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upon our Author. In June, 1780, he was appointed to a prebend in the cathedral of Carlisle, productive to him of about 400l. annually. His friend Mr. Law being elevated to the Irish bench, as bishop of Clonfert, vacated the archdeaconry of Carlisle, to which Mr. Paley succeeded in August, 1782. In the diocess of Carlisle, the archdeacon holds merely a nominal office, with the possession of a small living: all the duties of the station are performed by the chancellor. Upon the death of Dr. Richard Burn, the well-known author of the Justice of the Peace, and who for his compilation of ccelesiastical law was made chancellor of Carlisle, Mr. Paley was advanced to the usual labours, as well as the title, of an archdeacon. This took place in the year 1785, and the union of the two dignities brought him an annual augmentation of income of about 300l. The vicarage of Appleby was resigned, when he became archdeacon, and his residence was partly at Dalston, and partly at his prebendal house. He accompanied his friend to his episcopal residence in Ireland, having first preached at his consecration in the Castle Chapel at Dublin. The subject which he chose was, a distinction of orders in the church, defended upon principles of public utility.

An exaggerated account of one of his conversations gained him for a time the credit of a feat of wit which he never performed. "A report had been long in circulation, that Mr. Paley, being appointed to preach before the university of Cambridge on the day when Mr. Pitt, after his elevation to the premiership in 1784, made his first appearance at St. Mary's, chose this singular, but appropriate text; There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes : but what are they among so many?' John, vi. 9. A lady who had seen this story in the newspaper, once asked the facetious divine if it was true. "Why, no, madam,' replied he, I certainly never preached such a sermon, I was not at Cambridge at the time; but I remember that one day, when I was riding out with a friend in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, and we were talking about the bustle and confusion which Mr. Pitt's appearance would then cause to the university, I said, that if I had been there, and asked to preach on the occasion, I would have taken that for passage " "2 my text.' Hitherto our Author had published nothing but such small and fugitive pieces, as would scarcely have made his reputation more lasting than that of hundreds of upright and learned divines, who, however useful may have been their labours, are almost entirely forgotten in a few generations. In 1785 appeared his “Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy;" a work alone important enough, even amidst the innumerable volumes of the English language, to rescue the writer from oblivion. Paley's modesty led him to distrust his abilities to interest the public mind in discussions so alien to the common taste, as questions of abstract ethics. His friend, the Bishop of Clonfert, estimated his powers more justly, from his knowledge of their effects in the university. By his solicitation, that system of morals, with which Paley had fortified the minds of his pupils, was given to the world digested and amplified amid the leisure and by the experience of its Author. When the work was ready to be committed to the press, an altercation arose about its value; Mr. Faulder, the publisher, consenting to give but 2501. for what the Author thought it just to demand 3007. The delay that was created, was a most fortunate circumstance for Mr. Paley; for during the interim, a bookseller from Carlisle, calling upon Mr. Robinson of Paternoster-row, was commissioned by him to offer 1000l. for the copyright. Upon receiving this proposal, Paley wrote with trembling agitation to the Bishop of Clonfert, who was in London, and was intrusted with the sale of the book. "Never," he used to confess, "did I suffer so much anxious fear, as on this occasion, lest my friend should have concluded the bargain with Mr. Faulder, before my letter could reach him." The contract not having been struck, Mr. F. amazed no doubt as much as Tarquin at the last demand of the Sibyl, quadrupled his offer of 2501. and in a short time had reason to exult at his purchase. "Little did I think that I should ever make a thousand pounds by any book of mine," was the sincere and modest exclamation of the Author.

The chief excellences of this treatise are, the strength and simplicity of the principle upon which he establishes his reasonings, and the adaptation of the


whole subject to the circumstances of actual life. The rule of human conduct in al cases he acknowledges to be the will of God; and when this can be discovered from the express declarations of the Deity, he always has recourse to Scripture. Paley's system, therefore, is one of Christian ethics. Those who reject revelation, may build, as they can, their systems without it; and try how much weight their unauthorized tenets will possess with the bulk of mankind. But for such as receive Christianity, to decline the appeal to scriptural authorities, Paley considers as great a defect, as if a commentator on the laws of England should content himself with stating upon each head, the common law of the land, without taking potice of the statute law, and acts of parliament.


