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sources of enjoyment become more copious and varied, the concomitant pains and inconveniences disappear. “This conclusion coincides with a remark in that chapter of the Philosophy of the Human Mind which relates to the imagination,--that by a frequent and habitual extreise of this faculty, we at once cherish its vigour, and brmg it more and more under our countand. ' As we can withdraw the attention at pleasure from objects of sense, and transport ourselves into a world of our own, so, when we wish to moderate our enthusiasm, we can dismiss the objects of inlagination, and return to our ordinary perceptions and occupations. But in a miud to which these intellectual visions are not familiar, and which borrows thein completely from the genius of another, imagination, when once excited becomes perfectly ungovernable, and produces something like a temporary insanity."—" Hence I have added the wonderful eliects of popular eloquence on the lower orders; effects which are much more remarkable than what it produces on unen of education.” “In the history of imagination, nothing appears to me more interesting than the fact stated in the foregoing passage; suggesting plainly this practical lesson, that the early and systematical culture of this faculty, while it is indispensably necessary to its suture strength and activity, is the most effectual of all expedients for subjecting it, in the more serious concerns of life, to the supremacy of our rational powers. And, in truth, I apprehend it will be lound, that by accustoming it in childhood to a trequent change of its object (one set of illusions being continually suffered to efface the inpressions of anothe ), the understanding may be more successlully invigorated than by any precepts addressed directly to itself; and the terrors of the nursery, where they have unfortunately overclouded the intant mind, gradually and insensibly dispelled in the ‘irst dawning of reason. The momentary belief with which the visions ul imagination are always accompanied, and upon which many of its pleasures depend, will continue unshaken; while that permanent or habitual belief, which they are apt to produce, where it gains the ascendant over our nobler principles, will vanish for ever.” pp. 534, 535.
The views here suggested by Mr. Stewart, are, we believe, considerably at variance with the practice of many pious and most respectable Persons in this country, who think
a far more cautious system than that which he recommends expedient in the institution of youthful minds. It deserves, however, to be seriously considered, whether the ordinary practice has not been established upon contracted and erroneous views of human nature ; and whether it does not, in effect, augment the evil which it proposes to correct. We beg, however, not to be understood as expressing at present an opinion upon this subject. It is our intention, when a convenient opportunity shall offer, to examine it more at large. In the mean time, we think it but just to say, that Mr. Stewart's experience and authority, in concurrence with the reasoning contained in our last extract, entitle his suggestions to the serious and impartial attention of every person who is placed in the relation of a parent or preceptor. We have now brought our general survey of this work to a close; and Mr. Stewart cannot himself be more sensible than we are of the imperfect justice that has been rendered to him It is impossible to retrace in thought the subjects discussed in this valuable volume, and the great variety of striking remarks, apt illustrations, and original authorities, which are employed to dignify and embellish every dissertation, without being impressed with a profound respect for the talents and acquirements of the writer. Men seldom perform better than when they have occasion to defend themselves; and perhaps the resources of Mr. Stewart's mind are in no part of this work displayed to more advantage, than in the second Preliminary Dissertation, which contains a Reply to the Strictures of the 12dinburgh Reviewers. Among the Essays, we think that on the Philological Speculations of Mr. Tooke, and the two last, on Taste and certain intellectual Habits connected with it, are the most valuable. Of Mr. Stewart's philosophical powers and attainments, it is difficult to speak too highly. Few men have ever brought to any science a mind so comprehensive, so accurate, and so perfectly free from all prejudice of system or authority. His acquaintance with the metaphysical writers of different countries, is probably more extensive than that of any other man in the present age, or in those which are past. His literary acquirements are also very considerable, both in our own and in the French languages. With the latter he appears to be more familiar than we could have expected in one, whose life has been principally employed in abstract researches. We recollect, indeed, no modern work which shews a more general insight into French literature; and there are parts which indicate a critical acquaintance with the lauguage. To the Italian writers he rarely refers; but it would be rash to conclude from