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them in the affairs they managed ; that, on some occasions, their prudence failed them, and their virsue, on others ; that their counfels and measures were conducted, at times, with too little honelly, or too much passion? Yet, you will in vain look for any thing of this fort in their large and particular histories. All is candid and fair, judicious and well-advised : every thing speaks the virtuous man, and able commander. The obnoxious passages are either suppressed, or they are turned in such a way as to do honour to their relaters.
i Or, take another instance. When Cicero had offended against the capital law of his moral code, that which enjoined the love of his country; first, by his backwardness to join the camp of Pompey, and, afterwards, by his prompt submission to the tyranny of Cæsar; what is the conduct of the illustrious Roman patriot, on this presling occafion? Does he frankly condemn those false fteps, or does he content himself with a simple relation of them? Neither of these things; he softens and disguises the truth; he employs all his wit and eloquence to palliate this inglorious desertion of his principles, to himself and others.
"I might add many other examples. But ye fee, in these, a striking contrast to the ingenuity of the facred writers. They study no aris of evasion or concealment. They proclaim their own faults, and even vices, to all the world. One, acknowiedges himself to have been a furious bigot, a perfecutor, and blafphemer: anocher, relates his own cowardice, ingratitude, and treachery. There is nothing like a concert between them to cover each other's defects: they expose the vindi&tive zeal of one; the intolerant fpirit of others; the.
selfish intrigues of all. In a word, they give up their moral charac· ter to the scorn and censure of their readers, and appear solicitous
for nothing but the honour of their Mafier-They preach net themselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ.'
The eighth and ninth Sermons are ingenious and instructive discourses, from the following passages of ScriptureThe poor have the Gospel preached unto them-and-In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you.
In the tenth Sermon, his Lordfhip confiders our Saviour's promise of the Spirit to his disciples, in the following words, John xvi. 12, 13.- I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, he will guide you into all truth, &c.-In the eleventh, he shews, from these words--Ye men of Galilee, why pand ye gazing up into Heaven, &c. that the true wisdom of Christians confifts in adverting to the moral and practical uses of their religion, instead of indulging subtle, anxious, and unprofitable speculations concerning the articles of it; such especially as are too high, or too arduous for them ; fuch, as they have no real interest in considering, and have no faculties to comprehend. His Lordship enforces this consideration, by applying it to the case of such persons, and especially of such Christians, as have been, at all times, but too ready to sacrifice conduct to speculation; to neglect the ends of religious doctrines, while they
busy themselves in nice and fruitless, and (therefore, if for no other reason) pernicious inquiries into the grounds and reasons of them.
In the days of ancient Paganism, he observes, that two points, in which religion was concerned, chiefly engaged the attention of their wise men; God, and the HUMAN SOUL: interesting topics both; and the more necessary to be well considered, because those wise men had little or no light on those subjects, but what their own reason might be able to strike out for them. And, had they been contented to derive, his Lordship says, from the study of God's works, all that may be known of him, by natural reason, his eternal power and Godhead, and had then glori. fied him with such a worship, as that knowledge obviously suge gested ; or, had they, by adverting to their own internal conftitution, deduced the spirituality of the soul, together with its free, moral, and accountable nature, and then had built on these principles the expectation of a future life, and a conduct in this, suitable to such an expectation; had they proceeded thus far in their inquiries, and stopped here; who could have blamed, or, rather, who would not have been ready to applaud their interesting (peculations. But, when, instead of this reasonable use of their understanding in religious matters, they were more curious to investigate the eilence of the Infinite Mind, than to establish just notions of his moral attributes; and to define the nature of the human soul, than to study its moral faculties; their me:aphyfics became presumptuous and abominable : they reasoned themselves out of a superintending Providence in this world, and out of all hope in a future; they resolved God into Fate, or excluded him from the care of his own creation, and so made the worship of him a matter of policy, and not of conscience ; while, at the same time, they dismissed the soul into air, or into the spirit of the world ; either extinguishing its subftance, or stripping it of individual consciousness; and so, in either way, set aside the concern, which it might be supposed to have in a future Itate, to the subversion of all morality, as well as of religion.
Such was the fruit of Pagan ingenuity! The philosophers kept gazing upon God, and the foul, till they lost all just and useful conceptions of either : and thus, as St. Paul says, they became vain in their imaginations; and their foolish heart was darkened.
• If from the Grecian, continues bis Lordship, we turn to the oriental, and what is called barbaric philosophy, what porientous dreams do we find about angels and spirits, or of two opposite principles, coniending for mastery in this sublunary world; ingeniously Ipun out into I know not what fantastic conclufions, which annihilate all sober piety, or subvers the plaincit dictates of moral duly. So
true is it of all presumptuous inquirers into the invisible things of God, that profilling themjelves will, they become fool!
• But those extravagancies of the heathen world deserve our pity, and inay admit of some excuse. The worst is, that, when Heaven had revealed of itself what it saw fit, this irreverent humour of searching into the deep things of God was not cured, but, indeed, carried to a greater, if posible, at least to a more criminal excess; as I Thall now thew in a slight sketch of the mischiefs, which have arisen from this audacious treatment even of the divine word.'
It would give us pleasure to lay before our Readers the whole of what his Lordship advances upon this curious and interesting subject; but we must content ourselves with referring them to the Sermon itself, which does honour to the Preacher's learning and abilities.
In the twelfth Sermon is shewn, how very small a matter will serve to overpower the strongest evidence of our religion, though proposed with all imaginable advantage to us, when we hate to be reformed, or, for any other reason, have no mind to be convinced of its truth. This strange power of prejudice is exemplified in the text-Is not this the carpenter's fon? &c. Matth. xiii. 55, 56.
