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Thus much it is certain, that there can be no medium in this matter. The claiming this authority to our own reason, must cither be a very great duty, or amongit the greatest of sins.
. If it be a sin, to admit of any secrets in divine providence If it be a crime, to ascribe wisdom and goodness to God in things we cannot comprehend If it be a baseness and meanness of spi. rit, to believe that God can teach us better, or more than we can teach ourselves-If it be a shameful apoftacy from the dignity of our nature, to be humble in the hands of God, to submit to any mysterious providence over us, to comply with any other methods of homage and adoration of him, than such as we could of ourselves contrive and justify, then it is certainly a great duty to alfcrt and maintain this authority of our own reason.
. On the other hand ; If the profoundest humility towards God, be the highest instance of piety-If every thing within us and without us, if every thing we know of God, every thing we know of ourselves, preach humility to us, as the foundation of every virtue, as the life and soul of all holiness-If sin had its beginning from pride, and hell be the effect of it; if devils are what they are through spiritual pride and self conceit, then, we have great reason to believe, that the claiming this authority to our season, in opposition to the revealed wisdom of God, is not a frailty of Aesh and blood, but that same spirirual pride, which turned angels into a postate spirits.
"Since therefore this appealing to our own reason, as the ab. solutely perfect measure and rule of all that ought to pass between God and man, has an appearance of a pride of the worst kind, and such as unites us both in temper and conduct with the fallen fpirits of the kingdom of darkness, it highly concerns every pleader on that side, to consider what grounds he proceeds upon; and to ask himself, what there is in the late and condition of human nature, to oblige him to think that nothing can be divine, or holy, or ne. cessary, in religion, but what human reason didates.'
Those who contend that the relations of things, and the fita ness resulting from them, must be the rule of God's actions, and that these relations are within our reach, afford an inftance of still more pride ; for we can see so little of the relations of every part, that it is arrogantly estimating the length of the chain, which would reach from earth to heaven, by surveying only the nearest links. The little that we know of the works of God, even in those subjects immediately before us, is very properly urged as a convincing argument against rash pretensions of this kind; and the reasoning is very properly Du fued, by showing how improbable it is that our reason can fatho.n subjects of a still more intricate nature. But the oh
jections fections and the arguments are too numerous to allow of our Following them minutely.
The second chapter is designed to show that, from the state and relation between God and man, human reason cannot possibly be a competent judge of the fitness and reasonableness of God's proceedings with mankind, in any thing that respects external revelation. In this part of the argument the reasoning is not always correct, nor are our authors always aware of the seeming contradiction between the external foreknowledge of God, and the freedom of the human will. The answers to the objections against miracles are by much the best parts of this chapter; but this ground has been repeatedly trodden, though we may be allowed to hint, that we want a clearer and a fuller answer to Mr. Hume's scepticism in this point than we have yet seen: unfortunately divines, in their contests with infidels, generally rest their arguments on ground which infidels deny.
The chapter on the state and nature of reason, and its application to subjects of religion, is in many respects illogical. The authors confound reason fometimes with comprehension, and sometimes with judgment. In the conclusion, chapter fifth, they contend, that all the excentricities of the heart, as displayed in the passions, tempers, and affections, as well as of the mind, shown by absurd and contradictory opinions, arise from the same or similar errors and absurdities of human reafon. When the principle is erroneous, the consequences cannot be correct: we think it more probable, as we have formerly stated, that they arise from applying human reason to subjects for which it is not adapted, or attempting to employ it without proper guidance, experience, or discretion. Let us select a specimen, in which though the authors sometimes confound the reasoning faculty, with the conclusions drawn from reasoning, or the dictates of experience, there is much good sense and just reasoning.
• All virtue is nothing else, but reason acting in a certain manner; and all vice is nothing else, but reason acting in a certain contrary manner. All the difference is in the actions, and none at all in the agent.
. And to say, that reason acts in our virtues, and passion acts in our vices, is abfurd as to say the contrary, that passion is the agent in our virtues, and reason the agent in our vices. For the action or power of reason is as much required to make any thing vicious, as to make any thing virtuous.
• Every thing therefore that is chosen, whether it be good or þad, is the express act and operation of reason. Reason therefore is certainly the worst, as well as the best fa
culty culty that we have : as it is the only principle of virtue, so it is; as certainly, the sole cause of all that is base, horrid, and shameful in human life. As it alone can discover truth, so it alone leads us into the groffest errors.
• It was as truly reason that made Medea kill her children, that made Cato kill himself, that made Pagans offer human facrifices to idols; that made Epicurus deny a providence, Mahomet pretend a revelation ; that made some men sceptics, others bigots ; fome enthusiasts, others profane; that made Hubbes assert all religion to be human invention, and Spinosa to declare trees, and ftones, and animals, to be parts of God; that makes free-thinkers deny freedom of will, and fatalists exhort to a reformation of manners; that made Vaux a conspirator, and Ludlow a regicide ; that made Muggleton a fanatic, and Rocheller a libertine ; it was as truly human reason that did all these things, as it is human Teason that demonstrates mathematical propositions.
