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Mr. Salt says, to give an idea of the dependance of the chiefs of the Ras, in Abyssinia, it is necessary to observe that some of those who were clothed most richly, and were followed by the most numerous suites, held the offices of chief butler, chief cupbearer, &c. The splendid suite and attire of the king's cook,—the master of the band, -the golden horn-blower, and others are in a similar manner alluded to by Mr. Bowdich, as most striking on their entrée into Coomassie, the capital of the recently visited kingdom of Ashantee.-Bowdich's Essay, p. 19.
It would far exceed our limits to enter fully upon so extensive a subject as that included under the term Divination. Suffice it to say, that the Jews at all periods of their history resorted to every mode adopted by their idolatrous neighbours of penetrating into futurity. With respect to the first of these alluded to in Genesis xliv. 5, we know that one of the most celebrated monarchs of the Persians—the great Giamschid, together with Alexander and others, referred to prophetic cups, and Pliny alludes to a similar practice in his time. That wands and staffs were used for similar purposes is also known to us on the authority of Strabo, who speaks of the rods held by the Magi during their religious ceremonies.
Gen. xliv. 5.~"Is this the cup whereby he divineth ?” Ezekiel xxi. 21.-" For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the
head of the two ways, to use divination : he made his arrows bright, he consulted with
images, he looked in the liver." Hosea iv. 12.-"My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto
them." Tacitus (de moribus Germanorum, ch. x.) thus explains their mode of divination by twigs or wands.—The branch of a fruit tree is cut into small pieces, which being all distinctly marked, are thrown at random on a white garment. With frequent prayers the priest raising his eyes to heaven three times, holds up each segment of the twig, and as the marks rise in succession, interprets the decrees of fate.
The method taken by the Noaaids, or Lapland priests, to recover stolen goods is this.He comes into the tent where he has reason to suspect the thief is to be found, and pouring a quantity of brandy into a dish, which then reflects the features of any person looking into it, he makes a number of grimaces over it; and appears to consider it with very great attention. After some length of time employed in this way, he takes the suspected Laplander aside, charges him with the fact, declares that he saw his face plainly figured to him in the dish, and threatens to let loose a swarm of ganic-flies upon him, who shall torment him until he makes restitution.-Acerbis's Travels, Vol. II. p. 312.
The king, who was one of our company, this day, at dinner I observed, took particular notice of the plates; this occasioned me to make him an offer of one, either of pewter or of earthenware. He chose the first, and then began to tell us the several uses to which he intended to apply it. Two of them were so extraordinary, that I cannot omit mentioning them. He said, that whenever he should have occasion to visit any of the other islands, he would leave this plate behind him, at Tongataboo, as a sort of representative in his absence, that the people might pay it the same obeisance they do to himself in person. He was asked, what had been usually employed for this purpose, before he got this plate ? and we had the satisfaction of learning from him that this singular honour had been hitherto conferred on a wooden bowl, in which he washed his hands. The other extraordinary use to which he intended to apply it, in the room of his wooden bowl, was, to discover a thief; he said that when anything was stolen and the thief could not be found out, the people were all assembled by men of eminent talents, have been dragged into obscurity by the weight of the name to which they were attached. The genius of Bentley, however, triumphed over this disadvantage ; his “ Remarks on Freethinking,” of “Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,” are known to all our readers, and admired as extensively as they are known. He exposed their fallacy ; and while he vindicated with rude but effective energy a genuine freedom of thought, he showed that this freedom only led to the establishment of Christianity on the surest evidence ; while the shallowness, the bad faith, the defective learning, and the false positions of his antagonist were displayed in a strain of the keenest and most mortifying ridicule. For this work Bentley received the thanks of the bench of Bishops. It is perhaps scarcely necessary to say that this valuable treatise is incomplete, and that what we possess was published at different periods, although in the same year. A grace passed in the Senate of Cambridge, desiring Bentley to finish the work; and he was specially requested by the Princess of Wales to execute this desire. He had actually begun to print another part of the “ Remarks,” when the discouragement given by government and the University to his claim of fees for creating Doctors in Divinity, caused him to relinquish his task in disgust in the middle of a page. Enough, however, had been done for Collins.