When the Scriptures give us no specific direction, the will of God is to be inferred, by what we can discover of his designs and disposition from his works; or, as it is usually called, by the light of nature. The numerous proofs which we possess of the divine benevolence, lead us to establish this rule, that the me thod of coming at the will of God, concerning any action, by the light of nature, is to inquire into the tendency of that action to promote or diminish the general happiness. Such is the amount of Paley's doctrine of expediency. Expediency is not his primary rule of conduct, but only laid down as the most certain method, when Scripture is silent, of ascertaining the law by which we should always abide, namely, the will of God. The utility too of actions and institutions (he carefully insists) is to be estimated by their general consequences; that is, by asking what would ensue, if the same kind of actions were generally permitted. Nothing can be more calumnious than to fix any stigma of selfishness to the Au thor's doctrine: his aim is to develop what is universally expedient; to teach us in all our calculations to consider the interests of society; and to seek our individual benefit in the common welfare. A man who is perplexed with doubts, if he allowed himself to be guided by Paley, would first endeavour to calm his mind by following the instructions to be met with in Scripture; if these are not detailed so minutely as to reach his case, our Author explains the process of reasoning, by which he may hope to arrive at conclusions agreeable to the will of God. Paley has carefully abstained from inventing difficulties, and embarrassing his readers with unnecessary scruples. He is not like an injudicious commentator, perplexing what is clear, and overlooking what is obscure. His book was designed to inform the judgment, and establish correct principles in those cases, where men are daily required to deliver their opinions, or determine their cont duct, Disencumbering his subject of all superfluous weight, he has examined, Į he declares,* no doubts, discussed no obscurities, encountered no errors, adverted to no controversies, but what he had seen actually to exist.

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A work so perspicuous and useful, in which a number of important questions are discussed in a manner neither jejune nor prolix, could scarcely fail to win popular notice in an enlightened country. Paley enjoyed all the triumphs of an author, in witnessing no less than fifteen editions of his work pass through the press. He saw it also introduced as a book of examination in the university of Cambridge. This distinction, which it has not lost at the present day, was first conferred upon. it by Mr. Jones, senior tutor of Trinity College, at the time he was moderator, in the years 1786 and 1787. In the revision of his work, our Author made no ma¬ terial alterations, but contented himself with verbal corrections. He was never induced to reply to any objections which were urged against different parts of his theory; but having weighed his opinions with care, and advanced them clearly and with moderation, he relinquished them to whatever fate truth might assign them.

In 1787, he was deprived of his friend and patron, the Bishop of Carlisle, who died at Rose castle, on the 14th of August, at the great age of eighty-four. Mr. Paley, several years after, paid a tribute of respect and gratitude to his diocesan's memory, by compiling a short memoir of his life, which may be found in Hutchinson's History of Cumberland, and the Encyclopædia Britannica.

We are next to view Mr. Paley engaged in a singular task; in allaying doubts. and overcoming scruples, by which (though he added a member to the church) he obtained such a triumph as few will be tempted to envy. The event to which

Preface to Moral Philosophy..

we allude, will be best explained by the correspondence between our Author and Dr. Percival, a physician of Manchester.

From Dr. PERCIVAL to the Rev. Archdeacon PALEY.

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Manchester, June 20, 1788. What apology shall I offer for the liberty I am now presuming to take with you? The very high respect which I entertain for your talents and character, operates upon me at once as an incitement and restraint; and whilst I am solicitous to avail myself of your counsel and assistance, I am diffident in requesting them, from a consciousness of having no claim to be honoured with either, But the occasion requires a sacrifice of feeling to judgment; and I shall trust to your goodness to excuse, if peculiar reasons do not justify, my present application to you,

"My oldest son, whom I intended for the profession of physic, by his resi dence at St. John's College, and connexions in Cambridge, has had his views changed, and is now strongly inclined to go into the church. But previous to his final decision, he wishes to settle his mind on several important topics comprehended in the Articles of faith. The chapter on Religious Establishments, in your excellent System of Moral and Political Philosophy, has had great weight with him; and he has this morning expressed to me an earnest desire to have the benefit of your personal instructions, on points so interesting to his fature peace, prosperity, and usefulness. Is it possible for him to enjoy this singular privilege, for the space of a few weeks? I shall cordially acquiesce in any terms that you may prescribe, and with a grateful sense of obligation to you.

"I am a dissenter, but actuated by the same spirit of catholicism which you possess. An establishment I approve; the church of England, in many respects, I honour; and should think it my duty to enter instantly into her communion, were the plan which you have proposed in you tenth chapter,* carried into execution."

