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his readers a long passage from a strange disquisition on the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration, attributed to Soame Jenyos, and talks gravely of the acuteness and ingenuity displayed in the defence of that exploded tenet;' as if he bimself were some way gone in the belief of it. All this is marvel. lously absurd. He bestows high praise, too, on a very superficial and erroneous account of Druidisin contained in Mavor's History of England! In this it is affirmed, that one of the leading tenets of the Bardic Religion, was the belief in the existence of one Supreme Being, of whom they reasoned that • he could not be material, and that what was not matter, must be 6 God."* But did Mr. Richards know no better than to confound the Bardic metaphysics with the Druidical worship? In the Aphoristic Triads, the Unity, self-existence, and infinite power and wisdom of the Deity are, Mr. Hughes remarks,“ so explicitly • allowed, that such sentiments cannot with any consistency be • ascribed to the Heathen Druids.' Mr. Richards himself allows that they held the necessity of human expiatory • sacrifices, although he attempts to palliate this concession by adding, that these sacrifices 'generally consisted of malefactors.' And so they do at this day in Bengal and Ashantee: only, when criminals fall short, and their gods are hungry, they are under the
necessity,' like the Druids, of making up the proper number with innocent persons. These barbarous rites were so common among all heathen nations, that it is scarcely necessary to remark on the probability that the Britons derived theirs from the worsbip of the Phenician Moloch. Mr. Richards's remark on religious • wars,' would have been very proper had he not been so inconsiderate as to represent the cases as parallel. The Gaulish Druids were so resolutely addicted to this dreadful superstition, ' that, although prohibited by the Emperor Tiberius, they con
tinued to adhere to the same practice even in the time of Pliny, • in the reign of Trajan.' The Helio-arkite worship of the ancient Britons, is treated by Mr. Hughes at considerable length, but without any parade of learning. Unlike many compilers who enter into other men's labours, and grace their margins with stolen references from books they never saw, (sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes,) he is scrupulous in referring to the authors which he has chiefly followed, namely, Bryant, Faber, Maurice, and Davies.
Here for the sake of our readers, not less than for our own, we must suspend our antiquarian lucubrations. From druids
• The speculations of the Hindoo theists are strikingly similar. The language of the Vedas is, that all spirit is God'-a metaphysical existence without attributes.
and bards to saints, and bishops, and Welsh Nonconformists, Pelagius and Vavasor Powell, is a transition tvo violent to be endured; and as so wide a chasm occurs between them in ancient British History, we hope that it will be allowed us to treat of them in a separate Number. In the mean-time, those of our readers who are given to poetry, may, possibly, be pleased with the following fragment of an unpublished poem, in which an elegant use has been made of the Druidical mythology. Após vel Quercus loquitur.
• Ere yet on Cambria's mountains hoar
And he, the monarch of the wood
And amulet inchased in gold,
Amid the ruins flaming round,
A sylvan burial' found.'
