Page images
PDF
EPUB

composed in any age, or in any made by Mr. D'Oyly to specific idiom.” Milton also has a right to charges of Sir William, which we be heard, in opposition to the critic think highly creditable to him. To who condemns the Scriptures as too give our readers a specimen of his mean a vehicle for religious truth, manner, as well as to shew them the and consigns them to the same pleasant picture of a discomfited function with Moore's Almanack. philosopher, we shall subjoin a few « If occasion *,' says he, “ shall extracts from this little work. The lead to imitate those magnific odes objections have been so often adand hymns, wherein Pindarus and vanced, that Mr. Drummond could Callimachus are in most things wor not but find some of the answers thy, some others, in their frame ju. also ready made to his hand : but, dicious, in their matter most, and whether original or not, they are end faulty; but those frequent songs used sensibly and unambitiously, throughout the law and the prophets and shew the man, we think, anxious beyond all these, not in their divine rather to defend his cause than to argument alone, but in the very display himself. He is content to critical art of composition, may be fight the battle, without announcing easily made appear, over all the that he forged the weapon. Some kinds of lyric poetry, to be incom- of the matter, however, we really parable." Rollin, speaking of one think original. In the ancient tourof those portraits of the Deity at naments, the combatants never, we which the sneers of Sir William believe, proclaimed their own titles ; Drummond are pointed, says, it 'and we are not sorry to be the he“ surpasses the most beautiful de- ralds of Mr. D'Oyly on this occascriptions which the heathens have sion. transmitted to us in this wayt." It would be easy to multiply quota, particular examples. You tell us that the

“ To come,” says Mr. D'Oyly, “ to your tions—to call up the mighty dead of almost every age and clime, to and local god, who dwelt in a box made of

Supreme Being is depicted as a material bear witness to the majesty and shittim wood in the temple of Jerusalem :' splendour of these writings. But in regard to which, you add, • Christian Sir William is as much more fami- readers abide by the literal interpretation.' liar with testimonies of this kind, as In justice to you, Sir, I am willing to hope bis reading is greater than our own. that you never read a syllable of what Chris.. He could stretch out his wand, and tians do think on the subject. If you are instead of the cloud with which he acquainted with their opinions, and still ashas been here endeavouring to

sert that they believe the Deity to have been quench the splendour of these com

a local and material god, I see not how you positions, could summon authorities

can escape from the charge of wilful misre

presentation. If, as perhaps is the case from every point of the compass to you merely make a random conjecture at “ rise up and call them glorious." iheir opinions, I put it to your candour to Under such circumstances, is he say, whether you do them not great injustice, never induced to pause, and ask him- in pretending to state their opinions without self, why be holds them in such in- first inquiring what they really are. ferior regard ? That eye must be

“ Know then, Sir, that Christians do not diseased which sees every object in believe what you impute to them. What a distorted shape; and what must be they do believe is tliis; that the Supreme the state of the mind which reverses Being was pleased to visit a particuall the decrees of the good and lar spot in the Jewish temple, with a visible great, and calls that bad which symbol of his presence; not, as you insinuate, God and the noblest of his creatures being would do, and that his presence was

that he resided locally in it, as a material pronounce to be “ very good ?”

there confined. They apprehend there is There are several distinct replies nothing inconsistent with the most exalted • Reason of Chareh Government,

notions of the Deity in the belief, that he, † Belles Lettres, lib. iii. 3.

whose immaterial essence fills universal

space, and swells through all immensity, did, • Really, Sir, it is astonishing you should in the times of which the Hebrew Scrip- have hazarded such an assertion, when, at tures bear record, for the purpose of carry the head of the chapter, in our authorised ing on important dispensations of his provi- English translation, you might have read dence, occasionally hold sensible communi. • Abraham entertaineth three angels :' a com, cation with human beings, and signalize bis plete proof that, by the English' readers at immediate presence by perceptible manifest least, the passage is understood to speak, not tations.

