« ZurückWeiter »
ahl honour which the saints share with Christ, who is God's great sign to the world of matchless goodness and inflexible severity or
We intended to have bestowed a few concluding remarks upon the subject of Popery, but our space is run out. 9199 brera
ART. VI.-Life and Correspondence of David Hume. By John 316 31/ 11Hill BURTON. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1846. JTD jum SI Now that Lord Brougham has completed his Lives of Voltaire and Rousseau, for the interests of religion, he is quite free to extend the memoirs of Theresa Vasseur, and Madame du Chatelet, for the interests of morality—his Lordship having long ago established a peer's right of immunity from all ordinary restrictions. Many years since, his Lordship told the world that he would be fettered by no responsibility to it, and by this time, we'are pretty sure, he would not be backward to avow, that he owns as little cutiation
, ness, submit to in him, we can by no means accord to another. Had it been the author of "Lives of Men of Letters and Science" who had acted as shipwright to the Hume Papers, we would have felt no surprise, and at this stage, interposed' no criticism. We are not, however, prepared to extend the same licence to Mr Barton, and in our charity,' applaud him for an undertaking, ,
' the reputation, and resuscitate the influence of one who''spent even half a century seekinig to destroy the faith we profess. That it would have been a certain violation of duty for Augustine to have become the biographer of Celsus, or for Pascal to have edited the' unpublished epistles of Loyola, we will not exactly
t we have no hesitation in affirming that'it would have been a vast departure from common sense, and a procedure well calculated to raise serious misgivings.
" Had there existed in Mr Burton's case either relative or official connexion with the subject of his volumes—had he acted as the responsible organ of a public body, or as the hereditary he might find himself involved in his editorship against all.ex that he had chérished "an intention of writing a life of Hume for' a length of time." (x.), and solicited the materials he now gives to the public, at the hands of those parties under whose
charge they were. Perhaps even this we might have overlooked, in the case of one who was extremely anxious to create for himself a name in literature, had there been 'nothing further to blame. We are however constrained to say, that being accepted as the editor of Hume's “Correspondence," by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Mr B. has repaid the favour they have shown to him, by the strain of vindieation and approval on behalf of the subject of his memoir, which characterises his narrative and remarks.
i sl. 1.12. odt Not that we could have demanded of one in his circumstances, to speak out so plainly as another 'Inight have felt at liberty to do. But beyond all question Mr B. has allowed himself to be betrayed into a style of criticism far too mitigated and latitudinarian in the observations he offers, both on the character and principles of Hume. Lord Brougham has recently discovered should be viewed as a reaction from Pópery.' Mr Lewes would
Tworst, he have us to believe that scepticism is just another name for laudable distrust of reason, and that in this way the best sceptic should be the best believer. And in like i fashion, Mr Burton would have us to regard Mr Hume as an honest inquirer after truth, and not at all as either so dangerous or so daring as he is wont to be called.
