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bited the ill consequences of reading these kind of writings, by describing the madness produced in the brain of his hero. With that peculiar degree of genius which marked Cervantes, the character of his insane hero is preserved from all disrespect, even in his most absurd actions, by the dignity of his moral character, by the splendour of his intellect, and the elegance of his attainments. Don Quixote is only mad in one point, his romantic chivalry.
Syllogisms. This mode of investigating truth has its adversaries and its friends, as it happens with all kinds of ancient and recondite learning. The ingenious author of the “ Sketches of the History of Man” has given the following degrading character of the attempt which syllogism makes
To catch the eel of science by the tail. Pope. “ Aristotle's artificial mode of reasoning is no less superficial than intricate; for in none of his logical works is a single truth attempted to be proved by a syllogism, that requires a proof. The propositions which he undertakes to prove by syllogism, are of themselves self-evident. It is remarkable that Aristotle in his own works, viz. Ethics, Poetry, and Rhetoric, argues like a
rational being, without once putting in practice his own rules." Non nostrum est tantas componere lites, between the ingenious opinion of the author of the Sketches on the History of Man,' and the practice of one of our English Universities, wherein the Aristotelian logic is still held in esteem. The above-cited author has also wit on his side in his ridicule of the Aristotelian system:
He'd undertake to prove by force
In the history of so accomplished and worthy a knight as Sir Philip Sidney has generally been represented, the reader is justly surprised at such an anecdote as the following. “ He made a public confession of his faith to the clergy man who surrounded his bed, and, at his earnest request, accompanied him in a devout prayer dictated by himself; in this he remarked that his sins were best known to himself, and out of that true sense he was more properly instructed to apply to himself the eternal sacrifice of our Saviour's passion and merits."* That is, in other words, I know the nature of my sins better than can be described and defined by any other persons, and in consequence of this knowledge, appreciate my claim for their forgiveness to the benefits of Christ's passion and merits.
Systems. Men in the early stages of science are very fond of erecting systems, and this arises from that presumption which a knowledge of but few facts is apt to generate. When these experiences progressively increase, systems are then gradually relinquished. If we take up a few sticks, we can easily bind them into a faggot; when they are many and large, they easily elude our grasp, and we wisely contemplate them apart.
Proper Lights for individuals. Some ebaracters among our acquaintance are more advantageously seen at a distance, and by a partial view or drawing of them, and by not being placed in too strong a light. Some do best in busts, where their heads are only valuable. Three
* See Life of Sir Philip Sidney in the British Plutarch by. the Rev. Francis Wrangham, in six volumes, vol. ii. 1816.
quarter pieces are only fitted to those characters which we have experienced to have good hearts, as well as able heads. Few can stand at full length.
Biography. The lovers of this enchanting branch of literature have to lament, that deficiency of matter has left us so few materials for the lives of the two most eminent men in their respective stations that ever the world could boast of, viz. Shakespeare and Newton. Who would not wish to peruse anecdotes of the private life and manners of the immortal bard, and who would not purchase at an high rate the literary progress of the immortal geometrician?
Case of many Readers. How many men read a great deal, remember a very little, and perhaps understand even less! If they are loquacious, this last circumstance soon appears.
How many men also are great eaters, bad or indifferent digesters, and remain as lean as if they had little employment for their powers of mastication. In one the brain, and in the other the stomach, is overloaded and void of digestive powers.
Swift said of Arbuthnot, that he was the only man of his acquaintance who possessed in any degree of perfection the two great and rare faculties, reading and walking. How
many hobble on a plain road, and grow tired in a short space; and how many readers stumble in clear passages, and are fatigued with very little attention to the author in hand!
Metaphysics. " The disputes of metaphysicians somewhat resemble a game at blind-man's buff. Every one is blinded in his turn, and the rest endeavour to drive him into some blunder; and should he stuinble over a stool, or be brought to the light with his face blackened and his periwig in disorder, who can choose but laugh ?"
The unknown but very ingenious author of the treatise from which this excellent account of metaphysical disputes is taken, has proved the justice of his account in his very shrewd · Essay on a Material World. In this game of blind man's buff, Drs. Price and Priestley, and many Scotch writers, are exhibited by this facetious writer in the predicaments which he describes. The author of the Essay is sometimes a profound logician, sometimes a man of wit and pleasantry, and at all times a profound scholar and an elegant writer.