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pointed out, the criterion of virtue laid down by Paley is brought under examination. This criterion is general utility. The difficulty of ascertaining what will promote general utility is insurmountable ; and the author, both from good auchority as well as sound reasoning, shows clearly, that this general utilily, even if it could be at all times ascertained, cannot be a safe guide to virtuous conduct. Having exploded this and other criteria, and proved that a criterion, or rule of virtue of universal application, is not to be discovered, he comes to this conclusion :
" The result is, that, in order to act virtuously, we muft always have in view obedience to the will of God; but that, in order to discover what his will is, with respect to any particular action, we · are not confined to one mark or criterion of it, but are at liberty to make use of any of the methods, by which, as we conceive, it may be discovered with the greatest eafe and certainty. Different men, according to their refpe&tive habits, and according to the nature of the case, may safely have recourfe to the rule of general utility, conformity to truth or the eternal differences of things, the moral sense, or any other rule of similar tendency, as each may be of more convenient application, so long as it is, and is considered to be, expressive of the will of God. Even the same per. fon, at different times, and on different occafions, may be per. mitted to say, This action is conformable to the natural dif. ferences of things; this is agreeable to truth; this has a tendency to general good; this is the refust of my fenfe of right and wrong; and so on;" and may thence juftly conclude, with respect to each of them, that it is agreeable to the will of God, and therefore a virtuous a&tion. If he proceed to act under that persuasion, he acts virtuously; but, if I mistake not, where there is no reference, immediate or mediate, to the will of God, there, whatever may be the role of action, and whatever may be the action, there is no yirtue, P. 82,
This conclufion necessarily.follows, from his own definition of virtue; and, in our progress towards it, occurs the following jinportant semark, which we with pleasure transcribe.
"In short, virtue and vice have a necessary relation to a state of discipline; to that itate, in which the agents, by a series of particular actions, are gradually formed to a character either of virtue or of vice, of goodness or badness; after which, their actions become the natural, not to say necessary, effect of their respective characters. This idea, if I inistake not, opens to us the whole business of morality, and the design of the different situations, in which we are here placed, calculated, as they evidently are, to call
forth the different virtues into use, and to improve them into lasta. ing habits.' P. 79.
From a note in the chapter on the rule of virtue, it seenis that this work has been presented to the syndics of the press at Cambridge ; and we are not at a loss to conjecture the reafons for its not being retained ; nor can we disapprove the conduct of the syndics in returning it to its author. They have already published a work for the tutor of the present writer, in which it could not have been a pleasant sight to observe a note, intimating that the sentiments of the patrons of the work thus published did not concur; and they might well be apprehensive of danger, from the style and language of the disciple. This might have been avoided, probably, by a lito tle more care on his part; and, if he wished for patronage, his chapter on the obligation to obtain the knowledge of vir: tue should have been differently modified. Must not many of them have been thocked by such an expression as this :-Í am of opinion, not only that there is no one certain method of discovering the will of God, but that it cannot, itrictly speaking, be certainly discovered at all.' “ What !” they would fay, “is virtue a voluntary obedience to we know not what, and to what we cannot know ?" Virtue and vice, then, what are they but mere names.” Surely this is an improve. ment in morality which favours too much of modern philosophy, and cannot be recommended by us to the studious youth of the university. We felt exactly as, we suppose, the Syndics did on reading this passage ; for, coming upon us with fuch strength of affirmation, i engrossed, for a time, the whole of our attention, and we shut the book while we were collecting ourselves, under the impression made so suddenly on our feelings, and comparing in our own mind this passage with the reflexions in the preceding parts of the work. Accustomed, however, to the language of this school, we resumed our occupation, and, rather to our surprise, found that the very next passage softened down entirely the fingularity of the preceding remark. In other words, I do not think that morality is matter of demonstration. This leads our author into an inquiry, in which we think he gives several good reasons for differing from Locke, all of which would have been equally valid, and in place, if they had been introduced less violently, and without the appearance of an infidel maxim.
On the motive to virtue, our author shines to much greater advantage ; and, in making some judicious distinctions between motive and principles, he combats, with great success, Paley's notion, of obligations. His peculiar fentiments ma be seen in the following passage.
.. I do not hefitate to pronounce, that the end of virtue is the happiness of individuals.' This happiness may, consist in various particulars, but chiefly in the exaltation of character; and this exaltation is to be effected by the repetition of acts of obedience to the divine will, until a habit of obedience to that will is formed, and that likeness to God, of which the particular beings, from their nature and conftitution, are capable, is perfeéted in them. This, if I mistake not, is the end of all human virtue, from the duty of Adam, in paradise, which consisted in the observance of a fingle precept, to the duty of persons in the most complicated ftuatious of life. , In the mean time, whatever is the character of men, at any stage of their progress towards perfection, there is a proper hape piness belonging to it, the consideration of which is not to be neg. lected. It hence follows, that private happiness is the proper motive to virtue. For though, in fact, the end, which God designed in the actions of men, is not always the motive to the agent; yet we may safely affirm, that, when known, it ought to be so. That all motives are not inconsistent with the moral principle, will appear from confidering the effect of motives in the production of any particular action. In a case of distress, we may afford relief from a sentiment of compaffion, from a sense of duty, or from the expectation of reward. If we are led to afford relief merely from the sentiment of compassion, the action is not, strictly speaking, virtue; but something less or something more. For, if the sentiment of compaslion, by which we are actuated, be the mere effect of the moral sense, as implanted by nature, the action resulting from it implies no volia tion, and is consequently deficient in an essential part of virtue. If it be the effect of that sense improved by repeated acts of virtue, so as to have become the habit of the mind, it is rather an expression of that godlike disposition, which it is the intention of virtue to produce, than a particular act of virtue.' P. 141.