The specimens of sacred criticism which Bentley had introduced in his “ Remarks," induced Dr. Hare, in his “Clergyman's Thanks to Phileleutherus," to suggest this field to his friend's occupation. About three years afterwards, Wetstein, when in England, offered the Doctor the use of all his collations. Bentley immediately decided on undertaking the work, and propounded immediately his intentions on the subject to Archbishop Wake. His scheme, from which he promised himself a degree of accuracy that should not differ “ twenty words or even particles” from “ the best exemplars at the time of the Council of Nice," was undoubtedly calculated to produce a text eminently correct. He intended to collate the oldest MSS. of the New Testament, and “ of the Latin too of St. Jerome, of which there are several in England, a full thousand years old.” St. Jerome declares that his version was made “ ad Græcam veritatem, ad exemplaria Græca, sed vetera." Bentley had partially examined very ancient copies of this version, and collated them with the Alexandrian MS. ; and he had found in the two a wonderful coincidence, not only in the words, but even in the order of them. The rest we give in his own words :
To conclude,-in a word, I find that by taking 2000 errors out of the Pope's Vulgate, and as many out of the Protestant Pope Stephens', I can set out an edition of each in columns, without using any book under 900 years old, that shall so exactly agree, word for word, and, what at first amazed me, order for
order, that no two tallies, nor two indentures can agree better. I affirm that these so placed will prove each other to a demonstration : for I alter not a letter of my own head without the authority of these old witnesses.-P.313.
The latter assertion was intended to obviate an apprehension very generally entertained, and too sufficiently grounded, that the New Testament would be sacrificed to the gratification of the great editor's "slashing" propensities. Indeed, in the very section of Phileleutherus's letter which had suggested to Dr. Hare the peculiar fitness of Bentley for theological criticism, there are some conjectures which, however happy, are certainly bold, considering the field on which they are exercised. Had Bentley indulged his genius on this occasion, perfect as was his adaptation for the work, and brilliant as was the character of his conjectures, every sober Christian would have deprecated intrusting the title-deeds of his heavenly inheritance to one who was thus disqualified. But when we consider the pledge which is here exhibited, it is impossible not to regret that a scheme of such transcendant utility should have been abandoned for objects every way inferior, and some derogatory both to the literary and moral reputation of the projector. That the work would have been conducted with a stoical indifference to conjecture, we may conclude from Bentley's reply to a well intended writer, who solicited him not to omit the disputed verse, 1 John v. 7. He says,
Now in this work I indulge nothing to any conjecture, not even in a letter, but proceed solely upon authority of copies and Fathers of that age. And what will be the event about the said verse of John, I myself know not yet; having not used all the old copies that I have information of.
But by this you see, that in my proposed work, the fate of that verse will be a mere question of fact. You endeavour to prove (and that's all you aspire to) that it may have been writ by the Apostle, being consonant to his other doctrine. This I concede to you: and if the fourth century knew that text, let it come in, in God's name: but if that age did not know it, then Arianism in its height was beat down, without the help of that verse: and let the fact prove as it will, the doctrine is unshaken.-P. 349.
Finding the public mind interested in the question, Bentley chose the litigated verse for the subject of his prælection, or probationary lecture, previous to his admission to the Regius Professorship of Divinity in 1717. Of this Bishop Monk says,
The composition excited great sensation at the time and long afterwards: it was preserved in manuscript, and perused by some scholars little more than forty years ago. I hope and believe that it is still in existence, and may ere long be brought to light: but all my endeavours to trace it have hitherto been ineffectual. It has, however, been in my power to collect such testimony respecting its contents, as must put an end to all the doubts which have been started relative to Bentley's judgment upon the controverted text.—P. 348.
The substance of this testimony is that Bentley rejected the text. The controversy has been enlarged since, but generally with the same result. We may suggest, however, that we ought to await the collation of many more MSS. before pronouncing a decided opinion.
“ The Cash Account of the Com- that blessing which has raised it (with mittee does not, at first sight, wear a all humility be the comparison used) very encouraging aspect, as there ap- from its first springing up as a muspears a balance due to the Treasurer tard seed to its present goodly proporof 51. 8s. 8 d.; which balance, how- tions, when its boughs reach to the ever, arises solely from the circum- East, and its branches to the West. The stance, that the supplies obtained from Committee, therefore, are convinced, the Parent Society have been paid for, that the very interest of the subject, while some of the accounts with the without farther endeavours on its part, members in the district still remained will suffice to recommend it to the outstanding. The sum of 101. 10s. 6d. consideration of members of the Church is now due for books sent out from the
of England. And in inviting the atdepository, and the value of the books tention and support of the public to therein yet unsold (exclusive of speci- itself, it does so with the view, not mens) is 41. 4s. 9d.-total 141. 15s. 3d., only of the good it may accomplish in leaving, in fact, a balance in favour of the district, but also of promoting the the Committee, of 91. 6s. 6td.
welfare of the Society at large, and “ The resources of the Committee thus assisting its munificent, well-diare as yet but small, the annual sub- rected, and widely-extended plans of scribers hitherto declared being few; benevolence.” and although the donations bestowed The confidence expressed in the at the establishment of the Committee Report on the increase of the support have well enabled it to meet the ex- the Committee had already experipenses thus far incurred, its presentenced, was fully justified; as, in admeans are totally inadequate to a con- dition to a handsome contribution at tinuance of even the exertions already the Church doors, after a Sermon by made, much less to an augmentation the Rev. Dr. Nares, Rector of Bidof them. The Committee, however, denden, the number of Annual Subfeel persuaded, that its supporters will scribers was more than doubled before increase as its existence becomes more the termination of the Anniversary generally known, and its usefulness felt;
Meeting and that the liberality of its friends will The Rev. Julius Deeds, Rev. D. W. qualify it to extend its operations as Davies, Francis Law, Esq. and Thomas far as the wants of the district shall
Monypenny, Esq. were elected Vicerequire.
