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here a plain question arises; will not the same reasons which induced this author to reject happiness, truth, and justice, compel us even on his own principles to discard that vigour and energy of character, and that intellectual improvement, which he has substituted ? From the latest survey that has been taken, the population of the Earth is stated as follows; Europe contains 153 Millions, Asia 500, Africa 150, America 150, total 953 Millions of these more than six hundred millions are at this moment wallowing in the very dregs of ignorance, a prey to vice, and the dupes of idolatrous superstition. And if to these we add the multitudes in Europe and America, upon whom “ religion does not sit lightly," probably this author will join with us in asserting, that darkness envelopes by far the greater part of the human race. And consequently, as but little intellectual improvement has been made, we have not so much reason to believe that “this is the chief good of Man ;that it is the ultimate object of human pursuit, to which even justice, truth, and honesty,” nay, “ every other consideration, ought to be sacrificed.”
“ Propriety, utility, fitness, truth or justice” the author tells us, p. 50. “ can never be the foundation of a system of morality, or become objects of huma!ı pursuit, because they are nothing in themselves, being nerely relative terms which allude to something else.” And will not the same objection lie against those " high powers of energy and intelligence to which every other consideration ought to be sacrificed ? " Does not the Cui pono inevitably recur? Is intelligence even a definite term ? The Deity, as seen in his works, we are told (p. 437) is the great standard by which we are to measure our improvement, and which we are called to imitate. But here the same objections occur, which the author has assigned as reasons for rejecting former systems of morality. The intelligence of the Deity is infinitely superior to any thing we can either conceive or attain; and that which is at an infinite distance from us, can never be the standard of finite perfection, or become an object of finite imitation. Intelligence, undirected by truth, integrity, and justice, is nothing better than an engine of oppression, devastation, and wrong; and the utmost that can be said in behalf of a character thus endowed is, that he has made intellectual improvements to practice in the science of iniquity; he is the terror of the living, and the disgrace of his species.
In his second chapter, Mr. Forsyth proceeds to define those qualities which constitute perfection. He tells us in p. 39. "That the perfection of the human mind consists in a capaci, ty to judge or to think clearly, and in a capacity to act vigor. ously.” The word Virtue he rather discards from his system, because it has (he observes p. 44.) an ambiguous signification. In p. 50. Truth, Justice, and Propriety, submit to the same fate, and he closes his chapter with this declaration, " That our private duties consist of the various efforts which it is in our power to make for our own improvement as indi. viduals.” · In his next chapter the author investigates "the human understanding and its subordinate faculties," and it must be acknowledged that the doctrines he inculcates,are in perfect union with those which he has taught in his preceding chapters. “ The senses ” he tells us (p. 58.).“ which incite us to exertion, are Hunger, Thirst, and Lust. They usually receive the appellation of appetites, in consequence of the tendency which they have to urge the mind to make efforts for their gratifica, tion.” When we take this passage in connection with those which we have already quoted ;--when we hear the author aa vowedly declare that moral evil has no existence ;--that neither truth nor justice can be the foundation of a system of morality; that man is as good and perfect as the author of his nature intended him to be ;--that man in his lowest state, when led cap. tive by mere appetite and blind affection is ruled by the Sue preme Power ;--that his chief good is energy and intelligence, to which every other consideration ought to be sacrificed ; -and finally, that Lust as well as hunger and thirst incites us to exertion, and urges the mind to make efforts for its gratification :we cannot be at a loss to discover the fatal tendency of this pernicious system, however much we may be at a loss to ac.count for that daring effrontery, which has presumed to 'flaunt it in the face of day, · The next chapter of Mr. Forsyth, treats of the imagination; of which we have only to observe that it is a chapter of the imao gination. ,
Hence, the author hastens in his ensuing chapter, to direct our views to "the arrangement and formation of Language." In this chapter we have found but little erroneous, and but lite tle original. . The striking conformity which is visible in these pages to the acute analysis of Mr. Harris, in his Hermes, even entitles it to respect.
In an appendix to the preceding chapter, the author descends to wander among the intellectual faculties of the inferior animals, and thence to investigate taste as it applies to the human mind. “ Taste," he tells us, p. 153. “ is not an arbitrary sentiment, but an exertion of sound judgement. To acquire good taste is to acquire skill in any art; and want of taste implies ignorance or want of discernment.” We have only to observe on this passage, that taste and judgement are here evidently confounded, and made of synonymous import with each other.
In the next chapter be proceeds to develope the causes of er. ror in science, and in that which succeeds, he marks their re. lative importance to one another. In some instances he has been successful in his attempts, in others his remarks have a strong affinity to the leading features of his volume. But we cannot enter into particulars.
