Images de page

destinations have increased in value, We feel it our duty, however, to and may now produce altogether about notice in some degree the peculiar 7001. of annual income." pp. xxii.

nature of his scruples and religious xxvi.

conduct, as well as a few of those Our readers are already aware sentiments, expressed on the ocof the purpose to which some por- casion by the memorialist, to which tion of this munificent benefaction we find any difficulty in assenting. was applied. The remainder was The author has indeed incorporated appropriated in various ways to rather an unnecessary portion of the benefit of the poor of Aber- general reasoning with his detail of deenshire.

private life; though an air of pleasWe cannot suffer the narrative ing and amiable simplicity, which of such a life to pass without one pervades it, easily reconciles the observation on the honest and reader to what a fastidious taste scrupulous nature of its morality. might censure as out of place. The peculiar equity and honour of Mr. Burnett's habitual absence repaying to a party, in a closed from public worship would indibargain, whatever had been received cate, that his religion, though honest more than a just computation would and scrupulous, was cold and caubave assigned, furnishes a useful tious, resting upon too nice a sense lesson to the Christian merchant of particular differences, with too and tradesman. It brings to our weak an apprehension of common recollection a similar anecdotę, duties. At the same time, we imaequally to the honour of Mr. Park- gine, it could have been no slight hurst, the lexicographer, in bis difference of opinion that occasionintercourse with one of his tenants. ed this long-continued retirement ~ This man falling behindhand in of so conscientious a person from the payment of his rent, wbich was the assemblies of Christians. Whatfive hundred pounds per annum,


ever it was, it is probable that he was represented to his landlord, gradually saw reason to adopt more that it was owing to its being over- catholic views as he advanced in rented. This being believed to be life ; and the proposal of these the case, a new valuation was made. prizes may possibly be regarded It was then agreed, that for the as the fruit of a desire to impress future the rent should not be more others with a sense of those imthan four hundred and fifty pounds. portant truths, some of which were Justly inferring, moreover, that, if successively presented to his own the farm was then too dear, it must mind with growing and at length necessarily have been always too irresistible conviction. To us he dear, unasked, and of his own ac- appears to exbibit a striking excord, he immediately struck off fifty ample of a person who, beginning pounds from the comencement of with obscure views and a conscithe lease, and instantly refunded entious pursuit of clearer, had light all that he had received more than after light vouchsafed to him, till four hundred and fifty pounds per at last, perhaps, he was permitted annum."

to discern the bright and pure day Nor was this, or any other pecu- of the Gospel. We are not inliarity in Mr. Burnett's character, clined, therefore, to accede to the assumed or ostentatious. Even his author's conclusion, that Mr. Burdying bequests he had designed to nett's temporary scruples must anonyinous;

and it was only have related to points comparathe extent of his benefactions that tively indifferent; though perhaps frustrated his plan of secrecy, and one reason of our differing froin made a faithful memoir necessary him in this particular may be the to supersede the inaccurate reports different conceptions which we of curiosity.

appear to entertain upon the great CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 182,



question, what it is that is essen- a church, while he differs from its tial to Christianity, and what a public formularies in some impormatter of indifference. The au- tant doctrine, provided it be not a thor's sentiments on this subject fundamental one. Surely the wor. are contained in the following pas- ship of God ought to be kept pure sage :

from every thing which looks like

bypocrisy or double-mindedness; “ As the fundamentals of Christianity and, though we agree with our auseem to be preserved among all Pro- thor, that, unless there were a distestants, with the exception of such as exclude" from salvation those who differ position in each man to concede from them in the most minute article of something to his neighbour, there order or worship, there appears to be no could be hardly any society among solid reason for withdrawing from any men, there is yet (we apprehend) a Protestant communion in which a person wide difference between comprohas been educated, and refusing to join with any other, on this sole ground, that mising important truths and overassent cannot be given to every indi- looking light shades of opinion : vidual tenet which its members may

while at the same time, if ever a profess." pp. xvi. xvii.

person finds himself stand alone

and unable to join any body of This (we acknowledge) is very far worshippers sincerely, such sinfrom being our ground of attachment gularity ought immediately to make to the Church of England. In re- him suspect the soundness of his gard to the general question, it own opinions, and lead him to exwould seem that, in our author's amine them with seriousness. idea, the only tenet held by any Again we should say, that the set of Protestants, which militates moral strictness of Mr. Burnett is against the fundamentals of Chris.

