T. (Tobias) Smollett.

The Critical review, or, Annals of literature online

. (page 10 of 57)
Online LibraryT. (Tobias) SmollettThe Critical review, or, Annals of literature → online text (page 10 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


mc, reader 5 I forget myfelf—
« Caufa fuit Pater his s
Me puerum efl aufus Romam portare docendum
Artes quas doceat quivis eqiies atque fenator '
Semet prognatos— —

Avita
£x re praeberi fumptU8<juis crederet illos.-* /

Nil me pceniteat fanum Patris hujus*
* Chi mi dara ]a voce e le parole
. Convenient! a fi nobil foggetto?
Chi r all al verfo preftera cbe vole
Tan to ch* arrive air alto mio concetto }*

Here, in the fpace of a very few lines, we have Greek, Latin,
and halian, befides allufions; bits, fcraps, &c. frOm £ngli(h
writers ; but this is nothing to the farrago of quotations which
we meet with in the notes, far out-fwelling the bulk of the
text, as an Iriihman's poAfcript is longer than his letter ; they
come (b thick and clofe upon you that there is no flicking a pin
between them : there are many who blame, and, perhaps,
with fonie degree of juflice, the profefTor's political con-
dodl, as inconfiSent with his former principles ; but very few, we
|i>elieve, except this Incognitus^ find fault with him for his archi*
diaconal DUcourle, or lor propofing a fcheme fo noble and ufe«
ful as that whuh he has laid before the clergy ; though as we

have



Digitized by



Google



j$ Most Hi»y CAr At OG u B»

bare obferved in the review of tbet work, exptrience alone can
determine what advanugej may be derived from it ; it cannoc*
bowever* stall events deferve tp be laughed at and contemned*
Oar author, notwitbflanding, becaufe be i< invifibie, thinks he
Ims a right* like other ma/qutt^ to talk as he pl^afe^.

• By this Difcourfe, fays hcj I find you now afpireto more exten* ^
live dominion : you situate in ,the narrow limits of £nfUnd»
Greece* and Rome ; and intend to transfretate lbs Ganges m the
^irit of the great ideal conqueror, of whom it was predi&cd*
< Super et Garamantas & Indos

Proferet imperium. ^n. 6.
I moft cordially wi(b you the defired fuccefs in fo arduous an dri'
dertaking$ I have no doubt but that the emperor will permit you»
like the great leviathan, to take your paftime in the Indian ftream»
and will fpcak of you to'his prime minifter, in the words of Syrus
toDromo* Congrum iftum maximant in aqua iinito ludere paulif-
per. When you (hall emerge from the hallowed flood, and afccnd
the tempeft-beaten bark on your return to Albion, |the prieftefs of .
the Eaft will coniecrate your name to diftant ages, embalmed and
enrolled with " Picus <n6t the Picus Equum XJomitor, but) the
prince of Mirandula, John Reuchlin, Pagninus, Galst-inus, Arias
]4onunus, Felix Pratenfis, Elias Lev'fa, Munfter & Aventirius«
£rpenius & Golivs/* &c. whom perhaps my unin(lfu6fed reader
*Qiay coniider as a freih colle^Vion of apron -bellied oriental Caffres,
Orang-Outangs, &c. juft imported by you ; for your loxodromick
Ikill both in politics and in literature is really amazing.*

^nd a little after :

• Should your fplcndid bile, fays he,addr?fling bimfeif to Pr. Wat-
fon, incite you torepell this unforefeen attack of mine, it wpuld be
wife not to combat in peffon, like Turnus againft the illufive fadi-
tious ihadow of ^ncas ; but inftead of hurling forth your pwn in-
ania verba et fme mente fonos, to fend into Perfia for fome defcend*
ant of the ingenious Lebid, who, as Mr. Richardfon informs me,
*< was particularly ufeful to Mohammed in aiifwering the lampoons
of the prince of Amralkeis, one of the prophet's keeneit and moft
formidable opponents/*

In what a ftrange, confu&d, and affected ftyle is tbia auk-
ward challenge delivered ! The profeiTor, we ai;« convinced^ will
not accept it, or take np the glove againft fuch an aotagonill.

