Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

To draw off the allegorical veil from the early history of Greece, and thus represent objects in their true light, is the main design of the present work; and, " in order to discover thecertainty of things, it was necessary to reduce the Greek language to its elements, and to divest it of its ornaments." But there was no hope of effecting much by the Greek language alone: Mr. Allwood, therefore, had recourse to other and more ancient tongues, In the course of this disquisition, the author seems to have made pretty considerable deductions from the political consequence of the Greeks in remote antiquity. There was never, he thinks, a succession ot monarchs over Argos, commencing with Inachus; over Athens, commencing with Cecrops; or over Thebes in Bœotia, taking its rife with Cadmus. These lists of sovereigns, he is persuaded, are fictitious, and their very names artificial; being compounds of Egyptian terms, and allusive chiefly to the rites of Sabianifm and the history of the first Posf-diluvian patriarchs, From these, and a variety of other circumstances, he is of opinion, that the Helladians were not the original inhabitants of Greece; but strangers who came principally from Egypt. This opinion seems to be confirmed by the much greater affinity of the Greek Tongue with the Oriental than the European languages, excepting where the latter had their immediate origin in the East.

"It is astonishing (fays Mr. Allwood, from whom we shall now quote a paragraph entire) how great an evidence, in behalf of the truth of Revelation, results from every part of this production. The primitive innocence and fall of man; the number of descents from Adam to Noah; the number of generations before the flood; the flood itself; the division of the earth in the days of Peleg; the first peopling of the isles of the Gentiles; the dispersion of the Ammonians, and their adherents from Babel, and the confusion of their lip; as, also the universal famine which took place in the timeof Joseph; are facts which strongly appear upon the face of many histories here detailed: and the proofs of these facts are, I believe, either entirely new, or placed in a light in which they have never yet appeared. Thus far, then, 1 hope, that my solitary labours may be productive of some utility to my country, in this day of blasphemy and infidelity, inasmuch as they certainly furnish some fresh evidences of the credibility and divine authenticity of the sacred writings."

In the first section of this elaborate performance, the author sets forth the defects of traditional history—produces instances, in which ♦hpv nlav he corrected by the sacred writings; having proposed co!-: lateral history as the first ground of analysis. He then mentions, as the second ground of analysis, the monuments, religion, and language of the Cuthites in Egypt; as the third ground ofanalyfis, the Greek Tongue; and, as the fourth ground of analysis, the means by which ancient history became obscured.

The second section respects the Helladians and the original inhabitants of Greece, as far as their history is necessary to furnish hints for an analysis of the Greek Tongue.

The third section contains an illustration of the plan of analysis for the Greek Tongue, according to the principles already laid down; in which is also consideied, in a great variety of infiauces, bow far an.

accurate accurate knowledge of the import of terms may become subservient to the developement of such passages in the ancient history of Greece, as have never hitherto met with any satisfactory explanation. robbery—so I doubt not Ajiollyon thinks and fays." "We cannot approve (fays this spiritual censor, in another part of his libel against the clergy) of tlie condudt of persons, who, protesting to be ministers of Christ, meet together at visitations, or on other occasions, to fettle ecclesiastical matters, aud remedy disorders, and yet intoxicate themselves before they separate, kz."

In the fourth section, we are presented with some further observations concerning the Greek Language, in relation, chiefly, to the analogy it bears to some European and Oriental Tongues.

In the fifth section, the author enquires into the manners of the Mizraim, or native Egyptians, at the most remarkable periods of their history; to shew, how far they might have been concerned in the introduction of Artsand Literature into Greece.

In the last three sections, the Titan history is displayed on a most extensive canvas.

The appendix contains some curious matter; particularly what relates to the Cadmians, the importers of letters into Greece.

We shall conclude our present article with an excerpt from that pa-t of the first section which relates to the ambiguities of history; referring us, in particular, to Mr. Bryant's Dissertation concerning the Siege of Troy.

