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INQUIRIES CONCERNING THE INTELLECTUAL POWERS, AND THE INVESTIGATION OF TRUTH. By JOHN ABERCROMBIE, M.D. F.R.S.E., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and First Physician to His Majesty in Scotland. 18mo.
"In the execution of this plan, Dr. ABERCROMBIE brings to his subfect a mind thoroughly versed in its details, and habituated to this species of abstract inquiry. His descriptions of the mental phenomena are clear and precise, and his reasonings perspicuous and sound. He never seeks to surprise us by the ingenuity, or to startle us by the novelty of his doctrines; but he directs all his force against the most prominent difficulties of his subject, and never quits his position till the reader is intrenched in its strongholds. The style of the work merits equal praise. It is simple and unambitious, without being devoid of ornament or power; and on those occasions especially when the author touches on the great questions of faith and hope, it rises into an eloquence which never fails to reach the heart. The manner, indeed, in which he points out the practical application of his subject to the interesting topics of education, morality, and religion, gives a charm to this volume, which we look for in vain in similar works. The doctrines of the Christian faith are never unnecessarily obtruded upon the reader's attention, but are always referred to as truths which challenge the most rigid scrutiny, and are secure of the best reception when they are examined by minds the best regulated and possessed of the highest powers.-On these grounds, we consider Dr. ABERCROMBIE'S volume equally useful to the young men of all professions, and as a work which may be perused with advantage even by those who have discovered the last and the most precious application of all our knowledge."-Quarterly Review.
"The whole is executed with great ability, and in a manner corresponding to the latest improvements of the science. We entertain no doubt of its becoming a popular book. And we can assure our fair readers, if any such have honoured us with perusal, that, under such a master, even they may now study metaphysics without danger of incurring what has been esteemed "the odious epithet" of bas-bleu. The whole is well digested and easily apprehended, requiring, in general, no dangerous knittings of the brow."-Presbyterian Review.
"Among Christian physicians, we are happy to class the author of the volume before us; who, after the publication of various important works in medicine, which have been received with much applause by the physicians of the Continent as well as of this country, has turned his attention to metaphysical subjects, and to inquiries into the intellectual powers. He does not, like too many metaphysical writers, spend much of his work on disputed topics, or in supporting any particular theory of morals; but stating what appears to him to be legitimate deductions from acknowledged facts, he has succeeded in giving a perspicuous summary of what Dr. Chalmers, in his lectures, calls the orthodox system of moral philosophy, or that which is admitted by Mr. Stewart, and the best writers of his school. This work supplies, in metaphysical and moral science, what the progress and accumulation of discovery had rendered a desideratum in most of the departments of knowledge."-Christian Instructor.
Abercrombie on the Intellectual Powers.
"Now this is precisely the good office which, in our estimation, Dr. A. has actually rendered to the disciples of that science of which he is himself so distinguished an ornament. In the very moderate compass of one volume, he has placed within the reach of the student as much sound metaphysical lore as any human being need give a rush to possess, unless he aspires to very high distinction in that peculiar line of investigation. He has divested his researches of all the frivolous trumpery in which the philosophers of former days were often in the habit of disguising their ambitious poverty. He has shown that, in this, as in other sciences, the grand object is to establish the universality of facts, and that science is successful and triumphant in proportion as she approximates to the accomplishment of this object. And, lastly, what is above all praise, he has exhibited philosophy as the handmaid of religion; and has made it manifest that all the rays of knowledge naturally converge towards that one point in which is situated the throne of eternal and heavenly truth. All this he has done with a degree of mastery which shows the amplitude of his resources; and, at the same time, with that simplicity and modesty which are among the most engaging attributes of every superior mind. He professes not to offer any thing which has a claim to novelty or originality. His avowed object is merely to direct the inquiries of the student "on a subject of great and general interest," and of peculiar importance to the inquirer, namely, the philosophy of mind; and, without formally assuming the character of a moral or religious lecturer, he has made his work auxiliary to the most sacred and majestic of all sciences. He has made it clear that sound metaphysical philosophy is not a knowledge which puffeth up: that, on the contrary, its legitimate tendency is to chastise the arrogance of human wisdom, and to conduct us to that wisdom which is from above, and which is pure, and peaceable, and rich in all the fruits which can strengthen up the soul into eternal life. But our limits admonish us that we must break off our converse with this candid, sagacious, and benevolent inquirer. We cannot, however, take leave of his work without expressing our reverence for the motives which prompted him to undertake it, and our admiration for the powers which have so nobly redeemed from loss and waste the fragments of time spared him from most extensive practice."-British Critic.
"Dr. ABERCROMBIE is already known to the public as a gentleman of the first eminence in his profession. The work before us proves him to possess an independent, vigorous, and practical mind, thoroughly conversant with the subjects it discusses, that enters ex animo into the spirit of inductive philosophy, and withal is deeply imbued with Christian piety. It is a volume calculated to render essential service to intellectual, medical, and theological science, and we have risen from the perusal of it with an earnest wish that it may find its way into the hands of every thinking man in the empire, be he a believer or an infidel. It abounds with interesting statement and powerful reasoning; and we confidently recommend it to our readers as a publication of no ordinary value-Dublin Christian Examiner.
".... It cannot be disseminated too widely in a nation eager for knowledge, keen in inquiry to a proverb, and accustomed to think no matters too high for scrutiny, no authority too venerable for question.”—Church
JOHN ABERCROMBIE, M. D. F.R.S. E.
AUTHOR OF INQUIRIES CONCERNING THE INTELLECTUAL
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. & J. HARPER,
NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,
AND SOLD BY THE BOOKSELLERS GENERALLY THROUGHOUT
IN a former work, the author endeavoured to delineate, in a simple and popular form, the leading facts relating to the Intellectual Powers, and to trace the principles which ought to guide us in the Investigation of Truth. The volume which he now offers to the public attention is intended as a sequel to these Inquiries; and his object in it is to investigate, in the same unpretending manner, the Moral Feelings of the Human Mind, and the principles which ought to regulate our volitions and our conduct as moral and responsible beings. The two branches of investigation are, in many respects, closely connected; and, on this account, it may often happen that, in the present work, principles are assumed as admitted or proved, which in the former were stated at length, with the evidence by which they are supported.
[* No. XXXVII of the Family Library.]