Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small]

particularly the case with respect to the choice of subjects of preach-
ing, and the manner of treating them. This consideration not only
excuses, but justifies, the familiar, or, if you please, the humble
style, in which these Discourses are written : for they were, for the
most part, delivered extempore to illiterate auditories, and are
printed, as nearly as could be recollected, as they were spoken. In
such a situation, the Author might be vindicated in adopting a mode
of address very different from the usual forms of regular composition.
And in committing some of these discourses to the press, he has given
a specimen of popular eloquence, which, notwithstanding some pe-
culiarities, and some extravagancies, may be of use to preachers in a
like fituacion. The Author, with some zeal for orthodoxy, appears
to possess a candid spirit, and a great desire of doing good. Several
of these sermons are plain addresses to country people, on industry,
caution, frugality, covetousness, and other moral subjects, which,
though perhaps too low to please a cultivated taste, could not fail
to be interesting and useful to the people to whom they were de-
Art. 37. Confolation to the Mourner, and Instruction both to Youth

and Old Age, from the early Death of the Righteous. In two Dif.
courses. By Samuel Cooper, D.D. Minister of Great Yarmouth.
Occafioned by the Death of his eldest Daughter (who had only
juit entered into her twenty-first Year). To which is subjoined
an Appendix, containing her Character, and two Elegies on her
Death. 12mo. 2s. 6d. Becket, &c. 1786.
If the maxim be true, that “ Triftia maftum

Vultum verba decent,"
the style in which these discourses are written is by no means suitable
to the occasion. Instead of that modeft fimplicity of language, which
is the natural expression of grief, we meet with a magnificent display
of opinions and sentiments in all the decorations of metaphorical
and declamatory diction. On any subject an unnecessary profufion
of words, and especially a redundancy of figures, dazzles more than
it enlightens; but if ever it be unseasonable and improper to ap-
proach coward the curgid, it must be peculiarly so when the soul is
oppressed with sorrow. In marking this impropriety we would,
however, by no means be understood to imply the most diftant infi.
nuation respecting the sincerity of the Author's grief on the occasion
of this discourse. We only mean to express our regret, that his ge.
neral manner (urhich we have formerly had opportunities of noticing)
should have led liim, in the present instance, so far out of the road
of nature and correct taste. It is impossible that the loss of so ac-
complished and perfect a pattern of excellence as Miss Cooper was,
should not have occafioned much distress to her friends : for her fa-
ther (and he de:lares that he does not speak it from the partiality of
a parent) says of her. If ever human being was perfect, she was a
complete model of all the perfection the Deity can require; because
it was all humaility can attain. She was not only spotless, but, be-
fides being in perile stion of all those other ornaments of nature, which
most forcibly attract the attention, and most firmly engage the elteem
of the world, Die was endued with every moral virtue, and every
Christian grace, and altogether refined from every che least alloy of
any earthly foit ile or human frailty,' Without at all depreciating


the real merit of this excellent young woman, we may be allowed to understand the panegyrist in a figurative sense; for it is only by an byperbole, that this character is applicable to any human being. E Art. 38 Proceedings for Sunday Schools ; and a Plan of that in

St. Stephen's, Norwich, established October 16ch, 1785. Svo, 6d. Norwich, Chase and Co.

Much laudable pains appear to have been taken by the Rev. Mr. Adkin *, the Author of this pamphlet, in establishing Sunday schools at Norwich. The particulars of his proceedings, which are here minutely related, inay be very useful to those who are inclined to begin, or carry forward, this good work, in other places. Farther allistance may be derived from the Appendix to Dr. Horne's Sermon on this subject : See our Review for this month, Ari. x. Art. 39. The Gospel of Christ worthy of al Acceptation : or, the

Obligations of Men fully to credit, and cordially to approve, whatever God inakes known, &c. By Andrew Fuller. 12mo. is. 60. Buckland, &c. Art. 40. Remarks on a Treatise intitled, « The Gospel of Christ

worthy,” &c. Wherein the Nature of special Faith in Christ is confidered, and several of Mr. Fi's Miilakes pointed out. By

William Button. 12 mo. is. Buckland; &c. 1785. Art. 41. Philanthropos : or, a Letrer to the Rev. Andrew Fuller

in Reply to his Treatise on Damnation, &c. &c. &c. By Philip Withers, D.D. Chaplain to Lady Dowager Hereford. 12mo. 25. 6d. Richardson, &c. 1785.