"I agree with the learned writer (fays Mr. Allwood) in expressing my belief, that the grounds which gave rife to the Trojan war—the extensive confederacy of the Grecian States, and the powerful armament they equipped in order to carry it on—the delay of nine years after the landing of the Grecians before Troy, during which both sides appear to have remained idle spectators of each others force—the preservation of the lives of the Grecian commanders for near ten years, and amidst the sweeping destruction of pestilence and famine—as also, the very names and ancestry of many cf these commanders—are circumstances incredible in themselves, and only introduced by the illustrious writer to serve as embellishments, or to complete the plan of his Poem. But it does by no means follow, from these premises, that the history might not have taken its rife from some tradition existing in Greece in the time of Homer, of a war carried on by some of its maritime states against the people of Troy ata former period."—"Neither because the name of Troas or Troja was not taken notice of by Herodotus, Arrian, or Plutarch, have we any reason to infer, that it was not known amongst the llienscs till the Greeks introduced it. It might have been the most ancient name of their city. It was certainly a term of high antiquity; for there was a very old city of the fame name in Egypt; and if, by any particular accident, a partiality had been excited in the minds of the natives, in favour of the term Ilium, it is little probable, that they would afterwards retain that of Troja. For the sottilhness, the ignorance, and stupidity of the Phrygians, are literally proverbial."—"In order to pay as high a compliment as possible to the prowess of the Grecians, the poet has certainly magnified the strength and splendour of the city they captured. He has probably described it after the style of some of the finest cities of Greece in his own time, making little allowance for the greater simplicity of an earlier age, and particularly among the Phrygians. It is on this account, that the ruins of Troy have, hitherto, been looked for in vain; for surely if these circumstances are taken into consideration, there can remain little wonder, that " etiam periere minx.'*

[To k conchfad in our nwf.]' j :^

::Benson's

Benson's Vindication of the Mctbodijls.
(Concludedfrom P. 160.J

HAVING, in justice to the reverend reporters, established the correctness of their statement relative to the Clase-Meetings ot' the Methodists, (which is assailed with a tone of triumph and confident assertion, sufficient to impose on readers less intimately acquainted with their proceedings) we resume the examination of Mr. Benson's book. In this, however, we shall endeavour to be as concise as our conviction of the great points at issue between the Church and these self-willed schismatics will allow us; more especially, as we have been already drawn into much greater length than the article before us, either from its size, or any merit of its own, may seem to deserve. We much doubt whether the mode of refutation, by which Mr. B. labours to repel the serious charge of immorality brought against his brethren, will be satisfactory to all his readers. He appeals to the rules of their Society, as containing " evident demonstrative proof," in their favour, because, forsooth, they forbid drunkenness, lewdnel's, dishonesty, and the like. By the same argument, there could not exist a crime in Christendom ; for the Divine Author of our Religioneri joins his disciples to abstain from the very appearance of evil: yet we know there are many who live in as continual violation of his commands, as if they were strangers to their enactment, or unconcerned in their observance. But, lays Mr. Benson, such an objection will not have any force against the elect. "They not only are constantly inculcating religious duties, but do not so much as receive into, or keep in, their societies, any person who lives in the neglect of them." "They have been doing for thele fifty years, what the Established Clergy ate only beginning to do now; viz. testifying against, and opposing all profane vicious practices wherever they come." Were it necessary to pollute our pages by the disproof of so impudent a falshood, we might easily refer to many well attested specimens of Methodijl morality. We might instance more immediately the unchaste enormities, and the blasphemous impieties of their teachers in the neighbourhood of Middleham*. We might appeal, without fear of confutation, to the scandalous excesses at Langham Row, where Mr. B. boasts of such a numerous attendance of the godly, who, no doubt, must have been greatly edified by the devout gesticulations of the Yorkshire colliers, and their very imprejfw e mode of "inculcating religious duties." But we retrain from trespassing further on the feelings of our readers, because we understand, that a strong and connected chain of evidence will shortly be produced, for the information of those who may be inclined to c ink with Mr. B. that " this can only be said admovendam 'traidiam, there being certainly no ground for it," and which will abuiiciaiuJy lhew, whether this champion of Methodism, or his accusers, have most reason to "fear being confronted by facts." Before we

* Authenticated by the Dean of Middleham, in a letter, addressed about a twelvemonth ago, to the most respectable society in London.

who!!/

wholly dismiss, however, this part of our subject, we will give Mr. Benson an opportunity of speaking for himself, lest we lhould he suspected of misrepresenting to the public this preacher of piety, this pattern of perfection, this model of morality and meekness.

