« PreviousContinue »
toyensive to Almighty
6. 3. Suicide is further an offence against the Almighty ; for it
upon his own sinfulness and upon the justice and holiness : of God, can avoid contemplating the great day of retribution with awakened feelings, and can do otherwise than shrink into himself at the prospect of appearing before his righteous Judge? The prospect of that solemn.scene, on which the welfare of our immortal souls depends through the endless ages of eternity, is accompanied with circumstances of an awful nature, even to them who put their trust in God and his well-beloved Son. But the death of the self-murderer is accompanied, neither with the faith and awful hope of a Christian, nor with those feelings of alarm and apprehension which are natural to man. With an infatuation, unaccountable in a being endowed with reason and conscience, and sensible of fear, instead of coming boldly to the throne of grace
obtain mercy, he rushes presumptuously to the seat of judgment; and challenges the severity, and hastens the sentence, of God's justice which he thus arms with manifold vengeance against himself.
“ 4. It is moreover an aggravation of the sin of suicide, considered as an offence against Almighty God, that it is often an act of wilful and deliberate guilt. Upon this ground proceeds the sentence of the human law, in the prohibition of Christian burial, thať the deceased did I wilfully and of malice afore-thought effect his own destruction. The proof of a depraved will and fixed determi. nation is not rare, where the deed, having been once attempted, but happily frustrated by the kind favour of Providence, has been again obstinately repeated, until it has at length terminated in irrecoverable death. Such a determination of purpose should appear to evince a heart, closed to the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit of God, and resolved to execute its design however much at enmity with God's will. And it is this determination, this wilful and deliberate purpose, which in a signal degree enhances the cri. minality of the deed, and exposes the criminal to God's displeasure.
“ 5. There is one other, and that a most important view, where God, and as especially exposing the perpetrator to danger. Praised be the infinite mercy and compassion of our heavenly Father, we believe, because the word of God assures us, that the sins of every
Christian may be forgiven on his sincere and hearty repentance through faith in the blood of the Saviour: but we believe also, and our belief is established upon the same unerring word, that such repentance is generally necessary to the salvation of every believer in Christ. Far from me be the arrogance, the wickedness, and the folly of presuming to set limits to the mercy of the Lord Jehovah! Yet thus much may safely be affirmed, that the mercy of God is no where promised to any other than to the penitent and believing sinner: and that he, who dies in the commission of sin, much more he, who wilfully cuts himself off by an act of sin, and thereby closes the door against repentance, does by the same act (as far as human sight can penetrate) close the door upon the divine compassion, and exclude himself from forgiveness and salvation. Christ liveth to make intercession for them who come unto God by him;' but for him, who thus sins against the Lord, who shall intreat?' » Vol. III. P. 363. .
We have been the more copious in our extracts from this Sere mon, because we believe that the sin of suicide is not brought before Christians in any proportion to its frequency; and because a hope may be indulged, that a display of its enormity may diminish its frequency, and tend to the preservation of the lives, and of the immortal souls of many.
It may not have escaped the observation of our readers, that we have omitted to notice those Sermons in this collection, which are professedly derived from foreign sources. We certainly have not omitted to do so, because they are not valuable, though we cannot agree with Mr. Mant, that they are “ the most valuable of its contents *." Where we found so much calculated to edify, and so much worthy of approbation, in Mr: Mant's own unborrowed language, we were unwilling to divert our readers fronı his original compositions to his selections, although most judiciously adapted to those occasions on which he used them. It may be generally observed of the Sermons, that they are, what all Sermons should be, that are intended for parochial and domestic use, persuasive, animated orations, founding Christian virtues on the great scriptural truths of Redemption and Grace. We know that they have found their way into many families, and we hope that they may find their way into many more. In the words of the author, " May they be sanctified both to the writer, and to the reader or hearer, by the operation of the Holy Spirit! And so may they redound to the glory of our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
* Vide Preface.
