Page images

However important these articles of faith are, and however susceptible of solid proof, any or all of them may be thought, we confess we fee no great merit in believing them by rote, without any knowledge of the arguments by which they are supported. Though there Rould result fome ill:effects (as Mr. Knox supposes ) from proving truths already admittéd, if they were admitted without examining, chefe effects ought to be hazarded. Religion Reed not Darink from the most rigid discuffion. ? She cannot fuffers from the freeft inquiries : and to inquire and to judge is the bu? ftness of all, in proportion to their means and opportunities of doing it. We do not entertain any high respect for that defeription of men whom the poet characterizes

• Unleitered Christians (who believe in gross),

Plod ön to heaven, and ne'er are at a loss.' We have already taken notice of Mr. Knox's enmity to logic, and metaphysics. In his Eflay. On Speculative Criticism and on. Genius,' he relaxes somewhat of this hostile disposition ; and in defining genius, he seems to have delineated the qualities which form a logician, rather than the ingredients wbich constitute the poet. He fupposes genius to be an extraordinary power of attention ; 4. capacity in the mind of attaching itself closely and ftrongly, at a glance, to every object that solicits its regard; of taking in the whole of it, in all its distant relations, dependena cies, modifications, origin, and consequences.'. If attention be allowed to ufurp the name and honours of genius, what becomes of enthufiasm what becomes of invention, and of the creativa

power of imagination, which Shakspeare tells us, bodies forth the forms of things unknown, &c, and which has been ever conlidered as the very essence of genius ?..

In remarking these accidental points in which we differ from Mr. Knox, we do not mean to detract from the general merit of his performances. Perhaps there are few writers who have ena tered into fo great a variety of subjects to whom we could have objected so little.” We still adhere to the same favourable fentia ments wbich at first formed of this gentleman. It were. a want of candour to exclude him from that indulgence which in his concluding Efay he has saticited for other biterary adventurers. If


* The Spirit of adventure in literary undertakings, as well as in politics, commerce, and war, must not be discouraged. If it produces that which is worth little notice, neglect is easy. There is a great probability; however, that it will often exhibic something cond dacive to pleasure and improvement. But when every new attempt is checked by feverity, or regarded with indifference, learning fagnates, and the mind is depresied, till its productions so far degene

* Vide Review above referred to, for the account of che fieft von Hume of Esays Moral and Literary.



rate as to justify disregard. Talte and literature are never long tao tionary. When they cease to advance, they become retrograde.

Every libera! attempt to give a liberal entertainment is entiled to à kind excuse, though its execucion ihould not have a claim to praise. For the sake of encouraging subsequent endeavours, letity should be displayed where there is no appeararce of incorrigible stupidity, of aflaming ignorance, and of empty conceity Severity chills the opening powers, as the frost nips the bud chat would'elle have been a blossom.--k is blameable morofeness 40 çensure those who Grcerely mean to please, and fail.only from causes not in their own dili olali

“The prail, however, of well meaning has ufually been allowed with a facility of conceffion which leads to fufpect that it was thought of little value. It has also been received with apparent mortificacion. This forely is the result of a perverted judgment ;' for intention is in the power of every man, though he cannot command ability"



Art. X. År Appeal from the Protefiant Affociation to the People of Great

Britain, concerning the probable Tendency of the late A&t of Par. liament in Favour of Papills. 8vo. 64. Dodfley, 1779.

E hold the principles of-popery in as much abhorrence,

and its absurdities in as much contempt, as che, most zealous member of the Protestant Association. But since a bill hath passed both Houses of Parliament, and gained the royal allent, in favour of Roman Catholics, we are apprehensive that it bears too much the appearance of a popish spirit, to endeavour to procure a repeal of it. Protestants have (and with great reason) accused the Papists of a bigotted and intolerant spirit; and have appealed to the decrees of their councils,--the decifions of their ablest and most approved advocates, and above all, to the incontestible evidence of facts, to authenticate their charge, But shall we condemn ourselves, by imitating their conduct ? Shall we act like Papists in supporting Protestantism? No. Let our actions convince them of the diffimilarity of our principles. Let us shew them, that in espousing the cause of Protestantism, we are not vindicating the claims of a fect, but that our dif. position is as benevolent as Christianity, and our object as extensive as Human Nature. This conduct would, in the nobleft sense of the expreffion, heap coals of fire on their heads :' and convince them (if any thing could convince them) that Protestants have imbibed the amiable and exalted spirit of their divine Master, who came not 10 destroy men's lives, but to save them.'

But the members of the Association are prepared to tell us, that the question at present is not so much about a point of religion, as a matter of evil polity. They do not oppose Popery because it is a fystem of errors and absurdities; but be cause of its state maxims, and the malignant aspect which it bears on the civil and religious rights of mankind. Hence, F 2


what is highly ridiculous when seen in a speculative point of view, becomes infinitely dangerous when placed in a political light: and our contempt of its principles is almoft lost in our dread of its consequences.

To enter into the arguments that have been advanced on both sides of the question, would lead us beyond the limits of our journal: we tall therefore content ourselves with offering to our readers a brief outline of the present performance. .

The first fection contains, thoughts on Toleration, and how far it is confistent with our civil constitution, and the preserva. tion of the Proteftant religion, to extend it to the Papists." Under this head, the persecuting spirit of the Church of Rome, from one period to another, is exposed; and the doctrine of the Pope's supremacy is particularly considered as derogatory to the effential maxims of a free state. From a view of the inherent Hature and invariable tendency of Popery, the gentlemen of the Association infer, that to tolerate its opinions, is to infult the natural and moral perfections of that God who gave us reason and immortality, and to encourage the practice of idolatry, by law, in a Christian country. To tolerate Popery, is to be instrumental to the perdition of immortal souls now existing, and of millions of spirits that at present have no existence but in the prescience of God; and is the direct way to provoke the vengeance of an holy and jealous God, to bring down deftruction upon our fleets and armies, and ruin on ourselves and our posterity.'

