Obrazy na stronie

the natives; the prefervation of Mofes; the journeyings of the fugitives, their fettlement in Canaan, and fubfequent abhorrence of idolatry, are preferved by very ancient authors. Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, and Roman writers, relate traditions refpecting the original formation of the world from rude fhapeless matter; the fabbatical institution; a ftate of original innocence, and of wilfully incurred depravity; the inflitution 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 existence of an evil fpirit; an expected Saviour; the great age of the patriarchs; ten generations before the deluge; eight perfons preferved in the ark, and the general difperfion of mankind. Whoever can believe that fuch a correfpondent detail of facts could be accidentally inferted by authors living in ages and countries widely diffevered, without being derived from one general tradition, need not urge want of credulity as a reafon for rejecting Mofaical teltimony.

"The fulfilment of prophecies is another proof of the divine infpiration of the Old Teftament; and I would entreat you to give particular attention to the writings of the learned on this interefting fubject, where you will find proofs of the literal accomplishment of prophecies which were certainly delivered many hundred years before. Princes are pointed out by name, as Jofiah and Cyrus, who, fome generations before their birth, were appointed to overthrow idolatry, and to restore the Jewish Church. Cities are devoted to deftruction, which at the period of the prophets' inspiration were flourishing in the highelt ftyle of Afiatic grandeur. Could mere human prefcience have taught Ifaiah, that Babylon fhould Thine with a fplendor unknown in the annals of former times, and then became a noifome pool, a dangerous morafs, the haunt of wild beats and venomous reptiles? In his days it was the capital of a small state, and first known to the Jews by ambaffadors which its monarch fent to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery from fickness.

"Could Ezekiel have forefeen, without fupernatural aid, that the flourishing city of Tyre, which in his time contained in her harbours the riches of the then known world, fhould be overwhelmed by a mighty conqueror, whom, from his celebrity and extended triumphs, he calls by the name of the terrible fubduer of his native land? Could he, uninfpired, have related the very circumftances of the fiege by which Alexander afterwards fubdued that famous city, or the fucceeding calamities which should reduce the proud miftrefs of the fea, whofe merchants fat among princes, to a barren beach, on which, at this time, a few neceffitous fishermen continue to build their miferable huts, and to fpread their nets to the fun?

"Daniel was a captive among the Chaldeans; and during the early part of Nebuchadnezzar's victorious reign, no feeds of diflolution appeared in his extensive empire. Yet that was the period in which the prophet difclofed to the King the fucceffion of three other monarchies. The Perfians, the immediate followers of the Affyrians, were a people then fcarcely known; but the holy feer extended his views to the idles of the Gentiles, as Greece was then termed; and forefaw not only the conflicts between Alexander and Darius, but the wars of his fucceffors, the rife of Roman greatnefs, and events which evidently extend to the end of time. Could this man, though proverbially endowed with wildom, difcover 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 energies preffed home.

"If Mofes was a mere human legislator, how comes it that his inftitutions are ftill obeyed? He flourished many ages before Lycurgus, Solon, or Numa, who were elteemed the wifeft of mankind in the ages in which they refpectively lived; and they travelled to remote regions, to form a body of laws that fhould combine every poffible advantage which collective wildom could beflow. Thefe laws were folemnly impofed, and received with reverence; and the nations for whom they


were defigned grew powerful and renowned under the influence of thofe inftitu


"Yet of thefe nations, hiftory, my dear child, is now the only repofitory. No people, no bedy of men, not even a few exiles, are influenced by what a goddefs whispered to Numa in the Egerian grot,' or by what Lycurgus from his own perpetual exile bound his countrymen to obey.

The prefent inhabitants of Greece boaft a defcent from that ingenious race who were fo renowned in arts and arms. After the conqueft of their country by the Romans, they became a province fubject to that martial people, and governed by the fame rulers; they were afterwards feparated from it, and honoured with the feat of independent empire. In the fifteenth century they were fubdued by the Turks, to whom they have fince continued fubject. We read of no migrations arbitrarily impofed 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 feizing the fovereign authority. The manners of these people are ftrongly marked by the peculiarities which diftinguish their ancestors; and even their flexile forms and elegant features announce them to be the fame individual race from which ancient artifts sketched thefe models of grace and beauty which you have heard fo highly extolled. Yet, though living upon the fame fpot, and preferving the fame manners, they retain no recollection of the laws and polity of their ancestors: while the Jews have continued a diftin&t 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 preferve their own customs; and they multiply (at least they do not diminish) under the unprecedented calamities and perfecutions that have purfued them, not for a fhort period, but for above feventeen hundred years. The Affyrians and the Romans have either perifhed from the face of the earth, or they have been blended in the general mafs of human kind, The Perfians and the Greeks have changed their religion and their laws; but an obfcure people, who inhabited a mall tract of country, have preferved their facred inftitutions, and the writings in which they are contained, uncorrupted and unaltered, for above three thousand years. Let fcepticism account for this aftonishing circumftance by any other means than by the peculiar Providence and will of God; or by the strong impreffion which the miracles attending the first promulgation of the law, and the wonderful events of their fubfequent hiftory, have made upon the minds of the people."

