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limbs to the lame, and life to the dead, as a philosopher of Athens.
To the same purpose it is to be observed, that in order to produce assent to the miracles related in the Gospels, we are not called upon to lend our minds to long trains of reasoning, and adopt at last conclusions formed by the evangelists, but we take a plain story related by plain men, and conclude for ourselves.
Hitherto we have been reasoning principally against Mr. Hume's conclusion. It may now be worth while to consider, whether his minor ought to be allowed; or whether, after all, experience is against the existence of miracles. If an advocate for the reality of these mighty works were to reason thus, I affirm that such suspensions of the order of nature have taken place in many ages and countries; surely then they are so far forth agreeable, to experience—what could be opposed to the argument, but that all this is learned from testimony? And how has Mr. H. been able to collect a much wider experience on the other side, but from the same source? In fact, there is partial experience on both sides, and that experience is acquired by means of testimony.
But, in the last place, it will be asked, whether experience be allowed to have no concern in regulating our assent to evidence? Undoubtedly it has a very important concern; for though we have shown that no experience, however extensive, can render all testimony whatever inapplicable to any given facts, so as to constitute them antecedently incapable of proof; yet it has an extensive province of its own, which is, not to sit in judgment upon facts to be proved, but upon the characters of those who are to prove them. Experience will decide that testimony is generally found to be true or false, according to the integrity, oompetence, and original information of the witnesses; and when it hath decided that a union of these circumstances alone, without regard to the nature of the facts to be proved, (supposing them to imply no contradiction,) is entitled to belief, experience, instead of an adversary, becomes a firm and faithful ally of revelation.
*#* Our headers will probably observe, that we have made ample elections from the Christian Observer, for which, we trust, they will be more disposed to thank us than to expect an apology. The first eight volumes of that excellent and popular work were never published in this Country; nor did we know until very lately, that this would ever be the case. However, as few of the same Persons -willprobably subscribe to the republication of those volumes, and to our Magazine, we shall continue to enrich it with tuch articles from the Christian Observer, as may be deemed particularly interesting.
REVIEW OF JYEW PUBLICATIONS:
tHOfl THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.
Letters to the Right Hon. Sir William Drummond, relating to his Observations on parts of the Old Testament, in his recent work, entitled Oedipus Judatcus. By George D'oyly, B. D. Fellow of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, and Christian Advocate in the University. London: Bulmer. 1812.
WHEN our monarchs were Nimrods, and, unoccupied by foreign wars, exhausted their courage upon the quadrupeds and bipeds of their country, large forests were appropriated to the royal huntsmen, and no private individual dared to hurl a dart or fire as arrow upon the royal demesne. But when the bird or beast once overleapt the fence of royalty, then it became the common prey of all his majesty's subjects. This royal monopoly is nearly extinguished, with the taste in which it originated. But there is a spe* cies of literary privilege somewhat analogous to it. It is this:— When publications are circulated only as a gift, they are universally, we believe, considered as private property, and in consequence shielded from the weapons of the critick. But when once produced to the publick in a saleable shape, then they become lawful game, and every man who will, may discharge his piece at them. Now, we dislike all monopolies, and certainly find nothing in this particular monopoly which exempts it from our general condemnation. For what is more deplorable, than that any author, whose fortune sets him above the desire of filthy lucre, should be permitted to inundate the world with a load of blasphemy and licentiousness, without apprehending any check from sound and manly criticism? We had, therefore, no sooner heard of the QLdipus Judaicus of Sir William Drummond, than we felt a strong impetus to break down this barrier between truth and errour. In the mean time, however, Mr. D'Oyly, by taking the work in hand, and by conveying his work to us in the ordinary channel, has both dissolved the spell of which Sir William had endeavoured to avail himself, and, by a bold and able pioneering of the ground, has opened a way for our further attack upon him. The university, of which Mr. D'Oyly is the "Christian Advocate," has taken the lead in many important enterprises; and this honest resistance to privileged infidelity, will accredit both the society and her champion in the eyes of the world. It is our intention, first, to give a brief account of Sir William Drummond's book, of which Mr. D'Oyly supplies us with sufficient extracts; and we shall then proceed to measure his general pretensions as a writer, and his delinqtiencies on this particular occasion. Wc trust that nothing like intemperance of language or sentiment, will escape us in the conduct of this critick; but we do assure our readers, that all such forbearance is absolutely gratuitous, as scarcely any thing can exceed the coarseness and scurrility of his attack upon those guilty of the high misdemeanour of orthodoxy.
