Page images

of science that could invigorate and cultivate its powers, and every path of art ihat could adorn and enlarge its habits. The intellectuat faculties were become a mafs, putrid and inanimate; but the electric spark shot with adequate effect through every nerve; the palfied organs reluined new vigour and elasticity, and since the Reformation the whole machine has moved with more spirit and stability." P. 35.

In Chap. II. On the Moral Powers, it is sated, that “religious opinions indeed operate on the intellektual powers; in a mere distant and indirect manner ; but they alter the very conilicution of the murul powers: the effect, of course, is of greater importance, and more universal concernmeni.” P. 36. The ethical systems of Pagans; and the Christian system, are then contrasted ; and the enquiry is instiluted,

“ which is capable of guiding us, with greater certainty and fuperior fanctions, to consult our ows, happiness, and the happiness of so. ciety; an ivftitution, which immediately declares the will and true worlhip of an all-wise God, exactly adapted too for man in his moral capacity, and which raises the standard of ethics above what any other scheme can pretend to; or an inititurion, which the wiseft and most júfallible of men mediately deduce from principles the most fixed that this variable world can afford ?" P. 37,

We cannot find room for extracting, however we may wishi il, pp. 43, 44, &c. but we shall give a thuri extract from p. 51, &c.

Christianity is not merely an authoritative promulgation of når tural religion ; it reveals a particular dispensation of God the Father, carrying on by his Son and Spirit, for the recovery and salvation of mankind, who are represented in the scriptures to be in a state of ruin. In this grand dispensation of Providence, the Son and Spirit have their respective offices; the Son as Mediator between God and man, as teaching the efficacy of repentance, and rendering that repentance efficacious; the Spirit as Sanctifier, to renew our nature, and to qualify us for the enjoyment of a future state. The relations then, in which there persons are placed with regard to man, are the subject of revelation, are fixed and positive institutions, and partake as much of a moral nature as any rational inftitution whatever. These revealed inflitutions declare the purposes of the Almighty with respect to man, and are formed to excite in us the useful passions of reverence, honour, Jove, trust, gratitude, fear, and hope. Considered in this light, the inoral obligations of Chriftianity fall with redoubled force upon the minds of its genuine professors, and make them extremely caurious in their opinions and conduct; and the depravity of mankind fufficiently evinces the necessity of this caution."--" And really (for there are many excellent moral precepts amongst deistical writers) could we un. ravel the fine and intricate web of the humau mind, and develop its piysterious fprings; could we investigate its various dependencies, convexicas, and relations; and trace its motions from the dawn of realon through the prejudices of education, and the diversified habits


of life, we should be able to trace many of those excellencies, and much of that greater certainty which give them such a decided superiority over ancient moralists, to the impressions they have early, casually, and insensibly acquired from the precepts of Christianity."

The tenets of the Christian religion are shown to have operated, not merely as a divine law, but very extensively also upon the law of honour, and the civil law.

“Chap. III. On the Sociul Powers, commences by stating as a fact, “ that the private and public management of the heathen world assumes a very different aspect, when contrasted with that of Christian countries." P. 60. The question, « To what ! cause are we to ascribe so considerable an effect ?” (p. 61.) is answered, by asserting and proving, that

« Christianity excepted, the page of history makes mention of no phenomenon adequate to produce this difference, it is just therefore to consider the Christian religion as the proximate efficient cause of the above-mentioned difference." P. 61.

