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found by experience too, that the most successful teachers of Chriftianity among rude nations, are the enthusiastic and popular. The oratory which is calculated to make an impression upon them, is inconsistent with taste and science; nor are their minds suficiently itayed and fedate for the cool regularity of established worship.'
The second Essay is on the ? Influence of Physical and Mo. ral Causes on the human Mind.' The opinion of Montesquieu on this subject is now nearly exploded : the effe&t is flight or transitory, and may be easily counteracted. Mr. Gregory's arguments are just; but not sufficiently remarkable to induce us to select them.
Remarks on the History of Superstition' follow; but this is too extensive a subject for an Eslay, The most remarkable circumstances, infifted on by our author, are polytheism, idolatry, divination and ordeal trials, facrifices, and the fabul. pus tales of miraculous and terrific appearances.--The au. thor's account of these subjects is generally correct and satisfacą tory; but he does not seem awarė, that in more than one instance he has followed the lively and excentric Voltaire. The following account is to be recommended for its judgment and exactness. It is not new, but an old acquaintance in an attractive and elegant attire.
• Another, perhaps better, folution of the difficulty may be fought for on principles already noted in these Eilays. It has been remarked, that the principle of barbarian juftice is revenge.. It is therefore probable, that, figuring the Deity like themselves, a facrifice might be meant to appease his anger, as he could not be satisfied without fome retribution.' The Egyf: tians imprecated the sins of the people upon the head of the lacrificed beaft; which indicates that they originally meant bim to suffer as a substitute for themselves. They also beat and mortified themselves during the facrifice, which has litile ap. pearance of a joyous ceremony in gratitude to Providence, or a convivial entertainment designed for the Gods.
Probably, on the idea of atonement, human facrifices preceded every
other. The nations which were extirpated by the Ifraelites used them, and we do not know that they used any other. This circumstance seems alluded to by one çf the Jewish prophets, who, speaking in the character of a superstitious perfon, exclaims, “Shall I give my first-born for my transgressions? the fruit of my body for the fin of my foul ?" The notion of visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children (eems intimately connected with this idea ; and that such' a notion was univerfal in the remote periods of antiquity, we have every reason to believe.
• It has been already remarked, that human facrifices have been common, at one time or other, in every Pagan nation up
on earth, The Magi who accompanied Xerxes, at a place call“ ed The Nine Ways, facrificed nine youths, and as many vir gins, after the Persian manner, burying them alive. Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, arriving at an advanced age, sacrificed in the same manner fourteen noble children to that God, who they say is beneath the earth. The circumstances attending the performance of this horrid rite, in most nations, afford additional proof, that the original intent of facrifice was to appease a malignant deity. We are well assured, that the occasion was, in general, when some public calamity befel the nation ; and one person was selected to bear the fins or the misfortunes of the multitude. In Otaheite, on certain folemn days, the priest enters the morai, or temple, and, after staying some time, returns and informs the people, that the deity demands a human facrisce; he then indicates the person, who is immediately seized, and beaten till he is dead
This dangerous power, wę may well suppose, is much abused by the prieits; and, to confirm it, the fuperftitious people are persuaded, that if the prieils invoke the evil genius, he will kill, by sudden death, him whom they chuse to mark out as a victim. We may readily imagine in what marner, and by what means, the intentions of his infernal majesty are fulfilled.
The first relaxation of this rigid branch of superstition is, when the exercise of it is confined to captives, or very inferior persons : beasts are afterwards fubftituted; and at last the gods are supposed to content themselves with an offering of the simple fruits of the earth.
• The confecration of particular persons to the Deity, seems to be only a refinement upon the practice of offering human facrifices. I before had occafion to thew, that the purest and most innocent persons were originally fingled out as vi&tims to the gods. The same refinement takes place in the confecration of living offerings, if I may be allowed the expression. As soon as the idea of pollution came to be annexed to the intercourse of the sexes, it became a leading principle to dedicate to the gods the chaite and unpolluted.'
The'next Effay is on certain moral Prejudices : it is connected with the former, since they are both mental errors, though on different subjects. Mr. Gregory suspects a poli. tical motive to have been the original source of many of these, particularly facrificing the immediate attendants of a king, on his death ; or even the voluntary burning of the widow, which the necessity of custom, some time since, had rendered indir. pensable.
The fifth Efsay contains; · Obfervations on the Effects of Civilisation, and the Character of the present Times.' In this Essay, the author does not in general appear either a bigotted enthufiaft, or a splenetic satirist. He examines with caution, and appreciates with justice. It is a melancholy remark, but it is well founded, that no branches of learning have suffered so much neglect as those which concern humani nature moit; those which respect the mind of man, and the principles of moral conduct.' Science too undoubtedly declines, but not so much as our author suspects, and many superficial inquirers have asserted. It is so generally diffused, that the progressive voice is almost lost in the number of claimants: these too, in each branch, are fo numerous, that a man whose itudies had been a few years intermitted, would scarcely recognise the objects around him. In this examination our author is a little too national. The flippancy and the tinsel of France are often mentioned; and French is almost exclud. ed from his course of education. This is a material error ; and we should suspect that it arises from the most illiberal source; for not one French book is quoted, so far as we ob. serve, in the whole volume ; and the author asserts, what a person acquainted with French would have known to have been unjuft, that every book of value is translated. In fact, every popular work is translated ; but books of value are not always popular. The tinsel of Sterne too is opposed to the classic gold of Addison ; Sterne deserves a better character; not for his fiippancy and ribaldry, but for his tenderness, his pathos, and his benevolence. Read his works again, fir, without prejudice, if possible ; let the heart, rather than the scrutinifing eye of criticism be open, and we hope thę genial suffusion from the moistened cheek will blot this harsh sentence, that it may be seen no more.
