Imatges de pÓgina

to keep alive and diffuse a due sense of religion in their parishioners.'

The low state of pulpit eloquence is another object of this reverend critic's discussion; and some causes are assigned for it, such as a bad choice of subjects, a bad taste in the language of sermons, a constant repetition of the same scriptural phrases, used, perhaps, with great judgment two hundred years ago, but now become so trite that they may, without any great detriment, be exchanged for others; and farther, the very ungraceful manner in which they are delivered. On this last topic, Mr. Smith expatiates with a degree of sarcasm. We may observe, however, that serious composure and gravity are most becoming in the pulpit, and that much gesticulation awakens suspicion. A man ought always to manifest that he is himself in earnest, not in the pursuit of fame or interest, but in the cause of virtue, truth, and piety; and happy is he who, leaving himself out of the question, really and ardendly seeks to be useful to others !-Excellent is the admonition of the heathen poet,

Si vis me flere, dolendum est,

Primum ipsi tibi. Whether an increase of pomp and ceremony, good fires in churches, or improved music, might advance our piety and virtue, is a question which we shall not at present discuss nor decide ;- but we must not omit one of Mr. Smith's remarks on this subject ;--- The same blighting wind (says he) chills piety, which is fatal to vegetative life: yet our power of encountering weather varies with the object of our hardihood; we are very Scythians, when pleasure is concerned, and Sybarites, when the bell summons us to church. In another part, when speaking of the choice of subjects, it is remarked - The clergy are allowed about twenty-six hours every year for the (public) instruction of their fellow-creatures; and I cannot help thinking this short time had better be employed on practical subjects, explaining and enforcing that conduct which Christianity requires, and which mere worldly happiness commonly coincides to recommend. These are the topics nearest the heart, which make us more fit for this and a better world, and do all the good that sermons will ever do.'

To come now to the discourses themselves :—the subjects of them are as follow : Effects which Christianity ought to produce on Manners. Pride of Birth. Union of Innocence and Wisdom. Farewell-Sermon to a Country Parish. Vanity, Treatment of Servants. Men of the World. For the Swiss. The reader will probably have formed some judgment concerning these sermons from what he will have remarked above, and from the account which has been given of the former volume. Any favourable opinion, which we may have expressed on that occasion, attaches equally to the present. If the author be fively and pleasant, he is also sensible and instructive: if he deviates somewhat from the common track, he does it in a manner which is adapted to draw and to fix the attention ; and if, in some instances, he should be thought, not fully to have discussed the subject, sufficient is said to imply the rest and enforce the whole. The sermon inscribed Vanity deserts the aphorism or sententious reflection of the text, but it affords a striking portrait of the vain inan.-Some objections might, perhaps, be made to the publication : but its merits, on the whole, are very predominant; and we may justly recommend it to notice, as likely to prove really beneficial to those who will allow it a careful perusal. MONTHLY CATALOGUE,

For JANUARY, 1802.

PHILOSOPHY. Art: 19. Choix d'Amusemens Physiques et Mathematiques, &c.;

A Selection of Philosophical and Mathematical Amusements, affording an agreeable Employment for the Minds of Young Persons. By M. L. Despiau, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. 12ino. 2 Vols. Pp. 230. tach. Dulau

and Co. London. Much rational and innocent entertainment is afforded in this

selection; the substance of which, if not rare nor profound, is neither mean nor trivial; and it is well adapted (as the title-page expresses) to exercise the minds of youth, and to send them forth in quest of knowlege by exciting their curiosity.

The first volume is introduced by an argument on the necessity and use of mental recreation. We should hope that this discussion might have been spared, since it defends that which no onc ought to attack, and recommends pursuits which all the world should regard as ritional and amusing.- After the Introduction, we find questions in Arithmetic, Progressions arithmetical and geometrical, Properties of Numbers, Combinations, Problems on Games of Chance, in Algebra, &c. With these are mixed a great variety of what we call Tricks, viz, of divining a person's thoughts, of combining numbers, &c.