The advantages enjoyed in the respective societies of Chriftians and Heathens, natural, civilized, and domestic, are balanced, in order to the forming a right judgment which fide preponderates. The practice of domestic slavery, the expoTure of children, the murder of aged parents, polygamy, g!a. diatorial thows, the toleration of unnatural crimes, Bacchana. lian orgies, and human sacrifices, are enumerated among the cruel usages in the annals of Heathenism. -

" But let us caft our eyes to a different and more captivating scene. The eloquent calls of the Christian religion disturbed the dangerous Numbers of conscience, and placed in the bosom of mankind an infallible umpire, to point out the moral rectitude or pravity of their actions. Only conceive the interposition of a religion, which in countries where it was professed, could put an effectual stop to the usages of slavery, to the exposure of children, to polygamy, and gla. diatorial shows. Only endeavour to make a moral and not an arith, merical calculation of the auspicious effects; to argue, not according to the method made use of in the natural world, that if a determinate object operate on a determinate object, the consequences themselves are immediately determinate ; but according to the method which, in such important cases, ought to be used in the moral world, that the real effects of a moral or determinate objeci, acting on a moral or indeterminate object, can never be calculated till the sum of human ex-' istencc be complexed. Considered in this extensive point of view, it is impossible to approximate to a conception, much less to a calcula. tion of the beneficial consequences of the Christian religion. Every destructive vice ic has prevented, every pernicious usage it has removed, does and will for ever loudly proclaim its happy influence. Confi. dered in this and this light only, it has been infinitely more serviceable to fociery than all human inftitutions put together. Here perhaps ic LI

may BRIT. CRIT. VOL. XVII, MAY, 1801.

may be objected, that the same mode of arguing may be applied to the vices of Christianity, " But soft-by regular degrees, not yet ;" for it must be remembered, that it is not the nature of Christianity to give birth or countenance to a single vice. And though we were to admit this position (a position, by the way, palpably false) I should feel for the too refined senability, for the over nice and too prudith delicacy of that man, who would turn away with disguft from the majesty of a Gothic edifice, upon seeing a few palıry blemishes thinly scattered on the exterior of the building; who could think that the spots which float round the surface of the sun, would more than overbalance the magnificence of the whole, and the particular beauties that continually flow from that fountain of light." P. 70.

It was the spirit of Christianity that, in England, put a stop to the dreadful animofities of the Barons; that checked che perpetual feuds of the darker ages ; that subdued the pride and fierceness which so convulsed the government of our own and other nations; that gave rise to the singular but beneficial inftitution of chivalry; " which tempered the valour of its pro. fessors, by uniting in the same persons the various and useful virtues of courtesy, humanity, honour, and justice” ; that has

“ secured amid the mild majesty of private life, that variety of gratifications and endearments, which we are formed to feel with the most exquisite sensibility ; those winning and attractive graces; those amiable and softer virtues ; thuse ten thousand decencies, which smooth and beautify our path through this to a higher and nobler state of existence." P. 76.

And, above all, that

“ has reared a monument as durable as the world, I mean, the in. ftitution of charitable houses ; an institution, that has secured the morals and existence of millions and millions of our fpecies." P. 77. • From the whole, then, we may safely conclude, that the Christian religion has guided, to their proper objects, the intellectual, moral, and social powers of man, with a certainty infinitely superior to every other inftitution.” P. 92.

We have analyzed this tract with some attention, conceiving that it is calculated to produce the best effects, at this juncture in particular; and we have produced from it so many creditable specimens of argument and of eloquence, that any further recommendation of it, on our part, would be altogether, superfluous.


[ocr errors]

tion is ally been in the chat graniton, in his in

Atructurendered improbable perfect folienty, and basaltes, hibe

Art. IV. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Vol. V. Part I. (Concluded from our last, p. 411.) III. Experiments on Whinstone and Lava. By Sir James Hall, Bari. F. R. S. and F. A. S. Edin. THE subject of this rather long paper is briefly as fola 1 lows:

It 'was supposed by Dr. Hutton, in his investigation of the structure of ihe earth, that granire, porphyry, and basalıes, had originally been in a state of perfect fusion. But this supposirion is rendered improbable by the observation, that the internal structure of those minerals is generally rough and ftony ; whereas the fusion of earthy substances, in common chemical operations, converts them into a more or less perfect vitreous substance.

