« EelmineJätka »
"He has more wit than we all have, and his humanity is equal to his wit."-SWIFT.
"His good morals were equal to any man's, but his wit and humour superior to all mankind."POPE.
"I think Dr. Arbuthnot the first man among them [the eminent writers in Queen Anne's reign]. He was the most universal genius, being an excellent physician, a man of deep learning, and a man
of much humour."-DR. JOHNSON.
USEFULNESS OF MATHEMATICAL LEARNING. The advantages which accrue to the mind by mathematical studies consist chiefly in these things: 1st, In accustoming it to attention. 2d, In giving it a habit of close and demonstrative reasoning. 3d, In freeing it from prejudice, credulity, and superstition.
First, the mathematics make the mind attentive to the objects which it considers. This they do by entertaining it with a great variety of truths, which are delightful and evident, but not obvious. Truth is the same thing to the understanding as music to the ear and beauty to the eye. The pursuit of it does really as much gratify a natural faculty implanted in us by our wise Creator as the pleasing of our senses: only in the former case, as the object and faculty are more spiritual, the delight is more pure, free from the regret, turpitude, lassitude, and intemperance that commonly attend sensual pleasures. The most part of other sciences consisting only of probable reasonings, the mind has not where to fix, and wanting sufficient principles to pursue its searches upon, gives them over as impossible. Again, as in mathematical investigations truth may be found, so it is not always obvious. This spurs the mind, and makes it diligent and attentive. ..
The second advantage which the mind reaps from mathematical knowledge is a habit of clear, demonstrative, and methodical reasoning. We are contrived by nature to learn by imitation more than by precept; and I believe in that respect reasoning is much like other inferior arts (as dancing, singing, &c.), acquired by practice. By accustoming ourselves to reason closely about quantity, we acquire a habit of doing so in other things. It is surprising to see what superficial inconsequential reasonings satisfy the most part of mankind. A piece of wit, a jest, a simile, or a quotation of an author, passes for a mighty argument: with such things as these are the most part of authors stuffed; and from these weighty premises they infer their conclusions. This weakness and effeminacy of mankind, in being persuaded where they are delighted, have made them the sport of orators, poets, and men of wit. Those lumina rationis are indeed very good diversion for the fancy,
but are not the proper business of the unwrite on abstract subjects in a scientific derstanding; and where a man pretends to method, he ought not to debauch in them. Logical precepts are more useful, nay, they are absolutely necessary, for a rule of formal arguing in public disputations, and confounding an obstinate and perverse adversary, and exposing him to the audience imitation of the method of the geometers will or readers. But, in the search of truth, an carry a man farther than all the dialectical rules. Their analysis is the proper model we ought to form ourselves upon, and imitate in the regular disposition and progress of our inquiries; and even he who is ignorant of the nature of mathematical analysis uses a method somewhat analogous to it. The composition of the geometers, or their method of demonstrating truths already found out, namely, by definition of words agreed upon, by self-evident truths, and propositions that have been already demonstrated, is practicable in other subjects, though not to the same perfection, the natural want of evidence in the things themselves not allowing it; but it is imitable to a considerable degree. I dare appeal to some writings of our own age and nation, the authors of which have been mathematically inclined. I shall add no more on this head, but that one who is accustomed to the methodical systems of truth which the geometers have reared up in the several branches of those sciences which they have cultivated, will hardly bear with the confusion and disorder of other sciences, but endeavour, as far as he can, to reform them.
Thirdly, mathematical knowledge adds vigour to the mind, frees it from prejudice, credulity, and superstition. This it does in two ways: 1st, By accustoming us to examine, and not to take things upon trust. 2d, By giving us a clear and extensive knowledge of the system of the world, which, as it creates in us the most profound reverence of the Almighty and wise Creator, so it frees us from the mean and narrow thoughts which ignorance and superstition are apt to beget. The mathematics are friends to religion, inasmuch as they charm the passions, restrain the impetuosity of imagination, and purge the mind from error and prejudice. Vice is error, confusion, and false reasoning; and all truth is more or less opposite to it. Besides, mathematical studies may serve for a pleasant entertainment for those hours which young men are apt to throw away upon their vices; the delightfulness of them being such as to make solitude not only easy but desirable.
Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning.
