« PreviousContinue »
SHAKESPEAR. See JOHNSON. Şce TRIAL of the Capt. of the Ardent, 488
TRIAL of Stratton, &c. for the Death of
SHERIDAN's Observations on Sir Wil. TROUBADOURS, History of,
TUTOR of Truth,
J ALETUDINARIAN's Bath Guide,
View of the Evidence relative to the
- of the Dutch Settlements in the
STATE of the East India Company, 244 turbances,
H. of C. On Mr. Burke's Notice,
tion of the Cbriftian Chara&ter,
492 WALKER, Lady Mary, her Observations
168 WALKER's Speech at the Westminiter
TASKER's Ode to the warlike Ger WALTERS's Poems,
Ode to the Memory of the Bishop WASHINGTON, General.. See POETI.
Terms of Conciliation,
WHITCOMB's Sermon at Welesby, 413
on the Treaty between Go- WILLIAMSON's Sermon at Oxford on
THORNTON. See HAYLEY.
WYNNI, Dr. Letter to,
CONTENTS of the FOREIGN ARTICLES,
in the APPENDIX to this Volume.
N. B. For the CONTENTS of the Foreign Articles in the Cor.
RESPONDENCE, inserted in the Reviews for January, February,
NNALES poetiques depuis l'Origine MEMOIRE de l'Acad Royale de Prufre,
BENCIVINNI's Effay on the Royal Gal- MISSIONARIES, their Memoirs con.
572 cerning the History, &c. of the Chi.
DECOUVERTES de M. Marat, &c. 546 Music. See DELABORDE.
DELABORDE's Essay on Mufic, 577
Traitement de la RAGE,
HUNGARY, Comp. Hift of, 580
VOYAGE Pittoresque de la Grece, Ch. V.
LAUDUN's Diff. on the pernicious Effects
dans les Mers de Inde, &c. 542
LI GENTIL's Voyage in the Indian on the Commerce of France,
542 WINDISH, M. C. Goit. his Hift, of the
For JANUARY, 1780.
Art. 1. Ledures on the universal Principles and Duties of Religion and
Morality, as they have been read in Margaret-Street, Cavendish,
R. Williams is a gentleman of so fingular a cast of cha
racter and principles, that we Mhould be tempted to pay z particular attention to him on that account; supposing he were even more deficient, than we imagine him to be, in qualities of higher importance and estimation.
The introduction to this curious performance opens with a definition of insanity. We did not immediately perceive the Author's design in setting off fo oddly. We doubted not,
however, of some design, at the bottom: Mr. Williams seldom 12. says or does any thing, even in the moments of the purest simpli
city, without some reason.
It appears then, that Mr. Williams gives his Readers a definition of insanity, for the sole purpose of convincing them that he himself, however extraordinary, is not mad.
6 The institution of a form of public worship (says he) on those principles which arise immediately from nature, in a community where almost every thing in morals, religion and polity, are decided upon by authority :--the resolution of a man to be the author of it, whọ doth not covet sufferings, and has not the dispositions of a martyr :--the idea of leaving the plan to suc. ceed by its merits in a country where every thing is rendered successful by money or protection :--these have been urged as proofs of insanity: and perhaps they may be. But the applica. tion of them to me hath been owing to an unacquaintance with the following facts, which imply the history of an institution of public worship on the universal principles of morals. VOL. LXII.
! I quitted "I quitted the customary offices of the profession to which I was educated, for reasons which have been already aligned (viz. in the Appendix to the second edition of Eliays on public Worship!. But either because religion is essential to the human mind; or because the habits of a profeffion are, like all others, very difficult to be suspended - I could not reft satisfied out of my employment. On intimating my fituation, I had hopes given me of the most flattering encouragement. But on seeing my plan extended beyond the limits of the Christian church [i. e. seeing the plan was purely a deistical one-as the Author Thould have said in plain language), they were withdrawn, and my papers were put up : for I had none of the views of Re. formers and Apoftles : and it was my intention not to engage, until it appeared to be for the service and pleasure of others, as well as my own.'
