Edinburgh Review,  1 (1802–03), 83–90.

Art. IX. [Review of Discourses on Several Subjects, by Thomas Rennell]

[Sydney Smith] *



Publications reviewed:

Rennell 1802


Infidelity, Reasoning, Utilitarianism, Population, Natural Theology

    Observes that Thomas Rennell 'is apt to put on the appearance of a holy bully, an evangelical swaggerer, as if he could carry his point against infidelity by big words and strong abuse, and kick and cuff men into Christians'. Instead of expressing contempt of infidel philosophers, who 'have power to allure from the Church great numbers of proselytes', one should study them diligently and answer them satisfactorily. While everybody was 'abusing and despising Mr. Godwin' he continued to grow in popularity, but 'Mr. Malthus took the trouble of refuting him; and we hear no more of Mr. Godwin'. (88) Criticizes Rennell's 'admiration of the ancients', which leads him to consider 'the works of Homer to be the region and depositary [sic] of natural law and natural religion' (89). Observes that this is ludicrous in view of Homer's often immoral polytheism.

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