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The very general and high commendation, bestowed by the press
and the community upon the American edition of Macaulay's Miscellaneous
Writings, has induced the publishers to issue a new ar.d cheap edition
embracing the remainder of the articles in the Edinburgh Review, and several articles written and published while the author was at college.
(EDINBURGU REVIEW, 1825.]
Towards the close of the year 1823, Mr. Le-antiquity, no scrupulous purity, none of the mon, Deputy Keeper of the State Papers, in the ceremonial cleanness which characterizes the course of his researches among the presses of diction of our academical Pharisees. He does his office, met with a large Latin manuscript not attempt to polish and brighten his composi. With it were found corrected copies of the tion into the Ciceronian gloss and brilliancy. foreign despatches written by Milton, while he He does not, in short, sacrifice sense and spirit filled the office of Secretary, and several papers to pedantic refinements. The nature of his relating to the Popish Trials and the Rye-house subject compelled him to use many words Plot. The whole was wrapped up in an enve
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp." lope, superscribed “To Mr. Skinner, Merchant." On examination, the large manuscript proved But he writes with as much ease and freedom to be the long lost Essay on the Doctrines of as if Latin were his mother tongue; and Christianity, which, according to Wood and where he is least happy, his failure seems to Toland, Milton finished after the Restoration, arise from the carelessness of a native, not and deposited with Cyriac Skinner. Skinner, from the ignorance of a foreigner. What Denit is well known, held the same political opi- ham with great felicity says of Cowley, may be nions with his illustrious friend. It is therefore applied to him. He wears the garb, but not probable, as Mr. Lemon conjectures, that he the clothes, of the ancients. may have fallen under the suspicions of the Throughout the volume are discernible the government during that persecution of the traces of a powerful and independent mind, Whigs which followed the dissolution of the emancipated from the influence of authority, Oxford Parliament, and that, in consequence and devoted to the search of truth. He proof a general seizure of his papers, this work fesses to form his system from the Bible alone; may have been brought to the office in which i and his digest of Scriptural texts is certainly it had been found. But whatever the adven- among the best that have appeared. But he is tures of the manuscript may have been, no not always so happy in his inferences as in his doubt can exist, that it is a genuine relic of the citations. great poet.
Some of the heterodox opinions which he Mr. Sumner, who was commanded by his avows seem to have excited considerable majesty to edit and translate the treatise, has amazement: partičularly his Arianism, and acquitted himself of this task in a manner his notions on the subject of polygamy. Yet honourable to his talents and to his character. we can scarcely conceive that any person His version is not indeed very easy or elegant; could have read the Paradise Lost without but it is entitled to the praise of clearness and suspecting him of the former, nor do we think fidelity. His notes abound with interesting that any reader, acquainted with the history of quotations, and have the rare merit of really his life, ought to be much startled at the latter. elucidating the text. The preface is evidently The opinions which he has expressed respectthe work of a sensible and candid man, firm in ing the nature of the Deity, the eternity of maihis own religious opinions, and tolerant to- ter, and the observation of the Sabbath, might, wards those of others.
we think, have caused more just surprise. The book itself will not add much to the But we will not go into the discussion of fame of Milton. It is, like all his Latin works, these points. The book, were it far more orwell written—though not exactly in the style thodox, or far more heretical than it is, would of the Prize Essays of Oxford and Cambridge. not much edify or corrupt the present genera There is no elaborate imitation of classical tion. The men of our time are not to be con
verted or perverted by quartos. A few more * Joannis Miltoni, Angli, de Doctrina Christiana libri days, and this Essay will follow the Defenst. duo posthumi. A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, com- Populi to the dust and silence of the upper piled from the Holy Scriptures alone. By John Milton, shelf. The name of its author, and the se. iranslated from the original by Charles R. Sumner, M, A., &c. &c. 1825.
markable circumstances attending its publica, Vol. I.-1