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It is observed by philosophers, your rose and mine. The same that in proportion as our knowl. uniformity and the same variety is edge of nature becomes more ex- visible in the intellectual, as in the tensive and exact, the simplicity natural world. The minds of all of all her operations becomes more men seem to have been originally evident. Every new investigation cast in similar moulds ; and the discovers new relations, unfolds incomparable Hartley has shown new affinities, and displays new how plausibly all the mental phepoints of resemblance between sub- nomena may be explained by the stances apparently the most dis application of the single theory of similar, and the theory revived by association. The particular diverNewlon and Boscovich is no lon-sity of men's minds is even more ger considered visionary, which remarkable than their general simsupposes all the varieties of exter- ilarity, and the proposition is asnal nature to be only modifications sented to as soon as it is proposed, of the same primary matter. What, that no two men are in all respects indeed, may not be expected, when exactly alike. This variety is no we find it demonstrated that water where more obvious than in the contains a large portion of the difference of our babits of investimost combustible principle in na- gation and thought ; and the Reture ; and that charcoal and the marker, with the leave of his readdiamond are only varieties of the ers, intends to amuse himself by same elementary substance? Yet employing this month's speculawith all this simplicity it is curious tion in considering the various to remark, that there is no identi- classes of thinkers among mankind. ty ; that nature never exactly re- Rousseau makes but one sweeppeats her own productions ; never ing division of our race, into those copies berself. The leaf of this who think and those who never tulip is a little more deeply and think ; but the thought is hardly delicately tinged than that of yours, brilliant enough to atone for its and a minute observer will detect want of accuracy. There are, to some latent and almost impercep. be sure, many, who, as they never tible shades of difference between appear to mink rawionally, socm
Vol. IVNo: 12. AH
scarcely to have a claim to the they want the fancy of poetry, or dignity of intellectual beings; yet, the vivacity of wit ; but the reas they have been included in ev- cords of literature and of life do ery definition of man, which has not furnish an instance of one, who ever been made, and as it would was willing to believe that he want. be difficult to prove them to be any ed the power of thinking justly and thing else, if you deny them to be profoundly. Yet every man, who men, we must from necessity, if has exercised his faculties in the not from courtesy, admit that they investigation of truth, knows that are members of the species. God to be an original and philosophick made them, and therefore let them thinker is the most difficult of all pass for men.' Yet of that class attainments. When we consider of beings, such as, for instance, the the difficulty of comprehending at fop, the belle, and hoc genus omne, one view a subject in all its bearwho float loosely on the current of ings and dependences; of separatlife, mere idle gazers on the lighting those circumstances which of heaven, without regard for the fairly affect a conclusion, from past, or care for the future. Of those which are accidental and suthose, too, such as your men of perinduced ; of balancing the opluxury and pleasure, who reverse posing probabilities, which the am. the design of nature, and make biguity of language and the artifimind the slave of sense, who em- ces of ingenuity create ; of followploy their mental powers only as ing all the windings, and disenthe ministers of passion and the tangling all the multiplied involupanders of indulgence; of those, in tions of errour; of anticipating and fine, whose powers seem merely fairly appreciating all possible obsensitive and mechanical, who jections ; in short, of contemplatspend their lives in calculations of ing right and wrong at one survey immediate interest, without hope in their general, invariable, and or fear beyond the acquisition of abstracted state ;-it must be alwealth ; of such beings it is indeed lowed, that to be a great and orig. difficult to conceive, as sharers of inal thinker, calls for the highest the same powers, and capable of exercise of all the nobler faculties the same designs, with those who of our minds. It requires a man. have employed their lives in la- self-collected and independent, subouring in the cause of wisdom, periour to passion, to prejudice, virtue, and truth. It would be ab- and sloth ; humble yet not mean, surd to waste a moment in ascer- active yet patient, bold yet cautaining tiie rank of men, thus fee- tious, persevering, fearless, and ble, effeminate, and degraded, in decisive, neither to be dazzled by the scale of thinking beings. We novelty, ensnared by cunning, nor wiil pass, therefore, to the con- seduced by plausibility.
