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approve the exhortations which in some places he urges on the English clergy; we cannot deny the correctness and force of many of his observations on the corruptions of the best religious establishments; and our plan forbids us to enter into any controversy with him on the wisdom and utility of religious establishments in general.
As to Mr. Thomas, it is probable he has a hundred timesrecollected it as an unfortunate day, on which he exposed himself to the public, and to this acute and satirical assailant.
Art. X. Thoughts on Prophecy, particularly as connected with the present Times; supported by History. By G. R. Hioan. 8vo. pp. 294. Price 6s. Longman and Co. 1808.
FOR a person to write correctly on the prophecies, it is
necessary that he should be well read in history, that he should be a judicious politician, a tolerable linguist, and a sound divine; but as these qualificatious rarely meet in one person, it is no wonder that we have so few works on this subject that obtain or deserve general approbation. There are several errors very prevalent among writers on the prophecies, which lead them to a variety of false conclusions. By some authors, persons and facts are made of more importance than principles: but to us nothing is more evident, than that the prophecies are much less concerned with facts which only benefit or injure a few individuals, than with principles that may extend through an empire and influence for ages. Others, who nevertheless consider principles as the prominent objects of prophecy, represent them in the abstract, or as the opinions of a sect; whereas the prophets only notice them as they are blended with intolerance, and are forced on men's consciences by penal sanctions. Mahometanism, Popery, Socinianism, and Infidelity, however opposed by the doctrines and spirit of the Scriptures, appear to be no otherwise the distinct objects of prophecy, than as they are combined with civil codes and armed with power. By others, the prophecies are considered too much in the light of an anticipated history of worldly politics; whereas their principal design is to give a previous description of the state of the church. The prophets no otherwise concern themselves with who conquers, or who reigns, or by what means this is effected, than as these events are injurious or conducive to the reign of the Messiah and the interest of his people. Hence it is that Europe, with its one hundred and fifty millions of inhabitants, is almost the only scene of prophecy while the vast empire of China, and other extensive regions, containing more than five hundred millions of human beings, are no otherwise noticed thna de
the nations of the heathen, which are to be given to Christ for his inheritance. These have been for ages the scenes of wars and revolutions, as great as any in Europe; but as they had no respect to the kingdom of Christ, they are no more the subject of the prophetic writings, than the variations of our atmosphere. But a fault still more prevalent is, the construction of these writings in a sense too literal and minute, and the undue application of them to the time in which the authors live.
We sometimes fear, however, that while many persons, merely from ignorance, write on prophecy in a manner calculated to bring it into discredit, there are others who write with that express design, and who labour to shew how many absurdities they can make it appear to justify. We will not bring this charge against Mr. H., though it would be difficult to find conceits more unsubstantial and extravagant than many of the notions in his book. After several ingenious, and a few judicious observations on prophecy in general, he makes it the principal design of his work to prove that a great part of the prophecies of Daniel, Paul, and John, was intended to predict the reign of Bonaparte. He was typified by Antiochus Epiphanes; he is the person meant by the man of sin and of perdition; he was intended by the tyrannical king of Daniel; and Russia, according to our author, is the king of the south. These two kings were to speak lies. at one table, were to have it in their hearts to do mischief, and were to enter into secret engagements to accomplish their wicked purposes. Mr. H. thinks this was fulfilled when Alexander and Napoleon met in the river Niemen, and confirmed by the treaty of Tilsit. We wish this had been the first time that two emperors had found it in their hearts to do mischief, to tell lies, and to deceive each other. But what our author principally wishes to prove is, that Bonaparte is the second beast mentioned in the 13th chapter of the Revelation, who was to exercise all the power of the first beast, to profess to work miracles, to make an image to the former beast, and to cause that none should buy or sell but such as had the mark of the beast. As a confirmation, he detects in the name of this extraordinary person the famous number of the beast, 666; and this he effects with the help of a few trifling alterations, such as omitting a letter, changing one vowel for another, and doubling a consonant, so as to make up the word Bapt. It grieves us much to be under the necessity of reminding Mr. H. that his very laudable efforts are entirely in vain for after all, Bonnepartè is only part of the dreaded name, and Napoleon is indeed the most important part, as it is this by which the
individual is distinguished from the family, and by which he is officially described in all public acts. The opinions of Mr. H., and those of several other writers on the same subject, appear to us extremely ill-supported. The second beast is synchronous with the first, his duration must therefore be 260 years, and he is to exercise all the power of the first beast but before this can apply to the French monarch, he must have the dominion of the seas, and Great Britain and her dependancies must be brought under his controul. Some gloomy imaginations may perhaps have looked forward to such an event; which appears to us, on every account, highly improbable. But it is needless to urge this objection, as there are so many descriptions given of Daniel's king, of the man of sin, and the second beast, that can by no mode of reasoning be applied to Bonaparte; and as there are so many parts of his conduct in direct opposition to the character of antichrist. We do not wonder at the total disregard evinced by this writer for most of the principal rules of interpreting prophecy, considering how wild a scheme he had been induced to adopt and recommend; this was naturally to be expected. But we are surprised, we own, and not a little concerned, that a person, who is capable of expressing himself in so respectable a style, should have been first the dupe and then the advocate of these strange and useless reveries.
