Page images

fended: but this Prologue is falsely ascribed to .feiome^i«fc. Martianay has very clearly shewn, iswvd as fiefrtgel, with his usual candour, has admitted." Marsh's Mich.. vol. m. p. , A26.—Martianay and Bengelius were both strenuous defenders of the disputed passage. •' .'••"•'

6. Eucherius was bishop of Lyons about 446. !Irt some of the editions of-his Y*op1?$, and in (two MSS. srf theifotirteenth century, the disputed tpsasage is sfound : but, huolder MSS. and bettor editions, ii is .absent. There is also -ft fit evidence, in the other writings of tEocberins, that:h» was totally ignorant of :its existence. That evidencedsitoe long "for ,us to insert. 3t may be found in Grissb. Nor, Test, in loc. arid, in our opinion, k is impossible for any Unprejudiced man to understand- fit, and not be cbnvinced. The same might most justly be said of Mr. Person's discus* sion in his Kith LeTWV, which' Mr.. J. fttiauez has thought fit to attack with his JitONistroiuiyigtwmrit abuse!

1. Victor Vitensis a contemporary writer, relates that a Confession of F««h was presented to flunneric, itbe -Arian king tof the Vfendal^, by nearly four hundred African bishops, of theorthodox'peisuasioti,!\«hom he cruelly:persecuted. The confession is-e*tant in Victor, and it ■clearly recites the disputed passage ; nor is any objection mf the A rians mentioned. Were the whole cvt'this fully aidmitted, ■all that could be inferred from it waald be, that in Africa, about A. D.476, the passage had been intruded into souse of the Latin copies. Now we beHerse ithat,about this time,the.passage did begin to make its appearance; transplanted from die ^modest post of a marginal'annotation, {conveying tbeiavourite interpretation of v. 8. which we have .mentioned,) to a -place in the body of the test. rBut<rtfcre are same little Circumstances to embarrass the 'story ifaself. This.part .of it Iwsts upon the sole authority;of Viator^a credulous writer, who has stutfod his relation with prodigies.and miracles. ;If the passage was realty cited in the genuine Confession, is Victor's silence a'proof that it passed without ccsitradietion from the opponents? Or of wfoat value was the acquiescence, of the Vandals'? "Nearly the same,".says Miehaelis, "as tin appeal-to thetestimony; of <».jJiulsian corporal" zaa a question of biblical criticism. Or,in'fine,.is there no.rta•jwnable probability in the conjecture,. that this Cotifessioiihas been repaired and "beautified by Victor, by Vigilius Tapsen|is, or by zealous copyists in following generations?

But, to nnisbour tedious lucubration, we will again.borrow* a few lines from Miehaelis. "With respect to thetestiimofjy of Phcebadius, Marius Victorinus Afer, Vigilius Tapsensigj and ether still later Latin writers, which arc produced

[ocr errors]

-by Bengel as evidence for 1 John v. 7. their fcvidetfce is of jio value whatsoever. For, even if no objection could be* made to it, "and it were absolutely certain ' that all these late Latin writers quoted 1 John v. 1. the only inference to he drawp would be this, that from the time; of'the fourth [fifth] century, the passage stood in several copies of the La-tin version. But will any man therefore conclude that it was not an interpolation in those copies, when' Augustine, a Latin bishop of the fourth century, and Facundus, another Latin bishop who lived so la^e as the sixth century, were either so ignorant of it, or so persuaded of its spuriousness, that they were reduced to the necessity of proving the doctrine of the Trinity by a mystical interpretation of the eighth verse? It is really immaterial, whether the passages was interpolated into the Latin version, in the fourth, or in a later, centtiry ; for an interpolation it certainly is f" Vol. iv. p.425.

We now intreat our serious and impartial readers to review the grounds of evidence over which we have travelled, and, to consider whether we have not abundant reason for rejecting the controverted passage, as an unwarrantable and audacious intruder into the word, oj truth.

