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great calamities the same country to which he rendered the most important and signal services.
Upon the whole, this work is entertaining and inftru&tive, notwithstanding its defects. If the Author would correct ttul farther the petulance of his tone, and be less wanton in the use, or rather abuse, of metaphors, he would turn out a much beta ter and more agreeable writer than we can pronounce him to be at present.
A Bt. VI, Pbædri Augufti Lib. Fabularum, &c. i.e. The Fables of Phaedrus,
in Five Books, with Notes and Supplements, by the Abbé Broe TIER. Paris, from the elegant Press o: Barbou 178;. !2mo. 350 Pages, with Head-pieces, engraven by Feffard, Price ó Livies, bound and Gilt. REAT is the typographical merit of this beautiful Edition
of the excellent Roman Fabulilt: but the merit it has acquired by passing through the hands of that learned and truly classical critic, the Abbé BROTIER, Member of the Roya! Academy of Inscriptions, is what will principally recommend it to men of true taste in Latin literature. In his editions of Tacitus and Pliny, we have already specimens of the abilities of the Abbé Brotier; and he informs us in a Preface, prefixed to the present publication, of the affistance with which he has been furnished, and which encouraged him to undertake it.The manuscript, from which the first edition of Phædrus was printed, was communicated to him by its proprietor M. le Peletier de Rofanbo, President of the Parliament of Paris. This manuscript, which is goo years old, was discovered in Lorrain by the Jesuit Sirmond, from whom it passed into the hands of P. Pithow, by whom it was first published. The Abbé Deaunays, Librarian to the King of France, communicated alio to our Editor the various readings which Dom Vincent, a Benedictine munk of the congregation of St. Maur, had copied from an ancient MS. which was in the library of Rheims, and was con: sumed by the Aames which destroyed that whole collection in the year 1774. By these aids, as also by consulting cartfully the best printed editions of Phædrus, of which there is a litt at the end of this volume, M. BRUTIER has been enabled to arrange the five books of Fabies in a better order, to correct a considerable number of faults in each, and to give a purer and more correct text of Phædrus than has hither to appeared, and which will undoubtedly be followed in all future editions of the Roman Favulift.
The Notes which accompany this edition, are clear, elegant, and instructive, without any oitentatious accumulation of that
infipid and barren erudition, with which the classic writers were swathed and disfigured in the editions of the Burmans, and their pedantic fraternity. Criticism is now coming back to nature, taste, philosophy, and good sense, from which she had so long played the truant, and was of consequence reduced to live upon the husks and pods of erudition. Our Abbé, befides Notes, has furnished Supplements to complete the fables which have been mutilated in their passage through the ruins of barbarism to modern times. This we think as bold an undertaking as that of many a modern sculptor, who has furnished a toe, or a foot, nay, even a supplemental nose, to an ancient ftatue; and in both cases the boldness is proportionable to the parts or part that is to be restored. However, we think he has succeed. ed here still better than in his Supplements to Tacitus, though justly esteemed, and that the elegant fimplicity, and the sedate amenity of Phaedrus, are well taken offOur Abbé has added to this edition such fables of La Fontaine, as are imitations of the Latin poet, not with a view to compare the two Fabulists together, but to exhibit, in their union, all the perfection of that branch of poetry which they so happily cultivated. For, says our Author, they had each their peculiar and original character of p rfection. Nothing can be added to the one; nothing can be retrenched from the other : these two circumstances exhibit the true and infallible rules of genuine beauty, and therefore render the two Fabulifts a perfect model. In order to give farther examples and models of this kind of composition, the Abbé Brotier has subjoined also to this edition some of the most celebrated fables of antiquity, of which La Fontaine has dextrously availed himself; such as, the Country and City Mouse and the Weasel, from Horace-the Lark and her little ones, from Æfop-the Members and the Stomach, from Livy--the Wolves and the Sheep, from Demosthenes—the Head and Tail of the Serpent, from Plutarch—and the Scythian Philosopher, by HerodAtticus.
ART. VII. Traité de la Verité de la Religion Chretienne, &c. i. e. A Treatise con.
cerning the Truh of the Chrittian Religion. Vols. VIII. and IX. containing the trgument, drawn from the Manner in which thar Religion was propagated and established in the World. By the Reverend Dr. J. VERNET, Professor of Divinity at Geneva. 8vo, Lausanne. 1782. T is now near fifty years since the preceding volumes of this
Work were first published by the very respectable and learned Author. These seven volumes, which contain a defence of the Christian religion, on a liberal and comprehensive plan, display.
the united merit of copious erudision, candid fimplicity, accu: sale judgment, and strong good sense. It is a work which the scholar will always read with pleasure, and which the unlearn. ed, with a proper degree of attention, will eafily understand. In short, it is one of those productions, in which the fair and natural form of unadorned truth must excite conviction in the candid enquirer, and prove an effectual preservative against the sophiftry of infidelity, which dazzles only to end in darkness, The former part of this work was divided into eight books. In the first, from an ample historical view of the ignorance and error in matters of religion, that reigned even among the most civilized nasions before the Christian æra, and a varicty of reflexions which this phenomenon suggests, the Author conclud. ed, that human reason ftood in need of the aid and direction of a divine revelation. In the second, he pointed out the diftin&ive characters of a true revelation, and the degree of evidence with which it ought to be accompanied. From hence be proceeded, in the succeeding books, to exhibit the various proofs that ascertain the divine origin of the Jewish and Christian revelations. After having established the iruth of the former, he entered into an ample detail of all the internal and external evidence that supports the latter. He displayed the beauty and excellence of the Christian religion, considered in its doktrines, its moral precepts, and its promises. He proved the authenticity of the books which contain it; considered the characters, or, in other words, the morals, talents, rank, lives, and fortunes of its founders; and unfolded, at great length, the arguments deducible from miracles and prophecies, that so loudly proclaim its celestial origin.
