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Dr. Chelfum's " Reply to Mr. Gibbon's Vindication of fome Paffages in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the Hiftory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," we heartily recommend to the friends of truth and Christianity. Keen wit and lively irony are the methods which that fafcinating historian makes ufe of in defending himself, and refuting the plain fo lid reafonings of his antagonists. Dr. Chelfum willingly yields to him the palm of wit and raillery; but his own integrity, and the reprefentations which he had formerly given of Mr. Gibbon's want of candour and proper regard to truth, he vindicates with additional ardor and force. This publication does honour to our author as a gentleman and a fcholar; and when we read his candid acknowledgments of foine inaccuracies into which he had been betrayed, for which he apologizes with becoming modefty, we give full credit to his declaration, that he "never in reality, in any moment, fought for victory or triumph, but for truth only."
ftinguifhed him. He follows the example of bifhop Lowth in giving to his verfion a metrical form; and in endeavouring to tranflate carefully and literally the words of the original. By thefe means he hath preferved, as far perhaps as could be done in a tranflation, the grace and beauty of the Hebrew tongue, and rendered his labours moft ufeful to expofitors of fcripture. In the notes likewife, with which he hath enriched his work, as well as in his verfion, he feems faithfully to have kept in view an admirable rule, which, with others, he hath laid down as neceffary to a juft and true tranflation of the fcriptures. "The critical fenfe of paffages fhould be confidered, fays he, and not the opinion of any denomination of Christians whatever. The tranflators should be philologists, and not controver fialifts." We hope that the laudable efforts of a Lowth, a Blaney, and a Newcome, to rescue the facred writings from the mistakes and imperfections which attend them in their prefent English drefs, will awaken a fimilar fpirit in the breafts of others of our clergy, who are equal to fuch a task; and excite, amongst men of leifure and retirement, a more general attention to oriental literature. Such labours would prove beneficial, in the higheft degree, to the caufe of religion, and confer true and Ifting honour on thofe engaged in them.
Under the head of Biblical Literature, it is with great fatisfaction and pleasure that we can mention the accomplishment of the hope we expreffed in our account of the productions of the last year, by the publication of a valuable work, by Dr. Newcome, bifhop of Waterford, modeftly called by him, "An Attempt towards an improved Verfion, a metrical Arrangement, and an Explanation of the Twelve Minor Prophets." The tafk undertaken by the learned author was a very arduous one; and he hath executed it in a manner which adds greatly to the character for judgment and candor, by which his other writings have di
The "Lectures on the Canon of the Scriptures, comprehending a Differtation on the Septuagint Verfion, by the late Rev. John Blair, LL.D. and Prebendary of Westminster," are the production of a man of confiderable reading and abilities; though they do not appear before the world with the advantages which would have re
except against tracts in which I fhall perceive no love of truth, and no regard to the rules of decorum." A work of this kind, carried on with perfect freedom and impartiality, must be favourable to the increafe of theological knowledge, and an accurate critical acquaintance with the holy fcriptures. And, notwithstanding that we dif fer from the conductor of it, in refpect to fome of his opinions, as friends to liberal difcuffion and to truth, we fincerely wish to fee his plan perfevered in and well fupported.
commended them, had they been corrected and finished by the author. The whole work is divided into four parts. The first treats briefly of the Canon of the Old Teftament; the fecond contains general Obfervations on the Apocrypha, and reafons, from the contradictions and abfurdities with which it abounds, why it ought not to be ranked in the canon. The third part consists of a Differtation on the Septuagint Verfion, in which fome curious and critical queftions are difcuffed in a judicious and pleafing manner; particularly the question relating to the ufe which our Saviour, as well as the evangelifts and apoftles, have made of the Septuagint tranflation, in their quotations from the books of the Old Testament. The last divifion of the work was intended for a critical Examination of the Canon of the New Testament, but is very imperfect. If the learned author had lived to complete his plan, we doubt not but he would have rendered it more worthy the attention of critical and well-informed readers, as well as more generally instructive and useful.
