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All Existence is the Existence of Something, or real Existence ; for the Existence of Nothing is no Existence and includes a contradiction, Existence and Non-existence at the same time.
SCHOLIUM. This Proposition seems very evident.
It is no more than this, that whatever is not impossible is possible, and that nothing appears in the nature of things impossible but what includes a contradiction.
It does not suppose actual Existence, or so much as possible Existence, but proves it from the very nature of Existence as not impossible ; and what proves the possibility of Existence in general, will prove all Existence possible, that does not appear impossible, or a contradiction.
All Existence that may be, either must be, and in its own nature cannot but be, which is necessary Existence, by Definition fourth ; or it may not be, which is contingent Existence, by Definition fifth.
To suppose possible Existence cannot be, is a contradiction ; that it may be, and may not be at the same time.
Therefore there can be no more than two sorts of possible Existence, either what only may be, or what also must be ; that is, either necessary or contingent.
(To be continued.)
OCCASIONAL SPECIMENS OF ELOQUENCE.
No. II. We are going to give another from “Flechier,” which, though it contains little that is doctrinal, is yet instructive in regard to composition and style. We have already specified one peculiarity in the style of this consummate orator,--the enumeration and collection in one sentence of several particulars. In many, this would be mere verbiage, the repetition of just one and the same thought, and no more; by the employment of several words, which, though capable of expressing different shades of meaning, are not so used, but are taken in their general signification. Many persons fancy that this is fine speaking, fine writing ; but all sensible persons will avoid it, as all sensible persons will dislike to meet with it. Suppose we were to say, “The gentleness of her spirit, the meekness of her heart, and the sweetness of her temper, constituted the root of her virtues, the source of her admirable qualities, the foundation on which her excellencies rested." All these might sound very grand; but there are no more than two thoughts, “Her virtues proceeded from her meekness.” To the young composer we would say, This is one of the most vicious forms of style : carefully avoid it. Let every phrase in a sentence express a distinct thought, or at least a plainly distinct aspect of the same thought. A properly fluent style is one that brings onward the mind of the reader, by showing that the mind of the writer was advancing. Flechier's sentences make progress in all their parts. Apparently abundant in words, they are condensed to a true solidity of thought. Our readers will see this if they read slowly, and look at each phrase as they go on. Each expresses something that the preceding one had not expressed. Nothing is more repulsive than mere baldness of thought covered by a heap of magnificent words. We see at once that the writer is artificial. He has been employed in wearing a wig of dead hair. Let all be living, and our objection ceases.-Ed. Y. I.]
An ancient writer has said, that men were born for action, and for the conduct of the world; and that the gods had given them valour in combats, prudence in counsels, moderation in prosperity, and constancy in adversity : but that females were only born for repose and retirement; that all their virtue consisted in being unknown, without attracting notice for either praise or blame, so that they were the most virtuous, of whom the least was said. It thus withdrew them from the republic, to shut them up in their families. Of all the moral virtues, he only accorded to them austere modesty ; he sometimes took from them even that good reputation which seems attached to the integrity of their sex; and reducing them to au indolence
which he regarded as most praiseworthy, all the glory he left to them was that of not possessing any.
It is easy to perceive the injustice of this sentiment. For besides that philosophy teaches us that mind and wisdom are properties of both sexes, that souls of the same species have similar movements, and that, having the common principles of natural reason and equity, they are capable of the same virtues ; experience proves to us that from time to time God raises females having such mental energy, that they are elevated beyond the ordinary weaknesses of nature, and appear to have received a particular temperament, to be rendered worthy of sustaining grand employments, and of serving as examples and ornaments of their age.
