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enabled to tafte the beauties of the original, will poffibly find more pleasure in their own reflections on the Letters of the amiable Pliny, than from the Commentary of our Author; and for others lefs acquainted with the learned languages, they will be at no lofs to exercise the fame fagacity, from reading the elegant Tranflation of them by Melmoth.

At the end of the third Volume are two other performances, which are printed with this work, because they are in fome measure connected with it. The firft is a Tranflation of the Treatife on the Gods and the World, by Sallufst the Philofopher, published in the year 1748, and now accompanied with a Commentary of the fame kind with that on Pliny. The second is a Treatife on the Sources of Morality, by another hand; a production which, the Editor fays, will be efteemed by the judicious who prefer gold to tinfel: and which tends to prove, that the Duties of Religion are clearly pointed out to us by Nature.

The fecond paffage which Mr. Formey has felected from his Author's Text, begins thus: Eft enim plane aliquid edendum. This feems to be the Profeffor's Motto, and to have given birth to the work before us. Indeed it seems to be that of a very numerous clafs of Writers, as well Foreign as British ; all of whom agree in tranflating it very fignificantly, On our bonour and appetite, we must eat.

De la Nature: Or,

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A Philofophical Effay on the Syftem of Nature.
Amfterdam. Imported by Becket and Dehondt.

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8vo.

HIS Work is divided into four Parts, the firft of which is defigned to prove the neceffary Equality of Good and Evil in Nature; the fecond, relates to the uniform Generation of Beings; the third, to moral Instinct; and the last contains a natural History of the Soul. In what manner the Author has conducted this work, and what the Reader is to expect from it, we are told in the Preface. "If we confider (says he) the errors which prevail among mankind, it appears that the Philofopher ought rather to diftruft the most common than the moft fingular of his opinions. This (adds he) gives me confidence with respect to fome peculiar ideas which appear in this work not that I pretend to advance any thing new.. The world is too old to be instructed; and I came into it too

late

late to attempt it. I have endeavoured rather to make ufe of the reflections of others; to apply to my manner of thinking those which I thought conformable to it, without believing others inferior which fhould contradict it. It would indeed be fingular if I had read with attention the best Writers without drawing fome advantage from them. To deny the obligations I owe them would be unjuft. I own them with pleafure; nor think I can acknowlege them better, than by purfuing their enquiries. It has been affirmed by many that all is Good; by others, that all is Evil. Some have infifted that the former is exceeded by the latter, whilft many as warmly contend that the reverfe is true. As for myfelf I have seen throughout the whole, that they balance each other; and, upon reflection, I find this equality to be abfolutely neceffary.

"To account for the Origin of Evil has been the endeavour of Philofophers in every age. Struck with the calamities to which mankind are fubject, and filled with ideas of a Deity, whofe attributes excluded every poffibility of his delighting in the mifery of his creatures; fome have afked, with Plato, Whether it could be fuppofed, that what is evil, and irregular, can be the work of God, the fource of every virtue? If he had found in the earth a tendency to regularity and order, he would, without all doubt, have made it the feat of happinefs. To reconcile their ideas of Evil with their notion of the Deity, therefore, they fuppofed that, in this fublunary world, the matter out of which its various objects were produced, was too ftubborn to receive a fixed and permanent ftate, and that all which Infinite Wisdom could effect, under fuch circumstances, was to produce the ftate in which we now find the world, fubject to a numerous train of irregularities and misfortunes. This was a natural confequence of their opinion relative to the Nature of Body, which receiving every moment some new form and appearance, they thought incapable of ftability or uniformity.

"From this fyftem, at length, arofe that of Manes, or of two principles; which, foon prevailing, fo ftrongly influenced mankind, that their prayers and religious ceremonies were evidently tinctured with it. If there be but one principle, faid they, and that one be effentially good, from what fource are the miferies and the vices of mankind derived?—If Glory were the defign of this being, what fhare of it could fpring from a fenfe of diforder and confufion? If the Love of Mankind, it may be asked, why then are they the flaves of paffion, or the victims of anxiety and diftrefs? From hence, they

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concluded, that there must neceffarily be two Principles, one difpofed to blefs mankind with every felicity, another inclined to difpenfe the most terrible calamities and diftrefs.

"However generally this opinion was once received, the Greeks and Romans do not appear to have entertained fuch notions. They had recourfe to other hypothefes to explain the Origin of Evil. By fome it was fuppofed that the Souls of men had pre-existed in another ftate, and that their Sufferings here arofe from their conduct in fuch a state of Preexiftence. Upon this principle they exprefsly forbad any pity to be fhewn for miferies, which they believed were inflicted only on thofe who deferved to fuffer. This opinion is attributed by Plato to Orpheus; and the Pythagoreans, as well as the Eucratita fince the Chriftian æra, avoided Marriage that they might not be the cause of Mifery to human Souls.

