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Art.XII Collectio Sententiarum, Exemplorum, Testimoniorum, necnon et Simi.
litudinum ; in usum Scholasticæ Juventutis. Opera et studio Johannis Bennet, A. B. Editio nova. 12mo. pp. 490. price 5s, bound. Longman & Co. 1808. PHYSIOLOGISTS have observed some points of similarity between
the infancy and the decline of the animal system. Something of this similarity is very observable, in comparing the earlier efforts of literary ages, with the period when the appetite for novelties, and the excess of refinement, have degenerated into a fastidious decrepitude of taste. In modern days, the most valuable authors have been dissected into Beauties, Olios, and Extracts; and a few fashionable pocket volumes profess to contain the Flowers, and even the Essence, of genius and literature. the revival and diffusion of letters three hundred years ago, many ingcnious, and some very eminent persons employed their diligence in selecting from the classics, the fathers, and the writers of the middle ages, phrases, sentences, maxims, adages, similies, and anecdotes ; which they ar: ranged as their respective taste or fancy directed. Such collections were popular; and, at a time when original authors were not very easily procured, they must have answered more valuable purposes than volumes of the same description are likely to do in the present day. One general objection, however, lay against them all; the heterogeneous combination of writers very different in age, manner, and purity of style. Cicero and Anselm, Livy and Eutropius, furnished their quota of passages, which stood in the same page, connected by identity of subject, sometimes amal. gamated into the same sentence, and frequently without any marks of citation.
The character we have just given is applicable to the book before us. It consists of some thousands of sentences, historical examples, and similies (many of them quaint and odd, arranged under an alphabetical series of subjects ; e. g. Abstinentia, Adolescentia, Adversitas Amicitia et Amicus, Amor, Audacia, &c. &c. To none of the extracts is the name of the author subjoined. For this omission, the worthy schoolmaster, who has served
up this crambe repetita, assigns six reasons, all of which are reduced to this one, that the whole is a compilation at second and third hand from other collections, and that he knew not the original sources of its derivation. A cursory review of several passages sufficiently ascertains that the writers of the Augustan age are promiscuously huddled together, with the siriptores media et infima Latinitatis We find passages, not only from Cicero, Seneca, and Valerius Maximus ; but from Jerome, Ambrose, the popes Leo I. and Gregory the great (vulgi assentatione Magnus, ingenio et cruditione nanus,) Hugo de S. Victore, cum aliis quamplurimis ejusdem farine ; and even from the Latin versions of the Greek fathers. If this re-impression of the book be designed for the use of schools, which we suppose to be the case from its appearance, we cannot but express decided disapprobation of the intention. Such a mixtnre of bad and dubious Latinity would be highly disadvantageous to the acquisition of a just taste and correct composition. As a repository of anecdotes and pithy saying, it must be both entertaining and useful ; but it may also be very injurious to the integrity and improvement of youth, if it is clandestinely pillaged to enrich their themes. The preface ingeni
ously acknowledges that the contents are principally derived front the Polyanthea of Langius; which is a vast collection in folio.
From a culpable omission of dates, it does not appear when this work was first published. We know, however, that the original edition was in the very early part of the last century Art. XIII. The Church of England Incompletely Reformed: A Sermon
preached on the Occasion of the General Fast, Feb. 17, 1808 By George Somers Clarke, D. D. Vicar of Great Walthans in Essex. 8vo.
pp: 39. Price 1s. White, Fleet-Street, 1808. THE author, having taken his text from Jer viii
. 3. Amend your ways, proceeds through the whole of the discourse to amend the words of our translation of the Bible! Hence it is natural to infer, that, in his opinion, no other reformation is of so urgent and momentous importance. Before he begins his grand attacks, he gives us to understand that he has studied the Hebrew language, complaining heavily of the difficulties he had to surmount in learning the vowel-points, the whole system of which, however unessential, we believe may be easily. comprehended by any man who has brains, in the space of a few hours. But there is some presumptive evidence, that the consonants also have their difficulties with Dr. Somers Clarke.
