Imatges de pàgina

places: the Mahometan indulges the most profound veneration for the holy city which contains the tomb of his prophet: the Ebionite glows with equal enthusiasm on contemplacing the prospect of Jeruialem.'

This sermon is altogether composed in a strain of sublimity and eloquence which we have never seen excelled. The eulogiums on the beneficial effects of Christianity in reforming the convert nations, are at once pregnant with irsormation, and adorned with the most splendid decorations of fancy and genius.

Mr, Kett next proceeds to observations on the character of an historian in general, applied to the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman empire;' and to a particular review of some ftriking misrepresentations contained in his fifteenth and fixteenth chapters.

Having with much precision defined the general duties of an historian, and offered the tribute of applause to Mr. Gibbon's matchless brilliancy of style and imagination, the acuteness of his judgment, the strength of his reason, and the extent of his learning,' Mr. Kett alledges that ' among the various instances of misrepresentation with which this particular part of the history of the Becline and Fall abounds, there are five which immediately force themselves on our notice. The first is stated to consist in alligning a visionary cause for the propagation of Christianity;' the second, in an attempt to invalidate the truth of prophecy;' the third, 'in an unwarrantable charge of uncharitableness against the primitive Chriftians;' the fourth, 'in drawing wrong conclusions from facts;' and the last, 'in selecting passages manifestly inconclusive, and suppressing others of the same writers, more decisive and equally connected with the subject. After a minute examination of these charges, candour obliges us to confess that Mr. Kett has established them with a force of reasoning which the ad. vocates of the Roman History will find it difficult to repel.: and it must also be allowed, that Mr. Gibbon has at length met with an opponent who is able to encounter him with his own weapons; having added to a profundity of polemic learning, the various arts and fascinations of style and.composition. This attack should be read as well by the friends as foes of the historian. His credit as an author and as a man is at stake ; for a dispasionate review of his insinuations against Christianity induces Mr. Kett to proclaim that the historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a consummate adept in the arts of misrepresentation, and that, deserting the open path of truth, he has attempted to lead his readers into the intricate labyrinths of error.'

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From the insidious and refined opponent of the Christian cause, our author turns to an antagonist of a different descrip, tion; to one, 'whose general plan of attack upon the divinity of Christ is conducted with a singularity of enterprize, of which it is fruitless to search for another instance,' who possesses 'an undaunted boldness, which no opposition has intimidated; an inflexible perseverance, which has been tried in many a pole. mical field; and a refined sophistry which can elude the grasp of confutation. The three grand principles which form the basis of the History of the early Opinions concerning Christ, are stated to be, '1. That the apostolical fathers held the simple humanity of Christ; 2. That Justin Martyr corrupted the primitive faith by the adoption of the Logos of Plato; and 3,

That the pastors of the church maintained a corrupted faith, whilst the illiterate Christians continued to maintain the simple humanity of Christ. The first of these positions is clearly disproved by quotations and deductions from the earliest fa. thers : but we do not perceive any great advantage gained by this demonstration. That the fathers esteemed Christ more than man is apparent; but to make Mr. Kett’s triumph of any consequence, he should have proved, in conformity with the creeds and articles, that he was coequal with God. Not an expression is cited which may not be fairly applied to a human creature highly favoured by the Divinity.

In his opposition to the second charge, Mr. Kett is abun. dantly more successful. He pursứes the enemy with unremita ting vigilance into his most secret retreats, and exposes-but in a tone somewhat too triumphant-fundry misrepresentations of importance.

The refutation of the third charge discovers our author's fingular dexterity in polemics; since he turns Dr. Priestley's principal quotations and arguments against himself, and strips him of the most effective weapons with which he had commenced the combat. A more formidable or concise oppolition to the antiquity and scriptural authority of Unitarianism we have never seen.

In Sermon VII. Mr. Kett considers the evidences given by the earliest fathers of the church to the books of the New Testament.' It is asserted by the noble author of the Letters on History, that the fathers of the first century either made use of different gospels from ours; or the passages which resemble those which occur in our gospels, were preserved by unwritten tradition. These assertions Mr. Kett corrects with his usual accuracy of reasoning and extent of information; and contends that the revolutions of seventeen centuries have left the New Testament in the same state as in the primitive times.' On this subject he inclines to the opinion that the

apostles apostles were in their writings endowed with supernatural allistance; so far as to be guarded from error in the grand outlines of their narration, in the statement of precepts, and the developement of doctrines.'

The last fermon recapitulates the general arguments, draws an analogy between the primitive church and the church of England, and concludes with practical inferences. The labours of our own reformers are recorded in elegant language; and the excellence of our established service is beautifully iliultrated.

We were induced to make several extracts from the two last discourses; but our article is already sufficiently extended. Seldom have ecclesiastical subjects been illustrated with such classic brilliancy, and so strongly supported by authorities.

Mr. Keti's Bamplonian Lecture is a model for the student in literary composition; as well as a monument of honour to himself, and to the cause he defends, ære perennius.

In the next edition sundry errors must be corrected. In p. jo, line 8, read worldly: in p. 163, line 4, a subltantive is wholly wanting to the adjective ecclefiaftical :' p. 166, line 23, read opinion : p. 229, line 14, are mentioned 'the Latin converts of Praxeas, who he had made in Italy:' p. 261, line 15, a quotation from Irenæis has no mark of distinction: and p. 290, line 15, omit to.

