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After all the pains which our author has so laudably bestowed on this inquiry, we own ourselves not entirely satisfied with the proofs which he has advanced in fupport of the notion, that all theological knowlege is to be traced back to divine revelation. The authorities, which he has adduced, either prove nothing farther than that religious notions are traditionary, without determining whether that tradition originates in divine or human wisdom; or that they are the mere opinions of ancient writers, unsupported by argument or testimony. It seems to have been a favourite point with many modern authors, to refer all religious knowlege to divine revelation : but we confess that we are not without apprehension that divine revelation will be deprived of its best support, if we desert the good old ground of natural religion, deducible from rational principles, prior to some fupernatural communications.

The second essay in this volume, on the Character of Pamphilus, is little more than a general panegyric ôn that Christian Father, prefaced with a declamation in praise of biography:

Mr. Christie's hints, in the third essay, respecting the state and education of the people, merit a more particular attention. The paper breathes an ardent spirit of philanthropy, and suggests many ideas well deserving the attention of the friends of mankind. He juftly reprobates the contempt with which the bulk of mankind has hitherto been commonly treated, both by ftatesmen and philosophers ; expatiates on the excellence of the Christian religion, as it is calculated to humble human arrogance, by equalizing mankind; and shews how much more judicious as well as humane, it is, to govern the people by a sense of honour and duty, than by force, by fraud, or by corruption.

We think the sentiments advanced in this essay so important, that we shall not apologize for giving them as extensive a circulation as we are able, by making a large extract :

• I am far from affenting to their opinion, who prefer savage life to civilized society; but I will freely own, that I think many things in the latter stand in need of reformation. Mankind, in their ori. ginal independent ftate, may be compared to a number of packages, fuppose of wool or fax, placed by the side of one another, in a merchant's warehouse, where each is fair and full, and retains his own proper fize and form. Whereas, in civilized life, their face seems to resemble that of the fame packages, piled up for conveni. ency on each other's heads to the cieling of the warehouse, where there is a gradual pressure, beginning at the top, and increasing downward to the lowelt ranks, many of which are squeezed out of all shape, and some have their very bowels pressed out. Such, L fear, is the case, more or less, in every civilized society in Europe : in this country less perhaps than in any other, Ye friends of hu


mankind, ye who can feel another's woe, decide on this question ! Do we not bear too hard on the poor man? Do we not make his burdens too heavy, and his comforts too few? Are not many of our enjoyments purchased by his forrows - many of our luxuries procured at the expence of his health, and of his life? But to proceed,

“ There is no man,” says Dr. Clarke, "' who is not capable of some instruction, and who may not be made the better for it. "Persons of the meanest natural capacities may have a mind'attentive to instruction; may have a love to truth and right; may have great probity, integrity of heart, &c. *."

* An observation of a sensible writer deserves particular attention here: “ Si l'ignorance pouvoit s'abstenir de juger, elle feroit, fans doute, moins meprisable et moins dangereuse: malheureusement l'esprit humain ne peut etre fans action, il faut qu'il ait des opinions bonnes ou mauvaises ; il faut qu'il ait des prejuges, s'il n'a pas des connoissances, et des superstitions au defaut de religion ; j'en appelle a tous les peuples barbares qui existent de nos jours t."

If ignorance could refrain from judging and passing decisions, it would be undoubtedly less contemptible and less dangerous; but unfortunately the human mind cannot be without action; men must have opinions good or bad ; they must have prejudices if they have not knowledge, and superftiion if they have not true religion. I appeal to the history of all the savage nations now on the face of the earth.”

M. Borde's observations are certainly just. The narrow powers of reasoning, which ignorant persons usually possess, serve to mislead, instead of guiding them. They are apt to make very improper comparisons between the supposed happy state of their matters, and their own hardships, poverty, and, as they efteem it, unhappy fate. They are apt to say, what better are they than we; and, on the ground of their repining ideas, to justify to their own minds every instance of unfaithfulness.

