« ElőzőTovább »
'evidently considered not as states of the individual mind, but as separate things existing in it, and capable of existing in other minds, but in them alone; and it is in consequence of these assumptions that his system, if it were to be considered as a system of scepticism, is chiefly defective. But having, as he supposed, these ideas, and conceiving that they did not perish when they ceased to exist in his mind, since the same ideas recurred at intervals, he deduced, from the necessity which there seemed for some omnipresent mind, in which they might exist during the intervals of recurrence, the necessary existence of the Deity; and if, indeed, as he supposed, ideas be something different from the mind itself, recurring only at intervals to created minds, and incapable of existing but in mind, the demonstration of some infinite omnipresent mind, in which they exist during these intervals of recurrence to finite minds, must be allowed to be perfect. The whole force of the pious demonstration, therefore, which Berkeley flattered himself with having urged irresistibly, is completely obviated by the simple denial, that ideas are anything more than the mind itself affected in a certain manner; since, in this case, our ideas exist no longer than our mind is affected in that particular manner which constitutes each particular idea; and to say that our ideas exist in the divine mind, would thus be to say, only, that our mind itself exists in the divine mind. There is not the sensation of colour in addition to the mind, nor the sensation of fragrance in addition to the mind; but the sensation of colour is the mind existing in a certain state, and the sensation of fragrance is the mind existing in a different state." The style of Berkeley has been generally admired: it is clear and unaffected, with the easy grace of the polished philosopher. A love of description and of external nature is evinced at times, and possesses something of the freshness of Izaak Walton.
[From An Essay towards preventing the Ruin of Great Britain,' written soon after the affair of the South-Sea Scheme.]
Industry is the natural sure way to wealth; this is so true, that it is impossible an industrious free people should want the necessaries and comforts of life, or an idle enjoy them under any form of government. Money is so far useful to the public, as it promoteth industry, and credit having the same effect, is of the same value with money; but money or credit circulating through a nation from hand to hand, without producing labour and industry in the inhabitants, is direct gaming.
It is not impossible for cunning men to make such plausible schemes, as may draw those who are less skilful into their own and the public ruin. But surely there is no man of sense and honesty but must see and own, whether he understands the game or not, that it is an evident folly for any people, instead of prosecuting the old honest methods of industry and frugality, to sit down to a public gaming-table and play off their money one to another.
The more methods there are in a state for acquiring riches without industry or merit, the less there will be of either in that state: this is as evident as the ruin that attends it. Besides, when money is shifted from hand to hand in such a blind fortuitous manner, that some men shall from nothing acquire in an instant vast estates, without the least desert; while others are as suddenly stripped of plentiful fortunes, and left on the parish by their own avarice and credulity,
Dr Thomas Brown.
what can be hoped for on the one hand but abandoned luxury and wantonness, or on the other but extreme madness and despair!
In short, all projects for growing rich by sudden and extraordinary methods, as they operate violently on the passions of men, and encourage them to despise the slow moderate gains that are to be made by an honest industry, must be ruinous to the public, and even the winners themselves will at length be involved in the public ruin.
God grant the time be not near when men shall say, 'This island was once inhabited by a religious, brave, sincere people, of plain uncorrupt manners, respecting inbred worth rather than titles and appearances, assertors of liberty, lovers of their country, jealous of their own rights, and unwilling to infringe the rights of others; improvers of learning and useful arts, enemies to luxury, tender of other men's lives, and prodigal of their own; inferior in nothing to the old Greeks or Romans, and superior to each of those people in the perfections of the other. Such were our ancestors during their rise and greatness; but they degenerated, grew servile flatterers of men in power, adopted Epicurean notions, became venal, corrupt, injurious, which drew upon them the hatred of God and man, and occasioned their final ruin.'
[Prejudices and Opinions.]
Prejudices are notions or opinions which the mind entertains without knowing the grounds and reasons of them, and which are assented to without examination. The first notions which take possession of the minds of men, with regard to duties social, moral, and civil, may therefore be justly styled prejudices. The mind of a young creature cannot remain empty; if you do not put into it that which is good, it will be
sure to receive that which is bad.
