« AnteriorContinuar »
the great importance of the doctrine; and you will efteem it an objection of little weight, that the modern advocates of the unitarian tenets cannot otherwise give a colour to their wretched cause, than by denying she inspiration of the sacred historians, that they may seem to them wies at liberty to reject their testimony. You will remember, that te doctrines of the Christian revelation were not originally de. livered in a syitem, but interwoven in the history of our Saviour's life. To say, therefore, that the first preachers were not inspired in the composition of the narratives in which their doctrine is conveyed, is nearly the same thing as to deny their inspiration in the general.
You will perhaps think it incredible, that they who were affifted by the divine fpirit, when they preached, should be deserted by that fpirit, when they committed what they preached to writing. You will think it improbable, that they who were endowed with the gift of discerning spirits, should be endowed with no gift of discerning the truth of facts. You will recollect one instance upon record, in which St. Peter detected a falsehood by the light of inspiration ; and you will, perhaps, be inclined to think, that it could be of no less importance to the church, that the apostles and evangelists should be enabled to detect falsehoods in the history of our Saviour's life, than that St. Peter should be enabled to detect Ananias's lie, after the sale of his estates. You will think it unlikely, that they who were led by the spirit into all truth, should be permitted to lead the whole church into error for many ages; that they should bei permitted to leave behind them, as authentic memoirs of their master's life, narratives compiled with little judgment or selection from the stories of the day ; from facts and fictions in promiscuous circulation.
• The credulity that swallows these contradictions, while it ftrains at mysteries, is not the faith which will remove mountains.
• The Ebionices of antiquicy, little as they were famed for pene. tration and discernment, managed, however, the affairs of the feet, with more discretion than our modern Unitarians. They questioned not the inspiration of the books which they received: but they received only one book, a spurious copy of St. Matthew's gospel, curtailed of the two first chapters.
You will think it no inconsiderable confirmation of the doctrine in question, that the feet which first denied it, to palliate their infidelity, found it necessary to reje&t three of the gospels, and to mutilate the fourth!'
The controversy between the Archdeacon of St. Alban's and Dr.. Priestley, seems verging apače toward the issue that we expected, and foretold; and now we have nothing more left to do, ihan attentively to watch, and candidly to report, its further progress. 2-d. II. The Character of Jejus Chrift; a Sermon. By George Skene
Keith, M. A. Minister of Keith-Hall, Aberdeenshire. 8vo. `is. Evans, 1783.
This sermon has some marks of a fertile and lively imagination : but the marks of puerility and inexperience are more deeply impressed in it. Age, we hope, will mature the Author's judgment, and chalten his fancy. The glare of falle eloquence will be softened
into a milder and steadier light; and the tinfel trappings of decla. mation will be exchanged for ornaments less captivating to vulgar minds, but more solid and more graceful : such as become the fimple dignity of religion, and are molt acceptable to men of sound judgment, and a cultivated taste.
When this period arrives, the Author will be ashamed of such passages as perhaps he now regards, with fond complacency, as the peculiar beauties of his sermon; and will then number them, as we do, among those pulpit-tricks to which the religion of Chrift scorns to be indebted for support or recommendation. From several other instances of false and affected oratory, we will select the fol. lowing passage, as a specimen, (p. 13.)
• Where Thall we begin our enquiry into the chara&er of Jesus Christ? Go to Bethlehem.-Pass by the inn.-Turn aside hither to this stable. Look into the manger: and you fhall see a poor babe wrapt in swaddling-clothes. Beside him leans his mother, weak and languid. Here are the wise men from the East: there a few shepherds from Bethlehem. A star in the firmament directed the wise men to this place. They worship the infant. A company of angels lately informed those shepherds, that this child was the son of the most high God, and the promised Saviour of men.- What an amazing stoop from the heavenly glory! What an immense tranfi. tion from the throne of God! Aftonishing humilicy, generosity, and condescension in the Son of the Highest, to assume human na. ture, and affume it in so mean a condition ! -In the character of the child Jesus, how many virtues are united !"