Lily!01 to byl jul! gute “ The general scope and purport of Hume's Dialogues are not unlike those of Voltaire's Jenni. But in the mere similarity of the argument the resemblance stops." No two performances can be more unlike each other in tone and spirit than the English sceptic's honest search after truth, and the French infidel's" ribald sport with all that men love and reveré. The contrast may be found not only in these individual men, but in the two classes of thinkers, at the head of which they respectively stood. Hume represented the cautious, conscientious inquiry which has established many truths and ameliorated social evilso the Frenchman directed that scornful, careless, cruel sport with whatever is dear and important to humanity, which one day bowed to absolute despotism, and the next destroyed the whole fabric of social order.” (1. 330.) “The speculative philosopher, who does not directly interfere with the religion ol' his neighbours, should be left to the peaceful pursuit of his inquiries, and those who instead of meeting him by fair argument cry out irreligion, and call in the mub to their aid, should reflect first, whether it is absolutely dertain that they are right in the conclusion, that his inquiries, if carried out, would be inimical to religion.” (I.787.). 1“ It was not that he was so much of a natural philosopher himself as to be able to test their truth or falsehood, but that with a wholesome jealousy, characteristic of the mind' in which the Disquisition on Miracles was working itself into shape, he avoided them.” (I. 94.) “No part of his writings gave more offence (than his opinions on "miracles) to 'serious avid' devont thinkers. But the offence was in the manner of the promulgation, "not
در في 4 :یر
I the matter of the opinions.” (I. 279.) “Hume was no propagandist- and indeed seems ever to have felt that a firm faith in Christianity, uno shaken by any doubts, was an invaluable privilege, of which it would be
as much more cruel to deprive a fellow-creature than to rob him of his Pue, venne possession is more valuable than the other. Hence
his conversation was ac n Clergymen, who hever feared in his presence to encounter any sentiment
acceptable 'to 'women and to that might 'shock their feelings. And parents were never afraid of en
ing their children to his care and social attentions, and indeed thought it a high privilege to obtain them.” (I. 293.) “ Thus, after having good-naturedly abstained for nearly thirty years from the publi. ocation of a work which might give pain and umbrage to his dearest friends, at the close of life, because there appeared some danger' of its
final suppression, he took decided and well-pondered steps to avert from This Dialogues on Natural Religion, this fate. Such was the character
of the man.” (II. 491.) on No one can doubt, after reading these quotations, that, whatsayer was Mr. Burton's immediate inducement to produce a biography of Hume, he has not undertaken a work to which either
his views or tastes, could have offered much repugnance. Yet mit may still be inquired, how far it comports with unfeigned 1Christian belief to revive so cordially the exploits, and defend so a vigorously the speculations of the man who has done most of any, since the days of Porphyry, to make mankind believe that they are without hope. It frequently happens that authors are really not aivare of the tone which belongs to their works, the hue they have thrown over the canvass, until they are startled by the reading of their printed pages. , And we can imagine that in the bease of Mr Burton, (who no doubt would desire to act as handsomely as he could, to that body, who had acted so handsomely to him, in allowing him free access to the documents which are now before us,) he was not a little amazed to find how diligent he had been to exonerate Hume from every charge, and place him uniformly under a favourable point of view. But be the explanation what it may, we must be excused when we avow, that the sustained and elaborate effort which is made in these volumes to invest, alike the deportment and opinions of Mr Hume, with the charm of worth, has left an unhappy impression upon our minds, and forces us to apprehend that Mr B. has yet to learn the relative value of faith and infidelity, Indeed, we almost felt inclined to express our meaning less ambiguously, when in addition to the extracts we have already given, our eye lighted UDOR
the following passage: * The evidence of the genuineness (of the miracles wrought at the tomb of the Abbé Paris) was considered so satisfactory that the Jesuits were never able to impugn them-an instance which it might be wel
for every one to recall to mind who is told of phenomena out of the great dinary course of pature being authenticated by the testimony of respeeds table and enlightened people." AI: 49.) sitaong 2 mil aedt tud Ilya
One is apt to think that so sweeping a retfarkuisavourstoas much of the disciple as 'of the apologist: But no doubt 'it mußt be susceptible of a discreet and orthodox interpretation, though, as it stands, exoteric people may construe it falsely, and stumble
Ꮣ L at it.
