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· SEPTEMBER, 1800.
Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man; transiated
from the German of John Godfrey Herder, by T. Churchill, 14:. 11. 11s. 6d. Beards. Johnson. 1806.
IN an age of scepticism, it is not easy to ascertain what is understood by philosophy, especially when it is applied as in the present work. The history of man comprises a series of facts, which, we may suppose, are to be explained by philofophic induction ; but this is a task which would require centuries of farther investigation, and probably new, and inore exalted, mental powers. If, as in our author's own and somewhat obscure intimation, the plan and designs of the Omnipotent be the subject of the work, the boldest mind, on examining the picture closely, mult thrink froin the attempt. Let us attend, however, to the author himself.
'I have imperceptibly wandered too far from the design with which I set out, and which was, to give an account of the manner of my falling upon this subject, and returning to it again among other occupations and duties of a very different nature. At an early age, when the dawn of science appeared to my fight in all that beauty which is greatly diminilhed at the noon of life, the thought frequently occurred to me, whether, as every thing in the world has its philosophy and science, there must not also be a philosophy and science of what concerns us most nearly, of the history of mankind at large. Every thing enforced this upon my mind; metaphysics and morals, physics and natural history, and lastly religion above all the rest. Shall be, who has ordered every thing in nature, said I to myself, by number, weight, and measure; who has so regulated according to these the essence of things, their forms and relations, their course and subsistence, that only one wisdom, goodness, and power prevail, from the system of the universe to the grain of fand, from the power that supports worlds and funs to the texture of a spider's web; who has so wonderfully and divinely weighed every thing in our body, and in the faculties of our mind, that, when we attempt to reflect on the only-wise ever so remotely, we
Crit. Rev. VOL. XXX. September, 1800. B .