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Grub Street Journal Newspaper Archive: September 10, 1730 - Page 1

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Publication: Grub Street Journal

Location: London, Middlesex

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   Grub-Street Journal (Newspaper) - September 10, 1730, London, Middlesex                                he Grub-ftfeet Numb. j�# CfjtttSbap, SEPTEMBER id, 1730. �c Mr. Favius, Secretary to the Grubaan Society. Learned Sir, Oxon. Aug. 31,1730- READ, with no fmnll furprize, your Account of Mr. Whifton s Memoirs of the Ufe of Dr. Clarke. The pafTages you had extracted, railed my curiofity fo far, that \ could not forbear fending for the book immediately. But when I came to read the book it felf, I was no lefs -forpriled to find fo great a number of extraordinary paf-fages pafled over by you in filence. I wonder you fhould omit that reflexion at the very beginning, where having told us that Mr. Emlyn, Himfelf, Mr. Peirce of Exeter, and Mr. Tomkins of Newington, had publifhed faithful accounts of their Profecutions and Expulfions ; he obferves that Dr. Clarke, zobo was deeply concerned in theje difco-veries, and was like to have been cenjurcd by the convocation, A. D- 1714- for pullijhir.g the Jame, feemed to endeavour, as much as pcjfible, to conceal his own Hijhry, Kibicb yet is equally due to the publick with the reft. The converiation which pafled between Dr. Clarke and Mr. Whiilon, concerning Rohault's Phyficks, was very worthy of notice. The Dr. having asked Mr. Whiftun's opinion about the fitnefs of translating that fyilem of Cartcfian Philofophy, which work his tutor had recommended to him, was anfwered, that ' fince the youth of the Uni-' verfny muft have, at prefent, fome fyftem of Natural * Philofophy for their iludies and exercifes; and fince the � true fyftem of Sir Ifaac Newton was not yet made eafy * enough for that purpofe ; it was not improper, for their ' fakes, yet to tranflate and ufe the fyftem of Rohault, but * that as foon as Sir Ifaac Newton's Philofophy came to ' be better known, that only ought to be taught, and the * other dropp'd.   The lail part of which Advice, Mr. * Whiflon fays, has not been followed, as it ought to have 'been, in that Univerfity; but, as Bifhop Hoadley truly � obferves, Dr. Clarke's Rohault is flill the principal book " for the iludenrs there.   Though fuch an obfervation be * no way to the honour of the Tutors in that Univerfity, * who, in reading Rohault, do only read a Philofophical * Romance to their Pupils, almoft perpetually contradicted * by the better notes thereto belonging.   And certainly, to * ufe Cartcfian ficlitious Hypothefes at this time of day, * after the principal parts of Sir Ifaac's certain fyflem ' have been made eafy enough for the underftanding of or- * dinary Mathematicians, is like the continuing to eat old * Acorns, after the difcovery of new wheat,_ for the food � of Mankind'. Mr. Whilton might have faid that Sir Ifaac Newton's fyflem has vbeen made eafy enough for the underftanding not only of ordinary Mathematicians, but of thofe alio, who underftand no Mathematicks at all: for, I do not doubt, but that Dr. Pemberton has performed what he undertook to do, in his View of Sir Ifaac New-tins Philofophy i tho' I have not yet had leifure to perufe his book. The remarks on abftrail and metaphyfick Reafonings d'e-ferved fome notice in your paper. When Dr. Clarke brought Mr. Whifton his Sermons preached at Boyle's Le.,ure, in which he had dealt a great deal in this kind of reafoning, he asked the Dr. 1 how he ventured into fuch 'fubtilties, which he himfelf never durfl meddle with? * And Shewing him a Nettle, or the like contemptible * 'weed, in his Garden, told him, that weed contained bet- * "tcr arguments for the Being and Attributes of God, than �* all his Metaphyficks. The Dr. confefTed it to befo ; but �'alledged for himfelf, that fince fuch Philofophers, as *' Hobbs and Spinoza had made ufe of thofe kind of fub-� til ties againfl; he thought proper to fhew, that the like � 'way of reafoning might be made better ufe of on the � fide of Religion. ' Mr. Whifton allowed this excttfe to be not inconfiderable; and concludes with declaring it to be his opinion, that ' fuch kind cf Arguments are the ' ptoft fubtile, but the leaf jctisfaclory of all others what- * foever. ' In another part of this treatife he obferves, lhat Metaphyfical fubtilties have fometimes had pernicious Confequcnces, even again/} common Senfe and common Experience: Examples of which he produces in the Cafes of thofe three famous men, Mr. Leibnitz, Mr. Lock and Dean Berkley.   ' The firii of which was by Dr. Clarke * prefled fo hard, from matter of fact, known laws of * Motion, and the difcoveries of Sir Ifaac Newton, that �* he was forced to have recourfe to Metaphyfical fubtilties, * and to a fre-ejiablifred Harmony of Things, in hig-Qwn ' imagination, which he fliles a fuperior Reafon: till it ' was foon feen, that Mr. Leibnitz's fuperior Reafon ferVed ' to little elfe, but to confirm the great Superiority of Ex- ' perience and Mathematicks, above all fuch Metaphyfical ' fubtilties whatfoever.   