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the discourses now offered to the public, six made their appearance in print some years since. Five of these, the ninth, thirteenth, fourteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth, are inserted in these volumes at the request of a prelate to whose opinion the Editor pays the most implicit reverence; and the sixth, “ The Holy Ones and the Watchers,” he was induced to reprint by the cir. cumstance of its being the last ever composed by his revered father.
As inquiries from various quarters have been made relative to the fate of the late Bishop of St. Asaph's papers, the Editor of the Sermons thinks it right to apprize the literary world that they are in his hands; and he readily embraces this opportunity of publicly expressing the gratitude due from him to the creditors of the deceased, and to the gentlemen who upon the Bishop's demise acted as administrator to his affairs; for to the liberality of the former, and the exertions of the latter, he is indebted for the possession of these valuable manuscripts.
Of the talents of Bishop Horsley as a theologian, it might perhaps be indecorous in his son to speak: but he may be allowed to state, that his father's papers have been submitted to the inspection of the prelate already alluded to; and that, in that prelate's opinion, they contain a mass of more important biblical criticism and research than bas for many years made its appearance from the press. Among this body of divinity is a translation of the book of Psalms, accompanied with notes critical and explanatory,--a treatise, accompanied with notes, on the Pentateuch, and on the historical books of the Old Testament, a treatise on the prophets; containing notes on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel (Hosea, al. ready published), Joel, Amos, Obadiah. These are all left in a state perfectly ready for publication; and it is the Editor's wish to print the work on the Psalms im. mediately. It will, however, extend to two volumes quarto, and be attended with considerable expense; and being more calculated for the use of the scholar and the theological student than for the libraries of the generality of readers, it will find comparatively but a slow sale. The Editor therefore trusts that it will not be deemed unreasonable, if he announces that he cannot in justice to his family venture to draw the expenses of such a work upon himself, without the prospect of a fund to answer them. The moment that one hundred names as purchasers are found, he will proceed to press.
It might seem strange were this article to pass over in silence Bishop Horsley's mathematical papers. His character as a sound mathematician has been acknowledged and respected by some of the first proficients; and considerable expectations have been formed relative to the importance of the papers which he may have left behind him connected with that science. But the fact is, that in the concluding years of his life, his attention and time were taken up with other objects; and a close attendance in Parliament, with the business of an extensive diocese, left him latterly but little leisure for his favourite pursuit. He was, however, at all times ready to lend his assistance to others who were engaged in mathematical disquisitions to any salutary or useful purpose. Of this readiness the Editor recollects one remarkable instance, which occurred when his father was Bishop of Rochester. During that period, some French refugee circulated among the British mathematicians of a certain character what he called a demonstration that the law of gravitation could not have been otherwise constituted than we find it; and that if bodies, by such a law, tend toward each other at all, it must be with a velocity in the inverse ratio of the square of their distances. To this pretended demonstration the Bishop's attention was first called by the late Professor Robison of Edinburgh, who had himself de
tected an error in it, which however had been likewise detected by the author, or disclosed to him by some friend. As the Professor, inferred, from the attempt at such a demonstration, that the man's intention could be nothing else than to establish that first step towards atheism, the eternity of the world in its present state, he mentioned to the Bishop some facts, from which he thought himself able to prove that the law by which bodies tend toward each other is arbitrary, and that their velocities might have been in various other ratios. Lest, as he said, the cause of religion should be hurt by a feeble defence, the Professor likewise stated the outlines of his proof, which he requested the Bishop to examine with all the severity becoming the editor of the works of Newton, whose fame was thus combined with the interests of religion.
That the Bishop did examine the Professor's proofs, and did approve of them, is known to the Editor of the present volumes, who is persuaded that the correspond. ence between these two eminent mathematicians, if preserved entire, would not be found unworthy of the public attention.
The most important however of the Bishop's mathematical labours were published in his lifetime. What remains, as far as they have been hitherto examined, with the exception of a single manuscript, are loose and unconnected papers, and were never meant by the author to meet the public eye. The excepted manuscript is indeed so immediately connected with the science in question, and is left in so nearly a finished state, that the Editor is inclined to promise the publication of it. It is “ The Life of Sir Isaac Newton," which Dr. Horsley, soon after he had edited the “ Principia,”! was requested by some of the first men of the day to prefix to that work; and, from the ample materials which he has left behind him, it is evident that he intended to comply with the request. If these materials be now published, they assuredly will not appear in so complete and finished a shape as they would have done had they received a final revision from their author; but, in the humble judgment of the writer of this article, they will still form a more copious and more interesting life of the great philosopher than any yet extant.
The Editor of these volumes has now only to state, that if it please God to spare him a few years, he purposes publishing an uniform edition of all his father's works, with a biographical account of the author. To enable him to accomplish with greater facility the latter part of the undertaking, he earnestly entreats the surviving literary friends of the late Bishop, to favour him with such communications on the subject as it may be in their power to bestow,-more especially with any particulars relative to the earlier part of the Bishop's life, and with any correspondence between themselves and the Bishop which they may deem of sufficient interest to form a part of such memoir.
H. HORSLEY. Dundee, January, 1810.