Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

remark. It may suffice to say that this author, whose imagination seems to be deeply, but, we trust, needlessly, impressed with the danger of revealed religion and of established government, gives full credit to the strangest tales which even those learned gentlemen have thought fit to publish.

Having examined the exceptionable arricies of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, with the view of proving that the French Legislators have mistaken the end of government; that their enumeration of the Rights of Man is defective and false; that the definition of Liberty is imperfect'; that their Equality is an artful fraud ; that their Security is an ambiguous and dangerous right; that some of their ideas respecting Property are fit only for those who live by confiscations and plunder; and that the title of “ Sovereign People" is a title of mockmajesty ;-the author proceeds, in the tenth and eleventh chapters, to examine what effects these new opinions have produced on the character and situation of the French Nation, and on their conduct towards foreign states.

On this latter subject, he draws a picture in which the ambition, the oppression, the injustice, and the perfidy of the French government, are delineated with a glowing pencil.. Its conduct towards Switzerland, in particular, is described with those feelings of indignation which it was so well calculated to excite in every honest breast.

In the 12th chapter, the writer gives an account of the conspiracies which, he says, have been formed by the Jacobins in those countries with which France is engaged in war. He attributes the death of the Emperor Leopold in 1792, and that of Gustavus King of Sweden shortly afterward in the same year, to assassins employed for the purpose by the Jacobin Club*. All the discontents which have prevailed in these countries, and particularly the rebellion in Ireland, and the mutiny in the British Fleet, he seems to consider as resulting from a cause of the same kind,--the influence of the Jacobins, or the contagious nature of their principles.

The work concludes with a chapter which, we think, is far less valuable than the former part, and indeed is very puerile. In this the author points out the means which he deems necessary to check the ambitious projects and dangerous principles of the French. Among these the chief are a vigorous prosecution of the war (which, the author thinks, must undoubt. edly in the end be successful, because, though vice may flou. rish for a time, it cannot prosper for ever,')-an abolition of all

* See a similar opinion asserted by a foreign writer, Appendix to Monthly Review, vol. xxix. N. 8. p. 548.

secret

On

secret societies, and, among the rest, the Freemasons,--and the regulation of the press, limiting the number of booksellers, re. quiring a qualification of them, and that they shall at the end of every year give in a complete list of the books which they have published in the course of it. He also recommends that

printers should be obliged to put their names to every work which they print: a regulation which has been enforced by a late act of parliament.

Another of his proposals is that Reviewers shall be made to disclose their names, and their qualifications for criticism ; in order that the public may ascertain the merit of their remarks by the excellence of their political and literary character. reading this sagacious advice to the government, we immediately turned to the title-page for the name of the author, resolving to try him by his own rule :—but he who insists on the disclosure of the names of others keeps his own a secret. We therefore may tell our readers, in his own words, that they will be highly censurable, and guilty of the most criminal negligence and dangerous credulity, if they place confidence in the advice or assertions of a writer of whose judgment and honesty they are entirely ignorant.' (See p. 265.) - Other means here prescribed, to resist the projects and principles of France, are, to discountenance the pantomime of Blue Beard, on account of the indecency of the dresses used in it; to insist on stage-dancers dressing more modestly; and, finally, to diffuse more widely, and teach more attentively, the nature of CHRISTIANITY, which is the noblest of all the Sciences, and the most useful of all the Arts.'

On this last point, he adds:

• But it may be inquired, who ought to be the instructors of the young in religion and morality? The discourses of the clergy are certainly of the highest importance to society ; but it must be acknowledged, that they are not suited to the capacity of the young. The young are not accustomed to follow a continued train of thought; their knowledge is at first entirely acquired by conversation, by hearing the opinions of others, by proposing questions of their own, and by the frequent perusal of books adapted to their modes of thinking. These things ought to be attended to by schoolmasters, by tutors, and by teachers of every description. But public or professional teachers are not the persons whom nature has appointed as the ins structors and guardians of the morals of the young. Professional teachers ought indeed to contribute their assistance, which on all occasions may be of the highest consequence ; but the duty is too

The writer says; · These observations are made by one who has never been connected with any reviewers ;' an assertion which we can readily believe, for otherwise he could not have made a proposal so totally incompatible with the nature of a critical work,

sacred

G.2.

