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object around us abundantly testifies : application of time, and the consequen-
chant of Bagdat, who had embittered
trusions of thought, and to drown reIt is difħcult to imagine what ideas flection in the bowls of incbriety, those persons can have formed concern- Every thing that could captivate the ing the purposes of their existence, who eye, delight the ear, or solace the appear to practise every ingenious de- fancy, was diligently sought after by vice to rid themselves of ihe present the ministers of his pleasures, who hour, and to obliterate every trace of it spared neither labour nor expense in even from their own recollection. If, as their endeavours to prevent the inoit has been asserted, the views of man ments from rolling sluggishly along. kind are naturally directed to futurity, He had, from his childhood, regarder weinust conclude those persons to have wealth with rapturous adıniration, and placed their hopes beyond the possi- had placed all his ideas of happiness in bility of delusion, and to have post- the gratifications of sense. His tutors poned the felicity of intellectual en were casily induced to remit their sevejoyment, till it is unmingled with sor- rity and attention, and resigned, with row and affliction, unembittered by the litile rciuctance, into his own hands recollection of past disasters, and un- the reins of his conduct, when they disturbed by the anticipation of future considered hiin as the heir of such misfortunes. But were we able to dive vast possessions, and who, in a short into the mysteries of the human heart, time, would amply reward them for and pry into every motive of their ac their laxity of conduct. tious, we should find them as little time, they'ventured to adınonish him, capable of receiving consolation from and to represent the folly or injustice a prospect of futurity, as of applying of an action, their remoustrances were the p'esent moment to a just and laud- heard with indignation, and their enable purpose.
treaties passed over with silent conAs the end to be obtained by a proper tempt,
If, at any
Aboulhassan now revelled in luxury: decisions of their Judge, who, accordno grey-bearded sons of morality and ing to their respective merits, admuited wisdom were suifered to interrupt his them into the beaming mansions of eterdream of pleasure ; day glided after nal felicity, or consigued them to the day in scenes of jollity, a perpetual dark and gloomy deserts of unutterrotation of riot and debauch. Every able woe. morning he regaled his pride with the Aboulhassan now began seriously to incense of adulation, exacted from his reflect on his ill-spent life: he was servile dependents and fawning syco- filled with horror when he surveyed the phants, and the sun went down on series of vices which were presented to the protracted banquet. But amid these his view in all their native deformily. scenes of gaudy splendor and imaginary and he was hardly able to look on happiness, the inind of Aboulhassan was the countenance of his Judge, whose barren as the deserts of Egypt, where venerable majesty over belined him no flower unfolds its beauties to the with dread and perturbation. · fle saw sun, or impregnates the air with its him open a vast volume which confragrance : never was ii capable of tained the history of every life, and exerting its energies, but when the heard him scrutinise every action, and members of Aboulbassan were encircled pry into every motive. But he found in the arms of sleep. But Ile who his indignation was particularly directed ordains the visions of the night to against those who, by the wantonness convey instruction to the mind of man, of neglect, or the hardiness of vice, and the balm of consolation to the had abused that time which it was their sons and daughters of affliction, con duty to improve. Aboulhassan now tremvinced Aboullassan of the consequences bled for himself, and ardently desired of his folly, and the dreadful tendency to conceal himself from so inexorable a of his conduct.