• It is one of the evils of ignorance, not to be fenfible of its own defect. You shall never persuade an ignorant ploughman to adope an improvement in agriculture. You may tell an uninstructed man of the advantages of inocolating his children; but he will lend a deaf ear to you, and say that it is tempting Providence to bring discases on children in health. Perhaps, soon after, that loathsome disease gets into the family, and you are called to aflift in carrying one of the patrid carcaffes to the grave. You imagine this will produce conviction. By no means. The blinded parent tells you, “ that since his child died in God's way, he is satisfied; but, if he had died by man's hands, he should have been quite miserable.”

· The Author of “ Essays on various Subjects, interesting to Politics and Morality,” having observed, that the discoveries in agricolture made by men of science are rendered nearly useless, whernot communicated to common husbandmen, and recommended the

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• * Vol. III. f. 19. p. 318. (8vo.) Lond. 1756.'
• + M. Borde, seconde Replique a M, Rouleau, p. 377.'
REV, May 1792.



compilation of accurate abridgments, containing a plain and easy account of them, to be introduced into the schools where the phildren of peasants are educated, adds, “ Nor let it be regarded as a chimerical scheme, impoflible to be executed, to inform the minds of the common people. Experience proves its practicability. A German Prince (Ernest the pious Duke of Saxe Gotha) entirely changed the face of his principalicy not more than a century ago, Truly great by his political virtues, he had his people instructed by compendiums of every kind of a seful knowledge, which were put into the hands of the peasants in all country schools." He adds, that though these confticutions do not now exist in their original vigour, yet it is amazing to observe the difference which still fubfifts becween the people of this and the other circles. See the passage in a note to p. 348 of the English verfion of an excellent German book, M. Hirzel's Rural Socrates. By the advice of the rural philosopher, the Swiss peasants were encouraged to attend the meetings of the Physical Society of Zurich. There every one gave an account of his method of husbandry, and received proper advice from the Society. M. Hirzel's relation of this is truly interesting, and cannot fail to be very pleasing to every benevolent mind. It Mews how much we might do to promote the happiness and the knowledge of our fellow-creatures, would we only be at pains enough, would we lay aside pride and vanity, were we capable of feeling for their situation, and of rejoicing in the pleasure of doing good.

“ Is there any thing on this side of Heaven,” says a benevolent writer, “equal to the gratification of knowing and contemplating the wisdom of God in the wonderful works of the creation? And is this pleasure to be denied to all but a few philosophers and priests, who would become the tools of tyranny, to keep the people in ignorance, and set them on a level with the brutes *}"

• And M. D'Alembert very properly observes, “ Quelques favans, il est vrai, semblables à ces Prêtres d'Egypte qui cachoient au refe de la nation leurs futiles myfteres, voudroient que les livres fuftent uniquement à leur usage, et qu'on dérobât au peuple la plus foible lumiére, même dans les matieres les plus indifferentes ; lemiere qu'on ne doit pourtant guere lui envier, parce qu'il en a grand besoin, et qu'il n'est pas à craindre qu'elle devienne jamais bien vive. Nous croyons devoir penser autrement comme citoyens, et peut etre même comme des gens de lettres t."

“ Some learned men, it is true, like those Egyptian priests who concealed their trilling mysteries from the rest of the nation, would kave all books written solely for their own use, and would take away from the people every spark of light, even in the commoneft matters--a light which we surely should not envy them, since they have much need of it, and there is little danger that it will ever be too clear. Doubtless we ought to think more liberally as fellow-citizens, and perhaps men of letters.” Unquestionably

• * Monthly Review, vol. XXXIll. p. 44.'

+ M. D'Alembert, Prcface du 3 vol. uci'Encyclopedie,'


the interest of literature depends on the number of its cultivators.

. I would beg of those who are extremely afraid of trusting the common people with any power of self-direction, to read the history of mankind, and say, whether, by allowing them to follow their own judgment, they could ever, have been led into greater errors than they have been, by religning themselves up totally to the di, rection of designing men, who have riverted them in the most fatal prejudices, and often burried them on to fedition, persecution, murder, bloodshed, rapine, and every kind of wickedness and enormity. Upon this foundation, " the ignorance of the people,” have been erected all those permanent and Aupendous systems of fuperftition and tyranny, which in different ages and countries have oppressed and degraded the human race.