[ocr errors]

sacred, and the charge too important, to be transferred to strangers.
Parents ought toexecutethe task themselves : their situation gives them
all those advantages which can enable one man to impress the under-
standing, to guide the opinions, to direct the passions, and influence
the manners of another. The authority of a father over a child
whom he protects and supports; the tender and insinuating inlu-
ence of a mother over the child whom she nourishes and loves—may,
when judiciously exercised, form the young to whatever is great, and
honourable, and excellent. We must acknowledge, indeed, that the
best fathers may have profligate children ; but in that case we shall
find, that the children are ruined by falling into bad company.'

These remarks are just, and worthy of attention. There is no
duty more sacred, no station more charged with responsibility to
individuals, to society, and to the great Creator of all, than the
duty and the station of a parent ; and few means of inducing
virtuous conduct will be found, that will be more effectual than
the early inculcation and judicious application of good prin-
ciples, flowing from the lips and exemplified in the person of
a revered father or a beloved mother.

Walk..e.

S

Art. VI. Lectrres on the Evidences of Christianity. Four by the late

Rev. John Fell, of Homerton; and Eight by Henry Hunter,
D. D. Minister of the Scotch Church, London-Wall. Published
at the Request of the Managers and Subscribers. 8vo. Pp. 400.

6s. Boards. Johnson, &c. 1798.
Never, perhaps, were two sets of Lectures on the same sub-

ject presented together, that were of so different a colour
and complexion as those which are contained in this volume.
The first four, by the late Mr. Fell, are written in an ener-
getic, laconic, unadorned style: while the last, by Dr. Hunter,
are studied, verbose, and decorated with the flowers of Asiatic
oratory. The former addresses his auditory in plain, familiar,
and often impressive language: the latter rounds his periods
with care, and attempts rather to captivate the ear than to warm
the heart. Neither, in our apprehension, is close in argument,
nor uncommonly powerful in reasoning.

That our readers may have some idea of the manner of both · the Lecturers, we will produce specimens from each ; taking the liberty of making some observations, as we proceed.

In the second Lecture, Mr. Fell calls the attention of his audience to the following text, Luke, xxiv. 44. And he said unto them, these are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with

yoll, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Aloses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, cone, cerning nie.

I would

1

[ocr errors]

• I would endeavour, (says the Lecturer,) from these words, to shew, that the descriptions which are given in the New Testament of the person and character of our Lord jesus Christ, were not first invented, and brought forward, either by Jesus Christ himself, or by the Apostles; but that they were well known and understood among every class of the Jewish people, before the appearance of Christ; of which we have many decisive proofs, and from whence it plainly follows, that there must be some such person and character as the Evangelists and Apostles have represented the Lord Jesus to be; otherwise, there can be no light, no truth in the Old Testament Scriptures ; nor can we perceive their seal value, or what advantage could arise from them to the world in general. And that I may do this with effect, I shall in the

• First place, bring forward the sentiments and opinions of their own writers, the oldest that are extant, next to the Prophets themselves. And in order that it may be done to advantage, I must take the liberty to obtrude upon your ears the use of words and terms to which, perhaps, they are not familiar. I must particularly take no. tice of, what are called, the Jewish Targums. And, not to use the word in vain, I beg leave to explain it to you before-hand. The word Targum, signifies a translation from one language into another, or a paraphrase of those parts that are so translated, or both of these to. gether.

