Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

revere as, sacred,' and which he pretends not to fathom,' and which, finally, his Church holds out to him:'-_ a widely extended body of men'— (who think for the rest) which even his reason tells him must be a surer guide to truth, than the dictates of his own individual judgment.' .. In our religious modes of thinking, says he, in a letter at the end of this work, addressed to Dr. Priestley, you and I are, I believe, farther separated, than in particular points of philosophy. Education first made me a Catholic, and the most rational conviction has finally settled my belief. Were this a proper occasion, which it is not, I could with pleasure delineate to you the philosophy of my religion.'— The Author tells us that he has, for some years paft, meditated a work of this character : but we are sorry at finding him declaring that this fingular de

sign will never be realised.-It would indeed be a curiofity. . We apprehend, however, that the Author has given us a ! specimen of the philosophy of his religion, in treating of the pre

sence of the sentient principle to its body; or in answer to Dr. Priestley's objection to the Immaterialists that, on their hypothesis, the fentient principle is really nowhere, or that it is no more in the animal body, than it is in the planet Jupiteri'On this occasion he declares that, according to his idea of prefence, he' sees no great difficulty in the conception that the same numerical body may be even in many places, at the same instant of time.' 1. Our metaphysical Catholic attempts to extenuate the apparent abfurdity of this position, by a definition or description of prefence ; which, as well as existence, is, according to him, attefted only by the action of bodies on each other, or on a sentient being. - To exist near, or to be present, is to exert on other bodies an immediate, or a nearly immediate action.'-- Accordingly, Presence is such a position that therefrom can be exerted a quick impression on the ambient bodies. Such presence is more or less intimate, the more immediate the allion is. As I can act more immediately on the bodies in my chamber, than on those situated at the outside of my windows, I shall say, I am nearer placed, or more present to the first than the second. In fact, when action is immediate, nothing can be conceived more intimate than the presence of such bodies; it generates the phenomenon of contact, which of all positions is the most immediate. Presence therefore, like existence, is not formally the effect of action, but it is such a state or position that action or immediate impression is the direct consequence. :. The interests of the Author's system lead him to deny the reality of space. To his apprehension, it is nothing real.'

Bodies co-exist in a general order of reference or relation to each other, and this it is which gives rise to the phenomenon we term Space.' He considers the idea of it as a mere illusion of

the

the phenomen prefence in the such a free
effect of action lion is the directes System lea

the human mind, unhabituated to set bounds to its imaginative powers. And yet he is obliged to own that we cannot even conceive the annihilation or non-existence of space; because the idea of its capacity of receiving bodies will always recur to us.

For a further explanation of the Author's system with respect to the first principles of things, we must refer our metaphysical readers to the work itself. Our other readers will be content with this specimen. We should observe, however, that the laiter half of this performance is appropriated to an examination of Dr. Priestley's Disquisitions on Matter and Spirit; in which the Author copies the titles of the sections as they stand in that work, and regularly treats of the subjects discussed in them : but for his reasonings on these contested subjects we must likewise refer the reader to the work at large.

Art. X. Refle Etions on the Doctrine of Materialism, and the Applica

tion of thai Doctrine to the Pre-existence of Chrifti Addressed 10 Dr. · Priestley, &c. By Philalethes Rulticans. 1200. 35. sewed.

Flexney. 1779. THIS anonymous Opponent evidently possesses a greater share

of acuteness, as well as knowledge of the subject in debate, than the generality of Dr. Priestley's answerers ;. though he, too, .mixes personalities with his reasonings, and considers the argumentum ad hominem as not always the worst argument, if unenvenomed with malignity.' There seems, however, no necesfity, on a serious subject, for that air of irony or raillery, which occasionally appears in these pages; and for which the Author, in a careless way, condescends to apologise, and, at the same time, to take merit to himself, for not being chargeable with san insolent affectation of fuperiority, and coarse language, unenlivened by a single grain of humour;' judging that, to give life and spirit to the dulness of theological controversy, a little raillery perhaps is not amiss.'

