Page images

royal monopoly is nearly extinguish- our readers, that all such forbearance ed, with the taste in which it origi- is absolutely gratuitous, as scarcely nated. But there is a species of any thing can exceed the coarseness literary privilege somewhat anala- and scurrility of his attack upon gous to it. It is this:-When pub- those guilty of the high misdelications are circulated only as a meanor of orthodoxy. gift, they are universally,we believe, The work of Sir William Drumconsidered as private property, and mond consists of two parts ;-of a in consequence shielded from the preface, in which he attempts to inweapons of the critic. But when validate the orthodox opinions upon once produced to the public in a the subject of the Jewish Scriptures; saleable shape, then they become and a sort of disquisition, in which lawful game, and every man who he developes his own system. will may discharge his piece at them. The preface, which is by far the Now, we dislike all monopolies, and most intelligible, and therefore the certainly find nothing in this parti- most mischievous part of the work, cular monoply which exempts it consists, as we have said, of a from our general condemnation. For series of objections to the orthodox what is more deplorable, than that notions on the Jewish Scriptures. any author, whose fortune sets him The Old Testament is charged, for above the desire of filthy lucre, instance, with representing the Sushould be permitted to inundate the preme Being as a local, material world with a load of blasphemy and Deity, variable in his plans, and disJicentiousness, without apprehending figured by human passions and weakany check from sound and manly nesses; as introducing him under criticism? We had, therefore, no familiar forms, and in familiar con. sooner heard of the Edipus Judaicus versations with his creatures. The of Sir William Drummond, than we orthodox interpreters of the Old felt a strong impetus to break down Testament are said, moreover, to be. this barrier between truth and error. lieve “that far the greater portion In the mean time, however, Mr. of the human race are doomed to D'Oyly, by taking the work in hand, eternal torments because our first and by conveying his work to us in parents ate an apple, after having the ordinary channel, bas both dis- been teinpted by a talking serpent." solved the spell of which Sir Wil. Then the objections, so often hazardliam had endeavoured to avail him- ed and so constantly repelled, are self, and, by a bold and able pio- re-produced, against the "hardening neering of the ground, has opened a Pharoah's heart”--the “ destrucway for our further attack upon him. tion of the Canaanitish nations, &c." The university, of which Mr. D'Oyly Then the poor Christians, whom the is the “ Christian Advocate," has author has hitherto been lashing for taken the lead in many important their tight-laced and literal interenterprizes; and this honest resist- pretations, are charged with their ance to privileged infidelity will ac- prodigal and licentious interpretation credit both the society and her of prophecy. These are the only champion in the eyes of the world. objections of Sir W. Drummond exIt is our intention first to give a brief amined in the little pamphlet before account of Sir William Drummond's us. We shall come presently to book, of which Mr. D’Oyly supplies speak of the replies given to them. us with sufficient extracts; and we Having, in the preface, cleared shall then proceed to measure bis away what Sir William considers general pretensions as a writer, and the rubbish of Christian interprehis delinquencies on this particular tation, he proceeds, in the body of occasion. We trust that nothing the work, to erect a temple more like intemperance of language or sen- worthy of the philosophic worshiptiment will escape us in the conduct per. The Christians, he contends, of this critique; but we do assure have fallen into all their errors, with regard to the Jewish Scriptures, by of the lunar months.” The proof putting a literal interpretation upon is as follows:-Jericho (107) is ihem. They, for example, have evidently a collective noun derived considered what are falsely called from (na) the moon ; therefore the historical books of the Old Tes- Jericho is not a real place, but a tament as the real history of a peo. word allegorically expressing the ple called the Jews. But Sir Wil. moon. Again, because Jerusalem liam, looking far beyond that thin is derived from words signifying surface which meets the eye of the “the inheritance of peace," he proordinary examiner, has discovered nounces Adonizedec, king of Jeruthat, far fronı being a real bistory of salem, to be “the sun, who became, the Jews, it is an allegorical history by the reform of the calendar, king (we beg our readers to be composed) of the inheritance of peace.” In of the reform of the calendar. Our like manner, because the term Ca. readers,“ poor easy souls,” may naanite may, though by a very arhave fancied that Joshua was real duous process, be derived fiom two flesh and blood, and the enterprising words signifying to “ fix the time," leader of the Jewish people; but be denies the Canaanites any but an our new prophet instructs us, that astronomical existence, a residence Joshua “is the type of the sun in among the stars. And in the same the sign of the Ram.” The capture star-gazing spirit, because the words of Jericho, in like manner, " is a translated the Red Sea may, if put typical representation of the over- to the torture, be constrained to sig.. throw of the lunar months;" and nify the concave hemisphere; he the extermination of the Canaanitish contends that the concave hemipations, a type of the “extermina- sphere should be substituted, in Jotion of the worship of the heavenly shua iv. 23, for the Red Sea; though host.” “ The story of the five kings the word is translated, in many pasis an astronomical allegory relat- sages where the change would ining to the five intercalated days.” troduce gross nonsense, in the same " Samson is the same as Hercules, manner; though the Septuagint and both are types of the sun. The thus understood it; and though feast of the Passover was instituted such a suggestion never, we beas a memorial of the transit of the lieve, occurred to any one Jew.equinoctial sun from the sign of the Of the word “ Rahab” he says, that Bull to that of the Ram or Lamb.” it " signifies space, or latitude,” and Lot is a name easily derived from that it was worshipped as a deity by the Hebrew root, meaning absconcio: the Sabbaists, who built a temple to Abraham as plainly signifies pater Rachab, called Beth-Racab. On that ercelsus. Now it is manifest that verse which conveys the promise of “ the former is here a type of the the land to the Israelites, Joshua i. 4, moon, and the latter of the sun." “ From the wilderness and this LeIn like manner, “ this” (the proving banon even unto the great river, the the calendars to be erroneous) “I river Euphrates, all the land shall pretend was done in the allegorical be your coast;” Sir William inhistory of the flight from Egypt, and structs us, that Lebanon does not of the passage of the Israelites into signify a mountain, but is a name the promised land.” p. 176. We for the rising sup; and that the word will add to this a few extracts, given translated “ the river Euphrates" by Mr. D'Oyly from another part of should be rendered “the splendor Sir William's treatise, which at once of the fruit tree,” the fruit tree be. shew the excess to which he syste- ing a symbol of the starry heavens. matizes, and the sort of reasoning D’Oyly, pp. 66–70. by which he upholds his system. Such are the specimens exhibited

