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lected as the first person to preach at Boyle's lectures (founded by that honourable gentleman, to assert and vindicate the great fundamentals of natural and revealed religion), upon which occasion he successfully applied sir Isaac Newton's “ Principia Mathematica,” to demonstrate the being of God, and altogether silenced the Atheists, who, in this country, have since that time, for the most part, sheltered themselves, under Deism. The subject of his discourses was the folly of atheism, even with respect to the present life, and that matter and motion cannot think; or a confutation of atheism from the faculties of the soul, from the structure and origin of human bodies, and the origin and frame of the world itself; and though he was but young, and even only in deacon's orders, he laid the basis and foundation upon which all the successors to that worthy office have since built. Though this was a task of great extent, and no small difficulty, yet Mr. Bentley acquitted himself with so much reputation, that the trustees not only publicly thanked him for them, but did moreover, by especial command and desire, prevail upon him to make the said discourses public, upon which he gave the world a volume, 1693, 4to, containing eight sermons, which have not only undergone a number of editions, but have been translated abroad into several languages.

On the 2d of October, 1692, he was installed a prebendary of Worcester by bishop Stillingfleet. Upon the death of Mr. Justel, Mr. Bentley was immediately thought upon to succeed him, as keeper of the royal library at St. James's; and accordingly, a few months after his decease, he had a warrant made out for that place, from the secretary's office, December 23, 1693, and had his patent for the same in April following. Soon after he was nominated to that office, before his patent was signed, by his care and diligence he procured no less than a thousand volumes of one sort or other, which had been neglected to be brought to the library, according to the act of parliament then subsisting, which prescribed that one copy of every book printed in England, should be brought and lodged in this library, and one in each university library. It was about this time and upon this occasion of his being made library-keeper, that the famous dispute between him and the honourable Mr. Boyle, whether the epistles of Phalaris were genuine or not, in some measure, at first took rise, which gave occasion to so many books and pamphlets, and has made so much noise in the

world. This controversy upon a point of learning, in itself not very entertaining, was managed with a wit and humour which rendered it interesting to the public. The world was at that time a little biassed in favour of the production of the young nobleman, at least as to the genteel raillery of his pieces; for as to the dispute itself, viz. the genuineness of the Epistles of Phalaris, the best judges almost universally now give the preference to Dr. Bentley; nor does he much, if at all, fall short of Mr. Boyle, in throwing a deal of life and spirit into the controversy, particularly in his answer to Mr. Boyle, whịch is interspersed, as well as Mr. Boyle's piece, with abundance of wit and humour, and is, upon the whole, reckoned much the best book. When, in 1696, he was admitted to his degree of D. D. he preached, on the day of the public commencement, from 1 Peter iii. 15. “ Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” About this time the university entered upon a design of publishing some editions, in 4to, of some classic authors, for the use of the duke of Gloucester. Dr. Bentley, who was consulted upon the occasion, advised Laughton, to whose care the edition of Virgil was committed, to follow Heinsius very close, but his advice was not complied with. Terence was published by Leng, Horace by Talbot, and Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, by Mr. Annesley, afterwards earl of Anglesey. Dr. Bentley procured from Holland the types with which these books were printed. At the express desire of his friend Mr. Grævius, he published his “ Animadversions and remarks on the poet Callimachus,” making, at the same time, a collection of some scattered pieces or fragments of that author. These he finished and sent over to Mr. Grævius, towards the latter end of his dispute with Mr. Boyle, and Mr. Grævius published them abroad in 1697. In 1700, upon the death of Dr. Montague, he was by the crown presented to the mastership of Trinity-college, Cambridge, which is reckoned worth near 1000l. per annum, upon obtaining which preferment he resigned his prebend of Worcester; but June 12, 1701, on Dr. Saywell's death, he was collated archdeacon of Ely. What next employed his critical genius were the two first comedies of Aristophanes. Upon these he made some curious annotations, which were published at Amsterdam in 1710; as was much about the same time, at Rheims, his emendations, &c. on the fraguients of Menan

der and Philemon, in the feigned name of “ Phileleutherus Lipsiensis.” Under this character he appeared again, in 1713, in remarks upon Collins's discourse of free-thinking, a book which had made no small noise in the world at that time. This he handles and confutes in a critical, learned, and yet familiar manner. Before his Remarks on Freethinking, in 1711, came forth his so long-expected and celebrated edition of Horace. What he intended, was not properly to explain his author, but only to correct what he judged remained still corrupted in the text, as he himself tells us in his preface; and this by the help and assistance, either of ancient manuscripts, old editions, or by conjecture. This, it must be confessed, was a nice and dangerous undertaking, but he succeeded at least in correcting a much greater number of passages than any, or all his formier interpreters, ever had done ; furnishing us, in this his new edition of our elegant Roman poet, with a great number of very plausible, and probable, and unquestionably, some genuine emendations. Le Clerc abroad was Bentley's chief opponent in this edition. At home, in the year following the doctor's edition, viz. 1712, came out, by various hands, the odes and epodes of Horace, in sixpenny numbers, making in the whole two volumes in 8vo; the titles of which are “ The odes and epodes of Horace in Latin and English, with a translation of Dr. Bentley's