of Jehovah himself appearing, but of angels “ Christians, Sir, derive this belief from

or messengers commissioned by him: and what appears to them the literal and obvi. almost every commentator, whom you could ous interpretation of their Scriptures. If any have consulted, would have taught you to among them think differently, I am sure understand it precisely in the same manner. they must have imbibed their notions of I admit, the expression runs in some parts of scriptural truth from some such persons as the narrative, as if the Lord were present in yourself, and they can never have searched person, and spoke with Abraham. But you their Bible for themselves. If they were cannot be ignorant, how common a form of to take the trouble of so doing, they would language it is, to say, that a person does fiud, that at the very time of the dedication himself what he commissions another to do. of thut temple in which, according to you, Such a form is extremely common in Scripthe Deity was thought to reside as a local and ture : I will call your attention to one inmaterial god, at that very time king Solo. stance, which is precisely in point. If you man used expressions in his public prayer turn to Ex. iij. 2. you will find it expressed, which nobly bespeak his juster apprehen- the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in sion, and even show him to have been an a bosh: but the account goes on (ver. 4.) xious to preclude all possibility of error in the 'The Lord saw that he turned aside, the Lord minds of the people. Standing before the said, I am the God of thy fathers,' &c. Here altar, he spread forth his hands towards most clearly, the Lord is said to have spoken heaven,' and began, • Lord God of Israel, hiuself, when an angel appeared and spoke there is no God like thee, in heaven above, in his name. The case is completely similar, or in earth beneath.' He frequently, in the in the passage which we have been consider. course of the prayer, repeats the words, ing. This passage has been always held, • Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling-place;' with very few exceptions, to treat of three and in one part of it, addresses the Deity in angels : it is decidedly understood so to these sublime terms; · Behold, the heaven, speak in our English translation: and it must and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain indeed be matter of regret that you should thee; how much less this house that I have have made, in such terms, a very unwarrantbuilded.'” p. 28.

able assertion of what Christians do believe They," the Christian readers of the Old respecting it." p. 40, &c. Testament, " find it quite simple that the “ I find you frequently objecting in a Triune Jehovah should dine on veal cutlets tone of ridicule, to the colloquial style which at Abraham's table." I turn to my Bible, the Supreme Being is sometimes described and find you refering to the passage (Gen. as assuming in the Scriptures, and to the xviii. 1, &c.) in which Abraham receives a minuteness of detail into which he occasion. preternatural intimation that a son should be ally enters. You bring forward several pas. born to him. The relation begins by saying, sages which are likely to present your objecthat ' the Lord appeared unto him in the tion in its fullest force to your reader's inind. plains 'of Mamre, . It proceeds : he sate, Without discussing these particularly, I in the tent door, and lo! three men stood by most readily allow, that the Deity is de: hiin; and he ran to meet them from the tent scribed in the Old Testament, to have indoor; and he ran into the herd and fetched a stituted among his peculiar people a cerecall, and hasted to dress it; and he stood by monial law, the details of which are prethem, and they did eat.' Since it is ex scribed with great minuteness and precision. pressed at the beginning of the account, that The question is, whether it is necessarily the Lord appeared unto Abraham ; and in irreconcileable with our notions of the great the subsequent parts, the Lord said unto Lord of the universe, that he should enter Abraham; you insinuate that Christians into these minute details. In opposition to believe the Supreme Jehovah to have ac- what you insinuate, 1 maintain that it is not; tually come to Abrabam in a human form, and I maintain it on the ground, that he does to have sate at table farpiliarly with him, and enter into details similarly minute, both in to have partaken of the calf which he framing the works of his hand, and in condressed.

ducting the plans of lis providence. The

[ocr errors]

66

Great Lord of the universe, as religion both phers, it never really dawned, and natural and revealed teaches us, formed at rose to set no more, but upon the the first, and preserves continually, every the horizon of Judea? Does he rememmost insignificant and ignoble part of every ber also, that the doctrine of a fuanimal and vegetable : he turns also to the ture state is the exclusive property purposes of his providence many of the most trivial accidents and events of hu- of the Old Testament; that if phiman life. Thus, to interfere minutely, in losophy sometimes dreamt of anoapparently triv concerns, is not incon-ther state of being, the Scriptures sistent with the dignity of so great a Being alone embodied the idea, and alone But you are prepared to say, there is an erected the hopes and fears of fur essential difference: in the one case he turity into a principle of action ? interferes silently and insensibly; in the Does he remember, moreover, that other case, he is described to have interfered the Jewish Scriptures alone revealed sensibly and openly. An essential difference the qualities of grace or mercy in there is, I admit, as to the method of the in- the character of God; alone, thereterference : but a complete resenublance, as far as regards the question of such minute føre, presented the Divine Being as interference being compatible or not, with

