Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ness, not as equal brethren, but as erring and misguided wanderers, and by clearly marking, in all our intercourse with them, that we agree with the words of life, in deeming it offensive for an Uzziah to burn incense; in believing that to obey is better than unhallowed sacrifices, and to hearken, than the fat of rams; and in declaring that rebellion from God's ordinances is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness therein as idolatry and iniquity. I am, Sir, your very obedient humble servant,

E. B.

THE BIBLE SOCIETY. On Thursday, August 19, the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry presided at the eighth anniversary of the Coventry Bible Society. His Lordship said, that although it had occasioned him some inconvenience, he could not suffer the present anniversary to pass without coming forward to express his constant and unceasing attachment to the British and Foreign Bible Society, supported as it was by the most respectable inhabitants of Coventry and its neighbourhood. He highly approved of the Society, and of the object which for five-andtwenty years it had uniformly pursued ; and it was gratifying to him that it had a tendency to promote a union of Christians of all denominations, without compelling them to compromise their principles. He would repeat, that the Society should have his unceasing support, and he wished to see it extend itself through the whole of his large and populous diocese,-a diocese containing not less than 1,000,000 souls. A few days before the meeting, the Rev. W. F. Hook, of Christ Church Oxford, Vicar of Trinity Parish, Coventry, and his curate, addressed the following Remonstrance to the Bishop :

“My Lord,-We feel it to be our duty respectfully to represent to your Lordship the mischief that is likely to result to the cause of religion in this city, from your determination to preside at the meeting of the Bible Society, on Thursday next. Surrounded by dissenting teachers, your Lordship will not be supported by the clergy of this town, with perhaps one solitary exception. And we do earnestly request your Lordship to reflect on the impression which will be made on the minds of our people, when they see their Bishops cooperating with sectarians in promoting measures uncalled for by the exigencies of the place, and inconsistent with the principles inculcated by their more immediate pastors. As far as our own parish is concerned, if your Lordship’s object is to supply us with Bibles, we can obtain all that we require from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; if it be to levy contributions for the speculations of the Society in Foreign Parts, we beg to inform your Lordship that the demands upon the charity of our more opulent parishioners for local purposes are already greater than can be easily met, and that the poor will be injured in proportion as the Society is benefited. We will take the liberty further to observe that your Lordship compels us, in self-defence, to state, to those persons committed to our charge, what our reasons are for declining to support a Society at which our Bishop presides. If we fail to convince them that we are right, we shall expose ourselves to their contempt, and our ministrations will

become ineffectual; if, on the other hand, we succeed, we shall do what is equally to be deprecated, by rendering our Bishop obnoxious to their censures; or, at all events, those who hold to the one side will despise those who hold to the other; and while we are humbly endeavouring to promote harmony and good will in our parish, your Lordship will, unintentionally, be the means of exciting a party spirit, than which nothing can be more detrimental to the sacred cause in which we are engaged. So important it is, in an extensive parish like this, to maintain unanimity and concord, among churchmen at least, that we seriously and solemnly, in the name of our common Lord and Master, entreat and implore your Lordship not to sow among us the seeds of discord. Your Lordship is so honest in the discharge of all that you conceive to be your duty, that we feel assured you will not be unnecessarily offended at our maintaining our own principles with equal honesty and zeal, or at our endeavouring to avert what we have reason to know will be attended with the most mischievous consequences, by causing a division in our flock, and by affording a triumph to Dissenters. On the merits or demerits of the Bible Society, we, at present, say nothing.

Our observations have reference only to your Lordship's supporting it, so far as our parish is concerned, in opposition to our wishes, and in spite of our well-known opinions and principles. With our humble but hearty prayers to Him from whom all good councils as well as all just works do proceed, that he may vouchsafe to direct your Lordship to a wise decision upon the subject, we have the honour to remain your Lordship’s obedient servants,

“Signed, The VICAR and CURATE.” [We submit this letter, without note or comment, to the consideration of every true Churchman.]

