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when, in his review of the work of Soame Jenyns, on the origin of evil
, he stript off the veil which that author had attempted to throw over the difficulties of the question, and clearly showed, and boldly avowed, that no author had yet invented a theory which accounted for them. A reviewer at the present day would perform a service no less important to religion, who should strip off the veil which Paley, and others, among whom our present author may be classed, have endeavoured to throw over the difficulties which still adhere to the argument from final causes, and should exhibit clearly and distinctly, the important objections which none of them have answered, and to which the serious attention of theologians is required. On the ground of that theory which Mr. Stewart has adopted, new difficulties, and those of the most formidable nature, arise. For the being of a God, according to this doctrine, we have no ground of assurance whatsoever beyond a blind, and unaccountable instinct; beyond the mechanical impulse of a principle which they expressly avow we have in common with the brutes. We frankly own, that this is a conclusion which we should feel the utmost repugnance to admit. Mr. Stewart appears to us to be, in some degree at least, aware of the terrible consequences of his doctrine, that our belief in the existence of a God is by no means founded upon reason or experience, when in p. 552, he says, “In the inferences drawn concerning the invisible things of God, from the things which are made, there is a perception of the understanding implied, for which neither reasoning nor experience is sufficient to account;" and where he expressly says that, without admitting the power of his instinct, this conclusion is inevitable, “ That it would be perfectly impossible for the Deity, if he did exist, to exhíbit to man any satisfactory evidence of design by the order and perfection of his works.”
It thus appears to what extraordinary purposes instinct is applied in the writings of those philosophers. In fact, there is nothing which does not depend upon it. In the first place, our belief in the existence of matter must rest upon instinct; so must our belief in the existence of mind. Our expectation, that the future will resemble the past, rests exclusively upon instinct. It is upon instinct that our belief in testimony depends. It is by instinct solely, that we make all moral distinctions. And, finally, it is to instinct that we must look, for the foundation of our belief in a God. In attempting to erect a barrier against scepticism, they have produced what appears to us to be the most extensive and hopeless system of scepticism that ever was offered to the human mind.
There is a curious circle in which they reason. It still requires to be mentioned. They tacitly infer that instinct is entitled to
our confidence, because it is the work of God; and Mr. Stewart quotes a passage from Adam Smith, in which he says, that in following instinct, we are very apt to imagine that to be the wisdom of Man, which in reality is the wisdom of God.” Observe their train of inference. . Why do we believe in instinct ? Because instinct is derived from God. Why do we believe in God? Because the belief is derived from instinct.
There is yet another point of view, in which it is requisite to consider the volumes of Mr. Stewart. We must not fail to applaud the style in which they are written. It is elegant without being flowery, and animated without an approach to rant. It is surprising what interest this author contrives to throw over the driest discussions; and how usefully and how admirably calculated his writings are to captivate the youthful mind with a love of his science, and to draw it insensibly into the paths of philosophy and intellectual pursuit. In this point of view, we are acquainted with no writings which we should recommend more strongly to any young persons, in whose intellectual progress we took an interest, than the volumes of Mr. Stewart." The views in which the motives to intellectual exertion are presented are such as cannot fail to operate powerfully upon every liberal mind. In another important respect, the tone of this philosopher is entitled to peculiar applause. He does not exert himself according to a late deplorable fashion, to narrow the prospects of the human mind, and to damp its ardour in the pursuit of knowledge, by endeavouring to prove the impossibility of ever advanc-, ing beyond its present attainments. It is a maxim of Mr. Stewart, with which the temper of his writings perfectly corresponds, that 6 To awaken a dormant spirit of discussion, by pointing out the imperfections of accredited systems, is at least one step gained towards the farther advancement of knowledge.” And he quotes an important passage, in which he says it is justly and philosophically remarked by Burke, " that nothing tends more to the corruption of science than to suffer it to stagnate. These waters must be troubled before they can exert their virtues. A man who works beyond the surface of things, though he may be wrong himself, yet he clears the way for others, and may chance to make even his errors subservient to the cause of truth."* Even the old schoolmen were willing to say,
Quod vetus est, juvenes, in religione sequamur :
Quod placet in logica nil vetat esse novum. For “nourishing the ardour of the man of science, and
* Inquiry into the Sublime, &c. p. 1, sect. 19.
. awakening the enthusiasm of youth,” he peculiarly recommends, and with admirable propriety, the inspiring pages of Lord Bacon, which are singularly adapted to enlarge and to elevate the conceptions; exhibiting those magnificent views of knowledge which, by identifying its progress with the enlargement of human powers and of human happiness, ennoble the humblest exertions of literary industry, and annihilate, before the triumphs of genius, the most dazzling objects of vulgar ambition. A judicious selection of such passages, and of some general and striking apho. risms from the Novum Organon, would form a useful manual for animating the academical tasks of the student; and for gradually conducting him, from the level of the subordinate sciences, to the vantage-ground of a higher philosophy.“ Unwilling," he adds, “as I am to touch on a topic so hopeless as that of Academical Reform, I cannot dismiss this subject, without remarking, as a fact which at some future period will figure in literary history, that two hundred years after the date of Bacon's philosophical works, the antiquated routine of study, originally prescribed in times of scholastic barbarism and of popish superstition, should, in so many Universities, be still suffered to stand in the way of improvements, recommended at once by the present state of the sciences, and by the order which nature follows in developing the intellectual faculties.”