Do what you can, there will still be a bias from education; and if so, is it not better this bias should lie towards things laudable and useful to society! This bias still operates, although it may not always influence, take the deepest root, and generally are prevail. The notions first instilled have the earliest found to give a colour and complexion to the subse quent lives of men, inasmuch as they are in truth the great source of human actions. It is not gold, or honour, or power, that moves men to act, but the opinions they entertain of those things. Hence it follows, that if a magistrate should say, 'No matter what notions men embrace, I will take heed to their actions,' therein he shows his weakness; for, such as are men's notions, such will be their deeds.
For a man to do as he would be done by, to love his neighbour as himself, to honour his superiors, to believe that God scans all his actions, and will reward or punish them, and to think that he who is guilty of falsehood or injustice hurts himself more than any one else; are not these such notions and principles as every wise governor or legislator would covet above all things to have firmly rooted in the mind of every individual under his care! This is allowed even by the enemies of religion, who would fain have it thought the offspring of state policy, honouring its usefulness at the same time that they disparage its truth. What, therefore, cannot be acquired by every man's reasoning, must be introduced by precept, and riveted by custom; that is to say, the bulk of mankind must, in all civilised societies, have their minds, by timely instruction, well seasoned and furnished with proper notions, which, although the grounds or proofs thereof be unknown to them, will nevertheless influence their conduct, and so far render them useful members of the state. But if you strip men of these their notions, or, if you will, prejudices, with regard to modesty, decency, justice, charity, and the
like, you will soon find them so many monsters, utterly unfit for human society.
I desire it may be considered that most men want leisure, opportunity, or faculties, to derive conclusions from their principles, and establish morality on a foundation of human science. True it is (as St Paul observes) that the 'invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen; and from thence the duties of natural religion may be discovered. But these things are seen and discovered by those alone who open their eyes and look narrowly for them. Now, if you look throughout the world, you shall find but few of these narrow inspectors and inquirers, very few who make it their business to analyse opinions, and pursue them to their rational source, to examine whence truths spring, and how they are inferred. In short, you shall find all men full of opinions, but knowledge only in a few.
It is impossible, from the nature and circumstances of human kind, that the multitude should be philosophers, or that they should know things in their causes. We see every day that the rules, or conclusions alone, are sufficient for the shopkeeper to state his account, the sailor to navigate his ship, or the carpenter to measure his timber; none of which understand the theory, that is to say, the grounds and reasons either of arithmetic or geometry. Even so in moral, political, and religious matters, it is manifest that the rules and opinions early imbibed at the first dawn of understanding, and without the least glimpse of science, may yet produce excellent effects, and be very useful to the world; and that, in fact, they are so, will be very visible to every one who shall observe what passeth round about him.
It may not be amiss to inculcate, that the difference between prejudices and other opinions doth not consist in this, that the former are false and the latter true; but in this, that the former are taken upon trust, and the latter acquired by reasoning. He who hath been taught to believe the immortality of the soul, may be as right in his notion as he who hath reasoned himself into that opinion. It will then by no means follow, that because this or that notion is a prejudice, it must be therefore false. The not distinguishing between prejudices and errors is a prevailing oversight among our modern free-thinkers.
There may be, indeed, certain mere prejudices or opinions, which, having no reasons either assigned or assignable to support them, are nevertheless entertained by the mind, because they are intruded betimes into it. Such may be supposed false, not be cause they were early learned, or learned without their reasons, but because there are in truth no reasons to be given for them.
Certainly if a notion may be concluded false because it was early imbibed, or because it is with most men an object of belief rather than of knowledge, one may by the same reasoning conclude several propositions of Euclid to be false. A simple apprehension of conclusions, as taken in themselves, without the deductions of science, is what falls to the share of mankind in general. Religious awe, the precepts of parents and masters, the wisdom of legislators, and the accumulated experience of ages, supply the place of proofs and reasonings with the vulgar of all ranks; I would say that discipline, national constitution, and laws human or Divine, are so many plain landmarks which guide them into the paths wherein it is presumed they ought to tread.
[From Maxims Concerning Patriotism."] A man who hath no sense of God or conscience, would you make such a one guardian to your child? If not, why guardian to the state?
A fop, or man of pleasure, makes but a scurvy patriot.