Dr. Priestley continues the publication of "The Theological Repofitory," and invites contributions to the work, from all lovers of free inquiry, whatever their opinions may be. "No paper, he declares, fhall be refufed admittance, that fhall contain obfervations on any fubject of importance, that are either properly new, or that fet things in a clearer or ftronger point of light. I fhall even confider communications from ferious unbelievers as of peculiar value; for truth never has, and we may be confident never can fuffer, but, on the contrary, muft gain by the freeft investigation. I fhall only
The author of "A Key to the Mystery of the Revelations," feems to be an ingenious and well-intentioned writer, though we cannot fay that he hath given us more fatisfaction than others who have preceded him in commenting on that mysterious book. He confiders it as defcribing a 66 regular series of ecclefiaftical events, from the beginning to the end of time, but yet varioutly expreffed, agreeably to the feven parts into which they seem naturally to be divided." The fcheme which he adopts is fimple; but still it is the offspring only of conjecture. And notwithstanding that we may be difpofed to admire his filial piety, as a fon of the church of England, in applying to her what is faid of Philadelphia in the prophetic vifion; and in con. cluding, "that the only profeffion of the true Chriftian faith is according to the doctrine of the church of England; and that her liturgy and fervice must confe quently be a model for all other nations to conform to;" we fear the sturdy champions of other Protestant churches and fects will vexatioufly call for proofs, and protest against the partiality which he dif covers for our venerable mother. Mr.
Mr. Fell hath renewed his attack on Mr. Farmer, in a treatife entitled, “The Idolatry of Greece and Rome diftinguished from that of other heathen Nations." The fpirit with which this author conducts his defign would have our praife, did it not too frequently favour of an illiberality, which, when the abilities and character of, his opponent are confidered, hurts and difgufts us. The arguments which he urges in vindication of himfelf and his opinions, are fhrewd and fenfible; but their value de pends on the degree of credit which is due to the authorities to which he refers, and on the fairness with which he quotes hifloric facts. Thefe, we imagine, Mr. Farmer will fill be difpofed to call in queftion. Should the two difputants perfift in their debate, we cannot but exprefs our wish, that neither of them would hurt the feelings of the other, either by a studied and blameable indifference to the importance of his adverfary, or by indulging to a iportive farcaftic humour which cannot produce conviction.
of truth and juftice, and divine benevolence. The fcripture ac count of the fall our author receives in the literal fenfe; and difplays much coolness and industry in his illuftration of this part of facred hiftory. The most pleafing feature, however, with which we are ftruck in the work, is his readi nefs to give up any favourite human explications of feripture, which feem to be inconfiftent with its natural and obvious fenfe, or which are, in the leaft degree, derogatory to the perfections of the Deity.
Dr. Chauncy hath alfo publifhed a treatife on "The Benevolence of the Deity," in which he contends for the freedom of the human will, in oppofition to neceffity; and endeavours to prove, that all the good fuitable for such a system as this, is apparently the tendency of nature and the divine adminiftration; and that it actually prevails fo far as this tendency is not perverted by the creatures themfelves.
Dr. Chauncy, of Bofton in New England, hath publifhed "Five Differtations on the Scripture Ac'count of the Fall, and its Confequences.' This worthy divine had been educated in the trammels of trist Calvinifm, but hath made very confiderable advances in libe-rality of fentiment. His design in the prefent publication is chiefly to overthrow the doctrine of original fin, or the imputation of Adam's guilt to his defcendents. The fentence pronounced on the defection of our first parents, he confiders -as a doom to vanity, fuffering, and :death; but warmly protefts against the other doctrinal confequences, as totally inconfitent with all ideas
"The Reftitution of all Things," by Mr. Brown, late miffionary is Georgia, is an ingenious and liberal effay, and worthy of attentive perufal. His defign is, to prove, both from reafon and revelation, that the redemption of the world muit extend to the whole human race. Nay, he contends, that it implies "the entire extirpation of evil, diforder, and mifery; and the reftoration of peace, perfection, and felicity, through all the regions of the divine dominions." Pleafing as this view of things may be to our natural defires and wiflies, we still hefitate in admitting its truth. But we cordially join with our author in execrating their opinions, who are for admitting a few only of the human race to divine favour, while the bulk of mankind are devoted to endless mifery and deftruction.
The author of "An Examination of Mr. Robinson of Cambridge's Plea for the Divinity of our Lord Jefus Chrift," is a fhrewd and fenfible writer, and well verfed in the art of difputation. He is a zealous advocate for what is ufually called the Socinian hypothefis; and with confiderable ingenuity explains away many of the paffages of Scripture, which have been thought favourable to the opinion of Christ's pre-existence. But the attack of our examiner is not confined to Mr. Robinson's Plea; in the preface he feverely reproves Mr. White, the Laudean profeffor, for the reflections he had caft on the Socinians in the appendix to his Bampton Lectures. Upon the whole, the author writes with great decency and moderation, as well as judgment; although fome of his readers will think, that they difcover in him the pride and zeal of a partizan, from the keen and pointed expreffons which fometimes efcape from his pen.
