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pear among men till many ages afterwards; and which was not established till the reign of barbarism in Europe !*
In the notes on the bistory of Cain and Abel, Dr. P. seems a good deal perplexed to make out a tolerable account of the origin and significancy of animal sacrifices. He is most inclined to think them to have been of divine appointment; but he can find nothing in their intention, except what is “ of the nature of a present, by way of homage to the Supreme Being.” How awfully may the understanding be warped and blinded by the spirit of error? Was it in vain to Dr. P. that the voice of Heaven has so often declared, by the inspired Hebrew lawgiver, that the blood of the sacrifice “ should MAKE ATONEMENT for the soul?” Did the whole genius of the ancient æconomy cry in vain,“ Without shedding of blood, iKere is no remission of sin?” The unbelieving Rabbis, with all the perversion of judgeinent and misconstruction of their own scriptures, into which their rejection of Jesus has led them, even those unhappy men will furnish better interpretations of this grand rite of the primitive religion, than the scientific and enlightened Unitarian. R. Isaac Ben Arama has this explication of the design of sacrifices : “ When the guilty criminal sees the victim offered for his sin, slain, skinned, divided, and burned on the altar; let him reflect, that so he himself must have been dealt with, if God in his mercy had not accepted the expiation for his soul.” To the same effect says R. Abarbanel; “ The of ferer was worthy of having his own blood shed, and his body burned for his sin. But God in mercy hath accepted, in his stead, and as his price of redemption, the sacrifice whose blood was shed for his blood, and its soul for his soul;"
But it is no wonder that this important peculiarity in the pri, meval institutions of religion should be thus slurred over by an enemy to the sacrifice of Christ; and that his account of the Mosaic constitutions, though in other respects worthy of cominendation, should be thus essentially lame and defective, A just notion of the design of the divinely appointed rite of sacrifices is among the first requisites in the study of Revealed Religion, and developes principles decisively fatal to the Soci. nian scheme;-a scheme much less indebted to scriptural argument and solid learning for its support, than to the boastings of high-toned arrogance.
To the notes on the Pentateuch is annexed “a Dissertation, in which are demonstrated the Originality and Superior Excel
* Some have supposed that an instance of this kind occurs in Homer, (Il. xiii. 257.) where Meriones says to Įdomeneus, “ We have just now broken the spear which I had before." But it is much more natural to understand Meriones as joining Deiphobus with himself, than to at. tribute such a harsh enallage to the prince of poets, as much distinguished for his simdlicity as his majesty.
lence of the Mosaic Institutions." The object of this Disserta. tion is to evince the DIVINE origin of the Religious and Political Code of Moses, in opposition to the theory of Sir John Marsham and Dr. Spencer, who maintained that the Hebrew legislator borrowed many of his laws and ritual observances from the Egyptian and other surrounding nations; and, at the saine time, to the bare-faced infidelity of Geddes, Langles, and others, :who have denied the divine legation of Moses. The separate arguments by which this important conclusion is supported are, principally, derived from the following topics: the sublime magnitude of the object kept in view by the Mosaic institutions; the purity of its morals; the circumstantial uniforinity of the national worship, the commemorative festivals;. the veneration inspired for the object of worship; the mode of sacrificing; the construction, and utensils of the sanctuary; the law of asylum ; the total rejection of every rite resembling the heathen' mysteries; the divine oracles; the lustrations; the wise distinction of foods; the absence of severe austerities; the annual day of confession and atonement; the weekly sabbath ; the sabbatical year, and the law of jubilee; and the admirable provisions of the civil code for the security, liberty, and political happiness of the nation. Though we cannot accord with Dr. P. in some of the sentiments which incidentally occur in this dissertation; we do not hesitate to denominate it a valuable performance, satisfactorily establishing the important point, “ that we cannot err in. pronouncing, that the system of Moses could not have had any human, but must have had a divine, origin.”
The interesting question on the extermination of the Canaanitish nations, Dr. P. fairly meets; and he answers the trite objection of infidels on the true principle, that of the divine equity, which acted no less in harmony with wisdom and goodness, when it gave the destroying commission to the Israelites, than if it had accomplished the same righteous purpose by a famine, a plague, a conflagration, or a deluge,
In looking over the notes on the rest of the historical books of the Old Testament, we find nothing which particularly calls for remark. The annotations chiefly relate to historical and geographical topics, on which they often convey useful illustrations. But we cannot help observing in what a poor, low, and jejune manner the devotional pieces, which are interspersed through the historical books, are generally treated. Unitarianism may well enough comport with the acumen of the mere critic, and the learned amusements of the antiquarian and the philosopher; but it appears very unfavourable to the pure fervour of holy de votion. · As one, out of many obvious proofs of this assertion, we desire our readers to compare Dr. P.'s notes on the “ Last Words of B 4
the Sweet Singer of Israel," with Dr. Kennicott's simple, yet cri. tical and exact, version of those memorable sayings.
2 Sam, xxiii. 1. “ By last words in this place we may understand the last poetical composition of David. It is equally pious with the preceding hymn, and a solemn record of the goodness of God to him.
3. “ This has the appearance of a declaration of God made to himself, and not by the intervention of any prophet.
4. “ The beautiful appearance of the morning dew upon the grass is transient : but not so the glory of the house of David.