The second volume contains an explanation of a number of phunomena ; with instructions for producing those curious effects which Philosophy, in its sportive humour and hour of indolence, has in. vented to amuse, or to astonish the vulgar.

This little work appears to us well adapted to answer its purpose of rational amusement and pleasing instruction : but we wish that the author had not stained it with the cruel artifice of destroying ravens, mentioned in p. 153. Vol. 11.


I zmo

Art. 20. Select Amusements in Philosophy and Mathematics ; proper

for agreeably exercising the Minds of Youth. Translated from the French of M. L. Despiau. With several Corrections and Additions, particularly a large Table of the Chances or Odds at Play. The whole recommended as an useful Book for Schools. By Dr. Hutton, Professor of Mathematics at Woolwich. 58. 6d. Boards. Kearsleý: 1801.

We know not by whom this translation has been performed, but, though not very skilfully executed, it will be acceptable to the English public. From the mode of printing Dr. Hutton's name in the title-page, a hasty reader might be led to conclude that this Gentlea man was the translator : we apprehend, however, that this is not the fact : though the work itself is very strongly recommended by the Doctor, Art. 21. The System of the World. By M. Lambert. Translated from the French by James Jacque, Esq. 12mo.

3$. 6d. Boards Vernor and Hood. 1800.

This work is introduced by an ' encomium' on its author, composed (we apprehend) by the Secretary of the Berlin Academy. The Eulogy is here very incorrectly translated, but appears to have been originally written with much spirit and good sense ; indeed, the Se. cretary had a favourable subject for the exertion of his powers. M. Lambert was born and educated in poverty, but rose superior to adverse circumstances; and he obtained favour and distinction not by caressing the rich and powerful, but by the impressive appeals which the display of his talents made to the judgment of the wise and discerning. His strong sense was contrasted with oddities and singu. larities: when elevated above his humble condition, he still displayed the same simplicity of manners, was unrestrained, positive, and confident: he flattered no one, and never concealed the higha opinion which he had of his own abilities and acquirements:

:-for instance : • The King called him to Potzdam in the month of March. It was a moment not a little critical in the fortunes of Mr. Lambert; and, at first, his stars seemed to decide against him. The peremptory tone of his answers ; the confidence with which he replied without hesitation to the question—Que savez vous *?-Tout, Sire, and then Comment l'avez vouz appris ?-De moimême. t --Striking ears, but little accustomed to such sounds, might naturally enough excite a suspicion, that the repletion of his brain had discomposed some of its main springs. Here the interview ended, but without effect ; nor did it seem to leave the smallest chance in his favour ; but the great Frederick, let into the singularity of the man, who, as one of our worthy colleagues daily honoured with his Majesty's conversation, assured him, bore a strong resemblance to the character of La Fontaine, would not deprive his Academy of a member from whom so much was to be expected. He was therefore admitted with a pension, and pronounced his inaugural oration in the month of. January, 1765. Since that period, his Majesty honoured him with

« * What do you know?-Every thiog.'
++ By what means have you learnt it?-By myself.'.


frequent and distinguished marks of his esteem ; placed him in the financial commission of the Academy, and the architectural depart. ment, with the the title of Superior Counsellor, at the same time making a considerable addition to his appointment. During these twelve years, which have passed away like a dream, Mr. Lambert, in his proper element, devoted his incessant labours to the improvement of science and the public good. He published some excellent performances, and furnished tracts without number, which have been inserted in the Memoires of the Academy, the Astronomical Tables of Berlin, and other collections. All his writings are highly expressive of a universal and original genius.'

The following passage in the Eloge deserves notice :--the concluding sentiment belongs (we think) originally to Voltaire, and was applied by him to Newton, on the occasion of his commentaries on Daniel :

• Mr. Lambert was a stranger to the three kingdoms of nature * : he had never given his attention to individuals, nor to facts in that arrangement. All his points of view centered in the starry vault, in a straight line before him, and in the chamber of his brain, where he was continually immured, even when you thought you were with him, and fixed, or at least divided his attention. No divergency in him either to the right or to the left, always in the region of abstractions, objects in the order, of what are called concretes scarcity grazed bis sphere.

• In fine, it must be admitted that he was almost destitute of taste ; nor was this owing to his neglect of those smiling fields where this fair flower shoots and flourishes; we have already seen that he ven. tured to climb Parnassus ; but in spite of his partiality for the muses, he was ever ready to ask as to subjects of taste, What does it prove? I should not have chosen to speak so plainly on this topic in his life-time; I was no stranger to his pretensions to wit: I got a sight of a memoire in form of a dialogue, which he had been at pains to besprinkle with attic salt ; but in which the academician in disguise had too strong a resemblance to a player out of his part. Great men would drive their inferiors to despair, if they paid no cribute to humanity'

Respecting the present work of M. Lambert, we cannot say that we have been much pleased with it. Undoubtedly it contains many excellent observations, and much sound philosophy: but the specu. lations concerning planets, comets, their inhabitants, atmospheres, &c. appear to us to be puerile and uninteresting. Of the translater we know nothing: but from his language we suspect that he is a foreigner. Many of his sentences are aukward, some unintelligible, and several words are erroneously spelt. We continually meet with elipse, for ellipse ; lense, for lens ; ecliptic curve, for elliptic curve ;-niece for nice ; apoques, for epochs ; Mar's, for the abbreviated genitive case of Mars, &c. &c.

« * He was however tolerably conversant in chemistry; he made various experiments on salts; which made the subject of different papers read in the Academy.'


I 2mo.

Art. 23•

Art. 22. A Week's Conversation on the Plurality of Worlds. By

Mons. De Fontenelle. The 7th Edition, with considerable Improvements. Translated by Mrs. A. Behn, Mr. J. Glanvil, John Hughes, Esq. and Wm. Gardner, Esq.

35. Boards. Jones. 1801.

Fontenelle's Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes are written with such perspicuity and admirable vivacity, that they might be read with delight, even if the doctrines which they taught were totally false. A hundred philosophers could now, indeed, produce a deeper and more learned book : but very few could compose a work of similar merit. To the present impression, the editor has added what he calls Mr. Addison's Defence of the Newtonian Philosophy: a very strange defence, in which the name of Newton is only once mentioned, and then in a parenthesis ; in which his peculiar doctrines and discoveries are not at all recorded ; and in which the chief praise' is that of Descartes, whose system of physics was overthrown by Newton.

A Memoir on the Importance and

Practicability of translating and printing the Holy Scriptures in the Chinese Language, and of circulating them in that vast Empire. Including an Account of the Introduction, Progress, and present State of the Catholic Missions in that Country. By William Moseley. The ad Edition, improved and enlarged. 8vo. 18. Chapman.

Every Christian, who is impressed with a conviction of the importance of the Gospel, must ardently wish to hasten the time when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of Christ. Zeal is commendable in such a cause ; and the contemplative mind will suggest to itself various means by which this glorious work may be promoted and ultimately accomplished: but it is not always considered that the march of truth is slow, and that the operations of Providence rarely comport with our well-meant plans of assistance. How far this may be the case in the scheme detailed in this memoir, time must discover. To diffuse the knowlege of the Christian Scriptures over an empire containing a population (according to Sir George Staunton's account) of 333,0co,oco, is a most formidable undertaking, and we heartily wish it success : but so many difficul ries oppose themselves, that we cannot contemplate it with any sanguine expectations. We agree with Mr. Moseley that the more reHned a heathen nation is, the greater is the probability of its conversion': but it does not appear that the Chinese are sufficiently cordial towards Europeans, to allow them even to travel through their country. The accounts of conversions made by Catholic Missionaries are very questionable. Admitting, however, their statement to be true, that there are 200,000 Christians in China, a Protestant Mise sion and a translation of the Scriptures into the Chinese language may be adviseable: yet a large edition of the proposed Chinese Version, sent out as a mere article of trade, to be distributed by our Merchants and Factors, is not likely to be attended with any benefit. Mr. Moseley is of a different opinion; and he contends that, if the

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