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always proceeded on the same princple with Mr. Peabody, and have commonly carried it much further than he has done; that a large majority of the changes made by the latter will probably be accounted by most persons as valuable and important emendations in themselves; and that this opinion is likely to be almost universal, when it is borne in mind that his object was to provide, not a book of devotional poetry to be read, but hymns to be sung.
An addition of about fifty hymns has been made to the collection as it originally stood, making the whole number to be five hundred and fifty-six. It has been adopted already in three societies; and, as its claims are examined and understood, it will, we doubt not, obtain and hold a high rank among the other excellent collections now before the public.
1. A Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary of the English Language; with Pronouncing Vocabularies of Classical, Scripture, and Modern Geographical Names. By J. E. WoRCESTER. Carefully revised and enlarged. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, & Co. 1835, 12mo, pp. 424. — 2. An Elementary Dictionary for Common Schools; with Pronouncing Vocabularies of Classical, Scripture, and Modern Geographical Names. By J. E. WoRCESTER. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, & Co. 1835. 12mo. pp. 324. — The public is under obligations to Mr. Worcester for the singleness of purpose and unwearied assiduity, with which he has devoted himself for so many years to lexicographical researches. We have the fruit of his labors in the publication of a series of some of the best and most indispensable manuals for the study, for the parlour, and for common schools, which have appeared in the language. His edition of “Johnson's Dictionary, as improved by Todd, and abridged by Chalmers, with Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary combined,” and his abridgment and Dr. Webster's “American Dictionary of the English Language,” are well known.
The first of the works mentioned at the head of this notice has been said on high authority to be “the best parlour dictionary in the world”; a distinction to which we think it may fairly aspire, as containing, in addition to a pretty full vocabulary of the common words in the language, many of the technical terms used in the various arts and sciences, and a more copious list, than any other English Dictionary, of such words and phrases from foreign languages as are often found in English books. Appended to it, are pronouncing vocabularies of Classical and Scripture proper names; and in the present edition, for the first time, the work has also been enriched still further by a similar vocabulary of Modern Geographical names. Hardly a question can arise, therefore, with a general reader, respecting the meaning, orthography, or pronunciation of a strange word, which this manual will not help him to settle, though he might look in vain for a solution of the difficulty to much larger compilations. Some may think Mr. Worcester's candor excessive in taking the trouble, in cases of doubtful or disputed pronunciation, to give the several modes adopted by all the eminent English orthoepists with their names annexed. It may be a satisfaction, however, to know, that a man can hardly pronounce so badly as not to be able to adduce good authority for it. Thus, he may say kou'-kum-ber with Sheridan, Walker, Perry, Fulton, Kenrick, and Scott; or ku'-kum-ber with Enfield, Jameson and Webster; or kūk-um-ber with Jones. Again he may say lif-ten-ant with Sheridan and Enfield; or liv-ten'-ant with Perry and Jones; or lev-ten'-ant with Walker; or lu-ten'-ant with Jameson and Webster. We may add that the mechanical execution of the “Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary” is in every respect satisfactory; but this is more than we can say of the “Elementary Dictionary for Common Schools.” The paper used in the latter is not worthy of it, whether regard be had to its complexion or thickness; and the page, in consequence, has a blurred and confused look. Otherwise it seems to be every thing that could be expected or desired in the same compass.
Memoirs of a New England Village Choir; with Occasional Reflections. By a Member. Second Edition. Boston: B. H. Green. 1834. 16mo. pp. 152. — No reader of ours, who was fortunate enough to meet with this modest little volume in the day of its first edition, will be either sorry or surprised to hear of its passing to a second. We might have mentioned the circumstance before, but there are many things better done late than never, and we count this among them. We avail ourselves of the occasion, not so much for any other purpose, as to demand of the “Member,” most respectfully, what has become of the rest of the series, which was to be. Where, especially, is the “History of a New England Singing-School " " We hope, not forgotten; nor lost in increasing business. New England readers will always be glad to hear from the author of the “Village Choir.”
C H R IS TIAN EXAMIN E R .
THIRD SERIES — Wo. II.
ART. I. — Review of the Argument in Support of Natural Religion. A Dudleian Lecture, delivered in the Chapel of the University in Cambridge, May 13th, 1835. By
THE subject of this Lecture, as stated in the words of its Founder, is as follows:– “The proving, explaining, and proper use and improvement of the principles of Natural Religion, as it is commonly called and understood by divines and learned men.”
It is sufficiently obvious, that it is wholly beyond the limits and appropriate uses of this occasion to attempt any thing approaching to a literal fulfilment of these requisitions. They involve inquiries and discussions of vast extent, of great intricacy, and of unspeakable importance. I have been, therefore, greatly embarrassed in ascertaining in what way the claims of the duty before me may be best met. I would not willingly occupy the hour in giving, what, from the nature of the case, must be a meagre abstract of the labors of others, and what may be far more profitably sought in the original works; and it must be a hopeless effort to suggest a course of remark, which has any just claims to originality, on a theme so familiar and worn as this. The science, moreover, is remarkable for the simplicity of its principles, while its topics of illustration are as vast and various as the works of God. But to state these principles merely in their naked, logical form, would be little interesting to that part of the audience for whose benefit this lecture was primarily intended; and to fill up the time with mere illustrations of these principles, however interesting they might be, would hardly comport with the dignity of the occasion and place. And there is another circumstance, of which it is proper to forewarn you. The elements of the science lie among the most familiar truths, which we receive and act upon, in every conscious moment of our lives. But, as they have been denied or questioned by the impugners of the science, it is necessary for its advocate to place himself in the undesirable position of appearing to state, with some elaborateness and emphasis, certain facts, which, it should seem, no man of sane mind could for a moment question. Feeling, then, the full pressure of these difficulties, and with no very sanguine hope of avoiding them, I address myself to the duty before me. It will be my general object to present to you such a view of the subject, as will serve to show the place it occupies, or rather which it ought to occupy at the present day, among the serious inquiries of serious minds. And in furtherance of this end, I shall first attempt to speak of the kind of reasoning, by which the great truths of Natural Theology are ascertained; and then apply this kind of reasoning to the establishment of some of the leading truths or principles of the science. I. And, first, I make a distinct topic of the kind of reasoning, by which the great truths of Natural Religion are ascertained; because it is precisely here, that the science has suffered, and suffered, too, perhaps equally at the hands of its enemies and of its friends. A kind of reasoning has been resorted to, which will be found on strict examination, I apprehend, either to be unsound in itself, or else to be inapplicable to the subject, and, on both accounts, to be utterly unsatisfactory. I refer to the abstract arguments in proof of the truths of Natural Theology, or to reasonings called á priori, or, in other words, those which proceed on certain metaphysical propositions, which are assumed as axioms.
[* We are happy in being permitted to lay before our readers a Discourse going so fully into a discussion of the nature of the argument, on which a conviction of the truths of Natural Religion must rest. To give effect with thinking minds to works recently published, which, like the Bridgewater Treatises, aim for the most part merely to illustrate this argument, it is necessary that the philosophy of the argument itself should be understood.— ED.]
vol. XIX. — 3D s. vol. I. No. II. 18
I regret that only some brief hints can now be offered on this part of the subject, since the argument requires that it should be carefully elaborated. If I do not err, however, these hints will be found to be results, that will commend themselves to the mind after the strictest examination.
1. And my first remark is, that these abstract arguments are objectionable, in reference to the subject before us, because they virtually assume the point to be proved. Thus, for instance, one of the axioms, which has been taken for granted in proving that the universe must have had an author is, that “every Effect must have a Cause.” This is undoubtedly true;— but it will avail little with those who deny that the universe is an effect, as did, among others, the somewhat notorious author of the “Academical Questions.” Again ; it is assumed as an axiom, that whatever “begins to exist must have had a Cause of its existence.” This, of course, will be admitted by most persons; but it will have no pertinency with those who assert that the universe is eternal, and the Creative Power, whatever it be, only plastic, as did the Epicurean philosophers of antiquity, and their followers, under different names, in modern times. Again; it is maintained with perfect justness, that every Contrivance must have had a Contriver; but this is wholly irrelevant in an argument with him who denies that there is any proof of Contrivance, or Design, any further than the particular instance of it in question is concerned, as did Mr. Hume. And again, it is a generally admitted axiom, that “nothing can be a cause of its own existence; ” but it will conclude little against him who asserts that the world is an exception to this general rule, – it being self-existent, as Spinoza maintained. The celebrated argument of Locke, which you will find in his “Essay,” will be found, I am afraid, to be liable to the same remark. I may not stop to quote it at length. Suffice it to say, that it seems to lie open to the objection of taking for granted certain principles of causation, of which we know nothing. It is difficult, indeed, for one to perceive, how that which thinks should proceed from that which does not think, as he asserts. But it is not more difficult, perhaps, than it is to perceive how that which does not think should proceed from that which does. And the far-famed argument of Dr. Clarke against an infinite series of causes, for which he claimed the cogency of mathematical proof, seems to revolve in a like vicious circle. Closely examined it appears to amount to this.