To which are added notes upon notes, done in the Bentleian style and manner.” In the preface they “humbly hope that the reader will encourage the following essays, upon several accounts. First, as they are designed to shew him the best author of Augustus's age in his native purity. Secondly, to give him a further proof how far all áttempts to render him into English, even after the best version now extant has succeeded no better, must fall short of the original. Thirdly, to convince him how ridiculous it is to presume to correct Horace without authority, upon the pretended strength of superior judgment in poetry: And lastly, how easily such a presumption may be turned upon the authors, and sufficiently expose them in their own way.” This last paragraph seems indeed to express the greatest part of the design of this work, which is executed with a great deal of spirit and humour. On the 5th of November, 1715, the doctor preached a sermon before the university against popery, on which somebody soon after published remarks, which occasioned Dr. Bentley's


answer, entitled “Reflections on the scandalous aspersions cast on the Clergy, by the author of the Remarks on Dr. Bentley's Sermon on Popery, &c.” This was printed in 1717, in 8vo.

In 1716, at which time he succeeded to the chair of Regius professor of divinity, the doctor had two printed letters inscribed to him, dated Jan. 1, to which also was added his answer, concerning his intended edition of the Greek Testament, giving some account of what was to be expected in that edition; and in thern we are informed, that he intended to make no use of any manuscript in this edition that was not a thousand years old or above; of which sort he had got at that time twenty together in his study, which made up, one with another, 20,000 years. After having had this affair in agitation for about four years, he at last published proposals for it, which met with great encouragement. But soon after came out Remarks, paragraph by paragraph, on these proposals, by Dr. Conyers Middleton, as it afterwards appeared, who sets out by assuring his reader, that it was neither personal spleen, nor envy to the author of the Proposals, that drew the following remarks from him, but a serious conviction that Dr. Bentley had neither talents nor materials proper for the work, and that religion was much more likely to receive detriment than service from it, 66 The time, manner, and other circumstances of these proposals,” says he, “make it but too evident, that they were hastened out to serve quite different ends than those of common Christianity ; and I think it my duty to obviate, as far as I am able, the influence they might have on some, whom big words, and bold attempts, are apt to lead implicitly into an high opinion and admiration of the merit and abilities of the undertaker." Dr. Middleton then proceeds to criticise, paragraph by paragraph, Dr. Bentley's proposals. Soon after these Remarks, paragraph by paragraph, the Proposals appeared, with a pamphlet entitled “A full answer to all the Remarks of a late pamphleteer, by a member of Trinity college, Cambridge," 1721, signed J. E. This Dr. Middleton, and all, imagined could be none but the doctor himself, as well from the style, as the letters J. E. the two first vowels of Richard Bentley: and, upon this supposition, Dr. Middleton and others, in their future remarks, make that one great handle for abusing him. It is, however, somewhat uncertain, whether Dr. Middleton might not be as much mistaken as to the author of those Remarks, as the

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very author of those Remarks was with respect to the author of the Remarks paragraph by paragraph, who supposed them to be made by Dr. Colbatch. Soon after this came out a pamphlet, with some further “ Remarks, &c. containing a full answer to the editor's late defence of his Proposals, as well as all his objections there made against my former reinarks, by Conyers Middleton, D. D.” As also, an anonymous letter to the reverend master of Trinity college, Cambridge, editor of a new Greek Testament. We also find, under the catalogue of the doctor's works in the Bibliotheca Bodleiana, much about this time, another publication, somewhat analogous, and relating to this affair, viz.“ An enquiry into the authority of the primitive Complutensian edition of the New Testament, in a letter to archdeacon Bentley,” 1722, 8vo. As to these proposals, Dr. Middleton takes upon him to say, that they were only published with a view “ that some noise should be made in the world in his favour, to support his declining character by something great and popular, to recover esteem and applause to himself, and throw an odium and

contempt upon his prosecutors, &c.In 1725, at a public commencement on the 6th of July, the doctor made an elegant Latin speech, on creating seven doctors of divinity, in which, at the several periods, by little notes below, is set forth the whole form of the creation of a doctor of divinity. This piece is usually joined to his edition of Terence and Phædrus : at least it is added to the Amsterdam edition of them in 1727, a very neat edition, corrected for the press by the doctor. To these notes on Terence, he has also added those of the learned Gabriel Faernius, and taken great pains in amending and correcting the author, not only from those ancient manuscripts which Gabriel Faernius had procured, but also from whatever manuscripts the royal library, those of Cambridge, or any of his friends, could afford; some of which, he assures us, were of great antiquity, and at least next, and very little inferior, to those of Faernius, the orthography of which, as the most ancient manuscript, he altogether follows. He has likewise altered the text in abundance of places, and assigns in the notes the reason for such alteration. Then follows the Schediasma of the metre and accents of Terence, by which the doctor proves that Terence is written all in verse, This, however, was a matter of some controversy between the learned bishop Hare and our author; and during the

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