페이지 이미지

To the Yere.

original, he will be able to judge of When fortune smil'd, and nature's charms the imitative art; and if he be pose were new,

sessed of those sensibilities the foun. I lov'd to see the oak majestic tower ; tain from which poetry springs he

I lov'd to see the apple's painted flower, will be competent to distinguish wheBedropt with pencill'd tints of rosy hue. ther the stream be pure or adulteratNow more I love thce, melancholy Yew, ed. A reader, such as I have describe Whose still green leaves in solemn sie ed, will, in my opinion, be able to lence wave

judge of the poetry of Leyden, for it Above the peasant's red unhonour'd

is, generally speaking, the poetry of grave, Which oft thou moistenest with the morn.

truth and nature. From this, indeed, ing dew.

must be excepted a few of his shorter To thee the sad, to thee the weary fly;

pieces, and not a few passages in the They rest in peace beneath thy sacred Scenes of Infancy,” where the aum gloom, thor has endeavoured to work up

his Thou sole companion of the lowly tomb! pictures more with a view to make an No leaves but thine in pity o'er them sigh. impression on the mind of his readers, Lo! now, to fancy's gaze, thou seem'ét than to give vent to those legitimate to spread

feelings which the original picture Thy shadowy boughs to shroud me with

was calculated to awake in his own the dead. p. 17.

bosom: that is to say, he has dressed It would be a tedious, and, in all ficial style, which is too generally call

his thoughts in that ornate and artiprobability, an useless task to enter ed poetic diction, when he ought to into a minute examination of Ley- have ushered them forth in the nake den's poetry; and I only would begedness and simple dignity of truth. of the readers of poetry to consult And so far he is wrong; but no the work for themselves, and not human composition can be perfect, to abandon the direction of their and there is certainly sufficient evia own judgments. But what disposition dence of genius in the writings of of mind ought a reader to bring to the perusal of poetic composition i Leyden to make a candid reader con

fess, that the soul of poetry is there. would not venture so far as Sterne to

To conclude: Let us contemplate say, -" I would go fifty miles on foot this aspiring man

struggling from the to kiss the hand of that man, whose shades of his native obscurity-overgenerous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's coming every obstacle—and, at last, hands; be pleased, he knows, not of the hopes of his countrymen, seem

when the harvest of all his hopes, and why, and cares not wherefore;" for ed lying in full luxuriance before this is making man a merely passive, himsee him at once cut off by the when he ought to be a rational being. mysterious hand of Providence. Such Pope speaks with more reason :

a contemplation will engender a minA perfect judge will read each work of wit gled feeling of exultation and sorrow, With the same spirit as its author writ. and will undoubtedly dispose every

man to sit down with a friendly tema Now, this is all I wish–I wish a man per of mind to the perusal of any to sit down in singleness of heart to thing that has come from the pen of the perusal of poetry. If his feelings, the late Dr Leyden. notwithstanding, be seared by an im

A BORDERER. moderate love of worldly wealth, or if his imagination be polluted by the pursuit of gross pleasures, he will not be found to be a very adequate judge; but if he be feelingly alive to the beauties of nature. both animate and

MR EDITOR, inanimate and if he has attended in I now transinit to you a farther some degree to the silent workings of portion of my Dialogues ; but before his own heart, he will be no incapa- embarking your readers again in ble judge of the most genuine of all the stream of disputation, I wish species of poetry—the poetry of truth them to pause a little on the position and nature. Yes! I will repeat it, with which my last communication if he be alive to the beauties of the concluded. It what I consider as VOL. VII.





the most original and important part customary conjunction between that of all my speculations, and if I have and some other object ; or, in other not succeeded in establishing it on ir- words, having found in many instances refragable grounds, I have yet very that any two kinds of objects, faine little doubt that it will hereafter be and heat, snow and cold, have always completely established by some more been conjoined together; if flame or accurate and profound inquirer. I snow be presented anew to the senses, mean my position, that all our belief, the mind is carried by custom to connected with the system of nature, expect heat or cold, and to berests on a previous intimation con- lieve that such a quality does exist, veyed to us, that there is a system, and will discover itself upon a nearer and, accordingly, that we cannot take approach. This belief is the neces. a step in existence without acting upon sary result of placing the mind in principles, which, when followed out to such circumstances. It is an operatheir clear consequences, infallibly tion of the soul when we are so situate land us in pure and perfect theism. ed as unavoidable as to feel the pas. If I am not greatly mistaken, this sion of love, when we receive benefits, theory of belief will be found to open or hatred when we meet with injuinto very elevated views of the hu- ries.” man mind, and of the constant de Mr Hume is here just upon the pendence with which it leans upon verge of the truth, but he has not the Deity. It, indeed, shows us, that hit it, and has exactly made the same “ in Him we live, and move, and have blunder in metaphysics, which every our being,"_since we cannot think one is prone to do in common life, a thought or perform an action that and which it requires much meditahas not a secret reference to his exist- tion and religious thought to correct,