In juliice to our author, we think it incumbent on us here to
fubjoin a (hort paiTage from bis long painp4ilet, which we
thtok has fome bumour in it ; and i( we caa excufe the aaalti*
plicity of quotations, is laughable enough, without that aori-
mony and ill-nature which prevails in tvtvy other p«r| of tbii
per form ance,

< May our gracious fovereign

In this enlighten*d day.
Feel, as thou feel ft, tafte's oriental ray j ^

May he no longer with his favourite fir William confider " a gar-
den as the purell of all human pleafures ;'* but fancy-ftruck, may
tie revel in the ideal charms which will arife from the yet unex-
plored, and I firmly believe, exhauftkfs fpring of Perfian delights I
* Sic fluat attonitus Romana per oppida Ganges !
< Weave itbe warp and weave the woof>

The



Digitized by



Google



MoilTHLirCATAt.OCWE. 7f

The wdb of Zoioafter's race ;
Give aoif^lQ room an^ vcr^e anough
The characters of Jnd to trace. .
The web is wove » the mighty work fis com^leated ^ met<hiokt tbe
aufpicious sera, the new hejra, is arrived T The glorious daarji al-
ready giW« the eaftern clouds ! The favouring winds already blowr
Sabaean odours from the fpicy (hore of Araby, and chear me with
their grateful exhalation* I Myriads of forms come riding on their
downy wings !—

* But oh 1 what foletiin fcenes on CarmePs h€fgKt»
Defcending flow their glittering flcirts unroll !
Vifions of glory, fpare my actaing fight.
Ye unborn ages, croud not on my fottl—
No more our longloft Walton we bewail.
All hail, ye genuine bards, Arabia's iflue, hail !
Lift up your head in exultation, O profefTor; and thou, iRicliar/l
Watfon, behold a fight marvellous in our eyes : lo ! my doughty
arguments are weighed in the balance and found wanting : the wif-
dom of an unfoUicited parliament, and the fenatorial piHidence of '
all-foftering grants concur to adopt the falutary inf^ttution !
* Alter erit jam Typhis^ & altera. qua vcbct Argo
Dele£tos Heroas, Sc ipfe videberis iltisl
Mark the Hebrew Palinurus, unweildy Kennicott, Aandt nodding
at the helm. — See the chofen troop land on the defined ihores— tbe
inhabitants prefs forward with alacrity to receive the harmlefs ad-
venturers ; for peaceful is their merchandize ; no Cortez or Pizarrb
waves his bloody fteel oer the gentle Tons of Mithras s Lo, *< The
kings of Arabia and Saba bring prefents/* at whofe bidding their
Efcurials and Vaticans buril their bars, and reveal their hidden trea-
fures; while the fi Iky volumes fufpended in the hallowed mofquca
are unrolled before their eyes ; no human vidlims, no holocaufts
flame to the fkies; but the blood of moths and parchment— pierc-
ing worm afcend as a grateful iacrifice to the maaes of Abulfeda
and AbalTai V

In the notes, the chara£lers of Dr. Warner, Dr. Hallifax,

law profelTor, Dr. Sm ds, Mr. Hodfon, the ingenious authpr

of Zoraida, and feveral others, are treated with a contempt and

afperity whkh they by no means deferve. We would advife,

therefore, this unknown critic to behave with more decency,

moderation, and candour for the future, if he hopes to meet

with that applaufe from an impartial public which be fcems very

'folicitous to obtain: in the mean time, we ihall only^ obferve»

tbat the beH: talents an4 abilities, extenfive learning, and a te*

nacious memory, may all fail in their deifiredptirpofe' when ob«

fcured by affeflation, fullied by vanity and felf-conccit, unrc-

ftrained by temper and judgment, and exerted on improper fab*

jefts. If we were inclined, therefore, to fpeak of the author of

this epiftle in the fame rtyle and raanrier as he fpeaks of ocherc,

we might, perhaps, tell him, that with all his preteftfions to

the vivida vis animi Sc curiofa felicitas, which he is fo fond 0f,

he is bat * a king of flireds and patches,' that when every wri*

ter from whom he has borrowed takes back his feather^ he will

fomain a naked jay ; and that

movct Coniicala rifam
Furtivis audata coIor;bu«

4 tbat



Digitized by



Google



$6 Monthly Cataoov/*

that his Eplftle is ^ profe run mad,' k compound of as^^illain^'
OQS fmells as ever offended noftrils ; that as to his memory,
fiiau ftrn^MHtt ScQ* &c. &Cy &c. if we had oar Icalian, Spaniihf
and French common -p] ace book at hand, w6 would give him
a few more appofite quotation s-*-but — csetera defiderantar. '

^ " The Piaure Gallery. 4/tf. 3/. Kcarfly.

