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Mary, and Jupiter for the Holy Ghost--and the labours of the hero for the exploits of apostles, saints, &c.
Quodcunque fic mihi oftendis incredulus odi. Lemnos was famous, in ancient times, for its labyrinth ; which, according to Pliny, was adorned with 150 columns. There are no traces of it now remaining. But time, which has destroyed this and other productions of the fine arts, has not effaced the prejudices and superstitions of the inhabitants The earth, or clay of Lemnos, which healed the wound of PhiloEletes, still maintains its credit in the esteem of the Greeks, who gather it, only one day in the year, with great folemnity and pompous ceremonies, and send it through all Europe in little malles, in form of loaves, marked with the imperial seal of the Grand Seignior.-It is supposed to possess great virtues, and some phyli. cians condescend to make use of it; but the chymist discerns nothing in it but common clay.
The last plate contains a plan of the port of St. Anthony, which is followed by a tail-piece representing a Vulcan, surroundied with the medals found in the places described in this
AR T. II. Theorie des Etres Insensibles ; ou, Cours complet de Metaphysique facrée et
profane, c.- e. A Theory of those Beings which do not fall onder the Senses (i. e. the five external ones); or, a complete Course of Metaphysics, sacred and profane, suited to every Capacity, and enriched with an Alphabetical Index, which renders the whole Work equivalent to a Di&ionary of Metaphysics or Philosophy, By the Abbé PARA DU PLAUJAS. 3 Vols. 8vo. Paris. 1779. T HE title of this work is fingular, but its contents, with
| all its redundancies and defects, are interesting. The Author calls it the Theory of Beings imperceptible by the Senses, to distinguish it from a System of Natural Philosophy, which he published under the title of Theorie des Etres Sensibles -If his style was not too declamatory and verbose, if the repetitions were not accumulated almost beyond example, and if some of the most absurd doctrines of the Romifh; church were not clothed here in a tawdry metaphysical garb, to conceal their disgufting nudity, we might venture to recommend this work as a useful present to the public, and, more particularly, to students, who are entering upon a course of philosophy. Such as it is, it is far from being unworthy of notice ; and those who can diftin. guish between the dross of philosophy and the pure metal, may find both instruction and entertainment in its perusal. They have only to put it into the crucible, and they will be rewarded for their pains.
and also the nature or evidenders as refulenfciousness na tha
The first volume contains two treatises. The firft of these is divided into 15 paragraphs, as our Author calls them, which, in their turn, are subdivided into chapters, and have for their subject the General Theory of Beings; that is, the most universal and abstract notions of things. The Author here passes in review the various branches of ontological science, or those ideas that relate to being in general; and which, indeed, are the proper introduction to a complete course or fystem of philosophical science. Here we find the fundamental and preliminary notions, relative to metaphysical abstraction, first principles, the scientific methods of demonstration, the truth of things, their possibility, existence, ellences, accidental modifications, their properties and attributes, their genera and species, their causes and effects, their essential and accidental relations, their real and formal distinctions, their universality and individuality; as also the nature of space and duration. The fecond treatise relates to certitude or evidence, the basis of all true knowledge, and which our Author confiders as resulting from four sources of information, from the testimony of consciousness (le sens intime), the testimony of ideas, that of the senses, and that of mankind: these four kinds of testimony are examined, discussed, and defended, in so many chapters.
The faculty of reasoning, which is a gift of nature, but which art and education are adapted to improve, direct, and render less uncertain and fallible in its operations, is the subject of the first treatise we meet with in the IId volume. There are many excellent things in this treatise of logic, but they are mixed with much verbotity and jargon, and want greatly the hand of a refiner to separate the gold from the dross. What our Author calls the Theory of the Deity (an improper expression designed to signify Natural Theology), fills the remainder of this volume, and is divided into two sections. In the first he de. monstrates the existence of God, in the second he considers the intimate substance and essence of the Supreme Creator and Preserver of Nature, and shews that, in that Great Being, there is an essence infinitely simple, a providence infinitely wise, a lie berty infinitely independent, an activity infinitely efficacious, an intelligence, in all respects, infinite and unerring. In the course of our Author's reasonings on this sublime subject, he refutes the Epicureans, the Materialists, and their metaphysical kinsmen, the Atheists; he also ascertains the existence and obli. gation of a natural law, whose authority is confirmed, in many instances, by the disorders which degrade humanity, and are the infractions of a primitive rule, which circumstance alone could render them deformed and deplorable. The blundering Author of the System of Nature, one of the most unphilosophie
cal writers of the present age (taking the term philofophy in its true sense, and not as the Shibboleth of a sect or party), is exposed by the Abbé de Para to the contempt he lo juftly deserves; but a few words being fufficient for such an illiterate and uninstructed rhetorician, our Author employs much more of his time and pains in the refutation of Telliamed; his refutation is learned, ingenious, and satisfactory; and seems to us the most masterly piece of polemics contained in this volume.