We must gratify ourselves with giving another paffage in this Number of our Magazine; in the concluding fentence of which, we know not which to admire moft--the modefty in which it is conceived, or the piety which diftinguishes it.

"And may we not afk, would they in early times have fubmitted to fuch bur, denfome 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 infift upon the excellency of the moral law, which is acknowledged as far to exceed the pureft dictates of heathen wildom, as the holiness of the Gofpel tranfcends that which is required by the preparatory difpenfation. In that view the Mofaical law fhould be principally confidered. It was given in a dark ignorant period; and its primary intentions were to preferve a chofen people from the feductions of idolatry, and to make them, through their knowledge of the true God, depofitaries of his promiles for the future regeneration of the world. This idea explains the meaning of thofe facrifices for fin which were continually enjoined, and which were calculated to imprefs on the minds of thofe who offered them a confcioufnefs of offence, and of the neceffity of fome atonement. The reafon of many of the prohibitory ftatutes cannot be clearly afcertained at this distance of time, but, as we gain a clearer light into the anti


[ocr errors]

quities of eastern nations, we may very probably difcern the propriety of what we now deem ftrange. Mr. Bryant has accounted for one extraordinary injunction, Thou shalt not feethe a calf in its mother's milk.' He afcertains that veal, boiled in milk, was a favourite dish ferved up to the worshippers of the Syrian idols ; and that, by restricting the Jews from the ufe 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 fexes is alfo forbidden, and for a fimilar reafon : a promifcuous change of apparel preceded the fhameful rites which were performed in the temples of thofe impure deities whofe love-tales 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 fuch fenseless trivial reftraints; and iince I have feen the reafon of them explained by the learned gentleman whom I have juft mentioned, I have bowed with lowly reverence to that Wifdom which could defcend to regulate thofe minutiae of manners that have fuch a powerful influence upon conduct; and, by forbidding cuftoms which might lead to evil, could thus ftrike at the germ of wickedness."

(To be continued.)

Diate faron, feu Integra Hiftoria Domini noftri Jefu Chrifti, Latinè, ex quatuor evangeliis inter fe collatis, ipfifque evangelifiarum verbis apte et ordinate difpofitis confecta. E verfione præcipue Caftellionis caftigata et emendata: cui præfiguntur Tabula Palaeftina Geographica, necnon ordo rerum. ufum fcholarum. Opera & ftudio T. THIRLWALL, A. M.



is a fact but too well known, by thofe who are converfant 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 detecting fpecious fallacy from unfophifticated truth. By arrogating for children a premature ufe of their reafon on points which exceed their limited comprehenfions, they firft enfnare their affections, (for the human mind we fee naturally to affect independence) and then by their artful infinuations encourage a fpirit of petulance, contradiction and doubting: For, reafon being conftituted the fole arbitress of truth, or falfhood, whatever the cannot comprehend the peremptorily decides to be falfe. And as thefe pretended friends to the rifing generation take care to introduce fubjects on which the reafon of children is incompetent fully to decide, the difficulty of difcovering, is with them a fufficient ground for the rejection of truth: and many a youth has been thus made to difregard and overlook certain found principles both of faith and moral conduct, which, until his judgment be matured, and capable of difcriminating truth from error; he ought implicitly to have adopted on the authority of his parents and ancestors. But it is to be obferved, that these advocates for free difcuffion, and the unbiaffed ufe of reafon, 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, unfhackled by the prejudices of parents and tutors; themselves encroach upon this freedom for which they fo fickle, enforce their own arguments, and obtrude their pernicious principles in every poffible way, while they refufe the unhappy object of their infidious wiles the privilege of procuring an antidote to the poifon.

* In his Treatife on the Authenticity of Scripture. Vol. III. Churcbm. Mag. Nov. 1802. Q ૧

[ocr errors]

In fuch circumftances as thefe, too much praife cannot be given to those who endeavour to refer the mind, at a time when it is beft capapable of receiving them, to found principles, even to thofe holy fcriptures, "which are able to make men wife unto falvation." It was a commendation beftowed upon Timothy, that from a child he had known the fcriptures: and it is much to be wifhed, that the Bible were made, more than it is, the fubject of inftruction in schools. We are not advocates with Bishop Burnet and Dr. Watts for the exclufion of the clasfics in fchools, and for the acquirement of the learned languages by means of books on religious fubjects alone; but we think it highly neceffary that that book which is to be our guide through life, and the foundation of our hopes in death, should form a conftant portion of the ftudies 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 fchools, Mr. Thirlwall, in the prefent publication has very largely contributed. He has made a valuable prefent to the inftructors of youth, by affording them a lecture-book, which at the fame time that it will ground thofe committed to their care in the language, will relieve the tedium which generally accompanies the firft acquifition of an unknown tongue, by the connexion and high intereft of the ftory: and, what is more important, will inftil into them thofe principles which alone will make them happy here and hereafter.

