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From there, and other confiderations, equally judicious and conclusive, our Academician fhews the fophifts and sceptics of our day, chat if they love mankind, and wish to promote their well-being, they shew their love and zeal in a strange manner, since it is imposible to make their fellow creature a more pernicious prefent, even with respect to their happiness in this world, than the instructions of atheism and infidelity.

But what do you mean (says our Academician, to render the dilemma complete) when you tell us that you love mankind; pity their misery; and are desirous of instructing them in maiiers that concern them eflentially ? Such language in your mouths is the most fentelers jargon that can well be imagined. What is man, whom you are so much concerned about in your system, and in your estimate of human nature? He is a mushroom-the insect of a fleeting moment, who sprung from nothing, and is returning to nothing. The associations of men, their plans and letclements, are fimilar to what pafles on an anthill, and their pleasures, pains, hopes and fears, are no more than modifications of a transitory dream, which is called Life.Why then do you trouble their dreain, with your dejecling rophiftry, when you have nothing real to give them in its place? Leave them peaceably in the state in which they are, if it be less unsupportable than that which you present to them. When the galley-slave gets into a temporary flumber, in which fancy places him at a delicious repast, is it not an act of cruelty to interrupt his dream, and to awaken him from the plealing delufion? he will soon enough return to the fight of his galley, and the labours of his oar. - To Beings who are born to die, and whose life is so short and mixed as ours is, no such essential service can be done, as to encourage them in their passage through human life with the hopes of immortality, and to animate them to duty by the prospect of a future state of retribution and reward: and he that opens the abyss of anihilation to mortals in this state of labour and trial, ought rather to be cone fidered as the deadiy enemy, than as the gracious benefactor of the human species -- We recommend to our Readers M. de Luc's excellent Discourse on this subject, in the first volume of Letters Philosophical and Moral, &c.

M. FORMEY observes, that the persons, who assume the character of thinkers, and consider themselves as capable of investigating truth, form two distinct classes. One class is composed of those who say, We have discovered new truths, and we mean to publish them.The other clais is composed of the heads and rulers of the community, who answer, Ye have only invented errors, and we prohibit their propagation The former raise, on this, a great outcry, and say, - We groan under the yoke of oppression, and, instead of argument, authority and power

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are employed.-Our Author steps in between the two parties, and by conciliatory ways and means endeavours to check the spirit of tyranny and persecution in the one, and of rebellion and infolence in the other. What he says to the thinkers comes, essentially, to this : Gentlemen, authority and power cannot render a bad argument good, nor can they render a good argument bad : yet what is there in authority and power, that Mould hinder truth and justice from being on their fide? The rulers of the people have the privilege, and may have the capacity of thinking, as well as you ; -and they are especially intrusted with the peace and happiness of the community, which is not your case. It is therefore very singular, that, if certain opinions may endanger or promote the well-being of their subjects they who are intrusted with that well-being, and clothed with authority to maintain it, should be deemed incompetent judges of such opinions, and that you, who have no such charge and no such authority, should decide and act in such a weighty matter, without any restraint

In matters of a civil and temporal kind, that perfon, who maintains himself provisionally in his professions, until a decisive, peremptory, and conclusive sentence is pronounced against him, is allowed to act justly :-transport this method of reasoning to the great conteit between religion and irreligion, which is likely to continue always depending, and see what will be the conclufion! Why Thould they, who maintain the cause of religion, who are perfuaded of its happy influence on manners and on public felicity, and have established it as one of the principal supports of legislation, and as preventing a multitude of evils, to which the influence of human laws cannot exterd, why, I say, Mould they permit your invafions and outrages; and that, when the goodness of your cause is, to speak in the mildest terms, far from being afcertained? If, oppofing a religion, which is professedly founded on argument, and is only supported by authority, you aim at the establishment of a civil government which renounces the protection of a Supreme Being, and rejects the fuccours of religion ; you have only to withdraw to other regions and other climatis, where you may found states, and govern them according to your fancy: but you must not think yourselves authorized to disturb lystems of government actually established, by propagating principles which evidently tend to their fubverfion. You have not, on your fide, the voice of the people, which, alone, could give you a specious pretext to unhinge the conftitution under whose protection you were born, whole ad. vantages you have enjoyed, and to whose laws (or consequence) you are obliged to submit. You tay, your doctrines are truths : ---your rulers fay, they are errors:- who fall judge? The people, in general, whatever may be their rights, will not judge


for themselves, and since they will be led, it seems much more rational, and more conducive to the public good, that they fhould be led by their rulers, than by every innovator who usurps the name of a philosopher.'

We have here given the fubftance of M. FORMEY's reasoning: those who defire a more ample illustration of his principles, will be satisfied by recurring to the original paper, which, it is possible, may be published separately, as hath been the case with many of his academical pieces. We shall only transcribe the observation which concludes the present Memoir: it is as follows: " The grand secret of legislation, and the basis of all good government, consists in maintaining with one hand, a pure and plain fyftem of religion, adapted to form men to the practice of every virtue, and to confirm them in the observance of every duty, -and to cruih, with the other hand, fuperftition, fanaticism, and infidelity, when they attempt to DOGMATISE,' But, under the pretence of this crushing, what mischief has not been done to mankind! What have they not suffered from the horrors of persecution !

