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The beneficial influence of Christianity is well illustrated, in answer to those who urge against it the plea of its inefficacy.
The Author then goes on to examine the objections that have been raised to the divine authority of this religion from the incredibility of some of its do&trines, particularly those concerning the Trinity, and atonement for sin by the fufferings and death of Chrift; the one contradicting all the principles of human reason, and the other all our ideas of divine justice. To these objections I shall only say, that no argument founded on principles which we cannot comprehend, can poffibly disprove a proposition already proved on principles which we do not understand ; and therefore that on this subject they ought not to be attended to; that three Beings Mould be one Being, is a propofition which certainly contradicts reason, that is our reason;
but it does not from thence follow, that it cannot be true; for : there are many propositions which contradict our reason, and
yet are demonstrably true : one is the very first principle of all : religion, the being of a God; for that any thing should exift
without a cause, or that any thing thould be the cause of its own existence' (these expressions however are far from being fynonymous) - are propositions equally contradictory to our reafon ; yet one of them must be true, or nothing could ever have exifted.'
This fpecimen of our Author's metaphysical reasoning is sufficient : he lays it down as a principle, that the Scripture-Trinity contradicts our reason; and yet reasons about it. He might as well have saved himself the trouble, and advanced at once to bis conclufion. “Thefe,' referring to the doctrines above re
cited, confidered as declarations of facts only, neither contraen om diet, nor are above the reach of human reason. The first is a
proposition as plain, as that three equilateral lines compose one I triangle; the ocher is as intelligible, as that one man should i discharge the debts of another.'
There is one passage in that part of the book, where the The Author illustrates the wisdom and rectitude of the Christian difbe pensation, which we cannot reconcile with the principles 'and poleg general design of this performance. He has told us, that the is argument from the internal evidence of Christianity is that,
• which seems to carry with it the greatest degree of conviction;' se and he compares it with those derived from prophecy and mi
racles : this argument evidently arises from the intrinfic reason
ableness and excellence of the Christian doctrines and precepts : Ty thus far we are agreed : But how must we judge of the nature Protein and tendency of Christianity? The answer is obvious, by rea
fonReason, fays this Writer, is undoubtedly our surest Pilf guide in all matters, which lie within the narrow circle of ber i intelligence : on the subject of revelation her province is only to examine into its authority, and when that is once proved, she has no more to do but to acquiesce in its doctrines, and therefore is never so ill employed, as when the pretends to accommodate them to her own ideas of rectitude and truth.' This appears to us as a very unguarded and dangerous pofition; it precludes and discourages all rational inquiry, and, if pursued, will justify the wildelt enthusiasm or superstition.
Our Author concludes the argument with this general obser vation, that if a divine revelation, all circumstances considered,
was in every part familiar to our underftandings, and conso. nant to our reason, we hould have great cause to fuspect its divine authority; and therefore, had this revelation been lefs incomprehensible, it would certainly have been more incredible.'
The perusal of this book, we freely confels, excited at forf Some suipicions and apprehensions as to its general tendency ; but they were obviated by the main tenour of the Author's argument, and by the explicit and ingenuous account he gives of his own Gtuation towards the conclusion: we are persuaded that he is fincere in his professions; and we join with bim in expreffing our wishes that the purpose of this work may be an(wered. Had the arguments (he says) herein ufed, and the new bints here Aung out, been more largely discussed, it might easily have been extended to a more considerable bulk; but then the busy would not have had leisure, nor the idle inclination to have read it. Should it ever have the honour to be admitted into such good company, they will immediately, I know, determine, that it must be the work of some enthuliaft or Methodist, some beggar, or some madman. I thall cherefore beg leave to assure them, that the Author is very far removed from all these characters: that he once perhaps believed as little as themselves; but having some leisure, and more curiosity, he employed them both in refulving a question which seemed to him of some importance,- whether Christianity was really an imposture founded on an absurd, incredible, and obfolete fable, as many suppose it? or whether it is, what it pretends to be, a revelation communicated to mankind by the interpofition of Supernatural power ? On a candid inquiry he soon found, sbat the first was an absolute impoffibility, and that its pretensions to the laiter were founded on the most solid grounds. In the further pursuit of his examination, he perceived, at every step, new lights arising, and some of the brightest from parts of I the most obscure, but productive of the clearest proofs, becaule equally beyond the power of human artifice to invent, and hu. man reason to discover. These arguments, which have con. vinced him of the divine origin of this religion, he has here put together in as clear and concise a manner as he was able, think, ing they might have the same effect upon others, and being a
- opinion, that if there were a few more true Christians in the - world, it would be beneficial to themselves, and by no mean's
detrimental to the Public. .
