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• the slow winding Mincius is lost,1 &c. and, ' at the conflux
* of the lake and river.' Cannot a river be lost to us, when we are tracing it upwards? We say the Nile was lost in the mountains to the ancients, merely because they could not trace it further. Conflux does not necessarily mean the flowing into; here it merely means that the waters of Benacus and the Mincio are mingled together. That Gibbon could not make the mistake here attributed to him, we may argue from the circumstance mentioned by the Author himself, that he mcntious the gradual inclination of the mountains from the lake, in the quotation from Virgil. Those who examine the note, will find also that Gibbon did not make the alleged mistake with regard to Maflfei. In the references to the pages indicated, Maffei illustrates the topography ; hedoesnot speak merely of the course of the river. What then does Mr. H. mean by saying,
More strange still is the reference to Maffei, who, so far from alluding to a conflux,' &c.? The Italian quotation means: Who wrote, that the situation of this memorable event was, where the Mincio opens into the Po, has no authority of ancient authors.' What contradiction is herein contained to
Mr. Gibbon? or why, as Maffei does not deny that the Mincio
flows into the Po, quote it at all?
At page 112, note s,.'Mr. Gibbon/ it is said,' has observed that the Greek writers are apt to confound the times and actions of Gregory the lid. and I lid. (cap. xlix. p. 132, note 20, vol. ix. 8vo.) and by some accident the following extraordinary error has been left in his text. "In his distress the first Gregory had implored the aid of the "hero of the age, of Charles Martel." (ibid, page 1.47.) The first Gregory had been dead more than a century. The historian could hardly mean the first of the lid. and Hid which would be too equivocal an expression: beside which there was but a letter written, and there are some doubts as to the embassy of Gregory II. to Charles Martel; and the decided, perhaps repeated, supplication to him was from Gregory Hid. (See Muratori, torn. iv. p. 286, ad an. 741.) Nor does this mistake look like an error of the press, to be read, " Gregory had first implored," &c. since the application to Pepin was made by Stephen lid.'
Here, again, is a strange confusion on the part of our Author. Not fewer than three historical errors of his own occur in the last two lines. First, his words imply, that Stephen lid. reigned before the Gregories, which is false, as there was an interval of ten years between the pontificates of Gregory Hid. and Stephen the lid. A second error is, his allowing the possibility of any address to Pepin being before that time made by the Gregories, who addressed Charles Martel, the predecessor of Pepin. The third error is, his making Stephen the 11.!. address Pepin, when he was, during only four days, adorned with the Papal tiara, the last two of which he passed in a state of insensibility. It was Stephen the Hid. who crossed (lie Alps to seek the aid of the French king1. But as to Mr. Gibbon, in the 1(1 li chapter, he had been speaking of the two ant iconoclast Gregories, as alike in danger from Liutprand, alike in enmity with the Greek emperor from his heresy, alike anxious for the allegiance of the Neapolitan and Beneventine feudatory princes; it was therefore natural, and certainly it was no error, to speak of Gregory the lid. as the first of those mentioned in this chapter; and hence to say, 'the first Gregory implored;' especially as there could be no confusion with Gregory the Great, even if this paragraph was read by itself, from the circumstance of his uniting his name so immediately with that of Charles Martel.
But enough • We hope that by what we have here adduced, we may have enabled the reader to form a just and accurate opinion of the value of these Illustrations. We need not, therefore, fatigue ourselves any more with lifting ponderous folios, in order to expose the errors of Mr. Hobhouse, who, if he had employed the time and labour he has wasted upon this work, in the search of truth, would have done himself morecredit ; and had he at the same time laid aside some of his flippancy, he might have rendered a service to the literary world.
Art. III. Illu'-trations of the Divine Government; tending to shew that every Thing is under the Direction of Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, and will terminate in the Production of Universal Purity and Happiness. By T. Southwood Smith, M.D. Second Edition, Considerably enlarged. 8vo. pp. 303. London, 1817.
r|1HERE are topics of great reputed difficulty, that, in truth, •*- are difficult only when we overstep the boundary with which an enlightened good sense would circumscribe our inquiries. Within this boundary there is hardly a path that deserves to be called perplexing; beyond it, all subjects are almost equally uncertain; and if one shall seem less so than another, it will he that which, being the least exposed to the test and contradiction of experience, admits of our thinking ourselves informed purely because \ve want the means of being apprized of our ignorance. When the superficial and the rash transgress the boundary to which we refer, they return laden with as many plausible fallacies, as many demonstrated and illustrated absurdities, as would employ a long life to confute. If the modest and intelligent follow in the same track, they will, most probably, encounter distressing embarrassments, which may leave them ever after hesitating in conduct, and unhappy in reflection. It is the property and distinction of a strong and sane mind, to ascertain with pre
cision, Ibis limit, and when ascertained, to stand firmly upon it under seductive influences. A multiplicity of questions on the most interesting subjects may be proposed, upon which an individual thus endowed, so far from pretending to have an opinion, will be forward to acknowledge his utter incompetency for arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. But at the same time, there is no tone of them with respect to which he will not wish to have a clear idea of the, nature and extent of its bearing upon known and practical principles. Nor is there, we imagine, a single subject within the range of thought, which, on any account, requires us, by a perpetual effort, to hold up, as it were, a screen between it and ourselves, or to prevent it, as by force, from ever being submitted to our contemplation. All that seems needful is, to keep in view the distinction between forming an opinion upon the question itself, and viewing it with a steady eye, in the relation it bears to our conduct or feelings. In many cases, to attempt the former, betrays unequivocally the most vulgar presumption; designedly to shun the latter, is not less characteristic; of a feeble and narrow understanding. To know all things is not the privilege of man; to think justly and wisely onj every subject which is presented to the mind, is the true glory of his intellectual nature.