Judge, and to fly his piercing look: One night, when he retired to his but fate forbade a retreat, and he was bed less heated than usual with the impelled onward by an invisible power. fumes of intemperance, the hand of with a countenance that sufficientiy desleep had but a short time closed bis noted his inward anguish, he approacheyelids, when his fancy, directed by ed his Judge, who, inspecting the page divine influence, worked up a scene of his existence, found an universal that filled him with terror and alarm. blank, save where it was tarnjshed and He imagined himself seized with a defiled by the stains of vice and imcruel disteniper, which not all the piety. * Wretch !” exclaimed he, powers of medicine could alleviate, and is is it thus you repay the bounty of whose rapid progress convinced him Heaven? Is it thus you pervert the that his life was drawing speedily to gists its generous hand bestows? Slave a close. Death was a prospect which to sensual gratifications and brutal deAboulhassan had never yet contem- lights, wherein cost thou differ from a plated ; and its near approach was now beast? How hast thou degraded those peculiarly terrific, being aggravated by noble faculties which were given to it those goadings of conscience, and i hose thee for higher and more refined enpangs of remorse, which a survey of joyments ! Lut the hour of trilling is bis past lite unavoidably occasioned. past-thy dream of pleasure is at an In vain did he implore the aid of his end-henceforth expect all the otors physicians ; in vain did he offer to of that punishneut which thy lo ly has exchange abundance of riches for a incurred.” Alouihassan had no time return of health : the perfumes of Ara- to implore pily or forgiveuess : in a bia, and the spices of India, were fruit- moment, a monster, whose forin alone lessly combined, and all that art could would liave overwhelmed the mightiest extort from the productions of nature with terror, arrested him-already iho was applied without cilect. At length cries of the tormented reached his car he espired, and inagincil that the mo -terrified, he uttered a shriek that ment bis breath departed his body, his loosed him from the bands of sleep, soul likewise descried hier earthly tene- and, starting from his bed, a cold sweat ment, and was wafted through the re diffused itself over his trembling limbs. gions of the air to the gates of Pari- It was some line before he could per. dise. Here he found himself in a pro- fectly cousince himself of his situation, miscuous concourse of spirits, like him- and that lie really bad cluded the gripe self, waiting, in anxious suspense, the of the monster. The hurry and per
turbation of his spirits yielded at length few things can be so gratifying to to some degree of calniness, and he had the feelings of a Reasoner, or so likely recourse again to sleep, in order to to procure him the applause and the chase away those unpleasant images favour of mankind, as a theory which which his recent dream had impressed teaches us to form a high opinion of upon his mind. But sleep and repose our own powers and capacities, and were irrecoverably fled: his late terrific which promises us a final and absosituation was continually presented to lute relief from our present state of the eye of his imagination; and Rea- misery and dependence. When we have son, to whom he appealul, in order been taught to consider ourselves as to rid himself of the phantom, in- feeble and ignorant dependents upon creased his aların, by imprinting the the indulgence and assistance of a mer. serne still stronzer on his mind. Jie ciful and almighty Power, to whose Dow, for the irst time, yielded to re hindness and protection we are indebted flection-along succession of ideas took not only for the supply of our necessary possession of his inind, and before the wanis, but for the means of our more morning dawned he became a new be- refined and intellectual enjoymenis, it ing. lie arose, and sought the hoary is some consolation to our vanity to sayes whom his arrogance had driven be informed, that we possess within from bis dwelling, who instilled into his ourselves the power of arriving at permind the precepts of virtue, and con fection; that our weakness is only the firmed the happy change that was weakness of accident or prejudice; that wrought in his disposition. The accents we may become both wise and virof wisdom which from time to time tuous without any other assistance than fell from their lips, soon instructed him the light of reason and of nature ; and in the use of riches, and enabled him to that nothing is required to relieve manenjoy thc fclicity of doing good, in kind froin its present ignorance and errelieving nucessity and rewarding vir- ror, but tiranness and vigour of resolutue. Undisturbed by the tunults of tion. pleasure, and best with peace and It cannot be denied, indeed, that such calmness, Atouthassan was 'anccasing a doctrine may be supported by many in his devout acknowledgments to that specious and interesting, arguments. Poner who had taught him the proper" The most polished and enlightened rise of time, and reclaimed him from nations (it may be said) were origivice by so mild a rebuke. Day after nally barbarians, and were taught by day saw him increasing in piety, wis- experience and connexion the arts and dom, and prosperity; and whicresoever the conveniences of civilized society, he appeared, his ears were saluted In proportion to their unanimity aed by the murmurs of gratitude. Aboul- the duration of their empire, their wishassar was above all things inindful dom and their virtue was increased and to improve his time; and in all his extended. Their improvement in the apartments directed this moito to be practice and theory of morals correjuscribed, on sky-coloured satin, “ l'o- sponded with their proficiency in sciverly may exist amidst abundance of ence and the arts. The various steps riches : true wealth cam 4:17 consist of their progress to refinement were in a proper diction of time." distinguished by the inquiries and the
T. X. discussions of acute and enlightened
philosopliers; and their further pro
gress to perfection was only interrupicd The REASONER.
by interual dissensions, or by the vio.
lence of a barbarous and ignorant into, il'.
