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QUESTIONS.-1. What are the two significations of the word taste 2. What does intellectual taste discern? 3. How may a thorough good taste be considered? 4. What effect have exercise and aitention upon taste? 5. What examples of this are given? 6. What is said of sensual pleasures? 7. Of the pleasures of taste?
THE object of the philosopher is to inform and enlighten mankind; that of the orator, to acquire an ascendant over the will of others, by bending to his own purposes their judgments, their imaginations, and their passions: but the pri mary and the distinguishing aim of the poet is to please; and the principal resource which he possesses for this purpose, is by addressing the imagination.
In poetry, we perceive every where what Akenside calls
That searchless nature o'er the sense of man
The inexpressive semblance of himself,
The zephyrs laugh,-the sky smiles, the forest frowns, -the storm and the surge contend together,—the solitary place not merely blossoms like the rose, but it is glad. All nature becomes animated. The poetic genius, like that soul of the world, by which the early philosophers accounted for all earthly changes, breathes its own spirit into every thing surrounding it.
The world is full of poetry-the air
Is living with its spirit; and the waves
And sparkle in its brightness-earth is veiled,
STUDY OF HISTORY.
'Tis not the chime and flow of words, that move
QUESTIONS.-1. What is the object of the philosopher? 2. Of the orator? 3. Of the poet? 4. What is the principal resource of the poet? 5. To what is the poetic genius compared?
Advantages of studying History.
If we consider the knowledge of history with regard to its application, we shall find that it is eminently useful to us in three respects, namely, as it appears in a moral, a political, and a religious point of view.
In a moral point of view, it is beneficial to mankind at large, as the guide of their conduct. In a political--as it suggests useful expedients to those who exercise the public offices of
STUDY OF HISTORY.
the state; or as it enables us to form, by comparison with those who have gone before them, a just estimate of their merits. In a religious as it teaches us to regard the Supreme Being as the governor of the universe, and sovereign disposer of all events.
The faculties of the soul are improved by exercise; and nothing is more proper to enlarge, to quicken, and to refine them, than a survey of the conduct of mankind. History supplies us with a detail of facts, and submits them to examination before we are called into active life. By observation and reflection upon others we begin an early acquaintance with human nature, extend our views of the moral world, and are enabled to acquire such a habit of discernment, and eorrectness of judgment, as others obtain only by experience. By meditating on the lives of sages and heroes, we exercise our virtues in a review, and prepare them for approaching action. We learn the motives, the opinions, and the passions of the men who lived before us; and the fruit of that study is a more perfect knowledge of ourselves, and a correction of our failings by their examples,
Experience and the knowledge of history reflect mutual light, and afford mutual assistance. Without the former no one can act with address and dexterity. Without the latter no one can add to the natural resources of his own mind a knowledge of those precepts and examples, which have tended to form the character and promote the glory of eminent men. History contributes to divest us of many illiberal prejudices, by enlarging our acquaintance with the world. It sets us at liberty from that blind partiality to our native country, which is a sure mark of a contracted mind, when due merit is not allowed to any other. This study likewise tends to strengthen our abhorrence of vice; and creates a relish for true greatness and solid glory. We see the hero and the philosopher represented in their proper colours; and as magnanimity, honour, integrity, and generosity, when displayed in illustrious instances, naturally make a favourable impression on our minds, our attachment to them is gradually formed. The fire of enthusiasm and of virtuous emulation is lighted, and we long to practise what we have been instructed to approve.
The love of our country naturally awakens in us a spirit of curiosity to inquire into the conduct of our ancestors, and to learn the memorable events of their history. Nothing that
happened to them can be a matter of indifference to us. We are their descendants, we reap the fruits of their public and private labours, and we not only share the inheritance of their property, but derive reputation from their noble actions.
History, considered with respect to the nature of its subjects, may be divided into general and particular; and with respect to time, into ancient and modern. Ancient history commences with the creation, and extends to the reign of Charlemagne, in the year of our Lord eight hundred. Modern history, beginning with that period, reaches down to the present times. General history relates to nations and public affairs, and may be subdivided into ecclesiastical and civil, or according to some writers, into sacred and profane Biography, memoirs, and letters, constitute particular history. Statistics refer to the present condition of nations. Geography and chronology are important aids, and give order, regularity, and clearness to all. KETT.
QUESTIONS.-1. What is the advantage of history in a moral point of view? 2. In a political? 3. In a religious? 4. What are the uses of history in respect to the mental faculties and the conduct of life? 5. How does history divest us of illiberal prejudices? 6. How does it tend to strengthen our abhorrence of vice, and create a relish for true greatness? 7. What is said of the history of our ancestors? 8. How may history be divided? 9. subdivided?
Proposition, a sentence in which any thing is affirmed or denied. Demonstra'tion, a process of reasoning in which we perceive it to be impossible that the conclusion should not follow from the premises, or antecedent propositions.
By philosophy we mean the knowledge of the reasons of things, in opposition to history, which is the bare knowledge. of facts; or to mathematics, which is the knowledge of the quantity of things, or their measures: These three kinds of knowledge ought to be joined as much as possible. History furnishes matter, principles, and practical examinations, and mathematics complete the evidence, All arts have their peculiar philosophy, which constitutes their theory. It is to be observed, that the bare intelligence and memory of philoso
phical proposi'tions, without an ability to demo'nstrate them, is not philosophy, but history only. Where such propositions, however, are determinate and true, they may be usefully applied in practice, even by those who are ignorant of their demonstrations.
Philosophy discovers and teaches those principles by means of which happiness may be acquired, preserved, and increased. Wisdom applies these principles to the benefit of individuals and of society. Knowledge which is applicable to no useful purpose cannot deserve the name of wisdom. The sources of that knowledge of truth which leads to the possession of happiness are reason and revelation. To instruct men in those truths which God hath communicated to mankind by revelation, is the province of theology. To teach them such truths, connected with their happiness, as are capable of being discovered by the powers of reason, is the province of philosophy.
The leading offices of philosophy may be easily deduced from the general idea of its object. As the permanent enjoyment of real good is the end to be attained, the business of philosophy, therefore, will be to cultivate the understanding, and direct its operations; to correct and improve the will and affections; to inquire out the causes of natural appearances, and hence arrive at the knowledge of the first cause, under those characters and relations that are most interesting to mankind; to conduct men to such an acquaintance with the properties of natural bodies, and their reciprocal actions, as shall enable them to apply the objects around them to their own convenience; and, finally, to assist them in investigating the principles of social virtue, and thus provide themselves with such rules of conduct as arise from mutual convenience and interest, from the natural sentiments of justice and humanity, and from the voluntary engagements of civil society.
QUESTIONS.-1. What is meant by philosophy? 2. What three kinds of knowledge should be joined as much as possible? 3. What is the distinction between philosophy and wisdom? 4. What is the province of theology? 5. Of philosophy? 6. What are the leading offices of philosophy? NOTE. The three great objects of philosophy are God, man, and the universe. Philosophy is sometimes divided into three parts, intellectual, moral, and physical, or natural.