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In taking leave of the subject, we may express our regret that Professor Sedgwick's excellent remarks upon Paley's Moral Philosophy, were not extended to his Evidences. It has often struck us very forcibly, that a new edition of that work, prepared under the superintendence of the University, and embodying in a condensed form, other facts, adduced by later writers, would be highly advantageous to the cause of sound religion. No person can entertain a higher admiration of what has been justly called, his homely strength and clearness of style, and his unrivalled skill in stating and following out his argument. In these qualities he is unsurpassed by any modern theologians. With so many rare recommendations, some imperfections are bound up. The chief of these, is the absence of any chapter upon the divinity of our Saviour; the very corner-stone of the whole struc
When this omission was mentioned to Paley, he is reported to have said, that it did not fall within his plan to enter upon contested doctrines. But the answer, if genuine, is very illogical ; for the entire book must be regarded as a triumphant refutation of controverted doctrinesthe miracles of our Saviour, his resurrection, his prophetic declarations
are not these all disputed points--and disputed too with all the bitterness of polemical and deistical animosity. Yet Paley has
encountered them all. However, this portion of the Evidences is wanting; and I suppose no reasonable doubt can be entertained respecting the propriety of its addition. For, let it be remembered, that upon this fact hangs the whole history of our religion; and in direct proportion to the overwhelming importance of the argument, is the necessity of its lucid statement. It will also have occurred to every careful reader of the Evidences, that in some places, the arguments are not so forcible as they might have been; contented with driving the enemy upon his knee, he does not always wrench the sword out of his hand. An instance of this kind, though not the strongest that might be selected, is met with in the examination of Vespasian's cures of two men at Alexandria, as narrated by Tacitus. What he does say, is said admirably; but he might have said more. At this time, Vespasian was watching at Alexandria for the overthrow of the power of Vitellius, to seize at once upon the empire. At such a juncture, therefore, it was particularly desirable to increase in every way his reputation and influence; and there was no method by which the favour and a certain inclination of the gods towards him *, could be so
Per eos menses, quibus Vespasianus Alexandriæ statos æstivis flatibus dies, et certa maris opperiebatur, multa miracula evenere, quis cæli favor, et quædam in Vespasianum inclinatio numinum ostenderetur.-Historiarum, lib. iv., c. 81.
signally displayed, as by the working of miracles, among a people whom the historian describes as given before all others to superstition.
And in the following chapter, Tacitus confirms the deception by the subsequent conduct of Vespasian. Hence, he says, referring to his alleged cures, Vespasian was actuated by a stronger desire to enter the sacred place, (the temple of Serapis,) that he might consult the Deity upon the affairs of the empire. Having ordered all persons to be driven away from the temple, he entered alone, and after paying his devotions to the God, on looking behind him, he saw one of the chief men among the Egyptians, by name Basilides, who was known to be confined by sickness, at a place many days' journey from Alexandria. He inquires of the priests whether they had seen this person enter the temple; and of others, if they had met him in the streets. At length, he discovers, that at the moment of his appearance, he was eighty miles off. Then he interpreted it to be a divine vision, and from the name of the man, (Basilides, from Cadisus, drew an augury of the success of his enterprise*.
• Altior inde Vespasiano cupido adeundi sacram sedem, ut super rebus imperii consuleret. “Arceri templo cunctos" jubet: atque ingressus intentusque numini, respexit pone tergum e primoribus ÆÆgyptiorum nomine Basilidem : quem procul diAlexandria plurium dierum itinere, et ægro corpore detineri
haud ignorabat. Percunctatur Sacerdotes; num illo die Basilides templum inisset. Percunctatur obvios num in urbe visus sit ? Denique missis equitibus, explorat, illo temporis momento octoginta millibus passuum abfuisse. Tunc divinam speciem, et vim responsi ex nomine Basilidis interpretatus est. -Historiarum, lib. iv., c. 82. See also Keith on the Prophecies, and Quarterly Review, No. CV.
Page 19.—The character of Bolingbroke is, it will be seen, somewhat exaggerated.
Page 35.—Dr. Southey, whose admiration of Sydney is well known, thus writes concerning him to Sir Egerton Brydges :
“ From very early boyhood, when I first read the Arcadia in Mrs. Stanley's modernization of it, Sydney took possession of my imagination. Not that I liked the book the better just in proportion as she had worsened it; for his own language would have presented nothing strange or difficult to me, who had read Shakspeare, and Beaumont and Fletcher, as soon as I could understand enough of them to follow the story of their plays: but she had thrown away the pastoral parts and the miserable pieces of metre with which those parts are encumbered, and therefore I had nothing to interrupt my enjoyment of the romance. Spenser afterwards increased my veneration for Sydney; and Penshurst, when I first saw it (in 1791), was the holiest ground I had ever visited.
Forty years have not abated my love and veneration for Sydney. I do not remember any character more nearly without reproach. His prose is full of poetry,