thence, that he is impersectly acquainted with the productions of that country, for nothing is more characteristic of the writings of this great man, than an entire absence of all ostentation, and a certain air of simplicity, which is equally philosophical, pleasing, and instructive. No man is better entitled than Mr. Stewart to speak with authority on the subject of English composition. He is, like all fine writers, a parist. Yet, instead of affecting that extreme nicety in the selection of words and phrases, for which some of the Scotch writers are remarkable, and which gives to their works the air of compositions in a foreign language, we find him boldly and freely adopting the use of mixed metaphors; which he insists it is childish to reject, where custom has consecrated them, “ merely on account of the inconsistencies which a philosophical analysis may point out between their primitive import and their popular acceptation.” There is, perhaps, no part of composition, in which a finer tact is requisite, han in the use of expressions which involve an obvious incongruity, but
which, for want of convenient substitutes, have been sanctioned by the authority of our best models. Nothing, certainly, is more discreditable to a man's understanding, than that ill-assorted and confused medley of ideas with which the fancy is harassed in the more flowery passages of bad writers. Yet we entirely agree with Mr. Stewart, that there is an opposite pedantry, which has of late become very common, in affecting to write more correctly than Swift and Dryden; and we are persuaded, that a man might as well expect to ride gracefully by studying the equilibrium of forces, as to compose finely merely by consulting the lights of etymology. In the Essay on Mr. Tooke's speculations, there is a good deal of delicate criticism on the true import of certain English words. We recollect only a single instance in which we differ from Mr. Stewart. The word interval, he insists, can only be correctly used with reference to time: surely it is not inaccurate to say, that at the battle of Belgrade, Eugene was nearly defeated from a considerable interral being left between the right wing and the centre. Our readers will probably be pleased to know something of the opinions which Mr. Stewart expresses of different writers. We think he indicates (as it was natural to expect) a clear preference of Dr. Reid before all other metaphysicians. Berkley's genius he admires; but he rejects his principal theory. Of Locke he speaks more coldly. He does not appear to estimate highly the metaphysical pretensions of Mr. Hume or of Mr. Horne Tooke; and Hartley, Priestley, and Darwin are treated with very little respect. Among the French metaphysicians, De Gerando seems to be Mr. Stewart's favourite, and after him D’Alembert. Of the writings of Kant and his followers, he professes to know little, and does not appear to think himself likely to obtain any new lights in the science of mind by knowing in ore. Mr. Stewart invariably speaks of Lord Bacon with the most profound reverence. His praise of both Burke and Johnson is high, but by no means unqualified. The modern poets whom he quotes the most frequently, are Milton, Gray, Akenside, and the Abbé de Lisle. Those who are acquainted with Mr. Stewart's former writings, will not need to be informed, that his style is remarkable for clearness, elegance, and comprehension. We think him, on the whole, the finest writer that Scotland has produced, and the first philosophical writer in the English language. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a style more admirably adapted to his subject than Mr. Stewart's. The present volume exhibits more instances of haste in its composition than his former metaphysical work; and its texture is more loose, both in the order of the arguments, and the structure of the sentences. In the latter parts, too, it is rather more ornate. As a specimen of fine writing, it is perhaps less perfect; but we do not think it less elegant or less agreeable. It would be an injustice to Mr. tewart, as well as very little satisfactory to our feelings, were we to ‘lismiss this volume without saying a few words on its religious and moral character. The subjects treated in it, evidently do not allow of a frequent reference to such topics; but they are never avoided where the train of observation approaches to them, and never touched but with the reverence which is justly their due. In the Essay on Sublimity, Mr. Stewart introduces several quotations from the sacred writings as illustrations of his theory; and he frequently refers, in the language of unaffected veneration, to that awful Being, who is the centre of whatever is truly sublime and excellent. In the more metaphysical parts of
