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to have some faare. Mr. Knox confines his observations to points in which there is less danger of this suspicion, when he represenış che influence that · Letters' possess to footh the mind in the hour of dejection, and to lighten the burthen of distress.

Under the title of *. Literary Efays we suppose Mr. Knox classes his critical productions. The term literary has yet acquired no appropriate fignification in our language. It is included in that of Efay. It is therefore equally descriptive of, every species of composition, and characteristic of none.

In the province of criticism, this Gentleman discovers rather a correct and classical taste, than any fuperior degree of originality, or depth of penetration. His aversion to logic and metaphysics (which the abuse of these studies may almost justify in its excess) is difcernible even here. Fearful of being abstruse, be is too loose and indeterminate in his remarks: in avoiding the charge of subtilty, he gives into a languid style of criticism and spiritless observation, from which little improvement will be derived by those who are moderately tinctured with this sort of literature. The Elays on · Preaching and Sermon Writers,' and on the Ckoice of Books,' are too superficial and too futile to merit a place in this work. Those on 'Simplicity of Style' con Epistolary Writers' On some of the Minor English Poets,' are elegant, but contain no very striking remarks. The Ellay. On Oriental Poetry' is of an higher order; and exhibits a rich and flowing style, at the same time that it abounds with ingenious and solid obfervations,

The undistinguishing censure which Mr. Knox passes on the kindred studies of Logic and Metaphysics, and the heat and passion with which he is carried away when he ipeaks of Modern Ethics,' may incline some of his Readers to suspect that he is himself no very accurate reasoner, and that he does not understand very clearly what he condemns so decisively. We hope too he is mil taken in the fact he alleges. He obferves with a fort of triumph, that even Malebranche and Locke, che most rational of the metaphysicians, are daily loting ground. As a task they are attended to in public seminaries, where some obsolere plan of study requires metaphysical exercises; but the multitude of more agree. able works seldom leave time or inclination to the student who is at liberty to chuse his books for the controversy concerning innate ideas,

We have too much respect for Mr. Locke's writings not to regret that they are falling into neglect. If the fact be so, we

* Mr. Knox is guilty of the same inaccuracy when he talks of bufiness • civil or profeffional.' With no propriety can profitional be diftinguished from civil, unless he means the prolellion of the Sword.' In this case civil or military would have been better,

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should draw a very different conclufion, and confidet it as a symptom of the levity and futility of the present age; unable to bear the fatigue of manly thought, and prone to fink into habits of literary fauntering.

In the Strictures on Modern Ethics' our Author drops an intimation of his opinion upon the controverted doctrines of Liberty and Necessity. The writers who maintain the mechanism of the human mind are pretty roughly handled by him in the following paragraph.

• But even he who is taught to revere the wisdom of the naked Indian, and to despise the improvements of his own times and nation, is more likely to think and act with dignity, than the man who believes himself a machine. Such an one, to be consistent, must re. nounce the idea of the foul's supremacy over the actions of the body, and must resign himself to the impulse of that blood, of which alone he believes himself to confiit. As an engine he will yield to every ·motion without relisance; for the perfection of the machine depends on its moving with the least possible friction or impediment. The mistake of him who looks on himself in this light, is equally absurd with that of the hypochondriac visionary, who, in the temporary madness of his reverie, imagines himself a goose or an addled egg.'

If this passage does not indicate a great ignorance of the question at which it glances, it certainly betrays a want of decency to those who differ from him concerning it. Whether Dr. Priestley will be much alarmed at the idea of so formidable a champion as Mr. Knox, we cannot say. We believe the Doctor is in no danger of imagining himself either a goose or an addled egg, and therefore it is not probable that he will be greatly disturbed by this fingular suggestion. We must however do our Author the justice to observe, that he is here declaiming against the professed sceptics of the age, and that he does not seem to have thought of taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Dr. Priestley on this subject. He seems only to have pointed his artillery at a set of fashionable or modish philosophers, against whom he might think declamation the most effectual weapon, Taken in this view, the following expressions will not perhaps appear too warm.

