« PreviousContinue »
cal style of the Hebrews might ascribe to a saint and martyr, the adoptive title of Son of God.
Yet in the insufficient creed of the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, a distinction is fainily noticed between the heretics, who confounded the generation of Christ in the common order of nature, and the less guilly schismatics, who revered the virginity of his mother, and excluded the aid of an earthly father. The incredulity of the former was countenanced by the visible circumstances of his birth, the legal marriage of his reputed parents, Jofeph and Mary, and his lineal claim to the kingdom of David and the inheritance of Judah. But the secret and authentic history has been recorded in several copies of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which these fectaries long preserved in the original Hebrew as the sole evidence of their faith. The natural fufpicions of the husband, conscious of his own chastity, were dispelled by the assurance (in a dream) that his wife was pregnant of the Holy Ghost: and as this difiant and domeftic prodigy could not fall under the personal observation of the historian, he must have listened to the fame voice which dictated to Isaiah the future conception of a virgin. The son of a virgin, generated by the ineffable operation of the Holy Spirit, was a creature without example or reserblance, superior in every attribute of mind and body to the children of Adam. Since the introduction of the Greek or Chaldean philosophy, the Jews were persuaded of the pre-existence, transmigration, and im niortality of souls ; and Providence was jullified by a supposition, that they were confined in their earthly prisons to expiate the stains which they had contracted in a former itate. But the degrees of purity and corruption are almolt immea. furable. It might be fairly prefumed, that the most fublime and virtuous of human spirits was infused into the offspring of Mary and the Holy Gholt; that his abasement was the result of his voluntary choice; and that the object of his million was, to purify, not his own, but the fins of the world. On his return to his native skies, he received the immense reward of his obedience; the everlasting kingdom of the Mediah, which had been darkly foretold by the prophes, under the carnal images of peace, of conquest, and of dominion. Omnipotence could enlarge the human faculties of Christ to the extent of his cælestial office. In the language of antiquity, the title of God has not been severely confined to the first parent; and his incomparable minister, his only begotten Son, might claim, without prelumption, the religious, though secondary, worship of a subject world.
*. The feeds of the faith, which had flowly arisen in the rocky and ungrateful toil of Judea, were transplanted, in full maturity, to the happier climes of the Gentiles; and the firangers of Rome or Alia, who never beheld the manhood, were the more readily disposed to einbrace the divinity, of Christ. The polytheist and the philosopher, the Greek and the Bubariar, were alike accustomed to conceive a long lucceslicn, an infinite chain of angels or demons, or deities, or æons, or emanations, illuing fro:n the throne of light. Nor could it seem itrange or incredible, that the firit of these cons, the Logos, or word of Gud, of the same iubitance with sá: Father, should de
fcend upon earth, to deliver the human race from vice and error, and to conduct them in the paths of life and immortality. But the prevailing doctrine of the eternity and inherent pravity of matter, infeeted the primitive churches of the East. Many among the Gentile proselytes refused to believe that a cælestial spirit, an undivided por. tion of the first essence, had been personally united with a mass of impure and contaminated felh: and, in their zeal for the divinity, they piously abjured the humanity, of Christ. While his blood was still recent on mount Calvary, the Docetes, a numerous and learned sect of Asiatics, invented the phantastic system, which was afterwards propagated by the Marcionites, the Manichæans, and the various names of the Gnoftic heresy. They denied the truth and authenticity of the Gospels, as far as they relate the conception of Mary, the birth of Christ, and the thirty years that preceded the exercise of his ministry. He first appeared on the banks of the Jordan in the form of perfect manhood; but it was a form only, and not a subftance ; an human figure created by the hand of Omnipotence to imitate the faculties and actions of a man, and to impose a perpetual illusion on the senses of his friends and enemies. Articulate sounds vibrated on the ears of the disciples; but the image which was impressed on their optic nerve, eluded the more stubborn evidence of the touch ; and they enjoyed the spiritual, not the corporeal, presence of the Son of God. The rage of the Jews was idly wasted against an impassive phantom; and the mystic scenes of the pasion and death, the resurrection and ascension of Christ, were represented on the theatre of Jerusalem for the benefit of mankind. If it were urged, that such ideal mimicry, such incessant deception, was unworthy of the God of truth, the Docetes agreed with too many of their orthodox brethren in the justification of pious falsehood. In the system of the Gnoftics, the Jehovah of Israel, the creator of this lower world, was a rebellious, or at least an ignorant spirit. The Son of God descended upon earth to abolish his temple and his law; and, for the accomplishment of this falutary end, he dexterously tranfferred to his own person the hope and prediction of a temporal Meffiah.'