He who says there is no such thing as an honest man, you may be sure is himself a knave.
The patriot aims at his private good in the public. The knave makes the public subservient to his private interest. The former considers himself as part of a whole, the latter considers himself as the whole.
Moral evil is never to be committed; physical evil may be incurred either to avoid a greater evil, or to procure a good.
When the heart is right, there is true patriotism. The fawning courtier and the surly squire often mean the same thing-each his own interest. Ferments of the worst kind succeed to perfect inaction.
LAWRENCE ECHARD (1671-1730) was a voluminous writer and historian. After receiving education at the university of Cambridge, he entered into orders, and obtained the livings of Welton and Elkington in Lincolnshire. In 1712 he was preferred to the archdeaconry of Stowe, and became also a prebendary in the cathedral of Lincoln. His leisure was devoted to historical pursuits, and he published a History of England, a General Ecclesiastical History, a
History of Rome, a General Gazetteer, &c. His History of England was attacked by Calamy and Oldmixon; but it long maintained its ground; and his Ecclesiastical History has been often reprinted. Without aiming at philosophical analysis or investigation, Echard was a careful compiler, with competent learning and judgment.
JOHN STRYPE (1643-1737) was a laborious collector and literary antiquary. His works afford ample illustrations of ecclesiastical history and biography at periods of strong national interest and importance, and they are now reckoned among the most valuable of our standard memorials. The writings of Strype consist of a Life of Archbishop Cranmer (1694), a Life of Sir Thomas Smith (1698), a Life of Bishop Aylmer (1701), a Life of Sir John Cheke (1705), Annals of the Reformation, four volumes (1709-31), a Life of Archbishop Grindal (1710), Life and Letters of Archbishop Parker (1711), Life of Archbishop Whitgift (1718), Ecclesiastical Memorials, three volumes (1721). He also edited Stow's Survey of London, and part of Dr Lightfoot's works. Strype was the son of a foreign refugee, John Van Stryp, a native of Brabant, who fled to England on account of his religion, and followed the business of a silk merchant. The son received a classical education at Cambridge, and entering into holy orders, became successively curate of Theydon-Boys, in Essex, preacher in Low Leyton, rector of Terring, in Sussex, and lecturer at Hackney. He resigned his clerical charges in 1724, and from this time till his death, which happened in his ninety-fourth year, he resided at Hackney with Mr Harris, an apothecary, who was married to his granddaughter. Faithful and laborious, Strype was highly respected by the dignitaries of the church of England. A correct and elegant reprint of his works has proceeded from the Clarendon press at Oxford.
POTTER AND KENNETT.
DR POTTER (1674-1747), archbishop of Canterbury, is known as author of a valuable work on the antiquities of Greece, in two volumes octavo. The researches of modern philologists, especially among the Germans, have greatly enriched this department of literature; but Potter led the way, and supplied a groundwork for future scholars. He also edited the writings of Lycophron, and wrote several theological treatises and discourses on church government, which were collected and printed at Oxford in 1753, in three volumes. With the learning of the English hierarchy, Dr Potter is said to have united too much of the pomp and pride which occasionally mark its dignitaries; and it is related that he disinherited his son for marrying below his rank in life.
BASIL KENNETT (1674-1714) performed for Roman antiquities what Archbishop Potter did for Grecian. His Roma Antiqua Notitia, or the Antiquities of Rome, in one volume octavo, was a respectable contribution to historical literature, and for nearly a century held its place as the standard work upon the subject. It was then partly superseded by the Roman Antiquities of Dr Adam; but recent times have seen both thrown into the background, in consequence of the vast additions which have been made to our knowledge of ancient Rome, its people, and their institutions, chiefly by German scholars, and partly by the investigations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Kennett was educated at Corpus Christi college, Oxford, and became chaplain to the English factory at Leghorn, where he was in danger from the Inquisition. He was greatly esteemed by his contemporaries for his learning, piety, and modesty. Besides his Roman Antiquities, he wrote Lives of the Grecian Poets, an Exposition of the Creed, and a collection of sermons.
into the loftier conceptions and sublime flights of the English poet. His edition was a decided failure.
Bentley's Seat, in Trinity College Chapel.
