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other." On all occasions, it is necessary to bear this distinction in mind; fer whatever might have been the operation or reception of the Gospel, its ņature and tendency are unquesa tionably beneficial.
We tender our most unqualified assent to the position laid down by the learned and amiable author of the work before us, respecting the kind influence of the Gospel on the temporal concerns of mankind; and we readily allow that, in the relations of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, it has displayed its beneficial effects : but, when we appeal to history and to facts, we are forced to admit that many circumstances present themselves to our recollection, which must fix as great a blot on those who have denominated themselves Christian princes, as any events in the antient world can attach to the character of Pagans. The cruelties practised by the former have, if possible, often surpassed even those of the latter. Is any feature more abhorrent to humanity in any part of the annals of Paganism, than the history of Persecution and of the Inquisition among Christians ? Are the wars recorded by Heathen writers half so barbarous as those which mistaken religious zeal has stimulated ?-or are the savage sports of the amphitheatre to be compared in point of cruelty to the studied tortures of the Holy Inquisition ?
Setting as high a value on the Christian Scriptures as the Bishop of London can possibly affix on them, we advert to these circumstances with no intention of degrading the Gospel, but for the mere matter of fact purpose of shewing that, if the Christian be compared with the Pagan world, on the broad ground of history, the former has no great reason for exultation over the latter. The conduct of men in power has been generally unchristian ; and Bishop Porteus's remark on antient may be applied to modern governments,
that they are little else than military establishments.' religion proclaims “ Peace on Earth and good will towards men:" but its professors are often as eager for war as ever pagans were ; and it may be fairly questioned whether the modern system of war be not, from its arrangements and its protracted' nature, more destructive to the human race than the warfare pursued by the Pagans. We hope that this R.R. author is correct wben he observes that, though too much fierceness and animosity, too much propensity to war, too many acts of passion and cruelty are still to be found among the nations of the earth, yet the diabolical principle of vengeance is certainly much abated, and many of its most tragical effects are no longer seen': but we must remark that, when wars between contending nations are prosecuted with passion and obstinacy, and when their pride and interest are concerned, a vindictive and implacable fury will be generated, in spite of the remonstrances of religion.
“ History," says Gibbon, “ is little more than the register of the crimes, follie's, and missortunes of mankind;" but these crimes, follies, and misfortunes, are as little to be ascribed to Philosophy as to the genius of the Gospel; and we wish the learned and respectable Prelate to reflect whether, in his philippic against Philosophy, he has not exceeded ehe limits of inoderation. Can pagan philosophy be represented as pestiferous and sanguinary, when, as the above-mentioned historian remarks, "if a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus”; during the greatest part of which, the world was under the government of philosophie emperors? Though the moral precepts of Heathen Philosophy are not of equal purity and extent with those of Christianity, we have as little reason for attributing to it the contests of the Pagan world, as to accuse the Gospel of the cruel and exterminating warfare carried on by the Spaniards against the natives of Hispaniola and Peru.
If we descend to modern times, we know not any sect of philosophers who are intitled to the epithet of govos COMWWTZTOS, a murder-loving race'; nor can we allow that. Voltaire and his numerous disciples are justly considered as the chief source of those dreadful calamities, that have been for so many years desolating almost the whole continent of Europe.'. At a particular period, this language was in vogue: but we hoped that it had passed away with the revolutionary storm which gave it birth. Whatever pernicious doctrines Voltaire may have disseminated, he has never been a preacher of cruelty; and the massacres at Ismael and Ocksakow may as well be attributed to modern philosophy, as the enormities in France at the subversion of the old regime. It is but fair to ask where, in any of the writings of modern philosophers, is a pretext fur. nished for imputing to them the horrors of the Revolution ? At this never-to-be forgotten epoch, the character of the French people was lamentably devoloped; and the sanguinary features which it then exhibited reflect rather on the subverted goveroment under which this character had been formed, than on the speculations of any real or pretended philosophers. The old government of France was intolerant and persecuting, and its horrible executions were calculated to harden the feelings of the people ; while the exertions of Voltaire, especia
ally in the affair of the Calas family, were humane, and in opposition to the persecuting spirit encouraged by the French clergy.
Bishop Porteus makes a more effectual attack on the Philosophers of the present day,' when he calls on them to show from whence they derive that humanity to which they now lay claim, and which, it seems, has produced such beneficial consequences. If they say from the cultivation of their minds, the improvement of their understanding, and the extent of their knowledge and erudition, it is, then, obvious to ask, how it comes to pass that these causes should not, in ancient times, have produced the same effects ?'- The fact is that the principles of the Gospel have diffused themselves over the region of intellect; and that even speculative philosophers, who have resisted its evidences, have been subdued by its amiable spirit. Our modern philosophic schemes have discovered a romantic excess rather than a deficiency of humanity; and they have had for their object not the destruction and misery of the human race, but the creation of that state of happiness which is depicted in the glowing language of antient prophecy. We venture, therefore, to assert that the Bishop of London's account of antient and modern philosophy requires his serious reconsideration. Never could we attribute the blessings of the Gospel to this source, though we see no reason for terming philosophy cruel. In the following sentences, with the above exceptions, the R.R. author speaks our sentiments:
In the Religion of Christ we see a spirit of meekness, mercy, gentleness, humanity, and kindness, which has been for mcre than eighteen hundred years contending with the evils generated by paganism, has actually banished some of them from the face of the earth, has greatly mitigated and softened others, is gradually undermining all the rest, and has already given so different a colour to the whole system of human affairs, has introduced so large a portion of benevolence and mutual good-will into the minds and manners of men, into all the various relations of social, civil, and domestic life, as plainly shews the sacred source from whence it springs. Philoso. phy (both ancient and modern) is cruel, and could not be the author of such blessings as these. There could be but one author of them, THE GOD OF ALL CONSOLATION AND JOY.'