Mr. G. then explains the double nature of Cerinthus, and the divine incarnation of Apollinaris; concluding his inquiry with the following paragraph :
• The groveling Ebionite, and the phantastic Docetes, were rejected and forgotten : the recent zeal against the errors of Apolliparis, reduced the Catholics to a seeming agreement with the double nature of Cerinthus. But instead of a temporary and occasional alliance, they established, and we still embrace, the substantial, indiffoluble, and everlalting union of a perfect God with a perfect man, of the second person of the Trinity with a reasonable soul and human flesh. In the beginning of the fifth century, the unity of the two ratures was the prevailing doctrine of the church. On all sides, it was confessed, that the mode of their co-exiltence could neither be represented by our ideas nor expressed by our language. Yet a fecret and incurable discord was cherished, between those who were most apprehensive of confounding, and those who were most fearful of sea parating, the divinity and the humanity of Christ. Impelled by
religious religious frenzy, they fled with adverse hafte from the error which they mutually deemed most destructive of truth and salvation. On either hand they were anxious to guard, they were jealous to defend, the union and the distinction of the two natures, and to invent such forms of speech, such symbols of doctrine, as were least susceptible of doubt or ambiguity. The poverty of ideas and language tempted them to ransack art and nature for every possible comparison, and each comparison mifled their fancy in the explanation of an incomparable mystery. In the polemic microscope, an atom is enlarged to a monster, and each party was skilful to exaggerate the absurd or impious conclusions that might be extorted from the principles of their adversaries. To escape from each other, they wandered through many a dark and devious thicket, till they were astonished by the horrid phantoms of Cerinthus and Apollinaris, who guarded the posite issues of the theological labyrinth. As soon as they beheld the twilight of sense and heresy, they started, measured back their steps, and were again involved in the gloom of impenetrable orthodoxy. To purge themselves from the guilt or reproach of damnable error, they disavowed their consequences, explained their principles, excused their indiscretions, and unanimously pronounced the sounds of concord and faith. Yet a latent and almost invisible spark still lurked among the embers of controversy : by the breath of prejudice and passion, it was quickly kindled to a mighty flame, and the verbal disputes of the Oriental sects have shaken the pillars of the church and state.'
[To be continued.]
Art. III. Memoir of a Map of Hindooftan, or the Mogul Empire; with
an Introduction illuftrative of the Geography and present Division of that Country, and a Map of the Countries situated between the Head of the Indus and the Caspian Sea. By James Rennel, F.R.S. late Major of Engineers, and Surveyor General in Bengal. To which is added, an Appendix, containing an Account of the Ganges and Burrampooter Rivers. 4to. 145. Boards. Faden. 1788. HIS valuable work forms a volume in quarto, of 400
pages, and contains the moft improved system of oriental geography that has yet been presented to the public. Since the death of the learned and accurate D'Anville, Mr. Rennel may be regarded as one of the first geographers of the age ; and if he continues his labours with the same ardour and success, and should he reach the same advanced period of life, which we heartily with he may, there is reason to expect that his fame will not be greatly inferior to that of the illustrious Frenchman.
As every particular respecting India is an object of popular curiosity, this publication is now peculiarly seasonable. The memoir is much augmented, and the map which it accompanies is on a larger scale than the former, [See the 68th vo* The price of the map is one guinea in feets, coloured.
lome of our Review, for an account of Mr. Rennel's former work) in the proportion of two and a quarter to one; the scale of the present map being one inch and a half to an equatorial degree. The quantity of land represented in it nearly equals one half of Europe. In his preface, Mr. R. gives an account of the new materials which have enabled him to exhibit the geography of India in such an improved state ; and on considering the facts which he relates, it is impoffible to withhold our applause of the munificence and spirit of the East India Company, who have provided astronomical instruments, employed furveying pilots, encouraged geographers, caused accurate surveys to be made of a tract of country equal to France and England taken together, and traced the outline of an extent of near 2000 miles of fea-coast, and a chain of islands reaching 500 miles farther.
