« PreviousContinue »
ness, variety, loftiness, yet obscu« count, the same qualities may be rity, and not unfrequent self-con- nearly predicated of both, notwithtradiction, which are to be observed standing the existence allowed to in bis writings.
the one, and denied to the other; or, It would far exceed even the most this visible world is nothing but an extended limits of a review, were we efflux from the Deity; and, in this to accompany Dr. Ireland in his Ana- sense, all things being one, the whole lysis of the Platonic philosophy, is material together. It is remarkable however pleasant such a progress that some of these notions are to be would be to ourselves, or entertain- found at this day in the Brahminical ing and instructive to many of our system*. A view of the Platonic readers. We must refer them to the doctrine concerning the creation, by work itself, except for a succinct ac- the Deiniurge, the nature and office count of the various topics which are of the secondary gous and of the discussed in this part of it: suffice demons, closes. this chapter; from it, therefore, to say, that the learned which the learned author justly in. author, in the first place, from a short fers, that the deity of Plato, when history of the celebrated school of found, was not inore effective than Alexandria, of the formation of the Varro's soul of the world ; and that eclectic sect by Ammonius, and of neither from him, nor from any of the calechetical school by the Chris- the fabled beings, whoin he is abcians in the same city, points out the surdly supposed to have produced, source of that undue admiration for the purpose of directing human of the Platonic philosophy, and of atlairs, could the gift of immortal the interpretation of it, with reference life and happiness be reasonably exto the higher doctrines of the Gospel, pected. which may be observed in the writ.
From this discussion concerning ings of the earlier fathers. And here the Platonic deities, Dr. Ireland prohe introduces some just and pointed ceeds, in bis 7th chapter, to inquire, animadversions on the evil and dan- whether, notwithstanding the incager of ihus uniting philosophy and pacity of bestowing immortality thus Christianity; a disposition which was proved against the gods, the soul of most disgracefully and injuriously man weresecure of happiness through displayed at the revival of literature, any qualities, eitber derived from and even in later rimes, by Dacier, in without, or resulting from its own France, and by Taylor, in our own nature. After enumerating some of country. Froin this view of the false the leading opinions of the more ancredit assunzed for him by the Alex- cient philosophers, concerning the audrian school, Dr. Ireland turns to soul, Dr. Ireland observes, that Plato Plato himself, and briefly inquires, was the first who taught the world what is the probable amount of the the reasons, such as the philosophy knowledge which he possessed of the of nature could teach, from which Deity. He shews that the celebrated the soul of man was concluded to be doctrine of this philosopher, con- inimorial. He then divides Plato's cerning “one," while it appears to view of this important point into two do honour to the primary principle parts. 1. The principle on which of all things, is, in fact, effectually the doctrine of immortality is foundinjurious to it; and that his deity, ed. 2. The history of the soul in its which, in the reverential but mis. three stages of existence, before its taken interpretation of St. Augns- entrance into the body, during the rin, was placed beyond all the one possession of it, and after the sepajecis of sense, is ultimately reduced ration from it. The celebrated arguto a participation in the grossness of matter. Either the incorporeal being
See a masterly and beautiful display of is linked in a degrading union with them in Mr. Grani's Poem on the Restoration his own eternal world; and on this ac- of Learning in the East.
