« PreviousContinue »
The Plague stayed: a Scriptural View of Pestilence, para : ticularly of that dreadful Pestilence the Small-por, with
Considerations on the Cow-pock : in Two Sermons, &c.
fact but one, having the same text' and the same subject, and nearly the same language. Mr. Plumptre being impressed with the great importance of the vaccine discovery, and coneeiving it his duty as minister of a parish to " recommend the adoption of it from the pulpit to his parishioners," sat down to investigate the subject for that purpose. - In the course of his inquiry, the scriptural application forcibly struck his mind, and as his turn to preach before the University at St. Mary's soon occurred, he thovght it a subject of more than sufficient importance for the occasion : For though the discovery of Vaccine Inoculation did not seem so immediately to belong to a seminary for the education of youth, as to a congregation of parents and guardians, yet the scriptural view of pestilence in general concerns every individual of mankind.” Advertiseinent.
The text is Numbers xvi. 48. 6 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed.”
Upon that part of the narrative to which this passage relates, where Moses commanded “ Aaron to take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly into the congregation, and make an atonement for them,” Mr. Plumptre has subjoined the following curious illustration, which, if not perfectly conclusive, must be confessed to be both new and ingenious. « Do we not here see an intimation of the mode of fumigation in infectious diseases ? I am indebted (says Mr. P.) for this suggestion to my friend and physician Mr. Frederic Thackeray, the first introducer of Vaccine Innoculation into Cambridge.”
Mr. Plumpire following Mr. Kett, considers Mahomet as intended by the figure of the Star which fell from heaven at the sounding of the fifth trumpet in the Revelations, and he endeavours to make out the “s noisome. and grievous sore, which fell upon the men that had the
mark of the beast “ to be the small por, the first rise of which he asserts was in Arabia, in the time of Mahomet, or in the year of his birth." We are well pleased to see Mr. Plumptre's laudable zeal in behalf of vaccination, which we regard as an inestimable discovery, but it would have afforded us greater pleasure if he had recommended and enforced its adoption in a more rational way. What authority has Mr. Plumptre for fixing the precise origin of the small pox in the time of Mahomel? None. His quotations will not bear him out; for Rhazes, the Arabian physician and historian, who lived in the 9th or 10th century, only says that one Aaron, who practised in the 7th, was the first who wrote on the small pox; and Reiske has referred to an Arabie, but anonymous, manuscript, which fixes both the small pox and measles in the hejra or flight of Mohammed.
The first of these authorities proves nothing; and the latter is mere assertion. Had this mortal disease commenced its ravages at that period, we should not have been without many clear evidences of it, as clear as those which we possess, relative to the history of the Impostor.
Such fanciful and forced interpretations of scripture prophecy are to be discountenanced, as only tending to bring the sacred word into ridicule among light and sceptical men.
We coincide in all that Mr. Plumptre so warmly delivers on the value of the vaccine discovery, and on the character of the modest and disinterested person who brought it to light; but we apprehend that Dr. Jenner would not have sat very contentedly to hear himself panegyrized in such puerile language as this. " A benevolent and enlightened individual, detained by kindred ties in the peaceful sequestration of the country, declining the busy and lucrative stations, which would bave dazzled more ambitious minds, observing that persons who had passed through a mild disorder, caught from that useful domestic animul, to whose salubrious juices we are indebted for the most grateful nourishment of life, were never in"fected by the dreadful pestilence in question, he conceived the idea of bringing inoculation in aid, and of thus anticipating the disease : repeated experiments were 'tried, and in the end found to be successful. And thus a disease, so mild as scarcely to be called a disease, supplants that most doadly scourge of mankind. Should
We riot welcome with heartfelt, but cautious gratitude, him, who is thus made the instrument in the hand of in finite goodness of bringing to light this inestimable bles sing? And if the Arabian apostate who desolated mankind, by his blasphemy, the sword, and pestilence, bore the name of Abaddon, or Apollyon, the Destroyer; we may hail the instrument in the hand of providence, who thus gives health and life, as the preserver and benefactor of mankind.” And again the name of our Philanthropist is in the mouth of the divine, the statesman, and the physiciany, the enlightened philosopher, and the ignorant barbarian, the aged, and the infant, all pronounce it with gratitude:” “millions now on earth break forth in his praise, and generations yet unborn will call himn plesia sed."
