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feeling, that Paley was what the regular rhetorical artists designate as a periodic writer, when, in fact, no one conceivable character of style more pointedly contradicted the true description of his merits.
But, leaving the style of Paley, I must confess that I agree with Mr. Bulwer (England and the English) in thinking it shocking and almost damnatory to an English university, the great well-heads of creeds, moral and evangelical, that authors, such in respect of doctrine, as Paley, and Locke, should hold that high and influential station, as teachers, or rather oracles of truth, which has been conceded to them. As to Locke, I, when a boy, had made a discovery of one blunder full of laughter and of fun, which, had it been published and explained in Locke's lifetime, would have tainted his whole philosophy with suspicion. It relates to the Aristotelian doctrine of syllogism, which Locke undertook to ridicule: now, a flaw, a hideous flaw, in the soi-disant detecter of flawsa ridicule in the exposer of the ridiculous—that is fatal; and I am surprised that Lee, who wrote a folio against Locke in his lifetime, and other examiners, should have failed of detecting this. I shall expose it elsewhere ; and, perhaps, one or two other exposures of the same kind will give an impetus to the descent of this falling philosophy. With respect to Paley, and the naked prudentialism of his system, it is true, that, in a longish note, Paley disclaims that consequence. But to this we may reply, with Cicero, Non quæro quid neget Epicurus, sed quid congruenter neget. Meantime, waving all this as too notorious, and too frequently denounced, I wish to recur to this trite subject, by way of stating an objection made to the Paleyan morality in my seventeenth year, and which I have never since seen reason to withdraw. It is this: - -I affirm that the whole work, from first to last, proceeds upon that
sort of error which the logicians call ignoratio elenchi, i. e., ignorance of the very question concerned - of the point at issue. For, mark, in the very vestibule of ethics, two questions arise-two different and disconnected questions, A and B ; and Paley has answered the wrong one. Thinking that he was answering A, and meaning to answer A, he has, in fact, answered B. One question arises thus: Justice is a virtue; temperance is a virtue; and so forth. Now, what is the common principle which ranks these several species under the same genus? What, in the language of logicians, is the common differential principle which determines these various aspects of moral obligation to a common genius? Another question, and a more interesting question to men in general, is this: What is the motive to virtue? By what impulse, law, or motive am I impelled to be virtuous rather than vicious? Whence is the motive derived which should impel me to one line of conduct in preference to the other? This, which is a practical question, and, therefore, more interesting than the other, which is a pure question of speculation, was that which Paley believed himself to be answering. And his answer was -That utility, a perception of the resulting benefit, was the true determining motive. Meantime, it was objected, that often the most obvious results from a virtuous action, were far otherwise than beneficial. Upon which Paley, in the long note referred to above, distinguished thus — That whereas actions have many results, some proximate, some remote, just as a stone thrown into the water produces many concentric circles, be it known that he, Dr. Paley, in what he says of utility, contemplates only the final result, the very outermost circle; inasmuch as he acknowledges a possibility that the first, second, third, including the penultimate circle, may all happen to clash with utility; but then, says he, the outer
most circle of all will never fail to coincide with the absolute maximum of utility. Hence, in the first place, it appears that you cannot apply this test of utility in a practical sense; you cannot say, This is useful, ergo, it is virtuous; but, in the inverse order, you must say, This is virtuous, ergo, it is useful. You do not rely on its usefulness to satisfy yourself of its being virtuous; but, on the contrary, you rely on its virtuousness, previously ascertained, in order to satisfy yourself of its usefulness. And thus the whole practical value of this test disappears, though in that view it was first introduced; and a vicious circle arises in the argument; as you must have ascertained the virtuousness of an act, in order to apply the test of its being virtuous. But, secondly, it now comes out that Paley was answering a very different question from that which he supposed himself answering. Not any practical question as to the motive or impelling force in being virtuous, rather than vicious - i. e., as to the sanctions of virtue-but a purely speculative question, as to the issue of virtue, or the common vinculum amongst the several modes or species of virtue, (justice, temperance, &c. ;) this was the real question which he was answering. I have often remarked that the largest and most subtle source of error in philosophic speculations, has been the confounding of the two great principles so much insisted on by the Leibnitzians, viz., the ratio cognoscendi, and the ratio essendi. Paley believed himself to be assigning -it was his full purpose to assign-the ratio cognoscendi; but, instead of that, unconsciously and surreptitiously, he has actually assigned the ratio essendi; and, after all, a false and imaginary ratio essendi.
USING a New Testament, of which (in the narrative parts at least) any one word being given will suggest most of what is most immediately consecutive, you evade the most irksome of the penalties annexed to the first breaking ground in a new language: you evade the necessity of hunting up and down a dictionary. Your own memory and the inevitable suggestions of the context furnish a dictionary pro hac vice. And afterwards, upon advancing to other books, where you are obliged to forego such aids, and to swim without corks, you find yourself already in possession of the particles for expressing addition, succession, exception, inference in short, of all the forms by which transition or connection is effected, (if, but, and, therefore, however, notwithstanding,) together with all those adverbs for modifying or restraining the extent of a subject or a predicate, which in all languages alike compose the essential framework or extralinear machinery of human thought. The filling-upthe matter (in a scholastic sense) - may differ infinitely; but the form, the periphery, the determining moulds into which this matter is fused - all this is the same for ever: and so wonderfully limited in its extent is this framework, so narrow and rapidly revolving is the clock-work of connections among human thoughts, that a dozen
pages of almost any book suffice to exhaust all the ina πτεροεντα * which express them. To have mastered these ènɛɑ ntegoerta is in effect to have mastered seven-tenths, at the least, of any language; and the benefit of using a New Testament, or the familiar parts of an Old Testament, in this preliminary drill, is, that your own memory is thus made to operate as a perpetual dictionary or nomenclator. I have heard Mr. Southey say that, by carrying in his pocket a Dutch, Swedish, or other Testament, on occasion of a long journey performed in 'muggy' weather, and in the inside of some venerable 'old heavy' -such as used to bestow their tediousness upon our respectable fathers some thirty or forty years ago he had more than once turned to so valuable an account the doziness or the dulness of his fellow-travellers, that whereas he had booked' himself at the coach-office utterly ἀναλφαβητος, unacquainted with the first rudiments of the given language, he had made his parting bows to his coach brethren, (secretly returning thanks to them for their stupidity,) in a condition for grappling with any common book in that dialect. One of the polyglot Old or
To him flying from the
* Елɛα лтεQоεrta, literally winged words. To explain the use and origin of this phrase to non-classical readers, it must be understood that, originally, it was used by Homer to express the few, rapid, and significant words which conveyed some hasty order, counsel, or notice, suited to any sudden occasion or emergency: e. g. field the hero addressed these winged words "Stop, coward, or I will transfix thee with my spear."' But by Horne Tooke, the phrase was adopted on the title-page of his Diversions of Purley, as a pleasant symbolic expression for all the non-significant particles, the articuli or joints of language, which in his well-known theory are resolved into abbreviations or compendious forms, (and therefore rapid, flying, winged forms,) substituted for significant forins of greater length. Thus, if is a non-significant particle, but it is an abbreviated form of an imperative in the second person substituted for gif, or give, or grant the caseput the case that. All other particles are shown by Horne Tooke to be equally short-hand (or winged) substitutions.