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fessors, that all the argumerts adduced in its support are not sufficient to overcome their prejudices, and convince them of its divine original. But of such' men what shall we say? Shall we hurl against them the thunder of condemnation? God forbid! To their own Master they stand or fall. To him, then, let us leave then. That Great Being, who formed their minds, and who alone is acquainted with all the circumstances which have contributed to prevent their embracing the truth as it is in Jesus, best caa judge how far their conduct is deserving of cedisure.'
In our opinion, the persons described by our author have no existence; and the supposition of their existence is in dia rect contradiction to scripture. No man ever rejected Christiavity after a diligent and impartial examination of the evi. Odence in favour of it. The evidence, it is true, is not demon.
strative, the subject not admitting of demonstration; but it is such a mass of concurring probabilities, that he -who-weighs it, will be sure to believe that the Christian realigion is from heaven; except he is biassed in favour of a contrary conclusion, by criminal prejudices, or passions, or interests. “If any man," sa:d the great teacher, “will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or I speak of myself."'* In the New Testament, the rejection of
Christianity is always represented as highly criminal, and ex. posing those who are guilty of it to the displeasure of God. The honesty and diligence of infidels and sceptics are wild chinieras. They are only honest in their desire that Christia-. nity may turn out a fable, and diligent in collecting sophismis to fortify their minds in their unbeliet.
• A contrary representation, it appears to us, is likely to be productive of very bad consequences. When once it is believed that a man may innocently reject what there is so much reason to receive as a divine revelation, those who dislike and hate the gospel because it speaks eril of them, will soon conclude that they have the diligence and impartiality that neutralize their infidelity. Their consciences will thus be set at rest by professed advocates of the Christian cause, who invent excuses for what
they should unequivocally condemn. It is of importance to inculcate that Christianity cannot be innocently or safely rejected, in order that an apprehension of the danger of infidelity may be kept up in the minds of wen, and that those who are inclined to renounce the true religion may yet feel the restraint of fear, and be checked at least by every grave authority.
It is extremely inconsistent in Mr. Naylor to maintain, in any case, the innocence of rejecting the gospel. For, speak. ing of the conduct of the Bereans, mentioned in the book of
* John vii, 17.
the Acts, the result of their searching of the scriptures, he "says, was, that many of them believed. * Every inquiry," he adds, ' conducted with the same diligence and liberality, mụst still be productive of a ready reception of the truth, p. 11. Here our author decides what he had before left to the decision of the Supreme Judge; since if every diligent and liberal inquiry into the evidence of Christianity, must issue in "a ready reception of the truth,' it follows, that there are no unbelievers who have made such an inquiry. - In addition to the Discourses on the Evidences of Christianity, this volume contains two more-the one entitled Recti. stude of Conduct of more Value than Rectitude of Opinion'; and the other, the Danger of Evil Habits, and the Importance of a good Education.
The position which the first is intended to confirm is very equivocal and liable to great abuse. The conduct of men is only the embodying of their opinions, and sentiments, and dis. positions. Though a correct behaviour is of vast importance, it should seem that our first care should be to fill the mind with salutary maxims and principles, inasmuch as the means of receiving salubrious streams is to keep the fountain pure and clear, If once the mind is seasoned, if we may so speak, with just and correct opinions, a good life will follow of course, as a good tree brings forth good fruit.
The reasoning that Mr. Naylor employs, in this sermon, is very singular. It is as follows. Our Lord, in refuting the sophism of the Sadducees in favour of their doctrine respecto ing the resurrection, began by saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures :" whereas, in addressing their enemies, he said, “Woe 'unto Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. Now from this our author infers that a good life is better than a sound creed. He forgets that John the Baptist styled the Sadducees a generation of vipers. It is unfortunate for him that it it was the dispositions, not the conduct, of the Pharisees on which our Lord's condemnation fell with the greatest severity. It was new to us to find the Sadducees exalted into virtuous heretics, and the Pharisees set forth as orthodox persons of vicious lives.
Art. XI. The History of Sumatra, containing an Account of the Go
vernment, Laws, Customs, and Maoners of the Native Inhabitants, with a Description of the Natural Productions, and a Relation of the Ancient Political State of that Island. By William Marsden, F. R.S. The third Edition, with Corrections, Additions, and Plates. 4to. pp. about 500. "Longman and Co. 1811. THIS remote island of the Gentiles,' is not one of those dis
tinguished regions of the earth, the names of which are as„sociated in our minds with so many fascinating recollections, derived from history or fable, that knowing or imagining something about them already, we are always eager to grasp at something more. Nor does it very evidently appear, that the country here treated of, has any special claim to notice on other grounds. Every part of the world we live in must, however, be more or less an object of curiosity and interest : and if cur readers will listen to what Mr. Marsden bimself has to say upon the subject of this work, they may very probably be persuaded to think, that the time bestowed on the perusal of it will not be badly employed,
« The island of Sumatra, which, in point of situation and extent, holds a conspicuous rank on the terraqueous globe, and is surpassed by few in the bountiful indulgence of nature, has in all ages been unaccountably neglected by writers. It is true that the commercial importance of Sumatra has much cieclined. It is no longer the Emporium of Eastern riches, whither the traders of the West resorted with their cargoes, to exchange them for the precious merchandize of the Indian Archipelago : nor does it boast now the political consequence it acquired, when the rapid progress of the Portuguese successes there first received a check. That enterprising people, who caused so many kingdoms to shrink from the terrour of their arms, met with nothing but disgrace in their attempts against Achin, whose monarch's made them tremble ic their turn. Yet still the importance of this island, in the eye of the natural historian, has continued undiminished, and has equally, at all periods, laid claim to an attention, that does not appear, at any, to have been paid to it.' Pref.