SAMUEL CLARKE, D.D.,
one of the most famous of English philosophers and divines, born 1675, entered Caius College, Cambridge, 1691; at twenty, by his notes to his new translation of Rohault's Physics substituted at Cambridge the Newtonian for the Cartesian philosophy; became Rector of St. Bennet's, Paul's Wharf, London, 1706, and of St. James's, Westminster, 1709; published his Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, etc., Lond., 1705-6, 2 vols. 8vo, The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, Lond., 1712, 8vo (an Arian treatise), and other works; died 1729. Works, with Account, by Benjamin [Hoadly] Bishop of Winchester, Lond., 1738, 4 vols. 8vo. In vol. iii. will be found his Paraphrase on the Four Evangelists, which has been frequently reprinted, and generally accompanies Pyle on the Epistles.
"Dr. Clarke's paraphrase on the Evangelists deserves an attentive reading; he narrates a story in handsome language, and connects the parts well together; but fails much in emphasis, and seems to mistake the order of the histories."-DR. DODDRIDGE.
"He rarely reaches the sublime or aims at the pathetic; but in a clear manly flowing style he delivers the most important doctrines, confirmed on every occasion by well-applied passages from Scripture. He was not perfectly orthodox in his opinions; a circumstance which has lowered his character among many."-DR. KNOX.
"I should recommend Dr. Clarke's Sermons were
he orthodox; however, it is very well known where he was not orthodox, which was upon the doctrine of the Trinity, as to which he is a condemned heretic: so one is aware of it."-DR. JOHNSON: Boswell's Life of Johnson.
"Eminent at once as a divine, a mathematician, a metaphysical philosopher, and a philologer; and as the interpreter of Homer and Cæsar, the scholar of Newton, and the antagonist of Leibnitz, approved himself not unworthy of correspondence with the highest order of human spirits."-SIR J.
NATURAL AND ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE OF RIGHT AND WRONG.
The principal thing that can, with any colour of reason seem to countenance the opinion of those who deny the natural and eternal difference of good and evil, is the difficulty there may sometimes be to define exactly the bounds of right and wrong; the variety of opinions that have obtained even among understanding and learned men, concerning certain questions of just and unjust, especially in political matters; and the many contrary laws that have been made in divers ages and in different countries concerning these matters.
But as, in painting, two very different colours, by diluting each other very slowly and gradually, may, from the highest in
tenseness in either extreme, terminate in the midst insensibly, and so run one into the other that it shall not be possible even for a skilful eye to determine exactly where the one ends and the other begins; and yet the colours may really differ as much as can be, not in degree only, but entirely in kind, as red and blue, or white and black: so, though it may perhaps be very difficult in some nice and perplexed cases (which yet are very far from occurring frequently) to define exactly the bounds of right and wrong, just and unjust (and there may be some latitude in the judgment of different men, and the laws of divers nations), yet right and wrong are nevertheless in themselves totally and essentially different; even altogether as much as white and black, light and darkness. The Spartan law, perhaps, which permitted their youth to steal, may, as absurd as it was, bear much dispute whether it was absolutely unjust or no: because every man having an absolute right in his own goods, it may seem that the members of any society may agree to transfer or alter their own properties upon what conditions they shall think fit. But if it could be supposed that a law had been made at Sparta, or at Rome, or in India, or in any other part of the world, whereby it had been commanded or allowed that every man might rob by violence, and murder, whomsoever he met with, or that no faith should be kept with any man, nor any equitable compacts performed, no man with any tolerable use of his reason, whatever diversity of judgment might be among them in other matters, would have thought that such a law could have authorized or excused, much less have justified, such actions, and have made them become good: because 'tis plainly not in men's power to make falsehood be truth, though they may alter the property of their goods as they please. Now if in flagrant cases the natural and essential difference between good and evil, right and wrong, cannot but be confessed to be plainly and undeniably evident, the difference between them must be also essential and unalterable in all, even the smallest, and nicest and most intricate cases, though it be not so easy to be discerned and accurately distinguished. For if, from the difficulty of determining exactly the bounds of right and wrong in many perplexed cases, it could truly be concluded that just and unjust were not essentially different by nature, but only by positive constitution and custom, it would follow equally that they were not really, essentially, and unalterably different, even in the most flagrant cases that can be supposed; which is an assertion so very absurd that Mr. Hobbes himself could hardly vent it without blushing, and discovering plainly, by his shifting expressions, his secret
self-condemnation. There are therefore certain necessary and eternal differences of things, and certain fitnesses or unfitnesses of the application of different things, or different relations one to another, not depending on any positive constitutions, but founded unchangeably in the nature and reason of things, and unavoidably arising from the differences of the things themselves.