Our own times, in particular, present Honestisiter institutio potissimum ab illis peresidit twi, qu virtutem 11 sis factis frr.
us with very striking instances of the non ab 11s qui composts wite
power of human gcuius and diligence. scruia de virtute miga tur.
some very important discoveries have LRSUS. been made in the economy of nature,
and the science of moris has been To sulject appears to have cxcited very considerably improved. The in,
so much attention ainonyst an. fluence of literature has been cxtencient or modern philosophers as the sively and rapidly diffused among the doctiilk' of the perfectibility of man. lower orders of society; the natural
resources of man have been multiplied It would be rain to study astronomy and assisted by the judicious applica- without the assistauce of a telescope; tion of practical philosophy, wid still and though we may be tempted to adgreater advantages may be expected nire tire simplicity of its construction, from an accurate and scientific inn- and the precision and readiness with provement of our late discoveries. which its powers may be caicalated and
“ If therefore we are taught not applied, yet we are indebted to the only by the annals of other ages, and good fortune, rather than to the genius other nations, but by our own obser- of iis discovery. We owe any of the Fation and experience, that the intel- discoveries which have distinguished the lectual improvement of the world is in preceling century, and much of our proportion to its advances in civiliza- improvement in the sciences, to the contron and in science, it may reasonably currence of industry and accident. be concladed, that its approach to per
To say, that by a succession of sifection may be indefinite. If its ada milar accideats, the world might be vances to its present height of wisdomn, still inore enlightened and improvel, and of knowledge, have been gradual is nothing to the purpose. In consiand regular, it may surely be believed dering a subject like the present, it is that its future progress will be equally not necessary to inquire, wheiher we remarkable. Our present improve- may not be able to know many trutlis ment in chemistry, and mechanics, which are now unknown, and to exshould lead us to expect very impor- plain many phenomena of arture which tant, and numerous additions to our are now involved in obscuriy and pernatural powers. We may acquire an plexity, but whether there is reason to absolute command of the material believe, that our progress to perfec creation, and our acquaintance with the tion depends upon any settled and unimmaterial world will consequently fol- deviating cause, for if il can be proved low. If the wisdom and the virtue of that the means by which we have atmankind have hitherto been regularly tained our present eminence in virtuc progressive, why may not that pro- and learning are uncertain and advengression be continued? If every year titious, rather than regular and neadds something to our knowledge, if cessary, every theory wbich rests upon the errors and the superstition of less the latter sapposition must be rejectenlightened ages have been exploded ed as absurd. and destroyed by the influence of phi The powers of machinery and of losophy, and if the empire of reason philosophical instruments are compabas been established in opposition to ratively limited. In proportion to the hereditary prejudice, it may reason effect of a machine, it generally beably be lioped that our virtue may yet comes more complex in its construcbecome more ardent and sincere, and tion, and consexuently more liable to our knowledge more extended and di- friction. Even in the most simple versified. Such changes as these in combinations of the wheel, the axle, deed must necessarily be slow and gra- the lever, or the pulley, ils citects dual; but there can be little doubi, if cannot wholly be prevented. A perwe steadily pursue our object, of our petual motion therefore is an absurarrival at ultimate perfection.”
dity *, and the perfection of the telesSuch are the arguments which may core is equally problematicalt. Were be employed to support the opinion, we able to apply the theory of nethat I am now atteinpting to oppose. chanies, or of optics, without error, or Whether they are as strong, as they resistance, the effects of machines, and are imposing, must be left to the de- of optical glasses, might be increased cision of the reader.
without any limitation; but this may It is by no means true, that the vir- be deinonstrated by experience, and by tue, or the knowledge of mankind, are the dearest principles of mathematical regularly progressive. There is a cer science, to be impossible. In soine parts tain limit to the efforts of the human of England, waggons and carriages are understanding, beyond which it is im- conveyed, by means of steam, to a dispossible to proceed. The most ab. tance of three or four miles, without stracted rcasonings are in some measure subjected to the evidence of the
* See Rutherforth, Vat. Pl., senses, and are indebted for their im
+ Newton, Lest. Opt. p. 3. Wood's Opprovement to mechanical assistance. tirs, Schol.
