Page images





NOTWITHSTANDING the several editions of PASTORINI's commentary on the Apocalypse, 'the work is, by no means, heavy on the hands of the booksellers. It may, in some measure, be considered out of print. To satisfy a prevalent desire for a new and cheap edition, the present publication has been strongly urged. Perhaps it may be advanced, without the imputation of heated fancy, that the times, and the signs of the times,' we live in, seem to add a peculiarly new interest to this rare and celebrated production.

The author's views of the awful prophecies, mysteries and judgments contained in the sacred volume, from which he has undertaken to illustrate the General History of the Church, have operated variously, as in course they must, upon various dispositions. In many minds they confirmed the old faith. In some they disturbed, or subverted new opinions. In some they excited, or seemed to excite, anger and ridicule, But, generally,

[ocr errors]

they have been considered ingenioris, interesting, and highly edifying. His admonitions are evidently directed by a spirit of charity, pure and universal-and his illustrations of the sublime text before him exhibit a mind, uncommonly gifted with intuition, assiduity, and deep and discerning research. He seems to have sensibly appreliended that some of the dreadful scourges, menaced in the Revelations, were soon to fall on criminal and unrepenting nations and he forewarns all Christians to strive, by sincere repentance, to avert, if possible, the impending judgment, or, at least, to be prepared for its awful visitations,

Sensible of the precision and brevity of the inspired writer of the Apocalypse, our author examines every word with scrupulous care, and turns his text on every side, in order to ascertain its true meaning. Unlike. former commentators, he confines not his views to the early ages of the Church, but traces the divine economy in her regard from her foundation, through every succeeding period, to the end of time and her final triumphant introduction into heaven. For this arduous undertaking his station, talents, and learning had eminently fitted him

The first edition of the present commentary on the - book of Revelations appeared about the year 1771. It

was soon bought up -- and, after ‘much solicitation, the author consented to the preparation of a second edition with additional remarks.

Although no pains were particularly taken by the author or bis friends to extend the circulation of the work, it soon found its way into foreign countries. A French translation of it was published in 1778; shortly after it appeared in Latin; in 1785 it was translated into German ; and a few years ago, an Italian version was sent to the public. Of the high repute, which this

,boted production has obtained in other countries, we may judge by the following extract from one of the periodical works of the learned Abbe Feller, published in 1786:

Signior Pastorini's work is the only good comment, which England has produced on the Apocalypse-and the nation is much indebted to him, for having contributed to put down the extravagant notions of James I. and of the celebrated Newton, concerning this divine book. It is a learned and edifying performance, in which theology and ecclesiastical history reflect valuable lights on the most mysterious of the sacred writings. The wonderful prophecies it contains, realized as they are by striking, authentic, and public facts, inspire the christian soul with hope and fortitude, and give solemn testimony to the power and veracity of God. What remains as yet undisclosed is already manifesting itself in a sensible manner and the times we live in are fur. nishing a faithful and lively picture.'

It is to be regreted, that the former editors of the work have but too poorly sketched their author's biography. They do not even mention his name—nor do they recollect to tell us, that the appellation of Pastorini is merely significant of his ministry. This neglect gave occasion to a new display of the inventive faculties of Sir Richard Musgrave, in what he is pleased to call, jacosely we should think, his History of the different Rebellions in Ireland. That famous historian calls the present work a translation' it was,' he says, written originally at Rome by a sanguinary bigot of the name of Pastorini ! There is a species of censure, which has all the value of praise. The work was originally written i in England, in the English language, and by an Englishman, under the assumed signature of Pastorini. It is got a translation-it is the original text. The author

is the Right Rev. CHARLES WALMESLEY, D.D. Roman Catholic Bishop, or Vicar Apostolic, of the Western District (in England) - Pellow of the Royal Societies of London and Berlin-and one of the scientific men employed in correcting the old style. This pious, and venerable Divine was not a sanguinary bigot' The whole tenor of his life and writings proves, that he was a most mild and enlightened member of the Christian communion. The work before as abundantly establishes this character. Sir R. Musgrave calls it a piece of folly and blasphemy.' Dr. Milner, a better judge, calls it 'a most ingenious and learned exposition of the book of revelations, calculated, he says in his reply to the Author of the different Rebellions &c, to excite all Christians to lead a holy life, and to prepare for the coming of that awful Judge, before whom Sir Richard Musgrave will be arraigned for his unprecedented malice and calumnies.'*

The present publisher, after many solicitous enquiries, finds himself destitute of materials for a satisfactory biographical sketch of the distinguished individual, whose work he undertakes to re-commit to the press. The following is all that he has been able to collect.

Dr. Walmesley was born in the year 1721, in some part of England. With his parentage we are not made particularly acquainted - but, we may presume on its respectability, on account of the high literary accomplishments, which had been bestowed on him early in life. Gifted with abilities of the first order, and with a heart formed for piety and virtue, he dedicated himself, at an early period of his youth, to the study and practice of religion. His attainments in sacred \iterature, and in mathematical and astronomical investigations soon became conspicuous. The former obtained for him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in the University of Paris. At the

An laquiry into.cortaia vulgar opinions &c. p. 83—2nd Edit, London

age of thirty-five, he was elevated to the episcopal dignity. He was also a member of the learned congre. gation of Benedictins. His valuable contributions to the Philosophical Transactions in the years 1745, 6, 7, &c. - and his joint labours in correcting the old style in 1752 exhibit, altogether, very ample proofs of his mathe. matical learning. Before his return to England, on the close of his collegiate course, he visited many parts of the Continent. During his travels, he wrote several learned tracts. To the loss, however, of the literary world, his manuscripts were unfortunately consumed by the fire, which broke out at Bath, some years since. In that city he died, in the 76th year of his age, and 40th of his episcopacy, having serenely closed a holy life, which gave fresh odour to sanctity,--and new lustre to virtue to religion, and to learning.

« PreviousContinue »