BENJAMIN HOADLY, D.D.,
born 1676, Bishop of Bangor, 1713, Bishop of Salisbury, 1723, Bishop of Winchester, 1734, died 1761, was the author of a number of theological treatises, of which A Plain Account of the Nature and End of the Lord's Supper, 1735, 8vo (A Defence of the same, 1735, 1748, 8vo), and a sermon, entitled My Kingdom is not of this World, 1717 (which gave rise to the famous Bangorian Controversy, comprised in forty to fifty tracts), are the best known. A collection of his Sermons was published, 1754-55, 2 vols. Svo (Discourses, 4th edit., 1734, 8vo), and his Works, with an Index and an Introductory Account of the Author, appeared, Lond., 1773, 3 vols. fol.
"A long and celebrated war of pens instantly commenced, known by the name of the Bangorian Controversy; managed, perhaps on both sides, with all the chicanery of polemical writers, and disgusting both from its tediousness, and from the manifest unwillingness of the disputants to speak ingenuously what they meant."-HALLAM: Constit. Hist. of England, edit. 1854, iii. 243-244.
Mr. Hallam appends this note:
"These qualities are so apparent, that, after turning over some forty or fifty tracts, and consuming a good many hours on the Bangorian Controversy, I should find some difficulty in stating with decision the propositions in dispute."
Your holiness is not perhaps aware how near the churches of us Protestants have at length come to those privileges and perfections which you boast of as peculiar to your own so near that many of the most quick-sighted and sagacious persons have not been able to discover any other difference between us, as to the main principle of all doctrine, government, worship, and discipline, but this one, namely, that you cannot err in anything you determine, and we never do: that is, in other words, that you are infallible, and we always in the right. We cannot but esteem the advantage to be exceedingly on our side in this case; because we have all the benefits of infallibility without the absurdity of pretending
to it, and without the uneasy task of maintaining a point so shocking to the understanding of mankind. And you must pardon us if we cannot help thinking it to be as great and as glorious a privilege in us tc be always in the right, without the pretence of infallibility, as it can be in you to be always in the wrong, with it.
Thus, the synod of Dort (for whose unerring decisions public thanks to Almighty God are every three years offered up with the greatest solemnity by the magistrates in that country), the councils of the reformed land, and (if I may presume to name it) in France, the assembly of the kirk of Scotthe convocation of England, have been all found to have the very same unquestionable authority which your church claims, solely upon the infallibility which resides in it, strict obligation of obedience to their deand the people to be under the very same terminations, which with you is the conThe reason, therefore, why we do not openly sequence only of an absolute infallibility. without it. Authority results as well from set up an infallibility is, because we can do power as from right, and a majority of votes itself. Councils that may err, never do: and is as strong a foundation for it as infallibility besides, being composed of men whose peculiar business it is to be in the right, it is very immodest for any private person to think them not so; because this is to set up a private corrupted understanding above a public uncorrupted judgment.
Thus it is in the north, as well as the south, abroad as well as at home. All maintain the exercise of the same authority in themselves which yet they know not how so much as to speak of without ridicule in others.
In England it stands thus: The synod of Dort is of no weight; it determined many doctrines wrong. The assembly of Scotland hath nothing of a true authority and is very much out in its scheme of doctrines, worship, and government. But the church of England is vested with all authority, and justly challengeth all obedience.
If one crosses a river in the north, there it stands thus: The church of England is not enough reformed; its doctrines, worship, and government have too much of antichristian Rome in them. But the kirk of Scotland hath a divine right from its only head, Jesus Christ, to meet and to enact what to it shall seem fit for the good of his church.
Thus, we left you for your enormous unjustifiable claim to an unerring spirit, and have found out a way, unknown to your holiness and your predecessors, of claiming all the rights that belong to infallibility,
even whilst we disclaim and abjure the thing periodicals; and see the Prefaces to the various itself. editions of those works.
