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actions which are considered to be an exception from them. In drawing his metaphysical theories and distinctions, Hume seems to have been unmoved by any consideration of consequences. He saw that they led to universal scepticism—to doubts that would not only shake all inductive science to pieces, but would put a stop to the whole business of life'-to the absurd contradiction in terms, 'a belief that there can be no belief '—but his love of theory and paradox, his philosophical acuteness and subtlety, involved him in the maze of scepticism, and he was content to be for ever in doubt. It is at the same time to be admitted, in favour of this remarkable man, that a genuine love of letters and of philosophy, and an honourable desire of distinction in these walks—which had been his predominat. ing sentiment and motive from his earliest years, to the exclusion of more vulgar though dazzling ambition-had probably a large concern in misleading him.* In matters strictly philosophical, his thoughts were original and profound, and to him it might not be difficult to trace the origin of several ideas which have since been more fully elaborated, and exercised no small influence on human affairs.
On Delicacy of Taste. Nothing is so improving to the temper as the study of the beauties either of poetry, eloquence, music, oi painting. They give a certain elegance of sentiment to which rest of mankind are strangers. The emotions which they excite are soft and tender. They draw off the mind from the hurry of business and interest; cherish reflection"; dispose to tranquility; and produce an agreeable melancholy, which, of all dispositions of the mind, is the best suited to love and friendship. In the second place, a delicacy of taste is favourable to love and friendship, by confining our choice to few people, and making us indifferent to the company and conversation of the greater part of men. You will seldom find that mere men of the world, whatever strong sense they may be endowed with, are very nice in distinguishing characters, or in mark og those insensible differences and gradations which make one man preferable to another. Any one that has competent sense is sufficient for their entertainment: they talk to him of their pleasure and affairs with the same frankness that they would to another; and finding many who are fit to supply his place, they never feel any vacancy or want in his absence. But, to make use of the allusion of a celebrated French author, the judgment may be compared to a clock or watch where the most ordinary machine is sufficieut to tell the hours, but the most elaborate alone can point out the minutes and seconds, and distinguish the smallest differences of time. One that has well digested his knowledge, both of books and men, h:18 little enjoyment but in the company of a few select companions. He feels too sensibly how much all the rest of mankind fall short of the motions which he has entertained ; and his affections being thus confined within a narrow circle, no wonder he carries them further than if they were more general and undistinguished. The gaiety and frolic of a bottle-companion improve with him into a solid friendship; and the ardours of a youthful appetite become an elegant passion.
On Simplicity and Refinement. It is a certain rule that wit and passion are entirely incompatible. When the affections are moved, there is no place for the imagination. The mind of man being naturally limited, it is impossible that all its faculties can operate at once; and the more any one predominates, the less room is there for the others to exert their vigour. For this reason a greater degree of simplicity is reqạired in all compositions where men, and actions, and passions are painted, than in such as consist of reflections and observations. And, as the former species of writing is the more engaging and beautiful, one may safely, upon this account, give the preference to the extreme of simplicity above that of refinement.
* of this ruling passion of Ilumo wo have the following outburst in his accountof the reign of James I:Such a superiority do the pursuits of literature possess ab.ve every other occupation, that even le who attains but a mediocrity in them merits the pre-emi. nence above those that excel the most in the common and vulgar professious.' This ser. tence Samuel Rogers was fond of quoting to his friends.
We may also observe, that those compositions which we read the oftenest, and which every man of taste has got by heart, have the recommendation of simplicity, and have nothing surprising in the thought when divested of that elegance of expression and harınony of numbers with which it is clothed. If the merit of the composition lie in a point of wit, it insy strike at first; but the mind anticipates the thought in the second perusal, and is no longer affected by it. When I read an epigram of Martial, the first line recalls the whole; and I have no pleasure in repeating to myself what I know already. But cach line, each word in Catullus, has its merit; and I am never tired with the perusal of him. It is sufficient to run over Cowley once; but Parnell, after the fiftieth reading, is as fresh as the first. Besides, it is with books as with women, where a certain plairness of manner and of dress is more engaging than that glare of paint, and airs, and apparel, which may dazzle the eye, but reaches not the affections. Terence is a modest and bashful beauty, to whom we grant everything, because he assumes nothing; and whose purity and nature make a durable though not a violent impression on us.
Estimate of the Effects of Luxury. What has chiefly induced severe moralists to declaim against refinement in the arts, is the example of ancient Rome, which, joining to its poverty and rusticity virtue and public spirit, rose to such a surprising height of grandeur and liberty, but, having learned from its conquered provinces the Asiatic luxury, fell into every kind of corruption; whence arose sedition and civil wars, attended at last with the total loss of liberty. All the Latin classics whom we peruse in our infancy are full of these sentiments, and universally ascribe the ruin of their state to the arts and riches imported from the East ; insomuch that Sallust represents a taste for painting as a vice, no less than rudeness and drinking. And so popular were these sentiments during the latter ages of the republic, that this author abounds in praises of the old rigia Roman virtue, though himself the most egregious instance of modern luxury and corruption; speaks contemptuously of the Grecian eloquence, though the most elos gant writer in the world; nay, employs preposterous digressions and declamations to this purpose, though a model of taste and correctness.
