« НазадПродовжити »
idea of creating power, we might naturally expect the doctrine of providence to be involved in like obscurity. The omnipotence of fate on the one hand, controuling even Jove himself, and the mighty empire of chance on the other, were both contrived to relieve the divinity from that incessant stretch of thought and operation which was supposed necessary to the continued efficiency of his power. 'The children of men, therefore, were the sport either of accident or necessity, except on/special occasions of divine interposition. Thus the world by wisdom knew not either the existence or government of God. It is the glory of the Christian dispensation, that many an unlettered peasant, under no other illuinination, has attained such exalted conceptions of the being and administration of the deity, as the mind of Plato or of Cicero could never grasp. We have been so much gratified by the reasonings of Dr. Ireland, on this important subject, that we gladly insert the following interesting paragraph.
That there must be an independent and primary cause of things, and that it must have an existence essential and peculiar to itself ; that this being is both eternal and infinite, and is necessarily perfect; that there can be only one being possessed of those peculiar properties, and that all other things depend on him, for their existence; that this being is God ; that God is a spirit ; that therefore the universe or general sum of things, cannot share any portion of divinity with him : and that he is the proper and sole object of worship ;- these, I say, are discoveries which the common reason of man has been supposed capable of making by its own efforts, and without the suggestions of divine · revelation. But we may now securely ask, in the practice of what Pagan nation is this supposition to be proved ? In the doctrines of what Pagan philosopher, can its truth · be clearly established? We have seen, that in consequence of the imperfection of the deity of Plato, his original want of creative power, and the failure of his providence which neces. sarily resulted from it, the inferior deities, were also the objects of worship in the system of that philosopher. Notwi:hstanding this, a regular attempt to prove the claims of natural religion, has been made by our own Wollaston Yet it is not his object to discredit revelation.. He rather professes to recommend it, by a preparatory statement of faa' vourable conclusions drawn from the human understanding. His funda. mental principle is truth; from a conformity or disagreement with which, springs from a moral good or evil. Coincident with truth are reason and happiness ; and subservient to it is sense, or reason, or both. Hence he professes to deduce the law of nature, which contains the. knowledge of the truths relating to God, to ourselves, and to the rest of mankind. But, notwithstanding all his efforts on the side of unassisted reason, Wollaston could not descend to the level of nature. He was too well instructed by Christianity not to feel its influence even against his own purpose. He endeavours to exclude a light which shines in. wardly on his mind. Io vain he professes “ only to shew, what a hea.
then philosopher, without any other help and almost avrodeSaxlos may be supposed to think.”* The "suggestions of his reason are tinged with revelation, and the standard which he establishes for the religion of nature, is of a height which Plato never reached.” pp. 316-318.
Inquiries respecting the summum bonum of ancient philosophers, occupy the last section of the author's dissertations. We have frequently been disposed to consider the theories of the different schools on this subject, as ingenious attempts to simplify and analyse the various sources of pleasure, till they arrived at that original substratuin of happiness, on which every combination of imaginable good could be founded. The process of reasoning on this subject, adopted by the author of Hermes in his Dialogue on Happiness, appears capable of an application, which he did not intend, but which we conceive to be fully warranted by the characteristic discoveries of the Christian system. If we attend to the various objects of pursuit, we shall find that in the estimation of those who are regarding them, they are imagined to possess certain qualities, adapted to give them interest and importance. Whether they really possess such qualities, or whether an illusion deceives the inquirer, is a question at present foreign to our object. But if we combine these characters or ideas of good into one group, after having ascertained by an extensive induction of facis, the diversified attributes supposed to belong to the different objects of research, we shall probably acquire a complete notion of what ought to constitute the sovereign good, the supreme felicity of man. 'The original, natural, and universal preconceptions of mankind,' says Harris, ' have taught us, that the sovereign good ought to be something agreeable to our nature; conducive to well being ; accommodated to all places and times; durable, and indeprivable.'t Let tha object be presented, which combines within it this assemblage
of properties, and we may justly term it, the chief good. · Let the method of obtaining it be known, and we shall hail the discovery with gratitude and rapture. Mr. Harris applies the combination to rectitude ; which he thus identifies with the honestum of the Stoics. Dr. Ireland, in the volume before us, has ably exposed the fallacy of
this application. Rectitude may be considered as the i moral qualification for the enjoyment of the sovereign
good, but it cannot constitute the good itself. In a comparison of Paganism with Christianity, we naturally expected · more than a tracing af the wandering mazes of ancien,
error; on a subject as interesting now as ever. We are no : * Religion of nature delineated. Sect. 9. ::
t Dialogues, &c. p. 122. Third Edition.
