Page images
PDF
EPUB

duction:-for, to ftop the mouth of incredulity at once, the Author adds, that fo intimately are the component parts of this medicine mixed together, that a man is conftantly at work upon them from morning till night, for pretty near two months before it is prepared, and then,' adds he, it is, perhaps, the moft penetrating and fearching thing in Nature.'—

What this powder might have turned out, had the poor fellow been regularly relieved at night, or been conftantly treated, at fun-fet, with a round dofe of the panacea, to cheer him up and enable him to continue his labours till the morning, we are left to guefs. Surely the grand elixir itself muft have been the refult of fuch inceffant elaboration! The pharmacal tribe however will think it but too powerful already: for should this Poudre Unique make its fortune in the world, it promifes to produce, even in its prefent ftate, a moft glorious crafh among their gallipots and fpecies bottles, and to make a tremendous vacuum in their hops. Even Warwick-lane itself muft feel the confequences of this concuffion.

Nothing can be more happily conceived than the Doctor's theory-for notwithstanding all his profeffions, he fill dearly loves a bit of theory-of the manner in which this adroit and circumfpect compofition proceeds in its operations. Being of the most mild and benignant difpofition towards the wholesome fluids and folids of the body, this fubtle powder enters, it feems, in the moft harmless and innocent guife into the system, enveloped in a fheath, till it has reached the feat of the of fending matter. Suddenly, on reaching the feat of action,' it quits its difguife, ftarts out of its fcabbard, breaks down the offending matter-hurries along the impacted humour, and fcours the glands and fecretory ducts from all filth and dregs, &c.' and having thus effectually dispatched its bufinefs, we fuppofe, it flily flips into its fheath, and departs in peace out of the body, without having rumpled a fingle healthy fibre; fhewing no mercy nevertheless to the peccant humours, wherever concealed in their most private lurking holes and byepaths the glands and fecretory ducts of the fyftem.

The Reader is doubtlefs on tiptoe to learn the ingredients and compofition of this powder. Thefe however the Author prudently conceals, being determined,' left otherwise it should not have a fair trial when made known, to give it with his own hand till fuch time as its powers and virtues are fully proved to every one's fatisfaction.' Some, however, of the many to whom its furprifing effects are known-have spoke of it with the highest raptures at a foreign court, in confequence of which, application was made from the fame court, for the fecret, and a very confiderable reward offered, but I have not,' fays the Author, as yet confented; and if I do, it will be with

feveral

feveral conditions.'-What can the court of Great Britain be doing all this time?

Through our concern to clear up the Author's identity, and to hold up to public notice his catholicon, we have not left ourselves room to give any further account of the contents of the work. We cannot however pass over without particular notice the Author's dedication of it to Lord North, which, in our opinion, is an elegant fpecimen of this fpecies of compofition. In our former intercourfe with the Author we have feldom used the language of panegyric; and therefore greedily feize the prefent opportunity of bestowing our praise where it is justly due. We must however qualify this praife by observing, that if Dr. Smith really poffeffes a good and a bad pen, we Plebeians have fome reafon to be diffàtisfied at his entirely devoting the former to his noble patron, without favouring us with a few strokes of this excellent tool; which could not furely be worn to the ftumps, in penning this claffical and well-turned addrefs,-fo little of a piece with the loofe, vulgar, and ungrammatical phraseology which disgufts us throughout the greater part of this performance.

ART. XI. A Scriptural Confutation of the Arguments against the One Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, produced by the Rev. Mr. Lindjey in his late Apology. By a Layman. Svo. 3 s. Nicoll. 1774.

IT

[T might reasonably be expected that the appearance of Mr. Lindley's Apology would produce feveral publications, in defence of the commonly received doctrine of the Trinity. The fingularity of that Gentleman's cafe, and conduct, induced us to pay a greater attention to his performance than we fhould otherwife have done to one that was written on fo exhaufted a fubject. But with refpect to fuch treatifes on the Trinity as have nothing peculiar to recommend them, the matter has been fo copioufly difcuffed in former times, and it hath occurred fo often in the course of our Review, that they cannot be deemed worthy of much notice.