The book of Psalms is particularly the subject of his lacerations. The substance of his theory is, That very few of the Psalms belong to David; as David, he says, may mean Hezekiah, or any of David's successors ! that forty-three of them were written on'occasion of Hezekiah's sickness and recovery, and sixty more on the subject of his deliverance from invasion by Sennacherib,; and that, in particular, the fiftieth was composed by the prophet Isaiah, and the fifty first by Jeremiah ; the former having no reference to Christ, but solely to a threatened destruction of the country at that time, and the latter deploring the crime of idolatry, and not those of adultery and murder.
These, and many similar assertions, are advanced without even a pre. tence to proof; are boasted as original discoveries, and pressed upon the learned themselves by this demonstrative argument, that the author o lived twenty years, before the last thirteen, in a place of learning !".
Of his exposition of particular texts, we give the following as an instance; (Psal, li. 11.)
· Hurl-thou-me not from thy presence : even-the-mind-of
Thy-holiness take-thou not from-me.' “ The mind of thy holiness was a mind devoted to the worship of God, and not of idols, as among the heathen.' p. 28.
Because 7w7p rinn is an expression in regimen (signifying in sound English, Thy holy Spirit
) Dr. C. seems to think it cannot be properly translated unless the idiom of the Hebrew is exactly preserved, though this is by no means necessary to a good translation, and in many cases could not be at all admitted, on account of the difference in the genius of languages. And thus, we presunie, he has been led to conclude that nig may signify the soul of man. But when a similar construction occurs, Is. Ixiii. 10, « They rebelled and vexed his holy Spirit, (wip 0199) will ang man contend, after reading the context, that no other spirit than the human, or a mind not devoted to idolatry, is mentioned here? The same may be remarked of all those places where the name of God occurs in a possessive case : “ His holy temple,” &c. And why should the Doctor prefer mind to spirit because the original word will elsewhere bear that meaning? Why not, then, the breathing, or the wind of thy holiness, as the word also signifies ?
But the prayer of the Psalmist, cast into the mould of Dr. C.'s criti. cism, if this is not considered as degrading the term, is simply this : "O God, my mind is devoted to thy worship, and not to that of idols. And as in this mind consists chiefly my identity as a rational creature, O take it not from me; take me not from myself, else I shall have nothing left but an uninformed carcase ! Of the Doctor's philology our readers will farther judge, when they learn his opinion, that the word Righteousness is improperly applied to God, because it supposes the Deity may be unrighteous.
The Doctor's absurdities are aggravated by his presumption; he tells us that the first lessons, which he has to read, when fulfilling his public duty, confuse him with shame for the church ; so that the Bible, it seems, is the disgrace of that establishment, and that religion, of which it is professed to be the standard and glory. Yet farther he is of opinion, that its received translations and interpretations originally made dissenters, and and are sufficient to make sectaries of all who read them! That the English Bible, and the Hebrew Bible too, will make Dissenters from Dr. Somers Clarke and his Socinian perversions, we rejoice in believing. It surprises us, we confess, that, with his views, Dr. €, should continue in the Establishment, scoff at Sectaries, and actually hold the living of Great Waltham. We do not mean to express any wonder how his conscience will suffer him to retain his preferment; but only that his prudence does not suggest to him the salutary example which has lately been made of a disingenuous Rector in his own county, and urge him to prefer a dignified resignation to a disgraceful deprivation.
We beg leave to insert his improved Lord's Prayer, as a curiosity in theology: :-" Father, hallowed be thy nanre : thy kingdom come : give us every day our bread for the morrow: and forgive us our sins as we forgive him that is indebted to us : and lead us not into temptation.” We pass over the shameful style of this discourse, and many
other ticulars which betray great sterility of intellect, and conclude with simply reminding our readers and the public, that the mode which Dr. C. selected to manifest his ignorance and folly, to call in question the authenticity and accuracy of our English Bible, and bring dishonour on the Established Church, was a Fast Sermon, before a country congregation ! Art. XIV. Poems. By Matilda Betham. 12mo. pp. 116. Price 4s.