It is well that the History of the Birth of Christ was not penned in a style like this. Such a mode of relation would have funk its credit, and we should have been rather disposed to smile than to believe.
The Author informs us that this sermon is published as a specimen of a volume of sermons now in the press.-Had he no judicious and faithful friend to whisper in his ear
Nonum prematur in annum ? or did he turn a deaf ear to good counsel ? III. Preached at the Magdalen-hospital, on the Anniversary Meets
ing of the President and Governors of that Charity, May 11, 1786. By John, Lord Bishop of Oxford. 410. is. Printed for the Benefit of the Charity. Rivington. 1786. No quotation could more exactly correspond with the occasion, than that which is felected as the text of this discourse, Galat. vi. j. Brethren, if a man be overtaken, ye, which are spiritual, reffore such an one in the spirit of meekness, confidering thyself, left thou also be tempted. The sentiments here implied, are illustrated and recommended by his Lordship, in a sensible and serious manner. Thus, in a plain and practical way, he enforces, in the general, this branch of a Christian spirit, and properly applies the whole to the purpose which more directly claimed his attention.
a. IV. An Attention to outward Cleanliness recommended as a Virtue 1
Preached in the Parish Church of Blackburn, July the 17th, 1785. By Borlase Willock, M. A. with a view toward preventing the Progress of an alarming epidemical Fever, which saged in that Town and Neighbourhood. 8vo. 6d. Richardson.
If the fubject of this Discourse is at all unusual, its propriety and importance are nerertheless self-evident; and the particular circumstances of the time and place of its delivery, render any apology for the Author wholly unnecessary. It is a well-composed Dise course, worthy the attention, not only of the very poor, for whose difficulties fome little allowance might be made, but of others, who would not chose to be classed in that number. . The text is Levit. viii. 6. V. Preached at the Anniversary Meeting of the Sons of the Clergy,
at St. Paul's, May 12, 1785, By Thomas Jackson, D.D. Pre• bendary of Westminster, and Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty.
400. 18. Rivington. · This discourse is entirely employed in ftating the grounds of the charitable inftitution for the Sons of the Clergy, and in enforcing, with plain and manly eloquence, the arguments which recommend the establishment to the countenance and support of the Public. To the sermon are subjoined, Lifts of the Stewards for the feasts of the Sons of the Clergy, together with the names of the Preachers, and their texts; and the sums collected at the anniversary meetings, lince the year 1721.
· Notes to CORRESPONDENTS. ** We have received C. C.'s remarks.The opinion we de. Jivered respecting the “ excision of the part bitten by a mad dog being the only efficacious prophylactic," was the result of the most minute investigation, and the most imparcial enquiry; and therefore (notwithstanding the authority of Dr. Hillary) we cannot poflibly retract it. To fatter people with security from other more gentle methods would be to deceive them in a matter of the utmost confe. quence, and might, in the end, prove no less prejudicial to them, than unworchy of us.
ISI “ A Conftant Reader," who enquires concerning Dr. Jones's book on the state of Medicine, which he supposes we overlooked, is referred to the 67th volume of our Review, p. 170. If he will like. wise turn to p. 383. vol. i. of our General Index, under the name of Jones, in the Medical class, he will find it inserted there also.
||1|| The article to which Mr. Graham refers, though not yet inferted in the Review, was written some months before we were fa. voured with his very sensible letter. What we had, with equal freedom and impartiality, remarked, at the time when we perused the book, could receive no alteration, in consequence of the particulars communicated by this Correspondent.
K Philalethes is under confideration.
THE MONTHLY REVIEW,
For OCTOBER; 1786.
