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ner, and the general slovenliness of his apparel, perhaps contributed to increase the effect of his jocularity.
When he made his first appearance in the schools, he surprised the spectators by a style of dress, very different from his ordinary habiliments. He exhibited his hair full dressed, with a deep ruffled shirt, and new silk stockings.
When Paley kept his first act, one of the theses in support of which he proposed to dispute was, that the eternity of punishments is.contrary to the Divine Attributes. But finding that this topic would give offence to the master of his college (Dr. Thomas,) he went to Dr. Watson, the moderator, to get it changed. Dr. Watson told him that he might put in non before contradicit. Mr. Paley, therefore, defended this proposition, that “ Æternitas pænarum non contradicit Divinis Attributis ;” or that the eternity of punishments is not contrary to the Divine Attributes. As he had first proposed to argue against the eternity of future punishments, we may suppose that that was his undiesembled opinion; and therefore, it would. have been more honourable to his candour, to have taken an entirely new question, rather than to have argued in opposition to his real sentiments. Through the whole course of his life, Dr. Paley seemed too willing to support established doctrines; and to find plausible reasons for existing institutions ; even in cases in which he must have felt those doctrines to be at variance with truth, and those institutions in opposition to the best interests of mankind. His great and vigorous mind ought to have disdained the petty subterfuges of disingenuous subtlety and interested sophistication.
Mr. Paley acquired no small celebrity in the University by the ability which he displayed in keeping his first act; and the schools were afterward uniformly crowded when he was expected to dispute. He took his degree of bachelor of arts in January, 1763; and was the senior wrangler of
After taking his bachelor's degree he became second usher in an academy at Greenwich. Here his office was to teach the Latin language, Dus
ring his leisure hours he often visited London, and rambled about the metropolis, which affords such numerous opportunities for edifying contemplation to an active and discriminating mind. He pursued knowledge and amusement with equal, or nearly equal, eagerness and avidity. The mind cannot always be kept upon the stretch ; and those minds which are capable of great intensity of exertion, seem most to require proportionate relaxation. One of the characteristics of a great mind is flexibility of attention to a diversity of objects. Mr. Paley attended the play. houses and the courts of justice with similar delight. Every scene furnished him with intellectual aliment.
In 1765 Mr. Paley obtained one of the prizes, which are annually given by the members of the University for the two best dissertations in Latin prose. The subject was “ A Comparison between the Stotic and Epicurean philosophy with respect to the influence of each on the morals of the
people.” Mr. Paley vindicated the Epicurean side of the question. He had afterward to read his dissertation in the senate-house before the University. His delivery is reported not to have done justice to the merits of the composition.
In June, 1766, Mr. Paley was elected fellow of Christ's College. This occasioned his return to the University, where he soon became one of the tutors of his college. Tuition was a province, in which his clear and vigorous understanding, the lucid perspicuity with which he could develope his ideas, and the diversified modes in which he could illustrate his positions, combined with no small share of hilarity and good-humour, rendered him peculiarly qualified to excel. Mr. Law, son of the master of Peterhouse, was his coadjutor in the business of tuition; and the union of so much ability soon raised the fame of the college to an unusual height. The intimacy which was thus cemented between Mr. Paley and Mr. Law, contributed to promote the interest of our author by the friendship to which it led with Mr Law's father ; who, on his elevation to the see of Carlisle in 1769, made Mr. Paley his chaplain.
In his province of tutor to Christ's College, Mr.
Paley lectured on metaphysics, morals, the Greek Testament, and subsequently, on divinity: The whole substance of his moral instructions is contained in his Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy; and it is well known that hardly a single idea has found its way into his subsequent publications, which he had not previously promulgated in his lectures.
In his theological lectures, he very judiciously avoided, as much as possible, all matter of polemical strife or sectarian animosity. He used to consider the thirty-nine articles of religion, as mere articles of peace; of which it was impossible that the framers could expect any one person to believe the whole, as they contain altogether about two hundred and forty distinct, and many of them inconsistent, propositions.