The human soul, and the souls of brutes, are the important subjects that occupy the researches and logic of our Author, in the third volume; in which the mixture of excellent, good, bad, and indifferent reasoning, is the most palpable, and, indeed, is in some instances deplorable. The Theory of the Human Soul is here divided into two sections. In the fuít, our Author analyzing (as he himself expresses it) the human soul into its most intimate essence,' proves with the highest degree of evidence, that its nature is entirely distinct from all material substance; that there is nothing in it, or without it, that can naturally occasion or require its destruction ;-—that it is not under the con. straint of necessity in its moral acts;- in a word, that it is fpiritual, free, and immortal. In the second, he examines the powers of intelligence, feeling, and activity in the mind, which leads him to an extensive theory of the human understanding, considered in its various dependences, in its connections with the affections of the heart, the first principle of motion, occa. fional causes, the nervous fluid, and other circumstances tha are known to have a considerable influence both on the affections and operations of the human mind. : That thought is the exertion or act of an intelligent power, is not to be doubted ;-but at the same time, certain philosophers have pretended that matter, under certain forms and combinations, is endowed with the faculty of thinking. Have they ever proved this? Why does not our Abbe call upon them to prove it? We have been long in possession of a belief, that thought, defire, conscioufness, deliberation, and judgment, are not resolvable inta, nor to be accounted for by, any principles, powers, or qualities, which we know to be poffessed by wood, ftone, metal, mineral, vegetable, Aesh, fish, muscle, nerve, fibre, or even any modification of degree of motion added to there or any other portions of matter. If then this belief is to be discarded we should be glad to know why? If we are told, that there MAY BE qualities in matter, as yet unknown to us, which are capable of producing thought, consciousness, deliberation, and judgment, all we are obliged to answer is, that when there qualities are produced, we will take them into consideration, and examine their cieles:; but until chat time comes, we see not why we should swallow down the incoherent paradoxes of every
cloud-capt metaphysician, who comes forth with an air of fufficiency to put off his noftrums, who brings difficulties inftead of arguments, and pulls down, without even attempting to build. Poor Maupertuis, many years ago, who was a very honest, good sort of a man, drew upon himself the laughter of Europe, by his proposal to make experiments on the soul by the means of opium ; and we sit and read, or hear, with a grave countenance, nay, sometimes, with a foolish face of praise, that the parts of matter may be annihilated by division,--that matter has no exift ence but in the phenomenon of cohesion, which consequently is an aggregate of nothings, and consequently, again, that (fpirit being a mere phantom) this aggregate of nothings, this cohesion of matter (which is no matter), is the only feat and principle of intelligence. Hey day! where are we got! this is driving at such a rate, that it makes one dizzy.
This digression, which the time and occasion may justify, has made us lose fight of our Author, who, with a complaisance and condescension that could not have beeen strictly required of him, undertakes to prove (and proves in effect) that matter is not capable of thought, neither in itself, nor in consequence of any modification known to us, nor of any degree of velocity or motion that may be imparted to it. This part of our Author's work is clear, convincing, and masterly: we shall not, however, enlarge upon it here : the hypothesis of materialism, which, in good hands (if such will take it up), is of no bad consequence, either to religion or morality, is nevertheless such palpable nonsense in philosophy, that we have little inclination to follow chose that refute it, though, now and then, we have curiosity enough to bestow a moment of leisure on the sophistical tricks of those who maintain it. We are, indeed, persuaded, that these tricks, trilling as they are in themselves, may be employed, in bad hands, to very unhappy purposes, and that they may be made use of to give, in the eyes of the ignorant and unwary, a certain specious colouring to the very worst of causes-He nugee feria ducunt in mala; they are, however, but vapours of false science, which will Aoat for a while in the metaphysical atmosphere, and then disperse of themselves :
Cum ventum ad verum eft, fenfus moresque repugnant. Hor. Our Author has taken, nevertheless, great pains on the fub. ject: he has not only built the immateriality of the foul on positive and strong foundations, but he answers all the objections of the materialists with patience, fagacity, and perfpicuity. · The fixth treatise, contains a Theory of the Soul that animates the brute creation, and is divided into two seations. In the first, the ABBE DE PARA in a long analyfis of this fout or
animating principle, endeavours to prove, that it is a substance. essentially different both from matter and spirit-that, having neither the properties of the one nor of the other, and being a substance endowed with feeling, and void of intelligence, it forms an intermediate species between the two. In the second section, we have a farther analysis of this invisible principle, the result of which is, in the deductions of our Author, that it possesses no faculty which extends farther than sensations and sensible objects, which can form or comprehend abstract ideas, moral qualities, or objects merely intellectual-that it is governed and directed merely by the atıraction of physical pleasure, or by the apprehension of physical pain, without any notion or concern about pleasures or pains of a moral or intellectual kind- and that there is, in this soul of the brute creation, an internal principle of motion, which produces or occasions movements, contrary to, or independent on, the general laws of fimple material mechanism. This part of our Author's investigation is curious and interesting; his refutation of the Cartesian hypothesis is complete—but, however specious and ingenious his arguments are to prove, that the brutes, though not mere machines, are yet confined to direct sensation from objects present, and are totally void of all intelligence, and reasoning powers, yet we cannot entirely acquiesce in them. We feel a propensity to claim an exception for Pope's half-reasoning elephant, and to look upon that epithet as not unphilosophical.
There is a third fiction added to the two preceding, in which our Author considers the laws of nature, that are relative to the growth and decline of the aniinal body.
The last treatise exhibits the Metaphysical Theory of Matter, or that part of the science of bodies, which is independent on experiments and observations, and belongs entirely to the province of intellectual speculation. Matter, considered as the object of our external senses (the only aspect, say we, under which we can form any just notions of it), is amply treated of by our Author, in his course of natural Philosophy, which, as we observed above, was published some time ago, under the title of Theorie des Etres Sensibles. But in the treatise now before us, he mounts into the clouds on a metaphysical bobby-horse, and groping for the essence, sensible quality, existence, and action, of matter, he recites opinions, calls out, Mystery! and lays hold of this opportunity of palming upon dupes, an idea of the possibility of the monstrous doctrine of transubftantiation, by Thulling in this absurdity among the manifold and mysterious notions of the essence of matter, such as its triple dimensions indeterminate and invariable—its infinity of extended and indivisible clements, its specific elence, and its generic essence ;- and so on,-
fore us, he encore des Etres ser publice