Art. IV. Æschyli Perre. Ad fidem Manuscriptorum emena
davit, Notas et Glossarium adjecit Carolus Jacobus Blomfield, A.Nl, Collegii SS. apud Cantabrigienses nuper
Socius. pp. 248. Cambridge. Smith. 75. 1814. Few of our learned readers, we apprehend, are unacquainted with the merits of Mr. Blonifield's edition of Æschylus. It was begun above four years ago, by the publication of Prometheus;, a second edition of which was speedily called for, and appeared in 1812, greatly enlarged and improved, and the plan was then completed which Mr. Blomfield has continued to follow in the two next tragedies, the Septem contra Thebus and the Perse Of these the latter is but lately published, and has on several accounts particular claims to the notice of every admirer of ancient Greek literature.
We must preface our account of this play with some general remarks on the present plan of editing the father of tragedy, which will not, however, detain the reader long: the public ap. probation of Mr. Blomfield's edition has been evinced by the great circulation of the two first plays in the series, and by the high reputation which they bave procured to their editor.
For above two hundred years, the reader of Æschylus was obliged to be contented with the text of Canter's edition, which was published in 1580, and copied by Stanley. Though this is somewhat more correct than that of Stephens, yet every page abounds with faults and corruptions, which frequently obscure the sense of the author, and materially impair the pleasure arisa ing from his splendid and magnificent poetry. For that long period, Æschylus derived very little advantage from the labours of scholars, except Stanley; who, although he left the text nearly as bad as he found it, gave in his learned commentaries a great collection of critical and explanatory matter, which, though too diffuse, can seldom be consulted without advantage: indeed we have little hesitation in saying, that the readers of Æschylus are more indebted to Stanley than to any other scholar, except Mr. Blomfield. Still the text remained in the same corrupt state till the three first plays were published by Brunck in 1779, in a small volume, with two other Greek tragedies: in this, as in all other publications, the author's text is frequently improved, and is frequently made worse than he found it. Brunck, ihough possessed of equal acuteness, was intinitely inferior to the critics of the Hemsterhusian school in learning, research, and discretion : he was besides not at all nice in appropriating to himself the remarks of others without ackuowledgment. This defect of candour, joined to his pre
sumption and precipitancy, have brought upon his works a more than ordinary quantity of censure from succeeding scholars. Next appeared an edition of the plays by Schütz, a heavy, plodding, and tasteless German, palpably unfitted by nature for an editor of Æschylus. His commentaries are redious and verbose; and it would be difficult to name a more arisatisfactory book; since the reader, when he turns to the notes for a solu. tion of the difficulties which every page of Schütz's text presents, finds that the editor, unable to comprehend the passage, has only proposed some absurd and revolting alterations, and employs whole pages in explaining the words of his own substitution. It is however impossible to deny, that out of the mass of lumber, much may be selected which a judicious editor may employ in illustrating the author; and this indeed has been done by Dr. Butler. Till the appearance of Mr. Bloinfield's edition, that of Schütz continued the source of students; and it was not to be expected that Æschylus could be a popular author when dressed by so clumsy a hand.
It is now well known, that the Glasgow edition, which goes hy the name of Porson's, was printed from a copy of Pauw's re-impression of Stauley's edition, which had been corrected by the Professor. Without entering into the question of the supposed piracy of this text, we must observe, that it is by no means to be considered as having the entire sanction of Porson : since it received only those corrections about which he felt secure at at the moinent; and all the passages which required consideration, or admitted of doubt, were left untouched. He never considered himself to be accountable for any of the old readings which he suffered to remain ; and he seems to have gone through the whole task of correction in a very short time, probably in single day, at the instance of his friends. We need not remark, that this edition, not having a word of notes, could not supply the wants of the readers. Neither the student nor the advanced scholar can read Æschylus, without wishing for the assistance of the apnotator.
It is commonly understood, that Porson offered to the Syndics of the Cambridge press to undertake an edition of Æschylus, which they declined to patronize, unless he would adopt the corrupt text of Stanley : which condition he, as might have been expected, would not accept. If this statement be true, the Syndics of that time deserve all the opprobrium which we have seen lavished upon them in different journals, for their barbarous hostility to improvement, and their inore than Gothic bigotry. But we are strongly inclined to believe, that there is a material misapprehension in the case, and that the fact was, that the Syndics, wishing the Cure Secundæ of Stanley, which were in
manuscript in the possession of the University, to be published,
At all events, the University of Cambridge must be considered
His notes at the bottom of the page contain collations of the