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Was swimming now in tears; her slender neck,
More close and close she listening turned her ear;
Of my endeavouring (what could I less?)
And farewell! lest we die."-He ended thus,
But having by a cord himself let down
"I come to visit you, young men; enquire
An instrument, which with good will applied,
Long thus the tyrant laboured; till at length
Shall bring a banquet such; and I shall see
Our readers will observe that the versification, like that of Cowper, is often affectedly stately, studiously inverted, and habitually inharmonious. Many of the lines are not even verses the English heroic requires the fourth syllable to be emphatic, and the two concluding feet to be perfect iambics; elsewhere, long and short syllables may be arranged at pleasure.
So p. 85. Of cruel joy and triumphant revenge
and many others bear no resemblance to metre: but such inaccuracies are of little consequence where are found the "thoughts that breathe and words that burn."
ART. XIV. Sermons preached in the Chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, in the Year 1795, at the Lecture established by the Provost and Senior Fellows, under the Will of Mrs. Anne Donnellan. To which is added, an Act Sermon, preached November 15, for the Degree of Doctor in Divinity. By Thomas Elrington, D.D. M.R.I.A. Senior Fellow and Professor of Mathematics, in Trinity College, Dublin. 8vo. pp. 305. 6s. Boards. Robinsons, London. 1796.
FOR this volume of sermons the public is indebted to the pious
zeal of a lady of Ireland, Mrs. Anne Donnellan, who has bequeathed to the College of Dublin a legacy of 12431, "for the encouragement of religion, learning, and good manners," entrusting the particular mode of application to the Provost and Senior Fellows of the College. Whether the Trustees, in determining that the interest of twelve hundred pounds shall be paid, as an annual salary, for composing and preaching six sermons, which shall be called a Divinity Lecture, have made the most judicious and profitable use of the legacy that could have been devised, we shall not decide. The first fruits of this bequest are a series of discourses on the miracles of Christ; a subject, which has been so frequently and largely discussed by many of our most celebrated philosophers and divines, that it cannot now be expected to afford much novelty of argument, After all that has been written by Farmer, Douglas, Adams, Campbell, and Price, not to mention the numerous list of able and respectable respondents to the body of deistical writers who appeared at the beginning of the present century, we cannot hope to receive much new light on this subject from a preacher whose exertions are shut up within the narrow enclosure of six sermons. In fact, the author of these lectures,-though he appears, from the notes which he has annexed, to have bestowed some reading on the question before him, and though his discourses shew him to be possessed of considerable powers of argumentation,-has done little more than exhibit a general and cursory view of a portion of the controversy concerning miracles. His reasonings are neither completely illus trated by particular details, nor his assertions sufficiently supported by authorities to afford the cautious inquirer much satisfaction. The notes very imperfectly supply this defect. This is not, indeed, a fault peculiar to the present volume. The prevalent fashion of detaching the proofs or illustrations of the preacher's arguments from the body of the sermon, and throwing them into notes, leaves the hearer wholly uninformed in regard to the main points on which the question turns, and is attended with much trouble and confusion to the reader. discourses professedly preached and published to establish tru
or to refute error, the practice of withholding details essential to the argument, merely to save the delicate ears of a polite audit ory the pain of hearing hard names, or to keep the discourse within the fashionable length, is a manifest absurdity: it is to try a cause, without calling the witnesses.
The learned author of these sermons not having condescended to introduce himself to the public by a preface, to give his readers any summary of his arguments, to prefix any titles to his discourses, or even to announce the general subject of the volume in the title-page, we are left to infer his plan from a perusal of the whole. It seems to have been his design to meet the objections which have been made, by infidel writers, to the evidence of miracles in proof of a divine revelation, and to the general nature and leading characters of the Christian miracles, without entering into any minute examination of particular events of that description. That the accounts of our Saviour's miracles are literal narratives of facts, and not allegorical prophecies; that they were not mere acts of beneficence, but designed as proofs of a divine mission; that miracles are possible to the Deity; that, being once performed, it is not necessary that they should be perpetually repeated; that the extraordinary events recorded in the gospels cannot be explained without having recourse to the interference of supernatural power; that miracles admit of evidence sufficient to command belief; that the actual fulfilment of prophecies affords present proofs of a miraculous interference of the Deity; and that there is in the gospel-history satisfactory evidence of the reality of the miracles of Christ; are the points asserted and maintained in the six divinity lectures here published. The question discussed in the act sermon is, whether supernatural powers have ever been exercised by the votaries of false religions: the miraculous tales, placed by Mr. Hume in competition with the scripturenarrative of the miracles of Christ, are distinctly investigated, and clearly shewn not to be entitled to credit. The stories examined are those of Vespasian's curing a blind and a lame man, and of the miracles of the Abbé Paris.-From the ridiculous nicety of avoiding the mention of proper names and other particulars in a sermon, the observations of this discourse, which are very judicious, are inveloped in some obscurity, and lose a great part of their effect.
On the whole, we close this volume of sermons with a favourable opinion of the talents and ingenuity of the writer, but without being persuaded that he has rendered any very essential service to the Christian cause.