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SECTION I.

OF THE DIFFERENT SPECIES OF

PHILOSOPHY.

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O RAL philosophy, or the science of human nature, Vi may be treated after two different manners; each of which has its peculiar merit, and may contribute to the entertainment, instruction, and reformation of mankind. The one considers man chiefly as born for action; and as influenced in his actions by taste and sentiment; pursuing one object, and avoiding another, according to the value which these objects seem to possess, and according to the fight in which they present themselves. Virtue, of all objects, is the most valuable and lovely ; and accordingly this species of philosophers paint her in the most amiable colours ; borrowing all helps from poetry and eloquence, and treating their subject in an easy and obvious manner, and such as is best fitted to please the imagination, and engage the affections. They select the most striking observations and instances from common life; place opposite characters in a proper contrast; and alluring us into the paths of virtue by the views of glory and happiness, direct our steps in these paths by the foundest precepts and most illustrious examples. They make us feel the difference between vice and virtue; they excite and regulate our sentiments ; and so they can but bend our hearts to the love of probity and true hoB 2

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nour, they think, that they have fully attained the end of all their labours.

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The other species of philosophers treat man rather as a reaa. sonable than an active being, and endeavour to form his underá standing more than cultivate his manners. They regard man-kind as a subject of speculation; and with a narrow fcrutiny examine human nature, in order to find those principles, which : regulate our understanding, excite our sentiments, and make us approve or blame any particular object, action, or behaa. viour. They think it a reproach to all literature, that philo-.. fophy should not yet have fixed, beyond controversy, the foundation of morals, reasoning, and criticism, and should for ever talk of truth and fallhood, vice and virtue, beauty and deformity, without being able to determine the source of these distinctions. While they attempt this arduous task, they are · deterred by no difficulties;, but proceeding from particular inftances to general principles, they still push on their inquiries to principles more general, and rest not satisfied till they arrive at thọfe original principles, by which, in every science, all : human curiosity must be bounded. Though their speculations : seem abstract, and even unintelligible to common readers, they please themselves with the approbation of the learned and the wise; and think themselves fufficiently compensated for the la bours of their whole lives, if they can discover some hidden truths, which may contribute to the instruction of pofterity.

'Tis certain, that the easy and obvious philosophy will always, , with the generality of 'mankind, have the preference to the accurate and abstruse; and by many will be recommended, not only as more agreeable, but more useful than the other. It

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