This controversy, on Gospel Faith, Grace, &c. is enveloped, on all sides, in such a cloud of mystical language, that we acknowledge ourselves wholly incompetent to the talk of forming a judgment on its merits. The initiated will, doubtless, read these pieces with de. light, and will think, at least, that they read them with understand. ing: and far be it from us to interrupt their pleasure or edification, by the troublesome intrufion of unhallowed criticisin.

S E R M O N S. 1. The Importance and Extent of Free Inquiry in Matters of Religion :

Preached before the Congregations of the Old and New Meeting of Proteltant Diffen ters at Birmingham, November 5, 1785. To which are added, Reflections on the present State of Free Inquiry in this Country : and Animadversions on some Passages in Mr. White's Sermons at the Bampton Lectures ; Mr. Howes's Discourse on the Abuse of the Talent of Disputation in Religion, and a Pamphlet intitled, “ Primitive Candour.” By Jofeph Priestley, LL.D. F.R.S. 8vo. 15. 6d. Johnson.

In this discourse, and the subsequent remarks, Dr Priestley afferts the right, and the importance, of an unrestrained and diligent inveftigation of truth. The sum of what he advances is, that religion, aş well as other subje&s, affords a boundless field of inquiry ; -- that auch yet remains to be done in order to complete the reformation ; that the fear of moving foundations ought not to prevent us from making improvements; that the spirit of inquiry and innovation, to which we owe every advance in knowledge and reformation, from the days of our heathen ancestors to the present time, ought to be • See his Sermon on this subject, Rev. tor way.



left without restraint;-that, if free scope be given to inquiry, truck · will always have the advantage over error, and consequently, if

Christianity be true (on which supposition alone wise men will with for its prevalence), there can be no reason to apprehend that it thould suffer from the most rigorous examination.

« The friends of free inquiry and truth (says our Author) may rest satisfied, that as every effort which has hitherto been made to bear down the cause for which they contend, has in reality served to promote it, so also will every future effort that can be made for the fame purpose. The cause of truth may be compared to an engine, contructed so as to be put in motion by the tide, and which is kept

in its proper movement whether the water flow in or flow out, ! Nothing here is wanting but motion, it being impoffible for that mos tion, from whatever quarter it arise, to operate unfavourably."

The general principle, so well expressed in this passage, is undoubtedly right. There seems great reason to expect, from the prefent progreflive state of knowledge, that truth will, at length, so far prevail over error, that, on all questions which lie within the compass of the human faculties, there will be a general agreement in opinion.'' But to predict what particular system of opinions will, in the result of this progress, be acmitted as true, is certainly to give a premature judgment on a matter which is, by supposition, as yet undetermined.

In reply to the strictures on Socinianism in Mr. White's Sermons at the Bampton Lecture, Dr. Priefly maintains, that Christianity loses none of its value upon Socinian principles; and that Soci' nianism is not an advance towards Deism, but tends to establish Christianity by removing some of the principal objections which have been made against it.

in his remarks upon Mr. Howes's Discourse, he flatly contradi&ts his representation of facts, and resents his insinuations that Dr. P. only pretends to believe Christianity.

The remarks upon “ Primitive Candour" contradict the Author's representation of the doctrine of the Gnostics, and endeavour to invalidate his arguments, deduced from thence, to prove that the first Christians were Unitarians.

11. Preached at Kingston upon Thames, February 19, on the Death

of Captain Richard Pierce, Commander of the Halsewell Eait. Indiaman, which was loit off the Island of Purbeck, January 6, 1986. By the Rev, Matthew Raine, A. M. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. 4to. 1S. Kearsey. ..

Of this discourse it will be a sufficient recommendation to say, that it is exceedingly well adapted to the affecting event which oc. cafioned it. The moral lessons taught by such events are plainly reprelented, and urged with manly energy, from the words of Se. Jaines, What is your life? It is even a vapour, &c.'

