« PoprzedniaDalej »
the natives; the preservation of Mofes; the journeyings of the fugitives, their fettlement in Canaan, and fubiequent abhorrence of idolatry, are preserved by very ancient authors. Egyptian, Phænician, Greek, and Roman writers, relate traditions respecting the original formation of the world from rude shapeless matter; the fabbatical inttitution; a state of original innocence, and of wilfully incurred depravity; the inititution of facrifice, a rite which human invention never could have combined with the pardon of fin, but which is general in almost all nations ; the exiftence of an evil spirit; an expected Saviour; the great age of the patriarchs ; ten generations before the deluge ; eight persons preserved in the ark, and the general dispersion of mankind. Whoever can believe that such a correspondent detail of tacts could be accidentally inserted by authors living in ages and countries widely dissevered, without being derived from one general tradition, need not urge want of credulity as a reason for rejecting Mofaical teltimony.
“ The fulfilment of prophecies is another proof of the divine inspiration of the Old Testament; and I would entreat you to give particular attention to the writings of the learned on this interesting subject, where you will find proofs of the literal accomplidhment of prophecies which were certainly delivered many hundred years before. Princes are pointed out by name, as Josiah and Cyrus, who, some generations before their birth, were appointed to overthrow idolatry, and to restore the Jewish Church. Cities are devoted to deitruction, which at the period of the prophets' inspiration were flourishing in the highest style of Afiatic grandeur. Could mere human prescience have taught Ilaiah, that Babylon should ihine with a splendor unknown in the annals of former times, and then became a noisome pool, a dangerous morals, the haunt of wild beasts and venomous reptiles ? In his days it was the capital of a small state, and firft known to the Jews by ambala fadors' which its monarch fent to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery from fickness.
" Could Ecekiel have foreseen, without fupernatural aid, that the flourishing city of Tyre, which in his time contained in her harbours the riches of the then known world, should be overwhelmed by a mighty conqueror, whom, from his celebrity and extended triumphs, he calls by the name of the terrible subduer of his native land? Could he, uninspired, have related the very circumstances of the siege by which Alexander afterwards subdued that famous city, or the succeeding calamities which tould reduce the proud mistress of the sea, whose merchants lat ainong princes, to a barren beach, on which, at this time, a few neceflitous filermen continue to build their miserable huts, and to spread their nets to the sun ?
“ Daniel was a capiive among the Chaldeans; and during the early part of Nebuchadnezzar's victorious reign, 110 feeds of diffolution appeared in his extensive empire. Yet that was the period in which the prophet disclosed to the King the succession of three other monarchies. The Persians, the immediate followers of the Assyrians, were a people then scarcely known ; but the holy leer extended his views to the illes of the Gentiles, as Greece was then termed; and foresaw not only the conflicts between Alexander and Darius, but the wars of his successors, the rise of Roman greatness, and events which evidently extend to the end of time. Could this man, though proverbially endowed with wildom, discover these remote contingencies by mere political fagacity ?"
We beg to call the reader's attention to another quotation (pp. 22-6.) in which an important argument is well handled, and its energics prefled home.
“ If Mofes was a mere human legislator, how comes it that his institutions are ftill obeyed ? He flourished many ages before Lycurgus, Solon, or Numa, who were esteemed the wiselt of mankind in the ages in which they respectively lived; and they travelled to remote regions, to form a body of laws that thould combine every possible advantage which collective wisdom could beflow. These laws were loleinnly impoled, and received with reverence; and the nations for whom they. were designed grew powerful and renowned under the influence of those inftitu. tions.
56 Yet of these nations, history, my dear child, is now the only repository. No people, no body of men, not even a few exiles, are influenced by what a god. dess whispered to Numa in the Egerian grot,' or by what Lycurgus from his own perpetual exile bound his countrymen to obey.