The most material part of this performance is that in which the Author follows Dr. Priestley in the objections advanced in the Disquisitions, against the doctrine of an intermediate state, on the authority of various passages adduced from the scriptures. He not only considers the most material of these, to which be gives a different sense ; but likewise produces, in his turn, some additional texts, of which Dr. Priestley, he says, " has pru. dently taken no notice ;' and from the whole he concludes that the doctrine of the soul's immortality, and consequently of an intermediate state, is the doctrine of the scriptures,

[blocks in formation]

Art. XI. A Review of the Doctrine of Philofophical Necefity, illufi

trated by Dr. Priesley; in which is evidently demonstrated the Erro-
neousness and Incongruity of his Do&trine, &c. By the Rev. Joseph
Fisher, &c. 12mo. 1 s. 6 d. Nicoll. 1779.
THOUGH this Author, we doubt not, undertook the pre-

sent review of Dr. Priestley's doctrine of Philosophical Necesity, from the best motives, and, in general, treats his Antagonist with temper and decency; we must observe that his performance is indigested and confused, and carries marks of hafte in the composition of it. Further, whatever degree of knowledge he may possess on other subjects, we must take the liberty of informing this Author, that he knows very little of the philosophical doctrine of neceflity, as laid down by Dr. Priestley; the erroneousness and incongruity of which he, nevertheless, pretends, in his title-page, to have demonstrated. In thort, whatever may have been his intentions, he has most palpably failed in the execution : having pointed nearly the whole of his heavy metaphysical artillery, not against Dr. Priestley, but against the ancient stoics, and the modern predestinarians.

[ocr errors]

Arr. XII. Sacrorum Evangeliorum Verfio Syriaca Philoxeniana, ex

Codd. MSS. Ridleianis, in Bibl. Coil. Nov. Oxon. repofitis, nunc primum Edita : Cum Interpretatione et Annotationibus Yojepbi W bite, A. M. Coll. Wadh. Socii, et Ling. Arab. Prof. Laudiani. Tom. Primus ". Oxonii è Typ. Clarend, 1778. i.e. The Syriac Philoxenian Version of the Four Gospels, with a Latin Translation by Mr. White. 4to. 21. 2 s. Boards. Rivington, White, &c. T HE Syriac versions of the New Testament have not T hitherto attracted that regard, or attention, among the critics in sacred literature, which, in our opinion, they deserves There are many Syriac translations, but the old, called Pepito, or the literal, and the Philoxenian, which we have here before us, are the principal. The Peshito, which is likewise known under the name of Verfio Syriaca Simplex, contains the whole New Tertament, except the second epistle of St. Peter, the two last of St. John, the epistle of Jude, and the Revelation, all which are omitted, probably for no other reason, but, according to the opinion of some, because they were either not known in the time when this translation was made, or because they were not looked upon as canonical. This old Syriac version is of the

• Imerediately after the Preface, we meet with another title-page, and Tomus Secundus upon it. We cannot account for chis, having never before seen an inttance where a Preface, of 31 pages, made the first volume, and the book itself, of 652 pages, the second ; nor can we reconcile it with Mr. White's words in the Preface, p. 31, Si univerfilati placuerit ut fecundum volumen conficiatura

greatest

[ocr errors]