Iravels through Cyprus, Syria, and Palestine, with a General

History of ihe Levant. By the 'Abbe Mariti. Trunsated from the Italiar. Vol. III. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Robinsons.

1792. IN our Review for August last, we concluded our account of

the two preceding volumes of this work, not without some apprehension that the abbe Mariti had then completed his plan. But we have now the pleasure to peruse an additional volume, in which he treats largely of what he had formerly only mentioned, the celebrated city of Jerufalem.

He begins with giving an account of remarkable places ir the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, which he had not before viGited. Setting out on the 24th of April in the morning, with a few attendants, he directed his course towards the east; and in a valley surrounded by mountains, at the distance of a mile from the city, he observed the ruins of one of those four monasteries erected by St. Paula. Advancing a little farther, they arrived at a small, but delightful and fertile plain, ajounding with excellent paiture; the appearance of which is so much the more agreeable to the eye, as all the surrounding country is covered with mountains. In this plain was formerly a



church, called the Church of the Angels, but at present, the Church of the Shepherds, said to have been built by St. Helen, in remembrance of those shepherds to whom the angel appeared and announced the birth of our Saviour. Nothing now re. mains of this edifice but the subterranean part, which has been used as a place of worship, and the descent to which is by a modern stair-case, constructed of stones taken from the ruins. It is still entire; thirty-two feet in length and twenty in breadth. The altar, which is separated from the gallery, stands in the eastern side. It has suffered much from the injuries of time; but plainly appears to be of great antiquity. The pavement has been of Mosaic work.

The traveller observed that the walls had been painted with various figures, which are now almost defaced, except in one corner, where he could distinguish a few sheep, and some cots tages, in the back-ground, which are still in pretty good preservation. In the northern part of the wall there is a watercistern, well constructed; but at present it is of no use, being rent and destroyed in several places. Under the vestibule there were also basons and vessels, in which the ancient Christians used to wash their hands, face, and mouth, before they enter, ed the church.

Among the surrounding ruins our author observed the tomb of a religious Mahometan, who, from a respect to this spot, ordered his body to be deposited in it. It is worthy of remark, that the Mahometans in this country entertain a particular veneration for those places which have been celebrated by any action connected with the history of Jesus Christ.

In this plain, near the abovementioned church, ftood the town of Edar. At the distance of half a mile behind the Church of the Shepherds, the travellers found a village, called the Village of the Shepherds. According to vulgar tradition, it was thus named because the shepherds, who were feeding their flocks when the angel announced to them the birth of our Saviour, were inhabitants of it. Those who reside in it at present are shepherds, or poor Christians of yarious sects, , with a few Mahometans.

The travellers af:erwards directed their course towards Bethlehem; but turning a little to the south, and ascending part of a small eminence, they arrived at a plain, where they found a few trees and some ruins, said to be those of a house in which Joseph spent the early part of his life, before he went to Nazareth. Formerly there was a church at this place, said to be built by St. Helen ; but it was destroyed about a century ago, . On the road to Bethlehem, they went to see a grotto situated on the south side of the city, and called the 'Grotto of the Virgin's Milk,' The inhabitants of the neighbourhood have a

tradition, tradition, that Mary retired hither to avoid the perfecution of Herod; and that the suckled her son here for some time. Above this grotto there was a fourth monastery, built by St, Paula, as still appears from the ruins. There was here also a church dedicated to St. Nicholas; and a chapel dedicated to the same faint was seen here entire in 1375.

The travellers, after reposing themselves at Bethlehem, set out again upon another excursion; when they visited David's Wel, which is situated at a little distance towards the west. This well, or cistern, is a large subterranean cavity, which seems to have been formed partly by nature and partly by art. It is called David's Well, because he expressed a strong desire of drinking water brought from it, as mentioned in the fcriptures. | At the distance of a quarter of a mile from this well are the ruins of those aqueducts which conveyed water to Jerusalem, and which form a part of those proceeding from Solomon's cisterns; but in this place the construction of them is somewhat different.

When the travellers had proceeded about half a mile towards the west, thpy found on the left side of the road the sepulchre of Rachel, Jacob's wife, who died here in child-birth of her son Benjamin. It stands in a very rocky plain, and is built in the shape of a small chapel. It is supported by four pilasters, which form the same number of arches, open from the top to the bottom; and over these arises a little cupola, in the figure of an inverted bason. In the middle of this edifice stands a large wooden coffer, raised about seven feet from the earth. It is entirely empty; but some simple people still believe that it contains the body of Rachel. Near it are two other sepulchres, in which are deposited the bodies of religious Mahometans, who, from a respect for Rachel, and the patriarch Jacob, desired that they might be interred here.

This small edifice is constructed wholly in the Turkish taste. In the neighbourhood of Jerusalem there are other Mahometan fepulchres of the like kind; but as our author has seen such monuments not only in Palestine, but in Syria and the island of Cyprus, he is inclined to believe, that Rachel's tomb is not, as some imagine, of very great antiquity.

- A little to the west of this fepulchre the traveller observed various ruins, among which is a tower, called by the inhabi. tants the Tower of Jacob. He could easily perceive that there had once been a large village here, with a castle, in which, as these people say, Rachel died.

The ground on which this village and castle stood, abounds with fand and rocks, and the earth is of a reddish colour. It produces excellent crops of barley; and olive-trees thrive also


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