satisfied, under this disappointment, by the prospect of ana other volume, intended, as the author assures us, to describe in a regular manner the scheme of revelation.' (pref. p. ix.) If a full developement of the Christian scheme had not been comprehended in his first series of Lectures, there might at least have been such distinct allusions to that scheme, such glancings on its delightful and inportant discoveries, as might have told us what is Christianity, as well as what was Paganism. As it happens, we learn much more of error than truth, more of darkness than light. We regret still more the absence of all such information, when we reflect, that many, to whom the Doctor addressed himself, on these subjects, are now removed from his immediate superintendence. It is our felicity to know, that the Christian revelation resolves all our anxious inquiries, by directing us to that "favour which is life,' and to that presence which is fulness of joy.' And here not only is the object exhibited, but the method of attaining it. The voice of God, from the excel. lent glory,' announces the mediation of Christ, and in the firm belief of this declaration, the Christian .
“ Rests and expatiates in the life to come.”
Art. XIII, The Detestable Nature of Sin; the Substance of a Sermon
preached before the Sussex Mission Society, at Lewes, 27th. Sept. 1809, and published at their Request. By John Styles. To which is appended an Account of the Society. 8vo. pp. 48. price 1s. Williams
and Co. 1809. A discourse designed to render moral evil odious, may appear to
some of our readers, perhaps, rather unsuitable before a society for the diffusion of the Christian knowledge. We, however, happen to
be of a different opinion. In proportion to the contagiousness and viru!!!! Jence of a disease, will be the earnestness with which benevolent minds
congratulate each other on the discovery of an effectual remedy, and ... endeavour to render its application as extensive as the circle of their
Mr. S, has endeavoured to render sin hateful, by shewing, that it tends to deprive God of the glory due to his name, degrade the majesty of the divine laws, and produce disorder and misery among intelligent beings ; and farther, by observing, that it is branded by the divine disapprobation in the sanctions of his law, in the procedure of his providence, and in the revelation of his mercy. These particulars Mr. S. has illustrated with considerable fervour and judgement. His discourse concludes with the following spirited expostulation. « If we suffer ourselves to look forward to the day of the Lord ; if we realize the terrors of that moment, when the Judge shall lift his “ red right hand,” and pronounce against the wicked, the sentence of eternal babishment from his presence, can we indulge a sinful thought, or per. form an action which conscience disapproves ? Is it true that the Lord Jesus 'shall be revealed, in great glory, with all his holy angels with him ; that before him the heavens and the earth shall flee away ; tha, in mid air the throne shall be set, and the books opened ; that we shall as surely be there, as we are here, to receive our irrevocable doom? is it true, that there shall triumph the righteous, and there tremble the wicked? Why then, my brethren, what manner of persons must we be, if thus thinking forward, we can trife with sin, and plunge our souls in everlasting ruin? How besotted the creatures, who surrounded with so many ·motives, to deter them from the practice of iniquity, can yet break through them all! O sinner, beware lest the God whose voice thou refusest to hear, in his dispensations both of mercy and vengeance, with one flash of indignation, light up the hell within thee, and convey thee all flaming to the place of torment. “Kiss the son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.”
We cannot but recommend the discourse to the perusal of those, who suspect the tenets of the evangelical faction, as it is called, of an immoral tendency ; as it seems to us that they will be led to impute the calumnies lately thrown on these principles, to nothing short of the most perverse malignity or grossest ignorance. . Art XIV. A Discourse delivered on board his Majesty's Ship Tri
dent, in Malta Harbour, Nov. 19, occasioned by the Death of Sir A. J. Ball, Bart. &c. By Richard Cruttwell, LL. B. Chaplain of the said Ship, and late Secretary to the Rear Admiral. 8vo. pp. 24.
