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we have then too much reason to apprehend, are able to reconcile it with the wisdom of that the spirit of life, which is still to be Greek and Roman authors. He was rather found, even in the worst copies and poorest of opinion, with a certain writer, that the editions, will be less regarded and under- Bible will explain all the books in the world, stood. We should have but a mean opinion but wants rot them to explain it. St. Paul of the gardener, who should always be clear- did not think it improper, an certain occaing and raking his borders, but never raising sions, to refer to Heathen authorities,* and anything from them to support the life of. make his use of them for the confirmation of man. Thus, if collating ends in collation, his own doctrine; but this was done when the tendency of it may be bad, though it be he was arguing with Heathens, not with ever so well executed : and I believe this Christians. There is not the same propriety, was, at the bottom of the chief objection when his sublime chapter on the resurrection against it in the mind of Mr. Horne. He was is compared (as I have seen it) with Plato's shy of speaking too plain, through a fear of doctrine of generation and corruption. Take giving offence; but the time has now many the Heathen doctrine of the origination of greater dangers than that of offending some mankind, and compare it with the sacred hisfew modern critics and editors.
tory of Adam in Paradise, and it will soon I relate it as a singular occurrence, that appear how little the one wants the help of when the mind of Mr. Horne was first filled the other: with the design of commenting upon the Pslams, he should meet with a traveller in a Quum prorepserunt primis animalia terris stage-coach, who was in principle the very Unguibus et pugnis, dein fustibus, atque ita porro
Brutum et turpe pecus, glandem atque cubilia propter reverse of himself. The man gave his judg- Pugnabant armis, quæ post fabricaverat usus: ment with all freedom on all subjects of Donec verba, quibus voces sensusque notarent, divinity, and among the rest on the use of the Nomináque invenere
HOR. Psalms in the service of the church. The Psalms of David, he said, were nothing to us,
It was a doctrine of the Heathen poets that and he thought other compositions might be men, when first made, were without speech, substituted, which were much more to the creeping on all four like beasts, living upon purpose than David's Psalms. He happened acorns, and lodging like swine in a forest : to be speaking to a person, who could see
whereas, when we consult the Bible, we find deeper than most men into the ignorance and the first man conversing with his Maker, folly of his discourse, but was wise enough to placed under a state of instruction and probahear him with patience, and leave him to tion, and in a condition but little lower than proceed in his own way. Yet this poor man
What must the consequence be, was but the pattern of too many more, who when an attempt is made to reconcile these want to be taught again, that David was a
two accounts, and melt them down together? Prophet, and speaks of the Messiah where he Yet was this actually done by the learned Dr. seems to be speaking of himself; as the apos
Shuckford, as it
may be seen in the last writtle St. Peter taught the Jews, in the second ten Preface to his Connection; where the chapter of the Acts, and thereby converted history of Adam, and of Eve, and of Paradise, three thousand of them at once to the belief and the intercourse of man with his Creator, of Christ's resurrection.
is commented upon and illustrated from There is another modern way ot criticising Ovid, and Tully, and Mr. Pope's poetical upon the Scripture, to which Mr. Horne had system of deism, called an Essay on Man; no great affection, as thinking it could never till the whole is involved in obscurity, and be of much service: I mean that custom,
becomes even childish and insignificant; as which has prevailed since the days of Gro- if it had been the design of the critic to extius, of justifying and illustrating the things pose the sacred history to the contempt of revealed to us in the Scripture from heathen blasphemers and infidels. This abuse of learnauthorities. I had seen too much of this ing Mr. Horne could not see without a mixamong some of my acquaintance, persons of ture of grief and indignation : he is therefore no mean learning, but who, instead of em- supposed to be the person who, in a little ploying themselves in the more successful anonymous pamphlet, made his remarks on labor of comparing spiritual things with spirit- this unworthy manner of handling the Scripual, in order to understand them, were dili- ture. While he was young, his zeal was gent in collecting parallel passages from ardent, and his strictures were unreservHeathen authors, to compare them with the ed. Yet I can never persuade myself, that Scripture; as if the sun wanted the assistance it was the intention of Dr. Shuckford to of a candle; or the word of God was not put a slight upon the Bible; though he cerworthy to be received, but so far only as we
* See Acts, xvii. 23. 28.