This pamphlet, coniifting nearly of 100 pages, has already
if we are to credit the title-page, pafled throir^h three editions.
So rapid a Hile for fuch a performance cannot be accoonted for,
bat by attributing it to the corrupt and adulterated taOe of the
prefent age, which reliihes nothing fo much as fcandal and abufe»
as there certainly is not, (at lead which we have acumen enough
to difcover) any extraordinary wit and humour, or any remark-
able elegance of fiyle, to recommend it. It contains, however,
to which we fuppofe it is indebted for its high flavour, the private
charaflers of almoft every lady of rank and fafhion in the king-
dom ;. alludes to various incidents and intrigues, which the wo-
men have picked up, and probably told of each other, forming
all together a kind of fcandaJous chronicle. We fhall feledl one
or two for the entertainment of oar readers, from which they
may eaiily determine the merit of the whole.

« Dowager Lady A— r, The Widow Brady, /«;r<a;ir. The IriOi Widow,
* The introduflion of this fecond fpccies of compofition is cer-
tainty an intrufion on the regulations of fo well-governed a fociety

as that of which Lady A has the honor to be a member. Every

poflible indulgence will, however, be granted, when we confiderthe
richnefs and very extraordinary elegance of coloring with which her
ladylhip has tinged the Widow*8 cheeks. Painting has undoubtedly
\>een her Jiudied accoropii(hment, and though (he gives preference to
wax, to the no fmall djfrepute of negleiSled canvas, the right ho-
nourable artift cannot by any mcai's be pronounced equally great
in figure as in face. Whether my Lady's firil materials were coarfe
or dcfcftive in any other rcfpcft we are unable to afcertain. An
unfathomable depth of rouge has been the confequence, and the
Widow Brady*% complexion partakes immoderately of the nature of
fear let plumage.

« C— fs of O y. State Policy.

« We (hall acquaint our readers with the bare circumftances this
pifture contains, as it is impoflible to give any fatisfad^ory inter*
pretation why the perfonages (liould be thus (ituated. A tall, well*
made Brunette is erigiaiged in i;^ry^clofe converfation with a robud:
and frc(h-looking Amonfo, whole parley is of that interefting kind
as of itfelf to apologize for our lilence. A black little fellow, behind
the fcreen, watches their motions very fcrupuloufly ; but wit|) fuch
complacency of afpe6):, that he can have but little concern in the
event of their interview* His face fpeaks much political m'achina-
tion, and but little honefty. No farther comments will be deemed
fiece(rary, where the main obje&s of criticifm are enveloped in ob-
fcurity.'

From this (hort fpecimen it is eafy to form an idea of the m/r^-
num opus before us, which will probably be cead.with avidity for a
few monthsy and then fink into that oblivion which it deferves.



Digitized by



Google



[ 8i ]



THE

CRITICAL REVIEW-

■ ~ — ^^

For the Month- of Jugufty 1780.



^nviive Difiourjes en tbi Propbiciis coMCtrning the Jirft Eftahlijhnunt
and fubfequiut Hiftory of Cbriflianity» Priacbid at Lincoln's Inn
Chapel^ at tht Lecture of tbe Right Rtv. William Warburton,
late Lord Bijbop of G\onct{\tv. i^y Lewis Bagot, LZ;. Z>. Deatt
^Chrift Church* 8w. 5/. Cadell.

