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Atheism therefore is not only an irreligious, but an immoral scheme. On the contrary, Deisin, or the belief of an independent, intelligent Being, who created and presides over the universe he has made, lays a foundation for religious regard : and if it fnould further appear, that this independent Being is wife and benevolent; that he is continually exercising a wise, just, and gracious government over his creatures ; communicating happiness to them according to their several natures and capacities; and, by the immutable counsels of his providence, over-ruling and conducting all things to the universal good; then is there a foundation for religion of a most amiable and liberal kind, and such as will have a moit powerful and extensive influence in favour of Virtue and good manners. Deism therefore must be considered as the grear bafis of all religion; and it is, at least, probable, that a Deift will be a good man: and if Chriftianity be a scheine of religion which suppolos the existence of GOD; allerts his universal righteous providence; and is, in its conftitution and genius, friendly to the interests of virtue, ii is likewise probable, that a pud Deift will be no enemy to Christianity; and consequentiy, as our Saviour fays, is not far from the kingdom of Hiaven."
There is another point of light in which we 'could have wished our auther to have considered Deijin, diz. as the belief of One fupreme intelligerit Caufi, in oppofition to Polytheijn; or the belief of two, three, or more Supreme Beings. Dijon is not more diftinct from theijn, than it is from Pclytheilin; and though the latter does not, like the former, deit oy
all religion, yet so much does it diftrait and confound the minds of men, and so wile an avenue does it open to a variety of Idolatries and fuperftitions, that it most certainly irrures pure religion; and was, in fact, the source of those numerous evils and corruptions, of which our Author so much complains, in the heathen world. Admitting that the great multitude of the pagan deities were not considered in the same point of dignity and authority with the Supreme Deity, but as fubordinate agents and ministers; itill they were represented to the generality of the people as the proper objects of worship, and divine honours; whi h naturally withdrew the attention of mens minds from him who is over all, and who, as the source of all good, is the fole object of supreme worship; and as these inferior deities were frequently r-presented to be revengerul, cruel, lafcivicus, abominably wicked, and addicted to the worst of human vices; the confiiering these as worthy ohjects of religious homage naturally led them to a corrupt and barbarous method of worship; cherished the most favage dispositions in their breasts ; darkened their natural sense of good and evil; sunk them into the lowest state of vice and ignorance; and only prepared them to be more perfectly enslaved by their priests and leaders, who found their account in such a fyftem of religion. Deism therefore, as opposed to Polytheism, and asserting the existence and providence of only One eternal, powerful, wise, and benevolent Mind, is a scheme highly favourable to true religion and virtue ; and most perfectly consistent with the institution of Christianity, whose fundamental principle is, There is but ONE GOD.
That there were Deists of this sort in the heathen world, who believed the unity of God, who emancipated themselves from the grosser errors of paganism, who entertained very pure apprehensions of the divine perfections, and gave many wise and excellent instructions for the conduct of human life, may be acknowledged : but, notwithstanding all this, they outwardly conformed to the rites of paganism; and gave the fanction of their example to those follies and fuperstitions of their countrymen, which in their hearts they despised, and knew to be attended with the worst effects. Our Author thinks, “ that in this they were very justifiable on the score of prudence and self-preservation; and that it was no more than a prudent compliance, which conciliated the tempers of men towards them, and obtained a more favourable hearing to such things as were of real importance." But in this we differ from him; and think we cannot help perceiving, in his instance, the ill effect of a religious establishment on a mind, upon the whole, enlarged and open, sensible and honest. Compliance, obedience, accommodation, and such-like prudent, self-preserving virtues, are well taught, and generally well-practised, in most religious establishments : but we will be free to say, that one instance of fpirited opposition to the errors of the times, and the corruptions of true religion, even from a few wise and good men, would be attended with more solid advantages to the best interests of mankind, than a whole life of compliance and time-serving prudence. Such paffive principles are of all others the greatest enemies to reformation. If our worthy and venerable ancestors had acted upon such views, we should have been still in darkness : and till the time comes, when spirit and honefty shall get the better of timidity and compliance, all hopes of farther reformation must be at a distance.
Our worthy Author excusing us in this digresion, we with pleasure recommend our readers to attend him through the latter part of his plan; wherein, having already ftated the notion of Deism, and presented the state of it in ihe heathen world; he confiders Deism under divine revelation, and gives a general view of Christianity, as contained in the Scriptures. This part of the treatie is introduced with an account of the state of religion before the publishing of Christianity. It is observed, that the feweih dispensation, though a very ceremonious one, was instituted to preserve the doctrines of pure Deijm from being entirely lost in the Polytheism of the neighbouring nations; that the succeeding prophets among the Jews, were eminent Drifts, of superior rank, and higher authority to those in the heathen wo:ld; and who, not by complying with, but by exclaiming against the corruptions of their countrymen, explaining the nature of true religion, and recommending the practice of virtue and moral goodness, were the instruments of Providence in preferving the knowledge and worship of the true God among that people, in opposition to idolatry: and indeed it might have been said, that the great design of the Supreme Being, in the whole economy of his providence amongst mankind, from the beginning, was to accomplish this great end; and to prepare men for that more perfect state of pure and improved Deism, which was to be introduced by the institution of Jesus CHRIST. The Author now proceeds to his general view of Christianity; in which he confiders,