As for us of the church of England, if we will believe many of its greatest advocates, we have bishops in a succession as certainly uninterrupted from the apostles as your church could communicate it to us. And upon this bottom, which makes us a true church, we have a right to separate from you; but no persons living have a right to differ or separate from us. And they again, who differ from us, value themselves upon something or other in which we are supposed defective, or upon being free from some superfluities which we enjoy; and think it hard that any will be still going further, and refine upon their scheme of worship and discipline.
Thus we have indeed left you; but we have fixed ourselves in your seat, and make no scruple to resemble you in our defences of ourselves and censurers of others whenever we think it proper.
From the Dedication to Pope Clement XI. prefixed to Sir R. Steele's Account of the State of the Roman Catholic Religion throughout the World.
born 1677, died 1720, was a contributor to The Tatler, the Spectator, and the Guardian; co-author with Sir Richard Blackmore of the Essays, Discourses, &c., of the Lay Monk, (in 40 Numbers, Nov. 16, 1713-Feb. 15, 1714, 2d edit., The Lay Monastery, Lond., 1714, 12mo); author of the Siege of Damascus, 1720, 8vo, and of other productions, together with translations. His Poems and Essays in Prose were published, Lond., 1735, 2 vols. 12mo, and his Correspondence, with Notes, Lond., 1772, 3 vols. 12mo, 2d edit., 1773, 3 vols. 8vo. His poems were included in Dr. Johnson's collection, with a meagre sketch without any estimate of his merits.
"He [Hughes] is too grave a poet for me, and, I think, among the Mediocrists in prose as well as verse."-SWIFT TO POPE,
"What he wanted in genius he made up as an honest man; but he was of the class you think
him."-POPE TO SWIFT.
"Hughes has more merit as a translator of poetry than as an original poet.... On the prose of Hughes I am inclined to bestow more praise than on his poetry. . . . All the periodical essays of Hughes are written in a style which is, in general, easy, correct, and elegant: they occasionally exhibit wit and humour; and they uniformly tend to inculcate the best precepts, moral, prudential, and religious."-DR. DRAKE: Essays Illustrative of the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, iii. 2650, q. v. for an account of Hughes's share in these
IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
TO THE SPECTATOR.
SIR, I am fully persuaded that one of the best springs of generous and worthy actions is the having generous and worthy thoughts of ourselves. Whoever has a mean opinion of the dignity of his nature will act in no higher a rank than he has allotted himself in his own estimation. If he considers his being as circumscribed by the uncertain term of a few years, his designs will be contracted into the same narrow span he imagines is to bound his existence. How can he exalt his thoughts to any thing great and noble who only believes that, after a short turn on the stage of this world, he is to sink into oblivion, and to lose his consciousness forever?
For this reason I am of opinion that so useful and elevated a contemplation as that of the soul's immortality cannot be resumed too often. There is not a more improving exercise to the human mind than to be frequently reviewing its own great privileges and endowments; nor a more effectual means to awaken in us an ambition raised above low objects and little pursuits, than to value ourselves as heirs of eternity.
It is a very great satisfaction to consider the best and wisest of mankind in all nations
and ages asserting as with one voice this their birthright, and to find it ratified by an express revelation. At the same time if selves, we may meet with a kind of secret we turn our thoughts inwards upon our sense concurring with the proofs of our own immortality.
You have, in my opinion, raised a good presumptive argument from the increasing appetite the mind has to knowledge, and to the extending its own faculties, which cannot be accomplished, as the more restrained perfection of lower creatures may, in the limits of a short life. I think another probable conjecture may be raised from our appetite to duration itself, and from a reflection on our progress through the several stages of it.We are complaining," as you observed in a former speculation, "of the shortness of life, and yet are perpetually hurrying over the parts of it, to arrive at certain little settlements or imaginary points of rest, which are dispersed up and down in it."
Now let us consider what happens to us when we arrive at these imaginary points of rest. Do we stop our motion and sit down satisfied in the settlement we have gained? or are we not removing the boundary, and marking out new points of rest, to which we press forward with the like eagerness, and
which cease to be such as fast as we attain HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT them? Our case is like that of a traveller upon the Alps, who should fancy that the top of the next hill must end his journey, because it terminates his prospect; but he
no sooner arrives at it than he sees new ground and other hills beyond it, and continues to travel on as before.
