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Popular Essayist, whose compositions are well

calculated for the amusement and instruc, tion of a numerous class of readers, and whose real merit I am far from wishing to depreciate, has thought fit thus to express himself on the subject of Metaphysics : “ For Metaphysics what can be " said ? If every book that has been written on " them, and thousands have been written, were “ annihilated, not a single individual in the com“ munity of all mankind would, in any one “ respect, have just reason to lament the loss. " Mathematical and arithinetical studies are fpecu“ lative, it is true ; but they do not terminate in

speculation. The builder, the navigator, almost s every mechanic art, is affifted by geometry; “ and all men, without exception, benefited by “ arithmetic ; ---but Metaphysics tend only to be

night the understanding in a cloud of its own making to lose it in a labyrinth of its own

contrivance.” If to deal in positive assertions, unsupported by even the shadow of a proof, and without the flightest acquaintance with the subjectrespect

ing ing which the assertor venturės so boldly to decide, be to write dogmatically, we have, in the passage now quoted, as curious and complete an instance of the dogmatic style as I recollect ever to have met with. But this is not the only opportunity Mr.K-X has taken of expressing his dislike and contempt of all metaphysical discussions; to which, for my own part, I pay exactly the same regard as I would to the opinion of a blind man, who should take it into his head to declaim upon the inutility of the study of optics; or as Air. K. himself would do to many a worthy citizen, who fhould declare his full conviction of the folly of wafting time upon the study of Latin and Greek. That branch of philosophy which is distinguished by the term “ Metaphysics,” comprehends in it a variety of topics, some of which are the most refined and curious, and others the most interesting and important, which the human mind is capable of investigating; and what degree of knowledge respecting these points is really attainable, can no more be ascertained by a mere classical fcholar, than the most illiterate clown can pretend to form a conjecture concerning the truth or importance of the Newtonian Theory. Mr. K. expreffes his regret, that so much stress is laid

upon the study of Metaphysics in the general plan of academical education; and yet it is difficult to say, if it is at all to enter into the general plan, how less stress could well be laid upon it. I differ so much from Mr. K. upon this subject, that I do not scruple to say, I with much more stress was laid upon it. I firmly believe it would be productive of the happiest consequences. Those who have capacities at all adequate to the contemplation of subjects of this nature, and apply themselves to the study of Metaphysics early and methodically, I believe, almost invariably become deeply interested and engaged in the pursuit; and when a habit of attention to studies of this nature is once acquired, a point of the highest importance is gained. The magnitude and sublimity of these disquisitions have a manifest tendency to elevate the mind, to lessen in our estimation the value and importance of temporal pursuits, to in{pire a certain dignity and fuperiority of soul; and, by the intimate relation they bear to religion, both natural and revealed, to make the most beneficial, as well as durable, impressions upon the heart. How is it possible to make that stupendous Being, who called the universe into existence, the subject of our frequent philosophical meditations, without feeling emotions of awe, gratitude, and devotion? Who can reflect without some degree of moral improvement upon that miracle of divine power and skill, the human frame? " What a piece of work is man! how 66 noble in reason! how excellent in faculty in “ form and moving, how exprcfs and admirable! “ in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, “ how like a God!--the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals !” Were it


Were it to confider too curiously,” to enquire whether that prin

ciple ciple of intelligence and perception which raises us so high in the scale of existence, be the result of an exquisite arrangement of material particles ? or, whether it is capable of subsisting independently of the corporeal frame to which it is at present united? Or is it possible to employ our thoughts and imaginations upon a subject of such infinite moment, without feeling our hearts glow with an animating hope that death may be nothing more than a change in the manner of our existence? Or, if the natural proofs of this grand fact be indeed deficient, how much importance does it add to that divine revelation, which, in the most unequivocal terms, asserts the doctrine of a future resurrection! -To say no more, who can contemplate the amazing extent and flexibility of the power of association, as explained and illustrated by Locke and Hartley, or the mechanical operation of motives in producing all our volitions, without being sensible of the unspeakable importance of attending to the early cultivation of the mind, and of inculcating, with all possible diligence, those laudable and virtuous principles which, so far as they are not counteracted by opposite influences, must operate upon the mind in a regular and definite manner? If Mr. K. cannot see the use or advantage of these speculations himself, I would advise him, at least, not to attempt to exercise his wit upon those that do; or affect to treat these topics as trifling or ridiculous. Why should any man, who happens to have no relish or capacity himself for these sublime


researches, wish to deter others from employing all the powers

and faculties of their minds upon these, as well as other subjects equally mysterious to the vulgar, what is difficult to explain, what is dark to illumine? While thus engaged, the mind feels its own weakness, it is true; but it feels its own strength and dignity too.

« Sure, He that made us with such large discourse,
“ Looking before and after, gave us not
“ That capability, and godlike Reason,
“ To rust in us unus'd!”

I do not hesitate to affert, that a mere classical scholar, however polished his language, or refined his taste, in real elevation and comprehension of mind, is as much inferior to the man who has attained to an intimate knowledge of thewritings of Locke and Hartley, who has converted the simple and ada mirable theory of those great philosophers to all those excellent practical purposes to which the latter, in particular, has fo ably shewn they are capable of being applied; I say, to such a man, the mere classical scholar is as much inferior, as he is in his own estimation superior to the most ignoble of the vulgar. Dr. Akenside, I remember, remarks, that it is hardly possible to conceive Philosophy and Taste at a greater distance from each other, than at the period of the Revolution, when Locke stood at the head of the one, and Dryden of the other. But if they must be considered as in a state of opposition, and the characters of Dryden and Locke are to be placed in the balance together, surely the “ bel effrit,"


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