Price 2s. 60.!! Cadell and Davies. 1809. - . W ITHOUT pretending to any great acquaintance with ships or sailors,
we must candidly confess that Mr. Cruttwell's discourse, delivered on board his majesty's ship Trident, docs -strike us as being excessively miscalculated for the place in which, and the people to whom, it was delivered. Instead of the forcible simplicity of sentiment, and the intelligible plainness of manner; so obviously demanded in addressing rude uncultivated minds, we are presented with a little worn out declamation and high scasoned panegyric, served up in disguised iambics. As thuss
Scattered with the blast, a cold and wintry blast,
For who can think that worth or excellence,' &c. p. 17,
· Hence, then, my friends, the hope, the never failing hope
Hence the bed of comfort
And hence the source, the deep and endless source,
To all the wilful “ workers of iniquity.”' p. 19. Surely these obscure lyrics are not quite suited to a pitchy audience. We feel, indeed, the same sort of offence at such misplaced finery, as Addison expresses with the monument of Sir Cloudesly Shovel in Weste
minster abbey, where that gallant admiral is represented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long periwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of state.' It is scarcely necessary to add, that the excellence of the deceased admiral's character deserved a far abler panegyrist. Art. XV. The Valentine, a Poem on St. · Valentine's Day; (the
14th of February.) With a poetical Dedication to Mrs. Dorset, Au. thor of “ The Peacock at Home." By Edward Coxe, Esq. Hamp. stead Heath, royal 8vo. pp. 32. price 2s. 6d. Longman and Co.
1810. TT would be cruel to Mr. Coxe, who is probably a very good - natured gentleman, and a very affectionate husband, to treat this ingenious, but rather affected publication with severity. We will only observe, that it contains more than twenty pages of English verse, in some degree both humorous and elegant, together with sundry citations in divers languages, significant of Mr. Coxe's erudition; that it is splendidly printed on thick yellow wove royal paper, and costs half a crown. Though dedicated to Mrs. Dorset, it is inscribed to Mary, now his wife, supposed to have been written previous to his marriage. Art. XVI. Preparatory Studies for Political Reformers. cr. Svo. pp. 253.
Price 6s. bds. Baldwin. 1810. THE author of this work seems a man of knowledge and reflection ;
but his speculations are so general and indefinite, his ideas apparently 80 confused, many of his positions so erroneous, his projects so visionary, and his style so obscure, that we have no hope of the slightest benefit arising to the country from the publication of these Studies. If we un. derstand him rightly, his leading principles are these ; that such a reform as our modern patriots demand, would be attended with little advantage and great danger; that the chief agent for purifying the government must be public opinion; that the feasible and effectual means of giving a just direction and sufficient energy to this agent, are greater diligence in the clergy,(though the author's belief in Christianity seems more than questionable) and tlie diffusion of sound principles of morals and politics by the press. His last chapter is employed in extolling the Heir Apparent, and pointing him out as in all respects the best mediator between the king and people to procure a reform of the government ! Art. XVII. A Letter from a Country Clergyman to his Parishioners;
in which are considered a few of the Arguments and Practices of some of the modern Dissenters. By the Rev. John Nance, A. M. Chaplain
to the Earl of Oxford, &c. 8vo. pp. 33. Price 1s. Rivingtons. 1809. THIS production is not the first instance, which has come within our
notice, of a man's understanding not what he says, nor whereof he affirms. It is undoubtedly the duty of the Rev. John Nance, to jus. tify, by all rational arguments. his attachment to our ecclesiastical consti. tution. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.' But we regret, for the sake of the Church which shelters him, and the high patro, nage under which he officiates, that he is not better acquainted with the defensible grounds of his own practice. Hear, for instance, his vindication of the ceremonies of the Church, As to their being borrowed from the