From the sciences and their relative importance, Mr.F. turns, in the succeeding chapter, to intellectual amusement and fatigue; and observes of the passions in general, (p. 203,) “They are not originally implanted in our constitution ; but it is evidently the intention of nature that they should grow up in the human character.” We have only to observe, that such is the author's opinion respecting our appetites and passions. When speaking of the animal appetites (p. 209.) he observes that “ their regulation or due restraint has been denominated temperance, Its chief object is the preservation of health which is liable to injury by their irregular indulgence." " The true practical light in wbich the appetites ought in general to be regarded (he adds in the same page) is that of an index to explain the state and the wants of our constitution.” This it seems is the practical and not speculative light in which the appetites ought to be surveyed! On the whole we feel no hesitation in pronouncing this a most despicable and pernicious chapter. It inculcates principles which naturally open the way to sensuality, by forbidding morality to become the guardian of virtue. Local and temporary conveniences, which are selfish and mean, are here the primary motives which should induce us to cherish the virtues of temperance, and when these cannot operate, which must be the case perpetually, there is no security, nor occasion for security, against sin. If the author has either a sister or a daughter, we only ask him, if he would seriously wish her to become a practical commentary on his own practical principles ? If he would not, his professions are hypocritical and insincere; if he would, we declare without reluctance that he is unworthy to sustain the relation of husband, parent, or brother.
After having asserted, in p. 223. 6 that benevolence is favourably interpreted, when said to be neitber virtuous nor vicious," he observes, p., 227, “ that we are placed amidst society, that by studying knowledge in different branches, and by communicating our thoughts or discoveries, our progress may
be hastened or facilitated. Yet to that society we would pay no attention, were not the one half of the species made objects of sensual gratification to the other ; and were we not so formed, that one generation, as it were, creates the succeeding one, and supports it during a considerable period of its existence." What shall we say to sentiments like these! Especially when we connect them with that practical light in which the appetites ought to be surveyed ;--when we suppose moral evil to have no existence ;-that benevolence is not a virtue ; and that when impelled by our passions and appetites, we are ruled by God? They usher the mind to the vortex of sensuality, and provide for the slumbers of a terrified conscience, by soothing it in the practice of iniquity, and stilling the pangs of remorse.
From the benevolevt affections Mr. Forsyth calls our attention to the malevolent passions, and thus delivers his sen. timents on duelling.. . . P. 240. In the case of certain personal injuries, in consequence of the ancient barbarous Laws of Europe, a custom has been established, by which, if men in particular stations in society, were to have recourse to that sort of redress which legal authority now affords, they would be rendered for ever afterward utterly incapable of fulfilling the most important duties of life. If a military officer should suffer falsehood to be publicly ascribed to him, or the slightest violence to be offered to his person, without solemnly defying and encountering his antagonist in single combat with mortal weapons, he would instantly by our customs be disqualified from serving his country in the station to which he had been educated, and his family might be reduced along with him to poverty and shame. In such a situation the most virtuous and rational man has no choice left with re. gard to the conduct he is to adopt.” If nations wish to extinguish this barbarous practice, they ought not to enact laws, absurdly menacing with equal punishment the injured individual who reluctantly protects his own personal respectability, and him who wantonly brings that respectability inta hazard.'
In this paragraph the author seems entirely to have forgotten, that the violation of those laws which forbid duelling, constitutes an offence, and makes that person guilty who was innocent before. And when to this we add the crime of murder, the culprit really demands an able apologist to prove that guilt has no existence. But the most virtuous man has no choice left," What then, must the virtuous man obey the dictates of lawless passion, and açt in open violation of those laws which he has sworn to obey? Can thạt be a virtuous man, who would rather obey his passions than his country? If so, is there a crime that can be mentioned, for which a similar apology inay not be made ? The truth is, the laws are adequate to redress the evil, but unfortunately they are not carried into effect; and, under similar circumstances, every law that could be enacted would be defeated of its purpose Till juries dare to make religion, instead of honour, the standard of their opinions, legislative provisions, and judicial integrity, must continue to prove ineffectual. .. . (To be concluded in our next Number.)
Art. II. Sir W. Forbes's Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. Jame
(Concluded from p. 10.) THIS brings us, as we conceive, to the middle of our song.
Now heavily comes on in clouds the day, - The great, th' important day, big with the fate .. But it was a much better fate than that of our old friend Cato. After many preparatory solemnities, Dr. Beattie was introduced to their Majesties; but a reverential awe forbids us to intrude our remarks on what passed in the royal sanctuary. We wait near the entrance till the bold adventurer returns, to display his acquisitions and his honours, a kind of spolia opima, similar to what Johnson, another great literary hero, had carried off sometime before, and often, as his historian tells, triumphantly exhibited to the wonder and envy of his númerous acquaintance. At Dr. Beattie's return, however, we find him so beset with a crowd and mob of zealous friends, that we are glad to make our escape from the bustle, and can only say, that at length he went back to Scotland with an annuity of 2001. Highly appreciating the Royal bounty, he ever afterward testified the liveliest gratitude ; and his attach: ment was naturally increased by the very flattering marks of friendship which he received from their Majesties, on subsequent occasions.
During this visit he was introduced to the distinguished persons whose letters are here intermixed with his own. Our remarks on the whole collection must be brief and general. Together with a great deal that ought to have been omitted, as neither having any intrinsic value, por supplying any additional illustration of the Doctor's qualities, they contain much good sense, easy writing, and frank disclosure of character. There is also a respectable share of true criticism ; but we own there are not many passages that appear to us to reach the depths of either criticism or philosophy, which indeed are the same. The variety of the descriptions generally bears the marks, of the poet and the man of taste. The references tò şubjects of domestic tenderness present him in so amiable a light that we deeply sympathise with the melancholy which