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Difcourfe on Education, and on the Plans pursued in Charity Schools. By S. Parr, LL. D. 4to. 2s. 6d. Cadell. DR R. Parr's defign in this Difcourfe will be beft understood from that part of his Preface, in which he explains it. This Difcourfe was preached before a very refpectable audience; and it is now fubmitted to the candour of the public, at the request of fome perfons, the fincerity of whofe approbation I cannot diftruft, and with the authority of whofe judg ment I ought not to trifle. I intend it, in some meafure, as a fequel to a fermon which I published in 1780, at the defire of the late Mr. Thurlow. In that fermon, I entered into a full and elaborate vindication of the general principles on which charity fchools are fupported. But upon the prefent occafion, I have ftudiously preferved, a plainer ftyle: I have chiefly attended. to the practical part of the fubject: I have enlarged more copiously upon the beft methods of religious education for all young perfons; and, with a very few exceptions, I profefs only to deliver fuch common and ufeful obfervations, as are adapted to the apprehenfion of common and well-difpofed readers.
Although the attention of the writer be chiefly directed to the practical part of his fubject, yet he never fhrinks from the difcuffion of fpeculative points, when particular affertions are to be fupported by the inveftigation of general principles; or where the utility of practical rules is to be evinced by the theory on which they reft.,
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The difcourfes opens with fome preliminary obfervations on proverbial writings, confidered as the vehicles of religious and moral instruction. Of this fpecies of exordium the writer confeffes, that it is not neceffarily connected with his subject.
• It will, perhaps, be faid, that obfervations of this kind may be affixed to any paffage in any part of the book. I allow the fact; but am able to blunt the edge of every objection which may be drawn from it; for, in the first place, it is certainly right, in some form or other, to explain, in the ears of a Christian congregation, the general character of proverbial writings: fecondly, no form can be more proper than to make such explanation an appendage to fome particular precepts; and, finally, no precept can be more interefting to us than that which is delivered in the text, whether we confider ourselves as the profeffors of a pure religion, or the members of a civilized community.'
But furely no defence is neceffary. Phlegmatic, indeed, muft that critic be, who, however averfe to digreffion, does not think the use of it, in the prefent inftance, fufficiently war ranted by our author's obfervations.
Vol. LXI. Jan. 1786.
Dr. Parr now examines the opinions of Mandeville and Rouffeau, two writers who, though arguing from principles diametrically oppofite, have advanced to conclufions nearly fimilar, and equally dangerous and paradoxical. To the churlish mifanthropy of the former, and the fallacious refinements of fentimental enthufiafm, which enliven the writings of the latter, Dr. Parr oppofes the venerable authority of antiquity; and what he justly esteems fuperior to every other teft, the plain and irrefiftible evidence of reafon. He condemns the fashionable arrogance of those who boast of new and important discoveries peculiar to the prefent times; and he particularly afferts, that the general principles of ethics have been established on fure foundations. And hence the general principles of education, he contends, are the fame, or nearly the fame in all ages, and all times.
They are fixed unalterably in the natural and moral conftitution of man. They are of the fame kind in the fierce African, in the fluggish Greenlander, and in the more enlightened and polished inhabitants of the temperate zone. They are to be found in our affections and paffions, fome of which must be controuled, and fome cherished, in every state of manners, and under every form of fociety. From the right apprehenfion of them, we discover the way in which a child ought to go," and by the right ufe of them when he is young," we shall qualify him, when old," for not departing from it.".
In the fubfequent part of the difcourfe, Dr. Parr undertakes to prove the truth of the affertion, that children will generally not depart from the way in which they have been brought up; he then mentions fome of the instances. in which the greatest care is neceffary to educate them virtuously;' and laftly, delivers his opinion on the general principle of charityschools, and on the particular plan which is pursued in that of Norwich.
In treating of the first head, the learned writer wishes not to make an exact balance of the good and evil difpofitions which are faid to be implanted in the human heart. He thinks it fufficient to affume the existence of both, and to fhew the increafing force which each receives from habitual indulgence. On this topic he purfues a train of argument equally just and fatisfactory. From analogy, and from fact, he reasons with the fame vigour of fentiment, and fplendour of language. But we must confine our felves to the following fpecimen,
Now the juftnefs of Solomon's remark on the use of inAruction may be thus elucidated. The moral powers of men, peculiar as the province is where they act, and the effects which they produce, are governed by laws analogous to thofe which pervade the intellectual and bodily conftitution of our species.
