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reduced to the poor expedient of using many in its stead. He had so thoroughly studied the genius of the language, and knew so well how to steer between pedantry and vulgarity, that two centuries have not superannuated probably more than a dozen of his words. His expressions are so luminous, that he is clear without the help of illustration. Perhaps no writer of any age or nation, on subjects so abstruse, has manifested an equal power of engraving his thoughts on the mind of his readers. He seems never to have taken a word for ornament or pleasure ; and he deals with eloquence and poetry as the natural philosopher who explains the mechanism of children's toys, or deigns to contrive them. Yet his style so stimulates attention, that it never tires ; and, to those who are acquainted with the subject, appears to have as much spirit as can be safely blended with Reason. He compresses his thoughts so unaffectedly, and yet so tersely, as to produce occasionally maxims which excite the same agreeable surprise with wit, and have become a sort of philosophical proverbs;—the success of which he partly owed to the suitableness of such forms of expression to his dictatorial nature. His words have such an appearance of springing from his thoughts, as to im. press on the reader a strong opinion of his originality, and indeed to prove that he was not conscious of borrowing: though conversation with Gassendi must bave influenced bis mind; and it is hard to believe that his coincidence with Ockham should have been purely accidental, on points so important as the denial of general ideas, the reference of moral distinctions to superior power, and the absolute thraldom of Religion under the civil power, which he seems to have thought necessary, to maintain that independence of the state on the church with which Ockham had been contented.
• His philosophical writings might be read without reminding any one that the author was more than an intellectual machine. They never betray a feeling except that insupportable arrogance which looks down on his fellow-men as a lower species of beings; whose almost unanimous hostility is so far from shaking the firmness of his conviction, or even ruffling the calmness of his contempt, that it appears too petty a circumstance to require explanation, or even to merit notice.'-- vol. i., pp. 59, 60.
A ready disposition is thus evinced to do justice to this celebrated writer, yet the following is the account given of the service he rendered to religion and religious freedom. The justice of the sketch, though contested by some modern critics, is fully confirmed by the writings of the philosopher of Malmesbury.
· Men he represented as being originally equal, and having an equal right to all things, but as being taught by Reason to sacrifice this right for the advantages of peace, and to submit to a common authority, which can preserve quiet, only by being the sole depositary of force, and must therefore be absolute and unlimited. The
supreme authority cannot be sufficient for its purpose, unless it be wielded by a single hand; nor even then, unless his absolute power extends over religion, which may prompt men to discord by the fear of an evil greater than death. The perfect state of a community, according to him, is where law prescribes the religion and morality of the people, and where tbe will of an absolute sovereign is the sole fountain of law. Hooker had inculcated the simple truth, that 'to live by one man's will is the cause of many men's misery :'-Hobbes embraced the daring paradox, that to live by one man's will is the only means of all men's happiness. Having thus rendered religion the slave of every human tyrant, it was an unavoidable consequence, that he should be disposed to lower her character, and lessen her power over men; that he should regard atheism as the most effectual instrument of preventing rebellion, at least that species of rebellion which prevailed in his time, and had excited his alarms. The formidable alliance of religion with liberty haunted his mind, and urged him to the bold attempt of rooting out both these mighty principles; which, when combined with interests and passions, when debased by. impure support, and provoked by unjust resistance, have indeed the power of fearfully agitating society; but which are, nevertheless, in their own nature, and as far as they are unmixed and undisturbed, the parents of justice, of order, of peace, as well as the sources of those hopes, and of those glorious aspirations after higher excellence, which encourage and exalt the soul in its passage through misery and depravity. A Hobbist is the only consistent persecutor; for he alone considers himself as bound, by whatever conscience be has remaining, to conform to the religion of the sovereign. He claims from others no more than he is bimself ready to yield to any master; while the religionist who persecutes a member of another communion, exacts the sacrifice of conscience and sincerity, though professing that rather than make it himself, he is prepared to die.'- ib. pp. 61–63.
Amongst the opponents of Hobbes, a distinguished rank must be assigned to Cudworth, author of The Intellectual System of the Universe,' a work of prodigious erudition and of masculine intellect. Its influence was, for a time, proportioned to its merits, and went far to vindicate both ethics and religion, from the false reasoning and gross perversions of Hobbes. Its author had been trained in the English universities, during the ascendancy of puritanism, and was one of the most eminent members of the latitudinarian, or arminian party, at the time of the restoration. To an ardent love of liberty, imbibed from his calvinistic teachers, he united the experience of his own agitated age, and by his acquired and natural endowments was signally qualified for the work he undertook. Of the style of his masterly work, Sir James remarks :
* The Intellectual System, his great production, is directed against
the atheistical opinions of Hobbes : it touches ethical questions but occasionally and incidentally. It is a work of stupendous erudition, of much more acuteness than at first appears, of frequent mastery over diction and illustration on subjects where it is most rare ; and it is distinguished, perhaps beyond any other volume of controversy, by that best proof of the deepest conviction of the truth of a man's principles, a fearless statement of the most formidable objections to them;-a fairness rarely practised but by him who is conscious of his power to answer them. In all his writings, it must be owned, that his learning obscures his reasonings, and seems even to oppress his powerful intellect.' It is an unfortunate effect of the redundant fulness of his mind, that it overflows in endless digressions, which break the chain of argument, and turn aside the thoughts of the reader from the main object. He was educated before usage had limited the naturalization of new words from the learned languages; before the failure of those great men, from Bacon to Milton, who laboured to follow a Latin order in their sentences, and the success of those men of inferior powers, from Cowley to Addison, who were content with the order, as well as the words, of pure and elegant conversation, had, as it were, by a double series of experiments, ascertained that the involutions and inversions of the ancient languages are seldom reconcileable with the genius of ours; and that they are, unless skilfully, as well as sparingly introduced, at variance with the natural beauties of our prose composition. His mind was more that of an ancient than of a modern philosopher. He often indulged in that sort of amalgamation of fancy with speculation, the delight of the Alexandrian doctors, with whom he was most familiarly conversant; and the Intellectual System, both in thought and expression, has an old and foreign air, not unlike a translation from the work of a later Platonist.'--ib. pp. 75, 76.
