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dinages qu'il s'est permis; enfin, nous l'avons fuivi pas à pas ; nous lui avons répondu, pour ainsi dire, mot à mot; nous l'a. vons redressè trait par trait; et toujours nous nous sommes appuyés sur les faits les plus autentiques, fur les mémoires les plus exa&ts, sur les reclamations les plus juftes, fur les réponses les plus précises.'
That M. Voltaire may not reproach our Author with dirfiguring his writings, or imputing to him what he has not written, he makes use of the last edition of his works, an edition which Voltaire himself acknowledges, and which he sent as a present to one of our Author's friends.
ART. IV. Théorie du Luxe; ou Traité dans lequel on entreprend d'ètablir que le luxe
eft un resort non seulement utile, mais méme indispensablement nécessaire á la prospérité des Etats.-A Treatise upon Loxury; or an Attempt to sew that it is not only useful, but indispensably necessary to the
Prosperity of States. 8vo. 2 Vols. 1771. THERE is scarce any subje&t that has been more frequently
treated by political writers than that of luxury, and yet few have been treated in a more vague and superficial manner. The generally received opinion is, that luxury has proved the ruin of the greatest empires, and that, in whatever state it prevails, it must in the end be fatal to it; and on this topic orators, moralists, philosophers, and divines are eternally declaiming.
The Author of the treatise now before us, is of a very different opinion, and thinks that no state can be rich and powerful without luxury. He discusses the subject with more accuracy than most of those who write upon it; he is a bold and manly writer; he expresses himself with strength and perspicuity, and sometimes with elegance; he has enlarged and liberal views; and he seems a friend to liberty, and a lover of mankind.
AR T. v. Leçons de Morale. Ou Leatures Academiques faites dans L'Univerfité de
Leipzig, par fru M. Gellert.-Lectures on Morality, read in the University of Leipfic, by the late Mr. Gellert. Translated from
the German. 8vo. 2 Vols. Utrecht. 1772. NOT having seen the original of this work, we can say no
thing concerning the merit of the translation. The tranNator however, who was well acquainted with the Author, and had the highest opinion of his worth, acquaints us, that he has been at great pains to render his translation as corre&t and faithful as poflible, and to preserve the natural and easy turn of the original. Taking it for granted therefore that he has done justice to Mr. Geilert, as we see no reason to fuppose the contrary, we shall look upon the work before us as a faithful copy
of the original, and we are not afraid of recommending it as one of the most valuable and useful performances we are acquainted with on the subject of morality,
That air of piety, candour, humility, and benevolence which breathes through the whole; that warmth and earneitners wherewith the Author recommends religious and moral duties, cannot fail of giving every well-dispołed Reader the most favourable opinion of him : he speaks of religion and virtue in-' deed like one who felt their value and importance, and his manner of recommending them is that of a tender and affectionate parent, solicitous to promote the highest interests of his children.
Those who are fond of deep elaborate researches concerning the springs of human actions, the origin of our ideas of virtue, and the grounds of moral obligation, will find little in the work before us to gratify their curiosity. The Author never intended it for a dry, didactic, speculative system, but for a practical and sentimental one ; a syltem founded upon religion, that comes home to mens business and bosoms, and the great end of which is to discipline our passions, and regulate our conduct.
The most effential principles of morality, and each particular virtue, are explained in a clear, natural, and easy manner; and familiar examples and characters are added by way of illuftration. Mr. Gellert's principal view, is the improvement and instruction of youth; and so admirably is his work calcu- ' lated to warm their hearts with the love of virtue, and to inspire them with noble and generous sentiments, that it seems to us impoMble for any person to peruse it attentively, without feeling an earnest desire of answering the great end of his creation; of being wise for time, and wise for eternity.
The subject of his lectures, as he himself tells us, in a short preliminary discourse, may naturally be divided into three parts. The first contains his sentiments concerning the nature, extent, and end of morality; the two fources from which we may derive the knowledge of it, viz. reason and sentiment; concerning duty, virtue, and happiness; the fuperiority of morality, as it is taught in modern times, to that of the ancient philosophers; and concerning the difference between that morality which derives its principles from reason alone, and that which derives its principles from religion. In the second, Mr. Gellert gives short rules and directions for the acquisition of virtue, which he illustrates in an easy and familiar manner, and applies to the different circumstances of life: in the third, he treats of the most important duties relating to God, our fellow creatures, and ourselves.
In his tenth lecture, our Author gives fome directions for the choice of a small moral library, and after recommending App, Rev. Vol. xlvii.
several excellent works, and giving short characters of them, he concludes in the following manner.-Above all, my dear young friends, let me recommend to your perusal the holy Icriptures, that treasure of truth and knowledge, which alone is capable of rendering you wile, virtuous, and happy; that fource of genuine fatisfaction, and of the greatest consulation both in life and at the hour of death. Study the salutary truths contained in fcripture with the utmost attention, with the greatest docility and humility of heart; and make the most diligent use of all those means that can enable you to understand what God has been graciously pleased to reveal to you; praying earnestly to the great Father of lights to enlighten your minds, and to incline your hearts to practise what he has taught you to approve. Learn to look upon revelation as the greatest bleffing that God has granted to mankind since the beginning of the world; and let a lively sense of gratitude inspire you with the most profound reverence, and the most humble adoration. What the light of the sun is to the bodily eye, revelation is to the intellectual eye. In what darkness of error and Pagan superftition should we not still have been plunged, notwithstanding all the efforts of reason, had we not been enlightened by revelation? I have made it my business to read what the wirett of the antient philosophers have written concerning God, religion, and virtue; concerning the summum bonum, and the means of acquiring tranquillity and contentment of mind; but I can assure you, upon my conscience, that all their wisdom, com. pared with the instructions of the word of God, is mere fhadow and uncertainty; at best but a faint and glimmering light, and, most frequently, darkness, folly, superstition, and absurdity.
