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nected with them; and to draw out a very compleat and perfect system of the divine, social, and moral virtues. This (he thinks) will hardly be denied by any, who know the history of the Philosophers, or of the learned men among the ancient Heathens, and are acquainted with their sentiments and tenets.
Many of Mr. Orr's Readers will probably differ from him in their sentiments upon this subject, which, notwithstanding all that has been written upon it, is, in our opinion, of very little importance. The fufficiency or insufficiency of human reason in matters of religion, is one of those points that can never be determined in a satisfactory manner, and in regard to which persons of equal abilities and equal candor, may entertain very different sentiments, according to the different points of view in which they behold it. Those who attentively consider the gross ignorance of the Heathen world, together with the abfurd and ridiculous notions which even the wisest of their Philofophers entertained, in several important points, will naturally be inclined to think that human reason, when left to itself, is incapable of investigating the principles, and forming a perfect scheme, of Religion. Those, on the other hand, who have turned their thoughts 'to religious subjects in the early part of life, and have found no difficulty in comprehending the evidence for the great truths and principles of Religion, when laid before them in a clear, and distinct manner, will be strongly disposed to think, that reason is sufficient of itself, without the aid of revelation, for tracing out the principles, and forming a consistent system of divinity. We Thall only observe farther upon this subject, that whatever may be supposed to be the natural strength of human reason in matters of Religion, it will be of little fervice to mankind, unless they are placed in favourable circumstances for exerting it. Man is undoubtedly capable of discovering many truths, which he never has discovered, nor perhaps ever will discover ; for this obvious reason, that his circumstances and situation are unfavourable to such discovery. But it is time to return to our Author.
After delineating such a scheme of Religion as, he thinks, falls within the province of nature, and has actually been made out by many, very clearly, accurately, and fully, abftracted from the discoveries of a supernatural revelation, he proceeds to give a short view of the rise and progress of false Religion. And here he does not enter into any critical or curious disquisitions, abcut the origin and progresion of the
idolatry and superstition of the old Pagan world, but taking nature, and some undoubted historical facts for his guide, contents himself with a summary account of the rise and gradual advances of the system of the Gentile Polytheism and superstition. He concludes the first Part of his work with considering the improvement and reinforcement, which Religion has received, from the revelation of the Gospel.
Now the great end of all Religion, whether natural or revealed, being the improvement of mankind in virtue and moral excellence, this end, we are told, the Gospel promotes, by the wisest and best means that have ever been proposed for effecting it. It lays before us the most lively representation of the worth and importance of moral goodness, as being of the highest excellence in itself, the only thing of real value and estimation with our Maker, and the sole nieans of obtaining bis favour. It gives us the most awakening description of the baseness and malignant consequences of vice, as being the stain and corruption of every intelligent being who is habituated to it, the diseasë and death of a rational spirit, a thing altogether detestable and abominable in the fight of him who is original excellence and purity, and which necessarily excludes from all happy intercourse and communion with him. It exhibits to our view the most affecting and interesting account of the character of God, as the fountain of life, wisdom, perfection and happiness; the Creator, Proprietor, and Lord of the Universe; the indulgent and merciful Father of the human kind, whom he created at first, out of pure goodness, and whom he still continues in being that he may do them good ; their holy and just Governor and Judge, who observes their conduct as reasonable and moral agents, and who will render to them, hereafter, according to their deeds. It has adopted and established all the great laws of universal righteousness, which have their foundation in the conftitution of nature, and laid the greatest ftress on the practice of the duties required by these laws; declaring it to be the sum and substance, the completion, and ultimate end of all true Religion. It has wisely appointed a few positive external duties and rites, which are visibly calculated for raising the minds, and strengthening the affections of weak mortals, in the contemplation and pursuit of virtue ; and which, if used according to the natural and true intention of them, must always have a happy influence for these purposes. It has exacted obedience to its laws, by the most pow. erful and interesting considerations ; not only by the reRev. June, 1762.
veral motives which the light of nature offers for exciting us to the practice of virtue, but by opening a new and most wonderful dispensation of grace and love, in the redemption of mankind; by giving us the most free and full offers of pardon and eternal happiness, upon the conditions of repentance and new obedience, in a manner best suited to remove ihe suspicions of our guilty minds; by promising to us expressly a divine affistance, to co-operate with, and to give success to our own endeavours in virtue ; by exhibiting to uş a familiar and most alluring example of perfect virtue in our own nature ; by granting us an affurance of another life, much stronger than the suggestions of nature could afford, and by giving us even an earnest and pledge of it in the resurrection and ascension of our Saviour; and, finally, by displaying the most solemn and awful scenes beyond the grave, the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment of the world, and the equal distribution of rewards and punishments, to the righteous and to the wicked.