This is followed by an eulogium upon our country occasioned by the casualcircumstance of the vaccine discovery originating here, and which Mr. Plumptre seems to consider as a special mark of the divine favour. It would afford as great pleasure if experience could substantiate his opinion that we are the purest nation upon earth!”
That we are far from being the worst, is readily admitted, but we are of opinion that such language as this ill suits the pulpit, especially in a season when the divine judgments are abroad in the earth :” : and when it is to be feared, our provocations of the Almighty have not been without a considerable share in thus causing his vengeance to be so remarkably displayed. Mr. Plumptre goes on in this strain of eulogy, by enumerating the many institutions and societies of a benevolent nature, which are continually forming in this kingdom. The characteristic of our nation undoubtedly is good-nature, or beneficence, but when we boast of it, foreigners who read the eulogies we pass uponi ourselves, might perhaps, be apt tu question the purity of our motives.
It no more becomes a public preacher to panegyrize the community to which he belongs at the expense of others, than to sing his own praises.
To the serinon as preached in Mr. Plumptre's parish of Hinston, with an exception to that part which relates to Anti-christ and the rise of the small por at the same time with Mahomet, we have no objection. It is plain and well adapted to remove foolish prejudices from the minds of common people against the vaccine inoculation.
Vol. VIII. Churchn. Mag. June 1805. 30 The The numerous notes subjoined to the first sermon, shew that Mr. Plumptre has been very diligent in his enquiries, and they afford considerable information on this interesting subject.
An Account of the Life of Dr. SamUEL JOHNSON, from
his birth to his eleventh year, written by himself. To which ure added original letters to Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON, by Miss Hill BOOTHBY, 12mo. pp. 144.
VERY scrap of this great man has been earnestly
sought for, and when found exhibited to the public. We could have wished that his over eager friends and admirers had thrown many of these into the fire, as he himself would have unquestionably done, had he known what use would have been made of them. The present brief sketch is so far from being in this perdicament, that the perusal only inakes us repent' that the whole of the man uscript was not preserved, and that the illustrious author did not proceed fartirer in his memoirs. If other proofs were wanting to substantiate the authenticity of this sketch, the internal evidence alone would prove it to be Johnson's. The narrative is in the form of annals ; and under the year 1712, we meet with the following remarks:
“My father considered tea as very expensive, and discouraged my mother from keeping company with the neighbours, and from paying visits or receiving them. She lived to say, many years after, that, if the time were to pass again, she would not comply with such unsocial injunctions.
I suppose that in this year I was first informed of a future state. I remember, that being in bed with my mother one morning, I was told by her of the two places to which the inhabitants of this world were received after death; one a fine place filled with happiness, called Heaven; the other a sad place, called Hell. That this account much affected my imagination, I do not remember. When I was risen, my mother bade me repeat what she had told me to Thomas Jackson. When I told this afterwards to my mother, she seemed to wonder that she should
begin such talk so late as that the first time could be remem bered."
A great part of the piece consists of an account of Johnson's school exercises, and remarks on his tutor, in which there is nothing particularly remarkable.
Miss Hill Boothby appears to have been a very sensible, devout and amiable young lady; though a little tinctured with enthusiasm. She died in 1756, aged 48, and Johnson was greatly affected by her death, as may be seen in his devotions on the occasion, contained in his prayers and meditations p. 25.
As a pleasing specimen of Miss BOOTHBY's talents and disposition, we have extracted the following Letter :
“ Tissington, December 29, 1753., DEAR SIR, “ You very obligingly say, "Few are so busy as not to find time to do what they delight in doing. That I have been one of those few, my not having, till now, found time to answer your last kind letter, may convince you. My indisposition, and confinement on that account, made it necessary for me to double my application for my little flock; and, as my strength increased, I found occasions to exercise its increase also; so that I really have not had a moment to spare. I know you will be better pleased to infer from hence that my health is much mended, than you
would be with the finest and most artful arrangement of abstracted reasoning that ever was penned. I have been a great moralizer; and, perhaps, if all my speculative chains were linked together, they would fill a folio as large as the largest of those many wrote by the philosophical Duchess of Newcastle, and be just as useful as her labours. But I have wholly given up all attempts of this sort, convinced by experience that they could at most afford only a present relief. The one remedy for all and every kind of sorrow, the deeply-experienced Royal Prophet thus expresses ;
- In the multitude of sorrows which I had in my heart, thy comforts have refreshed
And Love inspire, which All things can endure. “ As I think, I write; and express my thoughts in words that 3 0 2