By the industrious hand, tasks in appearance the moft laborious are executed with furprifing facility. By uuderftandings which patient and intenfe ftudy has invigorated, the most complex relations of ideas are, in a moment, unravelled, and the most extenfive train of argumentation is connected with accuracy. Thus, too, where perfons have been trained up in a conftant and fincere regard to their religious and focial duties, fenfibility, in time, anticipates the fuggeftions of reafon, and paffion faintly refifts the dictates of confcience: the general course of life is almoft mechanically exact, and the embarraffments arifing from particular fituations are quickly furmounted: our best volitions are formed without anxious deliberation, and our best deeds are performed without painful effort. At first, perhaps, we were led to detached and feparate actions from the conviction that they were either proper, meritorious, or ufeful: but thefe ideas become afterwards blended in one bright affemblage, which we do not attempt to diftinguish, and with their united: force, of which we are inftantaneoufly fenfible, they impel us to perform what practice has made eafy, and what reflection, when we stood in need of its guidance, had fhewn to be right. Whatever fpeculative tenets we may have adopted upon the abstract subjects of neceflity and free-will, we must perceive both in the moral defects and excellences of men a degree of uniformity, of which, be the adventitious and concurrent caufes what they may, the force of habit alone will afford a clear and complete folution. Upon what occafions, we may ask, does virtue appear advanced to the moft exalted point of perfection,' or vice funk into the most hopeless and abject state of degradation? Where the principle of conduct is determined not by deliberate reflection, but by fudden and almost irrefiftible impulfe where opportunity, whether for good or bad, is followed up by fuch actions as are correfpondent to the prevailing bias of our opinions and inclinations: where the dread of punishment is infufficient to deter, and the hope of reward is not neceffary to encourage: where the flighteft temptation inftigates to the most atrocious crimes, and the fmalleft incentive incites to the moft meritorious deeds. Even the exceptions to the general character of individuals are not inconfiftent with the general rules relating to the power of custom. For the unexpected frailties we lament in the virtuous, and the partial excellencies we may find even in the vicious, may sometimes be traced up to fome early and habitual principles. These confiderations evince the urgent neceffity of teaching men to enter, as foon as poffible, on a right courfe of action, of planting the firmest barrier againft vices which it is fo difficult to abandon, and of giving timely affiftance to thofe virtues, in which it is fo delightful to perfevere, and from which it is so easy not to depart.'
Surely nothing is better calculated to promote the cause of virtue, than fuch a reprefentation of the facility which attends the
the habitual cultivation of it; a representation which depends not on the fanciful and unfupported affertions of an arbitrary dogmatift, but refts on the conftitution of human nature.
Under the fecond head, the fubject is confidered more in detail. The inftances in which the greatest care is neceffary to educate children virtuously, confift, according to our author, in the government of the paffions, in a sense of shame, in a ftrict regard to truth, in habits of diligence, and in the love of God, intermixed with a rational and feeling reverence.' On each of these he enlarges with that precision which evinces an intimate knowledge of the heart of man, and with the honest confidence of one who has fucceeded in reducing that knowledge to practice.
In the fecond part of this Difcourfe the author enters into a defence of the principles of charity-fchools, combating every objection which has been urged againft them, and stating every advantage which can accrue from them, in the undaunted language of truth, and with the additional recommendations of natural, though nervous eloquence. Of this we have a more particular inftance in the mode in which the author speaks of the Norwich charity-fchool. In other hands these topics might have appeared in fome refpects inconfiftent with the dignity of the pulpit under the direction of Dr. Parr they will not be deemed liable to fuch an objection. Nor are we at a loss to account for this fingularity: Tn hɛɛl, fays the great father of Grecian criticifm *, δει διαπονειν εν τοις αργοις μερεσι ; a rule which, though it related originally to the style of epic poetry, Dr. Parr has happily adhered to in the prefent inftance.
Thus much may be observed in general; we must, however, mention one part of this Difcourfe, in which the pathetic ftyle is carried to a high degree of perfection. After enlarging on the temper and genius of women, and enforcing the neceffity of extending to them the benefits of education, he confiders the melancholy prevalence of female prostitution as the natural and deftructive produce of ignorance and idleness. The plan of the Norwich school, being admirably calculated to remedy this evil, leads our author to reflections, which he who can read without emotion, is fit for treafon, ftratagems, and spoils. We are forry we have not room to infert them.
The notes, which are fubjoined, are fuch as the author deemed neceffary to explain his opinions, or to justify his reafoning. They are taken, fays he, from writers whom I know to be familiar to every man of letters; and they are placed at the end of the Difcourfe rather than at the bottom of the
Ariftot. Poetic. cap. 16.
+ page, left I fhould give offence by an appearance of unmanly and oftentatious pedantry.'
To this account we will add nothing. To those who are already acquainted with our author's claffical reputation, it were needless to remark, that the quotations are apt and elegant; while to those who are not, it were impertinent to expatiate farther on a topic, which their studies have not qua lified them to relish.
An Attempt to prove the Exiftence and abfolute Perfection of the fupreme unoriginated Being, in a demonftrative Manner. By Hugh Hamilton, D. D. F. R.S. Dean of Armagh. 8vo. 35. 6d. Jewed. Robinson.
ΟΝ N reading the title of this work we were at a lofs to guess what the author might mean by proving the existence, &c. in a demonftrative manner. After undertaking, or attempting to prove any point, is there not fome redundancy in the idea of doing it in a demonftrative manner? For could it be proved in any other manner? Are not a proof and a demonstration, in philofophic language, understood to mean the fame thing?
Having perufed the performance, we find ourselves unable to explain this part of the title: it ftill appears fuperfluous, and not properly applicable to the preceding part. The author's use of arguments à priori, in his demonstration, in preference to thofe à pofteriori, will not remove our ob. jection, because he allows, that demonstration may be obtained by either method of reafoning, though he hath chofen the former, and that apparently on fufficient ground. Had we not found this little work worthy of more than common attention, we should not have noticed a small impropriety in the title-page. Trivial faults are, however, more striking than cenfurable, when overballanced by merit.
The Attempt, &c. as the dean modeftly ftyles it, is preceded by an Introduction of confiderable length, containing a View of the Arguments that have been used for proving the Existence and Attributes of God, and the Reasons for propofing a new one.
< Though the following argument may be eafily enough un derflood without any preface or introduction, yet there will be fome advantages in having firft read what is here delivered: it will, I hope, contribute to remove a préjudice that has long prevailed againft our endeavouring to prove the being and perfections of God, otherwife than from the confideration of his works; and the reader, being previously made acquainted with the nature of the following argument, and the reasons for now
† See Preface.