This confession is a very frank one: and we give him full and unreserved credit for the truth of it. The children of light are not always wise in their generation. But Mr. Williams, who had renounced all pretensions to their character, was resolved not to act on their plan. The heroic pallion of soulfaving (as Lord Shaftesbury ironically terined it) mingled not with his principles, and had no share at all in the inititution in Margaret-Streel.' AOS T8 5W- Give me where to stand (as Mr. Williams might be supposed to say)— But I will have solid ground: or I will lock up all my initruments. I have not the wings of the Apostles. I cannot work by their faith ; nor live on their hopes.'
But though Mr. Williams did not chuse to venture his bor. tom on the fanciful stocks of reformation, nor to launch his vessel, like a vifionary A poftle, into the air ;--though he wished like a prudent man of this generation, to serve and please himself as well as other people; yet he recoils at the idea of having his plan injuriously degraded,' by seeing it claffed amongit
the unadvised projects of an individual for his own emolu. ment and advarttage.'
After reprobating the designs of fanatics and missionaries, in their attempts to reform churches and kingdoms, he tells his Readers, that his business hath not any thing in common with such designs. The liturgy on the universal Principles of Res ligion and Morality, was first intended as a gratification and pleasure to a fmall number of persons who could worship on no other; to be publicly used, on the fuppofition that it would afford' the fame gratification and pleasure to great numbers in the same circumstances, and bring me fome recompense for my trouble in ufig it.
• When the design was made public, the expectations entertained by some, and the apprehensions of others, were cqually
ill-founded and extravagant. Nay, the opinions formed on the steps which have been hitherto taken, are not the most judicious. Experiments may be to the public as fallacious as fables: they often occafion as many errors, and are always expected to prove too much. If the Institution in Margaret-Street were only to prove, that a liturgy may be drawn up, on principles which all mankind acknowledge, and may be used without offence, even to sectaries and bigots, it would deserve consideration and respect. A bishop quitting his diocese, and attended by both Houses of Parliament, in the same experiment, might have given it more eclat, but not more certainty. In the present case, it is a discovery made by a private man, at some risque, and at some expence. It holds up to the world a fact which hath at all times been deemed incredible; the importance of which to morals and policy may be understood, when men raise their thoughts from the elementary to the intellectual world; and the benefits which may be enjoyed in future by persons who might not have undergone the apprehensions, anxieties, and inconveniencies by which it hath been ascertained.
That good men of all nations and all religions :-that believers in Mofes, Christ, and Mahomet, Free-thinkers, Deists, and even Atheists, who acknowledge beneficent principles in nature, may unite in a form of public worship, on all the great and most important truths of piety and morality, can no more be a question : for it is demonstrated; not by the arts of logic, or the declamations of oratory in books, but by a stated, public service, to which any man may have recourse for satisfaction.'
Mr. Williams proceeds to state the use of his discovery for the benefit of preachers and politicians. The principal use arises from the freedom of communication, which, as he observes, constitutes the bonds by which all asociations, all clubs, and all parties, are held together.' In the illustration of this profound remark, the Author hath thrown out hints which seem to mean something; but we acknowledge ourselves inable to get to the bottom of them. And in truth they must be very deep!-quite out of common reach, since several persons,' he informs us, " eminent for their knowledge in the present science of politics, have not understood him.'
For our parts, we fee nothing very extraordinary in this Gentleman's experiments or discoveries. Whether it be, that our s thoughts are not yet raised from the elementary to the intellectual world,' or that we have yet some little predilection remaining for Christianity, or from whatever cause it may arise, we presume not to determine ; but we must acknowledge, that we cannot see the great utility of this project (confessediy a Utopian one) of uniting the moft heterogenous parties, from the orthodox believer down to the speculative Atheist. No plan of