Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

piling of sectaries ? Men may, indeed, say what they please, and when they please contradict at one time what they affirm at another. Thus, however, does it appear, that one class of these divines in vindicating such a conduct, another in confessing it, and our bishops in lamenting it, conspire to establish ehe fact, in opposition to our assailants, that many of them have not adhered to the obvious doctrines of the Articles; or, in other words, do not preach so evangelically as these forms. And thus, on the other hand, do we profess to adhere to their plain meaning; thus it is confessed, that the Articles lean to our side of the question; and thu's do these eminent Prelates recommend, with all their energy, the very stile of preaching by which we are characterised, for which we are calumniated, and which only we would here vindicate.' P. 42.

* This formal parade of premises, proof, and inference, is calculated to'leave an impression on the reader's mind, that Mr. O, having regu. larly made out his case, is, therefore, justified in his conclusion. But to me it appears, that, at least, two, if not three, links are evidently wanting in the chain of argument, to connect Mr. O.'s premises with his conclusion. First, with respect to the premises themselves, before they can be admitted as contributing any thing towards the establish. ment of the general position Mr. O, is here attempting to make out, it must be proved, that the great body of Clergy, against whom Mr. O, is writing, adopt the loose sentiments of those individual divines he has brought forward on the subject of subscription. In the next place it must be proved, that the authorities appealed to by Mr. O. on this occasion do actually bear on the case in point; by being intended to apply to Evan. gelical Ministers of the Calvinistic persuasion, to the exclusion of all others of a different persuasion. And, in the third place, it must be proved, in reference to the adduced authority of the Bishop of Lincoln, which maintains what every honest man must, that the « Articles are to be subscribed in their plain obvious sense ; that no minister but those who consider the Articles to be Calvinistic, can subscribe them in that sense. It is a common practice with Mr. O. like him,

« Who made an instrument to know

“ If the moon shine at full or no," to enter into a formal proof of that, which no man, in his senses, will deny. This, however, with Mr. O. is not a mere opus supervacaneum. His design in it is to insinuate, that the thing thus proved, however obvious in itself, is denied by his opponents. A striking instance of this occurs in the chapter now under consideration, in which he la. bours to show, that " heathen morality ought not to be suffered to usurp the place of Evangelical doctrine in a Christian pulpit; in other words, that Christian ministers ought to be Gospel ministers," But it was in vain for him to expect, that he could give a more clear or decided testimony to this truth, which, as Mr. Daubeny justly ob. serves, is “incontrovertible," than his opponent Mr. D. had him. self before given in his excellent “Guide to the Church," p. 485, where, speaking of the Clergy of our Church, with the view of ani. mating them to a zealous discharge of their important trust, he says,

*** But, above all, their object must be to take away all just reason for the desertion of their ministry, by giving full proof of their evangelical commission. With the Apostle, they must be able to say to their hearers, We take you to record this day, that we are pure from the blood of all men; for we have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.' The plea generally advanced by modern separatists,

that

that sound doctrine is not preached in our Church, upon how partial ground soever it may really stand, must at all events be effectually re. moved. For the people must not only be taught, that it is their duty to live in communion with the Church; they must, moreover, be satis, fied, that they shall be profited by that communion. In a matter of this importance, men will take the liberty to judge for themselves; and, if they have reason to think, that they are not fed with the true bread of life within the walls of the Church, they will unquestionably seek it where they fancy it may be found, either in fields or in conventicles,"

(To be continued.)

The Christian Guide, or an attempt to explain, in a series of connected

Discourses, the leading Articles of Christianity, designed principally for the Use of Families and young Persons. By Charles Plunptre, M.A. Rector of Long Newton, in the County of Durlanho 8vo. 78. 6do

[ocr errors]

W HEN the learned and amiable Prelate, who now presides over

y the Diocese of Durham, was translated to that See, he was generally understood to have signified, that the Clergy he should introduce into his Diocese, as well as those whom he should promote in it, should be distinguished by their exemplary conduct, and professional diligence. Among the latter we mention, with pleasure, the Kev. Dr. Thorp the worthy Archdeacon of Northumberland, and Mr. Brewster, the author of the Meditations of a Recluse; anong the former the present learned Bishop of St. David's, Dr, Paley, Dr. Gray, Dr. Prosser, and the respectable author of the volume now before us. Such unequivocal attachment to the Church of England in & powerful patron, augurs well to the interests of genuine Christianity.

