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had been declared unspriptural by the church, and setting ft forth only as a series of deductions from a false hypothesis.*
We would call to their recollection also the opinions formerly maintained as to the plenary and even literal inspiration of Scripture—the clamour raised against the first collections of various readings in the copies of the New Testament—and still later against those of the Old. Vossins, we know, came forward as a champion to vindicate the inspiration of the Septuagint version; and it was by many deemed impious to suppose that Almighty God would commit the transmission of his word to the same accidents and errors to which all human compositions are liable.
Well indeed is it for us that the cause of revelation does not depend upon questions such as these: for it is remarkable that in every instance the controversy has ended in a gradual surrender of those very points which were at one time represented as involving the vital interests of religion. Truth, it is certain, cannot be opposed to truth. How inconsiderate a risk then do those advocates run, who declare that the whole cause is at issue in a single dispute, and that the substance of our faith hangs upon a thread—upon the literal interpretation of some word or phrase against which fresh arguments are springing up from day to day!
Why, for instance, must we be compelled to understand the word day in the first chapter of Genesis precisely in the same sense it now hears, viz. the period of the earth's rotation on its own axis? Certain it is from the narrative itself, that the word does not bear the same meaning throughout that chapter; for the first three days were passed before the creation of the sun is mentioned: and yet in these, no less than in the others, the portion of time is denoted by the words ' evening and morning;' which, according to their received import, necessarily suppose the existence of the sun. Let us not, however, be misunderstood. We are firmly convinced that the institution of the Sabbath is a divine Ordinance from the beginning—that the observance of it is enjoined as commemorative of the close of the great work of creation, and that its solemn obligation is expressed by the parallel which it pleased God to draw between the progress of his own works, and the destined employment of that being whom he made in his own likeness. Yet no one can believe, when it is said God rested from his works, that he really underwent fatigue and required repose. The same principle of accommodation
* Newtonus, in hoc tcrtio libro, telluris motae l^pothe^im as&umil. Auloris propositiones aliter explicari non poterant nisi cadem quoque facta hypothesi. Hiiic alienam coacti sumus gercre personam. Cselcrum latis a summit Pontificilnti contra telluris motum decrctis ws obtequi profitemnr. Ncwtoni Princip. Ed. Jes. Genev, 1742. loin, iii. pars 1.
L 2 to
564 Buckland—Reliquia Diluviana.
to our perceptions and modes of speaking must be admitted here as it is in a thousand other passages of Holy Scripture. Our duty cannot be mistaken, whatever interpretation we put upon the disputed words.; and it is this duty which it is the main purpose of that volume to declare and to impress upon us.
We would further ask those who contend for the strict letter of Scripture, and 'for the mystical correspondence of the several days of the week with the order of the creation, upon' what autho^ rity they have transferred the character of Sabbath from the seventh to the first day? The reason we do not ask for, for' that is wellknown, but the authority. The answer must be, that in this par* ticular a constructive and traditional rule has been allowed gradually to supersede a positive command. Nay, it is well kuowni that within the church itself the practice has varied. For although the "Lord's day has from the first been the weekly festival of Christians, yet the transfer of the Sabbatical rest from labour to that day w'as by, no means uniform, nor did it form one of the canonical ordinances of the church in the first three centuries.
Again, let those who tremble for the authority of Scripture, if this point be conceded, recollect, how strict and peremptory the language is in a hundred instances of the Mosaic law, which have been abrogated in practice, without any positive declaration to that effect; and let them consider what a violence must have appeared to be done to the letter, especially in the apprehension of the early Jewish converts, when these observances were pronounced to be matters of indifference and suffered to die away. The Apostles themselves, we know, did not all agree in practice upon these points, and yet the divine authority of Scripture was universally acknowledged.
The Sabbath, it is certain, was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Every practical purpose therefore which it was intended to serve is fully answered whether we conform our physical system to the letter of Scripture or not—whether we consider the chapter of Genesis as setting forth the last formation only and the final adjustment of our globe to the occupation of man, (in which case the days may be regarded as portions of time equal to our natural days), or as declaring the whole series of changes the planet has undergone from the beginning of time.