• Absurd and pernicious as are most of the opinions advanced and maintained by modern philosophy; yet an elegance of style, a vivaciry of expreflion, a fingularity of sentiment, have had charms fufticient to recominend it to many whose badness of heart is only equalled by the weakness of their understandings : weakness, I say, for cunning is not wisdom. . Many of the great, the degenerate descendants of a debauched nobility, whose little minds have received the {mail degree of improvement of which they were capable, from a French mailer; are the professed disciples of Voltaire: and the of. fensive swarms of paltry pretenders to wit and genius, who ground their pretentions on blafpheming their God and calumniating their neighbour; and who prove the depravity of human rature by their

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owo baleness, are the admirers of Home and Bolingbroke. This correption has already spread far and wide, diffolving the bands of fociety, and diffufing personal misery. Whenever it hall become geperal, there is no doobe but that she over. ruling Providence which lefs not one fone upon another in Babylon, shall sweep away the nation in which it prevails, with the besom of destruction,

It is easy to collect from these Essays, that Mr. Knox adopts the syftem of those philosophers who affert common sense to be the teft of truth in morals and religion. This system is an extremely commodious one. It flatters the vanity and indolence so natural to the human mind, by referring all difficulties to a supposed infallible monitor, which pronounces at once on the queftion in dispute, and chases away every doubt. If we under stand the import of Efay XXXV. On the ill Effects of proving by Argument Truths already admitted,' it affords not the least dangerous application of the theory just alluded to. This Essay wears the form of a letter from a very good fort of man, whose repose has been disturbed, and whose religious conviction has been shaken by hooks of controversial divinity, and who unfortunately believed less as he read more. The picture of a mind thus thrown off the hinges is drawn with much fancy, and well sustained throughout. But what is the inference that results from it? Is it that the aflent which precedes examination is more valuable than that which flows from it? that convi&tion is in an inverse ratio to inquiry ?-Surely Mr. Knox does not think fo!

-The honeft letter-writer concludes his epistle with telling us, that he has resolved to lay afide proofs, demonstrations, and illustrations of all matters sufficiently proved, demonstrated and illustrated to the humble mind, by their own internal evi, dence. If our Readers be disposed to inquire what species of truths are the objects of this internal evidence, we are left to collect this from a preceding part of the letter : the catalogue is pretty copious.

• I had received (says he) all the notions ufually instilled by pa. rental authority, with implicit belief. I was told that there was one God, and I believed it, for I saw his works around me.' I embraced revealed religion in all ics parts, with the same evidence of conviction with which I believed the fun to exilt in the heavens, when I beheld its radiance, and felt its warmıh. I saw and believed the difference between right and wrong, vice and virtue, juftice and injustice, as strongly as the difference between black and white, and sweet and bi.ter. I never dreamt of calling in question the authenticity of the fcriptural writers, the doctrine of the trinity, the divinity of our Sa. viour, the immateriality and immortality of the human foul, and the refurrection of the body. When I repeated the creed, I fpoke with the same confidence of undoubting conviction, as when I afferred the truth of a fact of which I had ocular demonftration. The feady light of common sense had guided me, and I had been bumble enough to follow its directions,' : Rev. Jan. 1780.

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However 'important these articles of faith'are, and however susceptible of solid proof, any or all of them may be thought, we confess we see no great merit in believing them by rote, without any knowledge of the arguments by which they are supported. Though there should result fome ill effects (as Mr. Knox fuppofes) frorn proving truths already admitted, if they were admitted without examining, these effects ought to be hazarded. Religion need not shrink from the most rigid discussion. She cannot fuffer from the freeft inquiries: and to inquire and to judge is the business of all, in proportion to their means and opportunities of doing it. We do not entertain any high respect for that defcription of men whom the poet characterizes