The pamphlet which has led us to this discussion, mustbe allowed to be an extraordinary production. A Greek motto in the title page is so happily managed, as to suggest shrewd proof that the writer cannot construe a line of that language. Grossly destitute of literature and the very lowest principles of critical science, he assaults the greatest critic in Europe, and sings aloud his self-complacent triumph. Actually ignorant what words are deemed spuriouj, and what are held to be genuine, and equally ignorant on the nature of the evidence and the minor points of the case, he blunders through page after page with the most comfortable fatuity. He truly deserves our pity: but as to feeling angr^ with him, it is quite impossible.

To relieve our weariness, this gentleman has presented us with a little story about two doughty Cheapside disputants, p. 135.- But as it wants the end, we cannot find in our hearts to withhold the materials with which he may finish it Be it, therefore, known to our redoubtable antagonist, that in all the editions of Luther's German translation printed "V in Iris life-time, he refused to admit the celebrated passage. It was first interpolated, near thirty years after his death, in the Franefort edition of 1514.

He has frequent recourse to the dishonourable artifice, of imputing a denial of the authenticity of the passage, to an avowed or secret enmity to the doctrine which that passage

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

has been so unworthily adduced to support. With the tttl* seiousness of integrity, we repel his false and insolent insinuations. On the authority of the pure and unadulterated word of God, we believe the Self-Existent and Eternal Deity of the Father, the Sonjand the Holy Spirit, the One Jehovah: and we hold ourselves to be the best friends of divine truth, in rigidly rejecting every false, absurd, and invalid argument, which ignorant or injudicious,advocates have brought forward. We solemnly retort the charge on those, who dare to pollute with human corruptions the pure streams .of the water of life. One perjured witness will bring deep discredit, and lasting injury, on any cause, however good. We also protest against the shameful and insulting mantier, in which this puny scribbler has dared to treat the niejnory of the late Cambridge Professor of Greek. The mor ral and religious defects of that illustrious scholar, we lament more sincerely than any of his detractors: and with sorrow we look back to h's example, as a melancholy lesson, on the danger of splendid talents without the protection of ..early, vigorous, and permanent piety. But so long as profound and elegant learning, rare and exquisite felicity criticism, and unimpeachable integrity', are held in esteem among mortals,—so long will the name of Richard Person b* remembered with reverence and affection.

Art. VIII. the Mother; a Poem, in five Books, by Mrs. West, Author
of " Letters to a Young Man," &c. fcp. 8vo. pp. 242. price 7ft
Longman and Co. 1809.

/"\F all earthly affections a mother's love to her offspring/
, is the dearest and most delightful: it is at once the
most exalted and condescending; and though a philosopher
may pretend to consider it as only a refined ana exquisite
selfishness, he cannot deny it to he, in a popular sense, the
most pure and disinterested. Other attachments are excited
between parties congenial in soul, and comparatively equal
in situation, who reciprocally receive and communicate hap-
piness. But in the earliest stage of infancy, when the mother'*
Jove to her child is most intense and active, there is no
imaginable equality of condition between them,—the formet
alone has the power of conferring, the latter has only the
capacity of accepting benefits: nor any congeniality of
spirit,—the one resolutely, painfully, and perseverhigly sa-
crificing comfort, and quiet, and health, and strength, to
soothe the suffering, to appease the fretfulness, to pro-
mote the pleasure of the other; while the latter, sensible
/•nly of its own wants, alive only to its own enjoyments, seeks