• There was an early necessity of translating the Hebrew Scriptures into the Chaldee language ; for, from the long residence of the people in that country, they in some measure lost their native tongue. This was done early; and of these things, which are thus early per. formed, many are lost. The oldest Targums that are extant, go by the names of Onkelos, and Jonathan Ben-Uzziel, or Jonathan the son of Uzziel. That of Onkelos seems to have been the most ancient. They were both disciples, as it is said, of the great Hillel, who was one of the most considerable men among all the Jews. He was of the seed royal by the mother's side, and exercised the authority of a magistrate and law-giver in many and various particulars; and was the head of the Sanhedrim. Perhaps, neither of them lived long before the appearance of Jesus Christ. Perhaps, they wrote about forty years before the incarnation of the Son of God.

• There is another Targum or translation, called the Jerusalem Targum. Its age cannot easily be ascertained. There are various other Targums, but these three only are particularly worthy of our respect, and were regarded as authorities by the Jews themselves. From them we might endeavour to learn the sense of the Jewish Church before the times of Christ, concerning many remarkable prophecies which related to the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God. I will take notice of a few. Their number indeed is great, but a small quantity will be sufficient for our purpose at present. The oldest prediction is this, that “ the seed of the woman should break the head of the serpent, and that the serpent should bruise his heel." So it stands in the book of Genesis. Thes Targums express themselves thus, after they have given the text : “ The sons of the woman themselves shall bruise the heel in the latter days of the Messiah." And the other says, “ they themselves shall bruise the heel, in the end

gar

of the heel of the days, in the days of Messiah the king.” They seem to have had juster views of the character and office of the Messiah, than many of the Jews had in the days of our Lord's ministry. They bear a remarkable testimony to the sufferings of the Messiah, and to those sufferings as brought about by their own countrymen, who called themselves descendants of the promised seed, and heirs of that great and divine seed which was soon to make his appearance.

" I shall next take the remarkable prediction of Jacob, in the fortyninth chapter of Genesis, and the tenth verse ; and shall notice the cleventh and twelfth verses, for the sake of the interpretations of those Targums. -.“ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from” the latter state of the people, until Shiloh come.” Önkelos says, “ until the Messiah come.” Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, says,

«s until the time in which the king Messiah shall come.” And thus they paraphrase the eleventh verse ; “ Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine ; he washed his ments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes;” Thus they express the patriarch's meaning : “ How beautiful is king Messiah, who shall arise out of the house of Judah ; he girdeth his loins, he descendeth, he sets the battle in array against his enemies, and slayeth many kings!” The next verse they thus explain. “ How beautiful are the eyes of the king Messiah, as the pure wine !" and so on.

These testimonies fully set before us their expectation, and the previous view which they had of the character of the son of God, as the true Messiah.'

This conclusion, that the testimonies of the Jewish Targums set before us the expectation of the Jews, and the previous views which they had of the character of the Son of God as the true Messiah, is in our opinion rashly drawn, and rises n'ot out of the premises. Nay, the premises themselves are extremely dubious, and what logicians call petitiones principii : for, first, Mr. F. supposes that the Targums were composed before the time of Christ, although it is far more probable, nay, almost certain, that they were composed after the reign of Constantine; and we imagine that the Jews never thought of applying the text of Gen. iii. 15. to their expected Messiah, until they saw the Christians applying it to their Messiah already come. There is not a word of this in Onkelos, the earliest of theTargumists; although he has in some places been evidently. interpolated by posterior Rabbins. Granting, however, that both the Babylonish and Jerusalem Targums were as far prior to the Christian æra as they are posterior to it, we cannot pere , ceive how their testimony, such as it is, characterizes our Messiah, Jesus Christ. --We present the reader with the whole paraphrase of the Babylonish Targum, on the 14th and 15th verses. * And Jehovah God brought these three into judgment; and to the serpent he said: Because thou hast done this, thou shalt be more accursed than any other beast of the field; upon thy Rev. Nov. 1799.

U

belly

« ForrigeFortsæt »