The work of Sir William Drummond consists of two parts;— of a preface, in which he attempts to invalidate the orthodox opinions upon the subject of the Jewish Scriptures; and a sort of disquisition, in which he develops his own system.
The preface, which is by far the most intelligible, and therefore the most mischievous part of the work, consists, as we have said, of a series of objections to the orthodox notions on the Jewish Scriptures. The Old Testament is charged, for instance, with representing the Supreme Bring as a local, material Deity, variable in his plans, and disfigured by human passions and weaknesses; as introducing him under familiar forms, and in familiar conversations with his creatures. The orthodox interpreters of the Old Testament are said, moreover, to believe, " that far the greater portion of the human race are doomed to eternal torments because our first parents ate an apple, after having been tempted by a talking serpent." Then the objections, so often hazarded and so constantly repelled, are re-produced, against the "hardening Pharaoh's heart"—the "destruction of the Canaanitish nations," &c. Then the poor Christians, whom the author has hitherto been lashing for their tight-laced and literal interpretations, are charged with their prodigal and licentious interpretation of prophecy. These are the only objections of Sir W. Drummond, examined in the little pamphlet before us. We shall come presently to speak of the replies given to them.
Having, in the preface, cleared away what Sir William considers the rubbish of Christian interpretation, he proceeds, in the body of the work, to erect a temple more worthy of the philosophick worshipper. The Christians, he contends, have fallen into all their errours, with regard to the Jewish Scriptures, by putting a literal interpretation upon them. They, for example, have considered what are falsely called the historical books of the Old Testament, as the real history of a people called the Jews. But Sir William, bolting far beyond that thin surface which meets the eye of the ordinary examiner, has discovered that, far from being a real history of the Jews, it is an allegorical history, (we beg our readers to be composed,) of the reform of the calendar. Our readers, " poor wsy souls," may have fancied that Joshua was real flesh and blood, and the enterprising leader of the Jewish people; but our new prophet instructs us, that Joshua " is the type of the sun, in the *ign of the Ram.v The capture of Jericho, in like manner, " is a 'vpical representation of the overthrow of the lunar months;" and the extermination of the Canaanitish nations, a type of the "extermination of the worship of the heavenly host." "The story of the five kings is an astronomical ullegory relating tothe five inter
Voi. I.—No. I. R
calated days." "Samson is the same as Hercules, and both are types of the sun. The feast of the passover was instituted as > memorial of the transit of the equinoctial sun from the sign of the Bull to that of the Ram or Lamb." Lot is a name easily derived from the Hebrew root, meaning absconcio: Abraham as plainly signifies fiater exceUus. Now it is manifest that " the former it here a type of the moon, and the latter of the sun." In like manner, " this," (the proving the calendars to be erroneous) "I-pretend was done in the allegorical history of the flight from Egypt, and of the passage of the Israelites into the promised land." p. 176. We will add to this a few extracts, given by Mr. D'Oyly, from another part of Sir William's treatise, which at once show the excess to which he systematizes, and the sort of reasoning by which he upholds his system.
