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write in the same language. But it will be impoffible to prove, that the order and construction of those words, and the general turn of the periods, which constitute what we call the stile, is not truly barbarous and corrupt, and wholly remote from the ease and sweetness of the classical compofitions.' Such is the heavy charge brought by our author against the apostolic language ; a charge, which it would be very difficult to support,
The fourth tract contains some short remarks on a story told by the ancients, concerning St. John the evangelift, and Cerinthus the heretic ; and on the use, which is made of it by the moderns, to enforce the duty of Thunning heretics. The story is told by Irenæus, in the following manner : That there were some who had heard Polycarp relate, how St. John, the disciple of our Lord, going one day to the public bath in Ephesus, and finding the heretic Cerinthus in it, started back instantly without bathing, crying out, Let uso run away, lest the bath should fall upon us, while Cerinthus the enemy of truth is in it.
Dr. Berriman has applied this story, in one of his fermons, to enforce the duty of sunning infidels and hereticks ; and dr. Waterland, to recommend a practice, which he warmly presses upon all christians, of rejecting from their society and communion, all the impugners of fundamentals : and it is sure, says our author, to be thrown in our way, either from the pulpit or the press, by all angry divines, as oft as they find occasion, to inflame the people against an antagonist, whom, thro' zeal and heat of controversy, they are disposed to treat as an adversary to the christian faith.
As this story naturally tends to excite prejudices, and uncharitable aversions in the minds of men, and is considered generally, by zealots, as an apostolic rule and precedent, for the exercise of all kinds of rudeness towards those who differ from them in matters of religion, our author thinks it of use to the public quiet, to enquire into the real state of it, and not to suffer it to have any other credit or influence, than what is strictly due to it: for in that great uncharitableness, says he, which reigns among all the sects of christians in these days, there is no occasion to ranfac antiquity, for any additional motives of strife and mutual hatred.
The doctor shews very clearly, that this hear-lay story, as he calls it, is, at the best, of so uncertain and doubtful a credit, that we cannot reasonably lay any stress, or ground any point of duty upon it; and that, if we should
it even to be true, it would be absurd and dangerous to the peace of the church, in its present circumstances, to establish it as a rule of conduct, to private and ordinary christians.
In his short essay on the allegorical and literal interpretation of the creation and fall of man, he compares the several merits of the two principal and rival kinds of interpretation ; the one according to the letter, the other to allegory ; which have each of them been approved and preferred in their turns, in different ages of the church. By the letter he means the historical acceptation of the text, as a plain narrative of facts, supposed to have been transacted in the very manner and order in which they are there related : by allegory, that latent and more refined way of delivering truth, under the dress of fiction, or fable, which was practised chiefly in antient times, and by the fages of the eastern world.
There is not a single article, he observes, of the narrative given us of the creation, which, in its literal sense, has not puzzled all the expositors, and furnished the sceptics with perpetual topics of ridicule. In answer to whom, says he, I have never met with one advocate of the letter, either antient or modern, who has ventured to affirm the whole to be rational and natural; or has not been forced to take shelter, under allegory, in one part of it, or the other. He tells us, that St. Austin, tho' he professes to ex. plain things according to to their historical truth, in his twelve books concerning the literal interpretation of the three first chapters of Genesis, is yet frequently obliged to have recourse to allegory, being unable to accommodate the text to a proper and literal sense.
• But, says he, this double way of interpreting, which Austin approves, and the moderns generally follow, by confidering one sentence as literal, the next as allegorical ; one part as a fact, the next as fable, seems to be absurd and irrational; tending rather to confound than enlighten the understandings of men; and was contrived, without doubt, for no other purpose, but the support of systems and prejudices, which plain scripture would not justify; till it was drefled up and seasoned, as it were, by a mixture of senses which did not belong to it. Fables indeed may be grounded on things real and true ; and a general notion of such truths may be artfully conveyed, under the veil of fiction or allegory : but historical and allegorical narrations are compositions of quite different kinds, and serving to dif
365 férent ends: the one to represent by a literal description, the true and natural state of things; the other, to inculcate some hidden truth, quite different from what it literally represents. It seems impossible therefore, that two such opposite characters, which naturally destroy each other, can belong to the same subject ; or that one and the same description can, by any art or mixture of senses, be rendered both truly historical and allegorical at the same time.
- I have ever been inclined to consider the particular story of the fall of man, as a moral fable or allegory ; such as we frequently meet with in other parts, both of the old and new testament, in which certain religious duties and doctrines, with the genuine nature and effects of them, are represented as it were to ourselves, by a fiction of persons and facts, which had no real existence. And I am the more 'readily induced to espouse this sense of it, from a persuasion, that it is not only the most probable and rational, but the moft useful also to the defence of our religion, by clearing it of those difficulties, which are apt to shock and make us ftumble, as it were, at the very threshold.