Senres." of it is taken inions that
ART. I. Dr. Reid's Esays on the Intelle&tual Powers of Man,
continued. See our last. THE second essay contains an amazing quantity of valuable
erudition, as well as of sound reasoning, and deep investia: gation, and constitutes almoft a third part of the whole volume. Its title is, “ Of the powers we have by means of our external fenses." It consists of twenty-two chapters. A considerable portion of it is taken up in giving a clear and accurate account of the theories and opinions that have been embraced and main." tained by philosophers, both ancient and modern, with regard to the senses, and the knowledge derived from their operations. The doctrines of the most eminent leaders of feets, from the days of Pythagoras to those of Mr. Hume, pass fucceffively una der review; and every class of tenets upon tbe subject is traced from its origin through its subsequent changes. The historical deduction is every where accompanied with judicious observations and acute discussions. Of this, and of many other parts of the work, no tolerable notion could be communicated to our readers by means of an abftract. The matter treated of,' from the nature of it, requires the full illuftration which the Au. thor has bestowed upon it, to convey a competent knowledge of it. We must therefore satisfy ourselves with mentioning, in general, the topics that are discussed, referring the inquisitive reader to the book itself, which, we can assure him, will not only furo' nish him with rational amusement and valuable information, but will also present him with more diftinct and accurate views of the subjects treated, than are to be met with in preceding authors.
The firft four chapters treat of the organs of perception, and of the impreffions that are made upon the nerves and brain. The substance of the doctrine contained in them is thus fummed up by the Author himself :
• It is a law of our nature, established by the will of the Supreme Being, that we perceive no exterpal object but by means of the or. gans given us for that purpose. But these organs do not perceive. The eye is the organ of fight, but it sees not. A telescope is an ara You. LXXV.
tificial organ of fight. The eye is a natural organ of fight, but it sees as little as the telescope. We know how the eye forms a picture of the visible object upon the retina ; but how this picture makes us see the object, we know not; and if experience had not informed us that such a picture is necessary to vision, we should never have known ic. We can give no reason why the picture on the retina Mhould be fol. lowed by vision, while a like picture on any other part of the body produces nothing like vision.
• It is likewise a law of our nature, that we perceive not external objects unless certain impressions be made by the objects upon the organ, and by means of the organ upon the nerves and brain. But of the nature of those impreslions we are perfectly ignorant; and though they are conjoined with perception by the will of our Maker, yet it does not appear that they have any neceffary connection with it in their own nature, far less that they can be the proper efficient cause of it, We perceive, because God has given us the power of perceiving, and not because we have impressions from objects. We perceive nothing without those impressions, because our Maker has limited and circumscribed our powers of perception, by such laws of Nature as to his wisdom seemed meet, and such as suited our rank in his creation.'
In establishing these general conclusions, Dr. Reid has occafion to consider several hypotheses, that have been invented by philosophers, to explain the manner in which the nerves and brain are instrumental in furnishing us with sensations and ideas, The ancients conjectured that the nerves are tubes filled with animal spirits secreted from the brain, and Des Cartes endea-. voured to shew that muscular motion, perception, memory, and imagination are effected by means of the motions of these ani. mal spirits. But neither the tubular structure of the nerves, nor the subcile vapour supposed to be contained in them, were ever discovered by any ancient anatomilt. Dr. Briggs conceived the nerves to be solid filaments, which, like musical cords, have vibrations differing according to their length and tension. We remember that this hypothesis was formerly mentioned by Dr. Reid in his Inquiry, Dr. Priestley, on the other hand, in his examination of Dr. Reid's Inquiry, denied that any such opi. nion was ever entertained. He must have forgot that he himself had alluded to this theory in his History of discoveries relat, ing to vision (p. 663.), in the following words ; · Dr. Briggs supposed that single vision was owing to the equal tenlion of the corresponding parts of the optic nerves, whereby they vibrated in a synchronous manner. Dr. Hartley has likewise attempted to explain sensation by a theory of nervous vibrations, though of a different fort from those that were supposed by Dr. Briggs, External objects, according to him, occalion in the nerves vie brations of the small, and as one may say, infinitesimal me. dullary parts. He borrowed the hint from a query subjoined to Sir Isaac Newton's Optics, though that eminent and accurate