It is by no means necessary to insist upon either of these interpretation^ as essential to our faith: and we repeat that the professor appears to us to have acted wisely in not attempting to determine the matter. Of this, however, we are quite sure; that the Scripture requires of us, both in its letter and in its spirit, to respect even the mistaken scruples of our brethren—to suffer errors of this kind, if they be errors, to die of themselves, not at
tempt the same press, with Some singularly curious accompaniments. The passages now restored were struck out by the original editor, because, though the Bishop was too careless whose memory he blackened, or whose feelings he might wound, his son seems to have felt that by expunging what was most injurious to others, he consulted best the reputation of his father. Some trifling alterations he made, to soften or amend the author's language; but the suppressed passages were mostly of an acrimonious or malicious character. One of the most remarkable relates to Charles I., upon the alleged authority of whose letters tor the Duke of Hamilton, Burnet declares that he Could not admire his judgement, bis understanding, or his temper; pronounces that he had little tenderness in his nature, little regard to law, and seemed to think he was not bound to observe any promises or concessions that were extorted from him by the necessity of his affairs. The whole passage is utterly disgraceful to Burnet; he confers that, in his Memoirs of the Duke of Hamilton, he omitted those things in the king's letters from which he drew this conclusion'; and he forgets (which the present editor has most property reimarked) that Hamilton, at his execution, said of Charles, ' I hav« had the honour since my childhood to attend and be near hinV, till now of late, arid during all that time I observed in him as many virtues and as little vice as in any man I ever knew.' lie forgets also his own declaration that he proposed to himself nothing; more in those Memoirs 'than to let the world see the £reat piety and strictness of conscience that blessed prince carried "aldng with him in all his affairs.' There is reason to believe that King William was treated by the Bishop with as much malevolence as his predecessors, but the suppressed passages hi the latter half of the history have not been recovered; supposing them to be of the same character as those which are now restored, they may be allowed to perish without regret.
Swift's cursory notes are characteristic of their author; they exhibit at once his hatred and his contempt of Burnet, sometimes captious, sometimes dirty, generally shrewd, always short and caustic; never stopping to confute or controvert the passages upon which he comments. Like Warburton, in his excellent remarks upon Neal's History of the Puritans, (the most dishonest book in our language, Dodd's Roman Catholic Church History not excepted,) he contents himself with expressing his opinion in the bitterest terrhs which occurred, such as, dog! Scotch dog! rogue! vain fop! silly fop! canting puppy! treacherous villain! well said, bishop! false! false and scandalous! false and spiteful! and once he says, false as hell! This last indignant contradiction is provoked by a base charge in the text against Archbishop Sancroft, ' that though *:. • . he he seemed zealous against popery in private discourse, he was of such a timorous temper, and so set on the enriching his nephew, that he shewed no sort of courage.' So reprehensible a passage has called forth a censure also from Lord Dartmouth: 'this reflection,' he says, ' might well have been spared upon a man who gave sufficient proof at the revolution that he could quit the highest preferment rather than comply with any thing contrary to his conscience; especially from the most interested, confident, busy man that ever his nation produced.' Burnet says that the Earl of Atgyle was ' free of all scandalous vices,' upon which Swift remarks, 'asa man is free of a corporation, he means.' The Bishop speaks of Q. Henrietta Maria as a woman who ' loved all her life long to be in intrigues of all sorts.' 'Not of love, I hope,' says her commentator. Burnet observed it was an extraordinary thing that a random cannon shot should have killed Turenne. 'How extraordinary?' says his sarcastic reader; 'might it not kill him as well as any other man?' In his account of the Rye House Plot, Burnet says that the parties ' ran into much wicked talk' about the way of killing the king and his brothers, 'but nothing was ever fixed on, all was but talk.' All plots begin with talk, is the just observation of Swift upon this. Burnet says of Baillie, (who was indeed sacrificed by the foulest injustice,) that his 'behaviour looked like the reviving of the spirit of the noblest of the Greeks or Romans, or rather of the primitive Christians and first martyrs in those best days of the church.' For he was our cousin, Swift writes in the margin. Burnet affirms that the presbyteriaris 1 loved episcopal ordination and the liturgy, and upon some amendments seemed disposed to come into the church; and they liked the civil government and limited monarchy.' * A damnable lie,' says the Dean. The year 1688, says Burnet, formed an extraordinary and unheard-of revolution. The Devil's in that, remarks Swift, 'sure all Europe heard of it.' The Bishop gives lero lero lilibulero as Irish words. Swift says they are not Irish, but better than Scotch. Sometimes he sneers at the style for its carelessness or its poverty ; sometimes condemns it as 'dark nonsense,' or ' sid trash.' It is worthy of notice that he objects to the word 'mob,' calling it sarcastically a word of dignity for an historian. Concerning the settlement of the government at the revolution, Swift declares himself to be one of those persons who thought there was an original contract between the King and the people of England; yet he says he would have been for a regency, as much the best expedient; but he admits the force of the argument, that men knew they might act legally, and therefore safely, under a king, but not under a regent created by the Convention; and that James, by flying to the enemy of the nation rather than submit lo