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An observation naturally recurs ing under the influence of " affectation here, which was advanced in a preced- and hypocrisy," and their able publicaing instance. It is no refutation of tions are characterized as “ violent, this statement to say, that on many scurrilous, and abusive, yet without occasions these critics extol our civil force, satire, or humour." (See Feb. and religious institutions, commend 1797, p. 195; Jan. p. 69; July, p. writers who support them, and cen- 339; Oct. p. 186, &c.) Abundant sure their impugners. This conduct pains are taken to discredit the statewould be pursued by all skilful, how• ments of Abbé Barruel and Professor ever hostile, assailants. Besides, some Robinson; and the persons who are publications are too gross to be openly the objects of their strictures are styl. vindicated; others are too excellent to ed “the friends of liberality." (Vol. be absolutely condemned, without for. xxv. p. 303, 501.) Mr. Wakefield is feiting all claim to credit and charac. denominated a "powerful writer and
There is, however, even in such ardent friend to freedom ; (Oct. 1797, a case, a variety of ways in which a p. 187.) and great advantages are exReviewer may betray his attachment pected from the works of philosopher to the cause, which he sometimes Godwin. “ In the class of benevolent seems to oppose. He has the selection philosophers and enlightened reformof his authors, and of his extracts from ers,' our Reviewers say,
we are wil. them; he can animadvert on their lan- ling to rank Mr. Godwin; and we guage or their sentiments; he can readily give him credit for good intenbring forward the best arguments in tions, as well as for great talents. We support of favourite tenets, and the have no doubt that the public has been worst things from works of an opposite instructed as well as entertained by his description; he can discover affection writings; and we are not without hope in reproof, and coldness even in praise. that they may contribute essentially to But let us proceed to substantiate our the correction and improvement of heavy charge.
established systems.” (July, 1797, p. And first, in respect to Politics. 292.) Yet what it is that can overThat our critics are dissatisfied with balance the absurdity and wickedness our existing institutions, we are told and infidelity displayed by this writer, expressly. “ The present system of we must leave these gentlemen to spe.. parliamentary representation," they cify, What sort of correction and say, “is demonstrated to be faulty, not improvement established systems are only from the abuse of, but a total de- likely to receive from his achieveviation fron, the original constitution.” ments, few persons endowed with comThe Saxon method of representing the mon sense can doubt, and must have people, it is added, “affords sufficient been pretty obvious to mnen so enlightproof of the fundamental right of uni- ened as the Monthly Reviewers. versal suffrage,” (Dec. 1797, p. 384.) These critics shew themselves equal“Nothing," it is moreover affirmed, ly dissatisfied with our ecclesiastical esta
can give sanction and solidity to civil blishment, and discover equal partiality government, but the voluntary consent for its enemies. Thus, after quoting of those who submit to it. To grant Bishop Watson's observation, “ that the or withhold this consent, one man is as superstition of the Church of Rome exfree 15 another." (Dec. 1791, on Let- cited infidelity on the continent,” and ters to Mr. Burke.)
saying “his statement is not far, perWriters, who have almost uniform- haps, from being correct,” it is added, ly been directly opposed in sentiment “ admitting this fact, may we not look to the legislature, are represented as at home, and discover some source of inmodels of political wisdom, prodigies fidelity in our own dogmata and religious of genius, or, at the least, as actuated institutions? Do we not hold forth some by the most benevolent intentions. things for Christianity which are not The friends of ministry are charged strictly such? Do we not make greater with “ malignant violence,” with writ- demands on faith than Christ and his
