a reasonable liberty to judge of home, without inquiring further, how things; and being piqued at the Bishop can he answer his conscience? When for laying it all on “ want of faith," looking abroad, the terrors of everstood up in that House and spoke to lasting damnation shall be denounced this effect :*

on him, by the several hierarchies and • MR. SPEAKER-If none else but visible churches of the world, if he the Bishop of Rochester or his adhe. believe any doctrine but theirs. And rents did hold this langụage, it would that, amongst these again, such able less trouble me. But since so many and understanding persons may be religious and different sects, now con- found, as in all other affairs will equal spicuous in the whole world, do not his teachers. Will it be fit that he only vindicate unto themselves the believe God hath inspired his owo nanie of the true church, but labour church and religion only, and debetwixt invitations and threats for no- serted the rest; when yet mankind is thing more than to make us resign our so inuch of one offspring, that it bath faith to a simple obedience; I shall not only the same * Pater communis' crave leave to propose, what I think fit in God, but is come all from the same in this case for us laick and secular carnal ancestors ? Shall each man, persons to do. Not that I will make without more examination, believe

his priests in what religion soever; * Lord Herbert has not given us the and when he hath done, call their name of this speaker. Hall says he was a doctrine his faith? On the other gentleman of Gray's-inn.

side, if he must argue controversies


Free Speech on the Subject of Reformation. 1530.

639 before he can be satisfied, how much them requiring a peculiar scrutiny and leisure must he obtain? How much consideration. Neither shall he fly .wealth and substance inust he con- thus to particular reason, which may sume? How many languages must soon lead him to heresy; but after a he learn? And how many authors due separation of the more doubtful must he read? How many ages must and controverted parts, shall hold he look into ? How many faiihs must himself to corninon, authentic, and he examine? How many expositions universal truths, and consequently must he confer, and how many con- inform himself, what in the several tradictions reconcile? How many articles proposed to him is so taught, countries must he wander into, and as it is first written in the heart, and how many dangers must he run? together delivered in all the laws and Briefly, would not our life on these religions he can hear of in the whole terms be a perpetual, peregrination; world: this certainly can never de while each inan posted into the other's ceive him ; since therein he shall find country 10 learn the way to heaven, out how far the impressions of God's without yet that he could say at last wisdom and goodness are extant in all he had known or tried all? What mankind, and to what degrees his remains then to be done? Must he universal Providence hath dilated it take all that cach priest, upon pretence self; while thus ascending to God by of inspiration, would teach him, be the same steps he descends to us, ho cause it might be so; or, may he cannot fail to encounter the divine leave all because it might be other. majesty. Neither ought it to trouble wise ? Certainly, to embrace all re- hin if he find these truths rariously ligions, according to their various and complicated with difficulties or errors; repugnant rites, tenets, traditions, and since, without insisting on more points faiths, is impossible, when yet in one than what are clearly agreed on every age it were not possible, after incre- side, it will be his part to reduce them dible pains and expences, to learn out into method and order ; which also is and number them. On the other not hard, they being but few, and apt side, to reject all religions indifferently for connection: so that it will con. is as impious, there being no nation cern our several teachers to imitate us ihat in some kind or other doth not in this doctrine, before they come to worship God; so that there will be à any particular direction; lest othernecessity to distinguish. Not yet that wise they do like those who could any man will be able, upon compari- persuade us to renounce day-light to son, to discern which is the perfectest, study only by their candle. It will be among the many professed in the worth the labour, assuredly, to inwhole world; each of them being of quire how far these universal notions . that large extent, that no man's un- will guide us, before we commit outderstanding will serve to comprehend selves to any of their abstruse and it in its uttermost latitude and signifischolastic niysteries, or supernatural cation. But, at least, that every man and private revelations. Not yet but might vindicate and sever in his par. that ihey also may challenge a just ticular religion, the inore essential and place in our belief, when they are demonstrative parts from the rest, delivered upon warrantable testimony, without being moved so much at the but that they cannot be understood as threats and promises of any other re- so indifferent and infallible principles ligion that would make him obnox- for the instruction of all mankind. ious, as to depart from this way: there Thus, among many supposed inferior being no ordinary method so intelli- and questionable deities, worshipped gible, ready, and compendious, for in the four quarters of the world, we conducting each man to his desired shall find one chief so taught us, as end. Having thus therefore recol. above others to be highly reverenced. lected himself, and logether implored - Among many rites, ceremonies, the assistance of that Supreme God volumes, &c. delivered us as instru'whoin all nations acknowledge, he ments or parts of his worship, he shall must labour in the next place to find find virtue so eminent, as it alone out what inward means his Provi- concludes and suins up the rest. Indence hath delivered, to discern the somuch as there is no sacrament true not only from the false, but even which is not finally resolved into it; from the likely and possible; each of good life, charity, faith in and love of

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