THE prophecies of the Old Teftament^ relating to the
Mefliah, are numerous, and wonderfully ctrcumftantial,
Sue they have been invefiigated by fo many learned and in-
defatigable authors, that there is hardly one of any deter-
minate fenfe* or importance to Chriftianity, which has not been
minutely and critically examined. The firfl writers on the
fubjedl naturally feleQed the moft obvious and ftriking pri^dic-
tions; and their fuccefTors were obliged either to go over the
fame ground, or infifl upon other prophecies lefs clear and.
' decifive. In the former cafe, the learned reader feldom found
any thing new in their difquidtions ; and in the latter, nothing
more fatisfa^ory than what he had feen before* This difad-
vantage is Hill increafing upon us ; and an author mud greatly
excel his predecefTors in fagacity, or the beauties of compoTi-
tion, who expefts, in writing on this trite fubje£k, to gaiii at-/
tention in the preient age.

Within thefe few years, prophecy has been a favourite
jftibjefl of enquiry. The late bilhop of Gloucefter revived
the ftudy of it, by founding a ledure for the purpofe of
proving the truth of revealed religion in general, and 'of
Chriftianity in particular, ^rom the completion of the prophecies
in the Old and New Teftament, which relate to the Chriflian
church, * efpecially to the apoAacy of papal Rome.' The
fcheme which is here efpecially recommended, le^ds the War-
burtonian lecturers into the mylleries of tbe feven feals, the
VoL.L. Augufif 1780* G ivitn



Digitized by



Google



S2 Dr. Bagot*i Tnviivt Difcputjes e» tbt PrSphides,

fcvcn trumpets, the feven vials, the whore of Babylon, arri
other pafTages in the Apocalypfe, where they may find room
to employ their penetration and their ingenious conjedlures,
for a century to come, though, perhaps, with little fatisfaclion
to the rational and judicious reader.

In, the firft of thefe difcourfes, the learned author niakes
ibme general remarks on the moral government of God, (liew-
ing, that Providence direfts all events, and purfues the pur-
pofes of his will, through the various revolutions of human af-
fairs. He then proceeds to obferve, with a more particular
view to the Chriflian difpenfation, that the virtues and vices^
the ftrength and weaknefs of the princes of the earth, were
alike directed to farther the determined counfel of God ; that
Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Epiphanes, Emilius, and
Cleopatra, all contributed, as if it had been by concert, to
carry on one and the fame deiign, though it was abfolutely fo-
reign from their thoughts ; that the prophets, who point out
the feveral fteps of this divine arrangement, are uniform in de»
daring, that all was but fubfervient to the introdudion of a
certain difpenfation, which would concern and comprehend the
interefts of the whole race of men ; and that they defcribe the
nature of this nevf oeconcmyby decifive and infallible charac-
ters, and afcertatn the time, circ urn fiances, and particular mode
of its rife and eflablilhment in the world.

In the fubfequent led^ures he therefore enquires, whether ar
a time, and in a manner agreeably to the prediftions of the
prophets, fuch a difpenfation as they defcribe was actually fet
on foot upon earth. As there are prophecies, predetermining
the feveral fates of this difpenfation in fubfequent times, the
author confiders them likewife in their proper order.

The confequenceis this: if the events in all refpe6ls corre-
fpond, and explain the foregoing prophecies, then fuch a dif-
penfation is of divine appointment ; thedodtrines it holds forth
are indifput^ble truths ; its laws and injun£lions of neceffary
and uhiverfal obligation ; its fanftions and promifes fuch as
cannot fail*

Before he enters on this extenfivij fubjeft, he premifes fome
itfledlioos on the proper evidence of a divine revelation ; and
on that particularly which arifes from the completion of pro-
phecies.

The two great vouchers of divine revelation are miracles and
prophecy. When we fee the laws of nature fulpended or con-
trolled, it is at once evident, that no lefs power is exerted than
that of the Author of nature himfdf. In like manner, when
contingent events are found lo have happened, in exa£): con-
formity to prediAions delivered ages before> h cannot be

doubted



Digitized by VjOOQIC



br. BagotV TnKfehi t>if<dwrfit en tht Preptechi. tj

dboWed that the minds of thofe prophets were Itiforooed by him
who alone can fee through ailb contingencies.