ment of Plato for the immortality of necessary reference of all these pow. the soul, as it is formally stated by ers to the same Being, our Creator, Cicero, in the first book of his Tus- Preserver, and Judge, results the new culan Questions, is this : that sincecessity of the sole worship of the the soul has the power of perpetual Godhead. Subjoined to this weighty and spontaneous motion, it is neces- observation, is a pointed reproof sarily both underived and imperish- of the attempt, by Wollaston, to able. Cicero himself seems to place prove the claims of natural relithe principal strength of this far. gion to the discovery of these great famed argument in the consciousness truths of revelation. From this of the soul that it possesses these view of the subject of creation, Dr. qualities. The Platonic history of Ireland derives another important the soul in its several conditions, is conclusion, viz. that man is not so full of extreme folly and absur. abandoned by the Deity, but that dity, that, except for the purpose of his redemption is the work of the curiosity, or rather of impressing same God, through the grace which more deeply the conviction of the he has vouchsafed to us by Jesus utter inabiliy of man, unassisted by Christ. And this leads the author to the light of divine revelation, to a reflection on the second part of form any completely just conceptions the Platonic doctrine, viz. that the on the subject, it is wholly unwor- immortality he attributed to the thy of attention. The bare statement soul (for the body was not deemed of the Platonic fancies, intricate and worthy of any consideration), was, even unintelligible as in some parts after all, no more than a physical it must almost have proved, could round of eternity; and that, if the scarcely, however, fail of thoroughly soul is immortal, it is so on the preparing the minds of his youthful same principle with the elements, auditors for the important inferences or the material substances of nature, which the learned lecturer draws which are gradually decomposed, from his minute review of this cele- and furmed again. brated system. He points out to them, in the first place, that the no- "" How different," exclaims Dr. Ireland, tion of a creation attributed to the “ the language of revelation! The body Platonic desty, was altogether a false and the soul of dian are equally the creation one, and that this is an imperfection of God. They are together governed by his chargeable to paganism in general. providence, and together subject to luis tula proof of this, Ďr. Ireland gives a throaylı any independent or self-subsisting
ture judgruent. The soul is immortal, not short notice of the profound Treatise properties, but through the nature conferred of Mosheim on the Creation of the upon it by its Maker, and confirmed by his World from Nothing;” in which he preserving power. It is placed in the body, discusses the question, whether this which it guides in righteousness
, according is doctrine be really taught in any of the suggestions of the Holy Spirit. When the books which have descended to the body dies, the soul dues not sleep with us from the pagan ages. This in- it in the dust of the earth, but returns to God portant inquiry is determined by
who gave it. At the last day it shall be fithat learned writer in the negative. nally joined again with its body. This was From the Scriptures, then, alone is mortal
, but is now gluritied for etemity by the doctrine of a proper creation to things to itself;' and both together, shall re
That Power, which is able to subdue all be learned the cardinai point, as ceive the reward of immortal happiness, proDr. Ireland justly observes, of all mised to the faith and obedience of man, religion; for, from a strict and abso- through Jesus Christ.” pp. 323, 394. late creation by an Almighty Being, properly flow the divine dominion To render his refutation of the over the world, the present dispen- pretensions of paganism to the resations of Providence, and the future wards of the “ lite to come,” more judgment of man. And froin the complete and satisfactory, Dr. Ire
land, in the 8th and last chapter of the methods in which the kingdom of Plenhis work, inquires into the principal sure may be best administered, and that she opinions which were entertained by provide for its safety. Justice is ordered to the Heathen world, concerning hu- make so skilful a distribution of her good man happiness; jastly concluding, offices, that they may produce the profitable that, if the doctrine of immortality convertiencies which are necessary for the
returns of friendship, and the supply of those was discovered by the light of na- body. She is also required to abstain from ture, it could not fail to be observed injury to any, lest, through the disturbance in those systems which professed to of the laws, Pleasure be interrupted in the teach the summum bonum; but that, enjoyment of that security which she loves. if it made no part of those systems, It is the task of Fortitade to counteract the and if the summum bonum was no- ill effects of pain, by thinking intensely of thing more than the advantage lier great mistress, Pleasnre; and to diminish afising from the best mode of con- & present anguish by the remembrance of ducting common life, the former in- past delights. Finally, Temperance is comference, that the best philosophy of manded to provide for a due moderation in nature rose no higher than to an un
the use of food, especially of such as causes certainty on the great subject of God
a more than usual delight : for noxious hu
mours are bred by too much indulgence and and the soul, is fully established. The view which Dr. Ireland has necessary to the pleasures of Epicurus."
repletion; and soundness of body is ever given, of the philosophical debates concerning the summum bonum, is We shall not be surprized, after drawn principally from Cicero and this notice of the moral system of from Varro. A summary accord- Epicurus, that the whole of his phiingly follows, of the leading parts of losophy was accommodated to the the former celebrated writer's Trea
To this primary standard tise “ On the Ends of Good and he referred the laws of reasoning Evil.” The Epicurean, Stoic, and
and of nature. This is the great reAcademical doctrines, are made to medy against the fear of death: and pass in successive and luminous re- by the same superior doctrine are view before us; and we are satisfied also removed all slavish apprehenthat we should gratify many of our sions of a Deity! And thus the great readers by presenting them with desideratum of human happiness is copious extracts from the correct at length discovered ! Sed hæc and vivid pictures which are drawn hactenus. of these ingenious, but discordant,
To the view which Dr. Ireland erroneous, and unsatisfactory sys- gives of the existing sects, he adds tems. We have room, however, Varro's curious account of all the only for the following lively por possible ones, amounting in number, trait of the Epicurean philosophy.
