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FOR JULY, 1815.
Art. I. Discourses on the Malevolent Sentiments. By John
Hley, D.D. 8vo. pp. 213.
The publication of these Discourses is attended with circum-
calmness, however, the reader will perceive that a few metaphysical B
refine, VOL. IV. JULY, 1815.
refinements have resulted, with which the fancy rather of the reader will be amused, than his judgment directed. These however are so very few, as scarcely to deserve our attention, except as the results of that calm and profound enquiry, which is the distinguishing feature of the author's mind. We much regret that these volumes, which contain such stores of theological information conveyed in the simplest, yet at times in the most animated form, and which may be justly considered as the very best compendium both to incite the ardour and to direct the judgment of the student, should have sunk into such utter neglect. We are happy of such an opportunity to recal the attention of our readers to this admirable work of the late Pro. fessor, and we trust, that the admiration which it once com manded, will be again revived, and that it will find its way not only into the libraries of the professed theologian, but the read
desk of the younger student. The volume before us is evidently the result of a long and matured speculation upon a subject which has been involved in much obscurity, and has rather been perplexed than illustrated by the laborious and frequent discussions which it has undergone. From Aristotle to Adam Smith, the theory of human passions has ever been the object of philosophical enquiry; it must however be confessed, that little has been added in later ages to the Nicomachean ethics of the ancient sage, and that as a masterly delineation of the moral construction of man, it still continues to maintain its accustomed rank. The great source indeed to which we may refer the repeated failures of the moralists of our own age, is the total omission of Christianity in all their speculations and enquiries. It would appear from the works of many of our best metaphysicians, those especially of our sister kingdom, that moral philosophy and Christian principle were two separate and distinct objects, and that all discussions on the former were impeded and obstructed by the consideration of the latter. Now. if the Gospel be in truth a revelation from God, it is to be expected a priori, that as it prescribes our duty and enforces certain motives for its performance, it should not only disclose to us, as far as they concern ourselves, the attributes of God, but that it should acquaint us with the secret springs of human action. The great example of Mr. Locke, has demonstrated that no man will be a worse philosopher for being a Christian; and the publication of Dr. Hey will also shew that no man will investigate the sources, and discuss the motives of our moral actions, with less perspicuity and effect for engrafting upon his alsstract speculatious the leading principles of the Gospel, and for illuminating the dark recesses. of the heart with a ray of divine truth. We shall find that neither
is the course of our investigation obstructed, nor the chain of our reasoning embarrassed even in a single link by such an adınission, The coolness of moral philosophy will thus indeed receive a warmth, and its formality an interest which it never before acquired; and what in our view of the subject is of far the greatest importance, its abstract speculations will be resolved into principles of practice and motives of duty.
The great design of Dr. Hey in the work before us is to vindicate the goodness of the Creator, in giving us those affections which are generally termed malevolent, and to show that being placed by him in our hearts for those good purposes which our present state requires, they are abused by us for the very worst; and also to shew what part man ought to take in their discipline and regulation Dr. Hey reduces these Malevolent Sentiments under four principal heads: 1. Hatred. 2. Envy. 3. Malice. 4. Resentment. The method which he pursues with respect to each is, first to consider its nature, secondly to enumerate its good and bad effects; and thirdly to offer practical rules for its discipline and management.
In considering Hatred, Dr. Hey enumerates the various feelings of disgust for which the term is indiscriminately used, se parating thein from those of envy, jealousy, contempt, &c. with which they are apt to be confounded. He considers it as opposite to love, and to be strictly speaking, that sentiment which is generated in the mind by a being either animate or inanimate, having so frequently caused unpleasant and painful feelings, that the idea of it becomes habitually associated with such feelings. This definition will appear to the reader imperfect, it has done so indeed already to its author, who very justly observes, that we may use a sentiment for the purposes of life, when we are unable to give a satisfactory and a metaphysical account of its nature, which he exemplifies particularly in our notion of Beauty, which is sufficiently clear for all practical purposes, fet most difficult to be accurately determined or satisfactorily defined. Dr. Hey resorts therefore to another method of approximating the idea of this feeling to his readers minds, by presenting to their view its object.
« Think then what it is that you feel when you see a person of a rude, haughty character, coarse manner and ungraceful appearance; despising the rules of decency and decorum ; hard, ingen. sible, uncivilized ; inattentive to the feelings of those with whom he converses ; overbearing the delicacy of modest sense, and making meek virtue and unassuming worth shrink in silent confusion. Or think what you feel when you meet with one who mean, sordid, effeminate, cowardly, without lovey of order, neatness, cleanliness; void of elegance and taste, of narrow B 2