an object of love ;- that whilst heathe Divine dignity. Once allow, that bisthenism displayed merely the dark dignity does admit of attention to minute side of the pillar, Moses displayed details in the exercise of his ordinary provi- that brighter face, the sun of the dence, and you need not hesitate to allow, desert, the guide and comforter of that, when he exercised an extraordinary the people of God? Does Sir William providence, his dignity may equally have finally remember, that the Jewish admitted of condescension to details similarly Scripiures alone revealed that summum minute and seemingly trivial. You merely bonum, that chief good, about which trifle with the understandings of your readers, philosophers disputed, and on which when you tell them the Deity is introduced conversing about pans and shovels, the fat of they had almost as many systems as a ram, &c. As well night you burlesque

men ;-that whilst conflicting sages the doctrine of his being the universal Crea- placed it, some in a brutal indulgence tor, by saying he is introduced as busying of passion, and the rest in an imposLimself about the foot of a flea ; and that of sible extinction of it; some in unatbis providence, by sneering at the undignifi, tainable knowledge, and some in ed notion of his observing the position of a universal doubt; the Bible alone propin or a hair. To prescribe particular con- claimed God to be the supreme good mands on matters of minute detail, was a of bis people; dethroned the creanecessary part of a ceremonial law. If then ture, to enthrone the Creator; taught it was consistent with the high dignity of Je- the world that virtue was likeness to hovah lo insinuate a ceremonial law at all, it was also consistent with it to descend into God, duty obedience to God, and that minuteness of detail on which you ex.

happiness union to God, now and for ercise your ridicule, and in which you find ever? Was this any small deserv. a foundation for your cavils." p. 46, &c.

ing? Will the man who celebrates,

with strains of self-gratulation, in Such are some of the satisfactory re- huge quartos of hot-pressed paper, plies of the Christian Advocate to Sir the resurrection of a pipkin from a W. Drummond; and we unfeignedly subterranean city, or the fancied dehope, that the latter gentleman will velopement of the Phænician radiweigh them as he ought. His as- cals of some word which nobody sertion that the Jewish Scriptures knows, contemplate this discovery present a degraded portrait of the without admiration or gratitude ? As Deity, is striking only from its no. dogs which hunt for truffles, whether velty and its bardihood. Does he so employed or not, generally keep remember that the Jewish Scriptures their noses to the ground, so is it alone taught the great truth of the with these minute, under.ground phi. unity of the Godhead; that if this Josophers: they hunt and scratch sublime doctrine flashed occasional. for words, till they despise things; ly in the writings of the philoso- and prate about heathen gods, lil

they forget there is a real God in readers should mistake the process, the universe.

we will state it in a few words. He But we come now to notice, though takes, for example, the name of a very briefly, the main body of Sir city; breaks it into morsels; changes William's work ; that romantic disa letters, and places of letters, to suit quisition, in which a grown man his purpose; traces them up, directly gravely contends that what has been or indirectly, to radicals which bave called a bistory of the Jews is, in fact, some relation to astronomy, and a history of the reform of the calen- then jumps at once to the inference, dar! We think it right to inform that this supposed name of a city is, our unlearned readers, if such there in fact, the name of a star. Let us be, that the calendar, or distribution suppose a case. We find the name of time into years, months, days, of Pallas in the ancient writers, and, &c. was not the work of a day, or because they universally say so, of an individual; that Romulus, ima- rashly believe her to be a goddess gining the sun to perform his jour- worshipped by the heathens. But ney in 304 days, appointed the year how false is the conclusion! Is to be of the same length; that Numa there. not a planet called Pallas? extended it to 355 days; that Julius This supposed name of a goddess, Cæsar, by the assistance of the as- therefore, is the name of a star, and tronomer Sosigenes, stretched it to the Pallas had no existence but in the dimensions of 365 days, adding such eye of an astronomer. Such, we intercalary days as appeared to him assure our readers, is the real chanecessary to fill up the few addi- racter of Sir William Drummond's tional hours which the sun spends reasoning; though we state it with upon his annual journey; that in delicacy, fearing the steps which 1582, Pope Gregory XIII. finding the next of kin may think proper either the sun a little out of his place, to take with him. There is, howe or the astronomers out in their cal- ever, something to be added upon culations, proceeded to such rectifica- this subject. tion of the calendar as satisfies the Mr. D'Oyly has very truly informmerchants upon 'change, over the ed us, that this scheme of interprewhole of Europe. Now it is the ad- tation, so slily slipped by Sir Wiljustment of the calendar which Sir liam into the hands of his friends, William determines to be typified by as a snug discorery of his own, as the Jewish Scriptures. Joshua is "the some rare fruit gathered from the type of the sun in the sign of the orchards of Herculaneum, or relic Ram;" the “ Passover was instituted from the mausoleums of Pompeii, is in memorial of the transit of the equi- by no means original. Let us go noctial sun, from the sign of the Bull into a brief history of this, which is to that of the Ram or Lamb," &c. just hinted by Mr. D'Oyly. The &c. &c. To dispute such an hypo- scheme of allegorical interpretation thesis would really be an insult to our revived, after its first birb and readers. It is enough to say, that death with Origen, we believe with where a writer proposes to divest our countryman Collins, who, howwords of their natural and give them ever, confined it mainly to the proan allegorical meaning, the onus phecies. For a time it took, like probandi lies upon him. We have low carriages or square-toed shoes, a right to interpret them literally, among the wits and belies of the till an insuperable objection to such day; and a man could scarcely blow interpretation be advanced, and a his nose without typifying the rise or rational scheme of allegorical inter- ruin of the commonwealth. Every pretation produced. Now we have thing was transformed into the bisa already given enough of Sir Wil. tory of every thing but what it really Jiam's reasoning upon this point; to was; as if we were to suppose determine its value; but lest our the Newgate Calendar a history of