Hatchard. 1808. THËSE Poems, consisting of Epistles, Sonnets, and Elegies, chiefly of
a grave cast, are rather useful than elegant. They bear the marks of a mind rich en to reward a more assiduous cultivation than appears to have been bestowed on the author's. A glowing friendship, an engaging tenderness, a fancy figurative enough, and a manner the most modest and unassuming, are the claims which they possess to the attention VOL. IV.
of every virtuous admirer of this species of composition. Even amidst the occasional defects of our author, the harshness of the rhythm, the prosaic idioms, and, in some instances, the obscurities of expression, they are not destitute of the power to delight and improve ; they are often calculated to interest the best feelings of the heart, and quicken a desire to cultivate all those amicies of human intercourse which they are occasionally occupied in celebrating.
The following Reflections, occasioned by the death of friends, will enable the reader to judge of Miss. B.'s power and mode of writing, when employed on solemn subjects.
My happiness was once a goodly tree,
And reared its 'o ty branches in the air,
Twin'd round the bark, and hung from every bough,
Or dipp'd them in the silver stream below,
Dark low'r the clouds! the thunders burst around !
While the scar'd songsters leave the quiv’ring bough,
The blasted honey suckles droop below,
Though wide the broad and leafy arms are spread,
Their shelter henceforth seems but insecure ;
The winged tribes disdain the frequent lure,
And when I would the flow'ry tendrils train,
I find my late delightrul labour vain
Chasten'd by memory, and unnerved by fear,
Shall sadden each endearment with a tear,
away, In the warm sunshine of meridian day,
And when her hopes are ful, and fairest blown.' Miss B. published a similar volume of Poems, a few years ago; in her present work there is some appearance of improvement, though not so much as might have been expected.
Art. XV. A Sermon, preached at the Funeral of Mr Robert Hempsted of
Fenton, in the County of Huntingdon, on Tuesday, April 12th, 1808. By the Rev. Thomas Lewis Jones. Curate of Pidley and Vicar of
Bury. övo. pp. 18. Price ls. Lovell, Huntingdon 1808. THE Rev. Mr. Jones informs us, that he has no other end in view
for publishing this short work than to benefit society” We sincerely regret the disparity which is so evident in this instance, between the end and the means ; as we certainly recollect seeing no performance so remarkable for every quality which such a work ought not to possess. Had not the name of a beneficed clergyman been inserted on the title page, it would have been commonly considered as the witless and extemporary rant of some tub or stool orator, though wholly destitute of that energy and that devotional sentiment, which is often to be found even in the meanest effusions of itinerant preachers. If “ Methodism,” as Mr !! probably thinks, is the same thing as vulgar, and impious nonsense, his parishioners, at least, are as secure from its infection, as the hideous victims of a pest-house from variolous inoculation. A few extracts will
· Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. The words of the text are plain, and require little explanation ; they teach us the real, and absolute necessity of a good life and conversation, whilst here we live to fit and prepare us for the company of blessed saints in heaven, &c.
they instruct us to hope, that our worthy deceased brother, with whom I have been in the habits of intimacy and friendship, for more than twenty years, has, to all appearance, led a life agreeable to God's will and pleasure, and we may reasonably believe, if any man ever did die the death of righteous, he is blessed with that great happiness, he has made a fortunate change from an apparent comfortable life to a blessed death.
• So weak and frail is human nature, that nothing will bring us to consider our ways, and to remind us of our danger, but the bed of sickness, sudden accidents, or old age worn out with afflictions, difficulties, infirmities, and distress; though we all know we may be here to day, and gone to morrow.' p. 7.
• What ought most to afflict our sinful nature at this awful season, is, the
great number of sudden deaths which have so lately happened in this kingdom, and many very near us indeed, particularly that of our deceased brother, who died in the short space of nine days only. To be brought to the bed of sickness, and there to be allowed an opportunity of making our ; eace, with an offended God, may be a means of affording dying sinners great comfort and hope, that the abundant mercies of Almighty God, will be extended to them.' p. 8. His power and wrath, we are told in scripture, will be against all those who unfortunately do evil, unless they come to a serious and timely repentance. "To be taken out of the world, with a great burden of guilt and iniquity in our hearts, without the least notice, or time allowed to pray or repent, or even to say, Lord have mercy upon our poor sinful souls, this must be shocking and terrifying indeed. p. 9. i i can recommend no better guard against a sudden death, than immediate repentance, and the duty of watchfulness ; watch and pray therefore (for ye know not when the time is) to day, while it is called to day, lest this opportunity be taken away from