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in comparison with the philofopher, must appear as light as a peacock's feather weighed against an ingot of gold. I am far, however, from thinking an union between Philofophy and Tafte impracticable. The writings of Cicero alone afford fufficient. proofs, how fufceptible the most abstract topics of philofophy are of the embellishments of imagination; and I cannot help remarking by the way, what an inexpreffible charm, and what an addition of dignity, the character of Cicero derives from the anxious folicitude with which he purfued those refearches, which the conductors of "Liberal Education" in our times affect to treat with ridicule and contempt. But though I would pay a fuperior regard to that which appears to me of fuperior excellence and importance, I do not deem lightly of the ufe or value of claflical literature. I am not infenfible to the exquifite beauties of those ancient writings, which are juftly regarded as the most perfect models of literary excellence; nor am I a stranger to the refined pleasures to be derived from this fource. In the present state of things alfo, claffical learning is fo intimately blended with every other fpecies of knowledge, that the ftudy of the dead languages is become a matter of indifpenfable neceffity to those who entertain the remoteft views of intellectual improvement. But what I regard as a juft fubject of complaint is, that claffical literature is made too much an ultimate object. There are many men of good natural understandings, and who pass for what is generally called good scholars, who

who are, in fact, moft deplorably ignorant. They feem to confider the attainment of the learned languages as the great end of life; and as that is the fpecies of learning which is moft ferviceable in the acquifition of academical honours, it is too frequently thought all that is neceflary; and a total ignorance of thofe fublime investigations, which open a new world to our intellectual view, is very eafily convertible into a grofs and stupid contempt

of them.

In one of our univerfities, indeed, mathematical science engages a very great, and I think a very difproportionate share, of the general attention. It has been often afferted, that the study of Mathematics contributes to ftrengthen the judgment, to check the rovings of fancy, to fix the attention, and infenfibly to infuse into the mind an habit of thinking accurately, and of arguing with precifion, even upon moral and philofophical fubjects. This is an opinion fo plaufible, that I do not wonder it should be favourably received; though I do not believe that there is any maxim more entirely destitute of foundation, or one which is lefs. able to abide the teft of examination and experience. If we confider the fundamental difference which fubfifts between mathematical and moral reasonings, I think we must acknowledge, that it is abfolutely impracticable to transfer our ideas from the one to the other, fo as to derive any advantage from the experiment. Nay, I will venture to affirm, that mathematicians have often been betrayed

betrayed into egregious abfurdities, by attempting to introduce mathematical ideas into fubjects where they are totally inapplicable. Would the famous Profeffor Wallis, for inftance, if he had not been a mathematician, ever have exposed himfelf to general ridicule, by comparing the three perfonal diftinctions of the Godhead to the three dimenfions of a cube, and the Godhead itself to a cube infinitely extended? If the ftudy of Mathe. matics contributes fo much to bestow precision and accuracy in our reafonings on moral fubjects, how can it be accounted for that Pascal, that prodigy of mathematical genius, fhould not have been able to discover the abfurdity of the Popish doctrine of tranfubftantiation? And as the mathematics are much cultivated in the catholic countries, furely we might reasonably form a general expectation, that those at least who were eminently diftinguished by their mathematical abilities, fhould be as remarkable for their freedom from vulgar prejudices. If their fkill in geometrical fcience could be fuppofed to have any influence upon their general habits of thinking and reafoning, it is fair to infer, that they must at least be exempt from the groffer errors of the popular fuperftition; but it happens unluckily to be well known, that the Jefuits were not only the most able mathematicians, but the moft deplorable bigots of modern times. In fact, moral truth, not admitting, ftrictly speaking, of demonstration, i. e. of a fpecies of proof which confifts of the regular and uninterrupted deduction

of

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of one felf-evident propofition from another, bears no analogy to mathematical truth, and requires a totally different kind of fupport. In its attempts to investigate moral truths, the mind is perpetually occupied in the comparison of probabilities; and the man, whofe attention has been folely engroffed by the contemplation of truths, fupported by infallible reasoning, will be as much at a lofs when he is called upon to estimate the value of oppofing probabilities, as if he had been taken immediately from the loom, or from the plough; and if the appeal is made to real life, and actual obfervation, I believe it will almoft invariably be found, that those who are distinguished by a strong predilection for mathematical pursuits, are the men whofe views and fentiments upon other fubjects are remarkably narrow and contracted, their reafonings confufed and inconfequential, and their general habits of thinking illiberal and vulgar; fuch inftances as a flight acquaintance with the world will furnish, are fufficient to demonftrate, in oppofition to the moft fpecious fpeculations, that mathematical knowledge has not that tendency to enlarge the mind, or to ftrengthen the judgment, which many fanciful people are apt to imagine. Nevertheless, geometry is undoubtedly in itself a noble and important branch of fcience, and the elements of it, at least, ought to be well underftood, by those who afpire to the praife of a liberal education; but I do not think that it is neceffary, or proper, to make it a primary object

with the generality of students, who usually enter upon the study with difguft, who are feldom defirous, or perhaps capable, of making fuch a proficiency in it as to derive any real advantage from it; and who not unfrequently, when they have once forfaken the walls of the College, infenfibly lofe, by neglect, the knowledge they had acquired by long and laborious application; or if it is re. tained, it produces no vifible effect upon their general modes of thinking or acting. 66 We recog"nize immediately," fays the author of the Rambler, "the philologift, the critic, the philo"fopher, or the man of tafte; but years after

years may elapfe, before we difcover that the "man with whom we have frequent intercourfe " is an able mathematician," However important mathematical science may be deemed, as it relates to the community, with refpect to fuch per. fons, it in fact terminates in fpeculation, which is the reproach Mr. K. wifhes, though most unjustly, to fix upon the Study of Metaphyfics; but this is not all "Metaphyfics," according to Mr. K. "tend only to benight the understanding in a "cloud of its own making; to lose it in a laby

rinth of its own contrivance." With regard to this charge, the queftion may not improperly be put to Mr. K. "Speakeft thou of thyfelf, or of "fome other man?" Those who pay only a flight and fuperficial attention to any subject of an abstruse and recondite nature, are very willing, and find it very eafy, to perfuade themselves, that the cloud

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