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rite illusions. To so extravagant a height did they carry their idolatry of Aristotle, that some of them discovered, or imagined they discovered in his writings, the doctrine of the Trinity; that others published formal dissertations, to prove the certainty of his falvation, tho' a heathen: and that a Patriarch of Venice is said, to have called up the Devil expressly, in order to learn from him the meaning of a hard word in Aristotle's physics.
But the crafty Demon, who perhaps did not understand it himself, answer'd in a voice so low, and inarticulate, that the good Prelate knew not a word he said. This was the famous Hermolaus Barbaro. The Greek word, that occasioned his taking so extraordinary a step, is the Entelechia of the Peripatetics: from whence the schoolmen raised their substantial forms, and which Leibnitz, towards the end of the last century, attempted to revive in his Theory of motion.
The Reformation itself, that diffused a new light over Europe, that set men upon enquiring into errors and prepofessions of every kind, served only to confirin the dominion of this philosophy: protestants as well as papists entrenching themselves behind the authority of Aristotle, and defending their several tenets by the weapons
with which he furnished thein. This unnatural alliance of theology with the peripatetic doctrines, rendered his opinions not only venerable but sacred: they were reckoned as the land - marks of both, faith and reason, which, to pull up, or remove, would be daring and impious. Innovations in philosophy, it was imagined, would gradually fap the very foundations of religion, and in the end lead to downright atheism. If that veil of awful obscurity, which then covered the face of nature, should be once drawn; the rafh curiosity of mankind would lead them to account R 3
for all appearances in the visible world, by second causes, by the powers of matter, and inechanisin: and thus they might come insensibly to forget or neglect the great original cause of all. This kind of reasoning convinced the multitude, overawed the wiser few, and effectually put a stop to the progress of useful knowledge.
Such, in general, were the dispositions of mankind, when Şir, Francis Bacon came into the World: whom we will not consider as the founder of a new sect, but as the great assertor of human liberty; as one who rescued reason and truth from the slavery, in which all sects alike had, till then, held them. plausible hypothesis, a shining theory, are more amuTing to the imagination, and a shorter way to fame, than the patient and humble method of experimenting, of pursuing nature thro' all her labyrinths by fact and observation; a philosophy, built on this principle, could not, at first, make any sudden or general rovolution in the learned world, But its progress, like that of time, quiet, slow, and sure, has in the end been mighty and universal. He was not however the first among the moderns, who ventured to dillent from Aris, totle. Ramus, Patricius, Bruno, Severinus, to name no more, had already attacked the authority of that ty• rant in learning, who had long reigned as absolutely over the opinions, as his restless pupil had of old affected to do over the persons of men,
But these writers invented little that was valuable themselves, however justly they might reprehend inany things in him, And as to the real improvements made in some parts of natural knowledge, before our author appeared, by Gilbert, Harvey, Copernicus, Father Paul, and some few others, they are well known, and have been deservedly celebrated. Yet there was still wanting one great, and comprehensive plan, that might embrace the al
most infinite varieties of science, and guide our enquiries aright in all. This Sir Francis Bacon first conceived, in its utmost extent, to his own lasting honour, and to the general utility of mankind. If we stand surprized at the happy imagination of such a Syftem, our surprize redoubles upon us, when we reflect, that he invented and methodized this System, perfected so much, and sketched out so much more of it, amidst the drudgery of business, and the civil tumults of a Court. Nature seems to have intended him peculiarly for this province, by bestowing on him with a liberal hand all the qualities requisite: a fancy voluble and prompt to discover the fimilitudes of things; a judgment steady, and intent to note their subtlest differene ces; a love of meditation and enquiry; a patience in doubting; a slownefs and diffidence in affirming; a faeility of retracting; a judicious anxiety to plan and dispose. A mind of such a caft, that neither affected novelty, nor idolized antiquity, that was an enemy to all imposture, inust have had a certain congeniality and relation to truth. These characters, which with a noble conhdence he has applyed to himself, are obvious and eminent in his Instauration of the sciences: a work, by bim designed, not as a monument to his own fame, but a perpetual legacy to the common benefit of others.
