« AnteriorContinua »
• I proceed to demonstrate that C was antiently used where we employ G.
LEC10 PUCNANDOD EcfOCIONT.
Conjugi et filio bene merentibus.
• 9 As to K, it is even denied a place in many alphabets antient, and modern. Latin, Armoric, Irish, Portuguese, Italian, French.
• It was feldom used by the Saxons ; but often by the Goths and Grecians, and the Romans copied the latter for a short space.
. Q. Is not in Hebrew, Greek, Islandic, Saxon, Runic, antient Irish, nor Cornish. It is compounded of C and a vowel."
The Saxon e and 0 — the Gothic ste Ï8&n are, in our author's opinion, the most ancient fymbols in the world.
So far as the system of original and symbolic letter goes, it is probably correct. The human voice acquires the ute of various and minute inflections only by degrees, and the words, when more numerous, render this acquisition neceffary for the purpose of distinction. It is, in this way, that the early words are undoubtedly long, for what, in the more perfect languages is styled the radix, grammarians find, in ages long subsequent to the original formation of the word, and generally in consequence of abstraction. Strangers, for instance, a word of Grecian derivation, must have been formed, since it was a term necessarily employed, long before the language had acquired its preposition -extra, though this is now considered as įts radix.
When to each symbolic mark our author fixes a peculiar meaning, and traces it in the form of the letter, his absurdities are numerous, though sometimes entertaining. We shall add the signification of the symbols, and one specimen of the observations.
! A. Motivu *.-B. INHABITATION.-C. CAUSE 7.-D. COMPLETION 1.-E. ENERGY 9.-I. EXTENT ||.-L. ExTENT 9.-M, Maghr.-N. PRODUCTION.-O. INDIVIDUAL or WHOLE.-R. MOTION.-S. EXISTENCE.'
· Give me leave to apprize you that in very remote antiquity innumerable words began with B, which are now spelt with it's derivatives F. P. V, especially when used imperatively, for as B
Causing motion, Ab. Ad.- † Cause, infirumental.-1 Cause, total. $ Cause efficient. €. Energy or effic proceeding.-- || Indefinite.- q Longii udina! and indirect,'
fignifies inhabit, feize, occupy-it was prefixed to what gramma. rians are pleased to denominate verbs, in the same manner as it is dow prefixed to other parts of speech. B-- gone means be in motion. B-good means be in goodness. In the revolution of ages, polite writers declined it's services. The poputace indeed have fo ftrong an attachment to this antient mode of diction that they BSpatter and B-sprinkle all the verbs in the language. Dr. Johnson has retained several in his dictionary which are obsolete in ele
• B-C. That is-Be the Cause. Abbreviated. B--Cause. F. G. FaC friax Be the cause of my knowing-B-Causs my knowing, or cause me to know.
• The-As-is incidental : in the preterite it makes ici ; in compounds Acio-merely for distinction of sounds.
To all fymbols expressive of energy or motion, the antients pofthixed-D-to indicate the completion of fuch energy or motion. Hence we have—T-at the end of fact, act, &c.
• I leave it to the learned to determine whether this is a confequence of the rode fimplicity of primitive diction, or of philoTopbical refinement. The fact is indisputable. E. G.
'Sci quis Hensonem leiberom sciens dui D, Parricida Defto D. ' In alto D Mari D puonando D. Duilian pillar.
• Were I permitted to speak in the fchools, I might add-C is a cause in Potentia; azt is a caufe in effe.
• When you speak imperatively, you excite the dormant power ; and the obedient person acts. When he has finished, he has actED the part allotted hiin.
• Now the symbol-D-indicates action completed. It is a-C
closed with a line-D. And in this it differs from-O-For the circle is effentially complete ; the semicircle effentially imper. fcet.
q It is remarkable that in the islandic tongue-D-is named the Tyr: that is the closer. In Armoric to tei is to close, thatch, or complete.
(--signifies that the recipient is open to action. Open to inquiry. D—that the action is completed, the inquiry closed. Literally the conclusion of the energy-E- How natural! how elegant !
We must now leave Aristarchus, whose ingenuity we have commended, and whose errors have pleased and instructed us, for they are the errors of genius ; they are faults much more in terciting than the level accuracy of many works which pass through our hands, where, though we cannot blame, we fomctimes are inclined to sleep. With less hafte, and in better circumstances, our author might been a pleasing and accurate instructor.
The Freedom of Human Aktion explained and vindicated: in
which the Opinions of Dr. Priestley on the Subje&t are parti
cularly confidered. 8vo. 4s. Boards. Nicol. 1791. THIS celebrated question will probably never be decided :
the consciousness of poffefling the power to choose, to re. ject what is disagreeable or hurtful, and to select what is pleas. ing or salutary, as it at once influences the unlearned or unenquiring, biasses in a more imperceptible degree, the rational enquirer. It requires much time and frequent examination to discover that our internal, as well as external senses, are fallacious; that much of what we fee is visionary, that our clearest perceptions are often unreal. Our prefent author engages in the question, apparently without prejudice; but he foon prevents us from implicitly trusting his reasoning, by a want of accuracy in his distinctions, and some obvious errors in his remarks.' The early diftin&tion of active and passive, as well as the peculiar excellence of each, not accurately perceived in the material world, and applied too harshly to the mental functions, are inftances of this kind. The confusion of desires and motives, often considered as synonymous, is another error which pervades the whole reasoning: we cannot, for these and similar reasons, trust our author's conclusions; and it would involve us in endless disputes to follow him very minutely in his arguments. We shall select his propositions :
• Proportion 1. That the nature of the will, or whether it be free or necessary, must be determined solely from an examination into its qualities, as an inherent cause, and not from its connexion with motives.