Some of his emendations destroy the happiest and choicest expressions of the poet. The sublime line, 'No light, but rather darkness visible,' Bentley renders,
'No light, but rather a transpicuous gloom.' Another fine Miltonic passage
Our torments also may in length of time Become our elements,'
is reduced into prose as follows:
'Then, as 'twas well observed, our torments may Become our elements.'
DR RICHARD BENTLEY (1662-1742) was perhaps the greatest classical scholar that England has produced. He was educated at Cambridge, and became chaplain to Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester. He was afterwards appointed preacher of the lecture instituted by Boyle for the defence of Christianity, and delivered a series of discourses against atheism. In these Bentley introduced the discoveries of Newton as illustrations of his argument, and the lectures were highly popular. His next public ap- Such a critic could never have possessed poetical pearance was in the famous controversy with the sensibility, however extensive and minute might be Honourable Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery, rela- his verbal knowledge of the classics. Bentley died tive to the genuineness of the Greek epistles of at Cambridge in 1742. He seems to have been the Phalaris. This controversy we have already spoken impersonation of a combative spirit. His college life of in our section on Sir William Temple. Most was spent in continual war with all who were offiof the wits and scholars of that period joined with cially connected with him. He is said one day, on Boyle against Bentley; but he triumphantly esta- finding his son reading a novel, to have remarked blished his position that the epistles are spurious,Why read a book that you cannot quote?'-a while the poignancy of his wit and sarcasm, and the sagacity evinced in his conjectural emendations, were unequalled among his Oxford opponents. Bentley was afterwards made master of Trinity college, Cambridge; and in 1716 he was also appointed regius professor of divinity. His next literary performances were an edition of Horace, and editions of Terence and Phædrus. The talent he had displayed in making emendations on the classics, tempted him, in an evil hour,' to edit Milton's Paradise Lost in the same spirit. The critic was then advanced in years, and had lost some portion of his critical sagacity and discernment, while it is doubtful if he could ever have entered
saying which affords an amusing illustration of the nature and object of his literary studies.
[Authority of Reason in Religious Matters.] We profess ourselves as much concerned, and as truly as [the deists] themselves are, for the use and authority of reason in controversies of faith. We look upon right reason as the native lamp of the soul, placed and kindled there by our Creator, to conduct us in the whole course of our judgments and actions. True reason, like its divine Author, never is itself deceived, nor ever deceives any man Even revelation itself is not shy nor unwilling to ascribe its own
first credit and fundamental authority to the test and testimony of reason. Sound reason is the touchstone to distinguish that pure and genuine gold from baser metals; revelation truly divine, from imposture and enthusiasm: so that the Christian religion is so far from declining or fearing the strictest trials of reason, that it everywhere appeals to it; is defended and supported by it; and indeed cannot continue, in the Apostle's description (James i. 27), 'pure and undefiled' without it. It is the benefit of reason alone, under the Providence and Spirit of God, that we ourselves are at this day a reformed orthodox church: that we departed from the errors of popery, and that we knew, too, where to stop; neither running into the extravagances of fanaticism, nor sliding into the indifferency of libertinism. Whatsoever, therefore, is inconsistent with natural reason, can never be justly imposed as an article of faith. That the same body is in many places at once, that plain bread is not bread; such things, though they be said with never so much pomp and claim to infallibility, we have still greater authority to reject them, as being contrary to common sense and our natural faculties; as subverting the foundations of all faith, even the grounds of their own credit, and all the principles of
So far are we from contending with our adversaries about the dignity and authority of reason; but then we differ with them about the exercise of it, and the extent of its province. For the deists there stop, and set bounds to their faith, where reason, their only guide, does not lead the way further, and walk along before them. We, on the contrary, as (Deut. xxxiv.) Moses was shown by divine power a true sight of the promised land, though himself could not pass over to it, so we think reason may receive from revelation some further discoveries and new prospects of things, and be fully convinced of the reality of them; though itself cannot pass on, nor travel those regions; cannot penetrate the fund of those truths, nor advance to the utmost bounds of them. For there is certainly a wide difference between what is contrary to reason, and what is superior to it, and out of its reach.
DR FRANCIS ATTERBURY.
rate you and me for ever. But in what part of the
[Usefulness of Church Music.]