"The taking of Jericho" he considers as meaning the * destruction of the lunar months." The proof is as follows:—Jericho (iiv?') is evidently a collective noun derived from (rlv) the moon; therefore Jericho is not a real place, but a word allegorically expressing the moon. Again, because Jerusalem is derived from words signifying " the inheritance of peace," he pronounces Adonizeuek, king of Jerusalem, to be "the sun, who became, by the reform of the calendar, king of the inheritance of peace." In like manner, because the term Canaanite may, though by a very arduous process, be derived from two words signifying to "fix the time," he denies the Canaanites any but an astronomical existence, a residence among the stars. And in the same star-gazing spirit, because the words translated the Red Sea may, if put to the torture, be constrained to signify the concave hemisphere, he contends that the concave hemisphere should be substituted, in Joshua iv. 23, for the Red Sea; though the word is translated, in many passages where the change would introduce gross nonsense, in the same manner; though the Scptuagint thus understood it; and though such a suggestion never, we believe, occurred to any one Jew.— Of the word "Rahab," he says, that it " signifies space, or latitude," and that it was worshiped as a deity by the Sabbaists, who built a temple to Rachab, called Beth-Racab. On that verse which conveys the promise of the land to the Israelites, Joshua i. i, "From the wilderness, and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land shall be your coast;" Sir William instructs us, that Lebanon does not signify a mountain, but is a name for the rising sun; and that the word translated" the river Euphrates" should be rendered " the splendour of the fruit tree," the fruit tree being a symbol of the starry heavens. D'Oyly, pp. 66—70.
Such are the specimens exhibited by Mr. D'Oyly of the CEdipus Judaicus; and the reader may be assured, that these are not the accidental dark spots in a surface of light, but that the whole mass is equally opaque, equally eccentrick in its course, evil in its aspect, and disastrous in its influence.
Having given our readers a specimen of the two parts of Sir William's bo»k, we shall stHl farther defer any regular comment upon them, till, as we proposed, we have attempted to supply our readers with a sort of scale, by which they may be enabled in some degree to measure the authority of this member, (for such he is,) of the privy council. He will not be offended if, in considering his claims in the world of letters and philosophy, we do him less homage than his titles might seem to demand. . He remembers, that even a goddess received a wound when she descended to skirmish with mortals; and when he quits the council chamber for the schools, he must take his lot with common men.
The first work which invested Sir William with some notoriety, (using that word in its epicene or doubtful sense,) was the " Academical Questions." This work was a sort of general insurrection against every opinion held in every age by every philosopher, with the exception of one, whose orthodoxy, upon that single point on which he differed from the great mass of mankind, is strongly upheld. The philosopher is Berkely; and the single tolerated opinion is, that of the non-existence of matter. Sir William, in this any tiling but common-place book, first controverts all established definitions of mind, denies the theory of active and passive powers of the mind, disputes the influence of the mind on the actions, then falls pell-mell upon all substance, and, by a single stroke, annihilates every thing we see, hear, and handle; then from things, or supposed things, proceeds to men, and proves that all philosophy is false philosophy; that the wisest men hitherto have rather cackled than reasoned, and that it remains for Sir William Drummond to raise up, from the scattered fragments of Greek and Roman absurdity, an altar, where those enlightened men who nearly deny the existence of mind, and quite of matter, may fall down and worship. As yet this new system of theology has not been introduced. He has been content, like some modern travellers, to pull down pantheons without rebuilding them; and it remains to this moment, though we shall attempt hereafter to give some light on the subject, a profound secret, what single proposition, or fact, Sir William Drummond thoroughly believes. His philosophy might perhaps be best taught by one vast negation—" I believe nothing that any one else believes."
We have given this account of the " Academical Questions," to show that the task of demolition is not new to the author; that this invader of the sanctuary is also the invader of all those edifices which the wisdom of ages had thrown up around us; that he who cannot believe in the Bible, is unable also to credit the existence «f matter; that, in fact, he has as much faith in the Jewish Scriptures as he has in any thing else. It is true, that many of the idealists by no means admit their system to involve such universal skepticism. But what is the fact? If we deny the existence of •very thing for which we have not the primary evidence of consciousness, we are no more conscious of the existence of other minds, or even of our own minds at any previous moment, than of the existence of matter: therefore the idealist is bound to main