37 greatest antiquity, and we hesitate not to say, that it was made in the first century: nay, strange as it might appear to those who judge merely as they are biassed by education, we think it not impossible, that, in a future age, a more daring critic may attempt to prove that this Pelhito is the very original in which the sacred writers have penned the greatest part, if not the whole, of the New Testament. Father Harduin, that celen brated sceptic, endeavours, in his Latin commentary on the N. T. to prove that the New Testament was originally written in Latin, and afterward translated into Greek; but we think he might, with far more probability, have contended that the Syriac was the true original; as it seems more likely that the apostles wrote in their mother language, than in Latin or Greek, which they, as poor people, and of a low extraction, could no more understand, without a miracle, than did the greateft part of the Jews for whom the gospel was first written. Most of the disciples of Christ were Galileans, and they spoke, together with Christ, who was educated at Nazareth in Galilea, the Weft-aramean language, which is the very same in which the Peshito is written. It may also be asked, Whence it proceeds that so many Syriasms are found in the New Testament, particularly in the gospels,—even the Syriac expressions of our Saviour, such as Talitha cumi, Eli, Eli, lama Jabachthani, &c. translated, with the addition in the Greek ó éso nebepunveuquency? The old Latin versions, which were made very early, agree, surprisingly, with the Syriac ; and it is by far more probable, that they are made from the Syriac, than that the latter should be corrected, as some would suppose, from the Latin. The antiquity of the famous Greek copy at Cambridge (Cod. Cantabr. 1. or Codex Bezæ ) is acknowledged to be very great, and we could venture to pronounce it the oldest among all the Greek copies that contain part of the New Testament, which are preserved. This Greek copy corresponds so much with the old Syriac version, that we should be inclined to suppose it made from the Syriac, rather than interpolated from the Latin ver. fion. Some critics have even thought themselves sharp-sighted enough to find out, in this copy, passages, where the Greek interpreter mistakes the meaning of some Syriac expressions. We could wish the Cambridge copy were accurately printed, together with the text of the Peshito, as we doubt not that it would lead to useful critical discoveries.

It is further in favour of the great antiquity, if not originality, of the Syriac version, that whoever made it, was well versed in the geography of the Holy Land; and was, in all probability, a Jew. The Writer has given the names of many

places with more exactness than we have them in our common 'Greek Testament: even those instances of names of places,

which

D

3

veflt is, moreo Testament, by hardly accely

which Wetstein and others have produced as proofs against the antiquity of that version, turn out in its favour. It is likewise probable that the apostles, who were Jews, should quote pale sages out of the Old Testament, rather from the Hebrew original than the Greek translation, and we find that the old Syriac version quotes from the Hebrew.

It is, moreover, very singular, that the translated quotations from the New Testament, by the ancient Latin Fathers, are full of Syriasms, which we can hardly account for, unless we allow that they quoted either from the Syriac, or from such Greek copies as that of Cambridge, which would scarcely have been the case, if they had pofTeffed such Greek copies as those which we, in our days, look upon as representing the true original.

We must further observe, that the different fects of Chris.. tians in Syria, Nestorians, Jacobites, and Maronites, would hardly, to this day, unanimously adopt this old Syriac version, and pay so much respect to it as they do, had it not existed, and been long established, before ever those sects arose. Chriftianity spread very early in Syria; the disciples of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch; and there is reason to think that the first Christian temple was erected at Edessa in Syria. At this very place an old Syriac copy of the four gospels was found, and at the end of it a note was added, mentioning that this copy was finished + by the apostle Achaeus. Though we grant that there is no relying on the authority of this note, yet we think it proves at least that an opinion, referring the Syriac publication of the four gospels to the end of the first century, prevailed at the time when this note was written. But how this could be done so early, and particularly how it could differ so much from our modern Greek copies, is altogether unaccountable, if we do not admit that the evangelists wrote in their own language, which is that of the Syriac in the Peshito.

We confess that what we have thrown out here, is not said merely by way of introduction to an account of the book before us, nor for the sake of novelty, but with a sincere with, that some able critic, fuperior to the prejudices of education, and well grounded in these subjects, would pursue the hints here

+ Mr. White in his Preface, p. v. gives, from Dr, Ridley's dir. sertation, the Latin translation of this Syriac note, and the words we here refer to are, Absolutus eft fancius ifte liber-propria many Achaei apofioli, &c. How some, from this, could draw the inference, that Achæus translated the four gospels into Syriac, for the benefit of King Abgarus or the Christians at Edessa, we cannot well conceive. The words, be finished this copy with his own hand, might as well, perhaps more properly, convey the idea, that he himlelf transcribed it from another Syriac copy.

thrown

« VorigeDoorgaan »