Such was the incomparable lady whom France has so long admired, and whom all France now mourns. She had all the natural qualities which compose an eminent merit, and which procure publication, esteem, and veneration. How can I describe to you that air of grandeur, and that majesty accompanied with so much graciousness; that spirit so solid and yet so delicate; that judgment so clear, and so incapable of being surprised; that soul so noble and so generous; that heart so sensible to honour and true glory! How shall I point out to you here, that inclination so benevolent, which never lost an occasion of serving those who had need of her aid ; those manners so kind, humane, active, which won so many hearts; that mode of expression so natural and just; that particular turn of spirit which rendered her conversation so agreeable; those thoughts always founded on the principle of reason; and her experience of the world in which she lived, and of which she knew all the movements, interests, and usages! How, in fine, can I say to you that which you know so much better than myself, if the grief you feel for having lost her, has not made you forget for a time the pleasure you had in possessing her!
Honours are instituted for the reward of merit, for the exercise of wisdom, and to furnish occasions of well-doing : thus they of right pertain only to those whose souls are just, moderate, and charitable; who receive them without eagerness,
Vol. XI. Second Series. K
possess them without pride, retain them without employing them for their own interest. But the spirit of the world has perverted this their true usage. People cabal for them without deserving them; abuse them when obtained; enjoy them only for themselves when they have secured them. Ambition acquires them by criminal means; vanity regards them as distinctions and preferences above other persons; and injustice with holds the fruits of them which are only given to be communicated. Our illustrious Duchess has shunned these dangerous rocks. Though she merited honours, she did not seek them; she did not always avail herself of all the authority she might have assumed, and rejoiced to employ all her credit in assisting those who were in want of her succour.
It is not enough that we enter into honours, thus, if, when we possess them, we do not use them with moderation. Those who are able to regulate their desires, cannot always regulate their authority. Pride, which is always inseparable from a consciousness of favourable preference, is a penetrating and subtile poison, gliding insensibly into the soul; and even those who, in a moderate condition, seem not to be ambitious, often become insolent when raised to great elevation. But this lady allowed not herself to be thus dazzled with the brilliancy of her dignities. The more she was exalted, the more modest she appeared. She knew the depth of her own heart, and the deceitfulness of vanity, and was full of those judicious reflections which strengthen the soul against the false opinions of the world. All her study was to employ her credit usefully; and though she had often very favourable opportunities for resenting injuries, she always repressed such feelings, and steadfastly refused to do ill to those who, from envy or malice, had sought to do ill to her. She sought the good of others, rather than of herself. The fear of finding ingratitude, or its actual occurrence, never prevented her from conferring a benefit. Could she support a reasonable pretension ; bring to light concealed merit; obtain a difficult favour; make good impressions concerning a suspected fidelity; manifest a service rendered; soften a pardonable fault; give salutary advice; procure a modest establishment? She was always ready with her aid: like those rivers, which, rolling their waves with majesty, water dry and barren lands, and collecting the streams which meet them in their course, bear their tribute to the ocean to which they flow, and in which they are at length lost.
CHINA. [INSTEAD of our usual monthly paper, headed, “Brief Miscellaneous Notices by Sea and Land," we lay before our readers the substance (as given in the “ New-York Christian Advocate and Journal,” a Wesleyan newspaper) of some Lectures on China, recently delivered in that city. The portion we now give is contained in the paper for the 17th of February last. Before the time arrives for preparing copy for our June Number, we hope to have received the paper containing the remaining portion of the Lectures. We may just add that the lecturer, Mr. S. W. Williams, resided in China twelve years ; and that he therefore speaks, not merely from study, but personal observation. Our Missionary readers will feel a particular interest in the subject, knowing that China is occupying the attention of the Committee of Management, and that, ere long, we may anticipate that China will be found on the list of our Missionary stations ; a fact, we trust, that will animate their zeal, and lead to active exertions for the necessary extension of our Missionary funds.-Ed. Y. I.]
Mr. Williams introduced his course by an allusion to Mr. Gliddon's recent Lectures on Egypt, remarking that ancient Egypt was the only land which, in antiquity and general interest, could compare with China. There were, however, striking points of contrast between the two countries. While Egypt comprised merely the valley of the Nile, a narrow strip of land hemmed in on either side by barren mountains and sandy deserts, China embraces a territory of vast extent and capacities. Ancient Egypt has come down to us only in its imperishable monuments, or in the form of a shrivelled mummy; while the living, breathing millions of China stand before us, the nation having preserved its identity