His Lordship's purpose, in the 13th Sermon, is to prove the reality of demoniac influence upon the mind of men. That there are angels and spirits good and bad ; that at the head of these laft, -chere is one more confiderable and malignant than the rest, who, in the form, or under the name, of a serpent, was deeply concerned in the fall of man, and whose head, as the prophetic language is, the Son of man was, one day, to bruise ; that this evil spirit, though that prophecy be in pari completed, has not yet received his death's wound, but is still permitted, for ends unsearchable to us, and in ways which we cannot particularly explain, to have a certain degree of power in this world, hostile to its virtue and happiness, and sometimes exerted with too much success; all this, we are toid, is so clear from Scripture, that no believer, unless he be, first of all, spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit, can posibly entertain a doubt of it.se We are far from thinking this doctrine so clear from Scripture as his Lordship imagines; nor do we think it quite confiftent with candour, to suppose that no person can entertain a doube of it, unless he be spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit.
The 14th Sernion is a very judicious practical discourse: the Preacher shews, very clearly, that the fear of God, or the RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE, is the proper guide of lile. In the fifteenth is Mewn the danger of giving a full scope to the purfuit even of innocent pleasures; and in the 16th, how repugnant the doctrine of the text (Matth. v. 38, 39, 40, 41.) is to that contentious, vindictive, and even fanguinary Spirit, which
26. Find of Man be and of the holy analt Sermons his rock
prevails so much among those, who, by a strange abuse of language, call themselves Christians.
The 17th and 18th Sermons are a commentary upon Luke ix. 26. Whosoever shall be amamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels,
The text to which the two last Sermons refer, is, the memorable promise made to PETER--On this rock will I my church. In the first of them, his Lordship takes a short "view of the most remarkable of those attacks, which have been made, at different times, on the Church of Christ, and thews how constantly and successfully they have been repelled. The fecond contains a night sketch of the trials to which Christianity has been exposed, from the improved reason of ancient and modern times, and of the effect, which those trials appear to have had on the credit and reception of that religion.
His Lord'hip observes, that, from the Reformation to the present time, the Christian religion has been the first and last object of attention ; that it has been examined with the most fufpicious and (ceprical curiofity; that it has stood the attacks of wit, of learning, of philosophy, and, sometimes, of all these acting in concert, without any restraint or reserve whatsoever ; that, notwithstanding all this, it keeps its ground, or rather, that the belief of it is entertained, not only by the multitude, but, more firmly than ever, by the ablest and wiseft men.
When we contemplate the prelent state of Christianity, in an age of the greatest light and freedom, and the respect that is still paid to it, his Lord hip desires us to call to mind the state of Pagan religion under the like circumstances; and to reflect that, when men of sense examined its pretensions in the Auguftan age, there was not a single person in the priesthood, or out of it, of ability and learning, who did not see and know that the whole was a manifest imposture, and destitute of all evidence, that could induce a well-grounded and rational assent. Can any thing like this, he asks, be raid, or even suspected, of the Christian faith?
His Lordship allows, that fraud and falsehood, by being mixed with a great deal of acknowledged evident truth, may obtain respect even with some acute and inquisitive men; as, without doubt has been the case of Popery since the Reformation: he allows, too, that a false religion, unsupported by any truth, may even keep its ground in a learned age, when restraint or other causes have prevented a free inquiry into that religion ; as may have been the case of Mahometanism, in one stage of the Saracen empire : but that a religion, like the Christian, as delivered in the Scriptures, which must either be wholly false or wholly true, and has been scrutinized with the utmost freedom and se
verity, verity, hould yet, if the arguments.for it were weak and fallacious, maintain irs credit, and subsist in the belief of the most capable and accomplished reasoners, is, he thinks (and with great justice, in our opinion) a prodigy, which never has appeared, or can appear among men,
Art. III. Experiments and Obfervations relating to various Branches of Natural Philofophy; with a Continaation of the Observations on Air. The Second Volume. By Joseph Prieilley, LL.D. F.R.S. Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences at Peiersburg, and of the Royal Academy of Medicine at Paris. 8vo. 6s. Eoards. Johnson. 1701. THOSE -and their number certainly is not small-who
I have been duly sensible of the value and importance of the Author's former philosophical publications, will be happy to find that he still continues a pursuit in which he has been lo eminently successful; and for which nature seems to have endowed him with particular talents. The great number of experiments related in this volume, fufficiently evinces how extenfively and successfully the active mind of the Author has been employed, since the publication of his last volume, in extending his useful pursuits, and in opening new sources of enquiry, notwithstanding some late interruptions respecting his private fitu. ation.
In this second volume (which may likewise be considered as the fifth of his publications in this branch of science), he
closes,' to use his own words, ' his philosophical accompts as they stand at prelent;' ftill following the same excellent method, which he at first adopted, of giving a familiar and historical account of his experiments, and of the motives which led to them; and of presenting them to the world, as soon as he was in porsession of sufficient materials for a volume. In consequence of this early publication of his discoveries, the Public are already posleffed of many others, which they principally owe to the frank and communicative spirit of the Author; whose early communications, quickly diffused throughout Europe, by means of translations and extracts in literary journals, but principally, in consequence of their intrinsic importance, have incited, and at the same time enabled, numerous philosophers to prosecute these new subjects of philosophical and chemical inquiry with success. For, to use the Author's motio, Philofophy, like Fame, vires aquirit eundo.
The Author has arranged the contents of the present volume in thirty-three sections. Though we cannot undertake to give a regular analysis of a work which comprehends so great a variety of matter, we shall nevertheless take a somewhat methoRev. Nov. 1786.