We should not be rash in determining, that the Deity nevet meant the balk of men to possess any knowledge, because he has placed them in a situation where it is impossible for them to acquire

We ought to'enquire, whether this impoffibility results from the appoiotment of the Deity, or rather from the unreasonable actions of men, In this, as in other matters, God has been pleased to or, der things so, that much of the happiness of one man shall depend on the conduet of another. While we blame Providence for placeing men in such a situation, as that they cannot obtain knowledge, it is a fact, that, in many kingdoms of Europe, the poor common people are studiously kept in the darkelt ignorance by their tyrannic fuperiors. Were that time, which, in Catholic countries, is devoted to absurd superstition, employed in instructing the people, ignorance would soon be banished from among them. In protestant kingdoms, I cannot but regard that as an improper and unreasonable state of police, which constrains the people to incessant labour from Monday morning to Saturday night, without leaving a single spare moment,

• For then Sunday will in general, and indeed almost necessarily, be employed in amusement, if not in distipation. Both the mind and body regoire some relaxation. I know I shall be immediately reminded of the loss of time to our manufacturers, which this wouid occasion; an argument which strikes some people lo forcibly, that they are angry that Sunday itself is not employed in labour. Buc I confess my view of this matter is very different indeed from theirs. I own cheir plan may enable us, to make our buckles and buttons a little better for the money than our neighbours; but, in the mean time, what becomes of our men, how do we fucceed in the formation of human mirids, the greatest of all manufactures? Is it any compensation to society, to the public weal, to the real interest of a nation, that a great manufacturer has acquired a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, if he has obtainea it, by degrading and plunging into ignorance and deprávity many hundreds of his fellow creatures? I would ask any found politician, what effect such systems will ultimately produce in a nation? Can one class of mankind be depraved without in time affecting all others? Does not vice, like contagion, Elently diffuse itfelf over all? Are the prostitutes of great manufac.

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turing towns resorted to only by those of their own station? Do they not corrupt our servants, both male and female, and through them our sons and daughters ?

'. But to return : Even under this state of police, something may be done. A part at least of the Sunday may be usefully employed in inftru&ing those who will not go to church, and indeed cannot be expected to go, because they can neither read, write, nor understand.

• Since these remarks were first written, a grand and extensive plan has been set on foot in England, by Mr. Raikes of Glouceller, for the education of the common people. It will easily be understood that I allude to the ir sticution of SUNDAY SCHOOLS. It is with infinite facisfaction, that I find so many eminent and excellent persons have now engaged in promoting there, and that the good effetts flowing from them are already beyond all expectation. Ex. cellent Mr. Raikes! May thy benevolent example be universaily followed! Thou hast raised the depressed human mind, and given light to those who fat in darknels. The blefing of them that were ready to perish shall come upon thee; and the people who were destroyed for lack of knowledge, Mall celebrate thy name!

In addition to the several focieties for promoting particular branches of knowledge, I could wish to see one instituted for diffar. ing KNOWLEDGE in general; one that should employ itself in encouraging modeft merit, in searching after the village Newton, in rescuing from obscurity the genius of the cottage, and in calling forth the song of the Milton, who would otherwise have been mute and inglorious: a society that should cause books to be composed for the particular purpose of instructing the unlearned, and that should print and circulate, in different regions, such performances as had a tendency to awaken the love of letters, and promote the improvement of human minds: a society which should receive a certain number of ingenious youths; and, after instructing them in the sciences, send them forth, fome as misionaries, to put to fight the illusions of error and ignorance among men; and others to occupy various useful stations in life, as their talents or situation should direct them; and who, in return for the advantages of their education, should be required at their dismission only to promile, that they would, in their several spheres, exert themselves to inspire the love of knowledge into the bofoms of their friends and acquaintance, and all around them: lastly, a society which should place philosophy in all the genuine dignity of her character ; and which, Instead of celebrating days in honour of hypocritic saints and enthusiaitic devotees, Thould compile a new kind of Calendar, and consecrate a day to commemorate the birth of Aristotle, and of Socrates, of Confucius, Locke, Newton, and such, as like them, have exalted the depressed human mind, instructed mankind in the use of their faculties, vindicated the rights of human nature, and supported the cause of letters, liberty, and viroue, in various periods of the world,

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