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Such are the outlines of this incomparable Sketch, which, because sinple, becomes practicable, especially in fuch a confined territory as Corsica. The generous concern expreffed by the author for the common rights of mankind cannot be fufficiently commended ; and the ease and perfpicuity which runs through the whole of this little pamphlet render it a valuable present to the public.
XI. The Prerage of Scotland : A Genealogical and Hißorical Ac
count of all the Peers of that Ancient Kingdom ; their Defcents, Collateral Brancbes, Biribs, Marriages, and Ifue. Together swith a Like Account of all the Altainted Peers; and a Complete Alphabetical Lift of those Nobles of Scotland, whose Titles are Extinct. Collected from Parliament Rolls, Records, Family Documents, and the Personal Information of many Noble Peers. Also the Paternal Coats of Arms, Crests, Supporters, and Mottoes, most elegantly engraved. 8vo. Pr. 6s. Cadell. HIS publication may be considered as a fupplement to Collins's English peerage.
It affords little or no room for criticism, since it is merely a compilation from former peerages, with additions carried down to the present time, collected from oral or other informations. Upon inspection, we find very little to reprehend; and the plates of the arms are well executed, a few orthographical mistakes excepted.
We have already reviewed a work of the same kind, from whence this performance seems principally to have been extracted. In general, the state of the peerage of Scotland, especially of the old families, is better ascertained than that of England. Robert Bruce, the greatest of the Scotch kings, had received a private education from his father, and was, for those times, an excellent claffical scholar, and even a poet. James I. of Scotland, while a prisoner in England, was a pupil to Chaucer, lived at Croydon in the neighbourhood of London, was the friend and companion of Henry V. of England, (who had himself an univerfity education) and was an adept in all the polite literature of that age. The art of writing under those two princes was brought to great perfection in Scotland, and the fondness of their ancient families to transmit their genealogies, undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of their high antiquities. After the reign of Edward I. of England, and even before that time, many ancient Scotch chapters very beautiful written, are extant, which we may very reasonably afcribe to the excellent queen Margaret, an Anglo-Saxon princess, and wife to Malcolm III. who, though an illiterate prince, was an 8
indulgent husband, and left his wife at liberty to polish and improve the manners of the Scots, which she dil to a degree hardly credible. Some Scotch manuscripts, of her age, cf fur. prising beauty, we are told, are still extant in foreign libraries, to which they were carried to avoid the Gothic rage of the reformers.
Other circumstances concur to render the peerage of Scotland less intricate than that of England. The principal is, that there was a much less fluctuation of landed property in the former than in the latter; and therefore the lineages of the principal landholders were better known and less interrupted than in the southern parts of the island, where they were disordered by the acquisitions made by commerce.
As a further recommendation of this work, we must remind our readers, that when the present race of peers in Scotland is extinct, it cannot be supplied by new ones, and therefore collections of this kind ought to be encouraged ; not to mention that heraldry is more indebted to Scotch students than those of any other nation.
XII. Sermons on several Subjects. By John Ogilvie, D. D. Minifer at Midmar. 8.vo. Pr. 25. 6d. Becket and de Hondt.
'HE author of these discourses does not attempt to enter
timent ; nor does he endeavour to work upon his imagination by animated descriptions of virtue and vice, a resurrection and a future judgment, heaven and hell, or any of those awful and momentous topics which religion affords. His intention is to explain and enforce, upon christian principles, fome moral truths of universal importance; and it is his opinion, ‘ that the fame simplicity ought to characterize the sermons of the Chriftian preacher, which is required to distinguish his manners.'
This volume contains fix discourses. In the first the author has made feveral just and pertinent observations on the cause and consequences of prejudices against religion.
In the second he endeavours to point out the internal evidence of Christianity. For this purpose, he takes a short view of man as he stands at present ; he shews the weakness and frailties of human nature ; and considers the Christian scheme, as it is peculiarly adapted to supply his greatest and most conspicuous defects.
The nature, importance, and advantage of Christian circumspection is the subject of the third discourse. The duty of charity is explained and recommended in the fourth. The Vol. XXII. April, 1767.
fifth represents the vanity of human enjoyinents; and in the fixth the author Mews the necessity and advantages of practice as the test of faith.
As a speciinen of his stile and manner, we shall give an extract from the first discourse. Having observed, that men, to whom the character of being ashamed of religion is properly applied, either fall into this conducă from a foolish desire of fingularity, or by not separating the arguments from the characier of the person they propose as a model of imitation, or lastly, by presuming that they are not intentionally wrong, he makes the following remarks on each of these arguments,
'1. As to the first, says he, we may observe, that persons who are ashamed of religion from no other motive than a mean affectation of singularity, are generally convinced themselves that their practice is not agreeable to the dictates of reason; and therefore they endeavour carefully to conceal the real inducement upon which they act from the cognizance of mankind, as being inwardly conscious of its invalidity. To desire these perfons to reflect, that neither truth nor falfhood depends upon the facuating opinions of individuals or societies; to inform them, that it is therefore as ridiculous to act as if they disbeHeved any dolirine of revelation merely because it had obtained univerfàl credit, as it would be to deny that there have been fuch persons as Alexander and Cæsar, because the fact is not commonly called in qucftion; this method of reasoning would be wholly superfluous, because of this truth they are already alcertained. I would, therefore, only ask such men to advert, whether, by indulging this habit, they are not dashing upon that rock which they most sedulously study to avoid ? Let them reficet, whether, while they declaim against Paition, they are not themselves submitting to her government, by proceeding in a course which they pretend not to justify. Let then think, while they brand enthusiasin with ignominious epithets, when ther they thcinselves are not the groitat enthufiafts, if that title may be appropriated to persons who are actuated by an impuite which they know to be wrong, but do not endeavour to refil If they would hear with indignation the name of furious zeals applied to their own characters, let them consider what defignation can be more jully appropriated to persons who have in. listed in the service of pallion, and are' every moment facrificing conviction to caprice. We need only to change a few circumttances, and all the epithets of reproach which the Freethinker liberally bestows on the Religionist, inay, with equal realon, be retorted on himself. The only difference betwixt the ex: vele on either side is, that the latter suffers himself to be led
too far by adhering to maxiins which are originally founded on reason, while the former inflexibly pursues a course of which he is sensible, in many cases, that reason disapproves. The man of principle, therefore, even fuppofing his conduct to be in some measure culpable, is as much preferable, upon the whole, to him who is alhamed of religion from the affectation of fingularity, as a man who errs with a good intention is to him who commits the same fault in defiance of conviction.
2. The second plea by which men attempt to vindicate their being ashamed of religion, will be found, upon examination, as unequal as the first. It proceeds, as I already observed, from considering the character of the person whom they propose to imitate, and being kept by this circumstance from weighing . bis arguments. This plea is exhibited with a good deal of oftentation by some advocates of infidelity, who seem to exult in the number of great names which can be produced on their side of the question. The defenders of Christianity generally reply, by making out a list of the opposite party; and the impartial are left to decide on either part, as they are differently prompted by taste and disposition. Without repeating what hath been advanced on either side, I shall only inquire at present, how far the Freethinker, simply considered as such in any sense of the word, may be said to discover an enlarged understanding.
• That persons of unquestioned penetration and discernment have, on some occasions, maintained loose and and dangerous opinions in the matters of religion, is a truth which experience will not permit us to question. But let it be remembered, that the point in dispute is not, whether a man of understanding ever was an infidel; but how far it is consistent with this character to propagate doctrines which are prejudicial to fociety? I say, Christians, prejudicial to society ; because the man who is ashamed of Christ, and who endeavours to infuse his sentiments into others, acts such a part as is unworthy any member of that body, which is in a great measure supported by the positive institutions of Christianity.
Setting aside every other benefit, is not the appointment of one day in seven an excellent mean to preserve a proper union, and free circulation of sentiments, among the ditferent mem, bers of any one community ? and are not the persons who at this time dispense the ordinances of religion to be regarded, it not as the servants of God, yet at least as necessary friends of the interests of society ? Considered, therefore, merely in a political light, is not every attempt to subvert this institution, or to turn the dispensers of these ordinances into ridicule; is it not, in fact, a blow levelled at the foundation of government? and is it not ultimately subversive of one rule by which society is ce
mented ?-Is it then the work of reason, or shall we regard it as the mark of superior understanding, to propose the means of effectuating such an end? At this raté, reason would be to every man the greatest possible disadvantage, as an high degree of it would only qualify him to become universally pernicious to mankind. : . Whether, therefore, the persons who are ashamed of religion are or are not possessed of intellectual qualifications in other respects, yet we may safely conclude, that, in this particular instance, they exhibit no proof of them. At the fame time that we admire the subtlety and acuteness of their arguments, we question their integrity, and impeach their prudence. Confidering Christianity, therefore, merely as an human inftitution, we can regard an infidel of any denomination in no other light than as the marksman who whets his arrows with fkill, but dips them in poison. Upon the whole, the man who confiders his being ashamed of religion as the mark of an enlarged underftanding, merely because it is an imitation of that person whom he regards as a model, ought, for the same reason, if he admires the Iliad or Cyropædia, to be an heathen, because this was the religion of Homer and Xenophon.
* 3. The last, and indeed the only fpecious plea to which men who want to support themselves in this practice have re. course, is the pretended innocence of their intention. After having impartially considered the arguments in favour of an open adherence to certain principles, and having examined the inducements by which they are led to act as if they disbelieved them, they cannot find that their practice is unfupported by argument; and therefore their error, if they have been misled, is owing to ignorance, and not to intention.
• The fallacy of this plea lies in the ambiguous meaning which is afligned to the word impartial. It was observed, in the beginning of this discourse, that we can never expect to obtain perfe&t-impartiality in the course of any inquiry which relates to happiness. In fact, it is obvious, that we muk, in every process of this nature, be interested either in favour of one party or another. We cannot read a detail of Witorical transactions without being prepoffeffed in favour of some particular character, though our reason.may inform us, at the same time, that it is far from being intrinsically valuable. In peru: fing, for instance, the history of those revolutions by which the Roman republic was overturned, is not the man who is captivated with the shining qualities of Cæsar, and who becomes interested on his side, convinced that he was at the botu tom a murderer and a tyrant, who meant to sacrifice the liberty of his country to the purposes of ambition? Yet the speci