Dr. Johnson. Bei der ansehnlichen Zahl trefflicher Biographen, welche die englische Nation mehr, als irgend eine andre, aufzuweisen hat, mar der ausgezeichnete Borrang, den D. Johnson in dieser Oats tung von Schriftstellern behauptet, gemiß kein leichter Erwerb. Schon durch mehrere frühere Versuche dieser Art, besonders aber durch seine Lebensbeschreibung des unglücklichen Dichters, Kis Mard Savage, hatte er sich diesen Ruhm eigen gemacht; noch mehr aber ficherte er sich denselben durch die kritischen Biogras phien, womit er die unter seiner Leitung veranstaltete Sammlung englischer Dichter, in sechzig Bånden, begleitete, die aber auch einzeln abgedrudt find. Die stritik hat freilich an diesen Lebendis beschreibungen grofern Antheil, als die Geschichte; und was sie jedem Stenner und Liebhaber des feinern Geschmacks vorzüglich sch&gbar macht, ist die Würdigung des dichterischen Verdienftes, die Ents wickelung der Schönbeiten und an ångel, und die scharfe Práfung einzelner Werke der berühmtesten brittischen Dichter, verbunden mit vielen scharfsinnigen allgemeinern Bemerkungen und Winfen. Dazu kommt die sehr korrekte, oft nur zu sorgfältig geråndete Schreibart, die sich dieser Schriftfteller nach klaffischen Mustern gebildet hatte, und das durch fiunreiche Fülle der Gedanken und des Ausdrucks immer neu belebte Interesse dieser Biographien. Einige derselben, wie die von Cowley, Dryden, niilton, poper 4. a. find sehr ausführlid); hier erlaubt mir der Raum nur die Mittheilung einer der kürzern. unerwartet war übrigens der Kalts finn, womit man die von Hrn. v. Blankenburg angefangne, rehr gute Uebersetung, wovon aber nur zwei Bånde geliefert fino, in Deutschland aufnahm.
Mark Akenlide was born on the ninth of November, 1721, at Newcastle upon Tyne, His father Mark, was a butcher of the Presbyterian sect; his mother's name was Mary Lumsden. He received the first part of his education at the grammar-School of Newcastle; and was afterwards insiructed by Mr. Wilson, who kept a private academy. At the age of eighteen, he was sent
to Edinburgh, that he might qualify himself for the office of a diffenting minister, and received some affis tance from the fund, which the Disfenters employ in educating young men of scanty fortune. But a wider view of the world opened other scenes, and prompted other hopes: he determined to study phyfic, and repaid that contribution, which being received for a different purpose, he justly thought it dishonourable to retain. Whether, when he resolved, not to be a dislent: ing minister, he ceased to be a Dissenter, I know not, He certainly retained an unecessary and outrageous, zeal for what he called and thought liberty; a zeal, which fo. metimes disguises from the world, and not rarely from the mind which it possesses, an envious desire of pluna dering wealth or degrading greatness; and of which the iminediate tendency is innovation and anarchy, an impetuous, eagerness to subvert and confound, with very little care what shall be established. Akenside was one of those poets who have felt very early the motions of genius, and one of those students, who have very early stored their memories with sentiments and images. Many of his performances were produced in his youth; and his greatest work, The pleasures of Imagination, appeared in 1744. I have heard Dodsly, by whom it was published, relate, that when the
copy was offered him, the price deinanded for it, which was an hundred and twenty pounds, being such as he was not inclined to give precipitately, he carried the work to Pope, who, having looked into it, advised him not to make a niggardly offer, for this was no, every day writer.
In 1741. he went to. Leyden, in pursuit of medical knowledge; and three years afterwards (May 16, 2744.) became doctor of phyfick, having, according 10. * 5