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the talents which it is desirable to see employed on those times and subjects.
VVe hesitated at the very commencement of Mr. Cox's Book, on reading the account of the martyrdom of James, from which we could not fail of auguring ill respecting our progress through his work. That statement is rested on the authority of Hegesippus, a credulous and fabulous writer, whose narrative (if indeed he was its Author) of the transactions at Jerusalem, is no better than a legend. The reader of these " Lives of the "more eminent Fathers," will expect from the Author only authentic details; or should doubt attach to any circumstances which they include, he will expect to find the relations which are of dubious pretension, fairly marked with the necessary caution. In the instance under consideration, he is not admonished of the unsafe ground which he treads ; and unless he obtains some better guide, he must inevitably fall. 1'he most competent and impartial writers have already pronounced a judgement on Hegesippus, which is directly contrary to Mr. ■ Cox's, and which, we apprehend, is in accordance with truth. We are however bound in justice to the Author to notice, that instances do occur in his work, of the proper expression of disapprobation at the means by which Christianity received many of its early injuries.
It is somewhat curious that a minister of the Church of England should speak of Tertullian's censuring with ' deserved • severity,' the pretensions of the Bishop of Rome to forgive sins:
4 " I hear," says he, "that a decree, a peremptory decree, ha* been issued. The chief pontiff, forsooth the bishop of bishops, declares, 'I Absolve Penitents From The Sins Of Adult Ky And Fornication!' O edict, pregnant with every abomination!" Shortly afterwards he adds: "Who can pardon sin, but God alone i This is, indeed, the prerogative of the Lord, not of the servant; of God himself, not of the priest." '! p. 217.
Has Mr. Cox never absolved penitents from their sins? How can the edict, Tertullian's censure against which he approves of, be ' pregnant with every abomination,' any more than the rubric of his own Church, which directs ' the Priest' to absolve the transgressor from all his sins? Mr. Cox surely cannot allege that the rubric directs absolution to be given after confession; for does not the ' abominable edict1 limit absolution to the penitent? and a* for the ' sins of adultery and , fornication,1 are they not included in the authority claimed by the ' Priest1 of the English Church, to absolve sinners from all their sins? Nomine mutato, de tefabula narratur.
The common place details of this volume are not redeemetJ, in any instance, by original disscussions, nor relieved by any beauties of style.
Vol. X. N.S. Y
Art. IX. The Biblical Cyclopedia; or Dictionary of the
Scriptures: intended to facilitate an Acquaintance with the Inspired Writings. By William Jones. 8vo. 2 vols. Price 11 I6s. 1816. TVJ"R. JONES is already advantag 'ously known toourreaders, •*•*•*• as the Author of a very interesting" History of the Wal"denses," which was noticed in our July Number, 1816. In reYiewingtbat' work, we particularly remarked the Author's veneration for the original and simple institutes of Christianity, which have been so widely and grossly corrupted, and the purity of bis attachment to Christian Liberty. In the publication now before us, we recognize the same inestimable but rare qualities. It is evidently Mr. Jones's object in this, as in bis former production, to represent the religion of Christ as in its genuine form; to exhibit it, not as it has generally been seen, distorted and debased, but in its original beauty and adorned with its native attractions, as displayed by its Author. We only do justice to the labours of Mr. Jones, in describing them as designed to 'serve and adapted to promote the cause of primitive Christianity. There are several important articles in the present compilation, which have left on our minds so strong an impression of their excellence in this respect, as to obtain from us this commendation in limine, though, at the same time, we are not fully prepared to vindicate the propriety of allotting so much space to them as they fill in these pages. But the Author would perhaps urge that this is included in his plan, which professes to facilitate an acquaintance with the inspired writings. Still we think that the discussions of the doctrines of Scripture would be mora appropriate to a work different from the present. So luminously, and usefully, however, are some important topics of Theology treated in these volumes, that we admit the Author to all the benefit of the plea he may be disposed to urge in favour of the execution of his work.