PURGATORY. A man need not hunt long in Madrid without finding some church door equipped with its Hoy se saca una alma,—this day a soul has been released from purgatory. It is curious to inquire what has been the ransom, and how many have been the catholic souls ransomed under this scion of the Jewish dispensations in the days of the Maccabees. A bank has existed in the Spanish metropolis ever since the year 1724, and up to the year 1826 it had rescued 13,030,595 souls from purgatorial pains, at an expense-not exceeding one hundred and seventy one millions, five hundred thousand reals ! * Of a truth, the road out of purgatory must be far better paved than the sublunary highways in his Most Catholic Majesty's dominions.

From the 1st of November, 1826, to the same day in 1827, it is stated that 11,402 souls had been redeemed from their durance, and that the ransom amounted to 14,2761. sterling, or twenty-five shillings and one half-penny, little more or less, per head. The number of masses by which, at the instance of the bank, this expurgation had been effected, did not exceed 548,921 : being somewhat more than four-tenths of a mass for each soul.

[blocks in formation]

ce happerular zeal toalled to prenately

aterial, unfo preside, of his high declining

years had disclosed of Bentley's character, that it might have been hoped that the opportunities which it afforded for study would have determined the fate and the fame of the illustrious possessor. But Trinity College happened, at that time, to be manifestly declining; and the Master's irregular zeal to render worthy of his high reputation the society over whom he was called to preside, alloyed, apparently, by some motives of baser material, unfortunately converted this promising scene of peace and studious wisdom into a theatre of exterminative war.

From this period to the latest years of Bentley's protracted life, his time was wholly divided between his critical pursuits, and a struggle to subvert the liberties of his college. The latter object he pursued and achieved with a perseverance, sagacity, and ability, not unworthy a Cromwell or a Napoleon. We shall not attempt even a sketch of his policy in this respect; the subject is far from grateful, and we shall readily resign it for the consideration of those literary and theological undertakings which immortalize his name, and the commemoration of which is best suited to the designation of these pages. Bentley's public “principles" were, in point of liberality," a century in advance ; commencing whig, he afterward dedicated to the Earl of Oxford, and again in the reign of George I. got up a whig address to that monarch on the suppression of the rebellion. This conduct maintained, of course, his interest at court; it was otherwise, however, with the university, where the first scholar of his day was deprived of all his degrees ; but the patronage he had secured was ample for effecting his restoration. To his ejection from his Mastership he paid no manner of attention. It is curious that he was enabled to retain the emoluments and privileges of this office solely by a lapsus calami in the college statutes, which, had it occurred in a classical author, would have been subjected to his critical castigation. The letter of the Fortieth Statute of Trinity College is as follows: “ Porro si dictus Magister coram dicto VISITATORE examinatus, et vel de Hæreseos, vel læsæ Majestatis crimine, &c. vel denique de alio quovis consimili crimine notabili coram prædicto VISITATORE legitimè convictus fuerit, sine morâ per eundem VICEMAGISTRUM officio Magistri priveter." It is obvious that for Vicemagistrum we should here read visitatorem ; yet this clerical error afforded Bentley the means of escaping the Visitor's sentence, by tampering with the Vice-master for the time being, and electing, on the earliest opportunity, a creature of his own to sustain that office.

Before, however, we proceed to the more honourable part of Bentley's life, we will afford our readers a summary of the articles on which he was arraigned and convicted by the Bishop of Ely :-Notorious neglect of public worship in college ; neglect to appoint lec

s, we proour readeted by the

turers on the catechism ; affixing the college-seal to documents in presence of fewer than sixteen fellows, and sometimes against the remonstrances of the whole seniority ; alienation of college estates ; expenditure of college property on private objects, and particularly in bribing one of the fellows to withdraw charges against him. In Bishop Monk's remarks all our readers will concur :

In the perusal of the foregoing narrative, some, perhaps, may have remarked that Dr. Bentley might have been an excellent lawyer; others may have thought his talents adapted for military command: but all must agree that such a display suited any character rather than that of a learned and dignified clergyman.-P. 637.