tainly has made the Mosaic account as ridicu- thought it more advisable to throw the matlous in simplicity, as Dr. Middleton did in ter out of that form, and cast an abridgment malice. I rather think he was betrayed into of the whole into the form of Considerations ; the mistake by a prevailing custom of the on which performance I have already spoken age. When the learned are less studious of my mind, and, I believe, the mind of every the Scripture, and become vain of other learn- competent judge, in the beginning of this ing, it may easily be foreseen how the Scrip-work. (See Pref. Epist.) I can only say ture must suffer under their expositions; and, here, that if there be any Christian reader if they do not foresee it, we would refer them who wishes to know what a saint is, and for evidence to the Supplemental Discourse aspires to be one himself, let him keep before on the Creation and Fall of Man, by Dr. his eyes that beautiful and finished picture Shuckford. The reformer who dares to cen- of St. John the Baptist, to the executing of sure a corrupt practice, can never be well which but one person of the age was equal. received by the parties who are in fault. But behold how this was described by This was the lot of Mr. Horne and his friends. the Critical Reviewers of the time! The candle which they had lighted at the the Considerations,” they say, “there are Scripture, and held up to show some dangers some judicious and solid remarks relative to and absurdities in modern learning, was blown practice, but nothing to engage the attention out, and they themselves were accused as per- of a curious, inquisitive, of critical reader.” sons of great zeal and little understanding. They might have said the same of the SerHow often do we see that when men should mon on the Mount. It looks as if they would be reformed, and are not, they are only pro- have been better pleased with a dissertation voked past remedy! This being, upon the upon the manner in which the wild honey whole, but an unpleasant subject, I shall pro- was made and collected for John to eat, ceed to one that will entertain us better. properly interspersed with quotations from
A letter of July the 25th, 1755, informed Athenæus and other authors, to show the me that Mr. Horne, according to an estab- learning of the writer, and that, perhaps, but lished custom at Magdalen College, in Ox-impertinently introduced. When there is a ford, had begun to preach before the univer- party always ready, and always upon the sity, on the day of St. John the Baptist. For watch to hinder the success of every good the preaching of this annual sermon a permanent pulpit of stone is inserted into a * Many examples might be given, to illustrate the corner of the first quadrangle ; and, so long distinction between Christian divinity, by which as the stone pulpit was in use (of which I men are edified, and curious divinity, by which they have been a witness) the quadrangle was Gospel, Luke, xix. 4. that Zaccheus climbed up into
are only amused and entertained. We read in the furnished round the sides with a large fence a sycamore tree, to see Jesus pass by, and was led of green boughs, that the preaching might by tnat circumstance to repentance and salvation, more nearly resemble that of John the Bap- When this case is considered by the Christian ditist in the wilderness ; and a pleasant sight desiring to see the Saviour of the world, and the it was : but for many years the custom inestimable blessing of being called by him, as hath been discontinued, and the assembly Zaccheus was, to a state of salvation. But when have thought it safer to take shelter under the curious divine hears that Zaccheus climbs up the roof of the chapel.
into a tree, he climbs up after him; not to see what
Our forefathers, it he saw, but to examine the nature of the tree, and seems, were not so much afraid of being in- ascertain to what species of plants, botanically conjured by the falling of a little rain, or the sidered, it properly belongs. blowing of the wind, or the shining of the
In this example we have two very different modes The preacher of 1755 ing will condemn the critical disquisitor: let him
of treating the Scripture. No man that loves sun upon their heads. pleased the audience very much by his man- pursue his inquiries; there is no harın in them: but ner and style, and all agreed that he had a when he presumes, as from an upper region, to disvery fine imagination ; but he was not very mendation, he pays too great a compliment to his
dain the Christian divine as unworthy of all comwell pleased with the compliment. As a own importance, and raises a very just suspicion Christian teacher, he was much more de- against his own religious principles. The case of sirous that his hearers should receive, and Zaccheus is considered in the Christian way by understand, and enter into the spirit of the Bishop Hall, (see Mr. Glasse's edition, vol, iii
. p. doctrines he had delivered ; but in this he 219,) and matter enough for the critical way found them slower than he wished, and quist, p. 129, et alib. The same inquisitive person
may be found in the Voyages of Frederic Hassel. laments it heavily in a private letter. Two was, as he tells us, very solicitious to discover what sermons on the subject of St. John the Bap- kind of tree in particular David had his eye upon tist were printed, and many others succeeded if his expressions, as they seem, have an allusion to which were not printed: for the author, at the Tree of Life. See our author's Commentary on last, on a review of what he had done, the first Psalm; who inclines to this opinion.