· These operations,' says Mr. R. indicate a spirit somewhat -above the mere consideration of gain, and ought to convince us, that in a free country a body of subjects may accomplish what the state itself despairs ever to attempt. The soundings on the coast of Bengal are better known than those in the British channel, of which no tolerable chart exists, even at this day. During the late war, an East India ship owed her safety to the knowlege obtained from a chart of the mouths of the Ganges (made and published by order of the Company), into one of which she escaped from two French cruisers, and afterwards came into the Hoogly river by an inland navigation.'
Beside the principal map, which is contained in four large sheets, Mr. R. has given a small map for the purpose of bringing into one view the respective position of the places mentioned in the tables of the distances between the principal cities and towns of Hindooftan. There is likewise an elegant map of Mr. Forster's route from India to the Caspian sea, including Samarcand, and the marches of Alexander the Great from the borders of the Caspian to the river Iaxartes. To these maps, which are the most elegant that we have seen, the Author has very judiciously added an Index, an invention feldom practised, but which will doubtless, on account of its utility, be often imitated. By a very fimple contrivance, the index fhews at once the place in the map where the name is contained ; and if it be not contained there, it saves the reader's time, by preventing fruitless researches.
The account of the Ganges, and of the Burrampooter river, the latter of which owes its celebrity to Mr. Rennel, first made its appearance in the Philosophical Transactions for 1781; but the introduction to the memoir, which contains 140 pages, is entirely a new work, and comprises the most diftinet and latifa
* See a particular account of this paper in our Review, vol. Ixvi. p. 366, C3
factory factory account of Indian affairs that we have any where met with. Until it appeared, there did not exist, under any form whatever, a connected abstract of Indian history. The Major, with great modesty, presents it merely as a sketch, and that chiefly with a view to render so dry and so unentertaining a subject as the geography of a country somewhat more interesting and agreeable. His style is precise, perfpicuous, and manly; as a specimen of it, we hall insert some observations, which, coming from a man of such credit, may counteract much false information that the Public hath recently received from the impure sources of rhetorical declamation and political faction.
· The Bengal provinces which have been in our actual poffeffion near 23 years (that is from the year 1765 to the present time), have, during that whole period, enjoyed a greater Mare of tranquillity than any other part of India, or indeed than those provinces had ever experienced since the days of Aurungzebe. During the above period of 23 years, no foreign enemy has made any incursion into any part of them, 'nor has any rebellion happened in any of the provinces (the very inconsiderable one of the Zemindar of Jungleterry in 1774 excepted). Previous to the establihment of our influence, invasions were frequent, particularly by the Mahrattas; and one province or other was ever in rebellion, owing to a want of energy in the ruling power. Those who know what miseries are brought on a country by its being the seat of war, will know how to appreciate the value of such a blessing, as that of having the horrors of war removed from our habitations. There are doubtless evils that re inseparable from the condition of a tributary state, where the supreme ruling power resides at the distance of half the circumference of the globe; but these are, I hope, amply compensated by the advantages of military protection ; and it is a fact not to be controverted, that the Bengal provinces have a better government, and are in a better state as to agriculture and manufactures, than any other of the Asiatic countries, China alone excepted.' Page 105.
ART. IV. The New Pharmacopaia of the Royal College of Physicians
of London. Translated into English, with Notes, Indexes of new Names, Preparations, &c. &c. By Thomas Healde, M.D. F.R.S. Lumleyan Lecturer at the College of Physicians, and Senior Physician of the London Hospital. 8vo. 5 s. Boards. Longman. 1788.
FTER the account which we have already * given of the
new Pharmacopoeia, little more remains to be now done than laying before our Readers a general view of Dr. Healde's translation and notis. With respect to the former, it has the great recommendation of being literal and true, so that had it been published in 1988, or 1688, the good old words, “ faith* See Review for last month, (vol. Ixxviii.] p. 449. 8