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of the phenomena, than the prints in the works of Sir G. Mackenzie and Mr. Hooker.
The book concludes with a long Appendix, of very considerable curiosity and interest. It consists chiefly of an historical view of the Icelandic trapslations of the Bible, and an inquiry into the history and qualities of Icelandic Poetry. This latter takes us back into the Scandinavian heroic age, displays the character and vocation of the Skalds, relates the origin of the Edda, recites, among other ancient straips, the whole death-song of Regner. Lodbruk, with a prose translation, and investigates at much length the modes and rules of Icelandic versification. Art. VII. Psyche ; or the Scul ; a Poem in Seven Cantos. By
John Brown, Esq. 12mo. 75. London, 1818. WE
E feel quite at a loss in what terins to convey our opinion
of this long string of rhymes, and are altogether unable to determine the Writer's intention in putting them together. The “ Poem,” if, in courtesy, it must be so called, though by no means clever, is evidently the production of a man capable of better things, and who is wasting respectable talents on the composition of dull and unprofitable conceits. He rhymes with facility, is a tolerable band at telling a story, now and then exhibits something like point, and occasionally is guilty of what distantly resembles wit. We guess, for it is only guess, that he means to ridicule the reasonings and theories of metaphysical writers, and it must be admitted that they are fair game; but it will require a more skilful hand than that of " Jolin “ Brown, Esq.” to bring them down.
Ned and Tom dialogize together respecting the nature and seat of the soul, if we rightly apprehend the matter, and we believe that they come, at last, to some indeterminable determination on the subject. But without any further dissertation on the merits or defects of the composition as a whole, we shall quote the following lines as a proof that when the Author can persuade bimself to cease to be perverse, he can write with considerable beauty both of versification and description.
As when the sombre shades of night
some mountain's awful height
We suppose that the Author has had Butler and Swift in view, as his masters in satirical composition ; he has bowerer peither the ease of the one, nor the pithiness of the other. We think he would bave done wisely bad he omitted bis sneers at the Trioity, and his admiration of Socinus. He could bardly expect to make converts in so off-hand a way; and if he wrote for public approbation, he could scarcely hope to obtain it, by sacrificing truth and inodesty to the humours and caprices of sectarianism.
Art. VIII. Narratives of the Lives of the more eminent Fathers of
the Three First Centuries ; interspersed with copious Quotations from their Writings, Familiar Observations on their Characters and Opinions, and occasional References to the most remarkable Events and Persons of the Times in which they lived. Inscribed, by Permission, to the Hon. and Right Rev. the Bishop of Gloucester. By the Rev. Robert Cox, A.M. Perpetual Curate of
St. Leonard's, Bridgenorth, 8vo. pp. 402. Price 10s. 6d. 1817. А WRITER of competent ability, and sound and indepen
dent mind, might confer an important obligation on the theological student, and render essential service to the cause of truth, by a strictly upright and severe examination of the records of ecclesiastical history, and of the works which it consigns to us as the writings of the Fathers. Such an investigation, it may safely be affirmed, has never yet been made. Treatises and bulky volumes, almost numberless, relative to the early periods of the Christian History, have been given to the world, but a work that might be of real utility in determining the degree of credit due to the memorialists of the Church, and in settling the contending claims of truth and error in the different writers of the early ages, within and without its pale, is a task reserved for some future author. Jortin has, in several instances, exhibited specimens of the manner in which such a work should be conducted; but however distinguished the talents and character of that admirable writer were, there are certain indispensable qualifications required in him who undertakes the office of an Ecclesiastical Critic, which even'. he did not possess in their full measure.
Mr. Cox certainly is not one of the men to whom we should look for the accomplishment of our wishes. His pages are indeed occupied with the details of only a part of the history writings of the Fathers, but that part is one confessedly of great importance, since it includes the first three centuries of the Christian era, and gives memorials of the following persons : Simeon, Son of Cleophas; Clernent, of Rome; Ignatius; Polycarp; Justin Martyr; Irenæus ; Tertullian; Origen ; Cyprian ; and Dionysius, of Alexandria ; ample scope is presented even in this enumeration of Authors, for the exercise of the talents which it is desirable to see employed on those times and subjects.
We hesitated at the very commencement of Mr. Cox's Bouk, on reading the account of the martyrdom of James, from which we could not fail of auguring ill respecting our progress through his work. That statement is rested on the authority of Hegesippus, a credulous and fabulous writer, whose narrative (if indeed he was its Author) of the transactions at Jerusalem, is no better than a legend. The reader of these “ Lives of the
more eminent Fathers," will expect from the Author only authentic details; or should doubt attach to any circumstances which they include, he will expect to find the relations which are of dubious pretension, fairly marked with the necessary caution. In the instance under consideration, he is not admonished of the unsafe ground wbich he treads; and unless he obtains some better guide, he must inevitably fall. The most competent and impartial writers have already pronounced a judgement on Hegesippus, which is directly contrary to Mr. • Cox's, and which, we apprehend, is in accordance with truth. We are however bound in justice to the Author to notice, that instances do occur in his work, of the proper expression of disapprobation at the means by which Christianity received many of its early injuries.
It is somewbat curious that a minister of the Church of England should speak of Tertullian's censuring with deserved severity,' the pretensions of the Bishop of Rome to forgive sins :
“ I hear,” says he, " that a decree, a peremptory decree, has been issued. The chief pontiff, forsooth the bishop of bishops, declares, • I ABSOLVE PENITENTS PROM THE SINS OF ADULTERY AND FORNICATION! O edict, pregnant with every abomination !” Shortly afterwards he adds : “ Who can pardon sin, but God alone! This is, indeed, the prerogative of the Lord, not of the servant ; of God himself, not of the priest.” '! p. 217.