attempt, and mislead the ignorant on subjects life, however, he set about it, but got no of the first importance, such a writer as the farther than through the third discourse. The author of those Considerations had little first is on the Character of Abel, the second chance of escaping. Their artifices had been on Enoch, the third on Noah. Of these I so well observed and understood by him, that have the copy, and hope it will be published. he was able to predict their proceedings. Whoever looks at them, will wish he had When I had printed a discourse on the lived to satisfy his mind about all the rest. Mosaic distinction of animals in the book of They would certainly have been improved Leviticus, which had cost me much research by such a revision ; yet, perhaps, not so much and meditation, under the title of Zoologia as he supposed. First thoughts, upon a favorEthica, in which I had traced the moral in- ite subject, are warm and lively; and the tention of that curious institution, he foretold language they bring with them is strong and me how it would be represented to the pub- natural; but prudence is apt to be cold and lic; that the critics would select some part timorous; and, while it adds a polish, takes of the work, which was either ambiguous in away something from the spirit of the comitself, or might be made so by their manner position. of exhibiting it, and give that as a specimen But the greatest work of his life, of which of the plan, to discourage the examination of he now began to form the design, was a it. “ The passage,” said he, “at page 19, Commentary on the whole Book of Psalms, &c., about the camel and the swine will In the year 1758, he told me how he had probably be selected by the reviewers, given been meditating on the Book of Psalms, and to the reader without a syllable of the evi- had finished those for the first day of the dence, and then the whole book dismissed month, upon the following plan :* 1. An with a sneer.” In a few months after, his analysis of the Psalm, by way of argument. prediction was so exactly verified, that one 2. Á paraphrase on each verse. 3. The would have suspected him to have been in substance digested into a prayer.
“ The the secret. “If you look into the Critical work,” said he, “ delights me greatly, and Review, you will be tempted to think I wrote seems, so far as I can judge of my own turn the article on the Zoologia, to verify my own and talents, to suit me the best of any
I prediction. Without giving the least ac- think of. May he, who hath the keys of count of your plan, and the arguments by David, prosper it in my hand; granting me which it is so irrefragably supported and the knowledge and utterance necessary to demonstrated, the
give the very make it serviceable to the church !" Let passage about the swine and the camel, and any person of judgment peruse the work, conclude the whole scheme to be visionary and he will see how well the author has sucand problematical, as they phrase it."* Thus ceeded, and kept up the spirit of it to the is a malignant party gratified, and the public end. His application of the book of Psalms is beguiled by false accounts : the deception is agreeable to the testimony so repeatedly may continue for a time; but truth and jus- given to it, and the use made of it, in the tice generally take place at last.
New Testament. This question is stated and There is a portion of the New Testament, settled beyond a doubt, in a learned preface very interesting and full of matter, on which to the work. The style is that of an accomthe author of the Considerations, soon after plished writer ; and its ornaments distinguish he was in holy orders, bestowed much the vigor of his imagination. That all readthought and labor. I mean the eleventh ers should admire it as I do, is not to be exchapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. pected; yet it has certainly met with great On this he composed at least twenty sermons, admiration ; and I have seen letters to him, which are all excellent; but being more from persons of the first judgment, on the agreeable to the spirit of the first ages than publication of the book. It will never be of the present, he was not forward, though neglected, if the church and its religion frequently solicited, to give them to the should continue; for which he prayed ferworld. He objected, that they wanted to be vently every day of his life. When it first reviewed with a more critical eye, and even came from the press, Mr. Daniel Prince, his to be recomposed; and that this would be a bookseller at Oxford, was walking to or from work of time. Toward the latter end of his Magdalen College with a copy of it under
his arm. “ What have you there, Mr. * The date of the letter from which this extract is Prince ?" said a gentleman who met him. taken is Feb. 12, 1972. The work, thus unfairly “ This, sir, is a copy of Dr. Horne's Psalms, writer of profound skill in the language of the just now finished. The President, sir, began Scripture; who allowed that I had proved the moral intention of that law which is the subject * This plan he afterwards thought proper to alter, of it.
and, as it is judged, for the better.
