« הקודםהמשך »
least themselves prepared ; and not to fail to instruct their children by every religious lesson, to be ready to receive, in the most Christian manner, the approaching awful chastisement.
These salutary admonitions were thought by those who were personally acquainted with the author, to come from him with singular propriety and authority: and few seemed better qualified to penetrate into the secret recesses of the Apocalypse than he was.
Born with great natural abilities, which had been carefully improved from his infancy by an excellent education ; blessed moreover with a heart formed for piety and virtue, he dedi. cated himself at an early period of life to the study and practice of religion. His virtue and learning soon became conspicuous not only in the line of sacred literature, but alike in mathematical and astronomical: of this last he exhibited a proof by his elaborate and accurate publications in the years 1745-6-7, &c. (see Philosophical Transactions,) and by his concernment in the introduction of the new style in the year 1752. His sacred and theological literature acquired him the degree of doctor of divinity in the University of Paris, and his mathematical knowledge, the honour of fellow. ship of our own Royal Society and that of Berlin; and, yet young, he was furthermore raised to the episcopal dignity. This sacred dignity he held
upwards of 40 years, during which period he fed his flock with the bread of life and understanding, Eccles. 15, and maintained the Faith and Doctrine committed to his trust, sound and pure.
When raised to the episcopal dignity, he then more than ever devoted himself to the study of Holy Scripture. With a mind thus improved and enriched with abundant store of knowledge, he ventured to direct his labours and reflections to clear up, in some degree, the darkest perhaps of the sacred Prophecies. He was not deterred from the undertaking, either by the difficulties and obscurities peculiar to the Apocalypse, or by the little success of others who had gone before him on a similar design. Convinced in his own mind, that most of these interpreters had failed in their attempts, because they had contracted their systems to too narrow a compass, viz. only to a few of the first ages of the Church; he takes a more enlarged and extensive view of things, and carries on the divine economy respecting the Church, from her foundation through every succeeding period to the end of time, and her final introduction into heaven. His plan appears to have been conceived with great judgment and penetration, and it has been executed with equal ability.
He lays it down as a fundamental law in the interpretation of the Apocalypse, that not a single word is superfluous, nor repeated without a particular reason. Hence, he scrutinizes every term with the nicest refinement in the original and in the most approved versions. The least variation in mode or time never escapes , him. He turns his text into every point of view, in order to fix and ascertain
its true meaning. When he had digested the whole of his subject, and had worked it up with great pains and labour, though aware how it would be received by some, he ventured to send it forth to the public, little solicitous how far it would enhance or lessen his literary fame, provided it contributed in any degree to awaken a thoughtless and criminal generation to the great and awful truths and salutary terrors of religion.
Although no pains were taken by the author or his friends to circulate his work, it soon found its way into foreign countries, particularly into France and Germany. A French translation of it was published in 1778, p. 159, &c. by a Benedictin monk of the congregation of St. Maurus, a congregation so well known by its literary labours. Of this order of religious men, the author was a member in the present English congregation of Benedictins. Soon after, it was translated into Latin by an English Benedictin monk resident at Paris ; into German by. l'Abbé Goldhagen, 1785, 3 vols. 8vo. and lately into Italian. We may judge in what esteem the original performance was held abroad, by the following extract from the periodi. cal writings of a very judicious and learned author, l'Abbé Feller, universally known and esteemed in France and Germany for the zeal and success with which he has for many years defended the cause and interest of religion. Dated 1786. Sept. P. 106.-“L'ouvrage de Seigneur Pastorini
est le seule bon Commentaire sur l'Apocalypse
que l'Angleterre ait produit, et la nation doit “ scavoir bon gré à l’Auteur d'avoir contribué à “ faire oublier les extravagances que Jacques ir. et « le célébré Newton ont debitées sur ce livre di“ vin. C'est un scavant et edifiant ouvrage, où la " theologie et l'histoire ecclesiastique repandent “ des lumieres precieuses sur le plus mysterieux “ des livres saints ; où les Prophetics admirables, “ realisées par des faits averés publics, eclatans, re“ pandent dans l'ame des Chretiens l'esperance et “ le courage, en même tems qu'elles rendent un te“moignage solemnel à la puissance et à la verité " de Dieu. Ce qui reste sous le voile, s'annonce " dejà d'une maniere sensible, et le tableau des
tems où nous vivons p'est pas celui qui brille le moins
les traits de caractere, par les cou" leurs vives et vraies.". Translated :
“ The work of Signior Pastorini, is the only good comment which England has produced
upon the Apocalypse. The nation has obliga" tions to the author for having contributed to
cause to be forgotten the extravagant notions of “ James the first and the celebrated Newton, re.
specting this divine book. . It is a learned and " edifying performance. The theological and ec"clesiastical matter interspersed throughout it, “ shed valuable lights upon the most mysterious “ of the most sacred writings. The wonderful “ prophecies contained in it being established upon “ authentic, striking, and public facts, inspire the " Christian soul with Christian hope and fortitude,