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It is not however to be, denied, that a good may be a great artist, and that his art may contribute to the promotion of virtue. He may teach the canvass or the marble to inspire just and noble sentiments, and by transmitting durable monuments to the honour of such who have deserved well of mankind, may excite posterity to a laudable emulation. All this is possible, and perhaps not without example. progress in Franoe; and at the same time in England, under the reign of Charles the Second, in the midst of profaneness, plots, persecution, and every kind of low debauchery. We see, then, that in each of these periods, vice and profligacy flourished together with human learning; and, if we except the era of the reformation, received from it no sensible check or counteraction. And as to what is called modern philosophy, how far it has a tendency to promote the virtue and happiness of mankind, we may with probability judge from those dire effects of its influence which are yet fresh in our memories :--the extinction of religion, both natural and revealed ;--the dissolution of every bond of social union ;-the destruction of kings ;-the subversion of nations ; --and the reign of atheism and anarchy.
of Virtuosos, and of Virtue itself, as, in a manner, one and the same *.” And Dr. Turnbull, in his Christian Philosophy, p. 175, tells us, “ It might be shown that the taste of beauty in architecture and the other ingenious arts, is so analogous to, and connected with, a good taste of beauty and harmony in moral conduct, that if one who hath the former is irregular and dissolute in his morals, he must be so in downright contradiction to the sole principle upon which his delight in the ingenious arts and works of taste is founded.” To these permit me to add another passage from Lord Kaimes to the same effect : '“ Thus," says he, “taste goes hand in hand with the moral sense in their progress towards maturity, and they ripen equally by the same sort of culture t” Such ideas of moral virtue may probably' remind some of my readers of the story of the man who, being born blind, thought a scarlet colour was like the sound of a trumpet.
. See his Advice to an Author.
II. If the fine arts can only flourish in the advanced stages of society, the same must hold equally true of the sciences, which certainly stand no less in need of encouragement. We could no more reasonably expect to meet with an able mathematician or astronomer among the Hurons or the Iroquois, than with an exquisite painter or statuary.
And as the sciences are thus related to the fine arts in their origin, so they too much resemble them in their want of moral influence and effect. That they contribute to the wealth and aggrandisement, to extend the commerce, to augment the power, and spread far and wide the renown of a nation, cannot be disputed. But all this is extremely different from contributing to its moral prosperity, or to its virtue and virtuous enjoyments. To be convinced how little these important objects, without some great and previous change in the state of the world, are likely to be promoted by any extraordinary advances in human science
and learning, we need only cast an eye on those periods when they most flourished, The first is that of Socrates, already mentioned, when Greece was at once the distinguished seat of literature, of arts, and of every species of moral depravity. The second has been marked by the title of the Augustan age, when, soon after the introduction of the Grecian philosophy into Italy, Rome lost her liberties, and every virtue for which she had been long renowned. The third is that of Leo the Tenth, a period; though abandoned to superstition and every vicious disorder, in which learning again revived after a slumber of many ages, and probably, in part, paved the way, and furthered the progress, of the reformation. I say in part, for there are other and more powerful causes, both political and moral, (not here to be enumerated) to which this great event is chiefly to be ascribed. The last period has been styled the age of Lewis the Fourteenth, when, under the patronage of that monarch, and amidst bigotry, persecution, war, lewdness, and court-intrigue, the sciences as well as the fine arts made a rapid
Let it not be misunderstood, as if it was here meant to cast an indiscriminate censure on human learning, which would be as unjust in itself, as it would be alien and remote from the writer's intention.. Far be it from him to disparage any useful branch of knowledge, or to confound that genuine and experimental philosophy, which serves to unfold the wisdom and goodness of the Creator in the structure and destination of his works, and to supply maný solid advantages to the world, with a science falsely so called, or with that miserable sophistry, which is the disgrace, and has proved the sorest calamity of the present age. Or, as if it was meant to censure any ingenious art, while it maintains its proper rank, and seeks to improve in adorning human life, by ministring in the cause of virtue and religion.
It must not however be forgotten, that while the philosopher and the artist are mindful to perform their part, we must take care on ours, if we mean to profit by their labours, to be provided with a mind sound and well-constituted, both morally and intellectually :-Then all things will contribute to our improvement; every excellence of art, as well as every discovery of nature, will lead to the great source of truth and perfection; shadows will teach realities, and creation become a mirror of the Deity. At present our condition, as not unaptly