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Aurea mutasti Saturnisæcula Caesar:
Fastidit vinum, quia jam sitit iste cruorem,
Qur author with wonderful dexterity exculpates Tiberius from
the seeming charge of cruelty, by offering a conjecture; that
the “blood which Tiberius was so fond of quaffing, was no other than the blood of our Lord ;" or a participation of the eucharist. Far be it from us, to detract from the originality of this idea, or to offer any thing in its refutation: we only lament that Mr. R. wo, not fortunate enough to find an equally conclusive proof that Tibérius was initiated into the Christian Church by receiving the rite of baptism. -* Dismissing the consideration of the religious principles of the Roman Emperor, we shall submit a few comments on the defence of his general character. With the opinion which we imave formed concerning the one, we are not very anxious about the other. We are perfectly contented to think of Tiberius, as our fathers thought, and as our tutors instructed us to think. Experienge unhappily shews, that a speculative belief in Christianity is often found joined with an immoral life, and we are not yet inclined to call the political protection of Tiberius, speculative belief. Mr R. has engaged in the arduous attempt of defending his numerous atrocities with great confidence. The destruction of Agrippa Posthumus, of Germanicus, of Trusus, and of Sejanus, are all considered in due order, and Tiberius is exonerated from the guilt of all. We shall give the sum of our judgment on this part of the performance, by stating, that Mr. R. displays a strange mixture of credulity and distrust, that he is sometimes ingenious in proposing his own doubts, and in detecting the fallacies of others; but that his cavils are generally in the last degree puerile. Nothing that he ‘has advanced, has contributed to alter our opinion on these historical questions. At one time we thought of entering into a minute discussion of his account of the rise and fall of Sejanus, and of exposing the weakness of his assumptions and of his objections. But we soon desisted from the undertaking, as it
is not our province to answer his book, and a complete aiiswer
would require a volume equal in size to his own, and a greater share of gravity, than we could muster up on such an occasion. We shall the refore not hazard the loss of our decorum, but take leave of Mir. R. by quoting his own conclusion, to which we shall award the praise which it deserves; viz. that of brevity. - “ if the premises be right, who will deny that the following conclusions may be drawn from them : viz.-That the scoffersa; * . . . . - revealed revealed religion, are incomparably greater fools than they have hitherto been thought—That Unitarians are rather more so–That the first Pope was an arch-impostor, and the greater part of the
first general council, a set of knaves or fools—That the Catholic,
claims, are the claims of dangerous heretics.” P. 432.
We are by no means prepared to assent to the premises, but we trust that we are not less conscientious in our profession of
Christianity, less orthodox in our belief of the Divinity of
Christ, and less sincere in our renunciation of the errors of the Church of Rome.
ARt. VI. Harmonies of Nature. By J. B. H. De St. Pierre. Translated by W. Meeston. M.4, 3 vols. 8vo, Il. 16s. Baldwin and Co. 1815, a
THERE is a figure in rhetoric, which although unnoticed by Cicero, Quinctilian, and other great masters of the ancient school, is nevertheless a vast favourite with the writers of modern days, to whom indeed may be ascribed, in great measure, the credit of its general acceptation. In former times indeed, its powers seem to have been but little understood, and its usage to have been attended with much diffidence and forbearance; a few sentences perhaps here and there were selected for its display, it being then modestly veiled under the names Metonymy, Synechduche, Catachresis, and other unintelligible terms of art: but all this learned lumber has been long since discarded, and what was formerly the artificial ornament of a few flourishing periods, is now the natural and unaffected character of the whole, which thus becomes one entire and unadulterated specimen of perfect No Nse Ns E. Erasmus has composed an encomium upon Folly, and we see no reason why a similar treatise might not be written in recommendation of Nonsense. We should strongly recommend the task to some Professor or LL.D. at least, of our sister kingdom, who might present us with two closely printed quartos on the “Philosophy of Nonsense,” morally and metaphysically considered, which parti
cularly if peppered with a little atheism and treason, and with
an undex rationale to the whole, might prove almost as attractive 24 some publications of celebrity which have issued from the other side of the Tweed. Leaving however this hint to the consideration of those who fire #9 well enabled to improve upon it, we shall now only ‘. . . . observe
observe, that in the use of no other figure is the old maxim artis est celure artem so constantly maintained; as the generality not only of anthors but readers, are wholly ignorant of its existence, even while they are enjoying the gratification arising, from its use; insomuch, that oue man will write, and thousands will read page after page, without having even the most distant idea, the one that he is framing, the others, that they are swallowing one entire mass and volume of No NS ENs E. We do not remember to have seen a happier instance of the continued usage of this exquisite figure than in the work before us, which consists of three octavo volumes, with a portrait of their author (looking exceedingly wise) prefixed to the whole. Monsieur De St. Pierre was a great friend of Rousseau, in whose
school he appears to have studied with very great success.
