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own previous wickedness, rises up against the offended justice of s'
God, and rejects his offers of mercy.
“ 3. Suicide is further an offence against the Almighty; for it is to rush presumptuously and uncalled into the presence of our Creator, who alone has the power to give life, and to whom alone belongs the prerogative of taking it away. The scriptures instruct us, that we hold our lives, as a stewardship committed to us by our Creator. It is our duty therefore to be prepared calmly to surrender them, whenever he shall reclaim them at our hands, and to be ready to answer for our conduct before the judgment-seat of God. The judgment-seat of God is a term of tremendous import: And who, that reflects on the duties enjoined upon him and on the imperfect manner in which they have been performed; who, that
reflects upon his own sinfulness and upon the justice and holiness:
of God, can avoid contemplating the great day of retribution with awakened feelings, and can do otherwise than shrink into himself at the prospect of appearing before his righteous Judge? The
rospect of that solemn scene, on which the welfare of our immortal souls depends through the endless ages of etermity, is accompanied with circumstances of an awful nature, even to them who put their trust in God and his well-beloved Son. But the death of the self-murderer is accompanied, neither with the faith and awful hope
of a Christian, nor with those feelings of alarm and apprehension
which are natural to man. With an infatuation, unaccountable in a being endowed with reason and conscience, and sensible of fear, instead of coming boldly to the throne of grace that he may obtain mercy, he rushes presumptuously to the seat of judgment: and challenges the severity, and hastens the sentence, of God's justice, which he thus arms with manifold vengeance against himself.
“4. It is moreover an aggravation of the sin of suicide, consi-.
dered as an offence against Almighty God, that it is often an act of
Christian may be forgiven on his sincere and hearty repentance through faith in the blood of the Saviour: but we believe also, and our belief is established upon the same unerring word, that such repentance is generally necessary to the salvation of every believer in Christ, Far from me be the arrogance, the wickedness, and the folly of presuming to set limits to the mercy of the Lord Jehovah! Yet thus much may safely be affirmed, that the mercy of God is no where promised to any other, than to the penitent and believing sinner: and that he, who dies in the commission of sin, much more he, who wilfully cuts himself off by an act of sin, and thereby closes the door against repentance, does by the same act (as far as human sight can penetrate) close the door upon the divine compassion, and exclude himself from forgiveness and salvation. Christ ever liveth to make intercession for them who come unto God by him;’
but ‘for him, who thus sins against the Lord, who shall intreat?’”.
We have been the more copious in our extracts from this Sermon, because we believe that the sin of suicide is not brought before Christians in any proportion to its frequency; and because a hope may be indulged, that a display of its enormity
may diminish its frequency, and tend to the preservation of the
lives, and of the immortal souls of many. It may not have escaped the observation of our readers, that we have omitted to notice those Sermons in this collection,
which are professedly derived from foreign sources. We cer
tainly have not omitted to do so, because they are mot valuable, though we cannot agree with Mr. Mant, that they are “ the
most valuable of its contents *.” Where we found so much cal
culated to edify, and so much worthy of approbation, in Mr: Mant's own unborrowed language, we were unwilling to divert
our readers from his original compositions to his selections, al- .
though most judiciously adapted to those occasions on which he used them. It may be generally observed of the Sermons, that they are, what all Sermons should be, that are intended for parochial and domestic use, persuasive, animated orations, founding Christian virtues on the great scriptural truths of Redemption and Grace. We know that they have found their way into
many families, and we hope that they may find their way into many more. In the words of the author, “ May they be sanc
tified both to the writer, and to the reader or hearer, by the
operation of the Holy Spirit ! And so may they redound to the
glory of our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
ART. IV. A.schyli Perso. Ad fidem Manuscriptorum emen
davit, Notas et Głossarium adjecit Carolus Jacobus
w Blomfield, A.M. Collegii SS. apud Cantabrigienses muper Socius. pp. 248. Cambridge. Smith. 7s. 1814.