110.0 on to allo
bro992 e not It would be irrelevant to examine in this tcbnnexion, how faro some of Mr Hume's speculations might be said to harmonizes with some of the principles of Calvinisın." But it surely is matter of notoriety, that betwixt what is essential to the system of Grace, and what is distinctive in the theory of Scepticism,
-on both sides on We cannot therefore but feel, that in the quotation about to
) be given, Mr B. has not only carried his 'anxiety to clear away all suspicions from his author to a reprehensible excess, but haste sought to effect his object by the help of two venerable "namieselt whom it was either desperation or effrontery to introduce in such relation, Boston 16144119827 gatan nyt mugd ove! Blodla not
720 C 14 avalnirea ti usilt stouniani of siune *If we suppose a man impressed with a feeling of reverence for a superat rior being, who seeing in the order of the world, and all its movements, ot the omnipotent, allwise ,
a Divine Provi. and all-merciful guidance fures Do of lation that is not in accordance with the merciful ways, and thus devoutly receives the word of God as promulgated in the lo Bible—tries to understand what is within the power of his limited faeulald ties, but implicitly believing that in the shadows tof those mysteries to which he is unable to penetrates there lie operations, as completely partot of one great plan, and as wise, as the outward and comprehensible actsu s of Providence. Such a man finds none of his sentiments in the writings of Hume, for he is s at once told that
and Revelation are two dispa connected things.” “ But take one who believes that religion is too sacred de
allied with so poor and miserable a thing as erring human reason, who feels that bv
no act of his own, the true light of the Christian religion has been lighted within him, as by a miracle, who has been adopted by a sudden change in his spiritual nature into the fedo mily of the faithful—then there is nothing in all Hume's Philosophyl to sl militate against the religion of such a man, but rather many arguments in its favour.”
rose: toisten t:90-91 (i 1979,40122914 "Since this is the case, it may be asked why if one party in religionis attacked the opinions of Hume another did not defend them? Why if Beattie and Warburton couched the lance, Whitefield and John Erskine did not come forward as his champions!" (I, 280 ).
bok To the first class 'specified in the above extract, by Mr Burui tom, our readers know well that Pascal belongedal. That greatdı
to be in any way.al
man had no overweening' estimate of reason, but was in fact upon this head, as resolute and thorough-going a sceptic as Hume him', self. But then, Hume's scepticism, though Mr B. seems to have - 1 forgotten this, embraced,
1 faith equally with reason, whereas, in Pascal
, faith was the very sinew, of his life, and endowed his character with all its strength and loftineşs. Whitefield and, John Erskine, on the other hand, came much nearer to Mr Bur--ton's second class of religionists. They were too strenuous au-... vocates for the right of private judgmento as protestants, to adopt Pascal's extreme views on the weakness of reason; and whilst they defined its range, and kept it subordinate, they refu- , sed to discard it as a worn-out tool, a chronometer the dial-plate, of which was fair, but its machinery in ruin, Concerning faith, however, Pascal of Burton's first class, and the evangelical Calvinist to his second, were heartily and wholly at one, so that, as if at the very, antipodes to Mr Hume, the latter included both faith and
reason in his creed, and held, that each was needed to perfect An, these circumstances, we cannot understand how Mr Bur, ton should have been led to offer the remarks quoted above, and venture to insinuate, that it would have been a very congruous things hadJohn Erskine espoused the defence of Hume in reply to Warburton. Either, as we suspect, the observation was intended for a gratuitous insult to the advocates of eternal de
ees," who manifestly do not rank amongst the wisest of religionists in Mr Burton's judgment,, or, it arose from that inevitable confusion of ideas which was to be expected when a persuni of Mr B.is intellectual designation and habits launches out ini to the deep of theology. For the future, we would advise our author not to be just so chivalrous as to hazard his own celebri- "o ty for the sake of him whom he has taken in hand to immortalize; but if heb
" cannot do better than persist in asserting that Whitefield was no less a sceptic than Hume, and Hume as good a believer as Whitefield! Intelligent men, no doubt, will wonder how such obstinate and unlearned sentiments could ever come to be ventilated; but not a few will adopt the paradox.
Some pens are so amiable that they cannot drop a harsh expression, even in respect to what there is no desire to palliate, and we were ready to accept this, as Mr Burton's apology for his Inow
those who he und indulgent treatment of Hume, until we met with his reflections and expose the real drift of his philosophy. We now learned, however, Ithat he swho is so courteous and affectionate towards thermiantwho lived his life only to teach, that virtue was an ar