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To Bacchus' urn his ashes shall descend,
What pillar then to prop the state is left." After all, whatever Mr. Meen's pretensions may be to the character of a critic or a poet, we think his labour lost in the present instance. Lycophron is not only “ambiguously obscure, but incorrigibly dull." For the character however of his poet, we refer the public to Mr. Meen himself. affist the reader's progress and alleviate his labours, this poem may be divided into parts, and those parts into sections, and to each fection may be prefixed its contents. For want of these artificial helps, which are so needful here, the poem ap, pears of an unusual length and fatigues at once the eye and understanding. It presents to both, a chaos without form, a labyrinth without a clue, a wilderness, wild and waste, difficult of access, and dangerous to enter, For though Cassandra raves, her readers are sober."-In truth, it is high time to put a period to her ratings !
Lectures on Ecclefiaftical History. To which is added, an essay on
Christian Temperance and Self-denial : by the late George
, D. D. Principal of Marischel College, Aberdeen, With some account of the Life and Writings of the Author. By the Rev. George Skene Keith, Keith Hall, Aberdeenshire. 2 Vols, 8vo. Johnson. London. . 1800.
the had their reputation lessened by the injudicious publication of pofthumous works, that it was not without anxiety, and even some degree of alarm, that we opened the volumes before us. Dr. Campbell's fame rests so securely on his Differtation on Miracles in answer to Hume, on his Philosophy of Rhetoric, and on the dissertations preliminary to his translation of the gospels, that we thould have been afraid to publish any posthumous work of such an author, if he had not himself eft express directions for the publication, left the super
structure raised by himself had been shaken by our ill-poised buttress. A man of such literary eminence as bishop Hurd may indeed take liberties with the works of a friend with whom he was so intimate as his Lordihip was with Bishop Warburton ; but we have no evidence whatever of Mr. Skene Keith’s being on the same footing with Dr. Campbell, and we have very complete evidence that his abilities will not bear to be brought into comparison with those of the Bishop of Worcester.
As an introduction to these Lectures, he gives us a life of Dr. Campbell, written in a very unequal style, and with very little judgment. Because his hero was a great and a good man, he is determined to make him one of those “ faultless monsters whom the world never faw.” He is extremely illpleased with one author for having compared him to Dr. Leechman, late principal of the college of Glasgow, though the comparison, from his own account of it, seems to have been not only natural, but almost unavoidable. Because another writer, speaking of the Philosophy of Rhetoric, says, that “ his (Dr. Campbell's) philofophy in general is the philofophy of Dr. Reid ; and where he differs from that acute reasoner respecting abstraction, and some other objects of metaphysical disquisition, it is impoffible to refuse him the pre-eminence in every thing but style;" he labours, with some degree of ceremony, to prove what no man seems to have denied, that his style is equal to Dr. Reid's. Nay, he goes the length to say, that had Dr. Campbell's prelections in theology been finished in his best manner, and given to the public, “they would have been, in his opinion, the greatest present that not only Christian divines, but also private Christians, who are men of literature, have received fince the days of Jerome,” forgetting furely the present that was made to private Christians, if not to such learned divines as Mr. Skene Keith, when the scrip, gures were first translated into English, and the other vernacular languages of Europe.
Such extravagant panegyric as this defeats its own aim, and is infinitely more prejudicial to the character of him who is the object of it, than the severity with which, to the great offence of such flimsy writers as our biographer, Johnson has treated the later British poets. With all due veneration for the memory of Dr. Campbell, whom we consider as one of the ablest defenders of our holy religion, we cannot think him disgraced by being brought into comparison with Dr. Reid, a man who has often been compared to Bacon, to Malbranche, and to Locke! Of Dr. Leechman, indeed, we know very little;. but we can hardly suppose the head of one college to be L 4
so very inferior to the head of another, as to authorize Mr. Keith to call them fpirits of different orders! And to prefer any course of theological lectures, proceeding from the pen of an uninspired author, to the English version of the sacred fcriptures, appears to us to be something bordering upon blasphemy. That the man who can write in this style should boast of Dr. Campbell's knowledge of the Greek language, and set him far above our Burneys, and Glasses, and Porsons, will not surprize our readers ; though, “ in the apprehension of this writer and others," to speak in the style of Mr. Keith, a knowledge of the Greek language is the very last foundation on which the friends of the learned Principal should attempt to build his fame.