presidents. Ī In conclusion, the Committee hope, The Treasurer and Secretary were that the warmth of its zeal will not be re-elected, and the Rev. W. Temple and measured by the amount of its pro- R. J. Monypenny, Esq., were chosen ceedings thus far; but that those pro- Auditors for the ensuing year. ceedings will be regarded as an earnest of the efforts it will make in whatever
Report of the Canterbury Diocesan field shall be opened for its future ex
Committee. ertions. The objects of the Society for The Report of a Diocesan Compromoting Christian Knowledge, and mittee, ministering to a Society whose all its affiliated branches being, not to operations are in foreign countries, is neextend a vague and indefinite acquaint- cessarily barren of local topics. In this ance with the scheme of redemption respect, the immediate details are simthrough Christ, leaving men to apply ply those of collection and remittance. that knowledge to themselves in what- The receipts, it is observed with resoever manner they think
gret, have lately somewhat decreased. to strengthen and enlarge the boun- One splendid act of munificence from daries of that fold, which, on the joint an individual, to whose bounties many testimony of Scripture and antiquity, other pious and charitable institutions it believes to be the one true fold, esta- are deeply indebted, has, indeed, in a blished by the holy Apostles, under pecuniary point of view, placed the the express authority of their Divine
county of Kent high in the scale of Master; the approbation and blessing contributions to the Society. The of the Almighty on its labours may name of Tillard stands conspicuous in with full confidence he looked for; the grateful records of other societies,
But Bentley did not rest here. Finding that Hare was about to edit Phædrus, he resolved to anticipate him. But in aiming a stroke which he designed to be irresistible, he struck beyond the mark, and the blow recoiled upon the assailant.
He had made no preparations for this work, except such emendations and conjectures as he was in the habit of writing in the margin of all classical authors in the course of their perusal. Many of these were of the most daring class of his emendations; and many more, though ingenious and plausible, were unnecessary. All, however, were introduced into the text; and the notes did little more than point out the supposed faults of the former readings, and then ordered the substitution of the new ones by a sort of critical decree; the reasons of which he frequently left for others to explain. Great as had been the haste with which the Doctor's Terence was completed, the Fabulist was despatched with ten-fold expedition. In none of his publications did he display so much presumption, as in putting forth this crude collection of new readings, supported by notes, the jejuneness of which formed a remarkable contrast to his copious annotations upon Horace, and which were unworthy even to appear in the same volume with his edition of the Comedian : and never did he more expose himself to the attacks of enemies, than when, at the suggestion of pique and resentment, he launched this puny and meagre performance into the troubled waters of criticism.—Pp. 513, 514.
Dr. Bentley's next literary achievement was ill calculated to restore his lost reputation. He attempted a critical edition of Paradise Lost, which, as our readers well know, “humbled Milton's strains" most effectually. We transcribe the Bishop's account of the circumstances which originated this undertaking :
It will be expected that I should give some account of an enterprize, which is without parallel in the history of literature, and which, at first sight, argues mental aberration, or the dotage of talent. The facts of the case I believe to have been these : The idea of correcting a poem, which, from the blindness of its author, might be supposed to have suffered some injury in the transcription and the press, originated with Elijah Fenton, Pope's coadjutor in the translation of the Odyssey: he published, in 1725, an edition of Milton, containing many changes in the punctuation, and some substitutions for words which, he imagined, might, froin similarity of sound, have been misrepresented by the amanuensis. This performance seems to have led Bentley to exercise his critical ingenuity in some corrections of the poem, which he mentioned to his intimates ; for I find that a report was spread just afterwards of his design to write notes upon text of Milton. The idea was soon abandoned; but the mention of it might have suggested to Queen Caroline the wish that the great critic would exercise his talents upon an edition of the prince of English poets, and thus gratify those readers who could not enjoy his celebrated lucubrations on classical writers. Her Majesty having expressed her pleasure that Dr. Bentley should undertake such a work, he immediately complied ; having the double motive of obedience to the Queen's commands, and a wish to bring his literary merits immediately before the noble judges, who were in a few months to become the arbiters of his fate.—Pp. 577, 578.
The unpoetical complexion of Bentley's mind ; his incessant propensity to alter the text of every author he read; his ignorance of the Italian poets and the romances, all disqualified him for the task he had undertaken. That Paradise Lost was committed to an editor by the poet himself; that the author never heard the poem read even in