For a sideration of the class of those, man of the most resplendent pow. whom I shall denominate the su- ers to become a thinker of this deperficial thinkers.
scription is no light task ; it is not There are some mental quali. wonderful, therefore, that great ries, which it is not uncommon to thinkers are few. To think prohear men acknowledge that they foundly is always toilqome ; and do not possess. There are many, this sufficiently explains why the for instance, who, from real or as- majority of those who think at all sumed humility, will confess that should think loosely and superfi. cially. To doubt, too, is always It may, indeed, almost be assumed painful, and this sufficiently ex- as an universal truth, that they are plains why most men should leave always most presumptuous, whose the labour of investigation to oth- opinions have the least support; ers, and press hastily and rashly and that those only lay claim to to confident conclusions. If I infallibility, who are farthest from might be allowed to adopt the lan- truth. A man must know someguage of metaphysicks, I should thing of the difficulty of investigasay, that most men seem impatient tion before he can conceive of the to lose the liberty of indifference, possibility of erring in important and catch at the first motive, which subjects, without intention and has weight enough to make the without crime. intellectual balance preponderate,
There is another class of men, without stopping to consider, not much superiour in intellectual whether there are no objections, dignity, but for a very different which may affect the opposite reason. Those are superficial, bescale.
cause they read too little, but these It might be supposed, that those, because they read too much. I who thus think superficially, would mean to speak of the mere readers at least not decide dogmatically ; of books, of those whose views teryet exactly the reverse is usually minate in the bare contemplation found to be true. The credulous, of other men's ideas, and who nevwho is too timid, and the sceptick, er dreain that reading is only valwho is too vain to doubt iong and uable, as it furnishes materials of patiently, are always confident and thought. The sentence of Playexclusive in their opinions. As tus, when applied to such men, they arrive at the conclusions, almost ceases to be a paradox, which they hold, not by balancing, nesciunt id quod sciunt. They and analyzing, and comparing ar- often succeed in accumulating imguments, but by adopting some mense masses of learning, but their guide, whose boldness has over- learning is always heavy, sluggish, awed, whose wit has fascinated, or and unproductive ; we may adwhose plausibility has ensnared mire it, as we do a pyramid, for its them; and as of course their minds magnitude, but after all, when we are nearly passive, while the pre- examine it closely, we only see mises are presented to them, their one huge stone piled on another, conclusions are implicitly and per- without object and without use. emptorily adopted. As in such It is needless to point out any of an investigation they have felt no the individuals of this class ; for objection themselves, by a very we find them in every profession. natural operation of self-love they My gay readers, I suppose, will believe, that none can exist, and be disposed to single out their extherefore they, without hesitation, amples from among the mathemapronounce, that all who disagree ticians ; and it is not to be denied with them, must take their choice that the mathematicians have their between the epithets of fool or share of them. Let us not, how. knave. It is not uncommon to ever, join in the common cant of find the superstructure of such ignorance and frivolity. We must men's faith more lofty and broad, allow, indeed, that a man may in exact proportion as the fouşda- know the mere practice of mathetion of it is weakerand more narrow. maticks, without possessing any
"other earthly knowledge. But the and what Shakespeare may be supe difference between such a man posed to mean by cavilling on the and a philosophical mathematician ninth part of a hair.' Of this class is exacily the same, as between the you commonly find poets, when drudge who learns an art, and the they attempt to become reasoners ; genius who invents the theory on when they lay aside the full and which it is founded. For myself, fowing robes of the prophets, and I am almost disposed to believe put on the cap and gown of the D'Alembert, when he asserts* that logician. Who needs to be referthere is as much exercise of im- red for an illustration of this to the agination in Geometry as in Poetry, slender, yet subtle, speculations of and that of all the great men of an. Lucretius, to the ingenious refinetiquity, Archimedes has the high- ments of Cowley, or to the unin. est claims to be placed by the side telligible metaphysicks of Milton of Homer.