1. The Author of Christianity, his fpirit and character:
2. His chief employment, or the principal object of his preaching and ministry,
3. The liberty he asserted, and the advantages accruing from it.
The sentiments throughout the whole of this part are senâble and rational : the view that is given of the gospel and its first founder ; of its constitution and genius; of its morality; of its peculiar doctrines; of the proper manner in which it ought to be studied and examined; and the spirit of true moderation and freedom in which it is wrote, will, we are persuaded, be generally acceptable to thinking and inquisitive men. From the whole, we are ourselves convinced, that Chrislianity is true Deism; that it is the purest system of the knowledge and worship of God; and that therefore a rational belief in God is the best preparation for receiving
Chriftianity. In a state of natural religion, as good Deifts, we acknowledge and worship the one only true God; wherein we cease to be Atheisis or Polytheists : as Christians, we are still Deifts, with this difference, that we not only acknowledge God, but Jesus CHRIST, whom God has lent.
We dismiss this Article with acquainting our Readers, that this little pamphlet is introduced with a very sensible preface, and a dedication to the younger clergy of the church of England, in which are many things that deserve their attention.
A port Introduction to English Grammar : With critical Notes.
8vo. 35. Boards. Millar.
HE public is indebted for this judicious performance
to the ingenious and learned Dr. Lowth. It was originally intended merely for a private and domestic use; and the chicf design of it, is, to explain the general principles of grammar, in as clear and intelligible a manner as possible. Accordingly the Author avoids all difquisitions, which have more of subtilty than of usefulness in them; in his definitions he fometimes prefers ease and perspicuity to logical exactness; complies with the common divisions, as far as truth and reason permit; and retains the known and received terms, except in one or two instances, where others offered themselves, which seemed much more fignificant. In a word, his Introduction is calculated for the use of the learner, not excluding even the lowest class. Those, who would enter more deeply into the subject, will find it treated, as Dr. Lowth justly observes, with the greatest acuteness of investigation, perspicuity of explication, and elegance of method, in a treatise entitled Hermes, by James HARRIS, Efq; the most beautiful and perfect exarnple of analysis that has been exhibited since the days of ARISTOTLE:- Of this work we had the pleasure of giving an ample account in the VIth volume ofour Review, p. 129.
“ The following short system, says Dr. Lowth, is proposed only as an essay upon a subject, though of little esteem, yet of no small importance; and in which the want of something better adapted to real use and practice, than what we have at present *, seems to be generally acknowleged. If
• When this was written, the ingenious Mr. Priestly's tract on this subject, which we recommended in our Review for January last, had not appeared.
those, who are qualified to judge of such matters, and do not look upon them as beneath their notice, ihall so far approve of it, as to think it worth a revisal, and capable of being improved into something really useful; their remarks and alsistance shall be received with all proper deference and acknowledgment."
Such are the modest terms in which our Author expresses himself in regard to his performance. In his preface there are some very sensible and per inert observations on the English language, which, during the last two hundred years, has been much cultivated, considerably polished and refined, and greatly enlarged in extent and compass : its force and energy, its variety, richness, and elegance, have been tried with good fuccefs, in verle and in profe, upon all subjects, and in every kind of style; but whatever other improvements it may have received, it hath made no advances in grammatical accuracy
It is now about fifty years since Dr. Swift made a public remonftrance, addrelled to the earl of Oxford, of the imperfect Rate of our language; alleging, in particular, that in many inftar.ces it ferid. d against every part of grammar. The jusiness of this complaint has never been questioned; and
yet no effe Itual niethod has hitherto been taken to redress the grievance of which he complains.
Dr. Lowth, in considering this charge, observes, if it means that the English language, as it is ipoken by the poli est part of the nation, and as it stands in the writings of our most a; proved authors, oftentimes offends against every part of grammar, the charge, he is afraid, is true. If it farther implies, that our language is in its nature irregular and capricious; not subject, or not easily reducible to a fyftem of fules ; in this re pect, he is perfuaded, the charge is wholly without foundation. The Eaglesh language, we are told, is perhaps, of all the present European languages, by much the most fimple in iis forin and conftrudion ; accordingly, our grams arians have thought it hardly worth while to give us any hing like a regular and fyftematical syntax. · It is not owing then to any peculiar irregularity or difficul, ty of our language, that the general p.actice both of speaking and writing it, is chargeable wich inaccuracy. It is not the language, our Author obferves, but the practice that is in fault. The truth is, grammar is very much neglected among us; and it is not the difficulty of the language, but, on the