V. Memoir. Concerning the Problem of Molyneux ; the VIth Memoir. By M. MERIAN. We have forinerly * seen how differently this famous Problem has been solved by different persons, and what respectable names are found on the opposite fides of the question. Molyneux and Locke maintained, that the man born blind, however accustomed to handle the globe and the cube, during his state of blindness, would not be capable of pronouncing, by mere inspection, when he recovered his fight, which of the two objects was the globe, and which the cube. Bishop Berkley came to the fame conclufion, but he arrived at it by a different road from that in which the two great men already mentioned had proceeded. Our Academician looks upon the principles on which Berkley founded his solution, as much more folid and philofophical than those of Locke and Molyneux. If he affirmes, like them, that the man born blind would not be able to distinguish the globe from the cube by his fight when he had recovered it, he did it upon this principle, that the senses of sight and touch have nothing in common, and that there is no point of relemblance in the sensations they produce. The illustration and proof of this theory form the subject of the prefent Memoir.

VI. Memoir. Concerning different bodily Constitutions, and their different Effects. VII. Mem. Concerning the Influence of natural Causes upan the Constitution. By Dom.' PERNETY.There is nothing either new or uncommon in these two Me. moirs, which contain, nevertheless, a judicious compilation of

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what has been hitherto published on the subject. Hippocrates, the author of the Philosophy of Nature, and the author of a book, entitled, Of Man and Woman, considered physically, in the State of Marriage, are the principal sources, from whence our Academician has drawn his materials,

VIII. Memoir. Concerning a Metaphysical Problem. By M. Castillon. This Problem was proposed to M. de Castillon by one of the most celebrated Members of the Academy of Berlin, and it is expressed in the following terms: “ Either the “ number of ideas in the Divine Mind is finite or not :-if it is “not finite, then there exists actually an infinite number of " ideas, which is a contradiction: if it is finite, then there is “ an infinity of ideas, or sources of knowledge, of which the « Deity is not poffefled :-For example; if we calculate the "motions of any given number of bodies, we can always <add to that number, even without end; consequently “ besides the number of bodies of which the ideas exist $ in the Divine Mind, there will be, on the supposition, “ an infinity of other systems which the Deity does not per“ceive."We have met with many proofs of M. CASTILLON's profound knowledge in metaphysics, natural philosophy, and mathematics ; but in his condescending to solve the flimsy problem now mentioned, we have a signal mark of his complaisance and meekness: this paltry problem, however, which solves itself, has given the candid and learned Academician an opportunity of regaling the lovers of metaphyfical discussion with several judicious observations relative to the knowledge of the Divine Mind.

BELLES LETTRES. 1. Memoir. Considerations on Homer. By M. BITAUBÉ. These Confiderations will add little or nothing to the stock of knowledge which our classical Readers must have already acquired with respect to the Grecian Bard. Much noise has been made in the controversy about Homer's learning, which some have exalted beyond measure, while others have gone into the opposite extreme. M. BITAUBÉ, in our opinion, treats this part of his subject with judgment, intelligence, and the erudition that was necessary to throw light on the matter.

It is cer. tainly in modern times only, that a proper estimate has been made of the learning of Homer. From the Platonics, who in their philosophical superstition respected the fables of antiquity as the receptacles of mysterious Wisdom, down to Mr. Pope, whose excellent judgment did not exempt him from all exaggeration here, the learning of the immortal Bard was too high rated, Modern critics, says M. BITAUBÉ, have contributed much to put him in his true place, and have shewn, that the art he poffeffed the moft, was that of striking the imagination, and touching the heart. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged,

observes our Academician, that Homer was one of the most learned men of his age; which may be true, without saying much for his erudition. It is certain that his Iliad and Odyssey have transmitted to us all that we know of the state of the arts, morals, legislation, &c. among the Greeks at that early period.

II. Memoir. Concerning the Patriarch Photius. By M. Wegvelin. III. Memoir. A Dissertation concerning the Electoral Septemvirate. By M. de FRANCHEVILLE. This Dissertation, divided into Three Memoirs, is designed to prove, that the institution of the seven ancient Electors of the Empire was owing, not to Otho III. as hath been supposed, but to Otho IV. ; who settled this business in the year 1208, at the diet of Frankfort.- -Be it so.



III. Nouveaux Memoirs de l'Academie des Sciences et Pelles Lettres de Berlin,

rinneé 1778. 410. Printed at Berlin.

HIS volume begins with the Eulogy of Voltaire; of

which we gave an account in a former Review *, with the respect that was due to its royal Author, and the freedom which is an inviolable privilege in the republic of letters. The other articles, worthy of notice in the historical part of this volume, are as follows:-Observation of a total Eclipse of the Sun, made June 24th, 1778. By Don Antonio d’ULLOA.--A Deo fcription of the Uranometer, an Instrument, newly invented, which produces an Effect equal to that of a quadrant of a radius of fixty foot. By M. SILBERSCHLAG. The construction of this curious instrument would be scarcely intelligible, without the plates, which the Author has here subjoined to his description of it. To these he has added the solutions of some important problems, to thew with what facility and accuracy the most difficult astronomical operations may be performed by means of this instrument.

Observation of a particular Variation of the Barometer. By M. TOALDO, Professor of Astronomy at Padua.- Natural philosophers are generally agreed, that the action of the moon produces, in our atmosphere, tides analogous to those of the ocean, but have denied that the effect of such an alteration in the weight of the air, as these tides must occasion, can be observed in the barometer. Of this number is the celea brated Abbé Frisi, as appears by his learned Treatises de Gravitate et de Cosmographia. The acute Philosopher who now addresses us, having calculated this alteration of the weight of the air, and having found it equivalent to tos of a line in the barometer when produced by the action of the sun, and to if when produced by that of the moon, concluded that this varie

* Vid. Rev. Vol. Ix. p. 67 and 144.

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