Some reafon, however, was given us to imagine that the treatise before us might demand confiderable regard, and that it would contain a very important anfwer to Mr. Lindley's Apology. But, on reading it, we found ourfelves totally dif appointed; and that among the numerous productions of this kind, which have paffed through our hands, few have been .more infignificant and futile.

The work, befide the introduction, is divided into five chapters. The prejudice of the Author is apparent at the beginning of his introduction, in which he ufes fuch language concerning Mr. Lindley's defign, as might have been expected from

Mr.

Mr. Romaine, or one of his zealous difciples. The first chapter treats on the province of Reason, with respect to its inquiry into feripture truths, and it abounds with a moft obfcure and fophiftical fpecies of argument; fuch as hath been often made ufe of to filence the dictates of common fenfe in the matter of tranfubftantiation, and which, indeed, would only be worthy of proceeding from a fchool of popery. In the fecond chapter, which treats of the nature of the evidence of our Saviour's Divinity afforded by the fcripture, our Layman betrays no little ignorance of thofe facred writings in the knowledge of which he seems fo greatly to triumph. His reafons for Chrift's not difcovering himself to be God, during his refidence on earth, appear to us wholly unfatisfactory.-The third and principal chapter is employed in displaying the proofs of our Lord's Divinity arifing from the fcriptures, and is written fomewhat in the manner of Mr. Jones of Pluckley. Nay, Mr. Jones, with his hundred texts, is unworthy of being compared with our Author, whofe arguments are as extraordinary as they are numerous. By the fame mode of criticifing, he might have deduced his favourite doctrine from a thousand other paffages, and have had the honour of finding it in whatever book he pleafed. It ought not to be omitted that, in the 150th page, he has offered fuch a reafon for God incarnate, as the Mosaic law, which denied all fimilitude of the Supreme Being to a fenfible object, would have condemned as idolatrous. He falls, likewife, into much confufion, from not attending to the different meanings of the word worship. The purpose of the fourth chapter is to remove objections, and to ftate the evidence of the Divinity of the Holy Ghoft.-The fifth and laft chapter relates to the Writer himself, and contains very pompous profeffions of his freedom from prejudice; though he had before told us, that he thanked God and his pious parents, that he imbibed the doctrine he now maintains with his nurie's milk; at the fame time in which he imbibed a belief that grafs was green, that fire was hot, that fnow was cold, and that two and two make four.

This work is very defective in compofition, as well as in reasoning. The ftyle is verbofe, inaccurate, and fometimes obfcure. It has been a great drudgery to us to perufe fo vague, declamatory, and injudicious a performance; and we could not have fubmitted to the task, had we not been obliged to it, by our duty as Reviewers. Surely this Layman might have employed himself to better purpofe.Why do not our principal clergy, if they believe the Trinity, undertake the fubject themfelves, and not leave it to fuch unexperienced and infufficient advocates?

ART.

ART. XII. A Vindication of the Doctrine and Liturgy of the Church of England. Occafioned by the Apology of Theophilus Lindsey, M. A. on refigning the Vicarage of Catterick, Yorkshire. By George Bingham, B. D. Rector of Pimperne, and of Moor-Crit chell, in the County of Dorfet, and Diocese of Bristol, and formerly Fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford. 8vo. 1 s. 6 d. Oxford printed, and fold by Rivington in London. 1774.

HOUGH Mr. Bingham's Answer to Mr. Lindsey is much fuperior to the Layman's Scriptural Confutation, it does not allege any thing but what has been advanced again and again; and which may be repeated for ever, without bringing the controverfy to a decifion."

