« AnteriorContinuar »
paratory religion, and also with feveral passages of the New
Testament, as well as with his Lordship’s Sermons and Dircourses on Prophecy.
His Lordship’s great principle, concerning the end of the Law, is, that the Jewish church was founded to preserve, and to administer the hopes, which had been revealed to the Patriarchs; and there, according to the Bifhop, were the hopes of eternal life, to be procured by the Redeemer of mankind. As it is agreed on all hands, that the law was instituted to preserve the doctrines which had been the foundation of the Patriarchal religion, the queftion to be debated with his Lordship is, whether the law was given to adminifter and preserve the doctrine of Redemption and a future State, which, according to him, was one of tho'e doctrines. The Bishop, who follows the common opinion, fupposes that the Patriarchal and the Christian religion were, indeed, one and the fame. The point, therefore, to be considered is, whether the law was appointed to adminifter and di pense the fundamental articles of the Gospel. And here, our Author says, he has the pleasure to observe, that the bare ftating of the question feems sufficient to expole the grossness and extravagance of the system he is going to confute. He goes on, however, to few, that his LordDip's tuprofition is inconsistent with the nature of the law, considered as a preparatory or introductory dispensation.
• If we confider,' says he, the state of religion under the « Mosaic dispensation, we fall find, that both in its nature
and end it bears all the marks of a preparatory system. And can we infer from the nature of such an institution, that it
was given to administer and dispense the great hopes and < promiles of the final and ultimate religion? The contrary o cannot but be the truth. But let us consider the case a little more diftinctly. • The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has informed
us, that the law contained only a shadow, or nothing more • than the bare rudiments and elements of the Gospel. But is • it natural or reasonable to imagine, that infants and pupils, « trained and disciplined under the mere elements and rudiments 6 of the Gospel, were ripe for its more sublime and perfect • doctrines. And yet this must have been the case, if the law
was appointed to preserve and administer the hopes and pro( mises attached to the spiritual covenant. The passing thro'
this previous discipline of mere carnal elements, could serve
no other purpose than to mispend their time, and retard their ' progress towards greater and better things, if, indeed, these things were due to their dispensation,
• It is unaccountable his Lordship should suppose, that the Jews were the proper objects of two such different methods < of discipline, and instruction, at the same time. There
must have been something very singular and uncommon in 6 the character of this people, if they were so dull and cloudy • in one quarter of their heads, as to need the mere carnal • rudiments of an introductory fyftem, and yet so spiritual • and enlightned in the other, as to be qualified to receive the
sublime truths of a final and ultimate religion. All this is just as natural as it would be to teach children their horns I book, and the Esay on Human Understanding, at the same 6 time.
• The absurdity will rise still higher, if we consider the argument in another light. According to his Lordship, the
principal branches of the Christian religion had been revealred in the Patriarchal covenant; and yet the rudiments and • elements of this religion were delivered afterwards in the « law. But is it possible, that persons previously inftructed in o the more sublime parts of science, should after this be taught ( their elements; or that their time could be usefully employ
ed in learning them over again? It is directly inverting the « natural order of things, to suppose, that the more sublime « brances of science were delivered first, and the mere rudi
ments and elements taught afterwards. At least, his Lord
ship will own, that the method of teaching divine wisdom (was juft the reverse of that employed by the masters of bu
For it is usual with these to begin with the rudiments, 6 and to ascend gradually to the more perfect and sublime « principles. But here the more perfect and sublime are taught • first, and the Study of the elements reserved for a more ma< ture and advanced age.
« His Lordship aften speaks of the law, as being a prepaoratory system. And such it would properly and strictly be, - if it contained nothing more than the bare rudiments of the • Christian Faith. But if you say, it likewise taught the fu« « blime doctrines of the final and ultimate religion, you will
unavoidably make it something more than a mere preparatory
system. On this supposition it might as well be called the « Gospel as the Law.'
Our Author advances a great deal more on this subject, but we must not enlarge. The last chapter contains an enquiry, how far the doctrine advanced in his Lordfhip’s fixth Sermon, affects the argument of the Divine Legation; how far it tends to establish the credit of Moses and the Prophets ; and how far it is consistent with the other parts of his Lord
ship's theological system. But our Readers moft excuse our not giving any abstract of this part of the performance, as we have already dwelt so long upon the other parts of it. We Thall conclude, therefore, with observing, that such as are desirous of being thoroughly acquainted with the nature of the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and with the controversy between Dr. Warburton and his opponents, will find their account in reading what our Author has advanced ; as he seems carefully to have studied his subject, and writes in a clear, fenfible, and spirited manner.
