Page images
PDF

** bordcrs of EthiopiaZ".. Solinus relates, that there was a tower called Syrup: in lower Egypt. Ethiopia borders Egypt on the south. In striking Egypt, then, from the tower of Syene to, the borders of Ethiopia, it is struck from north to fbuth: that is, from one extremityto the other. The doctor, then, has lofl time in, correcting the prophet Ezechiel's map, and subv fiituting Arabia for Yet this pall'age of Ezechiel is his chief plea for allegorizing Genefis : with what success let the reader judge.

A warm fancy, in a Paroxysm of zeal, may indulge its boundless excursions in the path of allegory, when Obscure passages and mystical expreffions open a field for interpretations and allusions. Mead, Whiston, Wefiey, and the doctor himself, may discover the pope in the beast with ten horns ; and Rome in the great city built on seven hills. The Jewish rabbins, after obtaining permiflion to build a synagogue from the prince of Orange, applied to their benefactor, this famous passage of lsaiah : " On " that day, seven women will take hold of onev " man : " alluding to the Seven United Proe vinces that had elected him stadtholder : and I myself, if I were in humour, could, in a long, winded discourse, enlarge upon the seven sa-_ craments, or the three theological and four seven golden candlesticks mentioned in the re: velations of St. John. But in a historical narra.' tion, giving an account of the' origin of the world,-of a garden planted with trees, watered with four rivers,-with their names,-the coush tries through which they flow,-the precious fiones, mines and' minerals, to be foundin those countries, &re-the introduction of an allegory is the subversion of reason.

cardinal virtues; and compare them to the seven

. Even where allegories can be used with any propriety, our masters in rhetoric lay down as a rule, a that, in the chain of metaphors contiU nued through the discourse, aptness, resemW blance, and justness of allusion, must be " strictly observed." What justness os allusion is there between the human mind, and a garden planted eastwm'd in Edcn, 'where God put the man whom he had created .? As much as there is in saying, God made man, and placed him cast-ward in his mind. What analogy is there between the four rivers and the four cardinal' virtues ? between fortitude and Pz'san or the Gangci, with the effeminate natives that inhabit its banks ? Between prudence and the Euphmtcs .? Justice and Gihon or the Nz'le, with its Crocodiles ? Tempcrance and Hiddekcl or the Tygris, which, as Moses relates, and as geography in-. forms us, goeth towards the cast of Assyrizz, a country famous. in former days for the intempe' rance rance of its inhabitants ? The four cardinal virtues being set afloat on the four rivers, and the doctor's imagination having spent the fire of his allegory, we are at a loss what virtue to describe by the onyx-ston'e, mentioned by Moses in the following words : " The name of the first river is Pison ; that is " it which compasseth the land of Havilah, a where there is gold : and the gold of that " land is good : and there is bdellium and the " onyx-stone." By gold, doubtless, he must mean charity or patience. But of the vnyte-sten,there are four kinds : and we would be obliged to our dogmatizing philosophers for describing their four correspondent virtues.

Let them inform us, in like manner, whes ther the hdellium mentioned by Moses, be one of the thealogieal or a branch of the cardinal virtues. For though in dispensatories, the bdellium be allowed to be a good nostrum of an emollient and discutient quality, yet the learned, whether commentators of scripture or natural philosophers, are no more agreed about the true nature of bdellium, than they are about the manner how it is produced: and it is much doubted whether the bdellium of the ancients be the same with the modern kind. '

Thus, in the disputes about a drop of gurn

tesm, the nature and production whereof perple: plex the most learned, we discover the Weakness of, human reason. We cannot dissect a fly; and we would fain comprehend the way's of Providence. NVe would fain sound the unfathomable ocean of the Christian religion, and arraign its mysteries at the tribunal of a glimmering reason, when the small atom. that swims on the surface, baffles our scverest scrutiny.

I have the honour to be, &e.

ART H U R O'LEARY.

LETTER

L E T T E R II,

SIR,

TO. our modern philosophers, who set up the proud idols of their own fancies in opposition to the oracles of the Divinity,-and, endeavouring to discover absurdities in the Christian religion, fall into greater,--we can, without disclaiming our title to good manners, apply what St. Paul applied to the philosophers of his time : " They " became vain in their imaginations : pro" setling themselves to be wise, they became " fools." In order to sap the foundations of revealed religion,-and to make man the spcrt of chance, who neither lost any privilege by Adam's fall, nor gained any'thing by Christ's redemptionr-they endeavour to obtrude Moses on the public as an allegorical writer. Examine his character, and. acknowledge their

folly.

Besides his divine miffion, in what historian does truth shine more conspicuous ? He relates his personal defects, as well as the extraordinary powers with which the Lord invested him ; de

ducesa long chain of patriarchs from the ffist man

« PreviousContinue »