Though the Christian religion, considered in itself and in its connexion, both with the events that were preparatory to, and those that accompanied its publication, furnished our Author with sufficient materials for a full proof of its truth and din vinity: yet later times exhibit to our view iwo events that add new rays of evidence to this proof-and these are, the present flate of the Jewish nation, and the present state of the Christian religion. The first of these events was treated by our Author in the concluding chapier of his feventh volume. The lecond is the subject proposed in the eighth and ninth volumes lately pub. lifed, and now before us.
The extensive propagation and establishment of the Christian religion is a remarkable fact, which we have before our eyes; and it is this which M. VERNET proposes to consider as his last proof of the truth and divinity of that religion. In the three first chapters of bis eighin volume, he gives an historical view of this fact, as a phưenomenon which must be accounted for, and reduced to its true principle. But however surprizing the
fact may be, compard and considered with the ordinary course of things, it will fill appear more so, when we consider in what manner, and by what means, it was brought about. This second point of view is the principal object in our Author's plan: but it is not exhibited in the two volumes now before us. As some late writers have attempted to invalidate the authority of the sources from whence the materials for this second point of view are derived, and to throw an obscurity of their own making on the early periods of the gospel- history, our learned Author has thought it necessary to difarm these adversaries before he proceeds farther; and this occasions a digreffion (we may call it), but a very learned and instructive one, which takes up the whole space of these two volumes, except the three first chapters.
This digreffion, though perhaps too copious, is far from being either useless or unconnected with the principal subject : It forms, indeed, an intervening work, which, had it been published alone, would have been received as a very interesting piece of controversy ; but still it answers our Author's purpose, by difpelling some clouds of duft that have teen raised about the obz jects ihat he proposes to represent in their true colours in the course of his work. This digrellion contains, first, an ample refutation of what Voltaire has advanced in his Universal History, to invalidate the authority of the early annals of the Chriftian Church. From hence M. VERNET proceeds to unmask the errors and fophiftry of a book, published under the name of the late learned Freret, and d signed to render the authenticity of the four Gospels dubious. The disingenuous writer, who skulked under the usurped name of Freret, was answered a few years ago by the Abbes Bergier and Du Voisin, both whole performances have real merit, though tarnished in several places by the narrow and illiberal spirit of religious party. Our Author has reinforced their arguments with new considerations. He shews that the pretended I reret (whose imposture in the usurpation of this name he fully proves) was no more than an unfaithful transcriber of Dodwell, and that his objections, drawn from the ancient herefies, are replete with absurdities, exaggerations, and anachronilms. He enters, on this occasion, into a very particular and curious account of the Ebionites and Gnostics, not so much with an inention to refute the objector under consideration, as to place in a true light the state of the primitive Church, and to illustrate many things relative to the ancient sects, which, when properly known, throw new rays of evidence on the truth of the Gospel.
The next object that occupies our Author in this digreffion, is the teftimony of Jewish writers to the truth of the Christian histosy. To diminish the weight of this testimony, tbe silence
of Philo and Josephus, ar.d the infidelity of the body of the Jewish nation, have been alleged, as fufficient to counterbalance it. M. VERNET examines, with great judgment and erudition, the character and circumstances of Philo; and proves, we think, in a very satisfactory manner, that the filence of this learned Jew is rather an argument in favour of Chriftianity than agairt it. It is certain, chat a mute witness is no witness at all for or against any fact. If Philo looked upon the miracles and million of Chrift as an impofture, his filence is to be accounted for by unbelievers, and is an objection which may be direcily retorted upon them. As to Josephus, our Author maintains that he has not been filent. On this point of literature M, VERNET was formerly undecided ; and, in his preceding work, having mentioned the arguments alleged on the different fides of the queftion, he himself remained in fuspence. But having reconsidered the matter, he has come to a full conviction, that Josephus has really made mention of Jesus Christ, as well as of John the Baprift, and James, furnamed the Just, in his Jewish Antiquiquities; and both long and laborious is he upon this subje&t: Manuscripts, verfions, citations, discussions of moral evidence, comparison between different writers; nothing is omitted that can illuftrate this knotty point of erudition, and twelve or thirteen chapters are learnedly employed thereupon.- In this detail our Author is more prolix and minute, and dwells more on incidental and trilling objections, than we think the support of bis cause required; but here he merits indulgence, because good fense and good learning always accompar.y him: besides, fuch a NESTOR in theology has peculiar privileges.
With respect to the argument against Chriftianity taken from the infidelity of the Jews, our Auther shews, amply and learnedly, that even the unbelieving part of that nation bore teitie mony to the truth of the miracles of Christ, and that thus we have a testimony of that whole people in favour of Chriftianity, more forcible than it would have been, had they been all unanimous in the reception of the Gospel.
We must wait for the publication of the following volume or volumes, in order to have our learned and ingenious Author's manner of deducing, from the propagation of Chriftianity, an additional proof of its divine origin. This matter will be treated at great length. After having shewn, that in the firft ages of the Church, the Christian cause was not only deftitute of all human and visible support, but had the most formidable obstacles to its propagation to encounter, from the prejudices, paflions, vices, and interests of men, seconded by the force of civil inftitutions, and the secular arm, he will point out the true reason of its fucces amidIt all these disadvantages. To diminish the reneration and astonishment which this success is so adapted to