• The present inhabitants of Greece boast a descent from that ingenious race who were so renowned in arts and arms. After the conquest of their country by the Romans, they became a province subject to that martial people, and governed by the same rulers; they were afterwards separated from it, and honoured with the feat of independent empire. In the fifteenth century they were subdued by the Turks, to whoin they have fince continued subject. We read of no migrations ar. bitrarily impoled by their conquerors; they remain in the land of their fathers; and neither the Roman nor the Turk changed the laws of the nations whom they enflaved, except by seizing the sovereign authority. The manners of these people are strongly marked by the peculiarities which distinguish their ancestors; and even their flexile forms and elegant features announce them to be the same individual race from which ancient artists sketched these models of grace and beauty which you have heard so highly extolled. Yet, though living upon the same spot, and pre. serving the fame manners, they retain no recollection of the laws and polity of their ancestors : while the Jews have continued a distinct unmixed people ; and, though they have been driven into every nation under heaven, and cruelly treated in all, they continue to be governed by their own law; they preserve their own customs; and they niultiply (at least they do not diminish) under the unprecedented calamities and perfecutions that have pursued them, not for a short period, but for above seventeen hundred years. The Assyrians and the Romans have either perished from the face of the earth, or they have been blended in the general mass of human kinde The Persians and the Greeks have changed their religion and their laws; but an obscure people, who inhabited a fmall tract of country, have preserved their sacred inftitutions, and the writings in which they are contained, uncorrupted and unaltered, for above three thousand years. Let fcepticism account for this astonishing circumstance by any other means than by the peculiar Providence and will of Godt, or by the strong impreffion which the miracles attending the firit promulgation of the law, and the wonderful events of their fubfequent history, have made upon thie minds of the people."
We must gratify ourselves with giving another passage in this Number of our Magazine ; in the concluding sentence of which, we know not which to admire moft--the modeity in which it is conceived, or the piety which distinguishes it.
• And may we not ask, would they in early times have submitted to such bur, densome ceremonies, unless they had been convinced, that their lawgiver was authorized by a divine command to impose them? The existence of those ceremonies authenticates the antiquity of the books in which they are enjoined ; while the na. ture of them proves their divine origin. I need not infilt upon the excellency of the moral law, which is acknowledged as far to exceed the purest diétates of hea. then wildom, as the holiness of the Gospel tranfcends that which is required by the preparatory difpenfation. In that view the Mofaical law should be principally considered. It was given in a dark ignorant period ; and its primary intentions were to preserve a chosen people from the reductions of idolatry, and to make them, throúgh their knowledgt of the true God, depofitaries of his promises for the future regeneration of the world. This idea explains the meaning of those facrifices for fin which were continually enjoined, and which were calculated to impress on the minds of those who offered them a consciousness of offence, and of the neceffity of fome atonement. The reason of many of the prohibitory statutes cannot be clearly ascertained at this distance of time; but, as we gain a clearer light into the anti
quities of eastern nations, we may very probably discern the propriety of what we now deem strange. Mr. Bryant* has accounted for one extraordinary injunction, 6. Thou thalt not seethe a calf in its mother's milk.' He ascertains that veal, boiled in milk, was a favourite dish served up to the worshippers of the Syrian idols; and that, by restricting the Jews from the use of it, the Almighty gave them a protection against the allurements of idolatry, which he who knew the tendency of human appetites could alone fuggeft. A change of garments between the sexes is also forbidden, and for a funilar reason : a promiscuous change of apparel preceded the shameful rites which were performed in the temples of those impure deities whose love-cales infected Sion's daughters.'
“ I have heard both these injunctions pointed out as arguments that the Deity could not have propounded a law to mankind which contained such senseless trivial restraints ; and iince I have seen the reason of them explained by the learned gentleman whom I have just mentioned, I have bowed with lowly reverence to that Wisdom which could delcend to regulate those minutiæ of manners that have such a powerful influence upon conduct; and, by forbidding customs which might lead to evil, could thus ftrike at the germ of wickedness."
