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❝ is no difference at all. It comes to the fame thing in the "conclufion. God's fimple ordinance levels all diftinctions !" -This is precifely Mr. M.'s argument: and his expofition of this text leads directly to these conclufions; nor is it in his power to avoid them without ruining his own cause.
We obferved before, that the law hath made a wife and benevolent provifion for virgins, feduced by the treachery of men. "The man SHALL furely endow that woman for his wife, whom he hath enticed, because he hath humbled her." It is not faid that by humbling, he HAD actually made her his wife; but it is faid, that marriage-a lawful and proper marriageSHALL take place, in confequence of, and as a reparation for, the injury done her. But, if the perfonal act had of itself been a fufficient marriage (as Mr. M. would have it) an expreflion would not have been used that denoted fhame on the one hand, and punishment on the other. The humbling her (as the Scripture delicately expreffes it) ftrongly denotes the dishonour that was brought on her character, by what Mr. M. profanely calls 'God's holy and fimple ordinance.'
In fhort, this Writer's whole argument with respect to marriage is founded on a fallacy. He confounds the idea of marriage itself with the remedy that was ordained by the law of God to prevent the abuse and ruin of the fex. He makes no fort of diftinction between what was obligatory to prevent an injurious and difgraceful connection, and that which was the cause of the obligation. He doth not fee the difference, which every perfon not blinded by the prejudices of a system might fee, between the man who is compelled to marry the woman whom he hath unlawfully enjoyed, and the man who first marries her, in order that he may lawfully enjoy her. The confufion of these two diftin& circumftances hath occafioned fome of the capital errors of Thelyphthora.
We have already taken notice of the confidence with which this Writer lays down his propofitions; and the air of importance and fuperiority which he hath affumed through the whole of his former publication. In the prefent fupplemental volume he hath raifed his authoritative tone ftill higher; and hath added the bitterness of malice to the rudeness of infult. With regard to the Jews, fays he, the light itself is not more clear and evident, than that, throughout the whole Law of Mofes, there is not the leaft hint or trace of nuptial ceremony of a religious kind, or the interference of any minifter of religion in the matter: therefore, the throwing marriage into the hands of Chriftian Churchmen, and pretending that, a ceremonial to be adminiftered by priests, jure divino, was neceffary and effential, &c. &c. amounts to a demonftration that Chriftian Churchmen have been the greatest, and moft errant and complete fet of KNAVES that
ever infested the earth. None but fuch could, for their own profit and intereft, have mifinterpreted, perplexed, confounded, as they have done, the holy and fimple ordinance of God with refpect to marriage, and then throw the duft of priestly rites and ceremonies into the eyes of the laity to prevent a difcovery of their impofture.'
This Author feems to have copied his abufe of Chriftian churchmen from the Hickeringills and Woolftons of apoftate memory. But those churchmen, if they are really Chriftian, can well bear contempt and flander from fuch a quarter. They can expect nothing better; and with abundant reafon every Christian churchman, from the days of good old Clement of apoftolic memory down to the prefent times, might very properly adopt the language of Pythias in the play, when speaking of a drunkard :
Utinam fic fient, male qui mihi volunt!
TER. EUN. "If all were fuch enemies, Religion hath little to fear."
Mr. Madan's capital object in the prefent volume is to bring the authority of the ancient Fathers into fufpicion; and, with a view to establish the credit of his own fyftem, he attempts, not only to overthrow their authority, but to make even their testimony problematical. This was neceflary for the fupport of a caufe which every precept and doctrine of every Father of the ancient church directly militated againft. He was obliged to make reprisals, not on one, but on ALL. He was obliged to advance his fingle word (unless, indeed, we except the authority of Barnardinus Ochinus and John Lyferus) against the full and united teftimony of the moft venerable confeffors of the Chriftian faith from the age of the Apoftles to the present times. If they ftood, he must fall: and therefore, on the true principles of that fpecies of charity which, is vulgarly said, to begin at home, he makes no fcruple of attacking them all with indifcriminate fury; and confiders them univerfally as fo many Dagons set up in oppofition to Jehovah, which every good Ifraelite would affift to demolish, and triumph in their downfall. Mr. M. indeed doth not feem to confider himself as bound, by any principle of duty or love, to throw a mantle over the naked nefs of the Fathers. He neither fhades their infirmities, nor excufes their defects. He may not, indeed, confider himself as related to them. We think he is not; and therefore can more readily forgive his spite against them. Though, if he were a relation, perhaps he would, in his zeal for a caule for which he can find no patron amongst them, be ready to fay with Triftram Shandy's father, in the cafe of his aunt Dinah, who was humbled by the coachman, "What is the support of a family to the fupport of an hypothefis ?"
But if a Writer attempts to fupport an hypothefis by pro ducing falle witneffes, he gives fo much to the contrary cause as he intended to produce in behalf of his own. Mr. M. is precifely in this predicament, in the very firft inftance which he quotes from antiquity.
We fhall explain ourselves moré largely and particularly in in the next Review:-in which Mr. Madan's ignorance of the Fathers will be amply expofed, and his difingenuity and false reasoning detected and confuted by a fair and direct appeal to
[To be continued.]
