« PreviousContinue »
which expressed how much he was loved by his friends, respected by the clergy, and revered by all; how sedulously he examined, how firmly he defended the truth; with what benevolence he lived, with what humble confidence he died! What would be said of such a publisher? But what is past can easily be forgiven, as the editors have now explicitly informed their readers what is to be received under the sanction of Dr. Rees' responsibility, and what under that of their own.
The article ABORTION has been enlarged with a number of observations on the causes and prevention of this misfortune, either when habitual or accidental, with some advice on the proper treatment of the patient, in such circumstances.
Under the article Abridgment, the practice of abridging books that are read, or the lectures of public professors in the various departments of science, is recommended as highly useful to assist both the judgment and memory. Two excellent specimens of the kind of abridgment recommended, are subjoined, and which we have extracted for the use of our readers.
In the Essay on Miracles, Mr. Hume's design is to prove, that miracles, which have not been the immediate objects of our senses, cannot reasonably be believed upon the testimony of others. His argument is,
"That experience, which in some things is variable, in others uniform, is our only guide in reasoning 'con
cerning matters of fact. Variable experience gives rise to probability only; an uniform experience amounts proof. Our belief of any fact from the testimony of eye witnesses is de. rived from no other principle than our experience of the veracity of human testimony. If the fact attested be
miraculous, here arises a contest of two opposite experiences, or proof violation of the laws of nature; and as against proof. Now a miracle is a a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as complete as any bly be imagined; and if so, it is an argument from experience can possiundeniable consequence, that it cannot be surmounted by any proof whatever derived from human testimony."
In Dr. Campbell's Dissertation on Miracles, the author's principal aim is to shew the fallacy of Mr. Hume's argument; which he has most successfully done, by another single argument, in the following manner :
testimony is not solely derived from "The evidence arising from human experience; on the contrary, testimony hath a natural influence on belief antecedent to experience. The early and unlimited assent given to testias they advance in life: it is, theremony by children gradually contracts, fore, more consonant to truth to say, that our diffidence in testimony is the result of experience, than that our sides, the uniformity of experience in faith in it has this foundation. Befavour of any fact, is not a proof against its being reversed in a particu lar instance. The evidence arising from the single testimony of a man of known veracity, will go far to establish a belief in its being actually_re.. versed. If his testimony be confirmed by a few others of the same character, we cannot withhold our assent to the truth of it. Now, though the operations of nature are governed by uniform laws, and though we have not the testimony of our senses in favour of any violation of them; still, if in particular instances we have the testimo ny of thousands of our fellow-creatures, and those too men of strict integrity, swayed by no motives of ambition or interest, and governed by the principles of common sense, that they were actually witnesses of these vio lations, the constitution of our nature obliges us to believe them."
These two examples contain the substance of about 400 pages.
The article Absorbents, is enlarged in such a manner as to suggest several new thoughts to
the medical student on the doctrine of cutaneous absorption.
ACACIA, in Botany, has received a valuable addition from Dr. Mitchell.
Under the word Academy has been introduced an account of the Academy of Fine Arts in Pennsylvania, of the Academy of Medicine in Philadelphia, and of the American Academy of Arts in New York. The account of the Massachusetts Academy of Arts and Sciences has been advantageously enlarged. hope the editors will assiduously endeavour to supply all deficiencies of the English edition on American subjects.
ACCOMMODATION, in Theology. A great part of this, as it appeared in the English edition, has been omitted in the American edition without giving notice to the reader, or mentioning the reasons for the omissions. Though we do not think subscribers have lost any thing valuable under this article, yet for the reasons already mentioned we disapprove of any alteration of a work given to the public as the Cyclopedia of Dr. Rees, without explicit marks of such alteration.
ACHILLES. We confess ourselves not well pleased that Christian critics, and Christian editors, should contribute to raise still higher the admiration of Homer's hero, when it is already more than sufficiently excited by the charms of poetry. The character which Horace gives of this mad warrior, Impiger, iracundus, &c. though spirited, is very far short of what he might have said in truth; but it seems even this is too much in the opinion of Dr. Blair, who has
deliberately composed a palliation, which is admitted into Dr. Rees' work. The reader of Homer knows that a more savage destroyer of the lives and happiness of men, a more zealous bigot to cruelty and revenge, than Achilles, rarely, if ever, existed, even in imagination. The tendency of such an example, operating on the corrupt inclinations of men, ought to be counteracted by every possible means; so that, though we admire the genius of Homer, we may be taught to detest the character of his heroes, and be no more in danger of imitating them, than of throwing ourselves intò a con flagration, on which we gaze at a distance, with sublime astonishment. For a just criticism on Homer, and his favourite Achilles, see Foster's Essays, a work which will give great pleasure tő every Christian reader of taste.
Short, but useful additions have been made to the articles ACID and ACORUS.
ACTION, in Oratory, is a blundering article, in which the writer comes to a conclusion directly contrary to all his reasonings. His arguments tend to show the impropriety of using action in public speaking at all, while his conclusion is, that, if properly conducted, it "gives to the speaker in the senate, at the bar, and in the pulpit, very great advantage in enforcing his argu ment and impressing an audi ence." Can it be doubted by a grave and learned man especially, whether action be allowable? As well might it be doubted, whether a man should be suffered to speak in public. The best methed, undoubtedly, will be followed
by those public speakers, who endeavour to speak to purpose, and who use all the powers which God has given them to gain attention, and produce conviction. Much damage to the cause of religion has been done by the opinion propagated by some pious and well meaning divines, that there should be no action in the pulpit; as though a dull, uniform manner of reading sermons were the most effectual way of influencing men to attend to their most important interests. The rule for public speakers, which embraces all other rules, is "Act as though you were earnest in your business."
