« PreviousContinue »
If, however, the foregoing scheme should be found to have no truth it, and the wicked, are sent to hell as fo many incurables, the second death, cur author conceives, ought to be considered as that, which will put a final period to their existence,
If it should be faid, that it will tend to encourage wicked men in their vices, to be told that their future torments will have an end; the author obviates this objection by several confiderations ; particularly by the following observation : /
• It must argue the greatett folly for men, rather than not proceed in their vicious courses, to choose to undergo unutterable pains for a long duration, God only knows how long, when they might, by approving themselves faithful subjects in the kingdom of Jesus Chrift, pafs, without suffering these pains, into the joys of the resurrection world. And this folly will rather deserve the name of madness, if it be remembered, that they must cease from being wicked, before they can poffibly be fixed in final happiness. There is no room for debate here."
Our author's hypothesis, it must be confefied, however it may stand in opposition to lome theological systems, is agreeable to the dictates of nature. For, as our author observes, the total ruin of such multitudes of the sons of Adam, appears a palpable inconsistency with the grace of God, as exhibited in the Gospel of. Chrift. And it is incredible, that God should constitute bis fon the faviour of men, and yet the greater part of them be finally and eternally damned. - We should look upon those parents as degenerate to the last degree, who fhould inflict misery on their children, without any intention to promote their welfare by it, in any respect whatever. And shall we say that of our Father in heaven (who, instead of being evil, as all earthly fathers are, more or less, is infinitely good) which we cannot fuppose of any father on earth, till we have first divested him of the heart of a father? Can it reasonably be conceived that that God, who calls mana kind his offspring, without exception, and himself their fa ther, should torment them eternally, without any intention do them the least imaginable good, as must be the case, ir the doctrine of never-ending misery be true? Will not God be aś truly the father of wicked men in the other world, as he is in this ? and if he punishes them there, muft it not be in the character of their father, who desires their good, and cose rects them with a kind intention to promote it ? No good reason can be assigned, why our Saviour's argument, “ Much more will your father in heaven give good things," founded on the relation that subfifts between God and men, hould be con
fined to the present, and not extended to the future world. And perhaps the only thing which has led most writers to con. fine the pity of our father in heaven, and the merciful intention of his punishing his rebellious children, to the present life, is the notion they have previously imbibed, of neverceating misery. But if this tenet has no real foundation in the sacred books of revelation, we are at liberty to conclude, that the design of evil, punishment, or misery, in the future world, as well as this, is to discipline wicked men, and in this way to effect their own personal, as well as the general good.'
Whatever the reader may think of the validity of our author's arguments, or of his speculations, when he launches out into the depths of eternity, and considers the dispensations of infinite 'wisdom in future scenes of existence, yet his scheme is certainly laudable, and supported with great ingenuity and learning
We agree with him in thinking that, as far as short-fighted mortals can judge, the doctrine he maintains, exhibits the Deity in so amiable and interesting a light, that every man, one fould think, would beforehand be disposed to with it might be well supported. Can the thought be displeasing to any son of Adam, that the whole human race shall be finally admitted into the kingdom of heaven, to partake there of joys, that flow for ever from God's right hand ? Where is the man fo deftitute of benevolence, fo bereft of humanity, as not to wish the author success in an attempt, intended to eitablish it as a revealed truth, that, before the scene of Provi. dence is finally closed, eternal happiness will be the portion of all men, of whatever nation, character, colour, ftation, or conditior. ? It cannot be supposed that any should be so filled with envy, or foured by rancour, hatred, or malice, as not to hope that so benevolent a plan may be found, upon the strictest inquiry, to have a juft foundation in Scripture, and to be the real purpose of the great and good Father of the Universe.
Elements of Orthoepy : containing a difinet View of the whole
Analogy of the English Language; so far as it relates to Pronunciation, Accent, und Quantity, By R. Nares, 4. M, 8vo.
55. in Boards. Payne and Son. T!
HE pronunciation of a living language is not easily pre
served from corruption. It is continually liable to be depraved by vulgar and provincial barbarisms, by fashion and caprice, by pedantry and a spirit of innovation. These irre. gularities are more particularly observable in the English lan,
guage than in any other, on account of that endless and perplexing variation, which we observe in the found of almost every letter. No general rule can be fixed, which is not fube ject to innumerable exceptions. It is in vain 'to consult the pretended jus & norina loquendi :' for the same word is differently pronounced by different speakers at the bar, in the church, in the senate, and at court'; and in such a contest, who shall decide? We can appeal to nothing but analogy, on which, even cuftom itself, if it is worth consideration, muft be ultimately founded.
We entirely agree with this very ingenious and learned writer, that nothing is so truly elegant in language, as the fimplicity of unviolated analogy. But when we meet with innumerable anomalies, all that can be done is, to bring them to a critical examination ; and whenever they are found to arife from ignorance, vulgarity, or caprice, to note and explode them.