As to Mr. Locke, who had en- ' tered deeper into Metaphyfick Reafoning, and perhaps ' with better fuccefs than any before him : he was, how- ' ever, driven at length into fuch great diftrefs, by Pro- ' feflbr Limborch's famous Metaphyfical Argument againfl ' human Liberty, that he honeftly confefTed he could not ' anfwer it : and yet had-fo much good fenfe, as to believe ' he was a free Creature, on the credirof his own Ex- ' perience, let Metaphyfick difficulties be never fo inlu- ' perable ;  as all wife men will ever do.    As to Dean * Berkley, he publifhed this Metaphyfick notion,  that ' Matter was not a real thing i nay, that the common ' opinion of its Reality was groundlefs, if not ridiculous. ' Mr. Whifton, after he had perufed -this book, went to Dr. Clarke, and told him,   that He examined and corrected the more difficult places in his tran* flation of the Apoftolical Conftitutions, and that he was a very great Admirer of this Book, P. 174. he tells us, that Biftop Smalridge feemed always readily enough to give up the Athanafian Creed ; and adds, that ' Sir Robert Clarke ' being once at Briftol Cathedral, and on an Athanafian ' Creed day, and not believing that Creed himfelf, had * nothing elfe to do, but to watch Bifhop Smalridge's Be-    ' haviour, and took notice that he did not repeat that * Creed any more than himfelf.' And p. 177. He relates, that� when Mr. Anderfon, nowHeftor of Lutterworth ia ' Leiceiterfhire; was once in company with the lateArch-' bifhop Sharp and Dr. Smalridge ; and the Archbifhop, or * fome other in company, faid, fome body mull be appoint-' ed to prove, againfl Mr. Whifton, that the Apoftolical ' Conftitutions were fpurious Dr Smalridge made anfwer, ' that be took that to be a bard thing to do.    -~ Thefe are the moil remarkable things which occur to me at prefent, befides thofe which you have already pub. lifhed : And if this extract will be of any ufe to you, or your learned Society, it will be a pleafure to Your conftant Reader, and humble Servant, A. B To tbe Secretary of the Grubcean Society. SIR, IWas furprized to read an Epigram (written by a Friend of mine for private Entertainment) in your Journal of Auguft the 20th : The perfon who fent it, fubfcribes himfelf Pbilo-Grubaus : By the import of his Name, and the Tenor of his Preamble, I perceive that he is a well-wifher to your Society, andje?lousof the Reputation of its Members ; fo far I have nothing to fay againit him ; but he faucily ilyles my Friend a diiaffedted Fellow, for fatyrizing three Loyal Divines. Was not my Refentment diverted another way, I fhould return the o^cious Jackanapes a $ proper Anfwer, but I find -my fell' under the Nectffity of ll j unifying (out of Refpect to the Author) this little Amufe-� ment, againfl the impertinent Emendations of a Critic, who dates a Letter to you from Chelfea, Auguft the z\ft, By the Invalidity of his Corrections, and the Lamenefs of his Numbers, I fhould imagine him to belong to the Hoi-pital. Ha tells you in the firit place (perhaps as fomething ' new) that this Compliment of Dryden's to Milton, is an old Thought, thouglrlmproved by that Great ivianj now this is a very abrupt Introduction, and quite foreign to any Purpofe, unleis he would infinuate that he himielf 1$ likewife a Great Man, and no lefs capable of improving a Hint, for he peremptorily aflens, that he has brought the Copy clofer to the Original, v/hich, no doubt, he looks upon as a notable Improvement. If I may be allowed to know my Friend's Intention, his Epigram was..an Imitation at large, and never defigned to be a lervile Copy even of that Great Man Dryden. So that there was no need of keeping any clofer to the Original, whi .h fancied defect feems to have been the lole Foundation of his new model. But in comparing the Epigrams, I'll give fome reafons to prove, that it is not out of Prejudice, a^d a par-> tial attachment to my Friend, that I prsier his Composition, which begins after this manner; In tbe fame Age and I fie Three Bards Divine Their Prince to celebrate invoked the Nine. The three Poets in Dryden's Epigram are distinguished by the Diftance both of their Ages and Countries ; my Friend therefore judged, that it would be more extraordinary Ridicule, to introduce his three Grub-ftreet Per-fonages in the fame Age and Ifle ; but the Chelfeian cannot allow this to be clofe enough : for in the Original there are Three Poets, which my Friend has called Bards,j there is England, which he has indefinitely termed an Ifle i now this uncorrect Way of writing, he forefees, might perplex future Commentators, to find out what island was meant. But let us examine the Improvement of thefe Lines. Three Poets (grave Divines) in England born, The Princes Entry did with Verfe adorn. There is a great Beauty in thefe Verfes, according to the EfTay upon Criticifm, the Sound is an Eccho to the Senfe, there is -an Air of SpaniSh Gravity in the Metre, and the Words move flew. He calls them, you fee, grave Divines, as perhaps being better acquainted with them ; my Friend (who was a perfect Stranger to their Perfons) couid not averr fo much, unlefs he had taken Grave ia the SchoeJ   

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