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dence, or of Revelation, we are doubtless much in the condition of a child when asked such a question, as whether it is possible that quantities can be added ad infinitum, and yet the augmentations, though carried on for ever, never exceed a certain very small sum? He is confident that it cannot be, and says so. Yet a very trifling acquaintance with algebra suffices to show him that he was a child, and therefore spake as a child, and understood as a child;' and so it may be with us all, when we have advanced out of our present tutelage, and look at things in the light of eternity.*
A very felicitous illustration of all this, and with a reference to the very subject which has just occupied our attention, is given in Isaac Taylor's Essay on Jonathan Edwards' 'Freedom of the Will.' He surmises, that if the conic sections had not been derived
* That Locke regarded the problem as insoluble, and both parties as provided with irrefutable arguments, is most powerfully stated in one of his letters to Molyneux :-'If you will argue for or against liberty from consequences, I will not undertake to answer you. For I own freely to you the weakness of my understanding, that though it be unquestionable, that there is omnipotence and omniscience in God our maker, yet I cannot make freedom in man consistent with omnipotence and omniscience in God, though I am as fully persuaded of both as of any truths I most firmly assent to; and therefore I have long left off the consideration of that question, resolving all into this short conclusion that, if it be possible for God to make a free agent, then man is free, though I see not the way of it.' Sir W. Hamilton has stated the same conviction with great eloquence in a note to Reid, p. 602. "The champions of the opposite doctrines are at once resistless in assault and impotent in defence. Each is hewn down and appears to die under the home thrusts of his adversary; but each again recovers life from the very death of his antagonist; and to borrow a simile, both are like the heroes in Valhalla, ready in a moment to amuse themselves anew in the same bloodless and interminable encounter.'
from the cone, and some of the most startling mathematical properties of those curves had been given, with the demand that they should all be exhibited in union in one solid, the generality of mathematicians would at once have pronounced the problem insoluble.
But we have far transcended our prescribed limits, and must conclude, though we have not said all that we intended to say even on the first two Books of the Essay. We had penned some observations on Locke's relations to Nominalism' and on some other subjects; we had also written, in extenso, on certain points discussed in his tractates on Civil Government' and Education,' and in some of his other writings. We mention this, not that we doubt that the suppression of so much matter will be very cordially acquiesced in by the reader; nor can we say we feel any reluctance to this course ourselves, for we are as weary as he can be; but to account for the apparent omission of several topics which it might be expected that a general critique on Locke would embrace. We shall be well content, however, if the observations now offered should give any of our youthful readers a more just conception of the character and value of Locke's philosophy than, we think, is always current in the present day; or stimulate them to make themselves masters of his principal writings; assured that there
are few philosophers who will teach them more truth or, on the whole, with less error; and none—absolutely none—who will exercise a more salutary influence in the formation and discipline of their entire habits of mind.
SYDNEY SMITH'S LECTURES ON MORAL
THIS Volume-printed, but, at the time we are writing, not yet published — appeals not to our tribunal; one hundred copies only have been issued to gratify the eye of private friendship. Under such circumstances, we feel little disposition to make it the subject of detailed criticism; nor would our disinclination for the task be removed, even were the merit of the volume much less or its faults much greater than either of them will be found to be. For the deficiencies in a posthumous work, the publication of which was neither contemplated nor desired by the author, he cannot properly be held responsible. It is its merits alone, which are properly his own. But in the present case those merits may be more gracefully made the subject of minute criticism anywhere than in this Journal, in the pages of which he has so often delighted his readers by his wit and genius.† Of that
* Edinburgh Review,' April, 1850.
Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy, delivered at the Royal Institution in the Years 1804, 1805, and 1806. By the late Rev. SYDNEY SMITH, M.A. London, 1849. Pp. 424.
† And, it must be added, sometimes scandalised them by the same qualities. Far be it from the present writer to apologise for the too famous articles on Methodism' and 'Missions,' in which the youthful caricaturist did not pause to discriminate sufficiently between things truly ludicrous, and other things that must be for ever venerable; which the world in fact has since learned to reverence. It must also be confessed that he utterly forgot that
wit and genius it is not necessary, here or elsewhere, to enter into a formal estimate. Sydney Smith has had his due place of honour long since assigned him. We shall better occupy the little space allotted to us by presenting our readers with a few brief specimens of that vigorous intellect a few scintillations of that brilliant wit- which in past times have so often delighted them.
But there are other reasons for feeling a very strong reluctance to assume the critic's office in the case before us. The duty has been virtually performed by one- and it was the last office of the kind he ever did perform than whom none could perform it more justly or more kindly; - by one of whom we do not venture to say more at present. We refer to that illustrious friend of Sydney Smith who, in conjunction with him and other men of genius, projected the present Journal, and who presided for so long a series of years over the tribunal of criticism he had established, with a taste, skill, and energy, on which the public has already long ago pronounced its judgment. He has just passed from among us; but his name and memory are embalmed in the veneration and affection of all who knew him.
even the infirmities and foibles of goodness, however ludicrous, should be touched with tenderness. Still, it ought not to be forgotten, on the one hand, that (if we are rightly informed), Sydney Smith expressed in his closing years his regret that his Satire had struck so indiscriminately both piety and folly; nor, on the other, that the lessons those articles were calculated to teach were much needed, and, though not always wisely inculcated, exercised a most beneficial effect in checking certain prevailing follies. The severest things in those articles, after all, were not the things that Sydney Smith said,—but the things he quoted. No religious man can think without shame, that the press of those days should ever have furnished him with such extracts.
Lord Jeffrey had received the present volume and was engaged in perusing it, only a few days before his death. It gave him great delight, and the ingenuous spirit in which he frankly expressed his sense of merits he had overlooked when the work was seen only in manuscript some time before, is so strikingly characteristic of the candour of his nature, that we must not suppress a brief account of what passed on the occasion.
The notes of these lectures, delivered nearly half a century ago in fact, about the period when the two friends first commenced their long literary career, — never prepared or designed for publication. Their author had even often resolved on their destruction, and on one occasion partly accomplished his purpose. His family naturally begged a reprieve, and wisely as well as naturally; for, as old Fuller says of Herbert's remains, even shavings of gold are carefully to be kept.' At his death, the interest of the family in these relics was revived. Anxious to ascertain the propriety or otherwise of giving the lectures to the public, and knowing how well they could rely on Lord Jeffrey's judgment and kindness, Mrs. Smith sent him the manuscript for his opinion. He, doubtless, feeling much more strongly than the generality of men, the gross injustice which is often done to genius by publishing what itself would be mortified to think should see the light without the advantage of careful revision, and perceiving also, on a slight and partial inspection, that some parts of the present work would require that revision to do them full justice, - advised that the volume should not be published. Out of acquiescence, we may presume, in this sentence, a few copies only were struck off in the first instance for private circulation.