The taking of Jericho” he con- by Mr. D'Oyly of the Edipus Ju. siders as meaning the “ destruction daicus; and the reader may be as.

sured that these are not the acci- up, from the scattered fragments of dental dark spots in a surface of Greek and Roman absurdity, an light, but that the whole mass is altar, where those enlightened men equally opaque, equally eccentric who nearly deny the existence of in its course, evil in its aspect, and mind, and quite of matter, may fall disastrous in its influence.

down and worship. As yet this new Having given our readers a speci- system of theology has not been inmen of the two parts of Sir William's troduced. He has been content, book, we shall still further defer any like some modern travellers, to poll regular comment upon them till, as down pantheons without rebuilding we proposed, we have attempted them; and it remains to this moto supply our readers with a sort ment, though we shall attempt hereof scale, by which they may be en- after to give some light on the subabled in some degree to measure the ject, a profound secret, what single authority of this member (for such proposition, or fact, Sir William he is) of the privy council. He will Drummond thoroughly believes. His not be offended if, in considering his philosophy might perhaps be best claims in the world of letters and taught by one vast negation "I bephilosophy, we do him less homage lieve nothing that any one else bethan his titles might seem to demand. lieves." He remembers, that even a goddess We have given this account of received a wound when she descend. the “Academical Questions," to shew ed to skirmish with mortals; and that the task of demolition is not when be quits the council chamber new to the author; that this invader for the schools, he must take his lot of the sanctuary is also the in vader with common men.