Art. III. The Chronology of our Saviour's Life, or an Inquiry into
the true Time of the Birth, Baptism, and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. By the Rev. C. Benson, M.A. of Trinity College, Cam
bridge. 8vo. pp. 343. Price 6s. Cambridge University Press. THE HE precise time of a person's birth or death who should
be acknowledged as the author of a new system of moral or religious doctrines, would seem to be of little or no importance to his followers, who could not be supposed to connect their reception of the tenets taught by him, with satisfactory proof of the true date of bis birth, or of the time of his decease. It would
bever occur to them, to reject the doctrine which they had received, as being, in the absence of all evidence to prove those eras, unworthy of their regard. So what year Plato or Aristotle was boru, would but little concern a disciple of the Academy or, of the Lyceum. The value of the instruction is wholly indea pendent of the age of the master; and, a candidate for adinission would never think of including in his previous inquiries, circumstances which had no relation to the qualifications of his instructor. If we had no means of obtaining a correct arrange-, ment of the events in the life of Plato; or if the chronology of any memoirs of Socrates was so perplexed as to present only some incidents in connected order and agreement of time, while others might seem to exclude all arrangement and accurate date ; the truth or importance of their doctrines would: not be in the least involved in the chronological discussions. They would still be the doctrines of Plato, or the doctrines of Socrates, and would claim our attention on grounds irrespective of any picety of date in the biography of their founders. 'And so, we presume, is the chronology of the Gospels immaterial to the consideration of the Christian doctrine. The precise time of the birth and death of the Jewish Legislator, it might be difficult to determine; but the credibility of the Mosaic records is not therefore invalidated. And in like manner is the evangelical doctrioe worthy of confidence, though we may not be able successfully to harmonise the facts which the written Gospels comprise, or to affix to every circumstance which they detail, its exact date. The resurrection of Christ is established by proof the most ample and complete, though there may be some incidents in the several narratives of that great fact of the Christian religion, which may not satisfactorily be adjusted to other particulars which they contain,
But, though the true time of the birth of Christ, the term of the duration of his ministry, and the date of his death may not be essential to the determination of the question, Is Christianity a Divine religion? yet, these several eras are not unimportant : they have their place among the subordinate particulars which a careful investigator of the Gospels will not overlook. They are circumstances of which a Christian advocate will be ready to avail bimself of every means of elucidation, in order that he may be prepared to obviate difficulties which may occur to the humble and sincere inquirer, and the removal of which may be an essential service rendered to persons whose habits or whose prejudices allow them to be satisfied with nothing short of the most rigid scrutiny into all the subjects which they undertake to examine. And though the result of the most minute and careful examination of these and similar questions, may not be perfectly satisfactory, though the means of a complete adjustment Vol. XVI. N.S.
of apparent disagreements may not be obtained, it will be a con sequence not lightly to be estimated, if the investigation should make it evident, that the difficulties are perplexing, only be cause our information on the subjects to which they relate is im perfect; that they form part of a case, the reception of which, in its entire character, is in strict accordance with the obligations of reason, and in exact harmony with the best established and most approveable maxims of human practice. Such a result will never fail to attend a sober and impartial examination of the New Testament records. Let the investigation of their contents be of this character, and then, let it be full and scru. pulous, and have its course.
The chronology of the life of Christ is a question of some importance in regard to the integrity of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the statements of the former Evangelist being repre: sented by some writers as not reconcileable to those of the latter. T'he conclusion which they would establish on a comparison of these sacred Biographers, would require us to discard tlie preliminary chapters of at least Matthew's Gospel; and, in the full spirit and letter of their demand, this would be but one half of the sacrifice : the initial chapters of Luke must likewise be surrendered. It is quite clear, that, according to the narrative of the Evangelist Matthew, the birth of Christ preceded the death of Herod the Great ; and if it were indubitable fact, that Herod was not then living, that his death was antecedent to the birth of Jesus, it would be impossible to admit the authenticity of the narrative. An examination, therefore, of the chronology of the Gospels, is necessary to the determination of the question of authenticity as applied to at least the initial chapters of the first Gospel.
Now, the genuineness of these portions of the New Testament is supported by the customary proofs on which depends the genuineness of its incontrovertible books: the evidence of manuscripts and versions in their favour is ample and complete; and the testimony of early writers is equally decisive. Unless, therefore, we abandon the acknowledged tests of genuine Scrip ture, we must receive as integral parts of Matthew's Gospel, the first and second chapters of the book which bears bis naine. And with this evidence in support of their claims, we cannot, we apprehend, be at liberty to expunge them from the place which they hold in the Christian records, unless we can challenge to ourselves the most perfect acquaintance with the whole of the circumstances which they comprise, and are fully prepared to shew, that they want the characters of truth, and are at variance with facts the reality of which is indisputable. It will not be reckoned sufficient to warrant their rejection, that difficulties of the strongest kind exist in those chapters, and that every at