These remarks seem applicable to all speculations having for their object the final destinies of mankind, and they appear peculiarly appropriate, when discussions relative to the doctrine of Future Punishment are introduced. This subject, viewed apart from hypothesis, must be acknowledged to lie within a narrow compass; but if pursued in that spirit of licentious speculation, which builds with the like careless confidence, upon, distant analogies, as upon the most complete induction, it will we believe, rarely fail to involve the mind, eventually, in all the thick darkness of Atheism. Those who commence an argument, with the determination of proving that what is apparently wrong, is really right, and that evil is but a temporary modification of good, (and this is the very essence of the reasoning now before us.) must have resolved to halt in an inconsistency, if they do not soon profess their conviction, that the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is arbitrary, or wholly unmeaning. Now, the line which divides this sentiment from atheism, we consider as having no reality. Once destroy the idea of the essential and eternal difference between good and evil, and the moral attributes of the Supreme Being may be talked of, but they can no longer be realized; and when the mind has advanced so far, it is alone the odium and the terror of the name, that prevent it from recognising the proper atheism of its opinions, under the mask of a self-existent, many-functioned animal, called the Universe.
Vol. X. N.S. 2 E
We are not aware that Dr. T. Southwood Smith has advanced any thing essentially new, in support of the position he labours to establish. This indeed is hardly to be expected. As the argument is altogether hypothetical, when once stated, it admits of no additions, and must present itself very nearly in the same light to every mind. It is however an argument peculiarly susceptible of that sort of specious decoration, which serves well to conceal the flagrant temerity of its assumptions. Dr. S. avails himself of this advantage, with perhaps as much facility as any of his predecessors in the same field. He •writes, moreover, in a pleasing style, and the volume conveys an impression of the mild and an;iable temper of the Author, as well as of that kind of contemplative benevolence, which, though it is often rather cheap, and somewhat inefficient, goes, in a book, as far, with the mass of readers, towards recommending the opinions of the writer, as the most substantial reasoning.
We might complain of a great deal of somewhat gross misrepresentation occurring in different parts of this volume; but, as it is apparent that the Author views the subject altogether under a mistaken aspect, we are quite willing to substitute the term misapprehension for misrepresentation: we readily acquit him of ill design and perverse exaggeration. Were it not, however, that we cannot retail sentiments so offensively profane, vre might for a moment assume the language of Hume, or of Rousseau, and remark upon that doctrine of Future Punishment which Dr. S. himself admits, in very nearly the same terms that he employs, when he speaks of the common opinion on the subject. • The existence of Moral Evil, with its consequences as implied in the Christian System, is a tremendous fact, which will supply inexhaustible materials of odious and plausible railing to all who shall choose, for this purpose, to stand upon sceptical ground. But nothing can be more inconsiderate, disingenuous, or unworthy, in the professed friends of Revelation, than to infect the weapons of religious controversy, with a poison drawn from the same source.
As to Dr. Smith's reasoning, it may indeed appear perfectly conclusive to those who are willing to admit certain leading positions on which the whole is made to rest, as unquestionable truths. To us, this assumed ground-work of the argument appears to indicate a total misconception of almost every point implicated in the question; particularly the Moral perfections of God—the true nature of Evil—the actual state of the human system—and the purport of the Redemption proclaimed in the Gospel. We must, for the sake of brevity, reduce under two or three heads, the notes we have made on almost every page of this volume. But, first, we shall beg to present the subject to the reader, under the aspect in which it appears as a matter of practical concern, and separated from all uncertain speculation. Tims viewed, it seems to us hardly to demand any discussiou beyond the plain statement oi' the case.
Let us then suppose, that we hear men address their fellowmen on the subject of religion, who, so far from pretending to promulgate their own particular opinions, distinctly profess tbemselves to bo charged with a special message to mankind from God. Under those external circumstances which designate their engagement in the discharge of this peculiar function, we hear them announcing, in unequivocal terms, and with the most solicitous exputialion, the news that, even should men live and die in cordial rebellion against their Maker, and finally reject his proffered mercy, there is yet in store for them an infallible hope of eventual and endless felicity. Now, surely, the infinite importance and the very serious nature of such a declaration, demand from these bold men, a distinct and satisfactory reply to the reasonable inquiry, "By what authority "say ye these things f"
Let the subject be viewed on every side. It is obvious and unquestionable, that the revelation of the Divine will, given to the world by Jesus Christ, is prominently a promise of immortal life and happiness to those who nhalt repent and believe. So far, there is no controversy. Christianity is eminently and distinctively an announcement of glad tidings to a certain class of mankind, namely, to the Good; uot those who arc such when they hear it, but those who become such in embracing and obeying it. The question, however, at present in dispute, is this: Do the written instructions which form the rule of that embassage which is committed from age to age to the ministers of religion, contain any secondary or provisional promise for the encouragement of the finally impenitent and unbelieving? Do they include what might with strict propriety be termed, A Gospel for the Damned? In a case like the present, where to attempt a formal answer would seem like offering an insult to the common sense of the reader, all that can be done, is to vary the terms of the inquiry. As a matter of fact, then, we might ask, Have we evidence of any kind, from which it may be gathered, that it was the custom of our Lord, and ol his Apostles, to do, whut is ordinarily done in the present day by certain persons cailing themselves Christian inim-t -.—that is, explicitly, unequivocally, and with * laboured assiduity of argument, to proclaim this second Gospel to those who might think good to reject their first Gospel? It is clearly not enough to s»y, that our Lord and his Apostles, in speaking of the perdition of ungodly men, employed terms which may possibly ;,o so interpreted, as not to imply an absolute contra