"I do not pretend (fays he, in allusion to some very heavy charges of the wildest enthusiasm brought against his sect) to justify such proceedings, as every thing in the worship of God, particularly, should he done decently and in order. But there certainly mas an, apparent, irregularity, when, on the day of Pentecost, thiee thousand being pricked in their hearts, /aid to the Apojllcs, Men and'brethren, what Jbail ivc do f

Somuch for Mr. Benson's piety; which, for th< evi-.so ntpurposeo endeavouring to vindicate what the moment before "he pretends not to justify," can calmly contrast the ravings of Methodism with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.—But he proceeds, "Be this as it may, I know of no Methodists who pretend to exorcisms, and practise capricious forms and modes of it, utterly inconsistent with morality and decency—that rashly pronounce on the salvation and damnation cf particular persons; frequently of whole villages—and publicly execiate the churches, as bein^; nothing but a heap of stones, &c." So much for his veracity! We will now indulge our readers with some proofs of the charity and candour of this lamb-like Methodist, who arrogates to himself and his brethren the praise of apostolic meekneis and forbearance. "For being reviled, (faith he1 we bless; being defamed, we intreat; being persecuted, we suffer it." In proof of which he acquaints us, p. 10 and tl, that "many of the clergy, in various parts of the kingdom, art opi-nly wicked: and many that are not so, instead of preaching the great doctrines of the Gospel, o/the Reformation, and of our* Church, do openly and continually contradict them; while others are immersed in' secular concerns, and are hunting after preferment, or are in continual pursuit of amusements and pleasure." "if (again in p. 12,) the clergy preach repentance, while they themselves remain impenitent—if they preach justification by faith and a new birth, while they themselves are neither Justified,nor born again, hi:." it is clear, from this passage, that Mr. B. did not understand what our reformers meant by the word "justifi.d," and that his ignorance of the doctrines of the Church is at le.ist equal to his maliunity ai^ainst its ministers. But to proceed with one or two more instances:

"If," he fays, (and his ifs seldom seem to speak doubtingly.) the rector, or vicar, or curate, appointed by authority as a spiritual physician, to cure their spiritual diseases, be as much disordered as the people themselves, (which is too often the cafe,) the meaning of ihesc clergymen seems to be, that no Methodist Preacher, nor Dijjenting Minister, nor any pious and intelligent person, lhould be permitte to shew any compa on t these fouls, thus perishing for lark of knowledge save their parish minister, who is, perhaps, little dis. of ed as he is prepared, for such an office. In other words, the infernal wolf has got posse i on of all the sheep, (having taken advantage of the irfaiftbi ity, carelessness, ox indolence, of their appointed Jbepberd,} and to attempt to rescue any of them 'r»t! '"is <>o\ er ••> < -tild he nanilf.lt

[ocr errors][merged small]

Lastly (though it is to be feared we have already sufficiently tried the patience of our readers by the extracts which we have made) speaking of a suggestion of the reporters, that, if it should be thought desirable to encourage meetings, similar to the class meetings of the Methodists, they should, in every parish where they are instituted, be made subject to the inspection and super-intendance of the regular minister, Mr. B. insultingly insinuates a doubt on the part of the people" of the zeal and ability of such an one to direct them, and the probability that he would more frequently lead them into error and sin, than into the ways of truth and righteousness;" observing, with a sneer, "that if the parish minister should enter one of these meetings at a time when his mind has been dissipated by pleasure, or his body heated by wine, his conduct as president might possibly neither be to his own credit nor to the people's edification." It seems, however, that the clergy have free permissi n given them by Mr. B. in another part of this pamphlet, to attend these class meetings; where " they may, if they pleate, speak their own experience in the grace of God, and tell what God has done for their fouls; or if they rather desire it, the leader of the class will let them pass, and neither examine nor fay any thing to them; although if they be permitted to hear the characters of others, it would be but just that their's also should come under scrutiny." The clergy will doubtless express all proper acknowledgments for this indulgence, though we suspect they will seldom use their privilege, and not shew much eagerness to consult these f'ather-confcflbrs who have follies and experiences enough of their own to amuse or terrify (as may best answer their purpose) an ignorant assemblage, and to assist them in creeping into houses, and leading captive filly women laden with fins, and lea away by divers lujls.

Mr. Benson next blows aloud the trumpet of loyalty, and ostentatiously proclaims the large and liberal contributions of the Methodists towards any charitable institution; and among other instances he mentions those of Sunday schools, and what aie termed their benevolent funds. With regard to the first he shall be allowed to produce his own cafe of the town of Manchester, where he fays, "a few years ago the collection for the Sunday schools amounted to 114I. But of late the collections at our chapels in some places have been rruch larger, especially where we have schools of this kind entirti) ■under our own management." This is the great end which they propose. This is also the object of their benevolent fund which might more properly be called a fund for profelytifm. For we speak from personal knowledge of the fact. It is composed of weekly, monthly, or quarterly contributions of all their members in proportion to their means; and placed at the disposal of certain elders of the society who visit the sick-poor, and invariably measure the quantum of relief,

, tM

k

« ZurückWeiter »