E. *** The Critique on the last edition of Shakespeare, will appear in our next.

+it S. is mistaken in his CONJECTURE:-and, with refpect to his valuable PUBLICATION, our account of it (which was drawn up be. forë we were favoured with his letter) will appear in the Review for Erratum in our last, viz. P. 474, par. 3, l. 9, for tracts,' s. traits.


For A U GUST, 1786.

ART. I. The Plays of William Shakspeare. With the Corrections

and Illustrations of various Commentators; to which are added Notes by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens. The Third Edition, revised and augmented by the Editor of Dodsley's Col. lection of Old Plays. 8vo. 10 Vols. 31. 1os. bound. Bathurst, Rivingtons, &c. 1785. TN the course of our periodical labours, we have frequently I observed, that Fashion exerts her infuence over the literary, as well as over the gay world. No sooner does a writer of acknowledged merit enter any walk of literature, than numerous authors are eager to pursue the same path, without ever stopping to confider, whether their predecessor may not have selected all the flowers in his way; whether the Public taste may not be sufficiently gratified with those which have already been presented to it; or whether (which indeed, though most neceffary to be considered, it is least of all likely that they would consider). they themselves have abilities and discernment to add to the sea lection. We have seen the example of a Sterne turning every pen to the writing of sentimental journies; that of a Percy exciting a general rage for collecting old ballads; and that of a M'Gregor filling the town with “ Heroic Epiftles.” But, perhaps, there is no instance where the power of fashion, and the prevalence of example, are more conspicuous than in the case of of the work before us. The Commentators on our immortal Bard now amount, as appears by the lift given in the public papers, to upwards of fifty; most of whom have sprung up within these few years. Indeed, so formidable is their number and their bulk, that, we know, many admirers of Shakspeare are apprehensive that their favourite Poet is in danger of being made to resemble a Dutch edition of a CLASSIC. But, for our part, when we reflect on the great names and talents of most of the Commentators, and when we review the effect of their labours, we are filled with gratitude for what has been already done ; and freely acknowledge, that we wish the zeal of others, as well fitted for the task as those who have hitherto engaged in

Vol. LXXV,


it, may be effe&tually called forth : being well convinced, that by a diligent perural of the old writers; by a careful attention to the customs, manners, and language of the times in which Shakspeare lived ; and, above all, by a penetrating judgment, many of the great Dramatist's obscurities, which have hicherto relifted the united efforts of all his Annotators, may be bappily elucidated.

The present edition of our great Poet is given to the world by Mr. Reed of Staple's Inn, who has proved himself well qualified for the undertaking by his former publicacions; and who, we will venture to predict, will receive no small addition to his literary credit, from the work under confideration. In his advertisement, the Editor modestly informs us, that he did not intrude himself into his present fituation ;' but entered on bis office in consequence of an application which was 100 face tering, and too honourable for him to decline: Mr. Steevens, after withdrawing himself from a repetition of those labours which he had exerted in fuperintending the two former, having committed to bim the care of this third edition. The following extract contains a summary of those particulars wherein the present differs from the preceding editions:

• As some alterations have been made in the present edition, it may be thought necessary to point them out. These are of two kinds, additions and omissions. The additions are such as have been supplied by the last Editor, and the principal of the living Commentators. To mention these affistances, is sufficient to excite expectation; but to speak any thing in their praise will be superfluous to those who are acquainted with their former labours. Some remarks are also added from new Commentators, and some notices extracted from books which have been published in the course of a few years


The Editor then proceeds to inform us, that the most important of the omifsions are some notes which have been demonftrated to be ill-founded, and some which were supposed to add to the size of the volumes without increasing their value.' He has also diminished the number of quotations which had been produced to exemplify particular words, or explain obsolete customs; because when the point is once known to be established, there is not the same neceffity for them, that there was, before the matter had been fully fettled : and in vindication of this part of his conduct he appeals to the authority of Prior,

“ That when one's proofs are aptly chosen,

Four are as valid as four dozen." As to his own observations, Mr. Recd tells us, that he has added but litile to the bulk of the volumes, having, upon every occafion, rather chosen to avoid a note, than to court the opportunity of inserting one.'


« AnteriorContinuar »