In the fyftem of Epicurus, the Gods were fuppofed indifferent to the affairs of this world, which were esteemed either "as beneath their notice and regard, or as inconfiftent with a ftate of existence from which every care was excluded. The arguments in favour of this opinion were drawn from the fame topics, which are now employed to prove a future state. Can the Gods (faid they) be concerned with human affairs and fuffer the virtuous to become miferable, and the abandoned to enjoy in luxury the fruits of rapine and fraud? Would fuffering virtue be fo common a fpectacle amongst men? Again, many have conceived every event as fixed by destiny, which nothing could change; and have, in confequence, condemned every murmur and complaint. This variety of opinions is a fufficient proof of the difficulty which attends the difcuffion of this queftion; but, were we to defcend from the hypothefes of the ancients through the numerous modern fyftems to the work before us, its difficulty would be still more apparent. Amongst those who have advanced the melancholy opinion, that even with those who enjoy the happiest lot of humanity the moment of anxiety is fuperior to that of pleasure, is the celebrated Maupertuis. ́ A late Writer has taken the other fide of the queftion, and in anfwer to the ingenious Frenchman, has afferted the fuperiority of pleasure. It is neither our business or defign, however, to enter into their arguments: we fhall only confider the opinion of the Author before us, who, equally diftant from these extremes, afferts a perfect and neceflary equality of Good and Evil.

Rev. Feb. 1762.

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"Inequality

"Inequality of Rank (fays he) does not arife from an in"creafe of Good in the exalted, or additional Evil in the lower, stations of life. That is not poffible in the nature of things. The latter are inferior in every thing. If we obferve their increase, we shall find it proceeds in a regular and exact increafed proportion of Good and Evil; that in proportion as they become more elevated, they take an equal fhare of happiness and anxiety; and that, by the invariable order of things, there is, in fact, no one condition more eligible than another, however diftant they may be from each other.

"Born to an humble lot, and scarcely fupplied with com mon neceffaries, the man of inferior ftation is little folicitous for the fuperfluities of life; his faculties, by an education fuitable to his condition, are reduced to fuch as become it; his paffions are few, and confequently his pains and pleasures alfo; while he is alike incapable of relishing the amusements, or feeling the anxieties of grandeur. It would perhaps be a misfortune to fociety, if the populace were more inftructed. Their own and the public felicity depends, in a great degree, on the continuing in their native ignorance. With more dignity of fentiment, they would too eafily perceive their abject ftate; they would lofe their tafte for the rude pleasures with which they were once contented, and fcorn the fervile labours to which they are deftined.

"The husbandman frequently poffeffes, thofe talents only which are neceflary for the cultivation of the earth, and esteems himself happy if the harveft anfwers his hopes. He toils indeed throughout the day, and knows not the refinements of drefs and food. This is true, but judge of his Eatigue by his robust constitution, not by the delicacy of your own; from his accustomed labour, not from your own averfion to every thing attended with difficulty. His frugal repaft is always delicious to him; your ftudied luxuries are often naufeated, and delicacies only prove difguftful. He has not, however, our amusements, our balls, our entertainments, and our vanities. True, but you mistake if you think him deftitute of amufements. He poffeffes thofe fuited to his fate, and the degree of pleasure he is capable of receiving from them. Our anxiety is a stranger to his humble roof, and vice avoids the place in which it could not be concealed. When 'tranquil fleep has reftored the powers which the work of the preceding day had exhaufted, he rifes in the morning with chearfulness, repeats his honeft labours, and returns in the evening to a family, he always fees with pleasure. The 'holydays, the

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ruftie

ruftic dance, and mufic amufe him, and the village fair exerts her art to charm him with her neat attire.Have then the happy tenants of the field, you will fay, no pains and anxieties? Alas, if you think fo, you are mistaken. Oppreffed by the proprietors of the lands they cultivate, they are treated with rigour; they groan beneath a load of taxes, and are taught that nature has eftablished an equality in every fituation."

After this, is it not a little furprifing to find our Author, in the fame Chapter, fo far. forget himfelf as to fay, "If there be an enemy whom you hate, wifh him the most voluptuous enjoyment, fupreme grandeur, immenfe riches, and unbounded authority; and you will find him fink under the excess of his mifery? By loading him with fenfual delights, you rob him of the fweets of love, the delicate fentiments of united hearts." Nay, he proceeds farther, and endeavours to prove, that this enemy would be rendered the most unhappy of mankind.

This is very inconfiftent with an hypothefis that maintains the neceflary and inevitable equality of Good and Evil in every ftation of life.

Naturam expellas furcâ tamen ufque recurret.

In other places again, he endeavours to fhew, that thofe circumstances which we confider with fo much dread, are always balanced by an equal degree of advantage. He has a Chapter, in which he affigns fome reasons why Volubility of Tongue was beftowed fo liberally on the fair fex:-and in the next proceeds to prove, that it involves a contradiction to suppose the absence of Evil in finite beings; attempting farther to evince the impoffibility that the Good and Evil in Nature should be otherwife than perfectly equal.

In the fecond part, he treats of Generation, and labours to fhew, that in the Vegetable, Foffil, and Mineral Kingdoms, as well as in the Planetary Syftem, fomething analogous to the Generation of Animals prevails. Plants have, for some time, been generally allowed to poffefs their male and female parts. The Generation of Foffils and Minerals has been allo believed by fome, but our Author has extended it even to the Stars and Planetary Worlds. We are inclined indeed to think this hypothefis will find but few advocates. Yet, fince it is the ufual fate of human enquiries to exhauft error, before they arrive at truth, we look with great indulgence on every attempt to ftrike out new paths of fcience; and, though

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