· For whether we interpret the story literally or allegorically, I take it to be exactly the same, with regard to its effects and influence on christianity ; which requires nothing more from it, than what is taught by both the kinds of interpretation, that this world had a beginning and creation from God; and that its principal inhabitant man, was originally formed to a state of happiness and perfection which he left and forfeited, by following his lusts and pasions, in opposition to the will of his creator. For there could not be any
religion at all, without the belief of such a creator, nor any need of a revealed religion, but upon the supposition of man's fall. These two points then, as the antients observed, are all, that Mofes proposed to deliver to us; and they are delivered with equal truth and efficacy, either in the literal or the allegorical way, nor do I find any reference to them in the sacred scriptures, which appears to be inconsistent with the allegorical acceptation of them.
“ Have you not read, says our Saviour to the Pharisees, that he, who made them at the beginning, made them male and female ? And for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. He takes no notice of the particular manner of Eve's formation, from the rib of Adam; but intimates only in general the fact of their creation, and the moral of it, which is equally deducible from the literal and the allegorical sense, St. Paul seems to allude indeed to the circumstance of the
rib, where he says, that the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man: and that Adam was first formed, and then Eve: whence he infers the subordination of the female sex. But his argument, whether it be drawn from the letter or the allegory, would have the fame force, since it is fupposed, that the allegory itself was contrived for the purpose of suggesting the same inference. Again I fear, fays Paul to the Corinthians, left, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his fubtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the fimplicity, that is in Chrift. Where he seems to unfold the true meaning and hidden sense of the Mosaic parable, and to signify, that Eve was beguiled and seduced from her native simplicity, by the carnality of her lusts and affections. For as that was certainly the case of the Corinthians, so the apostle's simile would not be pertinent, unless we take the serpent, as many of the learned have done, to be the symbol of luft and Sensual pleasure.
* To conclude, fince 'tis allowed to have been the practice of all the sages of the ancient world, in treating of the origin of things, and the fublime doctrines of theology, to wrap up what they delivered, under the veil of enigmas, Symbols and allegories; and since this was more peculiarly the custom of the Ægyptians, among whom Moses was born, and diligently train’d in all the mysterious parts of their learning and wisdom; it is reasonable to imagine, that on the subject of the creation, and the origin of man, he should use a manner of writing, which all other nations then used, and which the Ægyptians his masters had particularly taught him. This, I say, is what we should previously expect from such a writer, on such a subject ; and this is what we find him to have actually performed; as it is evident, as well from the turn and manner of his writing, as from the testimony of those very people, for whose instruction he wrote; who generally treat these first chapters of Genesis as allegorical, and are said to have restrained their youth from reading them on account of the difficulties of the literal sense, and the wrong notions, which it might imprint of God, till they had reached a maturity of age and judgment, which might qualify them to comprehend its more recondite meaning. The christians, also, when they received these books from the Jews, received from them at the same time, this fame method of expounding, which they universally followed in the primitive ages : and on the authority of such guides, it cannot surely be thought rash, or give any just scandal, to adhere to the same interpretation; especially, since it will be found, as I have said above, the
most effectual of all others, to clear our religion from those objections, which in all ages have thocked the faith of many, on their very entrance into it.'
Besides dr. Middleton's pofthumous pieces, which make only about a third of this volume, there are contained in it, his letter to dr. Waterland; the several defences of it; and his remarks, paragraph by paragraph, on Bentley's propofals for a new edition of the Greek Teftament and Latin verfion.
ART.xliv. Philosophical observations on the analogy between
the propagation of animals and that of vegetables : In which are answered some objections against the indivisibility of the foul, which have been inadvertently drawn from the late curious and useful experiments upon the polypus and other animals. With an explanation of the manner in which each piece of a divided polypus becomes another perfect animal of the same species. By James Parsons, M. D. F. R. S. &c. 8vo. 45. Davis.
ried on, not in the method of hypothesis and vain conjecture, but in the only just and satisfactory method of experiment and observation, and with a view to illustrate the wisdem and goodness of the great parent of the universe, at the same time that they are extremely useful, cannot fail of being highly entertaining to every mind that is formed for contemplation, and has a taste for rational pleasure, and manly amusement. Such is the view, and such the method, wherein the learned and ingenious dr. Parsons has, in the performance now before us, pursued his enquiries into the animal and vegetable creation : and we are persuaded, that every curious observer of the wonders of nature, every one who has attended to those amazing signatures of skill and contrivance, which the ALMIGHTY ARTIFICER has displayed in every plant and animal that presents itself to our view, will be inclined to thank him for the light he has thrown on a curious subject, which has hitherto, in a great measure, been involved in obfcurity. He begins with facts that are plain and obvious to every one's senses ; and rising gradually in his enquiries, , fhews, in a chain of argumentation, the astonishing similarity between the manner of the propagation of animals and that of vegetables, and the simplicity of those means by which nature pursues the same plan in the production and progress of both.