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happily called avarice, from its effect on the mind, xóonuen phiago onor; and chemistry, with all its congeners, has such a decided tendency to break down the mind to an awful respect for trifles, that such sciences should be classed as Aí TOTIU. CA pixgoroszca.. That some persons are found willing to devote their whole attention to such pursuits, is fortunate for the world. We honour their knowledge; it is in its way most useful to mankind, though obtained by a process which will be generally found to have been injurious to their own intellectual powers. They are the more deserving of our gratitude. Medical students who, in the course of preparing for their profession, must necessarily pay some attention to chemistry, will now and then be diverted from their original object, and make that their final pursuit which was to have been merely an accessary. In the same manner, persons preparing to become interpreters of Scripture, have frequently devoted themselves to the different departments of classical criticism. These are amongst the adrantages of that diversity of taste which should seem likely ta produce endless confusion, but which keeps alive every branch of learned investigation, as well as every humble occupation of labouring life. There are also those, who being born above the Decessity of exertion, and not having sufficient strength of mind to make for themselves more noble molives to a vigorous application of such faculties as they do possess, may properly enough be encouraged to find pleasure in botany or entomology, as intinitely better than those vicious diversions to which listlessnese would otherwise certainly impel them. There are still others, who, though not without some reasonable object in life, have yet their leisure hours; and who, from circumstances connected with their rank in society, or the spot in which they are fixed, do wisely in learning to derive an unexpensive and imocent gratification, from a superficial knowledge of the habits and qualities of the natural objects which surround them. But even those persons must not forget what we have staled to be the natural tendency of such pursuits; a tendency which they must carefully counteract by recurrence to severer studies. Multum non mulia, will be the motto of every reasonable student.
“ Tout homme qui veut rendre son existence utile à la société, doit marcher constamment vers une même but, ce n'est que par une continuité l'efforts dirigés toujours dans le même sens qu'il peut atteindre à de veritables succès, et acquerir quelques droits à l'estime de ses contemporains, et à la reconnaissance de ceux qui Fiendront après lui.” La Croix sur l'enseignement.
After what has been said, our readers will not expect us to sanction, by our approbation, a work entitling itself" Systematic
Education," Education," and intended to provide elementary instruction on all the various departments of literature and science, in the compass of two octavo volumes. If the adoption of such a system, and the fallacious desultory knowledge which such books can communicate, is suitable to any other purpose, than that of converting an ingenuous well-meaning youth, into a self-sufficient and, in fact, an ignorant coxcomb, we will allow ourselves to be most egregiously mistaken. But we have a more serious objection even than this, to the work before us. Throughout the whole of the compilation, there is a laboured attempt, to draw the reader into the fatal trammels of Socinianism. This main object is kept carefully out of the sight of an unwary student; no less carefully than it has been kept within the sight of the compilers. The style of Rev. regularly prefixed to the name of each of these " honourable men,” with the apparently academic title attached to one of them, will be sufficient, they hope, to induce an unsuspicious purchaser of the work to imagine, that it proceeds from the joint labours of some Clergymen of the Established Church; and may thus prevent any cautious hesitation, any watchfulness on his part. In the text too, great care is taken to say nothing which should shock a novice, or excite in him any doubts as to the fidelity of his guides. They do, indeed, insinuate, that when our Saviour is called the Son of God, this is merely a pretty tigure of speech in the sacred writers. But this insinuation is conveyed in the following delicate manner :
“ There is another beautiful species of personification, which originates from a well-known Hebrew Idiom, or that form of expression by which the subject, attribute, accident, or effeot of any thing, is denominated the son.” Vol. I.
Vol. I. p. 161. This being inserted in a chapter on Belles Lettres, and no inference drawn froin it, is not likely to startle the reader; or, if he has any misgivings, the name of Dr. Lowth, occurring in the next line, sets all at rest again. But the test of the work forms but a small part of this system of education ; " they have endeavoured to point out the best sources of farther information on the subjects of which they treat.” Advertisement, p. iii.
Here, the object of the compilers offers itself, under a rather more palpable form; as no opportunity is overlooked, of referring the student 10 the works of Price, Belsham, and Priestley; and the warm recommendations bestowed on other writers, of but little note in the literary world, does not allow us to doubt the insidious source of this, otherwise unaccountable, admiration. On the subjects of electricity or chemistry we could contentedly bear with repeated references to the works of Dr. Priestley; bat, so eager are these gentlemen to introduce the young student
to their champion, that his Lectures on Oratory and Criticism, long since forgotten by the public, are recommended, as giving the last polislı where Blair has been previously read. The subject of history is not passed over without remembering to advise the reader to look into the Doctor's “ History of the Corruptions of Christianity;” but, lest this reference should open his eyes to the errors of his impartial guides, he is told that it is merely for a refutation of Gibbon that they wish him to search.
In the departments of metaphysics, moral philosophy, and logic, Mr. Belshan's “ Elements of the Philosophy of the Mind," are repeatedly quoted and recommended. Now, of all these designing references, there is not one which we could not bear with more patience than this.