This was the language of Donner when he gave orders for the fires 'in Smithfield of Calvin when he fent Servetus to the ftake-and of Laud when he condemned Leighton to the pillory. Shall we tolerate opinions (said they) which are inAtrumental to the perdition of immortal souls ?"

So far as any religious system respects the worship of God, and a future state, so far it hath an undoubted claim to' every possible indulgence. As a system of opinions, no state under heaven hath any concern with it. The matter wholly relates to the all-seeing God, and the dietates of private conscience. It is not the business of government to provide for men's safety in a future state, any farther than by guarding their morals and fitting them for the offices of civil life. Of what remains to be done to qualify the soul for Heaven, every man must judge for himself.

The second section presents the reader with a view of the principal laws that were in force against Papifts before they were altered by the late act; and of the spirit in which they were executed.

Section the third offers < Confiderations on the late Act of Parliament, and the alterations made thereby in the penal laws


against Papists.' Under this head, we meet with the following remarks: - If we attend to the form of the oath to be now taken by the Papists, in the last Act of Parliament, we shall observe a very striking variation between that and the oath of fupremacy of Geo. I. Stat. II. Cap. 13. By that, every Protestant, and all other persons, are required, on their oath, to declare, that no foreign prince, person, prelate, ftate, or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclefiaftical or spiritual, within these realms. But in the last statute, to accommodate the Papifts, and to avoid encroaching on their obedience and submission to their spiritual father, the words “ ecclefiaftical

ecclefiaftical or fpiritualare omitted, and the words“ temporal or civilsubstituted; by which it is plainly declared, that the legislature, conscious of the jurisdiction of the Pope over every Papist within this realm, and that the Papists, as such, could never conscientiously abjure the same; have designedly changed those material words, and thereby recognized, within these realms, the ecclefiaftical and spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope, and all in authority under him.' This circumstance seems to affect Dr. Ibbetson most strongly; who having publicly avowed his approbation of the plan, adopted by the members of che Proteftant Association, expresses his doubts relating to the propriety of a Proteftant's taking the oath of fupremacy, in the form in which it is at present administered. He seems to think, that the authority of the Roman pontiff in matters of an ecclefia aftical and spiritual nature is, at least, virtually acknowledged by the legislature, from the omision of the words (fpiritual and eco clefiaftical] in che oath that hath been framed to accommodate the Papists. We do not see the matter in the serious light in which it is viewed by the learned Archdeacon. A Proteftant niay juftly swear, that no prince, power, fate, &c. hath any authority in Great Britain. The Pope hath, in fact, no more power than he had before the late indulgence granted to the Papists took place, No authority hath been explicitly delegated to the fee of Rome : and all the claim it hath, exists only (as it did before) in the creed of the Papift. To a Protestant, it is a mere negation ; and cannot in the least affect his conscience in the matter of the oath, which disavows the active, pofitive right and legal exiftence of the Pope's supremacy over the ecclefiaftical constitution of these lands.

The fourth section contains, Observations on the manner in which the late Act was obtained ; on the principal arguments in its favour; and on the fatal consequences which will most probably result from it."

The conclusion treats of the absolute necessity of an application to Parliament for redress and the conßitutional mode of obtaining it." F 3

Nothing Nothing (fays the Affociation) but a law to repeal and qualify the late Act, can keep the Papists within the bounds of allegiance and decency. Our constitution hath marked out the mode of obtaining redress; and declares it to be the right of the subject to petition. Let petitions be circulated throughout the kingdom; let the clergy of the established church, and Protestant ministers of every denomination, and all who are zealous for the welfare and safety of the Protestant religion, cordially unite, and strenuously exert themselves on this important occafion, Let petitions againft the Popith bill be sent to Parliament, with numerous fignatures from every county, city, and corporation, and from other respectable bodies of people. Let our representatives be instructed by their constituents, to support these petitions in the house; and as the eve of a general election is ape proaching, we have reason to hope that these instructions will be attended to. Should they be neglected, we foon shall have an opportunity of electing members more attentive to the voice of the people, and the preservation of the Protestant intereft.We presume, it would be better if the late Act of Parliament were totally repealed, and the laws against the Papifts placed on their former footing; but if that cannot be obtained, a qualifying AA, with some restrictions, feems absolutely necessary. Thus the Papifts would be curbed, but not crushed; they would not be perfecured, nor could they persecute: the grand objects of this ASSOCIATION would be obtained ; the Protestant religion would be preserved; the British conftitution would be secured, and the Hanoverian succession established, upon the firmest basis.'



[ocr errors]


AR T. XI. Toberni Bergman, Chemia Profefforis, &c. Opuscula Pbyfaca & Che. : mica, &c - Philosophical and Chemical Effuys, collected and re

vised by the Author, with Additions. By Tobern Bergman, Pro.

feffor of Chemistry, F. R. S. &c. Iufrated with Plates, vol 1. ; Upsal, &c." 1779. 8vo. 7-5. 60. sewed. London, imporied by Lowndes. N this valuable publication, the philosophical world are pre

fented with a collection of excellent chemical essays, on feveral curious and interesting subjects. Some of them bave fora merly been publislied separately, in the Swedish, French, or Latin languages. After having been revised by the Author, they are here collected into one volume'; which, we are assured, will be followed by several others. We thall consider them in the order in which the Author has presented them : extracting fuch particulars as may be moft acceptable to our philosophical Rcaders,


« EelmineJätka »