Our minds have become so habituated I think, too, it will be disco to the order of things around us, that vered, that it is the want of this we forget that it is an order or sysview which forms the great and lead- tem, and are but too ready to go on ing defect in Mr Hume's philoso- through life without any of the devout phy. His system hangs much better sentiments which so beneficent an artogether, and seems to go deeper rangement ought constantly to inspire. into the human mind, than those of Thus we have got the habit of believing the philosophers who have risen to without looking back to the foundation

When they speak of on which our belief rests, (Mr Hume principles of belief, of which they can mistakes the habit for the foundation, give no farther account, than that and when we do not see that belief is they invariably exist in all human invariably the sanie thing with faith, beings, and which, accordingly, they or opinion founded upon faith or trust slump under the vague and general in another Bcing, we naturally come to name of common sense, they are evi- describe this sentiment in the singular dently not philosophizing--they ex- way in which this philosopher has plain nothing; there is no connecting done, that it " is nothing but a more tie by which these different principles vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady are linked together, or by which the conception of an object, than what belief in which they all terminate can the imagination alone is ever able to be shown to be one and the same attain." I believe Mr Hume's philothing. Mr Hume comes much nearer sophy, amidst all its scepticism, is the the point when he speaks of belief as best key wbich has yet been given to a sentiment or feeling arising in cer the human mind : it unlocks the outer tain circumstances, and although his courts of the temple--but the everaccount of what this sentiment is, is lasting gates are not thrown open! extremely defective and inaccurate, Explain only the true nature of belief, yet it is the kind of account which he and the foundation on which it obcould not but give, supposing, as he scurely rests even in the infant mind, did, that there was no principle on and the clouds of“sceptical doubts," which it rested at all more rational and “ sceptical solutions of these than the mechanical principle of Cus- doubts,” are at once dispelled, the tom or Habit. “All belief of matter veil is rent in twain, and the Holy of of fact or real existence (says he) is Holies itself is disclosed to the prosderived merely from some object pre- trate but grateful worshipper ! sent to the memory or senses, and a


oppose him.

PART II.-Additional Illustrations. are consistent, regular, systematic.

They all convey, therefore, the imSINCE we have come upon this pression of design, and our minds perview of the subject, (continued Phi- ceive this character in them as clearly

lo,) which I confess has occupied as our senses are impressed with the · much of my thoughts, it may per- perceptions themselves. It is from haps afford you some entertainment, this character, in fact, that they deand may be a collateral proof of my rive the aspect and form of reality, argument, if I enter a little into and that we can distinguish them a few metaphysical niceties which from dreams and imaginations. Were seem to be less apprehended than they there nothing steady and consistent, might, in consequence of men over- nothing that bore the impress of order looking this great foundation of all and plan in external nature; did it belief, the constant perception pos- appear for a moment, and then vanish sessed by the human mind, that it from our eyes : instead of being a moves within the sphere of design and system which assists and promotes our intelligence. What, for instance, if views and apprehensions, were it a we spend a few words on the famous constant source of delusion and unquestion about the existence of the certainty: were these its characters, material world?