The Invention of Language is the next object of his atten. tion; and the remarks on it are frequently curious, and genesally satisfactory. We wish our limits would allow us to examine them at greater length.
Alphabetical Writing must have succeeded Language, and it follows the former Essay; but,, in this, we perceive little added to the former stock.
• Miscellaneous Observations on the Female Sex’ are more valuable. They are diftinguished as well for their candour and delicacy as for their judgment. Women, in our author's opinion, are not inferior in mental powers to men; but this decision should be received with some limitation. We mean not to reject the pretensions of the ladies, but the mental excellencies of each sex cannot be properly compared. The one certainly excels in fancy, spirit, and elegance; the other in strength, judgment, and application. Single instances cannot affect general rules; and the instances are so few, as rather to render the generality more striking. After examining the state of the female sex, in different periods, the author,
with great reason, refers the common opinion respecting fe. male chastity, to the right of property; for while the woman was considered as a flave, chastity was in her a duty, which her lord required, while he ranged at liberty. This was undoubtedly the source of the opinion; but it would have probably been lost in future ages, if it had not been supported by better argunients.
• In the present state, says our author, of society, I see no means by which the fair sex may reasonably hope to escape the evils of domestic tyranny, but by extreme caution and forethought, in what hands they entrust the future happiness of their lives. Without presuming to lay down a syftein for their conduct, in a matter of so much importance to themselves, a little knowledge of character has suggeited a few hints, which may be serviceable in preventing improper connexions, and which, on that account, a sense of duty will not allow me to suppress.
*If on any occasion the morals, as well the temper of the party, with whom a connexion is to be formed, ought to be regarded, it is when the whole of temporal enjoyment and fatis. faction is at stake. No vulgar maxim has proved more detrimental to female happiness, than," that a reformed rake makes the best of husbands.” In every instance that has fallen within my observation, the direct contrary has happened. For, in the first place, if the maxim were true, it is far from certain that matrimony will produce a reform. The vanity of an enamoured female may flatter her, that her amiable qualities will effect a reformation; but experience tells us, that the reformation must go deeper than that which is only the momentary effect of an impetuous paffion; it must extend to the moral principle, to the whole mode of thinking. A rake is but another term for a sensualift, which in itself implies the quality selfish ; he has been accustomed to sacrifice the best interest of others to his perfonal gratification ; and there are more ways than one of trifling with the happiness of a fellow creature. Further, the libertine has acquired a despicable opinion of the fex, from conversing only with the depraved part of it: and we know that matrimo. nial tyranny usually originates from a contemptible opinion of the female sex. Lastly, in marrying a rake, there are many chances to one, that a woman marries a drunkard ; and drunka enness is perhaps the only vice, that is never to be reformed. I might add, that without some notion of religion, morality has but an uncertain basisand what rake would be thought to entertain any respect for religion !
• I would not have the ladies fall into the opposite extreme, and to avoid a profligate take up with a bigot. Religious enthusiasm has a natural tendency to lour the temper: and the fanatic deşiyes his morality not from the mild and equitable precepts of
the gospel, but from the rigid and tyrannical institutions of the Jews.
• Some caution will be requisite also, in engaging with a man, whose situation obliges him to be much conversant with the vicious or uncultivated part of mankind; or whose profession inó pres him to high notions of discipline and implicit obedience.'
• The Theory of Government, the Advantages and Inconveniencies of a Republican Form,compared with Monarchy,' are examined with candour; and we strongly recommend them to the warm patriots of the present day, eager for reformation.
The author next proceeds to the Principles of Morals, the Atheistical System and Morals of the Ancients, and Religious Establishments. In these Essays he strongly endeavours to connect morality with religion, and to found wisdom on virtue. His arguments are generally strong; they are well selected, but seldom new,
The fourteenth Effay is on Education. We have anticipated our author's opinion on the French language, and little remains but to coinmend. Mr. Gregory is an advocate for schools large enough for the purpose of emulation, but fo limited as not to prevent every boy from being under the master's eye: he recommends the interval also of a year or two, under the care of a private tutor, before the pupil goes to the university. The author, we believe, is well founded in this opinion, but the arguments on the opposite fide are plausible: we regret, that we cannot at present examine the subject, under the guidance of so judicious a preceptor, as the author before us.
The following Essays on · Penetration and Foresight, and on the Unreasonableness of Suicide,' are greatly inferior to the others. They are not incorrect; but they skim over the surface, as a fwallow sims over a river, who fcarcely penetrates so far as to wet her wing.
The seventeenth Effay is on the Justice, Humanity, and policy of the Slave Trade.' These are written with great ftrength of argument and warm fenfibility. Every one must be convinced of the injustice and inhumanity of this trade, though interest may, for a moment, cover it with a veil. May they foon be persuaded also that it is impolitic; for it is highly probable that in the end it will be found fo!
The last Elay is on 'the Causes which may subvert British Liberty ;' and we are glad to find, that the apprehensions of modern patriots' are ill founded. We have often given this opinion, and we are pleased to see it supported so ably in the Effay before us,