To this class, rather than to any I return now from this digrese other, I should refer the reasoners sion to the consideration of a class from feeling and imagination more of men of nobler powers and more than from judgment and evidence. exalted claims, but who must, not. Here, then, I should rank Rouse withstanding, be denominated the
seau ; and here, too, forgive me, · visionary thinkers. These are men, ye his idolalers ! here 100, with in whom imagination predomi. hesitation and trembling, I should nates; who always think ingen place the name of Burke. iously, but seldom solidly ; who De Retz, in his memoirs, deare so busy in seeking what is un- scribes a man of extension, but common and remote, that they of- without comprehension of mind ; ten neglect what is obvious and and this distinction must be kept important; who delight to refine, in view in order to appreciate the and distinguish, and invent, more next class, which I shall notice, than to weigh, to compare, and and who may be called the acute combine ; men, in short, who will or metaphysical thinkers. This is teach you what Goldsmith means principally composed of those who by 'cutting blocks with a razor,' reason so much, that they forget
to feel ; who are so much pliiosoL'imagination dans un Geometre, phers, that they cease to be men. qui creé n'agit pas moins que dans un They are seldom great enough to Poëte, qu'invente. Il est vrai, qu'ils look down on the fame, which is operent differément sur leur objet ; le
raised merely on novelty and boldpremier le dépoulle et l'analyse, le se. cond le compose et emvellit. Il est
ness of speculation, and their inencore vrai, que cette maniere dife. genuity is continually exercised
rente d'opérer n'appartient qu'a difté. and perverted in seeking after *. rentes sortes d'esprits ; et c'est pour' something, which may dazzle by
cela, que les talens du grand Géometre its originality, and starile and conet du grand Poëte ne se trouveront peut-être jamais ensemble. Mais soit
found by its opposition to estabqu'ils sexcluent, ou ne 's'excluent pas
lished opinions. The few scepL'an de l'autre, ils ne sont nullement en ticks, who have not been so from droit de se mépriser réciproquement, fashion and vanity, have always De tous les grand hommes de l'anti: been men of this class. They quité, Archimede est peut-etre celui que merite le plus d'etre placé à coté
reason 100 well not to discover, Tomere ---Discours Preliminairę that reason is limited and weak ; Encylopedie, p. 16
but this knowledge of their ignorance, instead of teaching them in disciples of Pyrrho, such were patience and humbleness to wait Spinoza, and Hobbes, and Collins, till the designs of Providence are and Hume. There are some men, -developed and justified in a better however, who seem to fall naturlife,* only draws from them re. ally into the class of acute and pinings at the evils of life, doubts metaphysical thinkers, who yet are of the goodness and even the ex. exceptions to most of these reistence
of God, and all the vain and marks. They are men, whose presumptuous struggles of rea- feeling has not been strangled by soning pride' against the wisdom speculation, who have all that we which ties it down to imperfection, admire in the men I have named, and the earth.t These are the with nothing that we dread and men whom Burke intends, when detest. They usually reason wisehe talks of the thorough-bred ly and solidly, always ingeniously, metaphysicians.' They are men, though sometimes fancifully. Of who always carry their distinctions this description I suppose were and abstractions about them; they Berkely, Descartes, and Leibnitz. bring metaphysick from the head, We have now arrived at the last and introduce it into the bosom; and least numerous class which I they will theorize to you upon
shall consider. I mean the procharity, and refine, and speculate, , found and pbilosophick thinkers ; and distinguish upon mercy and the rare and sublime spirits, which love. They are men, who always are occasionally given to the earth breathe an atmosphere different by providence, to rectify the opinfrom ours; they live in the loftier re- ions of mankind, to redress the gions of a mountain, above, indeed, evils, which the pride and presome of our clouds ; but then the sumption of inferiour natures have snows are eternal there, the air is introduced, and to vindicate the too rarified for human life, and the wisdom, the harmony, and benevoflower, and the bud, and the fruit lence of the arrangement of the wither and die. Such are all the universe. . They survey man and
nature from an eminence, high See Hume's Dialogues on Natural enough to raise them above the Religion, passim.
passions and prejudices of the + There has always been a remarka. world, but yet not so lofty and reble inconsistency in the conduct of scep- mote as to make them mistake the ticks. If a man, after slow and deep nature and destination of our race, meditation, is compelled to believe that the world is the offspring of chance, or to remove them from a share he ought, one would think, to doubt in in our feelings and hopes. Their silence and sorrow. Since he cannot theories are therefore as simple enjoy the consolation of believing that and practicable, as they are comhe is under the protection of a God, his prehensive and sublime. These philosophy, if not his humanity, ought to teach him not to disturb the consola
men have none of the vanity of intions of othors. But the sceptick is al. feriour minds, none of the pomp ways found to be desirous of making of philosophy, none of the arroproselytes, and fortifying his own hesi- gance of learning ; they alone, of Eating belief by the assent of others. all the world, seem ignorant of An apostate always hates the religion their own august powers. It is he has renounced. Le temple l'importune, & son impiéte
not necessary to repeat the names Voudroit anéantir le Dieu qu'il a
of any of these men ; for the numquitte. Racine Athalie.' ber of them is too small to make