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to ;—such conduct, would have been deservedly censured by the world ; not only, as unfair and ungenerous as an opponent, but unbecoming the gentleman, and the scholar. Yet such has been the treatment of Mr. H. and those who have espoused his notions, for upward of these twenty years. So long have our superiors in the church paused to consider, whether our author's interpretations of scripture are to be rejected, or admitted, without coming to any resolution.
The Revd. Mr. Arch-Deacon Sharp is, now, I presume, commissioned to give us their sentiments. A man, whose reputation for learning, parts, and piety, will add so much weight to his scale, as nothing but truth, which we hope we have on our fide, can counterballance. i
A person of this character, I hoped, would have pursued a different method from such minute criticks as the late Mr. Arthur Bedford, and the anonimous modest apologist.—Would have perused the author himself, with that candidness and critical acumen, for which he is so remarkably distinguished. And, then, as the one would have suffered him to omit nothing,
to which any material objection could be made ; fo the other, would have prevented his offering any little, low, shuffling evasions to what he could not fairly answer ; or his throwing dust in his reader's eyes, when our author's arguments shone in too glaring a light. But how am I disappointed to find him treading in the very footsteps of those who have gone before him ;-not enquiring after proofs, but objections; vamping up their Itale ones in a new dress, and polling them over and over again, as candidates, at a pinch, do their voters. We have got no further yet, than the words explained fifteen years ago in Mr. Catcot's affize sermon.–Weighty words, I apprehend, that require so long a. time for digestion.
But Mr. H. is a crabbed author, hard to be understood ; and Mr. Catcot seems to the Doctor, to understand him the best, and express his meaning the clearest of any he has met with, and therefore thinks he could « be more sure of Mr. H's meaning from « Mr. C's way of expressing it, than if he “ had guessed at it himself, from Mr. H's “ less perspicuous manner of writing a.” But
a See Preface, p. 17.
the truth is, had the Doctor confessed he had read Mr. H. and understood him, he must have taken upon himself the weight of all Mr. H’s various proofs, evidences, and arguments, for the words he explains throughout his writings ; which, I own, are easier fhuffled off, than answered. And he must have dropped those shrewd queries, with which his piece is so nicely interlarded." Whether « Aleim be derived at all b.” -- Or if it be “ derived, what is the true and genuine root « of it.-Whether the Hebrew be the origi“ nal language, or only a plank of the ship« wreck at Babel, &c. &c.” And have kept back that load of Rabbinism and Arabic, which my good lord ofand Dr.have made him the instrument to discharge upon us, and his readers. And then, more than two thirds of his pamphlet would have been gone ; with the further advantage of saving a great effusion of ink on both sides. But the Doctor knew he had nothing to do, but to tell his tale plausibly; and he is so great a master of style, that he can give an efficacy to arguments ; which, had they been nakedly proposed, without this rhetorical dress,
as Mr. H's, and those of his Followers are, might not have looked so specious. This, I say, is all the Doctor had to do, and he was sure of a party ready ante vistoriam canere triumphum, and to give their verdict in his favour, without examining the evidence on the other side of the question. But, we hope the publick, to whom we appeal, will have no respect to persons, nor suffer their eyes to be dazzled by the glare of characters ;-but will impartially examine, and seriously weigh the merits of the cause, and give their assent to truth, on which side soever it shall appear to be. And as the Doctor's station and character, with that of the two learned persons hinted at in his preface, (p. 20) to 'whom his dissertations owe their present dress and polish, may possibly engage the world to interest itself a little in the debate ;--it may not be amiss to give a brief account of the state of the controversy, from Mr. H's first publication, to the present time.
In the year 1724, Mr. H. published the first volume of his writings; which he continued volume after volume till his death. And as he was aware that opinions and constructions contrary to those received, how
true foever they may be in themselves, cannot fail of meeting with opposition; and being desirous of having the patronage of the superior clergy, if he could happily gain it, - he laid his books before persons the most eminent in the esteem of the world for Hebrew learning, viz. the late Revd. Dr. Knight, the late Archbishop Potter then Bishop of Oxford, the late Bishop of London Dr. Gibfon, and others; with whom he had frequent conferences: Yet could he never extort from them, tho' often pressed, any positive opinion of his writings. So that they stalked about without meeting with any examination, approbation or confutation, as the letter to a Bishop in the year 1732 justly observed.
So far was Mr. H. from being that very obstinate man, or so stiff in opinion, as he has been by some represented, that at the request of Dr. Knight, he made einu and Do the dual number, contrary to his own judgment ; in hopes, by humouring a little the rabinnical taste of that great man, to draw him from those blind guides the Rabbis, to
c Vide the first edition of Moses's Principia, part 1, p. 8. and 15. and Moses's Principia, part 2. p. 51. and Mos, fine Prin. p. 189. Edit. Hodges.