by an ingenious process of multipli
cation, io no less than two hundred " It was not to be expected, that the and eighty-eight, but finally redu. enemies of Epicurus would fail to take their cible, by an equally skilful method, advantage of so degrading a principle,” name- to twelve; and completes the subly, that of pleasure ; " and Cicero has men- ject by the following just and strike tioned the picture which Cleanthes used to ing observations, arising from the draw, for the benefit of his scholars, of Plea- doctrines which had been reviewed. sure, attended by the Virtues, as her waitingmaids. But Augustin has stated it at greater “1. Concerning the sect which was first length, and proved, in this instance, an use. noticed, it may be of importance to remark, ful commentator on Cicero. Pleasure is the involuntary testimony which it bears to scated on a throne, delicate in her person, a great and standing truth, viz. that, in the and regal in her state. Beneath, in the nature of things, right principles have a gehabit of servants, stand the Virtues, obser- nuine ascendancy of character, and that vice vant of her gestures, and ready to execute itself is compelled to borrow the aid of virtue ber will. She issues lier commands. To for its own support. The votaries of pleasure Prudence it'is enjoined, that she ascertain dared not to propose their philosophy in its
own licentious nakedness. They courted mutability of the world. He has ålso the the sanction of something more dignified; high privilege of being free from all doubt and it is well observed by Cicero, that when concerning his principles, and from all error, Torquatus talked of the virtues, and their Whence arises this confidence? It is the connection with the summum bonum of Epi- boast of the Academic philosophy, that it is curus, liis voice was raised, and all bis ges- not restricted to single points of doctrine, but tures shewed his internal feeling of their has a larger and more secure foundation, superior value. The connection, however, and embraces both the component parts of was equally degrading to virtue, and una
But what is obtained by this vailing to Epicurus. While Cato felt, that junction of the concerns of the soul with the to join pleasure with virtue, was to thrust condition of the body? Through the examià harlot into the society of matrons, he nation which has been made of the opinions strongly exposed the real and only purpose of Plato, we liave already detected the fallaof such a philosophy, and the insignificance cy of the object to which he directed the of its end, when compared with the labour hopes of the soul. And as to Varro, he is employed in the pursuit of it. Epicurus in this, as in his former disquisition, utterly daimed the possession of wisdom; and in silent concerning an existence in a future the pride of physical inquiry, ranged through staie. Man, mortal man, is the beginning the heavens and the earth, the air and the and the end of his pliilosophy. To discover sea, and formed a comprehensive system of the art by which common life may be best nature. But what was the purpose of all conducted, is all his concern—the object of this philosophical labour ?-ihe attainment all his virtue. He never turned his view's of pleasure! Xerxes astonished the world towards another world for the happiness with his warlike preparations. He joined the which he sought. Probably, his sagacity shores of the Hellespout, and dug through had taught liim the emptiness of the fancies Athos. He walked the seas and navigated of Plato. He formed none for himself; and the land. If it had been asked of Xerxes, we must conclude concerning a genius disWhy he burst open Greece with so mighty a tinguished at Rome by his capacity of reforce? with equal reason might he have an- search, his depth of penetration, his strong swered, To fetch honey from Hymettus! judgment, and extensive learning, that lie
2. “ On the second of these sects we may indulged 110 hope of imınortality, and that, sembark, what errors await virtue itself, when to his eyes, futurity was one universal the exercise of it is left to the mere direction blank.'” of nature! It is the distinguish:ing excellence of Christianity, that it brings us to
Such is the conclusion of a work, God througlt the acknowledgment of our
upon which some of our readers may natural frailty, and teaches a reliance on perhaps think that we have bestowHearen, through a distrust of ourselves. ed an attention disproportionate to While it elevates the soul, it lowers the pas- its size, if not to its importance. sions ; while it dignifies the character, it ex. The subject is certainly not altogesinguishes self-opinion, and makes humility ther new, since many parts of it the basis of duty. The maxims of the Stoic must be familiar to those who are were, indeed, superior to those of the Epicurean ; but be grew in arrogance as he in Treatise on the Necessity and Im
acquainted with Leland's valuable prored in doctrine. He looked to no superior Being, but drew his virtue from the portance of a Divine Revelation, with powers of his independent nature. He was
Brucker's elaborate History of Phi. completely wise in bimself; and, in his own losophy, or with Dr. Enfield's able estimation, became his own god.