The only proper method of arriving at a true judgment concerning a doctrine of revelation, is to confider what is the whole ftrain and tenor of fcripture relating to it; and if there fhould appear any difficulty in particular paffages, they ought to be explained in confiftency with the general doctrine; not to mention, that fuch explications fhould be avoided, as involve in them evident abfurdities and contradictions. If there be any religious principles, which are fupported by the current language of the Old and New Teftament, they are, the Unity of God, the Supremacy of the Father, and the Subordination of the Son; and the last of these principles is ftrongly afferted in the very places where Jefus Chrift is fpoken of in the highest terms. But the Athanafians, inftead of pursuing the, method we have described, heap, at random, a number of paffages together, with little or no regard to their real connexion and meaning; and then endeavour to make out the Trinitarian doctrine by metaphyfical diftinctions, which the facred Writers never thought of, and which, indeed, could not be a part of revelations intended for the bulk of mankind. Mr. Bingham does not ftand exempted from this cenfure; and it is an act of kindness to him, to omit tranfcribing feveral of the abfurd things which he has advanced in the prefent performance.

If, in any respect, our Author appears to have fome little advantage over Mr. Lindfey, it is in what is faid concerning the opinions of the ancient Fathers. Not that we think the Fathers of the two or three first centuries were regular Trinitarians. The contrary was fufficiently fhewn in the controversy which followed the publication of Dr. Clarke's Scripture Doctrine, and is very manifeft from their writings. But the Fathers often exprefs themselves in fo unguarded and inconfiftent a manner, that their meaning is liable to perpetual difputes. The beft way, therefore, is to discard their authority entirely, and to have recourse alone to the facred writings.

Mr. Bingham is a fcholar, and he writes like a man of integrity and piety. But he feems to have too warm and bigotted an attachment to the whole fyftem of the Church of England.

ART.

ART. XIII. Reflections on the Apology of the Rev. Theophilus Lindsey, M. A. late Vicar of Catterick, in Yorkshire. 8vo. 1 s. 6 d. Buckland.

WE

1774.

TE judge, from fome incidental paffages, that the prefent tract does not proceed from any zealous fon of the Church of England; but that it comes from a Diffenter, who is anxious for the apprehended purity of the faith, and defirous of preferving the orthodoxy of his flock. Whoever the Author may be, he is an able difputant, and writes as a friend to religious liberty. We fuppofe, too, that he wishes to fuftain the character of a man of moderation; and yet he fets out ill, by pecking at the title of Mr. Lindfey's book, in a way that betrays a captiousness and littleness of fpirit. The fame fpirit is apparent in feveral other inftances. What is here faid, in vindication of the common doctrine of the Trinity, we confider as by no means fatisfactory; though fome of the Writer's particular remarks, in oppofition to Mr. Lindley, are far from being deftitute of ingenuity and acuteness.

What our Author lays much ftrefs upon (as well as the Layman, and Mr. Bingham *) is the worship which feems to be paid to Jefus Chrift, in the New Teftament. We do not think that Mr. Lindley's Apology has been confuted upon this head; but, at the fame time, we are of opinion, that the subject merits a more full and diftinct examination than it has lately received. We should rejoice to fee a feparate treatife upon it, in which the fupreme worship due alone to the One God and Father of All, ought to be copiously ftated. Then the paffages of fcripture fhould be difcuffed, which appear to afcribe any kind of religious worship to the Son; and it fhould be determined, how far they do imply religious worship to him, in any fenfe of the word. Laft of all, it any fort of religious worship is to be paid to Jefus Chrift, it ought to be fettled what that. worship is, and in what manner it should be expressed.

We know that the matter was largely debated among the elder Socinians. It has, likewife, been treated by Mr. Emlyn, and, very lately, by the author of Benjamin Ben Mordecai's Letters, on Eufebian principles. But what is at prefent wanted, is a fuller inquiry into the fubject, on the Socinian_fyftem, which we fuppofe to be the fyltem adopted by Mr. Lindsey. Such an inquiry we could wish to fee conducted with impartiality, candour, and a fpirit of patient criticism; and not in the hafty and dogmatical manner of fome writers; of whom, though we agree with them in fentiment, we are forry to obferve, that they do not fufficiently confider either the prejudices of mankind, or the real difficulties which attend many important queftions in theology.

Vid. the two preceding Articles.

REV. Oct. 1774.

X

The

« PreviousContinue »