Apostles have done ?" (Vol. xxv. p. Life and Writings of Mr. Robinson, by 348.) Our Test Laws are represented Mr. George Dyer, the highest encomias offering “studied insult, the most ums, with scarcely a shadow of censure, “gross and flagrant insull,” to a class are bestowed on them by the critics unof men, and inflicting on them “the der consideration. “ Both as a theoloseverest injury.”. (Vol. xxv. P. 94.) gian and a politician,” they observe,Mr. " The leaven of intolerance,” it is also Dyer “has given proofs of great intesaid, " which was from the first inti- grity, liberality, and benevolence, and mnately mixed with the religious and civil has shewn himself an active and zealous constitution of this country, still remains champion in the cause of civil and reli. in the penal laws respecting Religion, gious freedom.” “ Mr. Robinson's chawith which our civil code continues to racteristic feature," it is also observed, be disgraced.” (Jan. 1797, p. 82.) And “ was the love of liberty; and many of his again, “ To speak of the members of writings were levelled against civil and an enlightened ministry as anxiously ecclesiastical tyranny.” His advances studying and patiently explaining the from orthodoxy to socinianism are called divine oracles, which they have sworn “his growing liberality;" and the reato understand and explain in a sense al- der is assured, that he “ will find much ready fixed by the Church, is a manifest to admire both in the character itself, inconsistency.” (Ibid.) We are further and in the manner in which it is exhiinformed, how these gentlemen would bited.” (Ibid. p. 10.) Is it not then frame a more perfect "scheme of reli- pretty clear, what kind of dispositions gious worship” than that of the Church towards the Church of England these of England ; (Mar. 1797, p. 317.) and Reviewers entertain ? And have we not that officiating priests, splendid temples here also a lamentable proof how very and rites, &c.” are only not "prohibited” little of that candour and liberality, about by Christianity. (Oct. 1798, p. 145.) which they are perpetually haranguing,
Yet all this, though it condemn our this description of writers really pos. laws, our articles, our liturgy; and dis- sesses? Do they not chiefly seem to penses with our temples and priests, is mean by liberality, an approbation of tolerable in comparison of what fol. Democracy, Dissent, and Socinianism? lows. Mr. George Dyer writes scurri That our critics disapprove of the lous verses on Clergymen of the Esta- doctrines of the established Church has blishment, denominates them "fools been made sufficiently manifest already. and boobies," accuses them of hypocri. The fact, however, is fully confirmed by sy, ignorance, sloth, and sensuality; and their treatment of Mr. Fellowes's discompares respect for the profession to courses. In these Sermons, as that which was formerly entertained for proved in a preceding number, several " witchcraft.” The Monthly Review- leading doctrines of the national confesa ers, who quote the lines as “ containing sion are flatly denied and contradicted. a specimen of the author's judgment of Yet his system of divinity is recomour established clergy," " fear that there mended by the Monthly Reviewers, is much truth in his strictures.” (Vol. with unusual warmth, and without the xxv. p. 108.) Similar sentiments are smallest qualification. “We are pleasentertained on the subject by Mr. Dy- ed," they observe, “10 find that Mr. er's friend, Mr. Robinson, of Cambridge. Fellowes has spoken so plainly on this “ Priesthood,” says Mr. Dyer, “ in his subject; and we could wish that his estimation, was the grand'adversary, or, example were followed by every clerto use his own language, the great black gyman throughout the kingdom. In devil, whom all good non-cons should op- this instance, they ought to pursue a pose. Had he known how, he would. fearless conduct; and, despising the have destroyed this eneiny." (Jan. censure of heterodoxy, which the vul1797, p. 14.) And it may be safely con- gar and bigotted may cast on them, recluded, from several of his publications, solve to give senseless fanaticism no that a more bitter enemy than Mr. Ro- quarter.” The greatest advantages binson the Church of England never would be obtained, they proceed to inhad. Yet, on reviewing Memoirs of the timate, “were Clergymen in the esta
blishment, and the liberally educat. scarcely expect that their effect will be ed among Dissenters, to persevere in very extensive, at least for the present. preaching like Mr. Fellowes." He is The march of truth is slow.” (Oct. therefore “ urged to persevere in the 1798, p. 145.) This observation occurs same strain; and their readers are in their review of Mr. Beisham's Thetreated with a quotation declaratory of ological Letters. Let us therefore exMr. Fellowes's ardent attachment to amine whal advances towards a perfect "pure, sincere, rational, moral, and be- system of our religion this gentleman nevolent Christianity;' and of his utter has made. Here we find Christianity “ detestation” of “cant," " hypocrisy," disencumbered from the perplexing and “ fanaticism,” which he represents doctrines of original depravily,” the as marking the characters