Contemplating the moral condition of the inhabitants, we beg leave to add, that this hitherto neglected spot has likewise its claims upon the attention of the philanthropist and the Christian. Our readers will not have forgotten, that in a recent publication of Dr. Buchanan's, mention is made of certain bar. barous tribes in the East, who are accustomed, it is said, to kill and devour, not only their criminals and prisoners of war, but also their aged relations. · These cannibals,' says Dr. B. inhabit the interior of the island of Sumatra, on the shore of which is the English settleinent, Bencoolen, or Fort-Marlborough. We have been settled there for a long period, and “trade with the inhabitants for their spices. In return for the
pepper which the natives gave us, it would well become our character as a Christian nation, were we now at length, to of. fer them the New Testament.'*
The greatest portion of what he has described, Mr. Marsden informs us, came within the scope of his own immediate observation; the remainder being either matter of common notoriety, or received upon the concurring anthority of persons, in all respects worthy of the most implicit faith that can be given to buman testimony.' The novelty of the subject, and the knowo qualifications of the author, who had, we believe, been Secretary to the Council at Fort Marlborough, obtained for the two first editions of this bistory, or rather description of Sumatra, which made their appearance so long since as the years 1783 and 1784, a favourable reception. The authenticity and accuracy of Mr. Marsden's derails have but in few instapices been questioned ; and his performance has, by general consent, been classed among the most valuable productions of the kind. It becomes therefore quite unnecessary for us to enter into a detailed account of a well-known work, upon the merits of which the public have already decided. This third edition, the author says, would long since have been prepared for the public eye, had not the duries of an official situation occupied for many years the whole of his attention. The many valuable cominunications, however, which were received from his friends abroad during that period, have enabled him, considerably to improve the work.
Some have supposed that Sumatra has a better right than Sofala, or other parts of Africa, to be regarded as the country of Ophir, whither Solomon sent his fleets for cargoes of gold and ivory. No inference on this subject, Mr. M. observes, can be drawn from the name of Ophir, found in maps, as belonging to a mountain in this island and to another in the peninsula; these having been applied to them by European navigators, and the word being unknown to the natives. Its pretensions, likewise, to be considered as the l'aprobune of the Greek and Roman geographers, notwithstanding it bore that name during the middle ages, must yield to the stronger claims of Ceylon. But we cannot fully concur in Mr, Marsden's opinion, that Sumatra was unknown to those writers. Though he notices a tradition, according to which this island is supposed to have been anciently united to the continent, as well as an observation made by a Portuguese historian, who says that the peninsula of MaJacca had the epithet of golden given to it on account of the abundance of goid carried thither from Sumatra, we do not recollect that the author any where adverts to the conjecture of
* Christian Researches in Asia, p. 102.
Maffæus, 'who thinks that Sumatra, and not Malacca, was itself -the Chersonesus aurea of the antients; which is so much the more probable, as this island abounds with gold, whereas there is none in the country about Malacca. The name of Sumatra, the etymology of which has not been clearly ascertained, Mr.M. thinks is of Sanscrit origin, and may possibly be derived from the word samuntara, which, implying a boundary, intermediate, or what is between, seems not inapplicable to the pecuJiar situation of an island intermediate between two oceans and two straits?.
In shape, and still more in size, Sumatra is said to resemble Great Britain. A chain of lofty mountains runs through its whole extent, the ranges being in many parts double and treble : and betweeu these ridges are extensive plains, with many large and beautiful lakes. The work begins with a general description of these, with the other natural phænomena of the country, its climate, soil, mineral productions, &c. Under the same head we meet with various observations on the Monsoons, Land and Sea Breezes, and Surfs; the causes of which are investigated with the skill
and judgement of an accurate inquirer and able naturalist. The author's hypothesis concernjng the latter we give in his own words.
• The surf begins to assume its form at some distance from the place where it breaks, gradually accumulating as it moves forward, till it gains "a height, in common, of fifteen to twenty feet, when it overhangs at top,
and falls, like a cascade, nearly perpendicular, involving itself as it des"cends. The noise made by the fall is prodigious, and, during the stillness of the night, may be heard many miles up the country. That the surfs
are not, like common waves, the immediate effect of the wind, is evident from this, that the highest and most violent often happen when there is the deast wind, and oice versa. Neither is the motion of the surf observed to follow the cqurse of the wind, but often the contrary. The prodigious surfs, 80 general in the tropical latitudes, are, upon the most probable hy. pothesis I have been able to form, after long observation, and much thought and inquiry, the consequence of the trade or perpetual winds which prevail, at a distance from shore, between the parallels of thirty de. grees north and south, whose uniform and invariable action causes a long and constant swell, that exists even in the calmest weather, about the line, towards which its direction tends from either side. This swell or libration of the sea is prodigiously long, and the sensible effect of its height, of course, so much diminished, that it is not often attended to; the gradual slope engrossing almost the whole horizon, when the eye is not very much elevated above its surface : but persons who have sailed in those parts may recollect that even when the sea is apparently the most still and level, a boat or other object at a distance from the ship, will be hidden from the sight of one looking towards it from the lower deck, for
space of mi nutes together. . This swell, when a squall happens, or the wind freshens. up, will, for a time, have other subsidiary waves on the extent of its sure .