Has Mr. Cox never absolved penitents from their sins? How can the edict, Tertullian's censure against which he approves of, be pregnant with every abomination,' any more than the rubric of his own Church, which directs the Priesť to absolve the transgressor from all his sins ? Mr. Cox surely cannot allege that the rubric directs absolution to be given after confession, for does not the abominable edict' limit absolution to the penitent? and as for the sins of adultery and . fornication,' are they not included in the authority claimed by the ' Priest of the English Church, to absolve sinners from all their sins ? Nomine mutato, de te fabula narratur.
The common place details of this volume are not redeemed, in any instance, by original disscussions, nor relieved by any beauties of style. Vol. X. N.S.
Art. IX. The Biblical Cyclopædia ; or Dictionary of the Holy
Scriptures : intended to facilitate an Acquaintance with the Inspired
Writings. By William Jones. 8vo. 2 vols. Price 11. 16s. 1816. MR. JONES is already advantageously known to our readers,
as the Author of a very interesting “ History of the Wal“ deoses," which was noticed in our July Number, 1816. In reviewing thať work, we particularly remarked the Author's veneration for the original and simple institutes of Christianity, which have been so widely and grossly corrupted, and the purity of bis attachment to Christian Liberty. In the publication now before us, we recognize the same inestimable but rare qualities. It is evidently Mr. Jones's object in this, as in bis former production, to represent the religion of Christ as in its genuine form; to exbibit it, not as it has generally been seen, distorted and debased, but in its original beauty and adorned with its native attractions, as displayed by its Author. We only do justice to the labours of Mr. Jones, in describing them as designed to serve and adapted to promote the cause of primitive Christianity, There are several important articles in the present compilation, which have left on our ininds so strong an impression of their excellence in this respect, as to obtain from us this commendation in limine, though, at the same time, we are not fully prepared to vindicate the propriety of allotting so much space to them as they fill in these pages. But the Author would perhaps urge that this is included in his plan, which professes to facilitate an acquaintance with the inspired writings. Still we think that the discussions of the doctrines of Scripture would be more appropriate to a work different from the present. So luminously, and usefully, however, are some important topics of Theology treated in these volumes, that we admit the Author to all the benefit of the plea he may be disposed to urge in favour of the execution of his work.
'To facilitate an acquaintance with the inspired writings,' is a most praise-worthy employment, in which, during a succession of ages, learned and excellent persons have engaged, either as translators or commentators. To these labourers in sacred literature every Christian owes great and lasting obligation. If the reader of a classic peruses the notes and illustrations of an edition with grateful recollections,-if the prose of Herodotus, and the lyrics of Pindar, are read more intelligibly and more pleasantly, as elucidated by a Wesseling and a Heyne,-the student of the sacred writings, who reads and understands them, cannot but feel how much he is aided in his progress by the lights which Biblical scholars exhibit. These lights however are so pumerous, and their rays are so scattered, that it bas become a useful and necessary service to select, and concentrate a portion of them, for the benefit of those who cannot
bave access to the original sources of instruction. Many wlio are desirous of possessing the means of understanding the Scriptures, are unable to purchase large and costly volumes, while their situation precludes them from the use of the most celebrated works of Biblical and Theological literature. Those who are furnished with these, are little aware of the difficulties with which their less favoured brethren have to contend, while perplexed with a geographical or a ehronological question, which they bave no ideans of solving. "A Dictionary of the Bible, ' or a Biblical Cyclopædia’, would be to many inquiring and excellent men, an inestimable acquisition.
That such works should answer their purpose, in the best manner, it is necessary that they embody only the most useful articles, and that they be of a moderate price. Calmet's Dictionary is a most valuable book, but to many it is altogether inaccessible by its price. The rich may command literary works; it is for a very different class of persons that such a compilation as we are alluding to, is wanted. Mr. J. has we thok somewhat overlooked the pecuniary incompetencies of mary scholars, in extending some of his biographical articles to an unecessary length, as in those of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, &c. A simple reforence to the inimitable history of Joseph, as described in Genesis, would have been amply sufficient. This history can indeed be read only in the Bible. We state this objection simply for the purpose of suggesting an appropriate brevity in the insertion of common topics.
The Geographical part of the work is very respectably executed, though not by any means faultless. Many of the articles in this division might have been enlarged with advantage, as in the examples of Philadelphia and Smyrna, of which, and of some other places, more particular and interesting accounts might easily have been furoished. The distance of places should have been regularly noted. We shall extract the description of Corinth.
Corinth, a renowned city, the capital of Achaia, situated on the Isthmus which separates the Peloponnesus from Attica. This city was one of the most populous and wealthy of all Greece. Situated about the middle of the isthmus, at the distance of about sixty stadia from the sea, on either side, it drew the commerce of both the east And the west from all parts. The surrounding country being mountajnous and rather barren, the inhabitants were not much addicted to agriculture, but from their local situation, they possessed singular advantages for commerce which they carried to a great extent. The natural consequences of an extensive commerce were wealth and luxury; fustered in this manner, Corinth rose in magnitude and grandeur, and its elegant and magnificent temples, palaces, theatres, and other public buildings; adorned with statues, columns, capitals, and bases, not only rendered it the pride of its inhabitants, and the