British Critic (Newspaper) - November 1, 1817, London, Middlesex
446 Jones's Biblical Cyclopedia. to texts illustrative of each other ; and thus enabled, by the due exertion of a plain understanding, to peruse the Scriptures to his own edification and comfort. A cheap and unpretending volume of this sort we have lately had occasion to recommend*; and as that work is conducted upon proper principles, and executed with competent ability, we doubt not that the Clergy, who can best judge how much it was wanted, will readily and zealously promote its circulation. We consider all the real utility of the cumbrous volumes before us to have been completely anticipated by that publication; and whatever they aim at more than it contains, renders them, in our opinion, less valuable. They evidently affect much more, and their bulk is increased by extended dissertations upon controverted points, not only objectionable because out of place, but because they affix a sense to the language of Scripture which all Christians, except the disciples of a particular school, have uniformly disclaimed. Mr. Jones indeed tells us, that his Cyclopaedia is designed to " facilitate the study of the Scriptures ;" but, by thus making it the vehicle of his own peculiar opinions, he has in fact increased the difficulties of that study an hundred fold. For, as it is undoubtedly true, that the Scriptures themselves are " the infallible test to which we ought to bring all the doctrines of men," (Preface) how grievous is the task which Mr. Jones has imposed on the plain unlettered Christian, by obliging him thus to try the tedious discussions with which his volumes are filled. And yet, if such persons use the work at all, this process will be the only preservative against being led aside into those devious paths, which tnc disciples of Calvia love to tread ; where " reasoning high Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, They find no end, iri wandering mazes lost." We do not mean to quarrel with Mr. Jones, because he is a decided Calvinist, or because, being such, he thinks it right to inculcate the doctrines which he believes to be true. But in a work professing to " assist persons of every description in obtaining a more intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures," we think such doctrines ought not to have been admitted. " Persons of every description" will certainly neither be edified nor iustructed by them; and to assume that they are undoubtedly * See Review of Robinson's Theological Dictionary. March, 1817. scriptural,.