nothing but self-gratification, regardless of the anxiety that? watches over its welfare, and the foresight that provides for its necessities, while as yet it exists but in animal iife from moment to moment, unmindful of the past, unaware of the future. The mother's love, thus gratuitously and constantly bestowed without return or reward, except the bliss ofi beholding the prosperity of its object, in this respect most nearly resembles the love of Gad to his creatures, where all the beneficence is on the one side, and all the obligation, j~z on the other. Indeed, as in the order of providence uiart' comes into the world helpless and ready to perish from the instant of his birth, it is indispensably necessary, and therefore mercifully ordained, that on the threshold of being he should be found of a friend, willing and eager to give up every personal indulgence to administer to his accommodation alone. That friend is the mother; and her love, thus awakened by ineffable sympathy, and prompted by irresistible impulse, may truly be called the love of God himself, thus mysteriously providing for his progeny in their feeblest estate,—for " we also are his -offspring." When, therefore, we see an affectionate mother thus caring for her infant, ■we think of her as only fulfilling the precept of the great Parent of the universe, who giveth the fruit of the womb, jind saith tp the parent, at the birth, as Pharaoh's daughter said to the .mother of Moses,—•" Take this child and nurse it for me!" What follows is equally applicable; "And I will give thee wages:" for sweet are the rewards of a mother, when the little nurseling of her tenderness begins to confess it with looks of delight, and repay it with innocent caresses. Then, indeed, the weakness of human passion blends with the heroism of self-sacrifice; and thenceforward, through every gradation of growth and intelligence in the infant, the mother's love more and more assimilates itself to other attachments, and depends for its' degree of fervency upon the reception it obtains j yet, under all changes and circumstances, (where it is not wholly extinguished in a depraved heart,) it preserves a purity, steadiness, and elevation, peculiarly its own. Assuredly we do not mean tp disparage the father's feelings; they are precisely suited to the duties which he has to perform, and which we are not called upon to discriminate here. But it is certain, •that the softer affections of children, in an amiable family, are generally moire tenderly engaged towards the gentler parent; while veneration mingled with awe, phastises their loudness for him, who is at once the fathdr ,and the master of his family. ,-,

Our readers will naturally imagine that we consider the Mother as a subject affording the most ample scope for situ

[ocr errors]

pie and pathetic poetry. A good mother, surrounded by.hfjr, nappy children, presents the most beautiful groupe which the eye can behold, or the heart contemplate; and offers tq the pencil of the painter, or the pen of the poet, a picture of loveliness and felicity unequalled out of heaven. In the present instance, were the poet equal to the theme, not only would

'Mothers surely love a Mother's strain,' but every one that has been born of woman, and drawn the jnilfc of human kindness from the breast of affection, would be warmed and delighted with the song.

Of Mrs. West's familiarity with her subject, as an amiable and experienced parent, we cannot doubt; her qualificationi to treatit poetically are not equal in degree, though unquestionably of sufficient power to give both grace and energy fo the best parts of her manifold theme. The principal fault we find with her work is, that it is too long: it Consists of four thousand lines, which would be four times as good if they were compressed into one fourth of that compass; and this might be done without much difficulty, bV abridging many of the descriptions, pruning the .general luxuriance of unimpressive language, and by omitting ill the superfluous invective and declamation on political topics^ which serve no pdrpose but to display the fair writer's pa-" triotism, at the exp3nce of her poetical credit; ftff jboHtici* in veise are as ou:landish and dissonant, as tile horrid Vibrations of a gong would be in a concert of violins' and flutes. We are aware that with many poets it is easier to write teri indifferent lines than to retrench one; and Mrs. West cdrhposes with great facility, and says all she has to say dh everj^ thing that conies before her. This is highly injudicious in . any author, but eminently so in a poet, who ought nttt t'6 say all of every thing, but the best of the best things whifcti the subject presents. We are not, however, disposed t6 be censorious on this occasion; especially as we have little roorh left, and are not permitted to enter minutely into the diversified matter of the volume before us. It is in blank Verse' and on the whole is fluently and pleasingly executed; the harsh passages and uiituneable lines which occur, seeni more the conseduence of inattention, than a deficiency of ear or of taste. It Is in describing characters, and in pathetic narrative, that Mrs. W. succeeds the best; the didactic parts of her work are the feeblest and the dullest. Hei' advice, it ii true, is very good, and that is the Very best th'at Can be said 6T it. But it is in her similes and illustrations that Mrs. West discovers an exuberance of fane}', and aii Ingenuity

« PreviousContinue »