These volumes were first edited in French by Louis Aimé
Martin, another philosopher of the same brood, and are now presented to the public in an English garb by W. Meeston, A.M. Of this latter gentleman we know nothing, except as the associate of the two former, and altogether they form a goodly coinpany., . . . . . . . . . M. De St. Pierre, as it appears from the account of his biographer, contrived to escape into the country during the massacres of the French Revolution, and there to be permitted in solitude and security to write as much nonsense as he chose. The following passage from the introduction of Mr. Martin will prove the ibiographer worthy of his hero. “It was thus when Athens was making vain attempts to bind nations to her yoke, when the Phocians were violating the temple
of Delphi, when Dion fell under the assassin's poignard, and
Philip, triumphing over the ruins of Olympus, threatened the Tiberty of Greece, that the divine Plato continued to hold, along with his disciples, his tranquil station on the summit of Cape Sunium. There, under the shade of the wood of Minerva; and in the contemplation of those azure waves amidst which the towers of Delos were seen to rise, he forgot the crimes of men, and thought only of their virtues. Nature lay stretched before his eyes, and he called divine inspiration to aid him in the study of her works. - “Such a spectacle, might be deemed the fruit of a poet's imagination, had it not the concurrent testimony of antiquity, and had not the example been repeated, in our days, by a philosopher, who, in point of benevolence, may be called the Plato
of France. It was in the midst of the calamities of Europe, in a
season when ambition called forth wicked men, and when, unhappily, wicked men held sovereign sway in France, that the amiable author of the Studies of Nature, and of Paul and Virginia, fled from our affrighted cities, and took refuge in the bosom of rural o - Solitude
solitude. He despised the honours earned by the sacrifice of virtue, and was indifferent to that fortune which deprives a man of friends, while it surrounds him with flatterers. He sought not the applause of a factious erows, but he received the benedictions innocent victims at their dying moments, who had found in his pages an assurance of a future and a better life. Seated on the banks of a rivulet near his hermitage at Essonne, under the shade of the willow and the poplar, he was accustomed to say, * All is not yet lost; the orb of day continues to spread his bounty over our meadows, and to ripen our corm and our vines, as if mankind continued to be virtuous.” He felt that many of the most conspicuous ornaments of the metropolis of France remind the spectator of little else than successful crimes; that palaces are scenes of meanness; and that triumphal arches are merely monuments of splendid trespasses.” Introduction. Vol. I. P. iv.
Passing over the blasphemous absurdity of such a driveling sentimentalist calling in the aid of divine inspiration, let us now take a nearer view of this Plato of France. We cannot however sufficiently admire the long sight of his great prototype, in discovering the towers of Delos rising amidst the azure waves which surrounded Attica. In the first place, we did not know before that there were any towers in Delos to rise at all; and secondly, if there had been, Plato must have had a pretty good telescope to discover them, unless Delos itself out of compassion to the philosopher's eyes, had been obliging enough to float a little nearer to the shores of Attica. This no doubt was the case; but to return to the philosopher. This work is entitled the “Harmonies of Nature,” and is, we suppose, intended to shew the connection and correspondence of the several parts of creation. M. De St. Pierre is evidently a deist, a theophilanthropist perhaps of the school of Hepaux and Mr. Belsham; for although we have perpetually the most disgusting appeals to the Deity, the Gospel is but once mentioned throughout the whole work, and then merely by chance. It is somewhat strange however for one of these pure and rational religionists (as they choose to call themselves), to invoke the Goddess of Affection to aid him in the performance of his task. This would of itself lead us to suppose, if we
had not numberless other proofs to convince us, that Poly
theism, Deism, and Atheism, are but one and the same creed under different denominations. We do not know whether our
author was one of the worshippers of the Goddess of Reason,
when she appeared in a visible shape to greet the eyes of the French philosophers; we should suspect however, that these two Goddesses of Reason and Affection, were of the same breed, and endowed with the same attributes of Universal Philanthropy.
* - - - - - - - “I address
“I address myself to thee, Goddess of Affection, who, with a smile, didst create the spring; who risest from the bosom of the flood, surrounded by Zephyrs and playful Cupids. Poets and painters represent thee, as preceding, on our horizon, the car of the Sun, whose fiery coursers they have fabled to be led by the ‘winged Hours.” But, when thou appearest on the equator, on the horizon of our pole, thou art the source of day-spring in every direction. The morning coues forth from thy ruddy covering, clothed with the pearls of the east, and decked in many coloured robes; her beauty is conspicuous on the summit of rocks, on the surface of lakes, amid the reeds, beside the stream, and throughout the glades of the forest. May thy gentle influence guide me throughout the task which I have undertaken;
consoling me for the remembrance of the past, the hardships of
the present, and the anxiety for the suture. My head is now covered with the marks of sixty-three winters; but by thy benignant power my imagination may revert to the happy moments of youth, when the beauty of nature formed to my mind a delightful contrast with the arbitrary and selfish conduct of man. Afford me thy guidance through the valley of darkness, and through fields which derive their fertility and attraction from thee: my wish is to call ungrateful men to the path of happiness, from which they have strayed, and to lay it open to their innocent progeny. My endeavour shall be to exhibit the beneficence of the Deity in the works of creation; my lessons will have nothing gloomy or obscure; my school is in the midst of meadows, woods, and orchards; and my books consist of fruits and flowers. Vol. I,
We heartily wish that our philosopher's book had consisted of any thing half so good as the veriest refuse of the lowest stall in Covent Garden Market, for then it might have been applied to the useful purposes of the dunghill; at present his “fruits and flowers” but encumber the ground which they cannot fertilize; and like noxious weeds, must be committed to the flames, before they can ever prove innocuous to the land, Now for a little Natural Philosophy. - -
“On analizing the human constitution, we find it composed of various substances and humours, requiring incessant supplies;
such as nerves, bones, veins, blood, and bther fluids; to the con
stitution of which we are in general apt to pay very little attention. Nature has provided, as a daily supply, mourishment of a kindred character, such as corn, wine, sugar, oil ; and has added a variety of other plants for the accommodation of man in regard to clothing and lodging.” Vol. I. P. 9.
Notwithstanding this wonderful discovery of the kindred character of merves, bones, veins, and blood, with corn, wine,
sugar, and oil, we are yet doubtful whether these substances are