« PreviousContinue »
method, after having compared it with the Alexandrine Manufcript. As to punctuation, I have been careful in correcting it, not only in the vulgar translation, but also in the original, as appears by the notes.
· The Text is something different from the vulgar translation, which at first I designed to copy verbatim ; but on comparing that version carefully with the original (though it is a good translation upon the whole) I thought it requisite to deviate from it sometimes, and frequently to alter the language. For some of the words and phrases, familiar to our ancestors, are now grown so obsolete, as not to be intelligible to the generality of our readers : others are too mean, equivocal, or inadequate to the original, which is perhaps owing to the Auctuating state of our language ; and some passages are not so exactly rendered by our translators, as a work of that kind required. In all these cares, I made no scruple of differing from our public translation, endeavouring at the same time to steer in a just medium between a servile literal translation, and a paraphrastic loose version ; between low, obfolete, and obscure language, and a modern enervated style. How far I have succeeded, the impartial public muft determine.
As for the Notes, they are partly selected from the best eritics and commentators, and partly occurred to me by a careful perufal of the original; but I have only inserted the substance of the former, without troubling the reader with the names of the Authors, or distinguishing them from the latter : this would have been of no service to the unlearned ; and the learned will be at no loss to distinguish the one from the other. However, it would be unjust in me not to mention the learned and pious Dr. Doddridge, whose Family Expositor has furnished me with many excellent notes and illustrations of obscure passages in the N, Testament,'
We look upon every attempt to improve and render perfect the translation of the New Testament, to be of so much importance to the progress of true religion, and to the honour of genuine Christianity, that we are disposed to receive every work of this kind with the greatest candour : and it is with peculiar satisfaction and pleasure (as we have had occasion more than once to ob. serve) that we see so many of our clergy directing their studies and attention this way, being (with our Author) fully persuaded, " that if these facred books are but read and understood, they cannot fail of convincing every sincere inquirer of their divine authority, 'and making him a true chriftian.'
Mr Wynne seems to have made his divisions into chapters and sections, with a good deal of attention and judgment.
There is indeed no difficulty in doing this in the historical books, as every person must at first sight see, where one narrative begins and another ends. But this is not so easy in the reasoning part of the Epistles, where the different topics are more concealed, and sometimes run into one another. It is possible some of his divisions here may be disputed in point of propriety, though in general we think them well done.
As to the translation, and many of the notes, they are lo much taken from the Family Expositor of the late Reverend Dr. Dodůridge, that the duty we owe the public obliges us to say, they are more the property of that learned Critic, than of our Editor. Whoever will be at the pains of comparing them together will readily join us in acknowledging the resemblance of the one to the other; we had almost said the sameness.
The Doctor's method was, in the course of his Expofitior and Paraphrase, to interweave his own version of the sacred Text, distinguishing it by Italic Characters : this work hach dong been in the hands of the public, its character and merit are well known; and therefore as our Editor has followed it so closely, and introduced very few variations from it of any importance, it cannot be necessary to enter into a particular exainination of it.
If Mr W. had given us an edition of Dr. Doddridge's Verfion, with the best of his learned notes and criticisms, he would have done an useful service, and what hath often been wished for. He would then have been intitled to the thanks of the public; but we do not think it easy to justify him in the use he hath here made of that version : nor will the mention he hatla made of the Doctor's name in the Preface, respectful as it is, give him a fair right to it.
The History of Religion : particularly of the principal Denominations
of Christians, viz. of the Church of Rome, England, Scotland Nonjurors, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists in general, Quakers, Antinomians, Moravians, and Methodifts in general
. Containing a succin&t and genuine Account of their original and present Constitution, Discipline, Doctrines, IVorship, and Ceremonies : with a general Account of the various Sectaries of less note, since the first establishment of Chriftiarity. Including a General History of the Reformation, and so much of Civil and Ecclefiaftical History as is connected with, or necessary to explain and illustrate the Work. To which is added, a Dictionary of the principal Religious Orders, Ofices, Days, Rites, Cuftoms, Habits, and Characters; the most important Transactions of Eccle
fiaftical Councils, Synods, &c. explaining all such ambiguous Words and Phrases, as have a proper Connection with the Subjects of this History. By an Impartial Hand. 8vo.
4 vols. il. 4 s. Henderson, Nicoll, &c.
O draw a juft and striking picture of the principal denomi.
nations of Christians, from the beginning of the Christian Æra to the present time, to mark the peculiar and diftinguishing features of each, and to exhibit them in their proper colours and attitudes, would be a work equally instructive and entertaining. A writer, properly qualified for such an undertaking, would throw new light upon the history of the human mind, and do eminent service to the cause of truth, virtue, and religion. He would pay distinguished honours to those great and illustrious characters, who in perilous times have nobly dared to vindicate the facred and unalienable rights of conscience and private judgment; who at the hazard of their lives and fortunes have stood up for the honour of God, and the good of mankind, and who have given the most satisfactory evidence of the fincerity of their belief of Christianity, by exemplifying in their own lives those amiable virtues of benevolence, meekness, moderation, and humility, which it every where so powerfully recommends. He would paint in bold and glowing colours the bigotry and persecuting zeal of haughty and imperious Churchmen, who have perverted the design of the most benevolent system of religion that ever appeared on Earth, and made it subservient to the horrid purposes of pride, avarice, cruelty, and unbounded ambition ; who have been warmly engaged in the service of the Devil, while they have been talking loudly of the glory of God; and who, to use the language of a very ingenious Writer, having got what ARCHIMEDES only wanted (viz. another world, on wbich he could fix his engines) have moved this world at their pleasure.