It occurred, however, to this author, that by Now cooling, which must have been the case of those minerals in the bowels of the earth, they might assume a different appearance, from what they are wont to assume, when cooled suddenly. And this conjecture was rendered more probable by some accidental phænoinena, which had been observed in a glass-house. He was therefore induced to put the matter to the test of actual experiments, and his experiments were attended with the defired success.

The substances tried are, 1. Whin of Bell's Mills Quarry; 2. Whin of the Rock of Edinburgh Castle; 3. Whin of the basaltic columns on Arthur's Seat, near Edinburgh; 4. Whin from the neighbourhood of Duddingstone Loch; 5. Whin of Salisbury Craig, near Edinburgh; 6. Whin from ihe water of Leith ; and, 7. Whin of the basaltic columns of Staffa.

Each of those substances was exposed in a crucible to a strong fire, and was afterwards suffered to cool, either suddenly or Nowly. The general çesults fhowed,

" that all the whing employed assume, after fufion, a ftony character, in consequence of slow cooling; and the success of the experiments, with so many varieties, entitles us to ascribe the same property to the whole class. The arguments, therefore, against the subterraneous fusion of whinstone, derived from its stony character, seem now to be fully refuted.”

The narration of those experiments contains also a variety of collateral observations, the principal of which are contained in the account of the experiments on the whin of Bell's Mills Quarry, which is as follows:


oo In trying the fusibility of the class obtained from it, a curious circumstance occurred, which accounts for the unexpected results al. ready mentioned. I had placed in the muffle a long and sender fragment of this glass, with its ex'ri mities refting on two supporters of clay, and its middle unsupported. Having then increased the tempe. rature by flow degrees, I expected to discover the lowest point of emollescence, by observing when the fragment sunk by its own weight. The mufile having attained a moderate heat, I obferved the glass to lose its shape a little. Withing to see it completely melted, the same heat was continued, but no further change took place. The heat was then raised feveral degrees, but without effect. At last, being urged ftill further, the glass sunk down completely between its supporters. The pyrometer being then withdrawn, denoted a temperature above 30.

" It occurred to me, that, on this occasion, the glass, by the first application of heat, had softened, and then had cryftalized, so as to become hard again ; that, in cryitalizing, it had acquired such infufibility as to yield to no heat under 30. I immediately confirmed this conjecture by the following experiment:

i A piece of the same glass, placed in a cup of clay, was introduced into the muffle, heated to 21. In one minute it became quite foft, so as to yield readily to the pressure of an iron rod. After a les cond ininutè had elapsed, the fragment, being touched by the rod, was found to be quite hard, though the temperature had remained itationary. The substance, thus hardened, had undergone a change throughout ; it had lost the vitreous character; when broken, it exhibited a fracture like that of porcelain, with little lustre; and its colour was changed from black to dark brown. Being exposed to heat, it was found to be fusible only at 31; that is, it was less fusible than the glass by 13 00 14 degrees.

vi Numerous and varied experiments have since proved, in the clearest manner, chat, in any temperature, from 21 to 28 inclusive, the glass of this whin pailes from a fott, or liquid state, to a solid, in consequence of cryia ization, which is differently performed at different points of this range. In the lower points, as at 23, it is rapid and imperfect : in higher points, lower and more complete, every intermediate temverature attordicg an intermediate result. I likewife found, that cryf. talization takes place, not only when the heat is stationary, but like. wile when riting or froking, provided its progress through the range just mentioned is not too rapid. Thus, if the heat of the subttance, after tulion, exceeds one minute in passing from 21 10 23, or from 23 to 21. the mass will infallibly crystalize, and lose its vitrious character.

" These facts enabled me to account for the production of the subftance resembling the liver of an animal, which I obtained in my first attempt to cryftalize the melted stone. Not being then aware of the temperature proper for compete crystalization, I had allowed it to be paffed over rapidly by the descending hear, and I had begun the Now cooling in those lower points, at which the formation of this intermediate substance takes place.

" By the same means I was enabled to explain the oher unexpect•ed result, which I obtained in endeavouring lo convert the glafs of

« PreviousContinue »