to write rery young : but this is the work in retirement; and I can scarcely wish a greater which he will always live.” In this Mr. blessing to the age, than that it may daily be Prince judged very rightly : he will certainly better known and more approved. live in this work; but there are many others About the time when it was published, of his works, in which he will not die, till that systematical infidel, David Hume, died. all learning and piety shall die with him. It had been the aim of his life, to invent a
His Commentary on the Psalms was under sort of philosophy that should effect the overhis hand about twenty years. The labor to throw of Christianity. For this he lived ; which he submitted in the course of the and his ambition was to die, or be thought to work, was prodigious; his reading for many die, hard and impenitent, yea, and even cheeryears was allotted chiefly to this subject; ful and happy, to show the world the power and his study and meditation together pro- of his own principles ; which, however, were duced as fine a_work, and as finely written, weakly founded, and so inconsistent with as most in the English language. There are common sense, that Dr. Beattie attacked and good and learned men who cannot but speak demolished them in the life-time of the auwell of the work, and yet are forward to let thor. Special pains were taken by Hume us know that they do not follow Dr. Horne himself, and by his friends after him, to peras an interpreter. I believe them; but this suade the world that his life, at the last stage is one of the things we have to lament: and, of it, was perfectly tranquil and composed; while they may think this an honor to their and the part is so labored and over-acted, that judgment, I am afraid it is a symptom that there is just cause of suspicion, even before we are retrograde in theological learning. the detection appears. Dr. Horne, whose The author was sensible that, after the plea- mind was ever in action for some good end, sure he had received in studying for the could not sit still and see the public so imwork, and the labor of composing and cor- posed upon. He addressed an anonymous recting, he was to offer what the age was ill Letter to Dr. Adam Smith from the Clarendon prepared to receive. This put him upon his press; of which the argument is so clear, and guard; and the work is in some respects the the humor so easy and natural, that no honest better for it, in others not so good; it is more man can keep his countenance while he reads cautiously and correctly written, but perhaps it, and none but an infidel can be angry. not so richly furnished with matter as it might While Dr. Adam Smith affects to be very have been. Had he been composing a novel, serious and solemn in the cause of his friend he would have been under none of these Hume, the author of the Letter plays them fears : his imagination might then have both off with wonderful effect. He alludes taken its course without a bridle, and the to certain anecdotes concerning Mr. Hume, world would have followed as fast as he could which are very inconsistent with the account wish.
given in his Life; for at the very period, The first edition in quarto was published when he is reported not to have suffered a in the year 1776, when the author was vice- moment's abatement of his spirits, none of his chancellor; and it happened, soon after its friends dared to mention the name of a certain publication, that I was at Paris. There was author in his presence, lest it should throw then a Christian University in the place! and him into a transport of passion and swearing : I had an opportunity of recommending it to a certain indication that his mind had been some learned gentlemen who were members greatly hurt; and nobody will think it was of it, and understood the English language without reason, if he will read the Essay on well. I took the liberty to tell them, our Truth by Dr. Beattie; which is not only a church had lately been enriched by a Com- confutation of Hume's philosophy; it is much mentary on the Psalms, the best, in our more; it is an extirpation of his principles, opinion, that had ever appeared, and such as and delivers them to be scattered like stubble St. Austin would have perused with delight, by the winds. if he had lived to see it. At my return the The Letter to Dr. Adam Smith, like the author was so obliging as to furnish me with Essay of Dr. Beattie, has a great deal of truth, a copy to send over to them as a present; recommended by a great deal of wit ; and if and I was highly gratified by the approbation the reader has not seen it, he has some pleawith which it was received. With those sure in store. We allow to the memory of who could read English, it was so much in Dr. Adam Smith, that he was a person of request, that I was told the book was never quick understanding and diligent research, in out of hand; and I apprehend more copies things relating merely to this world; of were sent for. Every intelligent Christian which, his Inquiry into the Causes of the who once knows the value of it, will keep it, Wealth of Nations will be a lasting monuto the end of his life, as the companion of his ment; and it is a work of great use to those
who would obtain a comprehensive view of it may be as criminal to act for the preservabusiness and commerce: but when he set up tion of life, as for its destruction: that as life Mr. Hume as a pattern of perfection, and is so insignificant and vague, there can be no judged of all religion by the principles of that harm in disposing of it as we please : that philosopher, he was very much out of his there can be no more crime in turning a few line.