I really do not think we could say it In the name of Heaven, (said Cle- had any other existence than we are anthes,) what can you propose by run- apt to ascribe to a troublesome dream, ning into an inquiry so obscure, and and at present it may have no other which has brought some very pro- existence, than as the lofty language found metaphysicians into conclusions in which we are addressed by the Suso remote from common apprehen- preme Intelligence. sion ? Perhaps, like Bishop Berkeley, Not far from Berkeley, however ! you propose to deny the existence of (said Cleanthes.) matter, with a view of proving, in a I mean, (replied Philo,) that when more spiritual manner than is usually we say we believe there is an external resorted to, the existence of God. The world, our meaning is, we have entire attempt, however, you must be well trust and confidence about it. Why? aware, is dangerous, for when first Because we see it is a system, and principles of belief are once unhinged, therefore involves a principle of mind the steps by which we arrive at the upon which we can depend. In fact, existence of the divine mind soon va- the word belief means nothing else nish from our eyes.

but the feeling of trust. Nobody will I have no intention (replied Philo) pretend to say, what the material to be so sceptical as you imagine. Í world is: of what kind of being or have no doubt of the existence of substance it consists : or that it is matter, but it is of some consequence, any thing more than a somewhat about in a speculative view, (as agents, the which we have an assurance, and with inquiry need not be made,) to know a reference to which we act without what we mean when we say there is a any kind of distrust: which is more material world.

th can be said of dreams or reveries. We mean, (said Cleanthes,) that the I suspect, after all, this is the idea objects which we see and touch ac- which Berkeley meant to express, but tually exist.

that he was rather incautious in his What is the proof of their existe manner of stating it. He says often that ence? (said Philo.)

he believes there is a material world, Certainly our senses, (replied Cle- and that his belief does not differ anthes.)

from that which is commonly enterOur senses (said Philo) only prove tained. He cannot, indeed, separate that we see and feel, but sense can- the object perceived from the act of not assure us that there is any thing perception. I admit that we have seen or felt.

an impression of these being distinct Perhaps, then, (said Cleanthes, I things, but I say we should not have cannot tell you how the belief comes, this impression, unless our percepbut we have it, and that is enough. tions were of things orderly and con

But, (said Philo,) I think I see both sistent. The ordering and arranging whence it comes and what it is. All of our perceptions, we are conscious, our perceptions of the external world does not proceed from ourselves. It

is clearly then the work of another mean to say that this is the case with mind. The existence, therefore, of a matter considered abstractedly from Supreme Mind, is constantly im- the system into which we see it pressed upon us by the scene of thrown. external existence, and this, I main An orderly world (said Philo) is tain, is at least as certain an impres- an evidence not merely of design, but sion as that of the existence of exter- of exquisite wisdom: but I wish to nal objects themselves, although my pursue materialism to the fountainargument goes to prove that it is more head, and to show that matter cannot certain, and that it is in consequence exist in any form without bearing only of the regularity and consistency some indications of intelligence. Can of the material world that any fixed matter exist without form? What is impression remains with us of its ac- form but an order of existence, a mode tual existence. According to this of being suited to something, to the view, therefore, we perceive that mind faculties, for instance, of a perciexists, before we have any steady be- pient ? Matter imperceptible to every lief of the existence of matter, and being can scarcely be said to exist. our belief of the existence of matter You cannot suppose an atom so fine, is little else but a sentiment of trust but you may conceive an eye capable in that Mind by which it is ordered of taking it in. Now, there must be and arranged.

a relation between the eye and the I do not mean to say, Philo, (said atom. This relation is something Cleanthes,) that in these opinions adapted, sorted, regulated, designed. there is no truth, but you do not seem Take the system of Epicurus: conto have made them out quite to your ceive innumerable atoms rushing own satisfaction ; and, therefore, I through infinite space. No single think you may as well come down to atom can exist without some adaptamore level ground.

tion of parts, (if an atom has parts, My wish was to show, with Berke- if it has none it is nothing, ) an adapley, (replied Philo,) that, properly tation which suits it better than any speaking, there is no system of nature other. Whence did it get these? Is which can afford the slightest pretext not intelligence apparent in the forfor materialism. If he goes too far in mation of an atom as well as of a saying, mind is the whole, I think system? Then take different atoms in I am justified in saying, that it is ow- their corporate form, uniting together ing only to the order produced by and making something, no matter Mind that we have any steady beliet what, something as rude as you will : of the existence of such a thing as whatever it is, there must be a prinMatter. I willingly, however, leave ciple of order in it, a coherency of this speculation, as I am ready to ac- parts, harmony of some kind or other: knowledge to you that I have not and you will find, examine quite satisfied myself respecting its these ideas, design and intelligence solidity.