no adequate proof to us, as Dr. tianity, is that which would ex- Brown conceives it to be, (p. xxii.,) clude from salvation those who of the strength of his religious differ in the most minute article of principles; because the same deorder or worsbip from themselves. gree of moral strictness has been We presume that, in making this sometimes produced by the pride statement, the author did not mean of independence or the love of to include Unitarians under the ge- character, by a stoical sense of neral denomination of Protestants; human dignity or a studied admisand with this understanding we are sion of the fitness of virtue. Sucb not unwilling to admit his position, moral strictness would in a great that the fundamentals of Chris- degree have appeared in the contianity seem to be preserved among duct of Cato or Seneca, without all Protestants : for they all main- flowing from a principle which can tain, at least in their public docu- in any sense be called religious. ments, the doctrines of the Trinity, At the same time, we would earof original sin, of the atonement, nestly hold out the conduct of Mr. and of justification by faith only. Burnett, as an example that might Our only doubt would relate to the well shame others, whose religious Quakers, who deny the sacraments. principles have been from their But, certainly, we cannot allow earliest education clearer, purer, intolerance or illiberality to be a and

more evangelical than Mr. test of fundamental doctrines or a Burnett can be supposed to have tenet of any church: for funda- acquired till the very close of his mental doctrines may be held with life—at least if his biographer has intolerance as well as anti-Chris- done them justice, where he says tian ones liberally. Nor would we of him, that encourage the notion, which is here

6 he raised his views to heaven, and supported, that it is safe for a per- as the best preparation for its happison to remain in communion with

ness, practised those virtues, in the

completion of which this happiness must beauty, or stoical dignity enforce chiefly consist.” p. xlvi.

the performance; and therefore We propose to close our stric- we would wish to be on our guard, tures on this narrative by a few and to place others on their guard, remarks on the summary view of against the seduction of such pasMr. Burnett's religious creed and sages as might be calculated to practice contained in this short leave an impression behind them, sentence. Wbether they are cor- that it is possible for any

but those rectly represented in it, we have who have themselves, in the lanno means of judging. Our obser

Our obser- guage of Saint Paul, been justified vations relate only to the de- by faith without the works of the scription itself, and to the view law, to perform such works or of Christian faith and duty which virtues as a justifying faith would would seem to be countenanced in dictate. this and one or two other passages These remarks on the eminent of the Memoir.

life of Mr. Burnett have detained Although it be true, that the us longer than we had intended happiness of heaven must chiefly from the two valuable works in consist in, or be derived from, the which he, being dead, yet speaketh. completion of the moral virtues; On the general subject of these if by that term be understood the works, we would first quote the whole of our duty to God and to pertinent observation of Mr. Sumall his creatures ; and although ner. consequently the practice of those virtues on right principles be the " It was a sound and excellent judgbest preparation for that happiness,

ment which directed that the attributes we hold it not safe to represent,

of the Deity should be treated of, in the that man can by any moral virtues

first place, from considerations indepen

dent of written Revelation ; and, in the prepare

his soul for heaven. If second place, from the Revelation of he attempt them in his

Jesus Christ. Natural reason conducts strength, it is to be feared that it us to the doors of the temple; but he will have a quite contrary effect, who would penetrate farther, and beand teach him, by going about to

hold in their just proportions the greatestablish his own righteousness, not

ness and majesty of the Deity within,

must consent to be led by Revelation. to submit unto the righteousness of God. It is only when justified by faith in an atoning Saviour, Accordingly, he lays out the that we begin to purify our general scheme for the conduct of selves in bis strength, and to have his future argument in the followsome adequate, though still infinite- ing manner :ly imperfect, conception of what is meant by purifying ourselves

"I have not ventured to take the even as He is pure.

Christian Revelation as the groundwork prebend this, we shall be in dan.

of my argument; because, that being

granted, any treatise upon the Divine ger of taking up an imperfect stand- attributes would be superfluous : at the ard and contenting ourselves with same time I would consider it equally such moral virtues as are founded absurd and unprofitable to argue in this in a sense of human expediency; age, and in this country, as if we were and thus shall not make any pro

really as much in the dark respecting

the counsels of God, or the object of ficiency in that heavenly minded- man's existence, as Socrates or Cicero. ness, that prevailing love of God The experiment of vindicating the moral and distrust of ourselves, and those administration of the universe without humbling and self-denying virtues, the help of a future state, has been sufwhich adorn the walk of the Chris.

ficiently tried, The necessity of general

laws, or the imperfection of matter, or tian virtues, of wbich heathen phi

the inevitable consequences of human losophy could not discern the

liberty, or the degrees of perfection of


p. xvii.

Till we apo

[ocr errors]

mon sense.

possible worlds, may serve by turns to first proof which Adam enjoyed of
exercise, or amuse, or perplex the rea- the existence of bis Creator. It
soning powers of a few philosophers.
But something more satisfactory must

was the proof afforded to the Israelconfute the skeptic; something more

ites on Mount Sinai. It was the consolatory must sooth the afficted; proof of the resurrection of our something more irresistible must arm the Saviour, granted to the Apostles. moralist.” pp. xiv, xv.

And it is itself a proof of such This decision we conceive to be a nature, that, when vouchsafed, conformable to the dictates of com- it must render all proofs, collect

The existence and ed from his works or from any primary attributes of a Supreme other quarters, superfluous.