Art. X.- Selection of Hebrew Melodies, Ancient and Modern,
with appropriate Symphonies and Accompaniments. By J. Braham and Nathan.' The Poetry written expressly for the
Work. By the Right Hon. Lord Byron. London, 1815. The word “ Melodies' has long ceased to deceive us, or to raise any flattering expectations in our minds. If we should now see the melodies of Kamtschatka, or of Madagascar, or of the Hottentots, advertised, we should not only not be surprised, but we should know what to expect:-minstrels, and languishing maidens, the big bright tear, the dark blue eye, lovers' vows, and tender glances. Some things, indeed, which the word. • Melodies,' from the recollection of what under that denomination has been introduced into the families of Britain, once so distinguished for high and homebred chastity, led us to anticipate, it has been a great pleasure to us not to find in these poems of Lord Byron. He has not employed his pen to recommend vice to the prompt desires of the young under its most prurient imagery; he has not wearied his fancy in the service of mental prostitution, nor stu
died how to degrade the British character to the standard of French and Italian depravity. As we think Lord Byron's He brew strains are free from harm, we regret that they are so little intelligible; for this reason only, because, we are apprehensive that young ladies, feeling their fancies set at large by this obscurity, may be apt to annex ideas to what they but half comprehend, too much after the pattern of those which their thoughtless parents have suffered to become uppermost in their minds, under the tuition of the melody-mongers of our day.
We have assigned the only reason for our regretting that these Melodies are often obscure in expression. Their poetical claims are so low, that they excite in us no anxiety to penetrate the meaning where it is not obvious. When Elisha was called upon by the three Kings to prophesy, he said, Bring me a minstrel, and as the minstrel played, the prophet was inspired. Lord Byron has called for his minstrels, and they have tried their skill, but their poet has remained not only uninspired, but in a perfect vacuity of poetical thought and feeling. A young
Lord is seldom the better for meddling with Jews.
It is sometimes entertaining to observe, how currently the greatest absurdities will pass under the sanction of a name, which has been once sainted in the calendar of fashionable society. The Book called Jasher, cited in the 10th chapter of Joshua, supposed to have been a collection of sacred songs, principally elegiacal, has probably never met the ears of many of Lord Byron's admirers; or it might not be difficult to persuade them, that it had been his Lordship's good fortune to have discovered this specimen of primæval poetry, and that his Muse had been set to work in imitating and paraphrasing its contents. And, on the other hand, it would be going but a little way further, to give Messrs. Braham and Nathan credit for having discovered the identical music of the eucharistical ode of Moses, on the deliverance of Israel in their passage across the sea. We can, however, take upon qurselves to assure the young ladies who have been studying these Melodies, and their mammas, that no such mysterious and far-fetched expedients are used in the manufactory of what captivates them under the name of melodies. These bewitching things have no more to do with the countries with the names of which they are associated, than mustard has to do with Tewksbury, or the cheese called Stilton with the place of that name. The way to proceed is first to prepare your melodies, and then you have the whole world lying between the polar circles, north and south, wherein to choose for them a proper designation and origin. One only thing will remain, which is to sprinkle the composition over with a few names of places and persons belonging to its adopted country. .
With respect to Hebrew music, no ancient art or science seems to be more completely lost and obliterated. It does not appear that any peculiar characters or marks, by which their music could be preserved and transmitted, were used by the Jews of any period, ancient or modern; their religious melodies must, therefore, have been wholly traditionary, and consequently subject to perpetual variations : insomuch that it was the opinion of the fathers of the church, and also of the most learned rabbins, that the old Hebrew music was entirely lost; so that the music now used in the synagogues is of a vague and arbitrary character, without a trace of the primitive melodies.
In the present day, therefore, to set up pretensions to the restoration or imitation of genuine Hebrew music is trifling and irreverent. All that can be done, or ought to be attempted, is to appropriate the noblest and sublimest efforts of modern music to the sacred poetry of the Bible; not for the sake of tickling the ears of amateurs, but of warming the hearts of holy men, and elevating towards God the languid piety of the formal worshipper. But to do this something more than the mere faculty of the professor is requisite : from the heart of the composer must come that genuine pathos, which can never be represented but where it is felt, and can never be felt, except where God himself is enthroned in the affections.
It was in the reign of the holy David, “the sweet Psalmist of Israel," “ in whose tongue was the word of the Lord,” that Hebrew music and poetry reached their perfection; whose vast and splendid apparatus for the musical part of the service of the temple has been equalled by nothing of the kind that has ever. existed in any other country. The poetry has come down to us, but the music has entirely evaporated ; * but from what we know of the poetry, and from what we read of the music, and of the prodigious care and expenditure employed in the cultivation of it, we may frame an adequate idea of sacred song as it chaunted its Hallelujahs at the dedication of the temple, or poured forth the sorrows of captive Judah by the waters of Babylon. Who are then these moderns that dare
to touch the ark
* “ Meminerimus, nunc ejus reliquias ad nos pervenisse ornamentis suis omnibos spoliatas, nisi quæ in dictione et sensibus elucent, quibus ipsis plurimæ obscuritates et tenebræ insiderunt. Quapropter de Oda Hebræa disserentes omni supersedebimus disquisitione de Musica Sacra, deque vario ejusmodi rerum apparatu, quæ aliquam procul dubio vim habere poterant in constituendis diversis Odarum generibus, quorum tamen omnium cum in summa ignoratione versamur, satius duco de iis tacere, quam eruditorum quorundam exemplo multa loquendo njbil dicere.” Lowth de Sac. Poes. Hebr. Præl. XXV.