of " several “ atonement" of the Son of God, and “the writers of the present day, from whom influence of the Spirit on the mind for better things might have been expecte moral purposes ;" as well as the evil to ed;"' and as extending “ from those in be apprehended from Satanic influence, low to those in high places.” (Oct. &c. &c. “ Original depravity, atone1801, p. 212.) They might have ad- ment, and the like,” Mr. Belsham says, ded, as a proof of their own candour, "constitute no part of the Christianity and that of Mr. Fellowes (for the infor- of the New Testament.” And, speakmation occurs in the pages immediate. ing of the terms of acceptance with God, ly adjoining) that these “ several writers as stated by an orthodox writer, le afin low and high places” are making firms, “that not a single word, no, not Christianity itself an instrument for the even a trace, or a shadow of them, is to propagation of vice, and the diffusion of be found in the Christian Scriptures !!” misery!” “through stubborn ignorance (Ibid. p. 149.) These notions, the ator perfidious wickedness sapping the tentive reader will perceive, bear a strong foundations of morality;" circulat- strong resemblance to the principles of ing, "with uncommon industry and zeal, Mr. Fellowes, for which our Reviewers doctrines which tend to deter even good have expressed such regard. They men from the practice of virtue, and are also very nearly allied to the sentiwhich powerfully impel bad men on in ments of their friends Dyer, Robinson, the career of wickedness,” &c. &c. (See Wakefield, Kentish, and Priestley. (See p. 1, 2.) And whose cant, we now ask, above, and Jan. 1797, p. 118.) As can be more disgusting than their's, therefore it might be expected," all,” who at the same time boast of their be- they say, who peruse Mr. Belsham's nevolence and liberality, and make such book, “ must allow that he is clear in assertions as these? Do the Monthly argument, liberal in conception and exReviewers ever commend such abuse pression, and sincerely desirous of appreof Deists, Socinians, and Republicans ? ciating the value of the work he exaNo; they reproved even the candid mines; that “taken altogether, Mr. Bishop Watson, for being too “un- Belsham's Letters are not only extremecharitable to unbelievers." (Vol. xxv. ly candid, but evince a critical knowledge p. 216.) But, they can endure any se- of the Scripturcs, and a firofundity of verity against another description of thought and reflection.” In the followcharacters: the low, senseless, impi- ing passage the Reviewers say, Mr. ous, malignant ribaldry of Peter Pindar Belsham “has neatly expressed their own affords them entertainment, when die ideas on the subjeci.” Jesus and his rected against eminent orthodox writers Apostles, says Mr. Belsham, “neither of the Church of England. (Dec. 1799. positively affirm nor authoritatively con
tradict the existence and agency of an Seeing so much amiss then in the evil spririt ; but express themselves exestablished theology, it is natural for actly as the rest of their contemporaour critics to use such language as the ries did. Happily for us, there is no following : “We may admire the writ- evidence from reason to prove that any ings of those who endeavour to correct spirit, good or evil, shares with the Suthe misapprehensions of men respect- preme in the government of the uniing the Christian Religion, but we can verse; nor do the Scriptures, carefully
studied and rightly uuderstood, autho- dices to enforce his doctrinc. In short, rize any such unphilosophical and mis- I would say any thing rather than bechievous opinion.” (Oct. 1798, p. 148.) lieve, even on the authority of Paul, With the language of the New Testa- that every thing recorded in the Hement in view, much of this appears to brew Scriptures was dictated by a dius extraordinary indeed; and we think vine unerring spirit.” (See pref. to we have here good authority for affirm- vol. ii. and pref. to vol. i.) But our ing, that the Monthly Reviewers coun- limits forbid us to proceed. A most tenance writers who mutilate the doc. excellent coufutation of these daring trines of Christianity.
positions may be seen in the British We will only further notice the re- Critic, commencing in the number for marks of these Journalists on the theo- January, 1802, which, as the learned logical works of Dr. Geddes. This writer acknowledges, “ amounts 10 a Divine appears to have left even Mr. direct charge of blasphemy against” Dr. Belsham far behind. At least, as our Geddes.* Yet, on this presumptuous,
“ Dr. Geddes leads the way blasphemous Dr. Geddes, the Monthin a new march of Hebrew criticism.” ly Reviewers bestow the very highest (Vol. xxv. p. 406.