Having confidered the argument from miracles as ftrong and
obvious, beyond all others, to the common apprehenfion of
HQcn^ he thus proceeds to that of prophecies :

• The argument from prophecy is tiot of a nature fo imme*
diately finking. The fenfe of the predidion itiuil be afcertained,
and a fufiicient agreement with its accompli(hment made out>
before any conclufion can be drawn. So that had we only one
prophecy to urge, or even feveral independent ones, it would
have been extremely difficult to have derived thence fuch an ai -
gument as fliould have commanded the faith of every reafonable
and honeft man. Bot we have a chain of prophecies commenc-
ing with our firil parents^ and carried on through fubfequcnt
oracles more and more explicit for many ages. The htflory of
mankind lays before us a correfponding chain of events accom-^
plifliing thefe prophecies, brought down to a period not long
£nce paft. Such a fyftem of prophecies as this, uniform and
conneded in its parts, becomes a continual proof for ever in<>
creating in weight and authority ; and when confidered in one
comprehenfive view, excludes at once all poflibility of human^
fagacity or contrivance. The argument from prophecy thus
vrged, adds a credibility to thofe miracles which once carried
their own convid^idn with them. In former ages, while the firil
defign only of prophecy was in view (namely, to raife hopes and
cxpedlations in the minds of men, without which no religion
could have fubfifted in the world), then was their faith in it com*
monly concerned by fome miraculous work. Of this kind wa$
the immediate change; in the ferpent's form, when our firfl pa«
rents received the original promife of a future relloratibn ; fuch.
the miraculous birth of Ifaac, and many other like inftances.
Now, in their turn> prophecies accomplifhed give an afiitrance
to our faith in pafl: miracles ; which includes one evident rtfafoa
-why miracles ihould ceafe to be repeated, fince the other, from
their nature, muft be going on to the end of the world* In thisi
fenfe perhaps it is, that the apoflle, having occafion to mention
miracles and prophecy at the fame time, fays of the latter, that
it is 0i€sttor<^y, fomething more durable and firm, which (hould
lad and continue, and be as it were a root, from whence new
degrees of evidence (hould. perpetually arife. It is impofiible to
imagine that the apoflle meant to extol one to the difparagemenC
of the other. They who have, the mod flrenuoqfly maintained
fach a fenfe, have been found for the moft part not very averfe
CO give up the argument from both. The truth is, that they
have each a feparate office in the fupport of our faith : and if at
any rate one can be got rid of, the fortrefs is fo far weakened.'

The primitive Chriftians have fallen under the cenfure of a
fDodern hiftorian, for urging the argument from prophecy, in
their apologies, repeatedly pubtiHied in behalf of themfelves and

G 7, their



Digitized by



Google



B4 Df, BagotV Tictlvt Di/mrfii tn tbt PrtpittiUi

their Klijtion. ' It was an argument, we are told, beneath tW«
notice ofph«lofoph«"5 f"** " ""*"* ^^ "" .""""^ •="S»ge jhc
attention of men of fenfe and learning. It might ferve to ed.fy
a Cbriftian or convert a Jew. But this mode of. perfuafion (it
feems) lofes much of its weight and influence, when it is ad-
drefled to thofe who neither underftand nor refpeft the Mofaic ^
difpenfatifln nor the prophetic ftyle.' Gibbon's Hift. vol. i. •
To which our our author replies : . , , v

• Here is a prefnmption made, that the weight of the arga-
Bientfroro prophecy depends upon foroe previous wfpeftand de-
"tion entertained for the prophets. This is not the cafe. If .t
be made plain that fach and fuch fads were predifled by fuch
men at fuch a time ; and that their prediaions were verified m
The event the areument, I apprehend, is the fame, be it ad-
Seffed to whomif may, Jew or Gentile. « When a prophet
Seth in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not nor
co.^ to pafs. that is the thing which the Lord hath "« fpokeft:
buSe prophet hath fpoken i. pref.mptuoufly : thou (halt not be
afraid of him." Neither Mofes nor the prophets require refpeft
on any other conditions. The argument, therefore, is a fimpte
ftate of faa, dependent only on the principles of reafon common
Vo all men; an argument that both thofe anc.eht ph.lofopbprs
Iho contemned, andthefe modern who revile and calom.iate the
Chriftian apologifts. ought, in juftice to th.^f''"" ""^ '^'^
boafted reason tnd learning, to have attended to. They bad
then perhaps learned, from their own conviaion, to have re-
foeaed both Mofes and the prophetic ftyle.