lurking at the bottom of them. Poets There is another speculation, how- speak of a chaos, but, it is evident, that ever, which amounts pretty nearly to is a supposition merely poetical, or the same thing, and which, I believe, rather it is one which the human may be made more level to our ap- mind cannot make. It is a supposiprehension. Let our belief of the ex, tion of contradictions. Wherever there istence of matter come as it may; and is matter at all, there must be order if you will, let it rest upon its own of some kind or other. It may seem foundation, and not upon any adven- to be order without any purpose, and titious support from the concomitant so can scarcely be called design. Yet perception of the existence of mind : order implies the operation of mind. still, I say, that matter cannot be pre- Thus, you see, Pamphilus, that I find sented to us, without bringing along traces of intelligence not merely in with it the traces of design and in- the regular forms of crystallization, telligence.

but in the most rude and inartificial Do I rightly understand you? (said of material bodies. Cleanthes.) I admit, that an orderly I have been so often disgusted (said world, such as we inhabit, bears the I) with materialism, and have seen constant indications of design upon its so much of it among the continental countenance ; but you surely do not philosophers, that I am really not at

if you

all disposed to engage in its defence. The plan of things exhibits the existYour former scepticism on the subject ence of mind before we reflect that of religion I could endure: there was mind was the principle which gave a modesty and hesitation in it, but the real being to the things planned. abominable self-sufficiency with which Suppose, then, the relation of cause these people vent abroad their cold- and effect were found to be imaginablooded systems of atheism is so hate- ry, or to be no tie among events themful to any man who ever heard any selves, but merely a feeling produced thing better, that I always looked upon by custom in the mind in consequence it with the most perfect antipathy, of its constantly perceiving the same and I shall be very happy to see you events in the same succession : Suptear up materialism by the roots. pose, I say, the notion of causation in

I believe (said Philo) every sys. the Deity were removed by such a tem of materialism is founded on a speculation, still the universe would mistaken application to matter, of prove his existence, in like manner as ideas which belong to mind only, and a mirror proves the existence of the on supposing qualities in matter which object which it reflects. it does not possess. They all rise The kind of sceptical attempt, from want of attention to that early therefore, which was made in this and constant impression of the existe country to throw doubts upon the exence of order and design in nature istence of God, by showing that it is which the mind of man receives in its merely custom or experience which first opening, and from applying to establishes the relation of cause and matter itself those conceptions which effect, and nothing in the reason of it is merely the means of conveying to things, must fall to the ground; bethe mind. Every thing in nature cause, whether God is the cause of proceeds on a plan, and there is not a the universe or not, or whether or no human being in existence to whom the the universe has a cause, we still read great outlines of the plan are not ap- his existence from the universe, in the parent; but if we forget that the idea same way as a book proves the existof a plan necessarily implies mind or ence of the mind of the author, even intelligence, we must look in the plan although you could possibly separate itself for some unintelligent principle the notion of his being the author by which it is carried on. It is then from that of the intelligence which we begin to talk of the powers of na- the book exhibits. ture, and the necessary concatenation The error prevalent in systems of of causes and effects, and similar ex- materialism, again, is the reverse of pressions of that kind, which, when this sceptical notion. The materialist applied to the material system, are in proceeds on the maxim, that every efreality words without meaning. fect must have a cause; he thinks he

This whole subject (said Cleanthes) finds the cause of every effect in nalies under a very considerable degree ture, and having found the cause, he oi embarrassment, and it would be of finds all that is necessary, all that much consequence for the elucidation must be had, and, accordingly, he is of our present inquiry, if the relation satisfied, without having recourse to of Cause and Effect were placed upon the existence of mind as the supreme a right footing

cause of all. I might in like manner I will let you know (said Philo) say to the materialist, prove as you what are my views on the subject, but will that mind need not be resorted I must first premise, that the proofs to as the cause of natural appearances, for the existence of God, which I have still these appearances prove to me already stated, are independent of all the existence of mind as infallibly as speculations on the nature of that re- your words and actions prove you to lation. We read design upon the face be an intelligent being. When I beof the universe, previously to all con- lieve you to be an intelligent being, I templation of design as a cause, and do not speculate upon the principle of the universe as an effect. The uni, intelligence being the cause of your verse is rather as it were a mirror actions, but I read in them, as in a which reflects the face of Divine Intel- book, the fact, that there is intelliligence, and our belief that it is caus- gence involved in them, it may be, ed or produced by the Divine Mind more properly than causing, ihem. seems to be an after consideration. Make what you please of the uni

« 이전계속 »