Poems facred to Religion and Virtue. By Thomas Drummond,
LL. D. 8vo. 2 s. 6d. Wilson and Durhamn.
HAT the divine language of poetry' (fays the Doc
tor in his preface) was first employed in honour of religion and virtue, is a truth well known, and established • from the testimony of all ages, as well as from those re
mains of poetical antiquity that have been handed down among all the nations of the known world. How far it has degenerated from its original purity; how far it has been
corrupted, by an inundation more fatal than that of the • Goths and Vandals to the language of Rome; how far im• piety and profaneness have stole the sacred fires and have
prostituted it to the worst and vilest purposes ; are truths generally known, and generally lamented, by all who have
any regard to the sacred muse, and those hallowed purposes < to which, in her primeval innocence, she was principally intended.'
He then proceeds, with as little argument, and more flowers, to shew, that music, painting, statuary, and architecture, were likewise designed, in their first institution, to serve the same noble purpose.
• The most capital works,' says he, of all the great masters in the fine arts, are dedicated to religion,
excepting poetry alone. 'Tis but here and there we find a < Bard that tunes the sacred lyre.
lyre. How many noble subjects remain unsung? What glorious themes might be drawn from numberless places of the Holy Scriptures, for all the different branches of that divine art. Had the poets imitated the painters, what instruction might have been conveyed !
what grand and solemn descriptions given !- But I amafraid," laments the Doctor, there is but small reason to expect that .poetry can ever be brought to draw her strength from such
pure and uncorrupted springs ; while the taste of the generality of mankind is fo tainted; while infidelity, and impiety go hand in hand, openly in the face of the fun, and a contempt of every thing that is religious, is a distinguishing mark of politeness, and the Holy Scriptures a certain fund • of ridicule; while the flowing and well-turned period of a • Shaftsbury, the frothy writings of the Independent Whig,
and the stupid conclusions of a Tindal, outweigh the acuteness of a Locke, the folidity of a Boyle, and the demonstra
tions of a Newton; it is no surprize if the loose strains in • Charles the second's reign, and others of the same stamp, < should attract more attention than the serious numbers of a • Prior or a Young.' O tempora! O mores! But is all this strictly true? Notwithstanding the poor reception any thing upon
sacred • fubjects meets with from the world, I have ventured,', continues the Doctor, to throw in the following pages, as a mite
into the treasury of religion and virtue.' This, however, he generously proposes to make a talent in a future poetical entertainment for the Sundays and Holidays throughout the year, either taken from the season, or the subject of the epistle or gospel for the day; which he presumes may produceno irrati*onal amusement, especially to young persons, as it is calculat
ed to promote the interest of true religion ; to paint it in all its own native beauty of colouring, divested of that gloom
with which dark minds have obscured it; to draw the social « duties in the most amiable view, and diffuse universal bene. « volence to the human mind.'
How far the Doctor has done this, in the present work, better than his predecessors, Herbert and Norris, or his cotemporaries, the gentlemen who write hymns and spiritual songs for the Methodists and Moravians, the reader will presently be enabled to judge.
The least that we expect from any son, or pretended son, of Apollo, is, Harmony of versification : whether this gentleman's performances may boast much of that excellence, the following lines will fhew; and first, from page 38.
To say that Beauty's frail, will seem more odd,
Than doubt of Providence, or disbelieve a God. From his Grotto of Calytja, described in, what he deems, blank verse.
And now appears the portal of Calypso's grot.
Severest pain, and can with indignation spurn.
Page 78. Morning Adoration,
Hail Thou! whose forming hand to Being rais'd
The human frame, body and soul; diftant-
"Tis these that blaze in every grace of thine,
And brighten a mortal beauty to divine. We Thall not entertain oar Readers with any more proofs of the Doctor's musical ear, but shall inform them, that he is equally to be admired for his use of the Pleonasm; a figure in which some of the present tribe of poetical gentlemen seem greatly to delight: wisely and learnedly, no doubt, considering that the Greek poets had not only a great advantage over us, in their number of syllables in a line, but also in their practice of introducing words, which, tho’ they added not to the thought, were yet of use to fill up the measure. They also, doubtless, knew, that the Bards of Italy are still in poffeffion of fome of these supplemental expressions; and therefore resolved, for the benefit of their rhiming countrymen, by ringing changes on the same thought, to improve upon the Greeks and Italians. Accordingly, we have had several very eminent professors of this
Indeed, from time to time, some Critics have arose, who, maliciously bent on making Authors think when they write, have been deadly foes to this notable embellishment, Of this number was Pope; who not only wholly banished the pleonasm from his writings, but unluckily influenced others who aspired to poetical fame, to discard it likewise. But we have reason to congratulate ourselves, that in these our days, many are beginning to repossess themselves of this old immunity, and instead of making one thought suffice for one heroic line, have determined not to admit a single thought into a poein. Some such we have lately had occasion to celebrate.
Our Author, indeed, does not by any means go so far as these, but contents himself with the antient use of the figure: as the following instances will shew. The first couplet is found in page 51.
Defire of glory throbs in every part,
Thy works, tho' yet unknown, the future age