페이지 이미지

which were reported at the commencement of our labours. Whether contraction or expansion be more desirable in such reports, must, of course, depend on the nature of the question. On some subjects, brevity may not only be quite consistent with the main object,—that of making a discussion interesting and instructive,-but'may even tend to promote it, and to amplify would be only to fatigue. On others, again, it is impossible to discuss a question properly, without a fullness of argument and a minuteness of detail, which are not only highly desirable and important, but absolutely indispensable. Without, therefore, fixing any particular limits to the length of the discussions, we have, in that respect, chiefly had regard to their interest and importance; and we hope our readers will not find them, in any instance, meager from brevity, or tiresome from length.

With regard to the Essays, Poems, and Reviews, we have endeavoured, it is hoped not unsuccessfully, to attain an interesting, instructive, and amusing variety; and, if our critical labours, in particular, shall appear to our readers as liberal and impartial as they were designed to be by us, we shall have nothing left to wish, but that, on the completion of our next volume, it will not be found that our exertions have relaxed, or that the Journal committed to our management has failed to continue its improving course.

Measures are now in progress for carrying into effect an EXTENDED PLAN of the Institution, the details of which are given in a Prospectus which has been published. When this plan shall have been fully matured, additional means will exist, of giving to our pages interest and variety, and of establishing the PhiloMATHIC JOURNAL on the firmest and most lasting basis.



240, 461

240, 462



JULY 1825.



WHEN Cicero wrote for his son that excellent treatise on moral duties, which commonly goes by the name of his Offices, he commenced by observing, -—" I shall follow at this time, and on this subject, more especially the Stoics; not as a bare translator of them, but, according to my usual custom, shall take out of their stores so much, and after such a manner, as in my own judgment I shall think most convenient.”

This mode of procedure is especially necessary on a subject so universally important in practice, and yet so difficult precisely to define in theory. Exceptionable principles may be found in systems of general excellence; and where so much is at stake, in respect of society and ourselves, we must follow a rule no less philosophical than sacred,-“ Prove all things,-hold fast that which is good.” In the spirit of this admirable precept, we are desirous of entering upon the topic of this article, which is, An Examination of ihe doctrine of Expediency.

In referring to the doctrine of Expediency, the most pernicious, upon the whole, as to its consequences, which has ever been proposed as a principle of Ethics, it is painful to advert to one of the most distinguished names that ever graced the records of morals or religion. It will be easily conceived that no light motives could have induced your lecturer to associate the venerated and venerable name of Paley with any remarks which are intended to censure the basis which he has assumed relative to this interesting subject. Paley, with a manliness of sentiment worthy a philosopher and a Christian


[ocr errors]



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

divine, (and these characters are not necessarily at variance,)
boldly came forward at a time when it was fashionable to dis-
miss the morality of the gospels from all discussion relative to
Ethics,—when our soi-disant philosophers had prided them-
selves in erecting a temple to virtue, to which they would not
admit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to contribute,-no,
not as even “ hewers of wood, and drawers of water :" Paley
then advanced, in all the dignity of a true philosopher, to
clothe in beautiful and attractive language a subject which
had been rendered disgusting by the metaphysical subtleties
in which it had been involved, and demonstrated that what-
ever a Shaftesbury had declared beautiful, fit, and proper,
had alike its place in revelation, and its sanctions from it.
We recollected that not a British nobleman, or a Heathen
philosopher alone had contended for the attractions and the
i obligations of virtue; but that Paul had also said, “ Finally,"
as the sum of the glorious system of which he was the minister,
“Whatsoever things are true, -whatsoever things are honest;"
the word being employed in the old and classical use of it,
as referring to decorum,--to that moral fitness which lacks
an adequate expression in modern tongues—“ Whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,"--any prin-
ciple of noble ambition which appreciates the estimation of
the wise and the good; and, above all, of the only Perfect
Being, the Parent of the Universe,-“think on these things,

-so meditate upon them, that they may employ all your
faculties, and become the primary objects of your pursuit.
No man will venture to compare these sentiments with the
most admired, and justly-admired apophthegms of antiquity,
without conceding, as a philosopher, and a man of integrity,
that they are equal to any precept that fell from the lips of
the most distinguished sages of Greece and of Rome: that the
single verse quoted embodies all the grand principles which
have been advanced in all ages in favour of morals, or in
elucidation of them; and Paley, at a time when every man
stood aloof from the unadorned morality - the simplex
mundities of Christianity, avowed his conviction of the truth
and sufficiency of a system, which French arrogance had at-
tempted to extirpate, and succeeded in rendering unfashion-
able even in Britain. Paley calmly advanced to examine
the various existing systems of ethics, and hesitated not to
refer to the Scriptures as the ultimate rule of morals.

With no unhallowed or unfriendly touch, therefore, your lecturer selects what he deems an exceptionable principle in this truly great man's work, for animadversion. Had he

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »