Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

admiration of strangers, but gave rise to that order of architecture which still bears its name. Besides the citadel, built upon a mountain, which overlooked the city, and which was called Acro-Corint hus, the works of art which principally displayed the opulence and taste of the Corinthians, were the grottoes raised over the fountain Pyrené, sacred to the Muses, and constructed of white marble: the theatre and stadium, built of the same materials, and decorated in the most magnificent manner : the temple of Neptune, containing the chariots of that fabulous deity and of Amphitrite, drawn by horses covered over with gold, and adorned with ivory hoofs : the avenue which led to this edifice, decorated on the one side with the statues of those that had been victorious at the Isthmian games, and on the other, with rows of tall pine trees.

Corinth was scarcely less celebrated for the learning and ingenuity of its inhabitants, than for the extent of its commerce and the mag. nificence of its buildings. The arts and sciences were here carried to such perfection that Cicero terms it, " totius Greciæ lumen,” the light of all Greece; and Florus calls it, “ Greciæ decus,” the ornament of Greece. Seminaries abounded, in which philosophy and rhetoric were publicly taught by learned professors, and strangers resorted to them from all quarters to perfect their education. Hence the remark of the Roman poet Horace, “ Non cuivis homini contigit adire Corinthun.” It does not fall to the lot of every one to visit Corinth. The lustre, however, which this famous city derived from the number and genius of its inhabitants, was greatly tarnished by their debauched manners. Strabo info'ms us that, “ in the temple of Venus at Corinth, there were more than a thousand harlots, the slaves of the temple, who, in honour of the goddess, prostituted themselves to all comers for hire, and in consequence of these the city was crowded and became wealthy." Lib. viii. p. 581. It is accordingly known that lasciviousness was carried to such a pitch at Corinth, that the appellation of a Corinthian, given to a woman, imported that she was a prostitute.

Such was the state of Corinth when the great apostle of the Gentiles came to preach the gospel there, in the year of Christ 52.'

Of the Biographical articles we give the following sample. ::.Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, was brother to the celebrated

Seneca, the philosopher, who dedicated to him his treatise on Anger. He was a person of a mild and amiable disposition; and seems to have

conducted himself with considerable prudence in his official capacity. · While Paul resided at Corinth, the unbelieving Jews, enraged at the pro

gress the gospel was making in that city, particulariy among the Jews, « accused him of teaching men to worship God contrary to their law,” Acts, xvii, 12, 13, and dragged him before Gallio's tribunal, who, as proconsul, then took up his residence at Corinth. But Gallio refused to hear their complaint, and told them that if the matter in question respected a breach of the public peace, or any act of injustice, he should think hinıself obliged to hear it patiently, but as it merely regarded a question of their law, he declined to

interfere in it.' So far Gallio may have acted right; but when the - rabble proceeded to seize Sosthenes the chief ruler of the synagogue,

[ocr errors]

and beat him before his tribunal, without trial or proof of guilt, he certainly ought to have interfered, and protected an unoffending man from their violence: and in that instance his conduct was censurable.'

The view which is given by Mr. Jones, of many subjects included in the Bible, is very different from that which has been taken by some other writers, whose early formed prejudices have perverted their minds from the proper means of forming a correct determination on their merits : such are the questions which involve the character of the Christian Church, its Institutes, and its Ministers. To judge of these aright, the New Testament alone is sufficient, and is exclusively the testimony and the evidence which we must consult for principles and practice of Christian obligation. Instead however of endeavouring to obtain the knowledge of Christian law from this depository, for the purpose of defining and maintaining the external relations of Christian societies, the actual usage of communities over which a secular spirit has diffused its influence, has supplied the means of settling the question; and hence, with but few exceptions, there is found, in modern churches, an order of things different from that which marked the constitution and practice of the primitive societies of believers. It has been but seldom that a recurrence to first principles has guided religious Reformers. Some of the early Puritans, the Brownists, and the Baptists, seem to have struck out the proper lights for their conduct, as persops diligently inquiring the way in which they should go. They however bad but few followers, and in the churches of the Nonconformists much is still wanting to purify their usages and to complete their resemblance to the primitive societies of Christ's followers. The social feature of Christianity is in some communities entirely lost, and in others scarcely discernible. With these defects in their character, the persons who have contracted the responsibility attached to the oversight of Christian churches, are yet quite satisfied with them! And could this be, if the laws of the Christian economy exclusively were adopted and applied to practice? A comparison of ourselves with others may induce a feeling of complacency in regard to ourselves; but the method to be adopted, as of prime utility in effecting our radical amendment, is a comparison of ourselves with the rules prescribed for our obedience. Christians will therefore never bring their institutes into the form which it is intended they should bear, till, discarding every other mode of determining their character, they examine them by the delineations exhibited in the Scriptures. To these Mr. Jones has paid particular attention. Many of the articles in his present work,

are directly relative to tbe subjeets of Christian fellowsbip and · discipline ; and though, as we have already intimated, some

doubt as to the propriety of their insertion may be felt while the Biblical Cyclopædia is regarded as a Dictionary of the Bible, such is their excellence and their iinporiance, anıl so seasonable do we consider the publication of thein, that, without pledging ourselves to an unqualified approval, we do most seriously and strongly recomiend them to the perusal of Christians. Under the article Edification, the Author remarks, that

• It is a question that merits the serin'is consideration of both the pastors and churches of the present day, how far their external order of worship is that which is best adapted to call into exercise the various gifts which Christ hath bestowed upon them, and which are conterred with a view to their mutual edification ; or, which amounts to the same thing, how far their order is consonant to that which the wisdom of God ordained in the first churches of the saints; for we may rest fully assured that, if the order of our churches in the prese ni day varies from that which was instituted by the apostles, it is or he worse. And I the more readily suggest this hint, inasmuch as it is a fait too obvious to be disputed, that some of the greatest men who have arisen in the Christian church since the times of reformation, have perceived the matter in this point of view, and been greatly dissatisfied with the present prevailing plan which confines the cusduct ng of public worship on the Lord's day, to the prayers and preaching of the pastor. The complaint has been echoed by many who yet know not how to redress the grievance or apply the remedy. The duty however is incunibent upon them; for, in vain shalt they complain of the want of edification among the churches, the scarcity of gifts for qualifying men for the work of the ministry. nd the great dissimilarity that there is between the churches of the present day and the first churches of the saints, in the tervency of their zeal, the holiness of their lives, their confornity to Christ, and their unfeigned love to the brethren, so long as they are regardless of the means which his wisdom and his love bave instituted to promote their spiritual prosperity That which first of all demands their concern is, to disentangle their minds from an undue deference to the custons of their forefathers, and to follow the latter no farther than they can perceive them following Christ and his Apostles.' : The acuteness of the Author appears in many of the articles in this Cyciopædia, tho!igh the pro.undity of his metaphysical knowledge will not be conceded by every scholar who may exainine it. Locke's definit on of Conscience 'art. Conscience) is severely censured by Mr. Jones, who substitutes the following in iis place : • Conscience, is the testimony or secret judgment

of the soul, which awards its approbation to actions that it " thinks gi od, or blapes those which it regards as evil.' Now, in what respect does this definition differ from Locke's ? Conscience is our on opinion or judgement of the mural rectitude or pravity of our own actions.' We do not profess principles of theology aí variance with the Author's, but as a question of moral science, we should be glad if he could give us the satisfaction

incleliablishing a long, in givinith infa

which we are prepared to expect from the manner in which the following proposition is announced.

• That the author of our nature has furnished us with infallible principles of judging concerning right and wrong, in giving us certain instincts and feelings, and in establishing a certain order and course of nature, to which these instincts and feelings are adapted, is a point almost demonstrable.'