From the Rev. Archdeacon PALEY to Dr. PERCIVAL.

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"Carlisle, June 25, 1788. "I desire you to accept my thanks for the many obliging expressions of respect which your letter contains. If the state of my engagements had allowed me to spare a few weeks to a personal conference with your son, upon any sub-, ject of doubt which he should chance to propose, it would have been a pleasure to me to have complied with your wishes, from a sense both of private obligation and of public esteem. As my time is at present very little in my own power, and my being at home very uncertain, I know not how I can contribute to your son's satisfaction in any better way than by sending you a few addi-" tional explanatory observations upon what I have written in my chapter, entitled 'Of Subscription.'

1st. "If any person understand and believe all the several propositions in the thirty-nine Articles, and in the liturgy and homilies which they recognize, • there can be no place for doubt.

"2d. If a person think that every such proposition is probable, or as probable as the contrary or any other supposition on the subject, there can be no just cause of scruple..

"3d. If a person, after using due inquiry, understand some of the propositions in the thirty-nine Articles, but not all, and assent to those propositions which he does understand, I think he may safely subscribe.

4th. If a person think any part of the discipline, government, rites, or worship, of the church of England, to be forbidden, he certainly ought not to subscribe; but certain parts of these being not commanded, or not the best possible, or not good and useful, or not reasonable (for many things may be absurd, and yet very innocent,) is not, in my opinion, a sufficient ground of objection. "5th. If there be certain particular propositions in the Articles, which he disbelieves, although he assent to the main part of them, as well as to the lawfulness of the established government and worship of the church, then arises the case in which the principal difficulty consists. And as to this case, I find no reason, upon much re-consideration, to question the principle I have laid down, viz, that if the intention and view of the legislature, which imposed subseription, be satisfied, it is enough.' But here comes a doubt, whether we can be permitted to go out of the terms of subscription, that is to say, the words of • Book vi, of Moral Philosophy.

the statute, to collect the intention of the legislature, or not. If we look to the terms of the subscription, they seem to require a positive assent to each and every proposition contained in the Articles, so as that believing any one such proposition to be untrue, is inconsistent with subscription. If we may he allowed to judge of the design and object of the legislature from the nature of the case, and the ordinary maxims of human conduct, it appears likely that they meant to fence out such sects and characters as were hostile and dangerous to the new establishment, viz. Popery, and the tenets of the continental Anabaptists; rather than expect, what they must have known to be impracticable, the exact agreement of so many minds in such a great number of controverted propositions.

"Now, concerning this doubt, viz. whether we may or not go out of the terms of the statute to collect the design of the legislature (which question I think involves the whole difficulty,) I can only say, that a court of justice, in interpreting written laws, certainly could not, and ought not; for any such liberty would give to courts of justice the power of making laws; but I do not see that any danger or insecurity will be introduced by allowing this liberty to private persons. I mean, that private persons acting under the direction of a law may be said to do their duty, if they act up to what they believe to be the design of the legislature in making the law; whether their opinion of that design be founded upon the terms of the statute alone, or upon the nature of the subject and the actual probability.

If I had the pleasure of your son's presence, I know not whether I ought to say any thing more. It is the office of an adviser in such cases to suggest general principles. The application of these principles to each person's case, must be made by the person himself, who alone knows the state of his own thoughts. I have only to add, that Burnet's seems a fair explication of the sense of the Articles."

Paley's arguments, we think, will satisfy none but lax consciences. He acknowledges that the terms of the subscription seem to require a positive assent to each and every proposition contained in the Articles :-if then the terms are clear and express, why need we go out of them, to collect the design of the legislature? Is not the legislature most competent to explain its own intention? If it plainly declares what it demands of the subscriber, has he any authority to guess and infer that it demands something much less than its own terms imply? Paley enjoins in another place a far more scrupulous mode of reasoning. "In every question of conduct, where one side is doubtful, and the other side safe, we are bound to take the safe side."-"We assert, that the action concerning which we doubt, whatever it may be in itself, or to another, would, in us, whilst this doubt remains upon our minds, be certainly sinful."

Mr. Thomas Basnett Percival, the gentleman whose doubts were the cause of "the preceding correspondence, entered the church, notwithstanding he had been educated in the Arian tenets. These of course (for we impeach neither his nor Mr. Paley's sincerity) we must suppose were abandoned for how could any one, who held the Arian sentiments, pronounce, before God and in the public assemblies of the church, the Nicene creed, which was compiled in express condemnation of the heresy of Arius?