On the whole, this work merits general attention, and is cal culated to promote the beneficial effects of christianity.
REY, APRIL, 1807.
ART. IV. Memoirs of Dr. Joseph Priestley, to the Year 1795;
written by Himself: with a Continuation to the Time of his De. cease, by his Son Joseph Priestley; and Observations on his Writings, by Thomas Cooper, President Judge of the 4th Dis. trict of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. William Christie. 8vo. PP. 481. 1os. 6d. Boards. Johnson. 1806. L ITERARY and scientific men commonly make their way to
eminence through so many humiliating and depressing circumstances, that their memoirs rarely excite the envy of the proud and worldly-minded. It is necessary to have a predominant love of science, in order to follow with satisfaction the progress of genius from its obscure origin to its summit of fame; to mark the difficulties and discouragements with which it struggled; to trace the advancement of intellect in the career of free inquiry ; and to register the results of a life inde. fatigably devoted to philosophical and metaphysical investigation. If we are not induced to adopt Dr. Priestley's opinions, we must at least applaud his persevering industry, his integrity, and his intrepidity: while the student in humble life may leara from his example, that patience will ultimately triumph over narrow circumstances; and that talents, steadily cultivated, will gradually enlarge the sphere of their useful exertions and of their fame. As different individuals collect ideas in varying situations, and associate them differently in their minds, we may reasonably expect that discordances of opinion will ever prevail among the most learned and inquisitive of men; a fact, which though generally deplored by the vulgar, is to the philosopher a ground of no uneasiness. Thus, indeed, he is furnished with divers objects of comparison, is invited into numerous trains of reflection, sees the same subject in different points of view, and has a fairer chance of approximating truth, if he be precluded from absolutely arriving at it. Some persons are apt to be alarmed at so bold and unaccom modating a writer as Dr. Priestley: but they pay their faithı very bad compliment by the expression of such fears. Truth has more than human strength, she is naturally invincible ; and the more we put her to the test, the more we promote her glory and success. In this view, such men as Dr. Priestley will be of use to the world. We mean not to insinuate that they who oppose received opinions must necessarily be in the right: but they must do good, as they provoke examination, as they prevent implicit faith, and as they lead christians to build their principles on a firm foundation. If our sentiments will bear discussion, the most daring inquirer will not shake them ; and if we have never thought of "giving a reason for the hope that is in us,” we ought not to be offended with those who invite us to exercise our best faculties on the ground of natural and revealed religion,-on whatever can interest us as inhabitants of this world, and as expectants of a life to come.
We have hazarded these observations as introductory to the notice of a man whose labours have excited the most violent prejudices, who met with hard treatment from his countrymen, and who, being now removed from this scene of contention, calls on posterity fairly and candidly to appreciate his character. "A time will come, (says hey) when they will do me justice.
Joseph Priestley, the son of a maker and dresser of woollen cloth, was born, March 13, (O.S.) 1733, at Field head, six miles south-west of Leeds in Yorkshire; he obtained the usual education of a regular Dissenting Minister, and first settled at Needham Market, Suffolk, with a small congregation, on the petty salary of £30 a year. Though the first principles instilled into him were Calvinistic, his mind soon took an heterodox turn; and his early labours in the mivistry were far from being popular. He tells us that he felt at Needham the results of a low des.. pised situation ; yet while he comments on the neglects which he experienced at this period of his obscurity, he mentions with apparent satisfaction the effects of his subsequent popularity on those who formerly refused to hear him. Visiting that country some years afterwards, when I had raised myself to some degree of notice in the world, and being invited to preach in that very pulpis, the same people crowded to hear me, though my elocution was not much improved, and they professed to admire one of the same discourses they had formerly despised.' We believe this to be a very common case.
At Needham, Mr. P. endeavoured to add to the scantiness of his income by undertaking the task of a schoolmaster, but without effect, since his learning could not here atone for his heterodoxy. When, however, he afterward removed to Nantwich in Cheshire, the plan of a school was adopted with success. From this place he was invited to Warrington, to become a tutor in the Academy or College instituted in that town; and during his residence in this situation, he not only increased the stock of his knowlege, but consulted the enlargement of his comforts by taking to himself a wife peculiarly adapted to a studious husband. * This proved (says he) a very suitable and happy connection, my wife being a woman of an excellent understanding, much improved by reading, of great forticude and strength of mind, and of a temper in the highest degree affectionate and generous ; feeling strongly for others, and lictle for herself. Also, greatly excelling in every thing relating