This is so plainly every man's condition in life, that there is no one who has observed any thing but may observe that as fast as his time wears away his appetite to something future remains. The use, therefore, I would make of it is, that since Nature (as some love to express it) does nothing in vain, or to speak properly, since the Author of our being has planted no wandering sion in it, no desire which has not its object, futurity is the proper object of the passion so constantly exercised about it: and this restlessness in the present, this assigning ourselves over to farther stages of duration, this successive grasping at somewhat still to come, appears to me (whatever it may be to others) as a kind of instinct, or natural symptom, which the mind of men has of its own immortality.
born 1678, became Secretary of War, 1704, Secretary of State, 1710, fled to France to avoid impeachment, 1715, and was absent until 1723; for ten years was in political opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, and died 1751. He was a man of profligate principles and great intellectual and literary abilities. The Craftsman, by Caleb D'Anvers (Dec. 5, 1725, et seq., Lond., 14 vols. 12mo), was the vehicle of Wyndham's, Pulteney's, and Bolingbroke's fierce attacks upon Walpole; and in the same paper first appeared Bolingbroke's Dissertations upon Parties pas-marks on the History of England were (in a volume, Lond., 1735, 4to). His Republished, Lond., 1743, 4to; his Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, on the Idea of a the Accession of George I., appeared together Patriot King, and on the State of Parties at in a volume, Lond., 1749, Svo. Pope had previously printed and circulated more copies of The Idea of a Patriot King than the author intended. A collective edition of Bolingbroke's Works was published by David Mallet, Lond., 1754, 5 vols. 4to (again, Lond., 1786, 11 vols. 8vo, Lond., 1809, 8 vols. 8vo, Boston, Mass., 1844, 4 vols. 8vo), and his Letters, Correspondence, with State Papers, etc., were published by the Rev. Gilbert Parke, Lond., 1798, 2 vols. 4to.
I take it at the same time for granted that the immortality of the soul is sufficiently established by other arguments: and if so, this appetite, which otherwise would be very unaccountable and absurd, seems very reasonable, and adds strength to the conclusion. But I am amazed when I consider there are creatures capable of thought, who, in spite of every argument, can form to themselves a sullen satisfaction in thinking otherwise. There is something so pitifully mean in the inverted ambition of that man who can hope for annihilation, and please himself to think that his whole fabric shall one day crumble into dust, and mix with the mass of inanimate beings, that it equally deserves our admiration and pity. The mys tery of such men's unbelief is not hard to be penetrated; and indeed amounts to nothing more than a sordid hope that they shall not be immortal, because they dare not be so.
This brings me back to my first observation, and gives me occasion to say farther, that as worthy actions spring from worthy thoughts, so worthy thoughts are likewise the consequence of worthy actions. But the wretch who has degraded himself below the character of immortality is very willing to resign his pretensions to it, and to substitute in its room a dark negative happiness in the extinction of his being.
The Spectator, No. 210, Wednesday, October 31, 1711.
"I really think there is something in that great man which looks as if he was placed here by mistake. When the comet appeared to us a month or might possibly be come to our world to carry him two ago, I had sometimes an imagination that it home; as a coach comes to one's door for other visitors."-POPE: Spence's Anecdotes.
"When Tully attempted poetry he became as ridiculous as Bolingbroke when he attempted philosophy and divinity: we look in vain for that genius which produced the Dissertation on Parties in the tedious philosophical works, of which it is no exaggerated satire to say that the reason of them is sophistical and inconclusive, the style diffuse and verbose, and the learning seemingly contained in them not drawn from the originals, but picked up and purloined from French critics and translations."-JOSEPH WARTON: Life of Pope.
ON USELESS LEARNING.
Some [histories] are to be read, some are to be studied, and some may be neglected entirely, not only without detriment, but with advantage. Some are the proper objects of one man's curiosity, some of another's, and some of all men's; but all history is not an object of curiosity for any man. He who improperly, wantonly, and absurdly makes it so, indulges a sort of canine appetite; the curiosity of one, like the hunger of the other, devours ravenously, and without distinction, whatever falls in its