InCreator we judge to lie within the deed, all our knowledge of God province of natural religion: for is in some way derived from Reve“ the invisible things of him, from lation. Even of the ancient heathe creation of the world, are thens, if it is said that that which clearly seen, being understood by may be known of God is manifest the things that are made, even bis in them, the reason assigned iseternal power and godhead," It is " for God hath sbowed it unto fit, therefore, that every Christian them.” All discoveries of the Dishould be taught to see those evi- vine nature are revelations more dences which the Deity has stamped or less perfect. The world itself, upon the face of nature concerning when studied rightly, is a revelabimself, as well as those which he tion of his works : for “the heavens has furnished in the page of Reve- declare the glory of God, and the lation. But in the conduct of this firmament showeth his handy work.” inquiry, while we endeavour to History is a revelation of bis progather all the light which Nature vidence: for in that also “ he left can furnish to us, it would seem to not himself without witness ;” in be a preposterous adherence to that it shows bim to have done good system to refuse studiously (for we continually, and given us “rain are persuaded it is not possible to from heaven and fruitful seasons, refuse altogether) the collateral filling our hearts with food and light which the risen sun of Reve- gladness.” The Scriptures are a lation has thrown over the same revelation of his will: for“ all Scripprospect.

ture is given by inspiration of God, To us, indeed, it would appear, and is profitable for doctrine, for that the existence of the Inspired reproof, for correction, for instrucVolume affords of itself a distinct tion in righteousness.” But above and incontrovertible evidence of all these revelations, will be the the existence and providence of revelation bereafter to be made to God, perfectly independent of that the pure in heart; “for they," which may be collected from other said our blessed Saviour,

We cannot, therefore, in see God.” Other revelations we any sense, accede to the conse

find denied and controverted. quence drawn by Dr. Brown on Even the revelation of the glory this subject.

of God in the face of Jesus Christ

is denied, perverted, and vilified; - His existence is presupposed by and even many, who receive the Revelation, is the foundation of Reve- testimony of the Gospel, are yet lation, and cannot consequently be assailed with harassing doubts in proved, in the first instance, by Revela

moments of temptation and dis-

tress. But those who shall hereSurely, of all the proofs of the after be permitted to see God, wbo existence of any thing, a revelation shall see him as he is, and, holding of its existence is the most convinc perpetual communion with his Maing. This was, probably, the jesty, shall ever be with the Lord,

[ocr errors]

" shall



ed a


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

can never know doubt or unbelief the first of the three books, of

The revelation of him will which Dr. Brown's Essay consists, be to them perfect. It will be is exclusively devoted : and it is, such a proof as will make all their with some exceptions, a clear, former knowledge, from whatever plain, and simple abstract of those sources derived, show like igno- arguments which have, in all ages, rance : for we shall then know, been advanced in proof of this even as also we are known.

momentous fact, both from the neWe are so far, therefore, from cessity of a First Cause, from the admitting, that the existence of manifestation of design through God cannot be proved in the first the whole of creation, from the instance by Revelation, that we constitution and faculties of the look upon the very existence of human mind, from the general conthat Book which conveys a reve- sent of mankind, from the evidences lation of bim to mankind as one of in the world itself of a recent the most palpable proofs of his origin, from tradition, and, lastly, existence. That Book may be from Scripture. Whoever wishes proved by a series of citations to see a short epitome of these sefrom it, made in every successive veral lines of argument, may be age, to have come into being, part gratified here. Mr. Sumner, on by part, immediately after the se- the other hand, disposes of the veral facts which it records. Those whole of this part of his subject in facts are of such a nature, that no. twenty-seven pages, in which he imposture, which depended upon disproves very clearly, though in a forgery of such facts as its basis, a compressed form, the theories could possibly have succeeded at which would represent the universe the time of their occurrence ; wbile as having subsisted from eternity, the whole volume, comprising a or as having had its origin in train of prophecies, with a history, chance, and then draws the irreof their accomplishment, is a mo- sistible conclusion, that it must nument, the existence of which can have proceeded from an intelligent in no way be adequately accounted Creator : and he closes bis sumfor without involving the existence mary argument with the following and the highest attributes, such at- apology for its brevity :tributes as Nature alone can never unfold, of a Deity. At the same time, we by no

" If this chapter had been intended means undervalue those proofs of

as any thing more than a brief state

ment of the nature of the argument his being and character which he

from fipal causes, it would have been' has mercifully scattered up and necessary of course to detail the chief down in every part of creation. marks of contrivance which the world They are pearls in our path, which exhibits, which have here been only alwe are both bound and privileged to the numerous volumes upon this sub

luded to incidentally. But, in addition to pick up : and accordingly, we

ject, the recent and popular work of proceed now to exhibit those two

Dr. Paley seems to render any fresh strings of them which our authors enumeration of those instances quite have put together. The unlikeness superfluous. I do not mean to say that of the two compilations to each

the subject is exhausted ; nor indeed other may well illustrate the har

can it be, till every part of the universe

is laid open to our inquiry. But permonious variety of those evidences haps there is some justice in the rewith which the Almighty has in- mark, that it already labours under terspersed our walk, and which the disadvantage from its unlimited extent. Atheist perpetually overlooks. A single example seems altogether as

conclusive as a thousand ; and be that The first thing to be demon

cannot discover any traces of contristrated is the simple fact of the

yance in the formation of an eye, will being of a God. To this object, probably retain his Atheism at the end

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »