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doing all things immediately and miraculously; from whence it would follow also, that they are all done either forcibly and violently, or else artificially only, and none of them by any inward principle of their own.
"Lastly: this opinion is further confuted by that slow and gradual process, that is in the generation of things, which would seem to be but a vain and idle pomp, or a trifling formality, if the agent were omnipotent: as also by those á papriuata (as Aristotle calls them), those errors and bungles, which are committed, when the matter is inept or contumacious; which argue the agent not to be irresistible, and that nature is such a thing, as is not altogether incapable (as well as human art) of being sometimes frustrated and disappointed by the indisposition of matter. Whereas an omnipotent agent, as it could dispatch its work in a moment, so it would always do it infallibly and irresistibly; no ineptitude or stubborness of matter being ever able to hinder such a one, or make him bungle or fumble in any thing."
From these premises, the author concludes, that there must be a plastic nature diffused throughout the universe, and acting like the principle of vegetation. Now, we must confess, that to us this seems to be the most unphilosophical part of the work, and that it savours more of heathen than of Christian philosophy. But it would be strange if a mind so occupied in poring over the confused mass of speculations and fancies which abound in the writings of the Greek theists, should not imbibe some of their spirit. Our author is obviously pleased with this conceit, and has made it a complete hobby; but this very thing is an argument in favour of his sincerity, and though an excrescence, is not without its interest.
The fourth chapter, which is by far the longest, is occupied by an attempt to prove that the intelligent pagans generally acknowledged one Supreme Deity. This is the part of the work that called forth the animadversions of the Catholic above alluded to, who contended that the gods worshipped by the pagans, were but deified men and women. They may be both right. The populace worshipped idols and deified mortals, and personified operations of nature, bonâ fide, as real beings. The philosophers were sceptical as to the popular theology, and as their theism was for the most part speculative and philosophical-not practical and religious, there was nothing in their acknowledgment of a Supreme Numen, that could render the Christian revelation superfluous, any more than if the whole mass of the Pagan world were sunk into the grossest and most palpable idolatry. But in the illustration which our author gives of this part of his subject, there should have been a distinction made between those heathen writers who flourished before the time of Christ, and those who were acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity. His argument in
this chapter goes to prove, that the polytheism of the pagans is no objection to the naturalness of the idea of the unity and supremacy of God; because the more intelligent could discern and did acknowledge one Supreme. This point should have been confined to the writers who were unacquainted with the Christian scheme. It is very natural to suppose, that when the absurdities of pagan idolatry were made the subject of attack by the Christians, that the advocates of that idolatry should endeavour to make out the best case that they could for themselves. Hence we find, that the spirit of paganism was considerably changed by the introduction of Christianity, as the Roman Catholic religion was somewhat softened by the influence of the Reformation. This, however, is abundantly obvious, viz. that if the idea of the supremacy of one God be not natural to man, yet, when proposed to the mind, it is readily recognized as conformable to truth. But we pass by this subject, not desiring to enter into a discussion which rather belongs to theology than criticism, and designing rather to give an account of what Cudworth has done, than of what he ought to have done.
This chapter brings into view the immense, the patient and accurate reading of its author, and yet it is not ostentatious withal. There seems to be an object, and that object kept steadily in view there is no quotation which has not its palpable use in the argument, and though a hasty reader might be apt to imagine that less would suffice, yet it is felt in conclusion, that in all this abundance, there is no superfluity, and it may be said of judicious quoters, as of the Israelites gathering manna in the Wilderness, “ They that gathered little had no lack, and they that gathered much had none to spare."
The fifth and last chapter is entitled A particular Confutation of all the Atheistic Grounds. From this part of the work have been drawn abundant diluted arguments, on the subject of atheism : indeed, there is scarcely a single topic that has been overlooked. Those of our readers who are not intimate with the logic of the Epicurean poet, will be diverted with the following extract concerning the logic of the atheists. After speaking of the evident traces of design which appear in the universe, he adds,
" Notwithstanding all which, the ancient atheists would undertake by their wonderful skill in logic, to demonstrate, that the frame of nature could not possibly be made by any intending cause, and for the sake of ends and uses; as for example, that eyes could not be first of all made intentionally for the use of seeing, nor ears intentionally for the use of hearing, and so for the rest; because, forsooth, these things were all of them in order of time and nature before their
several uses. The argument is seriously propounded by Lucretius after this manner:
Nec fuit ante, videre, oculorum lumina nata,
Lucret. iv. v. 834, &c. " To this sense, there was no such thing as seeing before eyes were made, nor hearing before ears, nor speaking before the tongue. But the original of the tongue much preceded speech; so likewise eyes and ears were made before there was any seeing of colours or hearing of sounds. In like manner, all the other members of the body were produced before their respective uses. And, therefore, they could not be made intentionally, for the sake of those uses.—The force of which argument, consisteth in this proposition : That whatsoever is made for the sake of another thing, must exist in time after that other thing, for whose sake it was made: or, That, for which any thing is made, must not only be in order of nature, but also of time, before that which is made for it. Therefore, whosoever affirms eyes to have been made for the sake of seeing, must suppose, in like manner, there was some kind of seeing or other before eyes. But since there was no seeing at all before eyes, therefore could not eyes be made for seeing."
