Images de page
PDF
ePub

terseness with which these Reformers had to contend, and the bitter persecutions which they continually experienced, in pursuing their great and laudable purpose, we must have little of Christian charity, as well as little of human infirmity, if we be not disposed to make large allowance for the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed. It should also be remembered, to their honour, that the first Reformers in general, (and especially those of our own country) were not men who presumed upon the right of private judgment, to dictate to their lawful superiors, or to subvert lawful establishinents, but who maintained the necessity of an appeal to scripture, in order to effect an amicable decision upon disputed points of the very last importance, and that they only opposed a manifest usurpation of authority, on the part of those who unlaw. fully insisted upon having dominion over their Faith,' instead of being helpers of their joy."

In the ninth Sermon, on the Origin and Progress of Deism, the principles of Herbert, Hobbes, and Spinoza, are exe plained at considerable length, and their errors are refuted in a very satisfactory and masterly manner.

In the tenth, in which the same subject is continued, we have a brief but interesting exposition of the doctrines of Blount, Toland, Shaftesbury, Collins, Woolston, Tindall, Morgan, Chubb, and Bolingbroke,

.“ Who signalized themselves in this country, as propagators of Deism, from the beginning to the middle of the eighteenth century, These, in conjunction with the vain and superficial wits of the age, were associated together, under the denomination of Free-thinkers, a term grossly misapplied if understood to denote a freedom from partiality and prejudice, since none perhaps ever proved themselves more slavishly addicted to a few favourite leaders, whom they suffered entirely to hoodwink their understandings, and to lead them, almost without inquiry or consideration, into the depths of error and delusion."

“ After the labours of most of the above-mentioned Infidels had ceased, and their authors had been called away to give an account of them at a more dreadful tribunal than that of human opinion, there arose a worthy successor to them in their undertaking, one of the most subtle and dangerous opponents that Christianity ever met with in this country. This was the admired historian Hume, whose ambition to excel likewise as a Philosopher, led him to meta« physical researches, which he prosecuted with extraordinary assi, dusty, and applied, with most mischievous etfect, to his designs against Revealed Religion.”

Mr. V. M. proceeds to explain the tenets of Hume's phi, losophy with clearness and precision ; he notices the labours of the French philosophers, for the subversion of Revealed

[merged small][ocr errors]

Religion, in their grand performance the Encyclopædia, and pbserves, that

“ In addition to these numerous attacks upon the Christian Faith, a singular attempt was made, not many years since, to revive the follies of Paganism, and gravely to propose them to the acceptance of a Christian community, as the only oracles of wisdom and truth, This was chiefly the endeavour of a writer, whose over-curious researches into the depths of Platonism, and its mystical interpreters, seem to have almost deprived him of his understanding. The pro-. selytes to this cause, we may trust, were few, nor would so fanatical and absurd an attempt be worthy of notice, did it not serve to shew to what strange infatuation men of real erudition, and of considerable intellectual attainments may he brought, by dissegarding the Oracles of Sacred Truth, and yielding to the reveries of a vain and inflated imagination.”

The following allusion to Lord Chesterfield's writings calls forth our warmest applause:

“While Sophistry, under the semblance of Learning and Scie ence, was thus gaining ground in the closets of the studious and inquisitive, a system of a more attractive kind was prepared for the gay and unthinking part of mankind. By one of the most distinguished wits of his time, (a man of high rank in Society, and taking the lead in all the refinements and elegancies of polished life) something like a Code of Practical Irreligion was promulgated, from which all reverence for moral and religious principles seemed to be pur, posely discarded, and in their stead were substituted certain rules of exterior courtesy, formed professedly upon maxims of insincerity and deceit, and so opposite to the spirit of the Gospel, that, (as an acute observer has justly remarked) instead of " love without dissi, mulation,” they inculcated dissimulation without love. [Jones.] Without any direct attack upon Christianity, the writings of this author (whoșe tutal inditterence to the authority of Revelation is every where conspicuous) insinuated such poison into the minds of frivolous and inconsiderate persons, as nu arguments, perhaps, however weighty and irrefragable, coulil entirely remove, and much is it to be feared, that they have had a powerful influence upon many, who might have been inaccessible to thę wiles of argumentative sophistry, because indisposed to encounter the fatigue of elaborate investigation.”

The censures of the author are next directed against Frederic the Second, King of Prussia, whose avowed patronage and active assistance "principally contributed to the dissemination of Infidel principles throughout Europe."

In the cleventh Sermon, which exposes the infidelity of the present age, we find some severe but just remarks on the gulbiors of the " Age of Reason," of the “ Enquiry into per

[ocr errors]

litical Justice," and of a new Translation of the Bible. This Sermon concludes the historical part of our author's subject, which is brought down to the present time.

Before entering on the argumentative part of the inquiry, Mr. V. M. in his twelfth Sermon, which completes the first volume, gives a recapitulation of the foregoing view, with proofs that infidelity originated in the influence of the Evil Spirit, a doctrine, however, which he is careful to vindicate from the imputation of Manicheism. The remainder of this discourse is taken up with answering some objections, and an inquiry into the future events relating to the Church,

(To be continued.)

A plain and affectionate Address to the Parishioners of St. Martin's

and All Saints, in Leicester, from the Rev. Edrward Thomas Vaughan, A. M. their Vicur. Hatchard, London. 12mo.

81 pp. price 1s. MR. VAUGHAN appears to be a pious and conscientious parish priest, eager to instruct, and zealously concerned for the spiritual welfare of his hearers. In some few instances he seems to incline too strongly to the mode of expression by which the Gospel preachers, as they affect, imprudently and illiberally to call themselves, wish to excite attention; but surrounded as he is by sectaries of all denominations, some degree of warmth is not only allowable but necessary, in order to counteract the effects of their zeal.

