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the Articles we gave an instance in a former Review *, and shall refer our Readers to the remarks which we there offered upon what he has advanced in favour of Articles and Establishments in general.
The subjects treated in the seventh and last volume are of a practical nature. The titles of the chapters are, Doing all for the Glory of God, - Doing as we would be done by -- IndolenceFondness for Pleasures - Self-denial-Habits-Credulity and Incredulity--Émployment of Time-ContentRule, Custom, and Fashion - Education Death. • From the topics of philosophy and religion,' says Mr. Tucker, in his summary of the whole work, • I have descended to some practical subjects applicable to the conduct of life, which having been treated of more amply by many able hands, I could not expect to add any thing material to what has been done by them, but was willing to show that my speculations may be turned to common use, by deducing from, or regulating by them such rules and observations as may prove of general service : subjoining thereto a few thoughts relative to education, and such methods for curing the fear of death, as in the pursuit of them may prove profitable to us while living, and yield us a benefit for ages after.'
Such is the modest account which he gives of this part of his performance; an account far beneath its real merit. Though the subjects have been frequently discussed, the Reader will meet with many uncommon thoughts, judicious reflections, and falutary maxims and cautions, which will amply reward his attention, We could have wished to have made some extracts from those chapters in particular which treat upon doing all for the Glory of God, and on Education. But the limits we have prescribed to ourselves will not permit.
Mr. Tucker has made an apology in the last chapter, entitled, Conclusion, for any impropriety of diction, or want of harmony and elegance of compofition, that may be observed throughout the work. We give him full credit for the sincerity and benevolence of his intentions, and cannot sufficiently extol the great liberality of sentiment which he every where discovers. At the fame time we think that he has disgraced his judgment, and in some measure defeated the usefulness of his work, by his mistaken regard, we are tempted to say, affected deference to public authority in matters of religion, which has led him to attempt to reconcile contradictions, and to introduce such a lie centious interpretation of words and phrases, as, if generally admitted, would render the most folemn professions and engage ments uncertain and deceitful, and destroy all confidence between man and man.
* See Review for February, p. 83:
ART. V. Three Difertations on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. By John Kiddell of Tiverton, Devon. 8vo. 2 s. Dilly. 1779.
R. Priestley, and some other Socinian writers, have confi
dered the general notion of inspiration as an incumbrance on the evidence of Christianity. Carried to the extreme to which it hath been, by some men, of more zeal than discretion, it is certainly liable to very great objections. Infidel writers have taken an advantage of such exaggerated accounts; and Lord Shaftesbury particularly hath fixed on them, in one of those merry and good-humoured moments, when, as he informs us, he always found himself in the best disposition to speculate on religion. Mr. Kiddell hath wisely taken the middle path between such writers as Dr. Owen, who will not give up one jot or tittle of the Masoretical reading of the Old Testament, and Dr. Priestley, who thinks himself authorized to make so free with the New as to dispute the reasoning of St. Paul. It is not our business to decide on the comparative danger of those two extremes ; but we cannot avoid observing, that by giving so little to the authority of scripture, even in matters that may be deemed of a speculative kind, we take off a great deal from its general credit in matters of greater consequence: we make it a law and no law: we make it the sport of caprice: a shifting and unsteady object : in fine, a mock-terror that owes all its influence to the imagination of individuals.
Our pious and sensible Author attempts to give a plain and rational solution of the following inquiries, viz. 1. What scriptures are divinely inspired ? 2. In what sense the holy scriptures are so ? and 3. What proofs have we of it? These inquiries are of the last importance to the cause of religion ; and our Author hath acquitted himself in the solution of them with great credit as a Christian and a Divine. The curious fpeculatist, indeed, will find but little in these discourses to gratify his taste for novelty. The Author indulges himself in no fanciful hypotheses; nor is he, on the other hand, the dupe of any established system. He considers the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as containing such a revelation of the being and attributes of God; of our duty to him and one another; and of our expectations of his present and future favour, as is sufficient to direct and support us in every scene of this probationary state. By inspiration is plainly meant, in general, (says Mr. Kiddell) that the sacred writers all wrote under the direction and influence of the Spirit of God. The only end and intention of God's thus influencing and instructing those sacred writers, in the composition of their writings, was, that what was written by them, might be kept free from all error and falsehood; contain nothing but pure and unadulterated truth;
and be received and believed as of infallible certainty : sealed and attested by the authority of God himself. Now, then, whatever infiuence and allistance from the spirit of God is sufficient to answer this end, is sufficient to answer all the purposes of a divine inspiration. And therefore each of those sacred writers is truly, and to all important purposes, divinely inspired, if, by the influence and altistance of the Spirit of God, his writings are preserved free from all mixture of error and falsehood. But to answer this great end of divine inspiration, the fame degrees of influence and aslistance are not necessary and expedient for all the sacred writers alike : ard there!ore when applied to different writers, divine inspiration must admit of different senses and limitations.'-This idea of inspiration our Author applies to the historical, the moral or devotional, and the prophetical parts of scripture. He is supported in his qualified notion of this delicate subject by some venerable authorities of the Christian Church. The very orthodox Pictet of Geneva, who fat in the chair of his uncle Turretine, freely acknowledges, that the inspiration of the scriptures is not to be applied to every fact related in them, or to the peculiar mode in which the different authors of the sacred books exprefed their sentiments. In many cases inspiration- plenary, immediate inspiration would have been superfluous : and therefore out of respect to the majesty of it, it ought to be limited to those subjects which absolutely required it * This idea of inspiration is also contended for by the very learned Bp. Warburton; and so far as it respected the language of the New Testament, it was vindicated by Dr. Hurd from the exceptions taken at it by Dr. Thomas Leland of Trinity College, Dublin.