: ART. VIII. The Art of Drawing in Perspedive made easy to rhofe who
have no previous Knowledge of the Marbematics. By James Fergu2 son, F. R. S. Illustrated with Plates. 8vo. 3.8. 6 d. Cadell e · 1775. : VITE are glad to find that our Author, no less industrious
W than ingenious, is still able, notwithstanding his inform state of health, to 'amuse hinrell' in a way so acceptable e to the Public-as in ftudying and preparing the contents of this
treatise : and we hope that he will long continue to amuse him- felf in the same way. As there are many whose business or res Su creation requires some knowledge of the rules and practice of
perspective, who have neither leifure nor inclination for a course of previous mathematics, a compendium of chis kind was much
wanted, and, we may venture to say, will be very acceptable s and useful. The rules here laid down are concise and clear ; i and yet they may be applied to most common cases that can occut. The drawings are so neat and elegant, that a person of the least attention must be able to understand them. The necesity of this art will be readily allowed by all who know any thing of that which painters call keeping, i. e. representing
objects in the same manner that they appear to the eye, at dif: ferent distances from it. We shall transcribe what our Author
says on this head in his preface. Every man is sensible, that, -- if he should stand by the sea-side, and look at a boat with men
in it at some distance, he could not distinctly see the features of those men, much less the wrinkles and marks of the muscles in their faces or bare arms. And if he were in a boat, at some distance from the land, he could not perceive the eyes and beaks of fowls on the Thore. Yet so it is, in one of the famous cartons of Raphael, representing the miraculous draught of fishes, that men in each of the two boats appear of full size, the fear tures of their faces Atrongly marked ; and the boats are reprefented so small, and the men so big; that any one of them apa
pears sufficient to fink either of the boats by his own bare weight : - and the fowls on the shore are likewise drawn so big, as to
seem very near the eye of the observer ;, who could not poffibly, in that cafe, diftinguish the features of the men in the diftano boats. Org, supposing the observer to be in either of the boats,
he could not see the eyes or beaks of the fowls on the shore.' · Another instance is of a very capital mistake in Ragharl's
historical pidure of our Saviour's transfiguration on the Mount, where he is represented with those who were then with him, almost as large as the rest of his disciples at the foot of the Rev. June 1776.
Mount, Mount, with the father and mother of the boy whom they brought to be cured : and the mother, though on her knees, is more than half as tall as the Mount is high; so that the Mount appears only of the size of a little hay.rick, with a few people on its top, and a greater number at its bottom on the ground: in which case, a fpeétator a: a little distance could as well dif. tinguish the features of those on the top as of those on the ground. But upon any large eminence, deserving the name of a Mount, that would be quite impossible. - My only reason for mentioning these extraordinary particulars, is to shew how necessary it is for painters to be well acquainted with the rules of perspective.' · In the last chapter the Author has described a machine, by which any person may delineate the true perspective figures of objects, without having learned any of the rules. He tells us that he is indebted for the first sketch of it to the late Dr. Bevis, and believes that he was the inventor of it, although he never made it public. The ground plane of this instrument is an oblong square board, to which another moveable piece is fixed by means of two hinges. This moveable part consists of two arches or portions of circles joined together at the top and at bottom to a cross bar as long as the plane on which it refts is broad. One part of each hinge is fixed to this bar, and the other part to a flat board half the length of the lower or bafe plane, and glued to its uppermost side. There is a fiding piece (much like the nut of a quadrant of altitude belonging to 2 common globe) on the outer side of one arch, which may be moved any where between its extremes; and there is such another lider adapted in like manner to the other arch. The centre of either arch is at the lower extreme of the other, where they are joined to the cross bar; and two-threads are stretched tight, one from the centre of one arch to its fider, and the other thread to the slider on the other arch from its centre : the ends of the threads are fastened to the centres and sliders. By moving the siders, the intersection of the threads may be brought to any point of the open space within the arches, In the middle part of the board to which this moveable apparatus is fastened by means of the two hinges, there is a groove, to which is adapted a Niding bar, that may be moved farther out or farther in, at pleasure: at the outer end of this bar is fixed an upright piece, in which is a groove for receiving a Nider. In this slider is a small hole for the eye to look through, when the machine is used ; and a long fit in the upright piece, so that the hole may be seen through when the eye is placed behind it, at any height of the eye above the level of the ho. rizontal bar.
· In delineating any object by means of this machine, it must be fixed to a table with the apparatus laft described from the object; so that the circular arches being raised perpendicular to the plane, the space between them may lie between the eye and the object. A square piece of paper is to be fixed on the surface of that half of the board which is nearest che object. Look through the hole in the upright piece to any point in the object to be delineated, and move the sliders on the arches till the intersection of the threads is dire&tly between your eve and that point; then lay the arches flat on the paper, and mark the intersection of the threads upon it. Proceed in the same manner to determine the situation of every other point on the horia zontal paper; join these points by straight lines, and you will have the outlines of the proposed object : fade the whole, making the lights and shades as you see them on the object itself, and you will have a true perspective figure of it. The arches should be at least a foot wide at bottom, and the eye should then be at least rol inches from the intersection of the threads, when the arch is set upright.
"If a pane of glass, laid over with gum water, be fixed into the arch, and set upright when dry, a person who looks through the hole may delineare the obje&is upon the glass which he se s at a distance through and beyond it, and then transler the de. lineation to a paper put upon the glass.'
Art. IX. An Account of some German l'olcanos, and their Productions,
With a new Hypochelis of the prifmatical Basaltes; established upon Facts. Being an Essay on physical Geography for Philosophers and Miners. Published as supplementary to Sir William Hamilton's Observations on the Italian Volcanos. By R. E. Raspe. 8vo. 3 s. 6 d. Boards. Davies. 1770. THE nature and various effects and appearances of vol.
canos, conftituie a branch of natural history that hath, till very lately, been little attended to. Even the knowledge that such phenomena had ever appeared in many parts of the earth where they have, in fact, been most frequent, may be regarded as a new revelation to the pbilosophic world. Tbe examination of these wonderful objects is, however, well worthy of our carnest pursuit ; and Mr. Rafpe's performance wil be no unuseful guide to the curious investigator.
Our Author has prefaced his wo:k by the following advertisement : ** Many philosophers having of late made use of volcanos and earthquakes as undoubted active principles to explain the inequalities of the earth, it is matter of just surprize why the various nature of volcanos and their productions should be so long neglected. The Author therefore considered the following facts