In comparing the present work with Calmet's Dictionary, we have observed some articles which Mr. Jones has omitted, that should have had a place here; they are however neither numerous nor important. Under · Pinnacle' the reader is referred to the article “Temple,' where nothing on the subject occurs. We suppose the design of Mr. Jones was to describe the scene of a part of Christ's temptation. In the account of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, there is obviously some confusion. It would have added to the value of the work, if the import of pames of Hebrew origin had been uniformly given. Much time and labour have certainly been consumed upon the work, wbich altogether possesses qualifications sufficient to justify our recommendation of it as a compilation of interesting and useful articles from our most valuable Biblical writers, mixed with no inconsiderable portion of original matter relative to the faith, the practice, and the discipline included in the New Testament.

Art, X. A Letter to an English Nobleman, respectfully submitted to

the serious consideration of both Houses of Parliament. Contain. - ing an Analysis of the British Constitution, and a Review of the

Catholic Question, as it relates to Ireland in particular, and as it stands connected in its Consequences with the Happiness and Se. curity of Society in other countries. By LIBERATOR. 8vo. pp. 316. Pr. 98. 1817. THE circumstances in which the discussion of the Catholic ,

1 Question originated, and the embarrassments which have attended its progress, afford decisive proofs of the radical evils of a union between civil authority and religious profession. The injustice of such a connexion must be considered on otber grounds, but the impolicy of it is apparent in the consequences whuch bave created so powerful an opposition between the adherents of the Papal bierarchy, and the partisans of the Protestant Ecclesiastical Establishment of England. The enjoyment of exclusive secular patronage by religious professors, is not demanded by any just claim they can make in that cbaracter; and as it can be obtained only by the violation of social right, it ought not to excite surprise that the results of the encroachinent should prove perplexing and mischievous. If, at the period of the rupture with the Romish See, in the time of Henry the Eighth,

religious freedoin had been fully recognised, and civil rights left the appropriate qualifications of their own proper subjects,-if the political institutes of the country had been the exclusive care of its government, and religion, as the business of individuals, had been left in their own keeping, the wisdom of the Legislature had, not been necessary to settle numerous questions which have io, volved the national prosperity and existence Civil government always acts inost, according to its original purpose, when it separates the religious profession of the subjects of the State from its control, and liinits its attentions to their political capacity. The history of those nations in wiose institutes this principle bas been violated, is replete wi:b accounts of the fiercest contentions, and the most extensive mischiefs occasioned by the restless influence of religious profession associated with secular power.. Religious profession, wbich should find its proper relations and exercise in the objec's of eternity, has never been diverted from its true ioterests, but the public peace and welfare have been sacrificed to the spirit which it has acquired by its annatural, alliance.

It is easier to discover practical mischiefs than to apply a proper remedy for their cure. The evils consequent on a secular religious authority, are almost universally acknowledged to exist in the difficulties of Ireland, though there may be some perhaps who are incompetent, and others unwilling, to trace ibem to their proper causes.' Emancipation, it is imagined, will heal these inaladies. Tbis is the demand of a large class of the people; while another numerous class dread the measure as threatening still greater dangers. In regard to ourselves, we do not dissemble that Popery armed with power, would present all that is alarming. We firmly believe that its triumph would be the death blow to our liberties, and that its success would be followed with the direst tragedies. We should then fear all that men can fear. But with this feeling on the subject, we cannot but perceive that the reasons for our alarm are found in other causes than the proposed measure of · Emancipation. If the influence and acts of our Government went only to the sanction of • Emancipation,'--if the Legislature satisfied itself with the repeal of Penal Statutes affecting Roman Catholics, we should not tremble at the prospect; we should cheer ourselves with the good to be anticipated from employing the ineans of knowledge freely and extensively. But when we view the attitude which Popery has now assumed, and consider to whom it owes the revived hope of again controlling and injuring us, we cannot conceal that the solicited emancipation, were it even conceded, would not be the primary evil to excite dread. And we would hope that every Protestant who expresses his alarm about it, bas the testimony of his conscience that neither actively, nor by his sanction, has he

« ElőzőTovább »