'To facilitate an acquaintance with the inspired writings,' is a most praise-worthy employment, in which, during a succession of ages, learned and excellent persons have engaged, either as translators or commentators. To these labourers in sacred literature every Christian owes great and lasting obligation. If the reader of a classic peruses the notes and illustrations of an edition with grateful recollections,—if the prose of Herodotus, and the lyrics of Pindar, are read more intelligibly and morq pleasantly, as elucidated by a Wesseling and a Heyne,—the student of the sacred writings, who reads and understands them, cannot but feel how much he is aided in his progress by the lights which Biblical scholars exhibit. These lights" however are so numerous, and their rays are so scattered, that it has become a useful and necessary service to select, and •oncentrate a portion of them, for the benefit of those who cannot have arcpss to the original sources of instruction. Many who are desirous of possessing the means of understanding the Scripture*, are nnable to purchase large and costly volumes, while their situation precludes them from the use of the most celebrated works of Biblical and Theological literature. Those who are furnished with these, are little aware of the difficulties with which their less favoured brethren have to contend, while perplexed with a geographical or a chronological question, which they have no means of solving. 'A Dictionary of the Bible,' OT a • Biblical Cyclopaedia', would be to many inquiring and excellent men, an inestimable acquisition.
That such works should answer their purpose, in the best manner, it is necessary that they embody only the most useful articles, ami that they be of a moderate price. Calmet's Dictionary is a most valuable book, but to many it is altogether inaccessible by its price. The rich may command literary Works; it is for a v, ry different class of persons that such a compilation as we are alluding to, is wanted. Mr. J. has we think somewhat overlooked the pecuniary incompetencies of many scholars, in extending some of his biographical articles to an unnecessary length, as in those of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, &c. A simple reference to the inimitable history of Joseph, as described in Genesis, wou'd have been amply sufficient. This fiistory can indeed be read only in the Bible. We state this objection simply for the purpose of suggesting an appropriate brevity in the insertion 01 common topics.
The Geographical part of the work is" very respectably executed, though not by any means faultless. Many of the articles in this division might have been enlarged with advantage, as in the examples of Philadelphia and Smyrna, of which, and of some other places, more particular and interesting accounts might easily have been furnished. The distance of places should have been regularly noted. We shall extract the description of Corinth.
'Corinth, a renowned city, the capital of Ac-haia, situated on the Inilmius which separates the Peloponnesus from Attica. This city was o-ie if the most populous and wealthy of all Greece. Situated ahout the middle of the Isthmus, at the distance of about sixty stadia from the sea, on either side, it drew the commerce of both the east gnd the west frcin nil parts. The surrounding country being mountainous and rather barren, the inhabitants were not much addicted to agriculture, but from their local situation, they possessed singular advantages for commerce which they carried to a great extent. The natural consequences of an extensive commerce were wealth and luxury; fostered in this manner, Corinth rose in magnitude and gr indeur, and its elegant and magnificent temples, palaces, theatres, and other public buildings; adorned with statues, columns, capitals, and bases, not only rendered it the pride of its inhabitants, and th* admiration of strangers, but gave rise to that order of architecture which still bears its name. Besides the citadel, built upon a mountain, which overlooked the city, and which was called Acro-Corinthiw, the works of art which principally displayed the opulence and taste of the Corinthians, were the grottoes raised over the fountain Pyrene, sacred to the Muses, and constructed of white marble: the theatre and stadium, built of the same materials, and decorated in the most magnificent manner: the temple of Neptune, containing the chariots of that fabulous deity and of Amphitnte, drawn by horses covered over with gold, and adorned with ivory hoofs: the avenue which led to this edifice, decorated on the one side with the statues of those that had been victorious at the Isthmian games, and on the other, with rows of tall pine trees.