As Profeffor White's Diateffaron was given to the world before we began our career as Reviewers, it will not be expected of us that we should now enter into a critical examination of that work. It would, indeed, be a fuperfluous tafk, fince 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 fay, that in fome inftances, Mr. Thirlwall has improved upon the profeffor's work by the infertion of several paffages which render the narrative more complete.

Great attention has been paid to the purity of the text, and Mr. T. has "reforted to Beza, Treinellius, the Vulgate, and others, for legi "timate and appropriate renderings;" where the verfion of Caftellio appeared lefs correct; we will mention only one inftance. In the 22d of St. Luke, v. 15; Caftellio has "Hujus vobifcum pollucendi Pafchæ "cupiditate ductus fum, &c." Now, "pollucere" is the appropriate word for the participation of a feast on an idol facrifice. And for this word, which Caftellio has retained throughout the chapter, Mr. T. has fubftituted "manducare" with its proper inflexions: and this alteration is the more judicious, as St. Luke in the very text cited has pays. The characteristic of Caftellio's ftyle is a ftrict adherence to claffical idiom: and this he has indulged in, even to affectation. And as he wrote his verfion after Beza, he feems to have fhewn too great an anxiety for a variety of phrafeology. The confequence has been that his faftidious rejection of ecclefiaftical words, has not unfrequently affected doctrinal paffages of great moment. In all fuch cafes Mr. T. feems to have ex. ercifed the prerogative of an editor, with becoming fpirit and juft difcrimination. And he would probably have made more alterations in Caftellio's verfion, even in lefs material places, but for the circumftance


that this publication is intended "in ufum fcholarum," and confequently a copia verborum, must be a defirable object.

To this edition Mr. T. has prefixed a very good map, very fuperior to that in the Greek Diateffaron: it is more full, and executed in a neater manner. Indeed Mr. T. feems greatly to have confulted both neatness and cheapnefs in this work: it is very clearly and correctly printed, and the infertion of the "Locus & Tempus" at the head of a chapter, inftead of appropriating a margin for them, has confiderably 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 expreffed his approbation of Mr. Thirlwall's plan, which was early communicated to him. Indeed we think it must meet with general approbation, and doubt not but it will be readily adopted by those fchools, 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 rifing generation, to fow the feeds of piety and virtue in their infancy, to imbue their tender minds with facred knowledge, and initiate them in "the things concerning the kingdom of God;" the high Prieft of our Salvation, and Exemplar of perfect righteoufnefs, cannot be held up to their view at too early a period, for the object of their faith and imitation." And, "he furely renders an important fervice to the cause of religion, who exhibits the portrait of the Divine Original, in the most agreeable light, and by a juft and pleafing reprefentation, adds to it new charms, and captivates the young reader with the "beauty of holinefs."

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 Keffingland, and Prebendary of Norwich. Longman and Rees.

IN this fermon, which was written, though not delivered, by the venerable Translator of the Greek Tragedians, who has now completed his 8ift year, there is more originality than is generally to be met with in fermons on fimilar occafions. In the theoretical part of it there is fomething perhaps, to which, on a minute inveftigation, we might find occafion to object. Without ftaying to debate, however, whether the principle of felf-love may not, in fome fense, be at the bottom even of our virtues, we do not hesitate to fay, that, the fentiments here brought forward, which are of the moft manly and dignified kind, are illuftrated by a livelinefs of imagery, and expreffed in an energy of language, by no means unworthy of a veteran proficient in claffic lore. The philanthropy, which it is the laudable object of the fermon to recommend, is fuch as can be derived only from a ftill higher fource. We give the following paffage as a specimen.

"The benevolent affection is pleafing to the human mind, even in its exertion; and gives it an an additional pleafure, arifing from the agreeable effects, which it produces. For the happiness of others is as delightful to the heart, as the verdure and bloffoms of the fpring are to the eye, or the concord of fweet founds to the ear. The sense of this pleasure, adds a yet higher perfection to the mind, gives a new fpirit to our benevolence, and awakens into action every generous feeling of the foul. Hence follows that fweet peace, which ever refides in the bofoms of the good,

Q ૧ 2


« PoprzedniaDalej »