The use of vocal and instrumental harmony in divine worship I shall recommend and justify from this consideration: that they do, when wisely employed and managed, contribute extremely to awaken the attention and enliven the devotion of all serious and sincere Christians; and their usefulness to this
end will appear on a double account, as they remove the ordinary hindrances of devotion, and as they supply us further with special helps and advantages towards quickening and improving it.
By the melodious harmony of the church, the ordihindrances of devotion are removed, particularly these three; that engagement of thought which we often bring with us into the church from what we last converse with; those accidental distractions that may happen to us during the course of divine service; and that weariness and flatness of mind which some weak tempers may labour under, by reason even of the length of it.
DR FRANCIS ATTERBURY (1662-1731), an Oxford divine and zealous high churchman, was one of the combatants in the critical warfare with Bentley about the epistles of Phalaris. Originally tutor to Lord Orrery, he was, in 1713, rewarded for his Tory zeal by being named Bishop of Rochester.nary Under the new dynasty and Whig government, his zeal carried him into treasonable practices, and, in 1722, he was apprehended on suspicion of being concerned in a plot to restore the Pretender, and was committed to the Tower. A bill of pains and penalties was preferred against him, and he was deposed and outlawed. Atterbury now went into exile, and resided first at Brussels and afterwards at Paris, continuing to correspond with Pope, Bolingbroke, and his other Jacobite friends, till his death. The works of this accomplished, but restless and aspiring prelate, consist of four volumes of sermons, some visitation charges, and his epistolary correspondence, which was extensive. His style is easy and elegant, and he was a very impressive preacher. The good taste of Atterbury is seen in his admiration of Milton, before fashion had sanctioned the applause of the great poet. His letters to Pope breathe the utmost affection and tenderness. The following farewell letter to the poet was sent from the Tower, April 10, 1723 :
'Dear Sir-I thank you for all the instances of your friendship, both before and since my misfortunes. A little time will complete them, and sepa
When we come into the sanctuary immediately from any worldly affair, as our very condition of life does, alas! force many of us to do, we come usually with divided and alienated minds. The business, the pleasure, or the amusement we left, sticks fast to us, and perhaps engrosses that heart for a time, which should then be taken up altogether in spiritual addresses. But as soon as the sound of the sacred hymns strikes us, all that busy swarm of thoughts presently disperses: by a grateful violence we are forced into the duty that is going forward, and, as indevout and backward as we were before, find ourselves on the sudden seized with a sacred warmth, ready to cry out, with holy David, 'My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.' Our misapplication of mind at such times is often so great, and we so deeply immersed
in it, that there needs some very strong and powerful charm to rouse us from it; and perhaps nothing is of greater force to this purpose than the solemn and awakening airs of church music.
How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'
Further, the availableness of harmony to promote a pious disposition of mind will appear from the great influence it naturally has on the passions, which, when well directed, are the wings and sails of the mind, that speed its passage to perfection, and are of particular and remarkable use in the offices of devotion; for devotion consists in an ascent of the mind towards God, attended with holy breathings of soul, and a divine exercise of all the passions and powers of the mind. These passions the melody of sounds serves only to guide and elevate towards their proper object; these it first calls forth and encourages, and then gradually raises and inflames. This it does to all of them, as the matter of the hymns sung gives an occasion for the employment of them; but the power of it is chiefly seen in advancing that most heavenly passion of love, which reigns always in pious breasts, and is the surest and most inseparable mark of true devotion; which recommends what we do in virtue of
For the same reason, those accidental distractions that may happen to us are also best cured by it. The strongest minds, and best practised in holy duties, may sometimes be surprised into a forgetfulness of what they are about by some violent outward impressions; and every slight occasion will serve to call off the thoughts of no less willing though much weaker worshippers. Those that come to see, and to be seen here, will often gain their point; will draw and detain for a while the eyes of the curious and unwary. A passage in the sacred story read, an expression used in the common forms of devotion, shall raise a foreign reflection, perhaps, in musing and speculative minds, and lead them on from thought to thought, and point to point, till they are bewildered in their own imaginations. These, and a hundred other avocations, will arise and prevail; but when the instruments of praise begin to sound, our scattered thoughts pre-it sently take the alarm, return to their post and to their duty, preparing and arming themselves against their spiritual assailants.