We have already traced the leading points in Bentley's literary career up to the production of his immortal Dissertation on Phalaris. But the great critic had not been wholly employed in making new acquisitions. He had projected new editions of Philostratus, Hesychius, and Manilius; and he produced a collection of fragments, notes, and emendations to Grævius's Callimachus, which our learned author has thus characterized :

Dr. Bentley's notes and emendations upon Callimachus, and his collection of the fragments of that poet, were drawn up, after repeated interruptions, and transmitted to Grævius for publication during the year 1696: the last batch of fragments he sent to Utrecht on his return to town from Worcester, where he had been passing two months with the Bishop. Grævius's Callimachus appeared in the August following, and presented two extraordinary specimens of Greek erudition; differing from one another, but each constituting a monument to the fame of its author: the collection of fragments by our critic, and the diffuse commentary by Ezechiel Spanheim. The inexhaustible stores of knowledge in mythology, antiquities, and philology, which the latter exhibits, are an object of admiration; and though he overlays the poet with his learning, yet his commentary will always be valued as a mine of information upon every subject of which it treats. The merits of Bentley's performance were different: above four hundred fragments, raked together from the whole range of ancient literature, digested in order, amended and illustrated with a critical skill, which had no example, presented a still greater novelty. There existed no collection of Greek fragments which he could have taken for his model; and Valckenaer, one of the greatest scholars who have trodden in his footsteps, speaking of this collection, says, qua nihil in hoc genere præstantius prodiit aut magis elaboratum.'Pp. 58, 59.

In 1701, Bentley married Mrs. Johanna Bernard, daughter of Sir John Bernard, of Brampton, in Huntingdonshire. In the same year he became Archdeacon of Ely, and, by consequence, a member of Convocation. He now projected editions of classical books for the use of his college, and began with Horace. This edition was ten years in preparation, and certainly was not calculated to sustain his richly merited celebrity. Every scholar will agree with Bishop Monk that Bentley's acquaintance with Latin was greatly inferior to his knowledge of Greek; while a stroke of the pen, or the omission of a letter, are much more influential in the latter language than in the former. Accordingly Bentley's Latin emendations are almost every where forced

and considerable ; while his Greek corrections are brief, neat, and demonstrative. One idea on which he constantly acted was, that an author must necessarily always have expressed himself with the strictest propriety; and wherever his text appeared to deviate from this, an alteration was accordingly obtruded. This assumption is so manifestly contrary to truth, that it is astonishing how it could have been, for one moment, admitted by the discriminating intellect of Bentley. But it frequently happens that the emendation is as devoid of propriety as the original. Thus in the line cited by the Bishop, “ Et malè tornatos incudi reddere versus," where Bentley corrects" ter natos," there is a manifest incongruity between the ideas of “incus” and natus." Whether Horace inadvertently incurred the impropriety which all MSS. exhibit, or whether he considered the metaphors as of too little importance to require reconciliation, so long as their meaning was evident, or whether some unknown particulars of ancient art would harmonize ideas which appear to us as distinct as those of an anvil and a lathe, are different questions ; but Bentley's correction contradicts MSS. and does not effect the consistency for which he contends. Another unfortunate propensity of our great critic was that of seeking a parallel authority for every expression of a classical author, with as much assiduity as if the subject of his criticism had been a modern writer of a dead language. Passages are frequently “slashed" with no better reason than the absence of a similar cast of expression in other writers. Beside these blemishes, which equally affect all Bentley's criticisms on Latin authors, he was, in his Horace, peculiarly unfortunate : having printed his “emended” text before the notes were written, his pride compelled him to the vindication of many “corrections," which consideration must have shown to be indefensible. Upwards of twenty of these emendations he felt it necessary to his reputation to retract. That he has “made Horace dull,” is a verdict which, though pronounced by wit, has been fully ratified by judgment.

While employed on his Horace, Bentley had embarked a portion of his fame on an undercurrent of criticism. Mr. John Davies, Fellow of Queen's College, was publishing an edition of the Tusculan Questions. To these Bentley contributed a body of emendations, exhibiting that skill in the old versification of Latium, which enabled him at a subsequent period to clear, to a great extent, the intricate subject of the Terentian metres. Mr. Peter Needham, Fellow of St. John's College, about the same time, published an edition of the Commentary of Hierocles on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras. To this Bentley supplied a body of emendations and conjectures by no means equally felicitous with those on Cicero. Christopher Wolfius, of Leipsic, immediately published a review of them, and demonstrated, from an

« AnteriorContinuar »