- FEW of our learned readers, we apprehend, are unacquainted with the merits of Mr. Blomfield's edition of AEschylus. It - was begun above four years ago, by the publication of Proo metheus; a second edition of which was speedily called for, and appeared in 1812, greatly enlarged and improved, and the plan was then completed which Mr. Blomfield has continued to follow in the two next tragedies, the Septem contra Thebus and the Persa. Of these the latter is but lately published, and - has on several accounts particular claims to the notice of every admirer of ancient Greek literature. We must preface our account of this play with some general ". remarks on the present plan of editing the father of tragedy, which will not, however, detain the reader long: the public approbation of Mr. Blomfield's edition has been evinced by the great circulation of the two first plays in the series, and by the high reputation which they have procured to their editor. ~ . For above two hundred years, the reader of Æschylus was obliged to be contented with the text of Canter's edition, which was published in 1580, and copied by Stanley. Though this is somewhat more correct than that of Stephens, yet every page abounds with faults and corruptions, which frequently obscure - the sense of the author, and materially impair the pleasure arising from his splendid and magnificent poetry. For that long period, AEschylus derived very little advantage from the labours of scholars, except Stanley; who, although he left the text nearly as bad as he found it, gave in his learned commentaries ; a great collection of critical and explanatory matter, which, though too diffuse, can seldom be consulted without advantage: | indeed we have little hesitation in saying, that the readers of foschylus are more indebted to Stanley than to any other scholar, except Mr. Blomfield. Still the text remained in the same corrupt state till the three first plays were published by Brunck in 1779, in a small volume, with two other Greek tragedies: in this, as in all ether publications, the author's text is i frequently improved, and is frequently made worse than he found it. Brunck, though possessed of equal acuteness, was infinitely inferior to the critics of the Hemsterhusian school in learning, research, and discretion: he was besides not at all nice in appropriating to himself the remarks of others without acknowledgment. This defect of candour, joined to his pre- . sumption
sumption and precipitancy, have brought upon his works a more than ordinary quantity of censure from succeeding scholars. Next appeared an edition of the plays by Schütz, a heavy, plodding, and tasteless German, palpably unfitted by nature for an editor of Æschylus. His commentaries are tedious and verbose; and it would be difficult to name a more unsatisfactory book; since the reader, when he turns to the notes for a solution of the difficulties which every page of Schütz's text presents, finds that the editor, unable to comprehend the passage, has only proposed some absurd and revolting alterations, and employs whole pages in explaining the words of his own substitution. It is however impossible to deny, that out of the mass of lumber, much may be selected which a judicious editor may employ in illustrating the author; and this indeed has been done by Dr. Butler. Till the appearance of Mr. Blomfield's edition, that of Schütz continued the source of students; and it was not to be expected that Æschylus could be a popular author when dressed by so clumsy a hand. - . It is now well known, that the Glasgow edition, which goes by the name of Porson's, was printed from a copy of Pauw's re-impression of Stauley's edition, which had been corrected by the Professor. Without entering into the question of the supposed piracy of this text, we must observe, that it is by no means to be considered as having the entire sanction of Porson: since it received only those corrections about which he felt secure at at the moment; and all the passages which required consideration, or admitted of doubt, were left untouched. He never considered himself to be accountable for any of the old readings which he suffered to remain; and he seems to have gone through the whole task of correction in a very short time, probably in a single day, at the instance of his friends. We need not remark, that this edition, not having a word of notes, could not supply the wants of the readers. Neither the student nor the advanced scholar can read AEschylus, without wishing for the assistance of the annotator. - - It is commonly understood, that Porson offered to the Syndics of the Cambridge press to undertake an edition of Æschylus, which they declined to patronize, unless he would adopt the corrupt text of Stanley; which condition he, as might have been expected, would not accept. If this statement be true, the Syndics of that time deserve all the opprobrium which we have seen lavished upon them in different journals, for their barbarous hostility to improvement, and their inore than Gothic bigotry. But we are strongly inclined to believe, that there is a material misapprehension in the case, and that the fact was, that the Syndics, wishing the Curae Secunda of Stanley, which were in - - manuscript
manuscript in the possession of the University, to be published, and judging that they would most probably appear in a reprint of Stanley's Æschylus, offered the editorship to Porson; and that he, contemplating an improved text, declined the proposed task, which was undertaken by Dr. Butler. If this account be correct, as we believe it to be, no blame can attach to any party. The two plans were incompatible; and it was undoubtedly right to preserve Stanley's text in a work, the sole object of which was to give to the world Stanley's enlarged eommentary; nor do we believe that the Professor ever complained or felt aggrieved on the subject. - - - At all events, the University of Cambridge must be considered as having redeemed its credit for taste in Greek texts, by patronizing the present edition which, while it gives the words of the noble tragedian corrected by every legitimate means, contains explanations and illustrations of his language incomparably more learned, correct, and satisfactory than the public were before in possession of Mr. Blomfield unites with his talents and his erudition, unwearied industry, and an obvious fondness for the task in which he is engaged. His notes at the bottom of the page contain collations of the early editions of Æschylus, and of the manuscripts, together with his critical reasons for maintaining or altering the text. The notes which he has added under the title of Glossarium,
are philological, and contain explanations of the rare and obso- .
lete words taken from the different Greek Grammarians and Lexicographers, with the whole tribe of whom Mr. Blomfield
has formed a most intimate acquaintance, and whose authorities
he compares, sists, and weighs with uncommon judgement.
The meaning of the author he detects and illustrates by com
paring passages from himself, from Sophocles, and Euripides, from Homer, Pindar, and the other writers of antiquity. His industry never flags for a moment, and he seems coastantly to keep in view his object of giving pertinent information to the student. In one respect this industry is peculiarly fortunate: we much doubt whether one reader out of one thousand could Be found, who, however well provided his shelves may be with the Lexicons of Hesychius, Photius, Stidas, Etymologus, M. Phavorinus, &c. and with the volumes of Eustathius, and the Schol. Venetus Homeri, would take the trouble of hunting for the explanations of a word with the requisite perseverance and caution. Certain it is, that no compiler of a Lexicon has done it, nor any editor of Æschylus before Mr. Blomfield ; yet all these pains are requisite for explaiming an author, whose language was far removed from the ordinary stile of his contemporaries, and who affected the grandeur of obsolete and high
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