In the narration of historical facts, that fell within the observation of the historian, nothing but fidelity was requisite. In relating them on the testimony of others, inspiration might be necessary to guard the relation from error and mistake. In the delineation of moral or religious duties the Writer might be left, in all common cases, to the obvious dictates of his own understanding and conscience; and the superintendence of Divine inspiration might also, in such instances, be more properly regarded in the light of a security than a direct impuile. But the prophetical parts of feripture have a claim to a higher degree of inspiration--even to that which is communicated to the mind by the immediate in luence of the Spirit of God. Now there cannot be a stronger proof of this higher kind of inspi
Non neceffe eft fupponere Spiritum sanctum semper dietálle prophetis & apoftolis fingula verba quibus ufi funt.- Quædam fcripfer: quæ non opus erat ut spiritus fan&tus fuggereret, ut ea quæ ipfi jam nirant, &c. Sr. Picteri Theol. Christ. lib. i. c. 7.
ration than the foretelling future events with a precision anë fwerable to the facts and the circumstances that attend them especially when those circumstances are not of a common and equivocal nature, but marked with some striking and fingular characteristics, which are vulgarly supposed to owe their exiftence to those innumerable combinations of chance and accident which cannot be reduced to any regular system, and are beyond the limits of general speculation :-we say, general speculation, which proceeds on the plain ground of observation and experience, and from what hath been, may guess, with tolerable certainty, what will be : so that in common life, and in all affairs which are conducted by established laws, it may with great propriety be said, that “he is the best prophet who conjectures
But scripture prophecy hath objects in view which infinitely transcend the reach of human fagacity. It draws the veil from, and traces the rise and progress of, events which are folded up in the darkest coverts of futurity ; and of which there were no appearances that could lead to certain conclusions relating to any particular facts, that fall within the sphere of what is called chance and accident. Much less could human sagacity, however brightened and improved by observation, forelee the exact seafon when those apparently fortuitous and adventitious events would take place, or determine any nice and critical circumstances that should concur to produce, or be united or blended with them. These objects come only within the compass of omniscience; and wherever a knowledge of future events is communicated to mankind, it must be for the wisest purposes : and the agreement of prophecy with facts (as in the cases of the destruction of Babylon and Tyre-the coming of the Melfiah - the desolation of Jerusalem and its Temple—the disperfion of the Jews—the usurpation and tyranny of an Antichriftian power, &c. &c.) is a demonstration of Divine truth, and is the testimonial of heaven itself to the mission of the prophet.
Mr. Kiddell makes very pertinent and sensible remarks on that fpecies of inspiration which, if it did not abfolutely dictate the moral and devotional parts of scripture, yet secured all the important purposes of truth and virtue, by overruling 'the facred penmen in such a manner as to prevent the intrusion of all human prejudices from which the best and wiseft of mankind are not at all times guarded ; and with which the finest maxims of moral philofophy are too frequently blended. Mr. Kiddell very juftly confiders natural religion as the foundation of revealed. It is undoubtedly the ultimate criterion by which its precepts are to be tried. But the question is, “ How far natural religion extends, and where is its authority lodged ?” Our Author perhaps expresses himself in too unlimited a style when he says
that, " to acquaint ourselves with the moral duties and virtues of life, we have nothing more to do than to look into our own hearts, and diligently examine the feelings and sentiments of our own minds." Now we apprehend that the express and potitive declarations of the will of God, in matters of moral as well as religious practice, were given in aid of human ignorance, and purposely with a view to prevent our recurrence to apologies sanctified with the names of Nature and Reason, in order to justify our neglect of duty, or excuse our commiffion of sin. For if the feelings of every man's mind were to be the standard of obligation, what duty that crosses their inclinations will men perform, or what vice that flatters them will they forego, for the sake of what others call Reason, and in deference to an equivocal authority arising from what philosophy itself, which hath talked most loudly about this authority, hath not agreed to give any name or definition to? For every man's own feelings, i.e. his inclination, will be his standard of duty, without a setiled law to which to appeal, a fixed and decisive criterion of good and evil, in spite of all the fine things that have been said on the beauty of Virtue-Fitness and Unfitness--the moral Sense--and all
.“ which Theocles in raptur'd vision faw.” To close this Article, we recommend the perusal of these plain and rational Discourses to our Readers ; and particularly to ministers, to whom there is given a lesson of most excellent advice on the duty of studying the Scriptures with diligence, and explaining them with integrity.
ART. VI. Experiments and Obfervations relating to various Branches
of Natural Philolophy; with a Continuation of the Observations on Air. By Joseph Priestley, LL. D. F.R.S. 8vo. 6 s. Boards. Johnson. 1779
OTWITHSTANDING the very short interval that has passed
since we reviewed the Author's third volume of Observations, and his intimation, which we then quoted with regret, of a design to diret his attention to ' fpeculations of a very different nature and which, it is well known, he has pretty Jargely pursued :—we now have, nevertheless, the pleasure of again attending this active and successful investigator, in his philosophical capacity, by announcing to the world a large collection of new and fingular experimental observations, made by him on a variety of subjects. Of the value and importance of these observations we cannot exhibit a juíter idea, than by representing them as in every respect worthy to follow those with which he has already so greatly enriched the science of philosophical chemistry. Rev. June, 1779.