• Propofition 2. That the will possesses an active power of a fort very different from that of any other faculty of the mind, and which is the basis of free-agency.
· Proposition 3. That the will also possesses a power, by which it is enabled (through the medium of certain auxiliary motives, if they be wanted) to form a volition in favour of any afligned motive of the number, which may exist in a case of deliberation and choice. Or, in other words, that the will is endowed with a property of fo varying and fixing its volitions, as entities it to be deemed ftri&ly free.
• Proposition 4. That, whether the will be free, or not free, a definite volition will always be formed in definite circumstances. Or, that from the truth of a definite volition being formed in definite circumstances, no proof can be drawn either that the will iş free or necessary.
The first and third propofitions are the most decisive oncs in this question. The meaning of the first, if we rightly com,
prehend it, is, that the will, acted on by motives, is so far paffive; and this is what our author calls (we think illogically) an inherent cause,' without meaning to imply that it may not become active in its turn.' But to decide the question, it is neceffary, he informs us, to enquire how the will follows motives; whether it be in a way that may be deemed free, or in one that ought to be deemed necessary.' ---This is followed up in the third propofition, by the author's attempt to show that the will may vary, and fix its volitions. We mean not to quibble with words, or to ask how the will appears, but in its action of volition, or how volition can fix volition? The au. thor means, perhaps, that motives appear, at different times, in views variously forcible, and what may influence at one time will cease to influence at another; so that the mind seems free in selecting those objects, to obtain which, the motive is sufficiently Itrong, and the volition sufficiently powerful to be drawn out in action. Even if this is the idea it seems to be fallacious. The influence of every material cause is modified by the state of the body acted on, even when the action is moft neceffary; and the influence of mental causes must be the fame. If, for instance, the fight of meat necessarily induces the sensation of hunger, when the stomach is well, the motive is sufficiently powerful to counteract the inclination to pursue other business; but when the stomach is disordered, it no longer excites the wish to eat in preference to another engagement. These are connections partly material, but purely neceffary, where there is scarcely a ny vestige of freedom of action. If however on the contrary, the mind is deeply engaged in any deep investigation, the motive of eating will scarcely excite volition on the right of food. The whole of our author's reasoning proves nothing more than that motives act in different circumitances, with different degrees of force: it does hot prove that, in given circumstances, the influence of motives is not neceffarily connected with the suitable actions;
in other words, the will is not endowed with a property (our author fhould have faid power) of fo varying and fixing its volitions, as entitles it to be deemed strictly free. The will is infiuenced by motives which vary in their power of drawing it into motion, according to the different states and conditions of the mind; but which, in given circumstances, are always fola lowed by similar actions,
In the subsequent parts of the volume, where our author pursues the subject in some collateral and less direct views, we perceive, we think, similar inaccuracy. The following passage is more correct: we have, in our review of Mr. Cooper's EFfays, glanced at the subject; and may, at a future time, resume it. It is only necessary at present to repeat, that the arguments
which convince us that definite actions are connected with definite motives,' cannot, in any respect, apply to the deity. Motives can only influence actions, with a view to fome end; and if to assume the strongest ground, the deity be supposed incapable of acting inconsistent with his attributes, his faculties and powers are still unlimited, and the same motives may be pursued to the same ends by an infinite number of different methods. Is he limited in the end? They are the limits with which he has confined himself, and prove only that God cannot be the author of evil, but of good.'--Let us attend, however, to our author.
• In conclusion of these remarks I shall just observe, that if (as the necessitarians urge as a leading principle of their doctrine) nothing cae be free, that is not independent of all influence and connexion, then it is evident the deity cannot be free, as his actions are doubtless under the influence of motives, and somehow connected with something that precedes. This, indeed, thefe sedaries have of late not fcrupled to grant. The inference is an unpleasing one, to say no worse of it. But is there not danger of its being made more so, by carrying the deduction a step farther? The deity, we allow, exifts necessarily, and if he do not possess freedom, (to separate his actions, as it were, from the ground of his being) must we not conlude, that every thing we know, or can conceive; all existence, and every occurrence respecting both time and eternity, is grounded upon necessity in one form or other? Necessity thus becomes all in all; and how we honour God in the conception, is not easy to make out. Surely, then, these inferences, in so very mysterious a province of inquiry, should, at once, Itrike the principles which produce them from every modest and well-informed mind; and if imagination's guilt (as the poet calls it) may enter into our speculations, where can it be more clearly seen, than in fabricating Systems of theology, of which -these principles make a part ?'
Though we cannot highly compliment our author as an ac. curate metaphysician, he appears through every page of his work to be a truly pious and a good man. These are qualities, without which, learning and science are lighter than air, and more insignificant than the motes in the sun-beams.
An Exposition of the Beginning of Genesis. An Exposition of the
Episile to the Romans.- The Doctrine of Baptism.--MOPOH
10s. 6d. Jewed. Evans. 1791.
thing they treat of in myitery and confusion. From the implest facts they draw the most unaccountable conclusions ;