"A Letter to Theophilus Lindfey, A. M. by a Layman," is not intended fo much for a refutation of Mr. Lindley's principles, by an appeal to the fenfe of the Scriptures, as to point out their fuppofed dangerous tendency; and to reftore to their rank in orthodoxy, fome pious men whom Mr. Lindsey had claffed amongst Unitarians. We cannot beftow commendation, either on the fpirit with which these pages are written, or the ftrength of argument by which the defign of them is fupported. The author appears to be gloomy, bigotted, and intolerant. If, when coolly viewing the picture which he hath drawn of the confequences of Mr. Lindfey's publications, he feriously apprehends them, his feelings are truly deferving of cur compaffion.
But a free examination of the facred Scriptures cannot be productive of fuch evils. And fuperfti tion and ignorance must be the refult of that reftraint on enquiry, thofe fhackles of human creeds, and that execution of the laws against herefy, for which our layman fo pioutly contends.
In A Caveat addreffed to the Catholics of Worcester against the infinuating Letter of Mr. Wharton," Mr. William Pilling, a prieft, fteps forth the champion of the dying interefts of popery, with unbounded confidence, and with equal zeal. But the arguments which he ufes are not fuch as can injure the proteftant caufe. Neither will the better informed part of the catholic communion be proud of fuch an advocate. A Berrington or an O'Leary will be attended to by them, pleading the caufe of Chriftian charity and univerfal toleration, while the ravings of bigotry are defpiled.
Thofe who have been converfant in the writings of the late Dr. Johnfon; who have admired the elegance and beauty of his Lives of the Poets, or venerated the intellectual powers which the papers of the Rambler difcover, will read, with a mixture of pain and difguft, the " Prayers and Meditations" which have been publifhed under his name. The prayers, indeed, if they are remarkable for no great faults, have no excellencies; nothing, in the leaft degree, characteriftic of Dr. Johnfon. They are faint and languid imitations of the prefcribed forms of devotion in the Book of Common Prayer. With refpect to the rest of the work, on which the editor hath beltowed the title of Meditations, every lover of the doctor's memory must wish that it had been fuppreffed. It is full of S 3 weak.
weakness, fuperftition, and bigotry, May fuch an indifcreet, unfriendly publication, foon fink into oblivion, nor leffen the regard which is due to his admirable defences of religion and morality! Thefe labours of his are truly valuable, and will live as long as the English language, and will be admired, whereever that is underflood, by every friend of genius and of virtue,
place is due to á volume of " Dif courfes on various Subjects, by Thomas Balguy, D. D. Archdeacon and Prebendary of Winchefter." The author of thefe Difcourfes hath justly acquired a cha racter, in the literary world, for clofe logical reafoning, and for a freedom and liberality of fentiment, that do honour to the man and the Chriftian. In the Domestic Litera ture of a former year, we have had occafion to fpeak highly of the ingenuity and ftrength of mind difcoverable in his Treatife on the Divine Benevolence. And we should lofe all claim to impartiality, did we not warmly recommend the prefent production to our readers. We do not engage to approve all that the worthy author hath faid on the fubject of church authority, and on fubfcription to articles of religion; but in the general train of his Difcourfes, we meet with a happy combination of what is entertaining and inftructive every can did mind will read, with great plea fure, his obfervations on religious liberty; and his advices to the clergy, are worthy the attention of all of that order, who are defirous of becoming good and uteful miniflers of Jefus Chrift.
Dr. Fordyce's "Addrefes to the Deity," will be read with pleasure and edification, by thofe who are defirous of cult vating a fpirit of fervent devotion. "They are meant," he tells us, "for a pecies of pious conten plations, where the fou, acting under an animating fenfe of the divine prefence, exprefles with humility and arcour her inmoft thoughts, affections, and defires, on differ nt fubjects, and fill looks up to God as her parent and her judge, whofe approbation conflitutes her foverign felicity, as he alone can protect and bless her through every period of her exiftence," The firit addrefs is, on a View of the Sea; the fecond, on Salvation by Chrift; the third, on Contemplation; the fourth and fifth on Providence; and the fixth, on the Death of Dr. Johnfon.. If the worthy author had, in fome parts of thefe compofitions, been more careless in respect to the polish and embellishment of his language, they would not be lefs acceptable or at fecting as devotional exercifes. We doubt not, however, but that they are the dictates of his heart; and that his defign in publishing them, was to recommend to the world that fpirit of chearful animating piety, which is fo favourable to the happiness of mankind.
In giving our account of the Sermons of the year 1785, the firft
Mr. Churton's "Eight Sermons on the Prophecies refpecting the Teftruction of Jerufalem," are fen: fible and ufeful compotitions. They do not, it is true, bear any ftriking marks of originality or genius; neither do they fupply us with any new illuftrations of Scripture. But they are well adapted to the inftruction and edification of common readers, from the fpirit of piety which they breathe, and the easy accurate manner in which the most important facts are arranged.
With the fane approbation do we take notice of Dr. Apthorp's