5. “ His house was not to fail, though he had not his wish in other respects.”
So meagre and frigid are the Annotator's remarks; and these are all that he has given us, on a passage which contains so distinguished a prophecy of Him who is “ the Root and Offspring of David." We subjoin Dr. Kennicott's translation of the whole passage
The spirit of Jehovah speaketh by me;
As the light of the morning, ariseth JEHOVAH;
Verily thus is my house with God;
And the man, who shall reprove them,
But in the fire shall they be utterly burnt, with ignominy.". The remark which we have just made, may be justly extended to the Book of Psalms, and to the other hymns of praise and supplication, occurring in the Old Testament. But what may
we expect from a theologian, who could pen and publish such a note as the following?
Ps. ciii. 3. “ Sin being the original cause of evil, the forgiveness of sin, and the removal of disease, were often used as expressions of the same import. Thus when Jesus pronounced a sick person to be recovered, by saying, Thy sins be forgiven thee, he only meant be thou restored from thy disease ; and not that his sins in a moral sense were par. doned.”
How awful must be that infatuation of mind, and how false and pernicious that system of religion, which could lead one, who professed to be a disciple of Jesus, to utter such implied blasphemy against him, who affirmed that “ He had power on earth to forgive sins !"
In consulting Dr. P.'s notes on the prophets, we have experienced considerable disappointment. The occasional reflections of a moral and religious kind, like the annotations on the Psalms, present the aspect of miserable poverty and barrenness. They must make on the mind of the serious reader, no very deep impressions in favour of the pious tendency of Socinianism. The best executed department, in this division of the Old Testament, we think to be the explications of references and allusions to customs and manners, among ancient Jews and heathens. Yet, in this view, compared with Dr. P.'s notes on the Pentateuch, there is a great falling off. We reasonably expected more detailed and instructive accounts of the numerous accomplishments of prophecy, in the past history of nations; but, with the exception of a very few instances, the annotator is, in this respect, extremely sparing and unsatisfactory. The most splendid and important of all the subjects of prophecy, that which relates to the character and kingdom of the Messiah, is treated in a mapner which must fire with indignation the heart of a scriptural christian, if in a christian breast indignation be an allowable passion. We had been accustomed to think, with the apostle Peter, that, in the Jewish prophets, “the spirit of Christ testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow.” But, according to these annotations, no assertion could have been more inaccurate. In one instance, Joel ii. 28, the Doctor does, indeed, deign to inform us, that Peter supposes the prediction to have been accomplished " at the promulgation of the gospel;” but, without the slightest degree of hesitation or modesty, he prefers his own conjecture! In like manner, most of the predictions which the writers of the New Testament have expressly assured us were fulfilled in the person and offices of Christ, are by this author either passed over with silent dissegard; or are coolly referred to other persons and circuinstances,
without without the smallest notice of those decisive interpretations which apostles and evangelists have recorded.
Such is the plenitude of Dr. P.'s oracular wisdom ; a wisdom which superciliously contemns the plainest declarations of those foundations of the city of God, who “had the mind of Christ," and whom “ the Spirit of truth led into all truth !" But let those who are disposed to follow this seducer, take heed lest his and their. wisdom be at last found “ foolishness with God.” The reason · and the end of such disingenuousness is obvious. The prophetic writers furnish many of the plainest testimonies to the Deity and Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. This blaze of evidence inust, therefore, at all hazards, be shaded, however the means employed may violate the rules of sound criticism, and the dictates of christian decorum, or even of cominon sense. This solution may secni harsh : but would to God that it were not too well founded! How, else, can we account for Dr. P.'s joining with the modern Jews, in defiance of the Chaldee Targums and of the New TESTAMENT, to interpret the illustrious paragraph in Isaiah lii. 13. to liii. 12. as predicting the sufferings of the Hebrew nation, and the benefit to be thence derived by the Gentiles? How else can we account for his contemptuous disregard of those grand passages in Isaiah xl. aud slv. which describe,' in a manner so graphically exact, the precursor, the advent, and the triumphs' of JEHOVAH, the Good Shepherd, the Saviour of the ends of the earth! He even dares to write the blasphemous assertion, that they “ cannot refer to any period but the very last and glorious one of the Israelitish nation.”ll'ith awful consistency, he interprets the STONE which the Lord God has laid in Zion, (Isaiah xxviii. 16,) merely of the certain reservation of great future happiness for the Israelites. Is not this equal to an acknowledgement, that the deluded and unhappy author was among that class, to whom “ the Head of the corner is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, who stumble at the word, being disobedient?"---Christian reader, beware of the “ deceivableness of unrighteousness.”
In the second volume is also an Essay or Dissertation, consisting of a few general remarks on the language and imagery of prophecy. It contains some useful observations, but it is by no means equal to Bishop Lowth's, or to Dr. Smith's Preliminary Dissertations; and is a production very inferior to Dr. P.'s disa sertation on the Mosaic Institutions,
. (To be continued.)
Art. II. Hints towards forming the Character of a Young Princess. In
2 Volumes. 8vo. pp. 700. price 12s. Cadell and Davies. 1805. IT has not been from any want of esteem for this interesting
work, or its excellent author, that we are behind most of our contemporaries in paying it that attention which it so