of all those edifices which the wise The first work which invested Sir dom of ages 'had thrown up around William with some notoriety (using us; that he who cannot believe in that word in its epicene or doubtful the Bible, is unable also to credit sense), was the “ Academical Ques. the existence of matter; that, in tions." This work was a sort of fact, he has as much faith in the general insurrection against every Jewish Scriptores as he has in any opinion held in every age by everything else. It is true, that many of philosopher, with the exception of the idealists by no means admit one, whose orthodoxy, upon that their system to involve such universingle point on which he differed sal scepticism. But what is the from the great mass of mankind, is fact? If we deny the existence strongly opheld. The philosopber of every thing for which we have is Berkely; and the single tolerated not the primary evidence of conopinion is, that of the non-existence sciousness, we are no more conof matter. Sir William, in this any scious of the existence of other thing but book, first minds, or even of our own minds at controverts all established definitions any previous moment, than of the exof mind, denies the theory of active istence of måtter : Therefore the and passive powers of the mind, dis- idealist is bound to maintain, that putes the influence of the mind on nothing of mind or matter exists, ihe actions, then fails pell-mell upon except his own mind at the precise all substance, and, by a single stroke, moment at which he speaks. This annihilates every thing we see, hear, system might, we think, have sug. and handle; then from things, or gested to Sir William a far shorter supposed things, proceeds to men, process for invalidating Scripture. and proves that all philosophy is Why did he not, instead of pervertfalse philosophy, that the wisesting the Bible, deny its existence? men hitherto have rather cackled Could he once convince the world than reasoned, and that it remains of so obvious a fact, how glorious for Sir William Drummond to raise would be the consequences! Dr." Marsh would put off his armour : examined in the work before us by Dr. Maltby (whose curtailing pro- Mr. D'Oyly, in which Jehovah is ject we mean speedily to examine) converted to the same type with the would think the whole ghost of a heathen gods, and the iwelve ApoBible no more mischievous than a stles are destined to occupy the same half one: the Bartlett's Buildings typical throne with the labours of Society would return to her old easy- Hercules. In another essay, the chair; and the world, released from rebellion of the Titans is treated as its supposed scriptural shackles, an allegorical history of volcanic would slash away the Command- eruptions. ments, a's Æneas did the shades in We have taken this brief survey of Tartarus; and proceed boldly to the preceding works of Sir W. Drumsin, to quarrel, to fight abroad and mond, hoping, as we said, to supply stab at home, up to the full bias of our readers with a scale by which bis their fallen nature.

pretensions and peculiarities as an * But to return to Sir William: author may be tried; by which The next work in which we recollect those who are disposed to think to have recognised his dilapidating well of heterodoxy in religion, may hand, is in the Herculanensia ; a vo- trace the operation of the author's lume of treatises, the joint produc- Quixotism upon subjects more res tion of himself and Mr. Walpole, on verenced by them. If we are not certain topics connected with Her- deceived, both the works we have tulatieum. Tired, we apprehend, noticed betray much passion fot with the follies of above-ground phi- display; much love of innovation; losophers and prophets, the learned much self-conceit; much con gentleman determined to dive into tempt of others; much blindness the bowels of the earth for a new in the perception of what really and improved philosophy. What he exists, and acuteness in the discosaw there it is difficult to say, as Sir very of what has no existence; William is no great reporter of facts. much, in short, of that perverse inWhat he learned by his converse genuity by which, in fevers, the with the dead of the year 79, is an- patient cunningly discovers imaginounced to the world in a few verynary visitors in every corner of his learned, rather eloquent, and, we room, and yet blindly runs his head think, highly inaccurate and fanciful against the wall. Sir W. Drumdisquisitions. In calculating, for mond will forgive us a simile of this instance, the population of Hercu- kind, by which nothing more is Janeum, he estimates the inhabitants meant than to give our readers by the size of the theatre; proceed. some conception of a character of ing throughout upon an hypothesis, mind which the uninitiated can concontradicted by the concurrent tes- ceive only by some such obvious timony of the Roman writers, that illustration. We will only add, that all women were ercluded (we wish instead of being angry at being comthey had) from the Roman theatres. pared to a man in a fever, he ought In the third disquisition in this vo- devoutly to wish the simile a fact; lume, while searching for some more as then he might, in a measure, aporemote root for the word Hercula- logize for the extravagances of his neum than that which has satisfied opinions, by the height of his pulse. other etymologists, tbe name of We shall now, however, proceed Hercules, its founder, he enters upon more distinctly to notice the work, an extensive argument, to shew that and the answer; the bane, and anhalf or all the heathen gods were tidote, which are both before us. types of the sun, and the twelve la- The preface