Even this bauble of an argument does our author seriously set himself to confute-so that, in good truth, he leaves no stone unturned to effect the complete subversion of the Atheistic hypothesis.
In this last chapter, are many sound and sober remarks on the conceits of the Philosopher of Malmesbury, but into these we have not now any intention of entering, reserving them for a more minute and full attention in a future number, when we propose to give our readers a view of the morals, philosophy, and politics of Thomas Hobbes.
We cannot conclude this account of the Intellectual System, without noticing the sobriety of our author's expectations of the effect which his demonstrations would produce on the minds of his readers. In his preface, he writes
“ As for the last chapter, though it promise only a confutation of all the Atheistic grounds, yet we do therein also demonstrate the absolute impossibility of all Atheism, and the actual existence of a God. We say demonstrate, not a priori, which is impossible and contradictious; but by necessary inference, from principles altogether undeniable. For we can by no means grant to the Atheists, that there is no more than a probable persuasion or opinion to be had of the existence of a God, without any certain knowledge or science. Nevertheless, it will not follow from hence, that whosoever shall read these demonstrations of our's, and understand all the words of them, must therefore of necessity be presently convinced, whether he will or no, and put out of all manner of doubt and hesitancy, concerning the existence of a God. For we believe that to be true, which some have affirmed, that were there any interest of life, any concernment of appetite and passion, against the truth of geometrical theorems themselves, as of a triangle having three angles equal to two right, whereby men's judgments may be clouded and bribed, notwithstanding all the demonstrations of them, many would remain at least sceptical about them.”
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Art. IV.--Poems, with the Muses' Looking-Glasse, Amyntas,
Jealous Lovers, Aristippus. By Thomas Randolph, M.Å. and - late Fellow of Trinity College, in Cambridge. 1640.
Thomas Randolph was one of those bright spirits, which burn too fast, cast a vivid flash over their time, and then suddenly expire. He seems to have been so supplied with vigour, both mental and corporeal, as to have started, pursued, and ended his race, by the time that the phlegmatic genius of other men is just ready for the course. He died before the age of twenty-nine, and yet can hardly be said to have lived a shorter time than other men; with such enjoyment did he consume his minutes, in such a state of excitement did he spend his days and nights; such a number of ideas flashed through his brain; so many kindred spirits doubled his gratifications by sharing his pleasures. He passed through the university, where the brilliancy of his wit, and the liveliness of his manners made him a general favourite; and where his talents ensured him success, and his poetical productions brought him in a large harvest of fame, which, on his removal from Cambridge to London, secured him a most cordial reception from the wits and poets of the metropolis. A band, which, with Ben Jonson at their head, was never more brilliant, active, joyous, and important, than when our young poet sparkled away his nights with them " in those lyric feasts” at the Sun, the Dog, the “ Triple Tun,”
“ Where they such clustres had
As made them nobly wild, not mad.” He was soon joined with Cartwright, as the adopted son, in the Muses, of Jonson himself, a distinction, which all who know the character of that great writer, will allow to be no ordinary proof of the qualifications of Randolph. In such company, and with such pursuits as this volume shews, he blazed out his life and died, at Blatherwyke, in Northamptonshire, in the year 1635; it is said in great poverty, but biographers, and especially the cynical Antony Wood, are so fond of plunging poets into excesses, misery, and wretchedness, that we know not what credit to give to the report. In the university he was a fellow on one of the most wealthy and considerable foundations : when he died, he had a brother at Christ Church, Oxford : his death took place at the house of an ancient family in Staffordshire, with the ancestors of whom he was buried, and had a monument erected to his memory, at the charge of his friend, Lord Hatton.-So that we will venture to hope, that the close of a short life of great industry and high enjoyment was not embittered by the pains of want and neglect. This volume of poems, which was published after his death by his brother, is ushered in by a number of recommendatory verses, which speak the language of affection and respect, and encourage the hope that those who lamented his death, protected his
“ Such was his genius, like the quick eyes' work,
These lines are from a much greater number of verses written on Randolph's death, by his friend Owen Feltham, the author of the Resolves, and if we may trust them, and the other elegies, particularly those by his brother, the great learning, quick genius, and various accomplishments of this extraordinary man, make us deeply regret that he lived to finish nothing more than this volume contains. He appears to have been not only a wit and poet, but to have filled the office of moderator in the schools of Cambridge, in such a manner as to attract the notice of the oldest and subtlest logicians.
“The grave divines stood gazing, as if there
His ready eloquence and lively fancy seem to have been as serviceable at court, as his ingenuity and learning in the schools.
“ Was he at court? his compliments would be .