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of natural philofophy. He refutes thefe two philofophers, who both maintained the intrinfic heat of the earth, but deduced it from different causes; the one attributing it to the earth's being a piece of the fun, the other to a central fire. He demonftrates (we may use the term boldly) againft M. DE BUFFON, that the Sun is neither a liquefied and burning fubftance, nor could be put in fufion by the motion of comets around him-that the planets were not ftruck out of the Sun by a comet- that neither the planets nor the Earth were originally liquefied matter-that all M. Buffon's fancies relative to the vitrefied matters of the Earth, grown hard, to the formation of marine bodics from organic molecules, and of calcareous fubftances from marine bodies, are falfe in fact and unphilofophical in theory-that all M. BUFFON's notions concerning the formation and changes of our continents by the motion of the feas from Eaft to West, as also his fuppofition that the waters may again cover all the parts of our globe, are contrary to the principles of hydroftatics, and to the authority of natural hiftory-that it is not true, that the feas diminish in volume, or fink gradually beneath their level-and that the fucceffive cooling or refrigeration of the Earth is a groundless notion, deftitute of proof, and contrary to known and avowed facts.
In the course of these difcuffions, M. DE LUC was led by M. Buffon's fyftem relative to the heat of the Sun and the flight of the elephants to the warmer regions of the globe) to enter into a very particular, circumftantial, and analytical examination of the nature and caufes of HEAT. The refult of this examination is, that a fubftance, capable of producing heat in certain circumstances, refides in all bodies, and constitutes a part of their mafs, as long as it is reftrained in its motions and lies dormant: but, when it is difengaged from the bodies in which it refides, by a cause that is capable of opening its prifon, it escapes, becomes an elastic fluid, and,, in this new modification, is the immediate caufe of HEAT. The rays of the Sun, though not warm, in themselves, occafion heat, by giving activity to this fubftance in the bodies on which they fall; and it is in confequence of their influence, that this fubftance becomes an elastic or igneous fluid. The detail of experiments and reafonings, by which our Author confirms this theory, are curious and inftructive in the highest degree; it occupies fixty pages of the laft volume of this work; it renders palpable the non-existence of warmth in the Sun and his rays, and thus overturns the fyftem of M. De Buffon; it expofes the erroneous conclufions which M. de Mairan drew from feveral phenomena ill-obferved and improperly employed; and it furnishes our Author with a method of accounting for the different degrees of heat, obfervable in different years, in the fame feafons, notwithstanding the uni
form and conftant action of the Sun, which has been confidered as its immediate caufe; for he fhews that the igneous fluid is not, always, in equal quantity in the atmosphere at different times, nor even in different parts of the atmosphere at the fame time.
After having confuted abundantly by facts and reasoning M, DE BUFFON's notion of the fucceffive refrigeration of our globe, M. De Luc fhews that it was not at all neceffary to have recourfe to this hypothefis for an explication of the frequent difcoveries that are made in our countries, of the bones of elephants and other animals which belong to diftant climates. Thefe difcoveries are perfectly accounted for by the grand revolution, that funk the ancient continents, and drew off the fea from those which we now inhabit. These animals lived in the ancient continents, from whence their bones were carried by the rivers to the fea, which covered ours, and they were involved by the sea amidst the accumulations of its own productions, and buried in different parts of its bottom, which forms our prefent continents. Befide, the change in the temperature of the atmosphere, that must have attended the grand revolution, is employed fuccefsfully by M. De Luc, together with his theory concerning heat, to set this matter in the cleareft light.
We come now to the last part of this important work, in which the learned Author explains happily, on his hypothefis, the cosmological fyftem of the Book of Genefis, and cements that alliance between Nature and Revelation, which the wifeft men of all ages have difcerned and admired, and which the minute philofophers of the prefent times have made many impotent efforts to destroy. We refer the Reader to the work itself for our Author's obfervations on the Mofaic hiftory of the creation and the deluge. He fhews that that hiftory is in perfect conformity with the difcoveries of natural history and the principles of found philofophy, though Mofes did not give himself out for a philofopher, who had studied the phenomena of nature, or the ftructure, duties, and deftination of man; but only alledged a fpecial miffion to teach men anew, their origin, and that of the univerfe, and to give them laws by divine authority. It is remarkable, that the deluge which has been a ftone of stumbling to many dabblers and fome adepts in philofophy, and has principally led them to reject the Mofaic hiftory as unworthy of credit, is the great proof of its truth and divinity in the judgment of M. DE LUC. The particular circumftances that connect the narration of Mofes with the records and discoveries of natural history, are "the breaking up of the fountains of the Great Deepthe time that paffed from Noah's entrance into the Ark until his landing, the expreffion of the waters returning off the earth continually and abating, GENES. viii. 3.-the menace in the fame Book (vi. 7.) to destroy mankind, and the earth with them
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(as Michaelis renders the paffage, differently from our verfion)the olive-branch brought by the dove-and feveral others, which M. DE LUC explains with the true fpirit of a critic, and employs with the fagacity and judgment of a philofopher, in defence of the Mofaic hiftory, and to the advantage of his own fyftem.
