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only, belong to the prefent undertaking; and their principles are unfolded, by studying the fenfitive part of human nature, and by learning what objects are naturally agreeable, and what are naturally difagreeable. The man who afpires to be a critic in thefe arts, muft pierce ftill deeper: he must clearly perceive what objects are lofty, what low, what are proper or improper, what are manly, and what are mean or trivial. Hence a foundation for judging of taste, and for reafoning upon it: where it is conformable to principles, we can pronounce with certainty, that it is correct; otherwife, that it is incorrect, and perhaps whimfical. Thus the fine arts, like morals, become a rational fcience; and, like morals, may be cultivated to a high degree of refinement.

Manifold are the advantages of criticism, when thus ftudied as a rational science. In the first place, a thorough acquaintance with the principles of the fine arts, redoubles the entertainment thefe arts afford. To the man who refigns himself entirely to fentiment or feeling, without interpofing any fort of judgement, poetry, music, painting, are mere paftime: in the prime of life, indeed, they are delightful, being fupported by the force of novelty, and the heat of imagination; but they lofe their relish gradually with their novelty; and are generally neglected in the maturity of life, which difpofes to more ferious and more important occupations. To thofe

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those who deal in criticifm as a regular fcience, governed by juft principles, and giving fcope to judgement as well as to fancy, the fine arts are a favourite entertainment; and in old age maintain that relish which they produce in the morning of life *.

In the next place, a philofophic inquiry into the principles of the fine arts, inures the reflecting mind to the most enticing fort of logic: the practice of reafoning upon fubjects fo agreeable tends to a habit; and a habit, ftrengthening the reasoning faculties, prepares the mind for entering into fubjects more difficult and abstract. To have, in this respect, a juft conception of the importance of criticism, we need but reflect upon the common method of education; which, after fome years spent in acquiring languages, hurries us, without the least preparatory discipline, into the most profound philofophy: a more effectual method to alienate the tender mind from abstract science, is beyond the reach of invention; and accordingly, with respect to fuch speculations, the bulk of our youth contract a fort of hobgoblin terror, which is feldom, if ever, fubdued. Thofe who apply to the arts, are trained in a very different manner: they are led, step by step, from the easier parts of the operation, to what are more difficult; and are not permitted to make a new motion, till

*Though logic may fubfift without rhetoric or poetry, yet fo "neceffary to these last is a found and correct logic, that without it they are no better than warbling trifles." Hermes, p.6. A 4


they be perfected in those which regularly precede it. The fcience of criticism appears then to be a middle link, connecting the different parts of education into a regular chain. This science furnisheth an inviting opportunity to exercife the judgement: we delight to reafon upon fubjects that are equally pleafant and familiar: we proceed gradually from the fimpler to the more involved cafes and in a due course of difcipline, custom, which improves all our faculties, bestows acuteness upon those of reason, fufficient to unravel all the intricacies of philofophy.

Nor ought it to be overlooked, that the reafonings employed upon the fine arts are of the fame kind with those which regulate our conduct. Mathematical and metaphyfical reafonings have no tendency to improve focial intercourse; nor are they applicable to the common affairs of life: but a just taste in the fine arts, derived from rational principles, furnishes elegant subjects for converfation, and prepares us finely for acting in the focial state with dignity and propriety.

The fcience of rational criticifm tends to improve the heart not less than the understanding. It tends, in the first place, to moderate the selfish affections by fweetening and harmonizing the temper, it is a strong antidote to the turbulence of paffion and violence of purfuit: it procures to a man fo much mental enjoyment, that in order to be occupied, he is not tempted, in youth, to precipitate into hunting, gaming, drinking; nor,

in middle age, to deliver himself over to ambition; nor, in old age, to avarice. Pride and envy, two difguftful paffions, find in the conftitution no enemy more formidable than a delicate and difcerning tafte: the man upon whom nature and culture have beftowed this bleffing, feels great delight in the virtuous difpofitions and actions of others: he loves to cherish them, and to publish them to the world: faults and failings, it is true, are to him not lefs obvious; but these he avoids, or removes out of fight, because they give him pain. On the other hand, a man void of tafte, upon whom the most ftriking beauties make but a faint impreffion, has no joy but in gratifying his pride or envy by the discovery of errors and blemishes. In a word, there may be other paffions, which, for a feafon, disturb the peace of fociety more than those mentioned; but no other paffion is fo unwearied an antagonist to the fweets of focial intercourfe: these paffions, tending affiduously to their gratification, put a man perpetually in oppofition to others; and difpofe him more to relish bad than good qualities, even in a companion. How different that difpofition of mind, where every virtue in a companion or neighbour, is, by refinement of taste, set in its strongest light; and defects or blemishes, natural to all, are fuppreffed, or kept out of view!


In the next place, delicacy of taste tends not lefs to invigorate the focial affections, than to


moderate those that are selfish. To be convinced of this tendency, we need only reflect, that delicacy of taste neceffarily heightens our fenfibility of pain and pleasure, and of course our sympathy, which is the capital branch of every focial paffion. Sympathy in particular invites a communication of joys and forrows, hopes and fears: fuch exercife, foothing and fatisfactory in itself, is neceffarily productive of mutual good-will and affection.

One other advantage of rational criticifm is referved to the last place, being of all the most important; which is, that it is a great fupport to morality. I infift on it with entire fatisfaction, that no occupation attaches a man more to his duty than that of cultivating a taste in the fine arts: a just relish of what is beautiful, proper, elegant, and ornamental, in writing or painting, in architecture or gardening, is a fine preparation for the same just relish of these qualities in character and behaviour. To the man who has acquired a taste fo acute and accomplished, every action wrong or improper, must be highly difgustful: if, in any instance, the overbearing power of paffion fway him from his duty, he returns to it upon the first reflection, with redoubled refolution never to be fway'd a fecond time: he has now an additional motive to virtue, a conviction derived from experience, that happiness depends on regularity and order, and that a difregard to juftice



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