And who were those antients, who for so many ages applied theinselves with so little success to the search after truth? Men of the inost profound learning, among the Greeks and Romans, by whom the sciences were cultivated with the utmost attention, and held in the highest estimation. And who were the authors of the books of scripture? Men without ftudy, and, in general, born and brought up in an obscure condition, among a people despised by other nations, and who disregarded science; in a word, shepherds and fishermen. Their writings, however, besides the existence of one God, teach us wisdom and virtue, with infinitely more truth and perfection than those of the pki. lofophers. Must not scripture therefore be of divine original? And is it not the most shameful ingratitude, and criminal neglect, to set no value upon it? Permit me, on this occasion, to make an ingenuous confeffion. I have lived ffty years, during which I have had many grounds for joy, but none of them have been so durable, so innocent, so fatisfactory to my soul, as those I have derived from religion ; this I declare upon 11.3 057. science. I have lived fifty years, and been under many affiations, but I never found so much light in perplexity, so much confa lation, strength and courage in distress, from any other principles as from those of religion; this too I declare upon my.com science. I have lived fifty years, and been more than once at the gates of death, but find by experience that nothing, yes nothing, without exception, enables us to triumph over the terrors of death so much as the divine efficacy of religion upon the soul; that nothing is so capable of fortifying the mind, at that decisive moment, when it sees itself, not without emotion, on the turning point of eternity, and of quieting conscience which then rises up against us, -as faith in our divine Saviour and Redeemer; and this likewise I declare as in the presence of God.
If the testimony of a friend and a master be of any weight, let this testimony of mine, my dear young friends, have some influence upon your minds, whenever a presumptuous reasoner shall be desirous of inspiring you with a contempt for the doctrines of scripture; whenever a free-thinker shall strive to deprive you of that principle of faith, the purity and sanctity of which confounds and distresses him! Christian youth ! May there never be found one amongst you who fall dare to vilify the most excellent of all books, and make it a subject of profane raillery!
We shall make no apology for inserting this passage, but hall conclude the Article with acquainting our Readers that these lectures were not published in the Author's life time, but that he left it in charge with two of his particular friends, Messrs. Schlegel and Heyer, to publish them after his death.
To the first volume are prefixed some reflections concerning the genius, character, and writings of Mr. Gellert, by Mr. Garve, Professor of Philosophy in the university of Leipzig. They are written in a very judicious and fenfibie manner, and will give pleafure to every Reader of a thoughtful and philosophical turn of mind.
Cenfor Royal at Paris, Member of the Academies at Lyons and
placence, more than once declares, is an Unique, and on a very fingular and curious fubject. Eustathius indeed, the learned bishop of Antioch in the fourth century, and his translator and commentator, Leo Allatius, about the beginning of the seventeenth, have, he acknowledges, likewise treated of the same maiter ; but they have discussed it only incidentally, and with a
M m 2
particular view to the circumstances attending the visit made
Saul to the witch of Endor. The present Author, on the contrary, considers the subject in a general light, and confirms all his remarks and reasonings upon it by actual observations made on two very capital Ventriloquists now living. As this is a kind of maiden subject, or at least not much known to the generality of Readers, we fhall dwell somewhat largely upon it.
Ventriloquism, if we may be allowed to use the term, in order to avoid circumlocution, is a peculiar gift, art, or quality, of which certain perfons are and have been pofleffed, by means of which they have been enabled to modify the voice in such a manner, as to make it appear to those present to proceed from the belly of the speakers; (from which circumstance it derives its appellation) or rather to make it seem to proceed from any distance, or in any direction whatever. Some faint traces of this art or faculty are to be found in the writings of the antients; but many more are to be discovered there, if we adopt the Author's opinion; that the responses of many of the antient oracles were actually delivered by persons poflefled of this quality, so very capable of being applied to the purposes of priestcraft and delusion.--Nay, it will appear in the course of this - Article, that an intire community even of friets them, elves, in the very neighbourhood of Paris, as we conjecture, were fairly taken in by it, in consequence of an innocent piece of waggery plaid off upon them, by a person who possesses this talent in a very eminent degree.
The Author of this performance is known to many of the curious, by an invention of his that has lately been announced in some of the foreign papers, which he calls the Scapbardre, and of which we shall give a short account at the end of this Article, Having brought this useful piece of machinery, as he affirms, to its utmost perfection, his attention was excited to. wards a new and very different object, in consequence of a conversation at which he was present about two years ago; in which some persons of learning and probity related many furprizing circumstances concerning the talents of a certain Ventriloquist, one M. St. Gille, a grocer at St. Germain en-Laye, not far from Paris; whose powers in that way were astonilhing, and bad given occafion to many fingular and diverting scenes. The Author was so ftruck at the marvellous anecdotes related to him, that he immediately formed the resolution of first ascertaining the matter of fact by the testimony of his own sentes, and then of enquiring into the cause and manner in whicb the phenomena were produced.
* See 1 Samuel, chap. xxviii.