Dr. Geddes has encomiums, and not the smallest pordiscovered that “the historical books tion of censure; and exert their utof the Old Testament were not written most ingenuity to give his works celeunder the influence of a divine inspi- brity, and to promote its circulation. ration;" that “the Hebrew historians, “ The appearance of such a translator like all other historians, wrote from and commentator," they say, “ will, no such documents as they could find; doubt, be hailed by every liberai adpopular traditions, Old Songs, or pub- vocate for revealed religion: for the lic registers ; were, like other histori- age of enlightened criticism is at hand, ans, liable to mistake ; were not more if not already arrived ; and whatever intelligent or judicious, and were AT cannot bear the touch of Ilhuriel's LEAST EQUALLY CREDULOUS:" that spear will be considered as belonging they “put into the mouth of the Lord to the region of error and darkness.” words which he never spake ; and as. They “ cannot but rank the work sign unto him views and motives which among the literary acquisitions of the he never had.” According to Dr. Ged present age.” They “ admire the plain des, the three first chaplers in Genesis unequivocal manner in which he deli. contain only a “PHILOSOPHICAL MY vers his opinion," however they “may Thos ;" " the voice of the Lord means differ from him on many points.” "A only thunder ;” and Elijah, like Romu- free and manly judgment, associated lus, was “ carried off by a thunder with real learning and rational critistorm." Dr. Geddes says,
“ The God cisiz” is “ found in uniform exertion.” of Moses, Jehovah, if he really be such “ He melts down the hyperbolical as he is described in the Pentateuch, is phrases of the East to their genuine not the God whom I adore, nor the God and literal meaning;” and “the bibliwhom I could love." Nor would Dr. cal scholar has much to expect from Geddes change his opinion if St. Paul the full body of his criticism.” The himself should unequivocally contra. approvers of the Doctor's system are dict it. On the supposition that after “judicious Divines : those whom his his utmost efforts to evade the force observations startle, are weak minds;" of 2.Tim. jii. 16. critics may decide and it is a ridiculous and “timid vene. against him, he observes, " I would ration, through the medium of which then say, that the word inspiration these sacred books have been viewed must, in the language of Paul, have a by the generality of Christian schodifferent meaning from that which our Jars,” and of “ Christian Divines.” Divines have affixed to it; or, that on “ He judiciously observes,” our critics this occasion, as on some other occa- say, “ that the Hebrew historians have a sions, he spoke the prejudices of the Jews, or availed himself of those pireju * Sce also our Rericir for the present month.
greater resemblance to Homer than to but for divers reasons the author did Herodotus, and to Herodotus than to not forward it for publication. It is Thucydides. To the first of these wri- now submitted whether you will think ters they in many respects bear a strik- proper to admit the same into your ing similitude. Like him they are con- Christian Observer. The object of the tinually blending real facts with FANCI- letter is to expose the unfairness and FULNYTHOLOGY, ascribing natural disingenuity of the Anti-Jacobin Reevents to supernatural causes, and in- viewers, whose reflections upon writroducing a divine agency on every ex
ters of a certain class are addressed ad traordinary occurrence." They adopt ignorantiam or ad invidiam of the geDr. Geddes's leading position, which nerality of readers. rejects inspiration, on other occasions; and ridicule the learned author of the
To the Editor of the Anti-Jacobin Review. 66 Pursuits of Literature,” for censur
Audi alteram partem.-HOR. ing him, &c. &c. (See Vol. xxv. p. SIR, 282; March 1797, p. 304; Feb.p.222; In looking over your original criticism Oct. p. 219.)—This then is what we on More's Strictures on Female Educall countenancing writers who lessen cation, given in your number for the men's veneration for the Bible itself. Month of October last (1799) I ob.
That in all periodical works there served, that after the very high and must be found occasional, and perhaps just encomiums, which are there beunavoidable deviations from their real stowed on that work, your Reviewer principles, arising partly from negli- adds, “ We must not, however, pass gence, partly from the necessity of over wholly without notice page 297, employing the services of different where our author somewhat too hastipersons whose sentiments may not ly commences commentator; and sestrictly accord with those of the con- duced, as it should seem, by her naductors, and partly from a want of suf- tural partiality towards every thing ficient time to revise and correct the that appears to be ingenious, gives a contributions thus furnished, will rea- novel turn to the Epistle of St. Paul, dily be acknowledged. But it is not of &c."
The passage in Mrs. More's the occasional deviations, but of the work, to which your Reviewer refers, uniform and systematic tendency of stands thus: “ The apostolical order and the Monthly Review that we complain. method in this respect deserve notice Their plan is as we have represented and imitation ; for it is observable, that it, and their departure from it in some the earlier parts of most of the Episinstances may be accounted for from tles abound in the doctrines of Christhe causes which have just been men- tianity, while those latter chapters, tioned. We have said enough, how. which wind up the subject, exhibit all ever, to convince our readers of the the duties which grow out of them, as dangerous nature of the Review in the natural and necessary productions question, and to set parents on their of such a living root.”—And then, afguard against exposing their children ter stating what she thinks to be the to its insidious influence, which is per- error of those “ who would make severingly, and without doubt ably, Christianity to consist of doctrines onemployed in undermining that saluta- ly," on the one hand; and “ of the ry regard for establishments, and that mere moralists” on the other, Mrs. veneration for scriptural truth, which More proceeds, “ But Paul himself, are the best safeguards both of public who was at least as sound a theologian and individual happiness.
as any of his commentators, settles the matter another way, by making the duties of the twelfth (chapter] grow
out of the doctrines of the antecedent The inclosed Letter was written soon eleven, just as any other consequence after the publication of that number of grows out of its cause.” Now you
will the Anti-Jacobin to which it refers; pardon me, Mr. Editor, when I assure
To the Ellitors of the Christian Observer.