• Unleitered Christians (who believe in gross),

Plod on to heaven, and ne'er are at a lofs.' We have already taken notice of Mr. Knox's enmity to logie and metaphyfics. In his Effay On Speculative Criticism and on Genius,' he relaxes somewhat of this hostile disposition ; and in defining genius, he seems to have delineated the qualities which form a logician, rather than the ingredients which constitute the poet. He supposes genius to be an extraordinary power of at. tention ; a capacity in the mind of attaching itself closely and strongly, at a glance, to every object that folicits its regard; of taking in the whole of it, in all its distant relations, dependen: cies, modifications, origin, and consequences.' If attention be allowed to usurp the name and honours of genius, what becomes of enthusiasm what becomes of invention, and of the creative power of imagination, which Shakspeare tells us, bodies forth the forms of things unknown, &c. and which has been ever considered as the very effence of genius?

In remarking these accidental points in which we differ from Mr. Knox, we do not mean to detract from the general merit of his performances. Perhaps there are few writers who have entered into so great a variety of subjects to whom we could have objected so little. We still adhere to the same favourable sentiments which we * at first formed of this' gentleman. It weré a wanț of candour to exclude him from that indulgence which in his concluding Effay he has solicited for other literary adventurers,

The spirit of adventure in literary undertakings, as well as in politics, commerce, and war, must not be discouraged. If it produces that which is worth little notice, neglect is easy. There is a great probability, however, that it will often exhibit something conducive to pleasure and improvement. But when every new attempt is checked by severity, or regarded with indifference, learning ftag. nates, and the mind is depreffed, will its productions so far degenerate as to judify disregard. Taste and literature are never long Itationary. When they cease to advance, they become retrograde.

* Vide Review-above referred to; for the account of che first you lume of Eliays Moral and Literary.

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‘Every liberal attempt to give a liberal enieriainment is entiiled to a kind excuse, though its execution should not have a claim to praise. For the sake of encouraging subsequent endeavours, lenity should be displayed where there is no appearance of incorrigible ftupidity, of assuming ignorance, and of empty conceit. Severity chills the open. ing powers, as the frost nips the bud that would else have been a blossom, le is blameable morofenefs to censure those who sincerely mean to please, and fail only from causes not in their own dis; osal.

• The praise; however, of well meaning has usually been allowed with a facility of conceflion which leads to fospect that it was thought of litde value. It has also been received with apparent mortification, This surely is the result of a perverted judgment; for intention is in the

power of every man, though he cannot command ability.'

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ART. X. An Appeal from the Proteftant Asociation to the People of Great

Britain, concerning the probable Tendency of the late Act of Par. liament in favour of Papiits. 8vo. 6d. Dodsley. 1779. TE bold the principles of popery in as much abhorrence,

and its absurdities in as much contempt, as the most zealous member of the Protestant Association. But since a bill hath paffed both Houses of Parliament, and gained the royal aflent, in favour of Roman Catholics, we are apprehenfive that it bears too much the appearance of a popish spirit, to endeavour to procure a repeal of it. Protestants have (and with great reason) accused the Papists of a bigotted and intolerant spirit; and have appealed to the decrees of their councils,-the decisions of their ableft and most approved advocates, and above all, to the inconteftible evidence of facts, to authenticate their charge. But shall we condemn ourselves, by imitating their conduct? Shall we act like Papists in supporting Protestantism? No. Let our actions convince them of the disimilarity of our principles. Let us shew them, that in espousing the cause of Protestantism, we are not vindicating the claims of a fect; but that our disposition is as benevolent as Christianity, and our object as extensive as Human Nature. This conduct would, in the nobleft sense of the expression, heap çoals of fire on their heads :' and convince them (if any thing could convince them) that Proteftants have imbibed the amiable and exalted spirit of their divine Master, who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.'

But the members of the Association are prepared to tell us, that the question at present is not so much about a point of religion, as a matter of civil polity. They do not: oppose Popery because it is a systein of errors and absurdities, but because of its state-maxims, and the malignant aspect which it bears on the civil and religious sights of mankind. Hence, F 2

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