abridgment of that voluminous 3. “ From the principles of the old Aca- work. Still, the plan of Dr. Iredeing results a conclusion equally revoltingland's lectures is so ingenious, his or equally unsatisfactory. The Peripatetick arrangement so perspicuous, his was ready to proclaim with the Stoic, that in knowledge of the subject so comtelligence and action are the two distinguish- plete and masterly, bis reasoning so ing features of man, and that he may
acute and convincing, his principles termed a mortal Deity. Varro too, like Epicuros, bas ranged through all nature in
so scriptural and elevated, and his
quest of human happiness, and is equally proud of style so correct, animated, and frehis discovery. The man possessed of the quently eloquent, that we cannot virtne of his sect, is happy in himself, and but think he has rendered an im#cute from the stroke of fortune and the portant service to the public, and CARIST. OBSERY. No. 111.
more especially to those who are en- of late not unfrequently been obgaged in the business of education, served, that Bishop Warburton was by the publication of this volume. the last divine of our church, who Such a work as that of which we brought to his subject a complete have given so extended an account, store of profane and sacred literamay be much more useful than The single name of Horsley, many may be apt to imagine. The would be a sufficient reply to such sufficiency of mere natural reason an observation; but it is really a as the guide not only to the know- source of great satisfaction, to perledge of the duties of human life, ceive in such an author as Dr. Irebut even to the hope and promise land, and in a few others, who might of immortality, has not yet lost its be named, plain proofs of such taadvocates ; nor can the claims of di- lents and acquirements, as promise vine revelation, to the exclusive to secure to the church a continued prerogative of perfectly conferring supply of men capable of defending such knowledge, and opening such it against the renewed and varied expectations, be too strongly, or too attacks of infidel and heretical wri. frequently urged. There are still ters. but too many, among the literary After all the praise, however, and scientific classes of society, which we think we have justly be. who, dazzled by a few sublime sen- stowed on this work, we have one timents, and correct observations on general observation to make, which religion and morality, which are, materially affects our entire approno doubt, to be met with in almost bation of it. The comparison beevery heathen writer, treat the in- tween Paganism and Christianity is spired volume with indifference or triumphantly made in favour of ihe neglect; and, adhering to the latter; and nothing can be more “ broken cisterns” of human wis; complete than the exposure of the dom, are contented with the barren weakness and josufficiency of the occupation
former. But throughout these lec“ Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
ļures, this delusive and dangerous And growing old in drawing nothing up."
error seems to be implied-ihat the
mere speculative conviction of the Those, also, who are acquainted with truth of Christianity, and the bare the powerful fascination of the profession of it, are all that is reclassical authors, will feel how im- quired-or raiher, that every one portant and difficult a work it is to who is nominally a Christian, is so dispel what is really dangerous in in reality. We do not mean to inthis charm from the minds of young sinuate, that Dr. Ireland would persons; of those especially, who countenance such an opinion; but are in the course of education at the general impression of his book either of our great public schools; certainly tends to encourage it. and how necessary it is for this pur- While the ignorance and the uncerpose, that the errors and defects tainty which characterise the views of the favourite writers of antiquity, of Plato, of Cicero, and even of Soshould be plainly and priniedly ex- crates, on subjects of religion, are posed, and contrasted with the sub- strongly held forth, and contrasted limer, and more just and satisfactory with the superior knowledge and records of our holy faith. This persuasion of the Christian writers, Dr. Ireland has done, in a fair and there is nothing in these lectures impartial, but most decisive man- which might lead the Westminster per.
scholars who heard them, or those The classical, and more particular- who may read them, to suppose, ly the ecclesiastical learning, which that, with all the advantages which he has displayed in this volume, bas, Christianity has attorded us, many indeed, highly gratified ys. It has will probably be found to fall short