(To be continued.)
Diatessaron, feu Integra Historia Domini noftri Jesu Christi, Latinè, ex qua
tuor evangeliis inter se collatis, ipfisque evangelifiarum verbis apte et ordinate difpofitis confeita. E verfione præcipue Castellionis caftigata et emendata : cui præfiguntur Tabula Palestina Geographica, necnon ordo rerum. In ufum fiholarum. Opera & ftudio T. ThirLWALL, A. Al. T is a fa&t but too well known, by those who are conversant with the
books now published for the use of children, that the enemies of our happy form of government and the revilers of our holy faith make these publications, but too frequently, the vehicle to convey their poisonous doctrines into the youthful mind, at a time when it is incapable of dete&ting specious fallacy from unfophisticated truth. By arrogating for children a premature use of their reason on points which exceed their limited comprehensions, they first ensnare their affections, (for the human mind we see naturally to affect independence) and then by their artful infinuations encourage a spirit of petulance, contradiction and doubting: For, reason being constituted the fole arbitress of truth, or falfhood, whatever the cannot comprehend the peremptorily decides to be false. And as these pretended friends to the rising generation take care to introduce subjects on which the reason of children is incompetent fully to decide, the difficulty of discovering, is with them a fufhicient ground for the rejection of truth: and many a youth has been thus made to disregard and overlook certain sound principles both of faith and moral conduct, which, until his judgment be matured, and capable of discriminating truth from error; he ought implicitly to have adopted on the authority of his parents and ancestors. But it is to be observed, that these advocates for free discussion, and the unbiassed use of reason, while they ridicule an adherence to the faith of our anceftors as bigotry, and arrogate for the youthful mind a claim to judge for itself, unthackled by the prejudices of parents and tutors; themselves encroach upon this freedom for which they so stickle, enforce their own arguments, and obtrude their pernicious principles in every possible way, while they refuse the unhappy object of their infidious wiles the privilege of procuring an antidote to the poison.
* In his Treatise on the Authenticity of Scripture. Vol. Ill. Churcbm. Mag. Nov. 1802. Qa
In such circumstances as these, too much praise cannot be given to those who endeavour to refer the mind, at a time when it is best capapable of receiving them, to found principles, even to those holy scriptures, “which are able to make men wise unto salvation. It was a commendation bestowed upon Timothy, that from a child he had known the scriptures: and it is much to be withed, that the Bible were made, more than it is, the subject of instruction in schools. We are not ad. vocates with Bishop Burnet and Dr. Watts for the exclusion of the clas. fics in schools, and for the acquirement of the learned languages by means of books on religious subjects alone; but we think it highly necessary that that book which is to be our guide through life, and the foundation of our hopes in death, should form a constant portion of the studies allotted to a school-boy, and for one or two days in the week be, as it were, the text-book of his instructions.
To this very desirable object, the making the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures more general throughout schools, Mr. Thirlwall, in the present publication has very largely contributed. He has made a valuable present to the instructors of youth, by affording them a lecture-book, which at the same time that it will ground ihose committed to their care in the language, will relieve the tedium which generally accompanies the first acquisition of an unknown tongue, by the connexion and high interest of the story: and, what is more important, will instil into them those principles which alone will make them happy here and here. after.
As Professor White's Diatessaron was given to the world before we began our career as Reviewers, .it will not be expected of us that we fhonld now enter into a critical examination of that work. It would, indeed, be a superfluous talk, since the general voice of the learned world has already decided on its merits, by a reiterated call for a new edition.We do not however, fcruple to say, that in some instances, Mr. Thirlwall has improved upon the professor's work by the insertion of several passages which render the narrative more complete.