his work, we find him strenuously combating, and even scornfully rejecting, the dangerous theories of the materialists, the artful insinuations of Mr. Tooke, and the plausible and licentious scepticism of Hume. Nor do we recollect to have met with a single passage in the whole volume, which can favour a dangerous illusion, or leave behind it an impression unfavourable to the best interests of virtue and religion. On the whole, we lay down this volume with sentiments of the sincerest respect for the writer. . It indicates, in every page, a mind studious of truth; unwearied in its pursuit; alive to simple, innocent, and rational gratifications; serene, cheerful, and candid; free from the vanity of authorship; and far more desirous to acquire and communicate knowledge, than to obtain a brilliant reputation. Indeed, Mr. Stewart's acknowledged superiority may well excuse him from feeling much anxiety respecting his fame. Yet it is among the first praises that can be bestowed upon a writer, that he is uniformly more occupied with his subject than with himself. To this Mr. Stewart is unquestionably entitled. He is entitled also to a still higher eulogy : that, amid all the varied topics and multiplied opinions which he has touched, he evinces an unfailing anxiety to discover and establish whatever is true and valuable, without ever indulging his fancy in starting ingenious theories, or wasting his powers upon shewy. and unprofitable speculations. It is this simplicity of purpose which, beyond all other qualities, entitles him, in our estimation, to the character of a great writer; it is this (to use his own language), which properly belongs to and is alone consistent with “ that unclouded reason, that unperverted sensibility, and that unconquerable candour, which mark a comprehensive, an upright, and an elevated mind.”
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE, &c. &c. – o –
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-ission society. To AFRICA AND THE EAST. We have hitherto been prevented by the press of matter from inserting, as we wished and intended, an abstract of the last Report of this Society; and we are induced once more to postpone it, in order to give place to information of more immediate interest, as connected with the prosperity of this institution, than the mere detail of its past operations. We allude to a paper which has been transmitted to us by the Committee of the Society for Missions to Africa and the East, containing “a Plan of Church Missionary Associations," calculated “to awaken the zeal of their fellow members of the church, and to call it most effectually into action.” Such Associations are recommended to be formed uot only in large towns, comprehending several parishes, but also in separate parishes; and in some cases, where parishes comprise several congregations, in separate congregations; and even, where such au arrangeunent happens to be the most convenient, by means of the voluntary union of friends. In this manner persons willing to assist the Society, from the domestic circle to the largest town, may unite for a purpose beneficial to themselves, and at the same time expressive of a regard to the glory of God and the salvation of men, and of a sense of their own obligations to the Divine mercy. The principal objects of such associations would be, 1st, To promote a missionary spirit, by circulaliug missionary intelligence, calculated to excite and maintain a spirit of prayer for the success of the Gospel; to awaken and diffuse a holy zeal for the support of missions, and to call south a supply of useful labourers; and, 2dly, To augment the funds of the Society, by means of congre. sational collections(a mode of raising money which, while it is very productive, is at the Chaist. Osskay, No. 130.
same time little felt); by means of benefactious and annual subscriptions from such as are able thus to contribute; and by weekly contributions from those who though they cannot give of their abundance, are nevertheless willing to testify their zeal for God's glory to the utmost of their power. The number of contributors in this rank of life will abundantly recompense the smalluess of their individual contributions: the universal establishment of such a method of contributing, both to Bible and Missionary Societies, will most essentially aid their funds, while it will foster some of the best feelings of the heart. The method of collecting weekly contributions, which has been recommended in the case of Bible Associations, will be found perlectly applicable to the present subject. Whcn it is considered that forty-eight weekly coutributions, of one penny each, will furnish to the Society the sum of 10l. 8s. per annum; and that for 101. the Society's Missionaries can redeem a poor African child from slavery, have him under their own controul, and place him under Christian instruction during all the years of his boyhood and youth; and when it is further considered, that twenty-four such weekly contributions will supply aunually 51.4s. to the fund, which will enable the Missionaries to maintain and educate one of such redeemed or other African children—surely every man will be able to realize to himself how beneficial his exertions to procure such contributions may be in the concerns of the Society. It will be a great advantage attending the general establishment of Church Missionary Associations, that the Parent Society will be relieved, in proportion to their number and activity, from the anxious care of maintaining and angmenting its funds; and will not be checked and restrailled, as it has often 4 S