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Notwithstanding the quackish title which Mr. Bernard has chosen to prefix to his translation; he formally disavows, in an advertisement, all empirical pretenfions. Had not the TransJator, however, leaned a little towards quackery, he would neither have given such a title-page to the work, nor would there have been any necessity, or even occasion, for this exculpatory advertisement. He seems to have formed the empirical part of his title-page on a declaration made in the preface to the work, by the celebrated M. Diderot; who there affirms that M. Bemetzrieder put bis daugbter above all difficulties at the harpsichord in an interval of seven or eight months ;' and that the lessons he gave her are here printed almost word for word, as he gave them.' He adds, that the pieces printed under her name at the beginning of the thirteenth dialogue, whether good or bad, are of her composition, treble, bass, and cyphers: and he proceeds to say, that every person poflefied of this work may be assured to go farther, if application and genius be not wanting.'-- Making all proper allowances for the proficiency of the daughter of a Diderot, and this certificate of a grateful father, we still must object to Mr. Bernard's too oftena tatious title-page.
Notwithstanding these remarks, the work itself-we mean the original—is deemed, by good judges, to be one of the best that has been written on the subject, and the best adapted to teach accompaniment and modulation, and to impart a knowledge of composition--though possibly not within less than a twelvemonth,' except indeed to Apollo's particular favourites. Its merit is really such, that we wish it had obtained the good fortune to meet with a congenial translator :--but, alas ! they who are best qualified for the task, are generally above it!
ART. IV. The Light of Nature pursued. By Edward Search, Esq;
[i. e. Mr. Tucker) concluded. See Review for February.
of the Christian system, with some observations on the distinction between things above reason and things contrary to reason; and on the credibility of miracles. His remarks on both these subjects are, in general, pertinent and judicious. On the latter he professes to have taken fome things from hints suggested by Dr. Adams, in his Essay on Miracles.
It is worthy of notice, that here, and in other parts of his work, he expressly and repeatedly disclaims all concern with the external evidences of Christianity, and all inquiry whether the doctrines he undertakes to explain be in reality Christian doctrines. It is sufficient for him that Christianity is the religion
of the country, and that the doctrines he illustrates are part of the established system. Now it must be acknowledged, that every author has a right to determine for himself whether he will take any particular subject into consideration ; but we believe that Mr. Tucker’s readers will, in general, be of opinion, with us, that it would have been worthy of a philosopher and a Search, and agreeable to the plan and design of his work, to have inquired whether the religious system which he professed to explain had a just claim to that high original and authority to which it pretends, and also whether the doctrines upon which he endeavoured to put a rational construction were in reality part of that system. If the Christian system be a mere human invention and institution, the authority of the name of Jesus, which in a chapter entitled, Christian Scheme, he represents as a capital and distinguishing advantage of Christianity, no longer exists. And if the doctrines usually taught and established among us be not Christian doctrines, they lose all their importance and obligation: for, according to our Author's own reasoning on the subject, though they may be credible in themfelves, that is, not repugnant to reason, yet they are not to be received and depended upon as true, without some farther positive proof; which proof must be, that they are part of the Christian system, and that the Christian system is a divine revelation and institution. Mr. Tucker himself allows, that to imagine the Christian religion to have been introduced by the natural operation of a chain of second causes, is incompatible with the whole tenor and spirit of the sacred writings; for they refer every where to an Almighty Power interposing miraculously to rescue mankind from evil, and conduct them to happiness. This renders the external evidence a matter of prime confideration; for no internal evidence can prove a miraculous interpofition. The reasonableness and excellency of a doctrine may prove the wisdom and fagacity of the person who delivered it, and the circumstances of his life and death, may convince us of his integrity and benevolence; but neither the one nor the other of these will prove that his knowledge was supernaturally communicated, or that he acted under an immediate divine influence and authority. Upon the whole, we cannot but suspect that our Author had some private reasons for his conduct which he did not think proper to disclose. After reading both his prefent and his former publication, and laying together the hints which he has thrown out in different parts of his work on this subject, we are inclined to think that he was not himself satisfied as to the truth and validity of the external evidences of Christianity, or as to the strength and fufficiency of any of the arguments which are brought to prove a supernatural divine interposition upon any occafion whatever ; and therefore was dif
posed to look upon the introduction of the Christian religion, as an event, highly providential indeed, in the same fenfe in which any other event intimately connected with the more important interests of mankind, may be fo termed, but taking place in the ordinary course of things, or, as he expresses it, by the natural operation of a chain of second causes, however inconsistent such an opinion might be with the language and spirit of the writings in which it is contained. In a chapter entitled, Divine Oeconomy, he has endeavoured to account for the origin and progress of religion in the world, including the Christian, without having recourse to any supernatural interposition. And he always represents the philosopher and rationalist as of opinion that a provision of causes was made by the fupreme and universal Governor, in his original plan, for all events whatever, the small and the great, the most trifling and the most momentous; and in particular that the moral world is * administered by a long complicated tissue of second causes reaching from the first establishment of nature.'
Mr. Tucker gives us an explanation of some of the principal doctrines, or as, he affects to call them, mysteries of Christianity, in three chapters entitled, Grace-Trinity-Redemption. And if in this part of his work he had confined himself to the investigation and illustration of the true scripture-doctrine respecting the subjects he has taken into consideration, he would have deserved the thanks of every rational Chriftian. But unhappily he has confounded the doctrines of Christianity with those of the Church of England, and seems to have thought it of as much importance to put a rational construction upon the language of the Thirty. nine Articles as upon that of the New Testament, merely because they happened to be the established religion of the country in which he lived. The same principle led the Pagan philosophers, especially after the introduction of the Christian religion, to allegorise the ancient mythology, and would have led Mr. Tucker, in other circumstances, to have put a rational construction upon the religion of Persia or of Siam, the doctrine of transubftantiation, the incarnations of the God Vistnou, or any other established absurdities. In effect, he avows the principle and its consequences, when he alleges and recommends the example of the philosophers, particularly Pythagoras and Socrates, who never openly opposed or ridiculed
established doctrines or *forms of worship, but ftrove to turn them to profitable uses,—and endeavoured by mythology to allegorise the Gods into the powers of nature, affections of the mind and moral virtues ;'-and when he says expressly on this subject, • What could have been done with the Pagan theology, or the Mahometan Koran ? we must have worked hard with the transa muting process, and allegorised them into a doctrine never
thought of by the compilers : whereas, now we need only clear away the perversities and mystic obscurities that have overgrown in length of time, and develope the genuine sense intended to be conveyed on the delivery, to produce a regular consistent system, agreeable to nature and reason. We are intirely of opinion with Mr. Tucker, in the latter part of this paragraph, that nothing more is necessary to fhew the reasonableness and excel. lency of the Christian religion, than to clear it from the perverse and myftical tenets by which it has been obscured and debased; but cannot help suspecting, that if he had written in Turkey he would have paid the same compliment to the Mohammedan system, and in China to that of Confucius. With respect to the example of the ancient philosophers, we shall only observe, in addition to what we have elsewhere remarked on the subject, that Christ and his apostles, the primitive Christians, and the first reformers, pursued a different line of conduct; and, consequently, their success in enlightening and reforming mankind, in introducing and spreading the true knowledge of God, and just notions of religion and morality, was beyond comparison greater than that of all the sages of antiquity.
As to Mr. Tucker's explanation of the three doctrines beforementioned, we believe it to be such as no unprejudiced mind can think reconcilable to the articles and liturgy of the Church of England: we are certain that it has never been held forth, even by the most latitudinarian expositors, as the doctrine which they were defigned to express and establish. Grace, considered as an effect, is an aptitude of mind for the business of religion, whether it be the difcernment of religious truths, a lively fente of the perfections and providence of God, or the performance of our duty. There is nothing in experience or human reason to distinguish this from that clearners of understanding and vigour of spirit which fit us for any common business, profeffion, science, or enterprize, which are never now ascribed to divine interpofition, but deemed to proceed from the present state of the brain, condition of the bodily humours or other natural causes. Nevertheless, the greater importance of religious inspiration, justifies us in ascribing it, though remately, through a long chain of second causes, to the act and purpose of God as a providential event.'—And ' our Church instructs us to ascribe it to his interposing among second causes, or, in other words, to the operation of the spirit of God, yet without idea of an immediate operation at the time of feeling the effect of the interposition. This is the substance of what Mr. Tucker has advanced upon the doctrine of grace. The remainder, which is indeed the greater part of the chapter, is employed in guarding the reader against the delusive notion of perceiving the influence or immediate operation of the Holy Ghost, and
pointing out the mischievous consequences of such a fond conceit.
For the doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Tucker wisely refers us, not to the scriptures, but to the creeds appointed to be read in our churches. According to his explanation, the Trinity is God acting in three characters. But left we Mould be thought to have misrepresented his sense, we will give it at length, in his Own words :
Divines, says he, tell us that God created the matter, and gave the form of this visible nature we behold: thus much we knew before. But they tell us likewise, that he has interposed many times since by miracles, prophecies, and revelations, that he united himself to one particular man, so as to become the fame person with him from his birth, that he frequently cooperates with our endeavours to discover truths, and perform good works we could not have done without such aid, that these operations were performed by three persons in one God, not jointly, but each having a distinct share of them : the union with manhood, and all done in virtue of that union, was the work of the Son; the affittance afforded occasionally to men in general was the province of the Holy Spirit, and all the rest of the Father,
By these distinct manners of operation God appears to act in three characters, easily separable from one another in our conception, but joining mutually in advancement of the general design, and executing the principal strokes in the plan of providence 'respecting the moral world. The Father acted in the character of King or Governor, controuling the courses of nature and actions of fecond caufes by immediate exertions of his power, and by his signs and wonders prepared the minds of men for reception of the benefits imparted from the other two. The Son acted in the character of a co-agent or partner, not controuling the mental or bodily powers of Jesus, but adding a force and vigour which could not have been furnished by natu. ral causes ; Tupplied what had been left deficient in the plan of providence, and rendered mankind capable of reaping advantage from the effufions of the Holy Spirit. This lait acts in the character of a friend and monitor, not working with the power and majesty of a monarch, nor dwelling, inseparably, with the mind of man, but imperceptibly chrowing in affittance from time to time, as wanted, and thereby filling up the laft lines in the divine plan.'
In a subsequent paragraph Mr. Tucker, having observed that no two substances, how closely soever placed, or in what manner soever joined, can become one, and therefore that to say that God and man united made one person, in the modern philosophical sense of the word, is as fat a contradiction as that