ART. XII. Letters between two Lovers, and their Friends. By the
HEN we paffed
out cenfure on this Writer's for
mer publication, we had been fo naufeated with the large quantities of that infipid trafh, called Sentimental Letters, Sentimental Effufions, &c. &c. which had been poured upon us, under the fanction of Yorick's name, or by an affectation of his light and defultory manner of writing, without one grain of his wit and acutenefs; that we thought it our duty to attempt to check the progrefs of this new fpecies of dulnefs, and to reftore that efteem for good fenfe, learning, and fimplicity, which a fondness for thofe frivolous and idle productions had a tendency to banish from our country. Every coxcomb who was verfed in the fmall talk of love, and who had acquired the knack of writing without thinking, fancied himself to be another YORICK! and as it was exceedingly eafy to affume the virtue of fentiment, and as easy to adopt its cant, the ELIZAS too, were very numerous! Here reclined a fwain, fo oppreffed by his own gentle feelings, that he could only utter the tender tale of his heart in abrupt and broken fentences. There, on fome foft bank, befide the murmuring ftream, a nymph, half breathlefs, melting in her own fenfibility, fat drooping-expiring in a foft and pathetic Oh! -Here old lovers conveyed their wishes in groans, and sentimental old maids (for want of better amufement!) echoed them back in fighs! Now palfied paffion (feigning itfelf to be "tremblingly alive all o'er!") fhook itfelt into ****! Then poor fentiment, frittered by ufe, dwindled away, and was loft in
This was the most compendious method of supplying "éach vacuity of fenfe;" and stars and dashes, which in reality mean nothing, were fuppofed to mean too much for language to express ; and the Writer, fwelling with unutterable feelings, and labouring with those travels of the heart which had no iffue in birth, REV. July 1781. F
was compared to the painter of antiquity, who wifely threw a veil over the fubje&t which he was not able to describe.
Time, however, hath in fome measure corrected this folly. Naturam expellas furca licet, tamen ufque recurret. The poor trick amufed for a little while: but it was played fo frequently, and by many, who, only taking it up at fecondhand, made fuch bungling work of it, that it became contemptible, and loft all its power of impofition.
In juftice, however, to the volumes before us, we readily acknowledge that they are freer from those objections than the Author's former publication. They are lefs affected, and much more interefting and entertaining. They have a ftory, or rather two or three ftories interwoven very naturally with each other, which excite curiofity, and keep the attention awake, on objects and events of fome intereft, both to the affections and understanding. A fhade is thrown on the picture, by the melancholy hiftory of Mr. Williams, and Leonora; but the artist hath fhewn his fkill by this arrangement, and the beauty of the piece is heightened by it. It affords exercife for compaffion, and foftens and improves the heart, by repreffing the gaiety and confidence which profperity is too apt to inspire.
In fhort, these Letters have a moral tendency that will make them acceptable to the lovers of virtue; and though they are not enlivened by the brilliance of wit, yet they are fupported by good fenfe, and folid experience. B..d..k.
ART. XIII. The Doctrine of philofophical Neceffity briefly invalidated. 8vo. 6d. Richardson and Urquhart. 1781.
HE attempt to invalidate' the Doctrine of philofophical Neceffity in a fmall pamphlet of twenty-four pages, appeared, at firft view, enterprifing. The Author, however, hath acquitted himself with no small share of skill and dexterity; though he fails of impreffing conviction. His principal argument is briefly this-" If the Doctrine of Neceffity be true in itself, and thoroughly believed to be true, there could be no end propofed for our exertions, and confequently all motives would lose their influence." In order to illuftrate this obfervation, the Author fays, Let us take one event in which we are all equally concerned, viz. the time and circumftances of our death. Suppofing therefore, that, at or before my entrance into this world, the time of my leaving it was fixed, and that I entirely believed it to be fo; no circumftance throughout life, no poffible fituation in which I could be placed, would operate as a motive, fo as to make me ufe even the lighteft endeavour, either to lengthen out, or shorten, the period of my existence. This must be allowed upon the fuppofition under confideration.
And if this be the cafe with regard to fo momentous an event, it will certainly hold true of any other.' There is an obvious fallacy in this argument. The Author confounds the belief of the Doctrine of Neceffity as a general principle, with the certain forefight of a particular event. Did a man know infallibly, not only that the period of his life was fixed by the fecret decree of God, but that fuch or fuch a day would produce it, or fuch a circumftance would inevitably effect it in fpite of all precaution, and every exertion poffible; then we grant, the Author's reasoning would have fome weight. But at present it hath none. Though an event be abfolutely decreed, and as fuch totally unavoidable, yet if we are not aware what or when or how it may be, the whole business of ends and motives must in effect be precifely the fame to us, as if it was not pre-ordained.
The next obfervation, the Author ingenuously acknowledges, hath no certain ground of proof; but he hopes, however, that the truth of it will not be denied. I fuppofe then, fays he, that in a future state our faculties will be enlarged, our underftandings enlightened, and our apprehenfions quickened in fuch a degree that the truths which we now attain to with difficulty, and much study, will then appear as axioms to be claffed amongst the first principles of our knowledge, and hence ferve as a bafis for making further discoveries by reafon. This must be the cafe upon the natural fuppofition, that the righteous in another life make a continual progrefs in knowledge and happiness.
If, therefore, as was fuppofed before, Philofophical Neceffity be a truth, and likewife difcoverable by human reason, in fome future period of our existence; liberty, as opposed to this truth, muft ceafe to operate as a practical principle, and give place to ideas of neceffity, which, like all intuitive truths, will ever be prefent to the mind, and consequently, as hath been proved before, reduce us to a ftate entirely torpid.'
If we may judge of the future from the prefent (and the Author, for his own fake, must allow of the analogy) we should by no means adopt this conclufion. We know that the firmeft belief of the doctrine of neceffity doth not render the mind torpid and inactive. It doth not fuperfede the use of means, nor in the leaft abate the fenfe of their importance for the attainment of any end, either of knowledge or virtue. This is a fact which cannot be denied; and as one example of the truth of it, we refer the Author to the gentleman whofe writings have occafioned his remarks, viz. Dr. Priestley.
The fame general plan and conftitution which is established in the prefent ftate, may be carried into a future; and the fame provifion made against the evil confequences that may be fuppofed to refult from an unwavering belief of the doctrine of neceffity.