A Writer, duly qualified for the task we have mentioned, would, we repeat it, expose in proper colours the infolent and domineering spirit of priefts, who ever have been, are still, and ever will be the same. The clergy over all Europe, there is reason to think, indeed, are at present much more moderate than they have ever before been known to be ; but, notwithlanding this, let not the friends of liberty and moderation trust too much to flattering appearanccs. We have lately, very Jately bad, in our own country, a striking instance to prove, that a great deal of the old leaven is ftill left, and that appears ances are often very deceitful. The cruel punishment, (for cruel it certainly was) infii&ted upon a poor, puny Infidel, a mere mite of Scepticism, for a paltry scrap of infidelity, too
low to be relished even by a Link-boy, or common Porter, known only to a few, and treated by all who read it with the contempt it deserved ; shews plainly that we ought ever to be upon our guard against prelatical encroachments, and priestly tyranny.
When a person of great spirit, and distinguished abilities, remonstrated warmly on this occasion to a late minifter, it is well known to many of our Readers in what terms he expressed himself in regard to those worthy Dignitaries of our Church, who, his Lordihip said, came to him foaming at the mouth, &c. The names of these heroes deserve to be, and shall be, transmitted to posterity; their magnanimous conduct on this memorable occasion shall be treated with diftinguished respect, but shall be reserved for a work of more importance than an article in a REVIEW. In the mean time, who can help admiring their intrepidity! Nobly disdaining fo cheap a victory as that over such Pygmies as David Hume, &c. they greatly dared to attack the Gigantic P--A--n--t!
These reflections naturally occurred to us on reading An history of religion ; and we facter ourselves, that our Readers will neis ther think them impertinent nor unseasonable,
We now proceed to the work before us, the Author of which appears, in some respects, to be but moderately qualified for the task he has undertaken, He seems, indeed, to be a sincere friend to civil and religious liberty, to have read a great deal upon the subject, and to have taken a world of pains; but, after all, his work, we are obliged to say it in justice to our Readers, is a heavy, injudicious compilation. The motives, however, which he afligns for the prosecution of his plan, do him honour; one of them, he tells us, was to suppress bigotry, prejudice, and censoriousness, which are too apt to take pofleflion of narrow minds; and, in their place, to inculcate and improve that mutual love and charity, even for persons of differing opinions, which is so agreeable to the dignity and honour of men, and of Christians.
· I write for no party, says he, my aim is to recommend a free and impartial enquiry into the genuine principles of Christ. ianity, which is the just foundation of truth and virtue, liberty and charity
. That generally-received maxim, Rome was not built in a day, is as undoubtedly true with respect to the constitution, doctrine and ceremonies of the Romith Church, as of its external form and stately edifices ; for this reason I have judged a brief account of the principal revolutions and variations in the government, worship, &c. of that church for seventeen centuries, a proper preliminary to the history of its present state,
• The account I have given of the principles, &c. of the Romish Church, I have first expressed in the words of pope Pius's creed, which was established by the council of Trent, and has been ever since efteemed by the votaries of that Church, of the greatest authority. I have likewise endeavoured to explain or ascertain their true sense, from authors of their own, well approved of by that church, and whose books have been licensed by public authority ; disclaiming and carefully avoiding, as much as possible, the fallacious glosses, and artful disguises of designing priests on the one hand, and the misapprehenfions of the vulgar on the other. For this purpose I have consulted the most valuable histories of that Church, their constitution, doctrine and ceremonies published at that remarkable period, when the controversy subsisted between many of our eminent prelates and of their priests and cardinals, from the year 1682 to 1688, inclusive.
« I have also made several extracts from Dr. Middleton's letters from Rome, wherein he has shewn (conformable to several other authors) that many of the rites and ceremonies of the Romish Church were of heathen original, and destitute of superior authority for their practice: In these extracts, I have not thought it necessary to change his language, to avoid the reprehension of those sentiments and ceremonies ; nor have I allowed myself to exclaim or to detail out such invectives as are too generally ufed, but have no proper and natural tendency to convince the Papift, or confirm the Protestant. - If I have given any fcope to cenfure, it is in the article of persecution, where it was impoffible, after reading fo many tragical accounts of the horrid cruelties of the Inquisition, and other inhuman executions, to be impartial and honest, without expressing the utmost abhorrence and deteftation of such practices, and the principles that led to them ; a fuperficial mention of which, will alarm every true Proteftant who has ever confidered the value of civil and religious liberty, and knows how to prize them.-With respect to other sentiments and practices that are unscriptural and merely of human invention, I am sorry to fee, in the defences of Popery, how much they are founded upon the authority of antient fathers, and that they are so often shewn to be consonant with some former practices of our established Church ; with certain of the canons, articles, and liturgy; which may fully convince us, that most of the exceptionable parts of our articles and liturgy arose from the undue veneration which the compilers of them paid to the fathers St. Augustine, St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, &c. and likewise sufficiently demonftra:e to the impartial Reader, that Antiquity is a wretched guide 10 a searcher after truth ; and that human formularies of faith are a chief obstacle to real knowledge.