For as all mistakes in speculation are as much the acts and operation of reason, as true conclusions ; fo all errors in duty, whether civil or religious, are as much the acts of our reason, as the exercise of the most folid virtues.'
By this absolute and indiscriminate use of reason, our authors form another faculty of the human mind, similar to the moral sense of some metaphysicians. On the whole, however, we think this a very able defence against those who object to some of the tenets, which we think are inculcated in the Gospel, on the grounds of their seeming unreasonableness. If we have endeavoured to put the question, respecting the use of reason in these Enquiries, on a different ground, it is only to avoid some little errors, which leave the work before us open to a reply. We have only been able to give a sketch of the argument, which others who have more leisure may probably fill up. A Commiserating Epistle to James Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale
and Lowther. By Petri Pindar, Ef. 410. 25. fewed. Evans. 1791. THE great descendant of the Theban bard should not stoop
to notice the petty law-suits occafioned by accident from a coal-mine, or to scatter personal inyectives. The eagle condescends not to catch flies, and the lion spares the petty prey which chances to fall within his power. Reviewers were a nobler game: they partake of majesty, by their significant • WE', and borrow fome dignity, like Eaftern despots, from their obscurity. Mr. John Nichols was a still nobler theme, Avað avocwv Ayaneuvwv; the ruler of those who ruled the world. Nir. Bruce, the associate of kings and quecns, might allo deferve the lay; but, after the most careful examination into all the subjects of all the lyrics, we can find nothing which refembles a law-suit, a coal-mine, or a Cumberland peer.
If we look at the poem, we shall find it rise above its subject. The Pindaric sparks glitter in the obscurity of coala mines and Whitehaven, but they never rise into a flame: they are casual corruscations, temporary meteors, the fire of genius sparkling through the heavy weight of a dull subject. The following simile is well expressed :
See yon proud oak, whose dark’ning branches spread
< Say, does Repentance wound thee? 'tis a driv'ler,
And keep again the company of Pride.' The following lines, with which we must conclude, are truly picturesque :
• To India's hist'ry turn thy happy eyes,
The FOREIGN ARTICLE S. Globus Cæ!cstis Cufico-Arabicus Veliterni Musei Borgiani, a Simone Allemano, Linguarum Orientalium in Seminario Patavino Profesore, & Academiarum Patavinæ & Volicorum Socio, illustratus; præmissa ejusdem de Arabum Astronomia Disserta
tione, &c. Patavii. 410. Edwards. London. 1790. IN the preface to this curious work, the learned author gives
some account of the celebrated museum of cardinal Borgia at Velletri, collected at a great expence from various parts of the world : and as this museum has of late engaged a considerable share of attention, we shall lay before our readers an abstract of profefTor Aflemani's account.
The Egyptian class contains 386 pieces, and no small number of gems, befides the coins which Zoega has published in his learned work, Numi Ægyptii prefiantes in Museo Borgie ano Velitris. Romæ 1787, 4to. To this class likewise belong many fragments of Coptic and Thebaic MSS. written upon vellum, or papyrus. The charter on papyrus, published by Schow, is the most ancient yet discovered, as shown in his work, which is intituled Churta Papyracea Græce fcripta Musei Borgiani Veluris, qua feries incolarum Ptolemaidis Arsinoiticæ in aggeribus & jolas operantium exhibetur, &c. Romæ 1788, 400. From the same class father Georgi published at Rome in 1782 his Suntii Coluthi Asia, Velitris allir vata; and in 1789 his Fragment of the Gospel of St. John, &c. reviewed in our last Appendix.
The Volscian class contains a figured plate of brass, and feTeral embossed pieces of earthen-ware: Becchetti has illustrate ed some of the latter in his book intituled Bali-relievi l'olici in terra cotta, dipinti a vari colori, trovati nella citta di Velletri, Roma 1785. These Volscian monuments are all found at Velletri, the birth-place and residence of the cardinal.
The Etruscan class abounds in dishes, vases, urns, coins, and inscriptions. Lanzi has explained the Etruscan inscriptions in his Saggio di Lingua Etrusca, &c. Roma 1790. A patera, representing the birth of Bacchus, is illustrated by Heeren in his Expositio fragmenti Tabulæ Marmoreæ, &c. Romæ 1786; and by Ennio Visconti, in the fourth volume of his Mufcum PioClementinum.
The Greek class contains brazen statues, marble bas-reliefs, and many coins of towns and of kings.
The Roman class produces many brazen statues, bas-reliefs, instruments, feals, weights, animals, and inscriptions engraved on marble and brass; and a great number of imperial coins in all the three metals.