In the second Part of his perfoimance, Mr. Orr treats briefly of the evidences of natural and revealed Religion in general, and answers some of the most material objections that have been urged against them. The third, which is very fhort, contains fome few reflections upon the excellence and importance of true Religion. He concludes with some useful observations, addreffed to those who disbelieve, or doubt the truth of Religion, and to those who profefs to be believers of it.
. We cannot conclude this article without recommending Mr. Orr's performance as a very useful and judicious work ; considering the class of Readers for which it is principally intended. We scarce know of any book that contains a more rational view of Religion, that is better calculated ta promote its interests, or that breathes a more candid and amiable fpirit.
Crazy Tales. 4to. 4s, fewed. No Publisher.
HERE is hardly a science in the whole circle, that is
not too complex and comprehensive to be successfully cultivated, without dividing the study of it into several diftinct and separate branches. Thus, in the profound and extentive science of Book-making, the invention of Title-pages
belongs belongs to a particular province, which is esteemed by many not the leait effential, and to require no less abilities than any other branch of that sublime study. Our Author doubtless conceived himself an adept in this respect, when he ft;led his productions Crazy Tales. How significant ! how exquilitely droll! For you must not suspect, Reader, that they are actually the productions of a Writer, literally non compos mentis. It is true, they do no great honour to his intellects; yet they seem rather to be the wanton effects of a loose and debauched imagination, than the serious vagaries of a distema pered brain. Were the work, indeed, as harmless as the title, we should only have smiled at this innocent fcheme of exciting the attention of the Public. Certain it is, that in an age or country, where literary productions are scarce, the performances of true genius, unaffected wit, and solid sense, need no other reco:nmendation than their own merit; but in times and places where works of literature abound, where genius, wit, and sense are daily exerted and displayed for our instruction or amusement, we fee fomething more than ingenuity, fimplicity, or folidity, is requisite to excite present attention, and ensure a favourable reception with the Public, The luxury of wit is, in this respect, like that of wealth ; from whose influence it happens that if beef and mutton find their
way to the tables of our modern epicures, it is not because they are wholesome and nutritive, but for the sake of that vehicle of fauce they are brought in, and because they are introduced under so strange a metamorphosis, as hardly to be known under the disguise. Into how many fantastic forms hath this kind of luxury contrived to dish up the simple and wholesome aliment nature provides ! What whimsical transformations are our viands daily made to undergo, in order to accommodate them to the caprices of vitiated taste and deprayed appetite ! Destructive refinements ! Nor is our mental entertainment less subjected to these false improvements of art. Our intellectual appetites appear to be equally depraved, while the luxury of wealth is not more pernicious to bodily constitution and health, than the luxury of wit to good sense and morality.
It is doubtless to this luxurious and vitiated taste that we are indebted for some strange phænomena, that have been recently exhibited in the Republic of Letters. It appeared to be in conformity to the public taste that the reverend Author, whom the present Writer affects to imitate, threw off the gown and caflock to assume the fool's coat, changed the grave
and decent style of a Clergyman, to talk in the high-bred strain of a debauchee, and introduced a set of pious discourses to the world, by the help of a string of profane execrations and smutty jests. Our Author will probably lay hold of this circumstance, and tell us that the fault is chargeable on the Public, and not on the Writer, who is thus reduced to accommodate himself to the humour of the times. This excuse, bad as it is, might possibly be admitted in extenuation of the faults of those who, under the circumstances of writing for bread, have no other dependance than on the taste of the multitude. But ought we not to remind others, that true wit and genuine humour depend not on the caprice of the times; and to assure them that the credit an Author may obtain with the herd, by writing, in complaisance to his Readers, what he ought to be ashamed of, will be but of short duration? This Writer tells
6. The world must be amused; but, like the besoin d'aimer, there is no necessity for perfection to be one of the transient objects of its amusement.” But, might he not as well carry his comparison with the besoin d'aimer a little farther, and apologize for turning pimp, by telling us that public stews are necessary; and that when a man is under a physical necessity for a damsel, it is not requisite she should be modeft or cleanly? We would ask him, whether, if fornication and adultery were become ever so frequent or fashionable, the character of a public Pander would be less criminal in itself, or less justly detestable in the eyes of mankind ?
“ Outcries (says he) against writings, composed with no worse intention than to promote good humour and chearfulness, by fighting against the Tadium Vitæ, were reserved for an age of refined hypocrisy. There ought to be a great diftinction between obscenity, evidently designed to inflame the passions, and a ludicrous liberty, which is frequently neceffary to shew the true ridicule of hypocritical characters, which can give offence to none but such as are afraid of every thing that has a tendency to unmasking.” This Writer seems here to suppose the decency or indecency of any performance dependent entirely on the intention of the Writer; and, in another place, he intimates his ability to clear himself, on a proper occasion, of all intentional obscenity. If these apologies are not made merely with a view to heighten the supposed joke, and laugh in the face of the Reader, the Author muft surely have very strange notions of decency. We will not presume to say what were his designs or intentions in writing