Great attention has been paid to the purity of the text, and Mr. T. has - resorted to Beza, Tremellius, the Vulgate, and others, for legi. “ timate and appropriate renderings;" where the version of Caftellio appeared less correct; we will mention only one instance. In the 22d of St. Luke, v. 15; Castellio has “ Hujus vobiscum pollucendi Pafchæ “ cupiditate ductus fum, &c.” Now, "pollucere” is the appropriate word for the participation of a feast on an idol sacrifice. And for this word, which Castellio has retained throughout the chapter, Mr. T. has substituted “ manducare” with its proper inflexions: and this alteration is the more judicious, as St. Luke in the very text cited bas Payer. The characteristic of Castellio's style is a strict adherence to clasical idiom : and this he has indulged in, even to affectation. And as he wrote his version after Beza, he seems to have shewn too great an anxiety for a variety of phraseology. The consequence has been that his fastidious rejection of ecclefiaftical words, has not unfrequently affected doctrinal passages of great moment. In all such cases Mr. T. seems to have exerciled the prerogative of an editor, with becoming fpirit and just discrimination. And he would probably have made more alterations in Castellio's version, even in less material places, but for the circumstance
that this publication is intended "in usum scholarum,” and consequently a copia verborum, must be a desirable object.
To this edition Mr. T. has prefixed a very good map, very fuperior to that in the Greek Diatessaron: it is more full, and executed in a neater manner. Indeed Mr. T. seems greatly to have consulted both neatness and cheapness in this work: it is very clearly and correctly printed, and the insertion of the “ Locus & Tempus” at the head of a chapter, instead of appropriating a margin for them, has considerably reduced the price, and made the book more easy to be introduced into schools.
It happens to come within our knowledge that the very learned profeffor has expressed his approbation of Mr. Thirlwall's plan, which was early communicated to him. Indeed we think it must meet with ge. neral approbation, and doubt not but it will be readily adopted by those schools, where due regard is paid to the acquirement of religious and moral principles, as well as of the learned languages. For, to use Mr. Thirlwall's words, “ If it be a primary duty we owe to the rising gene. ration, to fow the feeds of piety and virtue in their infancy, to imbue th tender minds with sacred knowledge, and initiate them in " the things concerning the kingdom of God;" the high Priest of our Salvation, and Exemplar of perfect righteousness, 'cannot be held up to their view at too early a period, for the object of their faith and imi. tation.” And," he surely renders an important service to the cause of religion, who exhibits the portrait of the Divine Original, in the most agreeable light, and by a just and pleasing representation, adds to it new charms, and captivates the young reader with the “ beauty of holiness.”
A Sermon for the first Day of June, 1802, being the Day appointed for a
general Thanksgiving for Peace, by R. Potter, A. M. Vicar of Lowestoffe
and Kelingland, and Prebendary of Norwich. Longman and Rees. IN this sermon, which was written, though not delivered, by the ve
nerable Translator of the Greek Tragedians, who has now completed his gift year, there is more originality than is generally to be met with in sermons on similar occasions. In the iheoretical part of it there is something perhaps, to which, on a minute investigation, we might find occasion to object. Without staying to debate, however, whether the principle of self-love may not, in some sense, be at the bottom even of our virtues, we do not hesitate to say, that, the sentiments here brought forward, which are of the most manly and dignified kind, are illustrated by a liveliness of imagery, and expressed in an energy of language, by no means unworthy of a veteran proficient in classic lore. The philanthropy, which it is the laudable object of the sermon to recommend, is such as can be derived only from a fiill higher source. We give the following passage as a specimen.
“ The benevolent affection is pleasing to the human mind, even in its exertion ; and gives it an an additional pleasure, arising from the agreeable effects, which it produces. For the happiness of others is as delightful to the heart, as the verdure and blossoms of the spring are to the eye, or the concord of sweet tounds to the ear. The sense of this pleasure, adds a yet higher perfection to the mind, gives a new spirit to our benevolence, and awakens into action every generous feeling of the foul. Hence follows that sweet peace, which ever resides in the bolons of the good,