Defence of Groy against the Reasoner's Aitack on his Poems. any sensible diminution of velocity : To the Editor of the European Magazine, but even in this case the mode of conveyauce is little more eligible than the BELIEVE there never occurred an common one. The carriages move on instance of a poet having supported a plane parallel to the horizon, and are his reputation for half a century, before thus made to slide along without much it was discovered that the world was all assistance from friction, but they main that time in an unfortunate mistake. tain no perpetual power within them. For this, ainong other reasons, (notselves, and when they meet any ob- withstanding the weight of Johnson's stacle, they are stopped or overturn- authorily,) I would hesitate to profess. ed,--they bear no reseinblance to the myself an adherent of the Reasoner, perpetual motion of Mr. Varley *, or who, in his second number, has venthe self-impelling plough of Godwint. tured to declare himself a non-admirer
Neither learuing nor philosophy can of Gray. On the contrary, I am of ald much to the virtue of those, who opinion, that since his time there has are not influenced by religion. The not appeared his equal, unless we can minds of men have been distracted by suppose that the poems of Ossian are metaphysical disputes, for more than the production of M·Pherson; of which two thousand years, yet we do not find, I am not yet convinced. that they have improved in the theory The Reasoner appears to imagine, or the practice of morality. Those that if he can prove that Johnson was who have boasted, that they had dis- uninfluenced by envy when giving his covered the true foundations of virtue, opinion of Gray, he has gained his have seldom been more just or up- point. This is surely presuming too right than iheir fellow-creatures. If much. It is certain, that this great common seuse will not teach us our critic has advanced several hasty and duty to others and ourselves, it will be erroneous opinions in his lives of the vain to scek for instruction in Locke English poets, when envy was altogeor Gisborne. We may puzzle our ther out of the question. Besides, i minds by metaphysical perplexities, to ain by no means clear that a malignant which we are violating the inost sacred and invidious spirit did not in some deprinciples of justice. The boundaries gree mingle itself in the critique on of vice and virtue are as obvious to Gray. It is well known that he exthe peasant as to the philosopher, and tended his hatred to contemporary wriperhaps both of them are persuaded ters of reputation, though they did not that virtue and happiness are synoni. excel in the same sphere with himself. nous ; yet we do not find that the There is, too, a particular reason for practice of either of them is infnenced suspecting the fairness of a man who by their theory, or that the one is could, as he certainly did, on a certain more distinguished for his iniegrity occasion, utter such an imreasonable than the other.
expression as, “ Well enough for a My limiis will not permit ine to ex Cambridge nan.” tend the argument to a greater length. Having, thus, pretty well got over The extent of the earth, the variety this apparently formidable objection, of languages, the multiplication of I come next to consider the other, mankind, and the shortness and un- which has the appearance of being certainty of life, are arguments too supported on a more rational founpowerful to be answered by empty dation. The Reasoner now, without declamation, and are a sufficient proof any assistance from the mighty Doctor, of the advantage and vecessity of reli- attempts, by his own prowess, to pluck gion. A page of practical instruction from Gray his splendid but borrowed is more valuable ihan all the specu- plumage, and exhibit him to view in lations of ancient or modern philoso- his true naked colours. He would wish phers ; and he who has learned to to prove that the poet possissed no exemplify the precepts of Christianity, native merit, but stuck hiinself around may look without uneasiness on the with foreign embellishmeris. From the theories of a Plato or a Godwin.
numerous instances of imitation which L. he has produced, he concludes that his
poems are little better than a skiiful
piece of patchwork. Though I cannot * Who has procured a patent.
allow this conclusion, yet I willingly + See Pulit. Jusuce.
confess that the communicatiou of the