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TH

HE Title of this Book very naturally excites

Curiosity, as the Subject is in general pleasing to all Readers who have any Pretensions to Taste. But in treating abstract Ideas, there is often great Danger that the Author will bewilder himself in a Maze of chimerical Notions; and this the more especially if he attempts to set himself up for a Systenmaker. Something like this, we are apprehensive, has happened to the Author of the Performance now before us; who has however the Merit of having been very curious in his Research, and appears to have employed much close and deep Thinking about the Subject of his Investigation. But the Love of Novelty feems to have been a very leading Principle in his Mind, throughout his whole Composition ; and we fear that in endeavouring to advance what was never said before him, he will find it his Lot to have said what will not be adopted after him. We

do

do not think this Gentleman faw his Way very clearly through the Question : and we are of Opinion that he has been very ingenious to err, instead of affording us any new Lights, whereby we might find out the Sources of the Sublime and Beautiful. A Review of his Book, we think, will set this Matter in á clear Light.

In order to come at the Bottom of Things, he sets out with explaining the first Principles of the human Mind : he observes that Curiosity is one of our earlieft Pallions : he then endeavours to prove that Pain and Pleafure are not connected, and that the Removal of Pain is not a positive Pleasure, but for Distinction's Sake, he chutes to call it Delight. If a Man,' says he, “in a State of Tranquillity should suddenly hear a Concert of Music, he then enjoys Pleasure without previous Pain; and on the other Hand, if a Man in the same State of Tranquillity should receive a Blow, here is Pain without the Removal of Pleasure.'. But surely the Removal of a Tooth-ach is Pleasure to all Intents and Purposes; it induces a Train of pleasing Ideas in the Mind, such as Satisfaction with cur present State, &c. and Pleasure is equally positive, whether it begins in the Mind, or is conveyed thither by agreeable bodily Sensation. In like Manner the Removal of Pleasure is positive Pain, as the Absence of a fine Woman to whom we are attached, &c. The Truth is, Pain and Pleasure may subsist independently, and also reciprocally induce each other. Our Author allows, that the Loss of Pleasure occasions three different Sensations, viz. Indifference, Disappoint. ment, or Grief: but surely Dilappointment and Grief are positive Pains. But,' says he, Grief can be po Pain, because we see that many Persons are found indulging it.' They are fo! but it shouid be remenbered that Grief is a mixed Passion, consisting of Sorrow for our Lofs and Fondness for the Object: pow our Fondness for the Object makes our Imagination dwell on the Idea, though we feel very painful Sensations at the same Time. Animum pi&turâ pafcit inani.' Our Author proceeds to divide our Pallions into Two general Classes, viz. Self-preservation, and Society; the Selfish and the Social Paffions would have been a better Distinction, because Selfish includes all the Ideas of Self-preservation, and all our other Gratifications. The Passions which concérn Self-preservation he rightly observes turn mostly on Pain and Danger; and these, he adds very justly, are the most powerful in our Nature. He then endeavours to graft the Sublime on our Passions of Selfpreservation. - Whatever is fitted,' says he, to excite Ideas of Pain and Danger, or operates in a Manner analogous to Terror, is a Source of the Sublime; that is, excites the strongest Emotion which the Mind is capable of feeling. But surely this is false Philofophy: the Brodequin of Ravilliac, and the Iron Bed of Damien, are capable of exciting alarming Ideas of Terror, but cannot be faid to hold any Thing of the Sublime. Besides, why are our other Paflions to be excluded? Cannot the Sublime confift with Ambition ? It is perhaps in Consequence of this very Passion, grafted in us for the wiselt Purposes by the Author of our Existence, that we are capable of feeling the Sublime in the Degree we do; of delighting in every Thing that is magnificent, of preferring the Sun to a Farthing Candle, that by proceeding from greater to ftill greater, we might at last fix our Imagination on Him who is the Supreme of all, And this perhaps is the true Source of the Sublime, which is always greatly heightened when any of our Passions are strongly agitated, such as Terror, Grief, Rage, Indignation, Admiration, Love, &c. By the strongest of these the Sublime will be enforced, but it will consist with any of them. As for Instance, when Virgil fays of Jupiter,

nation

Annuit et totum nutu tremefecit Olympum ; Here we have a Sublime Image increased by our Terror, when we think of his shaking the Poles with a Nod. And on the other Hand, when the same Poet describes the fame Personage,

Vultu quo coelum tempeftatesque serenat; With that Countenance with which he looks Storms and Tempests into a Calm, we still have a fublime Idea of the Power which thus commands all Nature, and we feel it with Love and Admiration.

Our Author proceeds to the social Passions, which he claffes into two Sorts : First, the Society of the Sexes; and next, the more general Society which we hold with Mankind and the whole Universe. With Regard to the First he observes, that Beauty is the Object of it; and he endeavours to refute Mr. Addison's Opinion, that Animals have a Sense of Beauty to confine them to their own Species : but as he only supposes a Law of another Kind, we think Mr. Addison's may stand till he will be pleased to fub. stitute a better. He agrees that Beasts have no Perception of Beauty, because they do not pick and choose: but surely it is probable that they may have an immediate Perception of something beautiful in their own Species, without waiting to compare it with others, and select for themselves. This would be to enjoy the Advantages of deliberate Reasoning and Reflection; Qualities of which they do not appear to be poffefled.

Our Author himself affigns a Reason why the Brute Creation need not chuse for themselves. .. But Man, who is a Creature adapted to a greater Variety and Intricacy of Relation, connects with the general Paffion the Idea of some social Qualities, which direct and heighten the Appetite which he has in common with all other Animals: and as he is not de.

signed signed like them to live at large, it is fit that he should have something to create a Preference, and fix his Choice; and this in general should be some sensible Quality; as no other can so quickly, so powerfully, or so surely produce its Effect.

From hence it appears why a Beast in the Field, according to Mr. Addison's ingenious Notion, may have a sense of Beauty in its own Species, without waiting to determine its Choice by Comparison.

In Contradiction to his former Assertions, he says, that Solitude is as great a positive Pain as can be conceived : and yet the pain of Solitude is a Privation of Pleasure, and is merely a Disappointment, and a grieving for the Loss of Company. In talking of the social Paffions, he says, I am convinced we have a Degree of Delight, and that no small one, in the seal Misfortunes and Pains of others; for let the Affection be what it will in Appearance, if it does not make us fhun such Objects, if on the contrary it induces us to approach them, if it makes us dwell upon them, in this Case I conceive we must have a Delight or Pleasure of some Species or other in contemplating Objects of this Kind.' But this is certainly very

false Reasoning: we have no Delight in the real Misfortunes of others; and if we go near them, it is because our Fondness attaches us to them, and we cannot keep away, even though the Sight is painful. This he has afterwards observed himself, when he says, - Pity is a Paffion accompanied with Pleasure, because it arises from Love and Affection.' He therefore should have said, we have a Pleasure in feeling and compassionating the Misfortunes of others. With regard to the Pleasure resulting from Tragedy, he ascribes it to Imitation, and then retracts it again when he says, 'we shall be mistaken if we imagine our Pleasure arises from its being no Reality: the nearer it approaches to Reality, the more perfect its Power.' This is certainly true, but it is

because

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