But it would be easy to prove that these writers mistook the cause of the disorders in the Roman state, and ascribed to luxury and the arts what really proceeded from an ill-modelled government, and the unlimited extent of conquests. "Refinement on the pleasures and conveniences of life has no natural tendency to beget venality and - corruption. The value which all men put upon any particular pleasure depends on comparison and experience; nor is a porter less greedy of money which he spends on bacon and brandy, than a courtier who purchases champagne and ortolans, Riches are valuable at all times and to all men, because they always purchase pleasures such as men are accustomed to and desire; nor can anything restrain or regulate the love of money but a sense of honour and virtue; which, if it be not nearly equal at all times, will naturally abound most in ages of knowledge and refinement.
To declaim against present times, and magnify the virtue of remote ancestory is a propensity almost inherent in human nature: and as the sentiments and opinions of civilized ages alone are transmitted to posterity, hence it is that we meet with so inany severe judgments pronounced against luxury, and even science; and hence it is that at present we give so ready an assent to them. But the fallacy is easily perceived by comparing different nations that are contemporaries; where we both judge more impartially, and can better set in opposition those manners with which we are snfficiently acquainted. Treachery and cruelty, the most pernicious and most odious of all vices seem peculiar to uncivilized ages, and by the refined Greeks and Romuus were ascribed to all the barbarous nations which surrounded them. They might justly, therefore, hava presnined that their own ancestors, so highly celehrated, possessed no greater virice, anal were as much inferior to their posterity in honour and humanity as in taste and science. An ancient Frank or Saxon may be highly extolled ; but I believe every man would think his life or fortune much less secure in the hands of a Moor or Tartar than those of a French or English gentleman, the rank of men the most civilized in the most civilized nations.
We come now to the second position which we propose to illustrate, to wit, that as innocent luxury or å refinement in the arts and conveniences of life is advantageous to the public, so wherever luxury ceases to be innocent, it also ceases to be beneficial; and when carried a degree further, begins to be a quality pernicious, though perhaps not the most pernicious, to political society.
Let us consider what we call vicious luxury. No gratification, however sensual, can of itself be esteemed vicious. A gratification is only vicious when it engrosses all a man's expense, and leaves no ability for such acts of duty and generosity as are required by his situation and fortune. Suppose that he correct the vice, and employ part of his expense in the education of his children, in the support of his friends, and in relieving the poor, would any prejudice result to society ? On the contrary, the same consumption would arise; and that labour which at present is employed only in producing a slender gratification to one man, would relieve the necessitous, and bestow satisfaction on hundreds. The same care and toil that raise a dish of peas at Christmas, would give bread to a whole family during six months. To say that withcut a vicious luxury the labour would not have been employed at all, is only to say that there is some other defect in human nature, such as indolence, selfishness, inaittention to others, for which luxury in some measure provides a remedy; as one poison may be an antidote to another. But virtue, like wholesome food, is better than poisons, however corrected.
Suppose the same number of men that are at present in Great Britain, with the same soil and climate; I ask, is it not possible for them to be happier, by the most perfect way of life that can be imagined, and by the greatest reformation that omnipotence itself could work in their temper and disposition ? To assert that they cannot, appears evidently ridiculous. As the land is able to maintain more than ail its present inhabitants they could never, in such a Utopian state, fed any other ills than those which arise from bodily sickness, and these are not the hall of human miseries. All other ills spring from some vice, either in ourselves or others; aud even many of our diseases proceed from the same origin. Remove the vices, and the ills follow. You must only take care to remove all the ices. If you remove part, you may render the matter worse. By banishing vicious luxury, without curing sloth and an indifference to others, you only diminish industry in the state, and add nothing to men's charity or their generosity. Let us, therefore, rest contented with asserting that two opposite vices in a state may be more advantageous than either of them alone; but let us never pronounce vice in itself advantageous. Is it pot very inconsistent for an author to assert in one page that moral distinctions are inventions of politicians for public interest, and in the next page maintain that vice is advantageous to the public? And indeed it seems, upon any system of morality, little less than a contradiction in terms to talk of a vice which is in general beneficial to society.
thought this reasoning necessary, in order to give some light to a philosophical question which has been much disputed in England. I call it a philosophical question, not a political one: for whatever may be the consequence of such a miraculous transformation of mankind as would eindow them with every species of virtue, ond free them from every species of vice, this concerns not the magistrate who aims only at possibilities. He cannot cure every vice by substituting a virtue in its place. Very often he can cure only one vice by another, and in that case he ought to prefer what is least pernicious to eociety. Luxury; when excessive, is the source of many ills, but is in general preferable to sloth ani idleness, which would commonly succeed in its place, and are more hurtful both to private persons and to the public. When slothi reigus, a mean uncultivated way of life prevails amongst individuals, without society, without enjoyment. And if the sovereign. in such a situation, demands the service of his subjects, the labour of the state sufices only to furnish the necessaries of life to the labourers, and can afford uothing to those who are eme ployed in the public service.