Notwithstanding the great liberality of opinion which Mr. Paley exhibited in his lectures, and constantly inculcated upon his pupils, he refused to sign the clerical petition to the House of Commons in 1772, for a relief from subscription tv articles of religion, though he approved the object of the petition, and wished to see it accomplished.-Ought he not then to have given the petition the sanction of his name? On this occasion he is reported to have said,—“ I cannot afford to have a conscience ;" but no serious stress ought to be laid on such effusions of jocularity or inconsideration. If all a man's light, humorous, or inadvertent sayings were to be brought up in judgment against him, the purest virtue, and the brightest wisdom, would hardly be able to endure the ordeal. The best and the wisest men are often remarkable for particular inconsistencies.
Though Mr. Paley refused to lend his name to the clerical petition, yet he appears afterward to have vindicated the object which it proposed to obtain, in the defence of a pamphlet written by Bishop Law, entitled, “Considerations on the propriety of requiring a subscription to Articles of Faith.” The defence which is just mentioned has been uniformly ascribed to Mr. Paley: and though it must be reckoned among his more juvenile performances,
yet it must be allowed, in many instances, to have exhibited a display of ability, and a force of argument, worthy of his more improved judgment, and his more matured abilities.
While Paley was engaged in the office of tuition at Christ's College, his celebrity induced the late Earl Camden to offer him the situation of private tutor to his son. But this was incompatible with his other occupations, and was accordingly declined.
In 1775 Mr. Paley began to receive solid proofs of Bishop Law's regard. The ecclesiastical patronage, which is attached to the see of Carlisle, is very scanty and poor; but after providing for his son, Bishop Law conferred upon Paley the best benefices which he had to bestow. He was collated to the rectory of Musgrove in Westmoreland, which was at that time worth about 801. a year. He was soon after presented to the vicarage of Dalston in Cumberland : and on the 5th of September 1777, he resigned the rectory of Musgrove upon being inducted to the more valuable benefice of Appleby. Whilst he was in possession of this benefice, he published a little work, denominated “ The Clergyman's Companion in Visiting the Sick.” Such a book was much wanted; and as it contains a judicious selection of prayers for different occasions, it has supplied the clergy with a very useful auxiliary in their devotional occupations.
In 1780, Paley was preferred by his patron, Bishop Law, to a prebendal stall in the cathedral of Carlisle, which was worth about four hundred pounds a year. And in August 1782, he was appointed Archdeacon of Carlisle ; a sort of sinecure ; but by which his clerical dignity was increased, and his temporal income enlarged.
In 1785 the period arrived when Mr. Paley, who had hitherto published only a pamphlet, or a few occasional sermons, was to appear as an author in a larger and more substantial form. It was in this year that his Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy issued from the press. This work soon experienced a degree of success, not indeed greater than its general excellence deserves, but greater than any work of merit, on its first appearance, usually receives. In this most useful production Paley exhibits no dazzling novelties ; and makes no parade of new discoveries ; for what that is new was likely to be said on such a subject, of which the great principles are coeval with the existence of man upon the habitable globe? But though the matter of which this work consists, is so old, and has so often been fabricated into a diversity of forms by other writers, yet the capcious mind of Paley has formed it anew into a system in which there is so much clearness in the arrangement, so much cogency in the reasoning, and so much precision in the language, that there is no moral treatise by which it is surpassed in the great merit of general usefulness. Mr. Paley did not make his materials ; he found them already made ; but his own hands raised the fabric; and of that fabric the merit is all his own.
Some few parts of Mr. Paley's moral, and more of his political reasoning are liable to objections, but with all its defects, his “ Moral and Political Philosophy” constitutes a valuable addition to that department of our literature. As it forms one of the lecture books for the students in the University of Cambridge, this circumstance must have tended greatly to augment its circulation, and to extend its usefulness.
In addition to his other honours and emoluments in the see of Carlisle, Mr. Paley was, at the end of the year 1785, appointed chancellor of that diocese. In the year 1787, he lost his venerable friend and patron, the Bishop of Carlisle, who died on the 14th of August, at the advanced age of eighty-four.Bishop Law was an honest and intrepid inquirer after truth; and though he was inferior to his younger friend in intellectual energy, yet it would have made no small addition to Paley's fame, if he had equalled his affectionate and revered patron in the fearless declaration of all his theological opi. nione.
It is highly honourable to Paley that he was among the first of those who expressed a decided opinion against the iniquity of the slave-trade. What he wrote on that subject, and particularly his unreserved reprobation of the abominable traffic, in