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and nothing is breathed but ardoar and revenge. He is the disciple and the orator of Common Sense. His representations are so forcible, that they arrest the attention of men; so perspicuous and splendid, that, like the light of the sun, their effect is immediate and irresistible.
The dependence of moral philosophy on this important faculty is equally remarkable. The absurdities, which were involved in the systems of ancient ethics, owed their rise to a neglect of its dictates. The impracticable tenets of the Stoies, the licentious dogmas of Epicurus, and the perplexing doctrines of the Academics, were differently, but equally, removed from every rational limit. To systems so repugnant to Common Sense, the doctrines of Socrates form a memorable exception. Following the prescriptions of a discerning judgment, he drew off the attention of men from inquiries of impenetrable obscurity to the cultivation of piety and virtue. By the graceful exhibition of truth, enforced with the finest genius, with admirable powers of irony, and the command of a fascinating eloquence, the Sophists of his age were repressed, and such disciples? were formed as have seldom been equalled, and never surpassed, in the republic of letters.
7 Xenophon and Plato.
With the science of natural philosophy the union is not less intimate. Till a grand and noble effort of Common Sense placed its prosecution on the true basis, centuries passed away without any considerable discoveries, or the improvement of what was already known. The ancient system of dialectics, useful and important when acting in its proper sphere, being applied to subjects to which it had no analogy, and being imposed on the world by the authority of a great name and the veneration of long and uninterrupted possession, the progress of physics was slow and fallacious.
The most obstinate phenomena were disposed of by propositions of no distinct meaning; and the adyances of the student, as of the traveller in a mistaken road, in proportion as they were diligent, only removed him further from accuracy and truth. The appeal, therefore, of the illustrious Bacon from barren argument to experiment and nature, was a sound and eminently important dictate of Common Sense. Perceiving that logic, when applied to philosophy, was considered as determining with equal precision as in cases of moral evidence, he boldly deinanded a new and accurate standard: be declared that, not arguments, but facts; not what agreed with principles, but principles themselves; not the demonstration of syllogism, but of experiment and induction, were the
points to be insisted on. . Rising in this manner with all the dignity of truth, and improving upon the intimations of his eminent predecessor of the same name, the charm which had for ages enchained the world was dissolved, physics were established on their natural foundation, the way was opened for the important adaptation of mathematical science to philosophy founded on experiment, and a very distinguished period was formed in the improvement of the human mind.
To assign a more important office to the common. judgment of mankind than we have hitherto allotted it would be impossible, if its influence did not extend in a necessary, though subordinate, manner to the concerns of religion. In possession of an unerring institute of our faith, it is the province of Common Sense, united with mature and solid learning, to examine its evidences, to discover by a diligent and honest investigation its genuine doctrines, and to provide for their establishment and defence. To the neglect of this simple expedient the principal corruptions of Christianity, may be ascribed. Interdicting the perusal of its records, the church of Rome gradually in. troduced an'accumulation of doctrines and ceremonies, which can never be reflected on without the utmost astonishment. The repugnancy of her constitution to the most obvious precepts of Common Sense when enlightened by the Scriptures, was resorted to at the period of the Reformation as an argument of irresistible efficacy. We learn from the historians of that period, that the dispersion of translated copies of the New Testament was among the principal causes of the prodigious success of the reformed doctrines. The case was obvious. Nothing leading to the monstrous and absurd doctrines of transubstantiation, of purgatory, of the adoration of relics, of indulgences, and the intercession of saints, could be discovered in the Sacred code. In proportion therefore as it was allowed to address itself to the common understandings of men, those tenets which were conformed to it would of necessity gain adherents.
A similar recurrence to the standard of our belief would have an eminent influence in counteracting the unworthy admixtures which still disgrace the Protestant churches. The bold claim to a more unbiassed exercise of the judgment, which is with little modesty advanced by certain heretics, is groundless and dishonourable. Those propositions may be superior to Common Sense, which are by no means repugnant to it. And the simple, obvious, and logical interpretation of the records of our religion is what we have a right to demand, though
that interpretation should involve truths incredible to the pride of an inaccurate or hasty reasoner. Nor indeed will the honest inquirer be long in discovering that the systems of those divines can be of little value, for the establishment of which the laws of criticism are to be outraged, writings intended for popular instruction are no longer to be understood in their grammatical sense, and before the magic wand of an insidious disputant every venerable doctrine is to be weakened or discarded.
After this review of the operations of Com. mon Sense, its rank, no less than its importance, may be fairly appreciated. Having traced its influence in the arrangement of ordinary duties, we perceived that the most numerous and weighty events were under its direction. This conclusion was confirmed by adverting to the public, as well as domestic, evils attendant on its absence. Its variations under circumstances of culture or neglect, under those which spring from the moral character, and those that may be traced to the differences of national complexion and original endowment, were then considered. This left us at liberty to touch on its connexion with the higher faculties; as curbing the imagination, directing literary excellence in general, and some branches of it in particular, as standing united with ethics and natural philosophy, and even claiming a