JONATHAN EDWARDS. The great metaphysician and divine of America, JONATHAN EDWARDS, was born in 1703, at Windsor in Connecticut, and died in 1758 at Princeton in New Jersey. By his power of subtle argument, his religious fervour, and his peculiar doctrines respecting free-will, Edwards has obtained a high and lasting reputation. He has perhaps never been surpassed as a dialectician. Educated among the Calvinistic Puritans of New England, he imbibed their religious opinions and sentiments, and went so far as to assert that if the doctrines of Calvinism, in their whole length and breadth, were not rigidly maintained, a man could nowhere set his foot down with consistency and safety short of deism, or even atheism itself, or rather universal scepticism. His definition of true religion, however, is one that may be adopted by all sects. He says: True religion in a great measure consists in holy affections. A love of divine things for the beauty and sweetness of their moral excellency is the spring of all holy affections.' On this passage, Sir James Mackintosh remarks: •Pad he [Edwards) suffered this noble principle to take the right road to all its fair consequences, he would entirely have concurred with Plato, with Shaftesbury, and Malebranche, in devotion to the “first good, first perfect, and first fair.” But he thought it necessary afterwards to limit his doctrine to his own persuasion, by denying that such moral excellence could be discovered in divine things by those Christians who did not take the same view with him of their religion. All others, and some who hold his doctrines with a more enlarged spirit, may adopt his principle without any limitation.'
Another of Edwards's doctrines, his ethical theory, relates to the principle of virtue, which, he argues, consists in benevolence or love to being in general. This is felt towards a particular being, first in proportion to his degree of existence—' for, says he, ‘that which is great has more existence and is further from nothing than that which is little’-and secondly, in proportion to the degree in which that particular being feels benevolence to others. Thus, God, having infinitely more existence and benevolence than man, ought to be infinitely more loved; and for the same reason, God must love himself infinitely more than he does all other beings. He can act only from regard to himself, and his end in creation can only be to manifest his whole nature, which is called acting for his own glory.' This startling doctrine of necessity has been combated by Mackinrosh, Hall, and others. Virtue on such principles is an impossibility,
for the system of being comprehending the great Supreme is infinite; and therefore, to maintain the proper proportion, the force of particular attachment must be infinitely less than the passion for the gen. eral good; but the limits of the human mind are not capable of any emotion so infinitely different in degree.' The ingenious speculations of Edwards on the freedom of the will, and on original sin, must be
held to be airy abstractions, incapable of giving force either to moral or religious truth. He was, however, a zealous and faithful minister, and like most profound thinkers, a man of childlike simplicity of character. The warmth of his sensibilities may be estimated from the following account of his early impressions:
As I was walking there, and looked up on the sky and clonds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God that I know not how to express it. God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity, and love. seemed to appear in everything: in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; i. the grass, flowers, ees; in the water and all ature, which used greatly mind. I often used to sit and view the moon a long time, and so in ihe daytime spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things; in the meantime singing forth with a loud voice my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. I used to be a person uncommonly terrified with thunder; and it used to strike me with terror when I saw a thunder-storm rising; but now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God at the first appearance of a thunder-storm, and used to take an opportunity at such times to fix myself to view the clouds and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder.
Such outbreaks of poetical feeling form a strange contrast to the hard and stern arguments in Edwards's exposition of his theological and philosophical tenets. The works of this eminent person are numerous, but the most important are his Treatises concerning Religious Affections,' 1746; * A Careful and Strict inquiry into the Modern Notion of that Freedom of Will which is supposed to be essential to Moral Agency,' 1754; “The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended,' 1758; and dissertations ‘On the Nature of True Virtue,' and On God's Chief End in the Creation'—the last two not published until thirty years after his death.
The Hartleian theory at this time found admirers and followers in England. DR. DAVID HARTLEY, an English physician (1705–1757), having imbibed from Locke the principles of logic and metaphysics, and from a hint of Newton the doctrine that there were vibrations in the substance of the brain that might throw new light on the phenomena of the mind, formed a system which he developed in his elaborate work, published in 1740, under the title of Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations.' Hartley, besides his theory of the vibrations in the brain, refers all the operations of the intellect to the association of ideas, and represents that association as reducible to the single law, that ideas which enter the mind at the same time acquire a tendency to call up each other, which is in direct proportion to the frequency of their having entered together. His theory of vibrations has a tendency to materialism, but was not designed by its ingenious author to produce such an effect.
DR. ADAM SMITH.
Dr. Adam Smith, after an interval of a few years, succeeded to Hutcheson as professor of moral philosophy in Glasgow, and not only inherited his love of metaphysics, but adopted some of his theories,