The author divides his work into several sections. 1. Importance of being a Christian. 2. State of Man. 3. Salva: tion by Christ. 4. Distinguishing property of true Christians, Justification, Sanctification. 5. Means of Grace. 6. Deyout Observance of the Lord's Day, 7. Conclusion.

A Demonstration of the Eristence of God, from the wonderful Works of

Nutare. Translated from the French of François Auguste Chateaubriand, and dedicated, by permission, to the Lord Bishop of Llandaff. By Frederic Schoberl. 12mo. pp. 102, Price 3s,

boards. Phillips. 1806. A Demonstration of the existence of God! It might be supposed, that in this enlightened age at least, it would be as needless to prove that the sun shines at noon day, when the sky is free from clouds, as that there is a supreme and superintending Intelligence, who created every ihing, and who holds the chain of events. But since some Inen in the pride and vanity of their hearts, and others through ignorance or affectation, have pretended to doubt this leadwg truth, it has, unhappily for mankind, become necessary

[ocr errors]

to support the authenticity of Revelation by an appeal to their senses; and the Works of Nature, which proclaim with a thousand voices that there is a God, furnish this appeal, from which it is impossible to shrink.

The publication before us is a fragment from a much larger work, which appeared in France, under the title of the “ Genius of Christianity," in 1802. Notwithstanding the scepticism, even the avowed infidelity of the French nation, the elegant pen of Chateaubriand made such an impression in that country, that seven editions were called for in the space of two years. It would have given us pleasure to have announced to the British public a translation of the whole, but we ought to give Mr. Schoberl praise for what he has atchieved. He divides this translation into thirteen chapters: 1. General Survey of the Universe. 2. Organization of animals and Plants. 3. Instincts of Animals. 4. The Song of Birds--It is made for Man-Laws relative to the Cries of Animals. 5. Nests of Birds, 6. Migrations of Birds--Aquatic Birds—'Their Manners-Beneficence of Providence. 7. Sea Fowl-In what manner serviceable to Man-In ancient tines the Migration of Birds. served as a Calendar to the Husband

8. Sequel of Migrations-Quadrupeds. 9. Amphibious Animals and Reptiles. 10. Of Plants and their Migrations. 11. Two Views of Nature. , 12. Physical Man, 13. Instinct of Country.

We cannot characterize this work better, than by adopting the words of the venerable prelate to whom it is inscribed. “It is" says he, “not calculated for the instruction of philosophers, but it will enlarge the views of the ignorant, it will arrest the attention of the thoughtless, and it will give an impulse to the piety of sober-minded men: there are passages in it which emulate the eloquence of Bossuet.”

[ocr errors]

man.

A Charge delivered to the Clergy of tke Archdeaconry of Middleser, a:

the Primary Visitation in May and June, 1806. By George
Owen Cambridge, A. M. F. A. Š. Archdeacon of Middleser and

Prebendary of Ely. 8vo. pp. 27. Cadell and Davies.
In this sensible charge the Reverend Archdeacon requests
the co-operation and assistance of his brethren in “ an
examination into the condition of the ecclesiastical buildings,
by means of a parochial visitation." The first object of in
quiry he states to be the condition of the fabric of the
Churches, and that these sacred edifices may be preserved
in such order and repair as may enable them to receive with
comfort and convenience the whole number of persons who
are required to assemble there,

“ Nor can it be necessary to point out,” says he, “ that where this is not the case, too good an excuse is afforded to those who are willing to make use of it, for neglecting altogether the duties of Public Worship, or else for resorting to the assemblies of sectaries and unauthorised teachers, who readily avail themselves of such favourable occasions, to draw away the ignorant and unwary from their attendance on their lawful minister.”

“ The greater muraber of our parochial churches were erected, as you know, under the first Princes of the Norman line, during a space of little more than one century, and they furnish a very honourable memorial of the religious zeal of those early times, and the attention shown by those sovereigns to promote the spiritual welfare of their people. From that period to the present (including a lapse of more than six centuries) many of these edifices, particularly such as are situated in small towns and villages, have undergone very little alteration, and what has been done to them has, in many instances, tended rather to weaken than add strength to the fabric, and often to deface the original design and beauty of the architecture, whilst the frequent burials in the adjoining ground, for such a long course of years, must unavoidably have raised the carth (particularly in populous places) far above its natural level, not only producing the usual disagreeable effects of damp within the building, but often, by the unequal pressure of the soil on the walls, endangering the safety of the whole.”

We here beg leave to remind the Archdeacon, that few of the parochial churches, comparatively speaking, which are now standing, can be traced to so very remote an origin, and that the greater part were the work of private charity and munificence. His observations on that total want of all taste and propriety which has destroyed the beauty and injured the strength of these fabrics, deserve the most serious attention.

12mg

Beelzebub driving and drowning his Hogs, a Sermon, on nark 5.

12, 13. by the late Rev. J. Burgess, Nlinister of Hauchfold Chapel, near Whitworth, Lancushire. Richardsons.

pp. 29. Price is FOR this posthumous publication we are indebted to the kindness of Mr. Burgess's friends, who doubtless were unwilling that so choice a disquisition should be lost to the learned world. Should they be so fortunate as to discover any more of his inedited works, we humbly entreat them to give us due notice of their publication, that our weak intelJects may not again be overpowered by the sudden appearance of so much originality of matter, and brilliancy of language. This eloquent discourse, might, iudeed,' be well adapted to the congregation who were so happy as to own Mr. Burgess for their minister, but it is quite throwy away

« PrécédentContinuer »