Thefe difcuffions are followed by a differtation, which fills 55 pages, printed in a small letter, under the title of Remarks on the Theological Syftem of Revelation, in which M. DE LUC confiders the objections which have been drawn from reafon against the effential truths that have been taught, and the fundamental facts that have been eftablifhed, by revelation. Though this part of polemics has been fo repeatedly and amply treated, as to prevent the expectation of much novelty in our Author's reafonings, yet as M. De Luc is a keen thinker, who feems to have meditated ftill more than he has read on theological fubjects, he has ftruck out here fome uncommon points of view. Nay, even where he employs known arguments, he seems to have reviewed them, tried them anew, melted them down in his intellectual crucible to separate from them any drofs that may yet remain, fo that they often come forth with an air, that makes them look as if they were peculiar to him. The objections against the Mofaic hiftory, taken from the feemingly fevere difpenfation of a general deluge, and from the miniftry of angels, are fully anfwered; and the Book of Genefis is fhewn to be the bafis of all the revelations that are the conftituent parts of the Christian fyftem, not only as it is the firft revelation in the order of time, but because it furnishes a folution of all thofe general and previous questions, which arise from the idea of a revelation, fuch as the existence of a firft caufe, the origin of the universe, the origin of man, the poffibility of a communication and intercourfe between him and the firft caufe, and the primitive ideas and language, which this caufe communicated to men. Though we do not profefs to adopt," without reftriction, all the ideas of our excellent Author, yet we every where admire the dexterity and acuteness with which they are prefented in the progress of this difcourfe. Many of the queftions he treats in it, are difficult, if not indeterminable, in the prefent ftate of human nature; but he has happily wrefted them out of the hands of the enemies of religion, who made use of them as objections, and expofes the folly of judging pofitively concerning a part, when we have not feen its connections with the whole. M. DE LUC fettles boldly (and here we follow him with a dubious step) the precincts of revelation and reafon; he attributes to the former not only the ideas of a firft caufe, but alfo the origin of language, which gave rife, as he thinks, to all the abftract ideas of origin, univerfe, beings, relations, duties, juftice, truth, and, in a word, to
all thofe first intellectual data, which, by being mutually communicated, render men capable of generalizing ftill farther their ideas, forming ftill more extenfive combinations, and drawing from them confequences both of a fpeculative and practical nature. Thefe firft data he finds in the Book of Genefis; and there is no doubt, but that the origin and first cause of all things, made known by an exprefs declaration, must have accelerated the procedure of the intellectual faculties in the pursuit of truth, -and farther fay we and know we not.
After having determined the spheres of revelation and reason, our Author examines and refutes the objections of certain philofophers, as they are called, against the fundamental objects and truths of religion, fuch as the doctrine of Providence (by which he means the continual intervention of the first cause in the government of the universe, and more especially in thofe extraordinary events which we call miracles) and the activity and liberty of man. He is acute and ardent on these important fub. jects, and draws great advantage from his profound knowledge of nature, and of the operation of fecond caufes, against the metaphyfical bulwarks that have been erected, with fuch a fubtile fpirit of concatenation and arrangement, in favour of the neceffitarian fyftem. The philofophical fyftem of pre-ordination, or (as divines call it) predeftination, that has been defended in fuch a fpecious and plaufible manner by Leibnitz, Wolf, Bonnet of Geneva, and other eminent men in Germany, and that has been afferted fo boldly of late, and avowed, even in its most alarming confequences, by Dr. Priestley, has met with a zealous and able antagonist in M. DE LUC. As this part of his differtation would fuffer by being abridged, we refer the Reader to the work itself, for the detail of his arguments. The origin of evil comes in for its part in thefe difquifitions: our Author's method of accounting for it, is rational and philofophical in the highest degree; and it is indeed coincident with the method employed by his learned antagonists on the subject of liberty. M. DE Luc does not abandon the system of optimism, as inconfiftent with the existence of human liberty. This is a capital defect in many of our modern peripatetics, and it fhews that their views of the fubject are far from being philofophical and extenfive. In effect, they leave all their objections against the moral government of the univerfe in their full force, and reprefent the Deity as conferring upon man a dubious gift, whofe confequences may be pernicious, and even fatal, without any previous provifion made for turning them, in the iffue, to falutary purposes. M. DE LUC, one of the keeneft defenders of human liberty, fteers a different courfe, and has not fhattered his veffel (which is an admirable failer) either on the rocks of Scylla or Charybdis. In word, this piece is excellent in every point of view, and will
please every candid reader: it will be read with pleasure and utility even by those who do not adopt the philosophical ideas of our Author on several points, and it exhibits fuch views of the present state of human nature, of its future destination, and of the providence and perfections of its Author, as muft fill the good mind with folid fatisfaction and ferene hope.
The concluding letter of this laft volume is an affecting plea of good sense and humanity in favour of religion, and deferves to be read with attention by thofe unthinking men, who poifon the fources of both private and publick felicity, by their repeated efforts to extinguish the light, the comforts, and the directions of that celeftial guide in the minds of men. After confidering the marks of fimplicity and truth that are palpable in the spirit as well as in (what he calls) the External Character of the Mofaic revelation, he maintains the caufe of religion in general, afferts the cause of toleration and charity, and inquires, with the fpirit of a rational Christian and a good man, into the fources of the deviations and errors of men in theological researches.
At the end of the work there is a general conclufion drawn from the whole, in which we find two very different representations of the universe and of man. These are the refults of the two different fyftems of religion and irreligion, confidered in their greateft oppofition, and difengaged from certain fhades, and modifications, that, in the minds of many incoherent men, give them fometimes an abfutd air of approximation. These modifications could not be comprehended in the following tablatures, though they are frequently noticed and infifted upon in the courfe of the work. We shall give this concluding piece in the form and words (exactly tranflated) of the Author: and our Readers may judge from this fhort fummary, who is the genuine. friend of truth and mankind,-the Chriftian, or the unbeliever?