In the following paflage the author teems to have thrown a
light on two or three obfcure expreffions in the fecond Epiftle

*'^.^St^'peter' wrote his fecond Epiftle to certain Chriftians,
whom he had himfelf converted and eftabliflied in the truth, pro-
bably from aniong the Jewifti profelytes. certainly not nnac-
Juabted with the writings of the old prophets. His pbjea is
^ rtnind them of the praflical duiiss of their new religion and
of hrgroond of their faith , fuch as he had delivered it to them ;
fettine forth the power and majefty of God, as he h.mfelf. an
• eyiwlnefs. had feeo it manifefted in the perfon of ChrM Jefus.
WsTeftimony in this refpea wa, ind.fputable j efpecially as he
wl perfonally invefted with miraculous powers. H.s reafon for
rhasSnding them he exprefsly affigns, " I think it meet, as
loneasTam il this tabernacle, to ftir yoa op, by putting you
i ^ .i,K«nre • knowine. that ftiortly I muft put off this my
uberS/evtVaforLo'rV Jefus Chr^ft hath Lwed me (not
± reminding you of that evidence which was the firft means
of lonrconve^on) I will endeavour alfo .'wtro" (every poffible
±Ttba?aTer my deceafe you may have thefe things always in
remembrance." And for this purpofe in parucular it is that- h«
Sn prophecy. They had been ufed to hi. ow« teftamony



Digitized by VjOOQIC



/

2)r. Bagot'/ Ttvihe D^Jiourfis en tbt ProphicUs, 85

of the miracles of Chrift which he had aAually feen : they had
alfo probably feen miracles performed byThimfelf. The force of
this argument after his deceafe, and when no farther miracles
' j(hou1d be wrought among them, he was fenfible would in fome
meafure decline. He therefore refers them to that other fort of
teftimony, the force of which would never abate. ^* We have
9lfo piQcuorspot — To^ qr^^Tixov Aoyov^" This was an evidence no£
of the fame brightnefs and fplendor with that to which afone they
Had been hitherto accuftomed; and which obtruded itfelf on
their minds without much care or thought on their part. The
apolile therefore adds, ** u Ka>Mq wouhlt «r^o<rc;^ovIc$— to which ye
do well that ye apply with diligence and attention {for fo tjhe
words import) as to a light ihining in a dark place :'* as if he
had faid, you will find it at iirA a light faint and glimmerings
furrounded on ewtry iide with almofl impenetrable darknefs ;
fufiicient, however, if you keep your mind intent Opon it, to
guide and fecure your fteps; and growing continually brightec
the more you advanpe t.owar/ds it.r-S^ich feems to be the apoftle'i
meaning : I by/ie/mj to be his meaning ; for the words I am ien-
iible are capable of a different conftrudion from what hath here
been propofed^ and fomewhat a different one might be admitted
without at all invalidating the argument. I am only concerned
to maintain, that the word of prophecy here mentioned doth not
mean iimply any one fpecific pafTage (as hath been contended by
one ^, whofe critical (kill in the Greek language is jnftly es-
teemed), but that it mull: relate to the whole of the prophetic
writings. Indeed, on the other f^ppofition^ the pertinence and
weight of this concluding admonition, and of the remark fub-
joined to it, are entirely deftroyed. The reafoning, as I have
^ated it^ is jqft and true in itfelf, and perfe^ly appofite to the
main fcope of' the Epiflle. It was, no doubt, of great moment
to thofe early converts, to pay a firi^ regard to this laft kind ad«
monition of their venerablp paftor.* «

In the begioning of the fecond Difcoarfe, the ajathor lay^
down this general obfervation, which, he thinks, may ierye to
remove all ground for the principal doubts and obje^ions that
can be made to the application of the prophecies.

' It appears, both by their own writings, and by the Jewifh
hiflory, chat it was the proper charader and bufinefs of the pro*
pkets to reprove the wickednefs of the people, and denounce the
divine judgments againil it; and^ at the fame time, to revive
and ilrengthen their love andxonfidence in the Qod of Ifrael, by



Online LibraryT. (Tobias) SmollettThe Critical review, or, Annals of literature → online text (page 10 of 57)