to Sir William bours of Hercules typical of the Drummond's book is, as we have signs of the Zodiac. Here we see already intimated, occupied with the germ of the monstrous theory attacks upon the Scriptures and the CHRIST, OBSERY. No, 127.

3 N

Orthodox interpretations of them. they do not avow; that be clothes It is, of course, impossible that we all accredited opinions in the most should, in compliment to this new absurd dress; that, on the whole, assailant, fight all the battles in the Jewish Scriptures enjoy no sort which the advocates of religion have of homage from him, but rather fought and triumphed a thousand provoke his ridicule and indignation. times. Replies to this author may Now, we will say nothing of the be found in almost every reply to dishonesty of charging men with Tom Paine. We shall content our opinions they do not hold, nor of the selves with merely stating the na. indecorum of grossly insulting the ture of his attacks, and giving our religion of fifteen millions of his readers a few pages of the sensible fellow-subjects; but we cannot help observations of Mr. D'Oyly in reply calling his attention, as the means to his adversary.

most likely to impress him, to the There are then, we think, three estimation in which these Scriptures points on which the author is chiefly have been held by men of undisculpable:--- First, he imputes to the puted liberality and genius. Lonorthodox interpretations of Scrip- ginus represents the lawgiver of the ture which they never employ. Jews “as no ordinary man.” Ta. Secondly, he himself discovers in the citus, speaking of the faith of the Jewish Scriptures certain defects, Jews, as derived from the Scriptures, not recognized by any of the best says; “ The Egyptians venerate vacritics of any age or country. Third- rious animals, as well as ·likenesses ly, he states his objections to the of monsters. The Jews acknowScriptures, or the accredited inter- ledge, and that with the mind only, pretation of them, in a style of the a single Deity. They account those grossest indecorum and levity. As to be profane who form images of to these charges, let our readers take God, of perishable materials, in the some examples.-Christians, then, likeness of man. Theirs is the one are represented as believing that supreme eternal God, unchangeable, the God of the Hebrews was a mere immortal. They therefore suffer o local and material god, wbo dwelt no statues in their cities *." Locke, in a box made of shittim wood, in the whose bigotry in church or state temple of Jerusalem” (Pref. p. 7); as will not be supposed to have fetter“ having human passions, and those ed his judgment upon this or any none of the best; as a quarrelsome, other topic, has pronounced the jealous, vindictive God; as conti- Scriptures to have God for their aunually changing his plans for the thor; eternity (not the calendar) for government of the world.” Again, their object; and truth, without any

they” (the Christian readers of mixture of error, for their subject the Old Testament) " find it quite matter. The testimonies of Boyle, simple that the Triune Jehovah Bacon, and Pascal, to the Jewish should dine on veal cutlets at Abra. Scriptures, are in every one's hand. bam's table; ” and “ are not at all That of Sir William Jones is equally surprised, that the God of the unic notorious, where he declares that verse should pay a visit to Ezekiel, “the Scriptures + contain, indepenin order to settle with the prophet, dently of their divine original, more whether he should bake his bread true sublimity, more exquisite beauwith human dung or cow dung:" ty, purer morality, more important But we really cannot consent to soil history, and finer strains both of our paper with any more such ribal- poetry and eloquence, than could be dry as this.

collected within the same compass In these several instances, it will from all other books that were ever at once be perceived, that this universal sceptist attributes to Chris. * Tacit. Hist. lib. v. 5. tian interpreters expositions which + Anniversary Discourse.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »