Heathen Antiquity are explained; particularly the Hermetic, Pythagorean, and Platonic Trinities.

The Bishop of Lincoln (Dr. Pretyman) in his useful work called the Elements of Christian Theology, quotes with approbation a long passage from Mr. Maurice's Dissertation on the Oriental Trinities, and observes, “ that every friend to revealed religion will consider himself as indebted to his laborious researches,” which undoubtedly he must, " while every admirer of an animated and elegant stile will read his works with peculiar satisfaction.” What a pity that his Lordship never fell in with the writings of Mr. Hutchinson! Pleased as he is with Mr. Maurice, he must have rejoiced “ in an opportunity of recommending in the most earnest manner the works of that Author also (for matter though not for stile) to the attention of all those who are desirous of seeing strong additional light thrown upon some of the most important doctrines of the Holy Scriptures." He would there have seen not less clearly evinced than by Mr. Maurice that the Doctrine of the Trinity, so far from owing its origin to the philosophers of Greece, as infidels and sceptics assert, was the doctrine originally revealed to man; that from the beginning, all true believers worshipped“ one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.” He would there have seen, what Mr. Jones so fully demonstrates in this tract, that “ the kind of Trinity acknowledged by the pagan nations of antiquity,” the heathens who knew not God, was not, could not be, “ a Trinity in the divine nature,” the sacred Trinity, Jehovah Elohim, the God they did

[blocks in formation]

not like to retain in their knowledge, but a physical Trinity, that which by nature is not God. He would have seen, that the works of heathen antiquity and classical literature are rendered abundantly more interesting and useful froin the view which Mr. Hutchinson hath given of the doctrines and rites of Heathen Idolatry, which he has traced backwards into the most remote antiquity. The New Testament tells us of the heathens in general, that they worshipped the creature. Accordingly Mr. Hutchinson hath shewn, that the most ancient names of the Gods of the Gentiles denote some or other of the Powers of the natural creation, either the Sun or the Moon, the Air, Fire, &c.; that the attributes of these were the attributes of their deities; and the rites and ceremonies performed in their worship were emblematic of their operations. He hath shewn that as the whole ritual and ceremonies of sacrificature amongst the heathens were not from nature but from the perversion of sacred tradition, so their iinage worship was from the same original, having been derived from the symbolical capacity, and use of the Cherubic Figures, first set up at the east of Eden, and afterwards in the Tabernacle and Temple. That from what is said in the Prophets, and in the Law, and in the New Testament, it is sufficiently. clear, that the animals in that mystical figure had relation to the divine persons in the Godhead, and to the elementary powers of Nature, on which account the Heathens in their worship of nature retained it, and added to it in many ways; some of them monstrously profane and absurd. By con

a See Parkhurst's elaborate Remarks on this subject, in his Hebrew and English Dictionary, Article 272,


sidering what species of animals were chiefly used in image worship by the Heathens, with the sense and meaning of them, and then comparing what was there found, after the manner of Mr. Hutchinson, with what the Scripture hath delivered concerning the Cherubim, his Lordship would see such a scene of divinity, philosophy, and heathen mythology opened before him, as could not fail to captivate his understanding, and perhaps induce him to say, as Mr. Jones was wont to say, that “ he would not for the world but have met with Mr. Hutchinson's Works.”

In 1754 he married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel Bridges, and went to reside at Wadenho in Northamptonshire, as Curate to his brother in law, the Rev. Brook Bridges, a gentleman of sound learning, singular piety, and amiable manners. She was an help meet for him, and might: have sat for the picture drawn by Bishop Horne, as extracted from the 31st Chapter of Proverbs, in his sermon on the female character; the very reverse of Mrs. Churchman's daughter, who fell to the lot of Richard Hooker, whose conditions, as honest Izaak Walton observes in the life, were similar to that wife's, which is by Solomon compared to a drippinghouse. Like Zacharias and Elisabeth, this happy couple “ were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless,” he, in the care of the parish, writing as nearly as the difference of the times would admit, after the copy given by the divine Herbert in the Country Parson, and she, co-operating with him in all his designs for the good of the people committed to his charge. a 4


Here he drew up The Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity, which he had kept in his thoughts for some years, and to which he had paid a particular attention as often as the Scriptures of the Old or New Testament were before him. It is an invaluable work, and admirably calculated to stop the mouths of gainsayers; “ which compareth spiritual things with spiritual,” and maketh the scripture its own interpreter. To the third edition, in 1767, was added, A Letter to the Common People in Answer to some popular Arguments against the Trinity. The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge have since laudably admitted it into their list of books, and from the general distribution of it, there can be no doubt of its producing great and good effects. . And here it was he engaged in a work he had much at heart, for which he was eminently qualified, as the event proved; and which some of his friends had at heart likewise, who subscribed among them 3001. per annum for three years (in which number was the present worthy Dean of Hereford, now Master, but then only Fellow of University College, who most generously put his name down for 50l. per ann.) to enable him to supply himself with an apparatus sufficient for the purpose of making the experiments necessary to his composing a Treatise on Philosophy. In 1762 he published An Essay on the First Principles of Natural Philosophy, in quarto, the design of which was to demonstrate the use of Natural Means or Second Causes in the Economy of the Material World, from Reason, Experiments, and the Testimony of Antiquity; and in 1781 he published a larger work in quarto, under the title of Physiological Disquisitions, or Discourses on the Natural Philoso


phy of the Elements. As it was ever his study to make Philosophy the handmaid of Religion, he has in this work embraced every opportunity of turning natural knowledge to the illustration of Divine Truth, and the advancement of Virtue. When the first volume was published, the late Earl of Bute, whom one may now without offence, it is presumed, stile the patron of learning and of learned men, was so satisfied with it, that he desired the Author not to be intimidated, through fear of expence, from pursuing his philosophical studies, but to direct Mr. Adams, the Mathematical Instrument Maker, to supply him with such instruments as he might want for making experiments, and put them to his account; and he also handsomely offered him the use of any books for which he might have occasion. In a letter written by Mr. Jones to a friend after a conversation with his Lordship, which was not confined to philosophical subjects, having mentioned with approbation what had passed in that discourse, he observes, “ Such is the man whom the King delighteth to honour;” and then, adverting to the frenzy of the times, and the character of the popular favourite, when the cry was Wilkes and Liberty, adds, Such is the man whom the people delight to honour. One thing that made a great impression on Mr. Jones at the time was; that it being agreed between them, that there was no pleasure like that of a studious life, his Lordship observed there was a time when he made himself a teacher to his children, and followed his studies in the retireinent of a remote situation in the North. The day was then too short; but since he came forward into public life and public business, he had scarcely known one hour of enjoyment. If his Lordship, who was at the


« ElőzőTovább »