Upon a vacancy in the mastership of Jesus College, Cambridge, in the year 1789, the situation was offered to Mr. Paley by Dr. York; who, as bishop of Ely, had the absolute appointment. This honour Paley declined; but always, it seems, maintained a strict reserve concerning his motives for such a refusal. Mr. Meadley, our Author's first biographer, has upon this subject provoked the chastisement of the Quarterly Reviewer: and as we are bound to collect the truth from every quarter we are able, we must permit the learned critic to speak for himself.+ "And first with respect to his refusal of the mastership of Jesus College-'The whole of his motives for this refusal have never yet been clearly ascertained, nor perhaps were they fully communicated even to his most intimate friends (here we agree with the biographer.) To one gentleman, indeed, he stated a conviction that he should be scarcely able to remain a single month in office (meaning, probably, the vice-chancellorship, which would have followed the other) + No. xviii. p. 394.

* Moral Philosophy, book i. chap. vii.

without quarrelling with Mr. Pitt, Mr. Paley, who was no time-server, seems to have been unwilling to place himself in a situation in which unworthy compliances might be either expected or required.' This is a foul libel on the dead and the living on the minister, and on the heads of houses: the first, as a haughty tyrant; the second, as a set of unprincipled and self-interested slaves. It is neither a duty incumbent on ministers nor men to heap rewards on those who thwart and oppose their measures; but independence and hostility are not convertible terms, and in that station we undertake to say, that a man like Paley, with all his independence of spirit, would have held no such course as to debar him from preferment. Besides, the surmise is negatived by facts, as it is well known that, about the same time, a man of far less merit, and by principle as well as connexion actively hostile to the court, was promoted by the crown to the mastership of another college, with an express reservation of his party and principles: and the biographers might have known, that when Paley's first and best friend heard of the refusal, his observation was, that he had missed a mitre.?''

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In 1790 appeared the Hora Pauline, or the Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul evinced, by a Comparison of the Epistles which bear his name, with the Acts of the Apostles, and with one another. This work will be valued by sagacious judges as the most ingenious and original of all our Author's productions. It has been translated into the German language; but has never obtained in this country that general perusal with which Paley's larger works have been honoured. This comparative neglect is to be attributed not to the execution of the work, which is admirable, but to the subtile nature of the proof which the design admitted. Although the total result of the argument is an accumulation of evidence that is almost irresistible; yet the proofs, singly, are established by a recondite criticism, by minute collations, and verbal peculiarities, which few have delicacy of taste enough to relish. This publication is the only one in which Paley seems not to have adapted himself exactly to the tone of the public mind; but he is repaid for the neglect of the many, by the approbation of the few that are learned and critical readers.

It is gratifying to behold the man, whose penetrating mind could enlighten the abstrusest difficulties of philosophy, cheerfully engaged in the humblest works of utility; the writer who could instruct divines and scholars, employed like the amiable Dr. Watts in reducing knowledge to the level of the most youthful capacity. In the centre of Paley's great philosophical and theological works, we meet with the following publication: The Young Christian instructed in Reading and in the Principles of Religion; compiled for the Use of the Sunday Schools in Carlisle. This little work, however, subjected our Author to the charge of plagiarism, and involved him in a dispute which is too amusing, from its ludicrous solemnity, not to be given in the genuine words of the combatants. Mr. Robertson, the person who thought himself injured, made the following grave appeal to the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine:*

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"Thou shalt not steal."

-Catechism by Paley, p. 34. "MR. URBAN, Marlborough-street, Feb. 12. "When the press teems with innumerable publications in every department of literature, it is no wonder that many of them are mere compilations; the observations, arguments, and opinions, of preceding writers, thrown together into one general mass, and presented to the public under some new and ostentatious title. We have volumes after volumes, collected from the works of the most eminent authors, filled with heterogeneous fragments, which distract and confound the reader's memory and imagination, and consequently leave no useful impression on the mind. Some dealers in this piratical commerce take every opportunity they can seize, for converting the works of others to their own emo"lament. With this view, they mangle and pillage them in an arbitrary manner, till they have either made the original composition appear to the utmost disadvantage, or devoured it as rapaciously as the harpies devoured the provisions of Eneas and his companions.

“Though, as the author of two or three humble publications, I did not imagine that I should be exposed to piratical depredations, yet I have found myself

* Vol. lxii. 1792.

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