« Corinth was scarcely less celebrated for the learning and ingenuity of its inhabitants, than for the extent of its commerce and the magnificence of its buildings. The arts and sciences were here carried to such perfection that Cicero terms it, " totius Greciffi lumen," the light of all Greece; and Florus calls it, "Greciae decus," the ornament of Greece. Seminaries abounded, in which philosophy and rhetoric were publicly taught by learned professors, and strangers resorted to them from all quarters to perfect their education. Hence the remark of the Roman poet Horace, " Non cuivis homini contigit adire Corinthum." It does not fall to the lot of every one to visit Corinth. The lustre, however, which this famous city derived from the number and genius of its inhabitants, was greatly tarnished by their debauched manners. Strabo intbvms us that, " in the temple of Venus at Corinth, there were more than a thousand harlots, the •laves of the temple, who, in honour of the goddess, prostituted themselves to all comers for hire, and in consequence of these the city was crowded and became wealthy." Lib. viii. p. 581. It is accordingly known that lasciviousness was carried to such a pitch at Corinth, that the appellation of a Corinthian, given to a woman, imported that she was a prostitute.
• Such was the state of Corinth when the great apostle of the Gentiles came to preach the gospel there, in the year of Christ 52.'
Of the Biographical articles we give the following sample.
• Gallic, the proconsul of Achaia, was brother to the celebrated Seneca, the philosopher, who dedicated to him his treatise on Anger. He was a person of a mild and amiable disposition ; and seems to have conducted himself with considerable prudence in his official capacity. While Paul resided at Corinth, the unbelieving Jews, enraged at the progress the gospel was making in that city, particularly among the Jews, "accused him of teaching men to worship God contrary to their law," Acts, xviii. 12, 13, and dragged him before Gallio's tribunal, who, as proconsul, then took up his residence >u Corinth. But Giillio refused to hear their complaint, and to!c! them that if the matter in'question respected a breach of t'ie puWic peace, or any act of injustice, he should think himself ob)>jred to hear it patiently, but as it merely regarded a question of tru ir law, he declined to interfere in it. So far Gallio may have acted right; but when the rabble proceeded to seize Sosthenes the chief ruler oi the synagogue, and beat him before his tribunal, without trial or proof of guilt, he certainly ought to have interfered, and protected an unoffending man from their violence: and in that instance his conduct was censurable.'
The view which is given by Mr. Jones, of many subjects included in the Bible, is very different from that which has been taken by some other writers, whose early formed prejudices have perverted their minds from the proper means of forming a correct determination on their merits: such are the questions which involve the character of the Christian Church, its Institutes, and its Ministers. To judge of these aright, the New Testament alone is sufficient, and is exclusively the testimony and the evidence which we must consult for principles and practice of Christian obligation. Instead however of endeavouring to obtain (he know! dge of Christian law from this depository, for the purpose of defining and maintaining the external relations of Christian societies, the actual usage of communities over which a secular spirit has diffused its influence, has supplied the means of settling the question; and hence, with but few exceptions, there is found, in modern churches, an order of things different from that which marked the constitution and practice of the primitive societies of believers. It has been but seldom that a recurrence to first principles has guided religious Reformers. Some of the early Puritans, the Brownists, and the Baptists, seem to have struck out the proper lights for their conduct, as persons diligently inquiring the way in which they should go. They however had but few followers, and in the churches of the Nonconformists much is still wanting to purify their usages and to complete their resemblance to the primitive societies of Christ's followers. The social feature of Christianity is in some communities entirely lost, and in others scarcely discernible. With these defects in their character, the persons who have contracted the responsibility attached to the oversight of Christian churches, are yet quite satisfied with them 1 And could this be, if the laws of the Christian economy exclusively were adopted and applied to practice? A comparison of ourselves •with others may induce a feeling of complacency in regard to ourselves; but the method to be adopted, as of prime utility in effecting our radical amendment, is a comparison of ourselves with the rules prescribed for our obedience. Christians will 'therefore never bring their institutes into the form which it is intended they should bear, till, discarding every other mode of determining their character, they examine them by the delineations exhibited in the Scriptures. To these Mr. Jones has paid particular attention. Many of the articles in his present work, are directly relative to the subjects of Christian fellowship and discipline; and though, as we have already intimated, some doubt as to the propriety of their insertion may be felt while the