Lastly, even the length of the service itself becomes a hindrance sometimes to the devotion which it was meant to feed and raise; for, alas! we quickly tire in the performance of holy duties; and as eager and unwearied as we are in attending upon secular business and trifling concerns, yet in divine offices, I fear, the expostulation of our Saviour is applicable to most of us, 'What! can ye not watch with me one hour?' This infirmity is relieved, this hindrance prevented or removed, by the sweet harmony that accompanies several parts of the service, and returning upon us at fit intervals, keeps our attention up to the duties when we begin to flag, and makes us insensible of the length of it. Happily, therefore, and wisely is it so ordered, that the morning devotions of the church, which are much the longest, should share also a greater proportion of the harmony which is useful to enliven them.
But its use stops not here, at a bare removal of the ordinary impediments to devotion; it supplies us also with special helps and advantages towards furthering and improving it. For it adds dignity and solemnity to public worship; it sweetly influences and raises our passions whilst we assist at it, and makes us do our duty with the greatest pleasure and cheerfulness; all which are very proper and powerful means towards creating in us that holy attention and erection of mind, the most reasonable part of this our reasonable
Such is our nature, that even the best things, and most worthy of our esteem, do not always employ and detain our thoughts in proportion to their real value, unless they be set off and greatened by some outward circumstances, which are fitted to raise admiration and surprise in the breasts of those who hear or behold them. And this good effect is wrought in us by the power of sacred music. To it we, in good measure, owe the dignity and solemnity of our public worship; which else, I fear, in its natural simplicity and plainness, would not so strongly strike, or so deeply affect the minds, as it ought to do, of the sluggish and inattentive, that is, of the far greatest part of mankind. But when voice and instruments are skilfully adapted to it, it appears to us in a majestic air and shape, and gives us very awful and reverent impressions, which while they are upon us, it is impossible for us not to be fixed and composed to the utmost. We are then in the same state of mind that the devout patriarch was when he awoke from his holy dream, and ready with him to say to ourselves, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not!
to God, and makes it relishing to ourselves; and without which all our spiritual offerings, our prayers, and our praises, are both insipid and unacceptable. At this our religion begins, and at this it ends; it is the sweetest companion and improvement of it here upon earth, and the very earnest and foretaste of heaven; of the pleasures of which nothing further is revealed to us, than that they consist in the practice of holy music and holy love, the joint enjoyment of which, we are told, is to be the happy lot of all pious souls to endless ages.
Now, it naturally follows from hence, which was the last advantage from whence I proposed to recommend church music, that it makes our duty a pleasure, and enables us, by that means, to perform it with the utmost vigour and cheerfulness. It is certain, that the more pleasing an action is to us, the more keenly and eagerly are we used to employ ourselves in it; the less liable are we, while it is going forward, to tire, and droop, and be dispirited. So that whatever contributes to make our devotion taking, within such a degree as not at the same time to dissipate and distract it, does, for that very reason, contribute to our attention and holy warmth of mind in performing it. What we take delight in, we no longer look upon as a task, but return to always with desire, dwell upon with satisfaction, and quit with uneasiness. And this it was which made holy David express himself in so pathetical a manner concerning the service of the sanctuary: As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. When, oh when, shall I come to appear before the presence of God? The ancients do sometimes use the metaphor of an army when they are speaking of the joint devotions put up to God in the assembly of his saints. They say we there meet together in troops to do violence to heaven; we encompass, we besiege the throne of God, and bring such a united force, as is not to be withstood. And I suppose we may as innocently carry on the metaphor as they have begun it, and say, that church music, when decently ordered, may have as great uses in this army of supplicants, as the sound of the trumpet has among the host of the mighty men. It equally rouses the courage, equally gives life, and vigour, and resolution, and unanimity, to these holy assailants.
DR SAMUEL CLARKE.
DR SAMUEL CLARKE, a distinguished divine, scholar, and metaphysician, was born at Norwich (which his father represented in parliament) on the 11th of October, 1675. His powers of reflection and abstraction are said to have been developed when a mere boy. His biographer, Whiston, relates