After the exposure of Mr. Belsham's ignorance and absurdity by a note of Dr. Magee's on this precious specimen of the metaphysics of Hackney, we did expect that Mr. B.'s friends would have had sufficient prudence to allow his “ Elements" to sink quietly into oblivion. We were inistaken in our estimate of the sense and modesty of this party. So far from observing a prudent silence, they speak of their obligations to “ That great work, which they cannot but regard as, in spine measure, the *Principia of Mental Science.” P. 318, Note. In one respect, certainly, tbe Elements of Mr. Belsham do reseinble the Principia of Newton; both commence with arioms, on which, as a legitimate foundation, the superstructure of propositions is to be established. As a specimen of Mr. B.'s asioms, we can treat our readers with the fourth in his list, « The agreement of two ideas with a third, cannot prove their disugreement with each other.” P. lii.
Had Mr. B. always written with equal caution, the recommendation of his work, by Messrs. Joyce and Co., might have passed unnoticed; but his presumptuous ignorance becomes more mischievous, when he confounds the nature of vice and virtue in passages like the following:
“ The only difference between the most virtuous and the most vicious person is, that the former was placed in circumstances, and exposed to impressions which generated virtuous habits and af fections, and the latter in circumstances, by which vicious prin, ciples and dispositions were produced.” Belsham's Elements, p. 391.
The “ Systematic Education". concludes with a plausible Letter, “On the Evidences of the Christian Religion.” Here Belsham and Priestley are no more spoken of. To have quoted them on this subject, would have been coming too directly to the point. No mention is made of atonement; but, the divinity
of our Lord being kept quite out of view, the reader is not shocked by any express and positive contradictions of the most imporiant articles of his belief. The great Author of our faith is spoken of as a most excellent teacher, “ ready to sacrifice hiş life for the improvement of the moral condition of mankind." P. 564. Alas! in vain had our blessed Lord submitted to the agonies of the cross, if, after all, we are left to our own cierit for acceptauce; if, after having given to mankind a law, which leaves them less excusable in their transgressions, he has left them to be judged by the rigour of that law, and to stand or fall by their own personal deserts.
Whoever has formed opinions for himself, or adopted them from others, so as to feel a firm conviction of their truth, must wish to see similar opinions prevalent amongst those with whom he associates, or in whose prosperity he feels interested. This is laudable, as connected with the love of truth, and the love of our fellow.creatures. By the discussions which this very general feeling produces on all questions of importance, the public welfare is promoted, and truth is most likely to be finally elicited; provided the enquiry be conducted with fairness, and passionate declamation be carefully avoided. But it is a peculiar mark in the features of modern Socinianism, to be constantly recurring to the most insidious methods for procuring converts, rather than to regular arguments. Assuming the title of Philosophical Christians, they repeat (what they would particularly affect to despise) such pious frauds, as nothing but the ignorance of the darkest ages could render at all excusable. They publish a garbled edition of the Bible, under the name of a respectable Prelate of our Church, having used the notes of that person, only where they were perfectly unconnected with the predominant character of the edition. They publish this Bible, and various controversial tracts, in the name of A Society for promoting Christian Knowledge; and they do this in the hope, that those, who have been taught to respect, and to draw their religious instruction from the works published by The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, may overlook so slight a difference of title, and thus be swindled into the purchase and perusal, or into distributing books of a tendency directly opposite to what they desired. In the same fraudulent spirit, bas the present compilation been formed; never openly and fairly declaring for the cause of Socinianisın, but always insidiously labouring for its propagation.
The readers of this class of books are necessarily too superficial in their knowledge, to be competent judges of the correctness of what they read. To gentlemen of their description, accuracy is of little consequeuce; they will not be surprised at
finding it regularly proved in the chapter on Optics, that parallel rays incident on a concave reflector will, after reflection, converge accurately to one point! This is a most important discovery, as it leads to the detection of another fact, equally new; that a circular arch has two centers. Proceeding a little farther, they will learn (Vol. II. p. 57.) that three diverging rays, all incident on the same side of the axis, will also be reflected to the same point hy a concave mirror! and, if they can understand the second paragraph in
p. 121, vol. ii, they will find, that different planets describe equal areas in the same time about the sun; a fact, which Newton certainly did not suspect.
Let our compilers, however, ineet with reprehension only when they deserve it. If we have accused them of a concealed, but unremitting attention to the interests of Socinianism, we ought to have allowed, that they seem to be influenced by no less anxiety for the interest of Dr. Rees's New Cyclopedia. To this they refer, as the source of all knowledge; and of “this great national work,” they inform us, in the style of Messrs. Bish and Carter, that no less than sixty parts are already before the public; so that he, who heedlessly delays to become a subscriber, may find, when too late, that the list is closed against him.
That the compilers have taken some pains to be accurate, we also feel it our duty to confess; having observed with approbation, that every reference to the works of Mr. Vince, is followed by a well intentioned corrective clause, informing the reader that he is now Doctor. We believe that the University, of which the worthy Professor is a member, was not accessary to his Doctorate ; but, if Mr. Vince cannot explain this academic honour by conic sections, we suspect that the compilers would refer both him and us to Rees's New Cyclopedia, Art. Literary Property.
Art. II. Essay on Dew, and several Appearances connected
with it. By William Charles Wells, M. D. F. R. S. L. & E.
78. Taylor and Hessey. 1815. Few things are more familiar to the common observer than the phenomenon of dew, and yet it seems, that, till very lately, even the most learned naturalists were ignorant both of the source whence it comes, and of the laws according to which it is deposited. So long ago as the time of Aristotle, it was the opinion of philosophers, that dew, like rain, falls from the atmosphere whensoever the air is cooled down below the point