the gods, or a tailor's bill a cata- Christ; of which last he declares,
logue of constellations. But the that "it consists in the allegorical
celebrated Chandler, adopting the worship of the sun under the caba-
approved practice in certain hospi- listical names of Chrisen, or Yesus,
tals treating disorders of this class, or Jesus.” In the tail of this literary
lashed the age into their senses. comet followed a M. Dupuis, whó,
The like spirit again shewed itself in a work, entitled " Origine de
among the Hutchinsonians, but died tous les Cultes," reiterated most of
almost a natural death. Pere Har. the positions of Volney, and endea-
douin's scepticism about the ancient voured to prop them up by a few
poets, Lauder's crotchets about Mil- more radicals and derivatives. Last
ton, were symptoms of a sister dis- of all, in this progression of illu-
ease. Then came a Mons. Gebelin, minées, appears Sir William Drum-
contending that “ Romulus and Re- mond, who, smit with the same
muswere mere allegorical personages, malady, re-asserts most of the ab-
representatives of ahe sun, and wor- surdities of Volney, borrows most
shipped as such." Having asserted of the proofs of Dupuis, and adds
this in the first chapter, he proceeds to the follies of his predecessors, that
to say in the second, “ nous avons of assuming to himself the discredit
ou dans le chapitre précédent que of much of this nonsense as his own,
Romulus étoit le soleil; que tout le which, in fact, belongs to them.
prouvoit.. And the proof is this Far from washing his hands of his
« le nom de son mère, celui de son own crimes against orthodoxy and
père, son frère, la mort de son frère, common sense, be appropriates
son propre nom." 'There is another theirs; calls his copy an original;
morsel of reasoning of this Mons. and displays this sort of purloined
Gebelin, whom we verily believe to goosequill plumage as the proper
be the type of Sir William, so pre- produce of his own back. After this
cious that we cannot refuse it to short sketch, we shall leave these
our readers. “ Quirinus (nom de knights-errant to settle the point of
Romulus), la traduction literale de honour between them, and to enjoy
Melcarthe, que portoit Hercule chez that cabalistic precedency which
les Tyriens, est une autre preuve no one else will be found to contest
qu'on regardoit Romulus comme le with them.
soleil.” Still more raving, if possi Without detaining our readers
ble, than the Count Gebelin, appear- any longer upon these “ delira-
ed Mons. Volney, with his " Medic menta doctrinäe,” we shall proceed
lation of the Regolutions of Em- to add a few practical considerations
pires.” The sum and substance of suggested by this work.
this notable work is predicated in In the first place, we cannot avoid
the following sentence:

pointing out, from the case before knowledge, in one word, that all the us, especially to our younger theological doctrines, on the origin readers, the extravagancies into of the world, on the nature of God, which those are hurried who depart on the revelation of his laws, and from the plain good old way of relithe appearance of his person, are gion marked out by God himself, nothing more than mere recitals of and trod by the wise and devout of astronomical facts, and figurative every age. Sir William Drumand emblematical representations mond is, though not a first-rate du jeu des constellations *.” With scholar, a man of a glowing imagi. this proposition he endeavours to nation, of extensive reading, and of reconcile the systems of Moses, singular ingenuity in bringing his Zoroaster, Confucius, Brama, and knowledge to bear upon any point

• We do not translate these last words, in question. Perhaps few writers from a real inability 10 give them any of a metaphysical cast have premeaning compatible with common sense,

sented such illuminated manuscripts

1

« We ac

« PreviousContinue »