, But here we come to a very difficult point, and the virtue of the ancients presents an obstacle not easily to be sure mounted. According to our author's system, the heathens might have been virtuous; and he is in danger, not only of opposing Dr. Paley, but of running counter to the articles of the church. • The truth is, Dr. Paley makes morality to depend too much on the credibility of the Christian revelation.' We must separate then, it seeins, the Christian religion from our morality; and, having done this, we are told that * we have no authority for asserting that the grace, in the thirteenth article of our church, which is here supposed necessary to render actions pleasing to God, was not bestowed on many before the appearance of Christ on earth. To support this opinion, we are referred to the explanation given of the article by Dr. Hey, a reference so very fufpicious, that we are naturally inclined to be more attentive to our author's laqe guage, which, However consistent with Dr. Hey, appears to us to be entirely repugnant to the principles of the Reformation, and the language of the church articles.
In the last chapter is given a division of virtue, under three classes : our duties to God, to our neighbour, and ourselves ; and each class is fubdivided into three heads, contsting of duties, of thoughts, words, and action. In this part chere is nothing peculiarly distinguishable ; nor do we, from the fpecimen produced of Dr. Balguy's lectures, entertain such sanguine hopes as the author, that the publication of them will be very beneficial to the public. The chief peculiarity in the work is stated by the author himself in the conclusion of the whole.
"The peculiarity, therefore, of what I have attempted, consists in this, that, whereas others have admitted into their systems of morality, whether as the foundation, the rule, or the motive of virtue, obedience to the will of God, conformity to truth, conformity to the eternal fitness of things, the moral sense, regard to the good of mankind, regard to private happiness, &c. but have admitted one or more of these particulars separately, always to the disparagement, and generally to the exclusion, of any other, I have endeavoured to low, that there is not such an incompatibility between them as has been supposed; that the admission of some does not necessarily imply the exclusion of the rest; but that, when they have their proper place in the subject, they are all perfectly consistent with each other, and contribute their parts towards the formation of one harmonious whole.' P.233.
To us, a very striking peculiarity occurs, from comparing the work with a sentiment of the author's, maintained in a note, which is to us not indeed very intelligible. • I would not,' says the writer, altogether discourage speculation, but I cannot help thinking that it would be useful to put specula. tion under a greater check than it is under at present. This is indeed a most extraordinary assertion in a book of this description. By what shackles is the author restrained himself? And if he admit of none in his own case, why then does he wish to shackle others ? He has taken virtue for the subject of his speculations : he has pursued her to the utinost limit of his thoughts : he has bounded himself in his inquiry by no authorities, whether individual or collective ; he brings all to the test of his own opinion, and pronounces with an autho. ritative I, as decisively as the most egotic philofopher. What is the nature of the check that he would impofe upon specu. lation ? We profess ourselves entirely at a loss to coniccture.
To us there appears to be no restraint desirable. We will · that every Christian writer should keep himielf within the limits of scripture ; and, if he is a clergyınan of the church of England, that he thould confine his interpretation of scripture to the limits of the thirty-nine articles.
Our readers will see, then, that we do not approve entirely of the latitude taken in these speculations ; yet there are many parts of the work which we cannot too highly applaud. It is not written in a manner likely to recommend itself to young readers, nor in an ornamented and popular style. The investigation is dry and minute, and in several parts uninteresting. The author's definition of virtue is the best part of his book ; and when it is considered as the virtue of a Christian, we apprehend no danger in tracing it to its remoteft connexions. The teachers of morality may derive many useful hints from this work, even while they make Pa. ley's philosophy the basis of their system. The corrections suggested in the pages we have just perused will improve their lectures; but the work itself is to be put into the hand of the teacher, not into that of the learner.
Memoirs relative to Egypt, written in that country during the
Campaigns of General Bonaparte, in the Years 1798 and 1799, by the learned and fcientific Men who accompanied the French Expedition. 8vo. Ss. 6d. Boards. Phillips. 1800.
WHATEVER opinion may be formed of the attempt, or whatsoever may be the result of the French expedition to Egypt, the uniting scientific philosophers to a conquering army deferves commendation. Had Aristotle followed the expedition of Alexander, what valuable additions inight not have been made to the remarks of Arrian? and had Genferic been accompanied by able observers, we should not at this time have semained in ignorance of many parts of Africa or Alia. That we reap so little benefit by this union of science and arms, for the present volume is neither peculiarly valuablc nor interest. ing, may easily be accounted for. The din of arms is not fayourable to speculative inquiries; and while constantly engaged in repelling active force or guarding against treacherous. affaflination, the mind is seldom in a state to observe with cool.. ness and precision. Urgent necesities feelingly asserted their claim, and the languor of disease repressed ofien the active chergies of the intellect. Such must be the apologies for the defečts of the present volume: we shall now more particularly attend to what it contains. .
The formation of the Institute, and the history of its proceedings, need not delay us, except when connected with the progreis of science, or where it contains remarks not after