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AN

ORATION,

I-N

DEFENCE

OF THE

NEW PHILOSOPHY.*

ENTLEMEN of the University, how long, fhall we flavishly tread in the Steps of the Ancients, and be afraid of being wifer than our Ancestors? How long fhall we religiously worship the Triflings of Antiquity, as fome do Old Wives Stories? It is indeed shameful, when we furvey the great Ornament of the present Age †, to transfer our Applauses to the Ancients, and to take Pains to fearch into Ages paft for Perfons deferving of Panegyric.

The ancient Philosophy has had more allowed, than it could reasonably pretend to. How often has SHELDON's Theatre rung with Encomia on

* Tranflated by Richard Rawlinson, LL. D. and F. R. S. of St. John's Coll. Oxon.

Sir Ifaac Newton.

the

the Stagyrite, Who, greater than his own Alexander, has long, un-oppofed, triumphed in our School-Desks, and had the whole World for his Pupils. At length arofe CARTESIUS, a happier Genius, who has bravely afferted the Truth against the united Force of all Oppofers, and has brought on the Stage a new Method of Philofophizing. But fhall we ftigmatize with the Name of Novelty that Philofophy, which, tho' but lately revived, is more ancient than the Paripatetic, and as old as the Matter from whence it is derived. A great Man indeed He was, and the only one we envy FRANCE. He folved the Difficulties of the Universe almost as well as if he had been its Architect. He deftroyed thofe Orbs of Glass, which the Whims of Antiquity had fixed above, brought to Light that Troop of Forms till then unknown, and has almoft extinguished the Element of Fire; nay, he with fo much Clearness traced out the whole Mass of Matter, as to leave no occult Quality untouched. This Philofopher scorned to be any longer bounded within the Streights and Crystalline Walls of an Ariftotelic World; No, his Delight is to fearch the Regions above, to discover new Suns, and new Worlds, which lay hid amongst the Stars; his Satisfaction is to view that large Kingdom of Air amidst the unfixed Stars, and Lands that pafs the Milky-Way, and more accurately measure this vaft Machine, a Machine fit for Mankind to philofophize on, and worthy of the Deity, who firft framed it.

Here we have not only new Heavens opened to us, but we look down on our Earth; this Philofophy affords us feveral Kinds of Animals, where, by the Help of the Microscope, our Eyes are fo far affifted, that we may dicern the Productions of

the

In Defence of the New Philofophy. 113 the smallest Creatures, while we confider with a curious Eye the animated Particles of Matter, and behold with Astonishment the reptile Mountains of living Atoms. Thus are our Eyes become more penetrating by modern Helps; and even that Work, which Nature boafts for her Mafter-piece, is rendered more correct and finished. We no longer pay a blind Veneration to that barbarous Peripatetic Jingle, thofe obfcure Scholaftic Terms of Art, once held as Oracles, but confult the Dictates of our own Senfes, and by late invented Engines, force Nature herself to discover plainly her moft valued Secrets, her moft hidden Receffes.

By the Help of Inftruments like these, that Air, which a bountiful Nature has indulged us, we, ast often as we please, by the Force of Art, abridge other Animals of, and keep them in our Pneumatic Pumps, from its common Benefit: What a Pleasure is it to see the fruitless Heavings of the Lights, to exhauft their Lives, and by a most art- ' ful Sort of Theft rob them of their Breath? From this nothing is fafe, nothing so long lived, which gradually does not languifh, and fall dead without a Wound. A divine Piece of Art this, and worthy its Author*, who, in the Conduct of his Life, and the Force of his Arguments, has fo nobly honoured our Nation, and the new Philofophy, one who for this Reafon too deferves never to want the Benefit of his own Air, or that he, who has fo often deprived other Animals of their Life, fhould ever breathe out his own.

On no fuch Grounds as the fe has ARISTOTLE built his Philofophy, who from his own Brain furnished out all his Rules of Arts and Sciences, and left nothing untouched on, nothing unregarded * The Honourable Robert Boyle, Efq;

F

but

but Truth. If therefore he precipitated himself into the River Euripus, because he could not understand its Ebb and Flow, by the fame Logick he might at his first Entrance on Philofophy have destroyed himself, and we may fairly doubt, in which of the Elements he ought to have perished.

After ARISTOTLE'S Fate amidst the Waves of Euripus, a new Race of Peripatetics started up, even worse than their Founder, who handed their Philofophy to After-ages in fo thick an Obfcurity, that it has preferved it from the Satire and Ridicule of all Mankind, as understood by very few. Some there are to be found, who spend their Time amidst the Rubbish which these Commentators have filled the World with, and pore more than once on these God-like Treasures of Learning, and stick to them to no other Purpofe, unless to fhew the World the vast Pains they take to be deceived. Can there be a more pleasant Sight than to see these wife Champions wrangling with each other? The one, armed with Propofitions and Syllogy fms, attacks his Antagonist in the fame Armour: Both Bell-weathers grow angry, and storm, fond of a Victory, which is worth but a Trifle, when obtained: Each, with all his Might darts out his Barbarifms at the other, they entangle themfelves in their Follies, and as neither knows how to extricate himself, they found to a Retreat, and when all the Ammunition is fpent on both Sides, they think fit to keep Silence.

Thus far, Gentlemen, and no farther, launches out the ancient Philofophy: Let us therefore fentence for ever this Troop of Commentators, to be tied up in Chains and Libraries, Food only for Moths and Worms, and there let them quietly grow Old, free from the Sight of any Reader.

Jofeph Addifon.

A

CHARACTER

OF

Mr. Edmund Curll, Bookfeller.

By Mr. POPE.

Before the Lords, Alone, untaught to fear,
Stood dauntless CURLL (and spoke to ev'ry Peer.)
He triumph'd, Victor of the high wrought Day!
DUNCIAD.

E come now to a Character of much Refpect, that of Mr. EDMUND CURLL. As a plain Repetition of great Actions is the best Praise of them, we fhall only fay of this eminent Man, that he carried his Trade many Lengths beyond what it ever before had arrived at †,

* Equal in Family, Birth, Education, and Respect to Mr. Alexander Pope.

This Truth is agreed to, by all who know Mr. Curll; and if he has carried the Art of Bookfelling beyond all his Cotemporaries, has not Mr. Pope done the fame by the Art of Poetry? Mr. Dryden had neither Chariot nor Barge (of which Mr. Pope makes his Boaft) but tells us, he was

Unprofitably kept at Heav'n's Expence,
And liv'd a Rent-Charge on its Providence.
F 2

and

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