ADAM, in Biography, is deficient in several important particulars. The reader ought to be informed, what has generally been the opinion of divines, as to the meaning of the threatening, In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, or, as it is in the Hebrew, dying thou shalt die. It is certainly important, that this portion of scripture should be interpreted rightly. We are not backward to express our conviction, that the denunciation implied death temporal and eternal. Dying thou shalt die forever. When the editors say, "there is a certain dignity of intellect, as well as rectitude of will, that is probably implied in the expressions our image and our likeness," they do not sufficiently explain the nature of that dignity and rectitude, with which Adam was endued by his Creator. Our first parents bore the moral image of God; it was impossible they should bear any other image of him. They were perfectly holy, pure, and benevolent, and every way disposed to serve God, and
promote each other's happiness. As to their moral character, before the fall, they truly and exactly resembled their Maker. It would have been well, if more useful knowledge, with respect to the first of mankind, had been collected and inserted in place of the fables of Rabbins,and Mahometans.
In ADAM, MELCHIOR, is an error of the press, which is mentioned not so much on account of its importance, as that the Editors, if they should see this review, may be cautious of errors in quotations from the learned languages; this not being the first we have seen. Books in general' are very faulty in this respect. Instead of Vitæ illustriorum virorum, it should be illustri
We ought in justice, however, to say, that this work is more free from errors of the press, than any similar one we have known.
We are pleased to see that revolutionary patriot, SAMUEL ADAMS, introduced into this work. A person desirous of obtaining a good knowledge of American Biography will be sorry however to find the article so short and imperfect. We understand that voluminous and valuable papers of Mr. Adams', which throw much light on the history of the American Revolution, are in possession of his heirs. We hope some patriotic and enterprising bookseller will cheerfully lend his aid in their publication. The American editors will contribute much to the gratification of the public by paying peculiar attention to the Biography of our eminent countrymen. Of these there are many whose lives have never been written, except in a
hasty manner for the perishable columns of a newspaper.
There are four articles under the head of ADAMS, in Geography, added, viz. a town in Massachusetts, a county in the state of Ohio, another in the Missisippi Territory, and another in Pennsylvania.
In the article ADES OF HADES, Dr. Rees has, with great propriety, introduced the explanation which Dr. Campbell has given of this word. It ought to be known to the mass of those, who read the Bible, that the word hell, in several instances in the New Testament, means the invisible state, and embraces all the dead, as distinguished from the living. The word, which conveys the idea of the place of future punishment, though translated into English by the word hell, is gehenna, and not hades. The Hebrew word, which answers hades, viz. sheōl, ought, in the Old Testament, to have been translated to mean in some instances the grave, in others the invisible state, or the world of departed spirits.
To be continued.
After an appropriate introduction, he inquires, "Who these fathers were; what were their characters; what were their religious principles; and what privileges there are in a descent from them?"
Under the first head of inquiry, it occurs to the mind of the preacher, that the story of their forefathers was already familiar to them, and that the reiterated recital of it had left but little unrehearsed; but he justly remarks, that " unless it be repeated, when, in process of time, your children shall say, what mean ye by this service? the answer will be vague and unsatisfactory." In guarding against such an inconvenience, Dr. H. has judiciously detailed the causes, which occasioned the removal of the fathers; has adverted to the difficulties which attended it; to their pious conduct upon this important occasion; to the dangers they afterwards encountered, and the hardships they endured; and to the merciful interpositions of divine providence in their favour. An enumeration of all these particulars does not appear to have been necessary in answering the question, who were the fathers?
Yet there is so much connexion between the latter and the former, that no violence is done to the feelings of the reader upon this occasion; and the story is calculated to excite a particular interest in favour of the pilgrims.
Under the second head the fathers are characterized, as "distinguished by integrity, piety, Christian zeal, and primitive simplicity of manners :" and the names of a number are mention ed, who were eminent amongst them. "These illustrious names, (the preacher remarks) and the merits attached to them, are entirely familiar to you; nor would faithful tradition, or your own more faithful records ever suffer them to pass into oblivion.
To a tablet, however, less perishable than either of these, are those names committed; and it ought to heighten the pleasures of this day to reflect, that a biographer, worthy of them, has at length been found. While faithful narrative, discriminating remark, and purity of style, continue to be universally pleasing, the fathers of New England will live in the pages of BELKNAP."
Under the next head of inquiry the religious principles of the forefathers are detailed at considerable length; this was the more necessary, as they have been much misrepresented both by ignorant and designing men. The recapitulation, whilst it shews how anxious our fathers were to found their faith upon the word of God, and to contend earnestly for it, as being thus founded, must reprove many of their descendants for their lukewarmness respecting it, and their departure from its principles; "principles
of which no one of their descendants will be ashamed, if he be not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
The privileges attending a descent from such ancestors, form the next subject for consideration. After hinting at those possessed by the Jews, to which the apostle alludes in the text, the preacher remarks, "Not unlike these, men and brethren, are our privileges in deriving an origin from the fathers of New England. To us, through their means, are committed the same oracles of God, which were transmitted by the Hebrew patriarchs to their descendants, with the additional discovery of those things, which many prophets and kings desired in vain to see. To us, too, through the medium of our Christian fathers, are made the same promises, which were made to the Hebrew fathers; for the promises were unto them, and to their children, and to all afar off, even as many as the Lord should call. has been transmitted from the fathers, the reformed protestant religion, as free probably from human mixtures, as it can be found in any church in christendom. In our fathers, too, we have the benefit of examples of exalted virtue and piety, which would have adorned the church in the patriarchal, or the apostolic age."
He then recommends the "study of the history of the fathers, as the history of men, who were but little known to the world, and for that reason often misapprehended and injuriously aspersed; who though pronounced by some to be bigots, and by others enthusiasts, were truly lights shining in a dark place: