« PreviousContinue »
rings between object glasses.' This section occupies more than three pages; and Dr. H., through some singular fatality, seems perfectly convinced that his reasoning is legitimate, though we recollect no instance of a similar paralogism in the history of science. He sees and confesses, that the coloured rings are visible at all angles; bis critical separation' only takes place' at certain angles,' in glass, for example, at about 50 degrees; yet, is our theorist perfectly satisfied that this partial critical separation is the general cause of the colours seen at all angles ! And this is the manner in which the theory of Newton is to be overthrown. A much abler mathematician, and a far more ingenious experimenter, than Dr. Herschel, Father Boscovich, advanced objections to Newton's theory of fits of easy reflection and easy transmission, which, after a closer examination, he found really furnished new arguments in furour of that hypothesis. If Dr. H. would follow the example of Boscovich, and could pursue his researches with skill equal to his industry and perseverance, we doubt not he would soon find cause for a similar change of opinion. As it is, we can only regret that the first prac. tical astronomer of the age should wander from the province for which nature seems to have fitted him, and ramble into others where he is a total stranger to every object around him, and where every additional step seems only to take him farther from the path of safety and of fame. XVIII. An Account of a Calculus from the Human Body of
uncommon Magnitude. By Sir James Earle, F. R. S. Read June 15, 1809. .
It is unnecessary to enter very minutely into the circumstances of this singularly painful history. The subject of it (Sir Walter Ogilvie, of Dundee, Baronet) at the age of twentythree received a blow on the back, from the boom of the ves. sel in which he was crossing the ferry at Leith. The lower extremities, and the contents of the pelvis, became paralysed; and though after a tedious confinement he regained in some degree the use of his limbs, his health and activity were never restored. Twenty years after the accident, symptoms of stone in the bladder made their appearance: and the actual existence of the disease having been ascertained by the láte Mr. Benjamin Bell of Edinburgh, the operation of extraction was recommended, but postponed from time to time until the pain occasioned by the increased magnitude of the concretion became perfectly intolerable. , In the summer of 1808, thirty years after the accident, he was removed to London for the purpose of undergoing the operation ; but from the bulk of the calculus, it was found impossible to remove it whole, and it was too firm to be broken down by any mechanical force which it was safe to employ. Ou the tenth day
after the operation, the life of the sufferer was terminated. On inspecting the body after death, the stone was found to fill the bladder entirely ; it weighed 44 ounces apothecaries weight, and its circumference on the longer axis (for its form was in a considerable degree elliptical) was 16 inches, and on the shorter. 14. It was subjected to chemical examination by Dr. Powel, and found to consist of the triple phosphat of ammonia, magnesia, and lime, forming the fusible calculus of Dr. Wollaston, together with rather a large proportion of animal matter. Its internal structure exhibited distinct nuclei, consolidated into one mass, and formed of.concentric layers.
(To be concluded in the next Number.) Art. VI. A Treatise on the Conduct of God to the Human Species, and on the divine Mission of Jesus Christ. By the late J. Hare, A. M. Author of an Essay oo Scepticism, Rector of Coln St. Denys, Gloucestershire, and Vicar of Stratton St. Margaret, Wilts. 8vo.
pp. 393. Price 10s. 6d. Rivingtops. 1809. "AFTER reading the Phædon with attention', says Mr.
** Hare, the reader rises from its perusal with the idea, that the powers of the writer were very unequal to the task he had undertaken.' It is owing to the inexhaustible patience for which reviewers are proverbially noted, that we have a right to advance an opinion of the same kind respecting this volume. Not only has this thankless toil convinced us, that he was singularly destitute of the information and acuteness, as well as the judgement, requisite to compose a satisfactory treatise on the subject, but it has induced us to question whether his mind was of sufficient capacity to comprehend at once the several objects that such a treatise should embrace, or endued with sufficient skill to arrange them in any thing like a natural order, even if the materials had been ready furnished to his hand. · He does not appear to have been at all aware of the extent or difficulty of the task he undertook ; or so much as to have considered what a man of an ordinary share of sense would expect such a treatise to contain. Any consideration of this nature, indeed, in the mind of Mr. Hare, would have suggested but a humble object of pursuit, or pattern for imitation : but it would surely have taught him that his book, in order to answer the most moderate expectations, must contain a history of the divine conduct towards man, so far as it could be collected from the scriptures, occasionally illustrated and confirmed by the annals of the world and common experience: that as many portions of such a history might be supposed, partly from the ignorance, partly from the presumption, partly from the depravity of man, to obscurt. the lustre of the divine character, it would be necessary to vindicate and justify the providence of God, and remove whatever solid or specious difficulties might embarrass it: and that, since the conduct of God to man becomes an object of solicitude, principally as it tends to promote in our minds the growth of piety aud virtue, there must by no means be omitted a description and an improvement of the duties we should practise in consequence of the treatment we have received from the Deity.
We consider it as admitting of rery little doubt, that Mr. H. sat down to write the papers contained in this volume, without any design of making a treatise on the conduct of God to the human species, and that having heaped together a sufficient quantity of materials, upon some points that undoubtedly should be discussed in such a treatise, to form a book of considerable size, he energized his invention (to use an elegant term of his own) upon this subject, and at last very unluckily fixed on the present title. · That this was the case, we infer from the title itself, as well as the whole fabric of the work. Every man, who believes in the divine authority of the scriptures, knows that by far the most remarkable part of the è divine conduct to man' is the mission of Jesus Christ;' which, instead of being a distinct and separate subject, is naturally and necessarily included in it. The different parts of this book, however, have nothing that holds them together. The conclusion would be equally intelligible and impressive, at the commencement, or in the middle, as at the close of the work. You may take away one half of the · pages without producing a chasm, read any portion of it without the aid of any other portion, and arrange the whole, in a manner as contrary as possible to the present position of the parts, without impairing the force of one argument or adding the least obscurity to a single passage. It was only by a proper disposition and a judicious management of the topics Mr. H. pretends to handle, that they could subserve his purpose. They should have been wrought into an entire and solid chain of reasoning, no less firm than polished; not thrown together as plunder collected in the heat of battle. This total want of plan and arrangement in his book, should be attributed, we think, not to his incapacity, so much as to the several parts of it having been composed without any design that they should be stitched up together or pass under a common appellation. We will venture a conjecture, that this treatise is for the most part a transcript of some of the discourses with which Mr. H. edified his parishioners, placed indeed beside each other, but not so far iniproved as to have the repetitions expunged. Hence the first proposition, as he calls it, is devoted to the solution of objections against the divine goodness, and the third to arguments in favour of that attribute, wbile the intermediate space is occupied with a variety of remarks, designed to evince the divinity of Christ, and the divine origin of his mission, interspersed also with the discussion of other subjects.
The same lamentable deficiency of the powers essential to : an author of the lowest rank, that appears in the location, is . also conspicuous in the manufacture, of the separate parts of this treatise. Far from pursuing the beaten track of establishing principles and then repelling objections, Mr. H., by a strange perverseness, first marshals his objections, and in order to obviate them is under the necessity of making use of the same reasonings he must afterwards employ in support of his positions. He confounds distinct subjects, and argues by turns in defence of contrary sentiments. In his view, the premises from which an objection may be deduced, and the objection itself, are the same. His argument very often moves in a circle. He supports the weightiest asseverations by the testimonies of heathen philosophers; and with infinite courage and success labours to prove truisms that every one would have granted him without hesitation. The same facts furnish him with contradictory conclusions; and, in some instances, having magnified an objection into something very formidable, in the same page he degrades it into the veriest absurdity that ever disgraced the human inteilect. To illustrate these remarks by particular examples, would only fatigue and disgust our readers. .
Here,' says Mr. H. in drawing to the conclusion of his labours, "I might exceedingly enrich this volume, by extracting from Dr. Nieuwentyt's “ Religious Philosopher, or Right Use of contemplating the Works of the Creator ;” “ Derham's Physico and Astro Theology;"
Ray on the Wisdom of God in the Creation ;” and “ Dr. Paley's Natural Theology;" many delightful instances of the goodness of God displayed in the glories of his creation in general, and exhibited in favour of the human species in particular : but I forbear.'
The reason of this forbearance, as we find !o a note, is, , that this practice makes one book the mere echo of another.' It might naturally be inferred from this passage, that Mr. H. regarded his treatise as an original work. We should have been disposed, ourselves, to allow him the whole merit of the contrivance as well as execution, but for two other passages, in which he betrays a consciousness of being under considerable obligation to former writers, by claiming these in particular as his own, having never met with the remarks in any work whatever. We regard the paragraphs in which Mr. H. has so advantageously displayed his invention, as very precious
morsels, and cannot but enrich our journal with them both; because we think them as favourable and characteristic extracts as can be made from the treatise, and deem it highly criminal to defraud our readers of whatever has the least appearance of novelty.
Of all the actions of our Redeemer, (excepting his resurrection,) the one which, in my humble judginent, is the most extraordinary, the most peculiar, most particularly impressive of his divinity, and a sensible demonstration of his being the Son of God, is the action of his imparting the holy Spirit to his Apostles : “ He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” This is not at all the action of a mere man ; as such it would have been a contemptible puerility: but as the action of the Son of God, conscious of his divine power, and of his ability to impart its heavenly influence, in how great, how awful and im. posing a way ought it to be considered! When God created man," he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul;" and when the Son of God means that man, dead in trespasses and sin, should again become a living soul, he imitates this action of his Father, and, by this heavenly inspiration, imparts to man that holy Spirit, without which, in a spiritual sense, he must ever have continued to be dead. By this gracious action of our Saviour man becomes, in deed and in truth, regenerate ; a right spirit is renewed within him ; that spirit by which alone his natural corruption and depravity, and the venom of original sin, can be subdued in his mind, and by which alone his soul is disposed to the acquisition of that holiness, without which no man can see the Lord, or be admitted into his kingdom. By this divinc afflatus of our blessed Redeemer, man is emancipated from the power of sin and death; and therefore it is a literal fulfilment of that promise to Adam, that “the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;" and likewise of that to Abraham, that in the Messiah “all nations of the earth should be blessed."
This passage of Scripture merits the particular consideration of those who entertain any doubts of our Saviour's divinity, it being one of those strong proofs, which is calculated to influence the human mind, in the most powerful and efficacious manner, to a conviction and belief of his being the Son of God.' pp. 294–296.
• The goodness of God, in many instances, is like some of his works ; those stars, for example, which, unless viewed by a telescope, are never seen : contemplation is in this respect to the mind, what the telescope is to the eye, and without it we shall never have more than a very imperfect notion of the goodness of God. With the reader's permission, I will illustrate what I mean by an exaniple. The fruits of the field, such as wheat, barley, &c. respectively grow ripe at once, because it is for the evident advantage and interest of man they should do so; and it would be a dreadful evil if they did not : whilst the fruits and flowers of a garden riren in succession, and the fruit even on any one tree does not ripen at once, there being often an interval of ten days or a fortnight between the ripening of the first and last peach or nectarine on the same tree, because these delicious fruits were clearly and unequivocally intended for a continued pleasure and gratification to man; and this gracious intention on