Art. XI. Poems, containing Dramatic Sketches of Northern Mythology, &c. By Frank Sayers, M. D. 8vo. pp. 294. price 6s. boards, Cadell and Co.
THESE Poems are correct and elegant, such as a mind produces which is formed by nature to feel the beauties of polite literature, and improved by studying the best masWe do not remember ever to have seen, in the same space, a greater variety of composition. Some authors are distinguished for the quantity of their writings, as Lucilius, who wrote two hundred lines an hour. Some are conspicuous for the solid and intrinsic excellence of their verses, as Euripides, who consoled himself for writing slowly, with the persuasion that his productions would live for ever. Dr. S. seems desirous of being distinguished for the versatility of his powers. This small volume contains poems in three languages; Greek, Latin, and English: composed in almost every style, epic, dramatic, elegiac, burlesque, lyric, amatory, epigrammatic. Here are originals, imitations, and translations; and of the latter some are free and others close. Here are entire pieces, and fragments. In short, the volume reminds us of the portfolio of a man who loves to range through the flowery fields of
elegant literature, and who reads good compositions with so much ap robation and delight, that he cannot resist the desire to attempt producing something similar. When such a man reads the inspirations of Milton, he closes the book with a determination to construct an epic poem, and waits for a leisure day to begin chesing his subject, and forming his plan. If chance or deliberation direct his attention to the pages of Shakespeare an embryo tragedy begins to grow up in his mind. If the Satires of Juvenal, or Horace, or Dryden should fall in his way, he looks a road among his acquaintance or enemies for some features of character, which he may caricature or reprobate with poetical severity. If the Sonnets of Petrarch happen to excite his compassion, he must have some beautified object, his soul's idol, whose charms he may adore, whose absence he may mourn, or whose death may reduce him to misery and de-pair. These effusions of a muse frequently, rather than a genius, (for every writer of poetry has his muse) accumulate in the course of years, and the author is emboldened by the praise of friends, or won over by their exhortations, to present his compositions to the public. We have often found it necessary in the discharge of our office, as promulgators of the laws of criticism, to announce the following rule that writings are not certain of pleasing in print because they please in manuscript. But as we have been hitherto but little regarded by authors, we will address ourselves to their panegyrists, beseeching them to be careful how they urge a poetical friend to expose himself to the just condemnation of critics, and the malice of an ill-natured world. The poems before us would have given considerable amusement, if they had been put into our hands by one of our literary acquaintance, with the intimation that he should never make them public. But whether there be any thing in letter-press which excites high expectation, and prepares the way for disappointment; or whether a writer seems to set up as a candidate for immortality, and to challenge a high degree of praise when he appears in print; or, lastly, whether we have certain peculiarly high notions of the excellence, which a book ought to possess which offers to instruct or amuse the public, certain it. is that we cannot bestow on these poems our high commendation.
The principal part of the work is the Sketches of Northern Mythology, in which the author designs to convey an idea of the Gothic, and Celtic (meaning the Iberian) superstitions. The former superstition is exhibited in a Masque, a Tragedy, and a Monodrama; the latter in a Tragedy. But as these subjects have been much studied and illustrated since the time when Dr. S. first appeared before the public, we shall not enter into
a minute examination of bis work. Indeed we do not think his talents, though respectable, are suited to this species of composition. His thoughts are not sufficiently sublime, nor his feelings sufficiently strong, to reveal a scene of gloomy horror in which gods are the persons of the drama. It requires the genius of a Milton to represent a fallen deity in hell.
The other compositions, in this volume, are too numerous and miscellaneous, for us even to enumerate them. There is a pleasing ode to Night, a dull translation of the Cyclops of Euripides, a successful burlesque of the Homeric style in a story of Jack the Giant-killer, some neat Sonnets, a few elegant translations of Greek Epigrams, besides other pieces of various style and merit. The powers of Dr. S. appear much better calculated for the lighter and more elegant kinds of composition-the Poetica Nuga, as he properly termed a former Collection of his Poems,-than for the feeling of Tragedy, or the grandeur of the Epic.
An extract froin the imitation of Homer will not fail to amuse our classical readers;
To whom the giant-killing Jack replied;
"Guest, thou hast spoken right; but ere I enter
Cheer up, my friend, although thou'rt griev'd in mind,