This appears to be the design of Mr. Nares's performance. His work is divided into four parts. The first contains dis. tin&t account of the pronunciation of every letter in our alphabet, whether singly taken or particularly combined. In every inftance, the regular sound of each letter, or combination, is laid down in a general rule; and then every exception is subjoined in a methodical arrangement; so that, making allowance for casual omissions, every word, which is not found in any lift of exceptions, is to be considered as ftrictly regular.
On this part of his work we can only say, that the author has taken uncommon pains in the classification of words, and in his endeavours to ascertain the orthoepy of our language. But we cannot help thinking, that he has sometimes given us popular and colloquial ufage, rather than the most accurate and elegant pronunciation. For instance : eo, he says, is pronounced like o short, in geographer, geography, geometry, georgic.'-Surely, this mode of pronouncing geographer, geography, and geometry, as if they were written gographer, gography, gometry, is a gross and vulgar irregularity.
In his introduction to the second chapter, the author having remarked, that accent in English is only a species of emphafis ; that accent is to syllables what emphasis is to sentences; that in monosyllables accent and emphasis must be the same
; that those monosyllables alone have an accent, which are capable of being emphatical, &c. obferves, that the ancient accent was something, of which little or no traces are to be found in modern languages. It is true, continues he, we do not speak monotonoully; but we frequently elevate and de
press press our voices, not only as to softness and loudness, but in respect of mufical tone. These inflections, however, seem to affect sentences rather than single words ; nor are they, as far as I can discover, direcied in any degree by the accentuation of fyllables. Many confiderations seem to support what this doctrine of the ancient accents naturally suggests, that the speaking of the ancients was much more nearly allied to recitative, than the elocution of modern times. I shall mention only the circumstance related by Cicero of Caius Gracchus, It was his practice to be attended, when he spoke in public, by a musician with an ivory flute, whose business was to affist him in the regulation of his voice. · Such an attendant would very much perplex and distress a modern speaker.'
Accent seems to be the most unitable part of the English language: we can all remember words differently accented from the present practice, and many might be collected, which are still fluctuating, with their accent unsettled. In order, therefore, to point out, as far as may be practicable, the general
nalogy of our language in this respect, and to supply some nints to those who wish to form a proper notion of this branch of orthoepy, he lays down rules for placing the accent, and fubjoins the exceptions.
It has been generally said and believed, that it is conformable to the genius of the English pronunciation, to throw back the accent, as far as possible from the end of a polysyllable. Our author very properly explodes this notion, and says, “It has corrupted our speech with many barbarous and unpleasing sounds, which are in reality repugnant to its analogy : such as, ácademy, réfractory, pérfunctory, contemptible, &c. which no ear can bear without being offended. It is high time then, that this false notion Thould be controverted, and the farther ill effects of it prevented.
The third part contains the general rules of quantity, and their exceptions.
Quantity is the word generally adopted by grammarians to express the relative length of fyllables. Those which pass off rapidly are called short ; those, in the utterance of which the voice is evidently more retarded, are called long. The author, however, rightly observes, that fyllables denominated short are discovered to differ greatly from one another ; and those which are reckoned long, appear to be by no means equal in length.
In treating of quantity he dismisses the ancient ideas, and considers merely the length and shortness of vowels, which is all that materially affects our pronunciation. Among the rules of quantity he lays down the following:
I. A vowel followed by a consonant in the fame syllable is hort, as bắt, tăftify, kill, 8rgan, bútler.
II. A vowel which ends a syllable in an accented penultima is long, as bācon, gēnus, trifle, cogent, &c.
III. A mute e, subjoined to a single consonant, makes the preceding vowel long, as băt, bate, bid, bide.
IV. A vowel in an accented antipenultima, though not followed by a consonant in the same syllable, is thort, as gră'. tify, 'ditor, o'rigin.
In the last instance the author follows this rule in the divifion of words; namely, " That every syllable ends with a 'vowel, unless two consonants, or a double one, follow it; as ba-fon, ba-ron.' But this division is groundless and absurd, and has a tendency to produce a false pronunciation. These words should be divided as they are pronounced, bar-on, grati-fy, ed-i-tor, or-j-gin. If so, the fourth rule of quantity ought to be abolished, and likewise a long list of exceptions ; such as bă-lance, bă-nilh, că-bin, dă-mage, hà-bit, tă·lent, &c. which should be differently divided.
The fourth part contains a list of words, spelt, and accented alike, yet differently pronounced ; a list of colloquial corruptions and contractions ; instances of a fluctuating orthography in our language ; and examples of the difference between ancient and modern accentuation..
We shall subjoin some examples of the last. • Academy : Qur court shall be a little academy. Shaks. Love's Lab. Loft.
Here Dr. Johnson appears to have been misled by the current opinion concerning the nature of the English accent; for he fays of this word, that it was, “ anciently and properly accented on the first syllable, but now frequently on the second."
As I was then
Hence advertisement is the ancient accentuation :
-In vain, alas, you
seek Th' ambitious title of apóftolic. Dryd. Hind and Panth.
Many divines, in reading the Nicene Creed, say, “one cá. tholic and apóftolic church. This is wrong; for, besides the ill effect of the jingle of the similar terminations so accented,