We are strongly inclined to furnish our readers with an extract from the sketch given of the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose philosophical writings are spoken of in higher terms than are now commonly used. We must, however, confine ourselves to the following notice of one of the most profound, original, and useful writers which the eighteenth century produced. Our reference is to Butler, the son of a presbyterian trader.
His great work on the Analogy of Religion to the Course of Nature, though only a commentary on the singularly original and pregnant passage of Origen, which is so honestly prefixed lo it as a motto, is, notwithstanding, the most original and profound work extant in any language on the philosophy of religion. It is entirely beyond our present scope. His ethical discussions are contained in those deep and sometimes dark dissertations which he preached at the Chapel of the Rolls, and afterwards published under the name of Sermons,' while he was yet fresh from the schools, and full of that courage with which youth often delights to exercise its strength
in abstract reasoning, and to push its faculties into the recesses of abstruse speculation. But his youth was that of a sober and mature inind, early taught by nature to discern the boundaries of knowledge, and to abstain from fruitless efforts to reach inaccessible ground. In these sermons, he has taught truths more capable of being exactly distinguished from the doctrines of his predecessors, more satisfactorily established, more comprehensively applied to particulars, more rationally connected with each other, and therefore more worthy of the name of discovery,'than any with which we are acquainted ; if we ought rot, with some hesitation, to except the first steps of the Grecian philosophers towards a theory of morals. It is a peculiar hardship, that the extreme ambiguity of language, an obstacle which it is one of the chief merits of an ethical philosopher to vanquish, is one of the circumstances wbich prevent. men from seeing the justice of applying to him so ambitious a terin as discoverer. He owed more to Lord Shaftesbury than to all other writers besides. He is just and generous towards that philosopher ; yet, whoever carefully compares their writings, will without difficulty distinguish the two builders, and the larger as well as more regular and laboured part of the edifice, which is the work of Butler.")
There are few circumstances more remarkable than the small number of Butler's followers in ethics; and it is perhaps still more observable, that his opinions were not so much rejected as overlooked It is an instance of the importance of style. No thinker so great was ever so bad a writer. Indeed, the ingenious apologies which have been lately attempted for this defect, amount to no more than that his power of thought was too much for his skill in language. How general must the reception have been of truths so certain and momentous as those contained in Butler's discourses, --with how much more clearness must they have appeared to his own great understanding, if he had possessed the strength and distinctness with which Hobbes enforces odious falsehood; or the unspeakable charm of that transparent diction which clothed the infruitful paradoxes of Berkeley !'-ib. pp. 114, 123 .
We have indulged more freely than some may think advisable in extracts from this work, from an earnest solicitude to attract our readers to the study of the great productions with which it deals. We live in an age of action : events move rapidly about us : every thing is in motion : and the general temper and tendency of the age are in consequence unfriendly to calm and meditative study. The necessity of the day or hour is met, and this is so perpetually recurring as to require all the time, and to tax to the very uttermost the energies, of most men, Few have leisure, and still less inclination, to look beyond the passing hour. This is the case with literature and science, equally with any other human pursuit, and we are hereby in danger of being deluged by inanity and tameness,---the feeble productions of a vapid and mediocre school. We are no enemies to popular literature. Our pages bear witness to this. Before it was lauded by the great, or aided by the erudite, we were amongst its advocates, and have continued such with growing zeal to the present day. In the height of our enthusiasm, however, we never regarded it as an unmixed good. We feared formerly, and we see now, that while it relieved from some evils, it threatened others, not equal, indeed, in magnitude, but of sufficient moment to call for serious attention. It requires but a superficial view of our present literature, to perceive that it is an attenuated and diluted thing compared with what it was in former times, when the master spirits of our race, under the inspiration of a pure and lofty ambition, poured forth the teachings of a wisdom drawn from the deepest musings of the human heart. Those days are past, nor would we, as a whole, have them back. They overlooked the interests and happiness of the many; sacrificing to the few, and constituting a period of idolatry as real, if not as sensual, as any other age of the world. Let us, however, take heed, lest in avoiding this evil we fall into another, not so palpably mischievous, though as certainly fraught, în its ultimate consequences, with what is pernicious. No greater evil-we speak not of the moral view of the case now can befall the literature of a nation than that it should become a mere thing of merchandize,-a piece of handicraft to be worked for present pay, and to be produced with most ready skill for the first liberal bidder. Such a condition of things is charged with fearful peril. The evils flowing from it may not be visible at the moment. Generations may be needed in order to their full developement, but come they will, and with accumulative force. Their influence will be seen in an enfeebling of the national intellect-the corruption of its taste the substitution of what is false and gaudy, for what is true and simple. Its standard of the beautiful and true being lowered, it will become the wor. shipper of gods strange and many. Hence will follow the deterioration of its practical wisdom and the pursuit of trifles; the craving for excitement will take the place of that healthful stimulus which leads to useful knowledge. The most effectual guard against such evils is found in the diligent study of those great productions with which our language is enriched. To many of these the dissertation before us constitutes an admirable introduction, and our object will be attained, if the extracts we have given induce our readers to make them the companions of their studies. Let such works be read and pondered over, and there will be a body and a soul, a massive weight, and yet a vital energy given, even to our popular literature, which will render it as useful as it may be attractive. We could wil.