His translation of the Gospel is not the subject of this review. We should not, therefore, have noticed either its excellencies or its defects, had not we been called upon by this rash man to compare a section of it with as much of the common version, and then to say, “ which of the two, on the whole, has the best effect on our minds." We have made this comparison between the two versions of the Sermon on the Mount, as it stands in the gospel by St. Matthew; and we say, with confidence, that the old version has the best effect on our minds, for this good reason, that it does not so often deviate from the sense or the elegant fimplicity of the original,
Dr. Campbell , renders the first verse of the sixth chapter thus : “ Take heed that ye perform not your religious duties before men, &c.” But thenUOOUVY never signifies religious duties, but alms, as our translators have properly rendered it; as the Fathers of the Church always understood it ; and as the etymology of the word and the sense of the context absolutely require it to be understood in this place. Our blessed Lord is here giving directions how to perform rightly the three capital duties of religion, Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting. He begins with almsgiving, then proceeds to prayer, and concludes with fasting; and Dr. Campbell might, with as much propriety, have rendered the words sel olev Apogeux" (in the fifth verse) 6ley de volevylę (in the 16th) when thou givest alms, as he has rendered eneypogumn (in the first verse) religious duties.
Dr. Campbell translates the fourth verse of this chapter : " that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father, to whom nothing is secret, will himself recompense thee.' No doubt, this is nearly the meaning of the original; but the words-- to whom nothing is secret, will himself recompense thee, are no transation of the Greek words και ο βλεπων εν τω κρυπλω, αυλcs αποδωσεν σοι, EV_79 Pavepes, which are very properly rendered by our trans
lators ; and might be still more literally rendered thus; “ who
In this boasted translation, the 7th verse is thus rendered ;
In Dr. Campbell's version the first verse of the seventh chapter is thus translated : “ Judge not, that ye be not judged; for as ye judge, ye shall be judged ; and with the measure wherewith ye give, ye shall receive;" but pelpaalɛ does not fignify je give, που αντιμετρηθησεται υμιν-ye hall receive, nor εν w yap ugualemfor as ye judge! The authorized version is here so perfect that it seems impossible to improve it either in found or in sense; and the learned Principal's version is certainly inferior to it in both. His translation of the next verte, however, is still more extraordinary; " and why observest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but art insensible of the thorn in thine own eye?” That Aoros never signifies a thorn we will not be confident, though we have never met with it in that sense ; but that it does not signify a thorn here is most obvious, because a thorn in the eye would produce such exquisite pair, that no man could be supposed, even in a metaphor, to be insensible of it in his own eye.
The truth is, that the eye is sometimes subject to a disease, in which a dark line reaches from the upper to the lower part in such a manner as to divide the pupil into two, making every object appear double. It is to this disease that our Saviour alludes, when, in the 22d verse of the preceding chapter, he says, if thine eye be tous fingle, (not found as Dr. Campbell translates the word) “ thy whole body shall be full of light.” The black line producing this double vision was, by the Jews, called a beam, probably because the person affected with it, really sees objects indil
tinctly, as if a beam were interposed between his eye and them; and hence, a conforious person, who extenuated his own faults and magnified tnote of his neighbour, was, among that people, proverbially said to have a beam in his eye.
The doctor translates the words to de oampov Eevdgov, in the 17th. verse, “ every evil tree;" but the word evil is so vague, that when applied to a tree it has no precise meaning. The word outpov literally signifies rotten, or, as our tranflators have rendered it, corrupt, and the whole verse might be properly translated; “ every fresh tree yieldeth good fruit, but every fatten or corrupt tree, evil fruit.''
These few trictures, and we might have made triple the number even on the single section entitled the Sermon on the Mount, are perhaps sufficient to show the extreme rashness of M. Skene Keith, where he claims for Dr. Campbell a very high place among the Greek scholars of the age, and much more when he holds him up as a greater maiter of that lan. guage than the divines, who were employed by King James I. to translate the Greek Scriptures. The truth is, that Dr. Campbell appears to have been a man of very various attain, ments in metaphysics, morais, theology, Belles Lettres, and botany; and when all this is considered, together with the laborious duties, which, for nine years, he performed as the pastor of a country parish, we are so far from being surprized at his not being the first Greek scholar of the age, that we are rather surprized at his having attained to considerable a thare of Greek learning as he undoubtedly possessed. Our in, dignation is excited, not against him, for he did more than most men for the cause of truth, but against his biographer for not restraining his own labours to a fimple narrative of his hero's life, and getting his literary character described by Dr. Beattie or some other man capable of eftimating it. Highly as we think of Dr. Campbell, it is too much to say of him that “ few of the children of men have possessed his reach of mind and diversified erudition !!”
Our readers will form their own opinion of his reach of mind and bis erudition, and that opinion will be high, when they confider what he performed during the course of not a very long life, of which the following narrative contains the prins cipal events.
Dr. George Campbell was the youngest son of the Rev, Colin Campbell, one of the ministers of Aberdeen. He was born in that city on the 25th of December, 1719, and was by death deprived of his father before he had completed his ninth year. His education, however, was not neglected. Having Kudied the Latin tongue in the Grammar School of Aberdeen,