ounces of blood out of their course (that is, The Letter was followed in course of time in cutting one's throat,) than in turning the by Letters on Infidelity; which are very in- waters of a river out of their channel. What structive and entertaining, and highly proper is murder ? it is nothing more than turning for the preventing or lessening that respect a little blood out of its way. And so the which young people may conceive unawares Irishman said, by the same figure of rhetoric, for unbelieving philosophers. It has been that perjury was nothing more than kissing a objected by some readers of a more severe book, or, as he worded it, smacking the calvetemper, that these Letters are occasionally skin. This is the sage Mr. Hume! whom too light :* and I must confess I should have Dr. Adam Smith delivers to the world, after been as well pleased if the story of Dr. Rad- his death, as a perfect character; while a man cliffe and his man had been omitted ; but of plain sense, who takes things as they are, there is this to be said, that these are not ser- would think it impossible that any person, mons, but familiar letters; that Dr. Horne who is not out of his mind, should argue at considered the profession of infidelity as a this rate. Mr. Hume seems to me to have thing more ridiculous and insignificant in borrowed from the school of the old Pyritself than some of his learned readers might rhonists much of, that system which he is do; that, as it appeared in some persons, it supposed to have invented. They made all was really too absurd to be treated with things indifferent, and doubted of everything, seriousness; and, as Voltaire had treated reli- that there might be nothing true or real left gion with ridicule instead of argument, and to disturb them. The chief good they aimed had done infinite mischief by it, justice re-at in everything, was what they called & tæpažice quired that he and his friends should be treated a state of undisturbance or tranquillity, in a little in their own way. Besides, as in which the mind cares for nothing; and it was fidels have nothing to support them but their the ambition of Mr. Hume to be thought to vanity, let them once appear as ridiculous as have lived and died in this state ; but by all they are impious, and they cannot live. They accounts his aragažice was not quite perfect.* can never approve themselves, but so far only as they are upheld and approved by other substance of which all living creatures equally people. To treat them with seriousness (as partake; and which, when it dies in a carcase, is Watson has treated Gibbon) is to make them continued in the reptiles that feed upon it. The important; which is all they want. The origin of individual life, in every form, is from the
general animation of the world; on which the opinions of Mr. Hume, as they are displayed philosophers of antiquity speculated ; and some inin these Letters, are many of them ridiculous considerate Christians have taken it up on their from their palpable absurdity : but, it must authority. You have it in Virgil: be owned, they are sometimes horrible and Principio cælum, ac terras, camposque liquentes, shocking; such as, that man is not an ac- Lucentemque globum Lunæ, Titaniaque astra countable but a necessary agent; consequently SPIRITUS intus alit: totamque infusa per artus that there is no such thing as sin, or that God MENS agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.
INDE hominum pecudumque genus, VITÆQUE is the author of it: that the life of a man and volantum. the life of an oyster are of equal value :f that
And in Mr. Pope's Essay on Man: * In his preface to these Letters, the author has All are but parts of one stupendous whole, endeavored to obviate this objection; and we think Whose body Nature is, and God the soul, &c. he has done it very sufficiently.
Ep. i. 267, &c. + One of the severest reflections that ever came What follows is in exact conformity with the princifrom the pen of Dr. Horne, was aimed, as I suppose, ple of Virgil, and of our philosophical deists. at this Mr. David Hume; yet it is all very fair. This philosopher had observed, that all the devout * Pliny the natural historian has rightly observed, persons he had ever met with were melancholy; that philosophers, through the affectation of apathy, which is thus answered: “This might very proba- divested themselves of all human affections; that bly be; for, in the first place, it is most likely, that this was the case with Diogenes the cynic, Pyrrho, he saw very few, his friends and acquaintance being Heraclitus, and Timon of Athens; the last of whom of another sort; and, secondly, the sight of him actually sunk into a professed hatred of all mankind. would make a devout person melancholy at any “ Exit hic animi tenor aliquando in rigorem quemtime." These Letters are a demonstration that all dam, torvitatemque naturæ duram et inflexibilem; devout persons are not melancholy.
adfectusque humanos adimit, quales apathes, Græei It is a fundamental doctrine in the creed of ma- vocant, multos ejus generis experti.” Nat. Hist. lib. terialism, that nature consists of matter and a living vii. c. 19.