These Discourses have, in the perusal, afforded us great satisfaction; they evince a zealous pastor anxious for the everlasting welfare of his hearers ; they discover a mind replete with knowledge, and a heart overflowing with zeal. Mr. Plumptre makes no affected displays of eloquence; but, which we greatly prefer, be informs the understanding : he sets before his readers what it is their duty to know, and persuades them to what it is their interest to do. In an introductory sermon, he makes some just observations on preaching in which he opens his intended plan : we wish that he had inserted his address to his congregation, because we are persuaded, that it would have been an additional recommendation of his book; and when he prints a second edition, which we doubt not he soon will do, we shall be happy to observe that he is not inattentive to our intimation. In the next Discourse he enters upon his subject, un folding with great perspicuity, and a pleasing address, the nature of the Christian covenant, and of Christ's Mediation. In the second he shews, in what Christ's kingdom consists; which interesting topic is, in the third, compared with human governments; this latter is an

excellent

excellent Discourse, the subject being very happily illustrated. In the fourth, he shews that Christ's kingdom is not of this world, and that his sovereignty extends over the dead and the angels in heaven, and over Satan. In the fifth, he proceeds to the consideration of the Christian church, the origin of Apostles, Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, together with its subsequent history. This also is an admirable discourse. The sixth is appropriated to the consideration of , the Holy Ghost, of his personal nature, his manner of working, and of the effect of his influence on the Apostles. The seventh is a conti. nuation of the subject, in which the author shews himself steadily attached to the Established Church. In the eighth Discourse, he illustrates the nature of Faith. In the ninth are many just observations on Repentance, on its necessity to salvation, and on a deathbed repentance. The tenth comprizes the doctrine of the two Sacraments. Mr. P. on the subject of Baptism, wisely steers be. tween two extremes ; and whilst the reader perceives that his author is possessed of much learning and knowledge, he continues to read with increasing satisfaction, neither disturbed by violence, nor disgusted, by insinuations. The eleventh Discourse illustrates the nature of the principle on which the Christian moral duties should be performed. · The twelfth is on the subject of prayer, when an answer is given to the question, why the name of Christ does not occur in the Lord's Prayer. And in the thirteenth he treats of the abolition of death, and of immortality by Jesus Christ. · We have found in these Discourses what might be expected from an author patronized by so good a judge of excellence as his Right Rev. Diocesan is, sound argument, and true piety. The evangelical Preacher will think of them very differently : the society at Darlington which, the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER boasts, is honoured with the sanction of many dignitaries, will lament that the author is not inspired that he has undergone none of the pangs of the new birth and that he, at best, sees through a glass darkly, But we can assure our readers, that these discourses are truly valuable; that they reflect, the highest credit upon their author; and that they contain, if we are not very egregiously mistaken, internal evidence of his being á góod man; they exhibit, in every page, the solicitude of a Chris. tian pastor to lead his flock into the way of salvation.

But our readers shall judge for themselves: we will lay before them the conclusion of the ninth Sermon on Repentance. I'" It is the intention, however, of most men, to repent before they die. It were to be wished, that they who make such a declaration, or tacit resolution, would ask themselves upon what principle they go when they make it. Is it from a sense of the depravity of sin, or from the fear of punishment that they act? If from a sense of the depravity of sin; is sin less, odious to God in a man possessing the full use of his faculties, of his mind and body, than in one grown old and infirm ? Absurd and shocking reasoning! making God indulgent to sin, where it abounds most from the spirits and strength of youth; a strict avenger, where from decay of both, it must necessarily shew itself in less glaring colours! A lively sense of the depravity of sin will lead immediately to reformation of conduct, will not wait for the decay of constitution, or insensibility of mind.. If virtue is unchangeable, and tho samę at all times, vice is equally remote from change; if rice is offensive in an old man, it must be offensive in a young one. To get rid of it betimes, is the wisdom taught by Jesus Christ; to begin the work of repentance, as soon as the knowledge of evil hath led us to the convic. tion of its hateful nature, and its excessive danger. Then, if upon this conviction being by God's Holy Spirit wrought within us, we go on in the work of reformation, cleansing the affections of the soul, that, as far as we can, we may present ourselves pure and spotless before the throne of God; for what evil we may have committed; for what weak. nesses we may not have been able to subdue ; for what imperfections we may not have corrected, we shall find mercy for the sake of him, who having been man, knoweth our wants and trials, and will abundantly pardon. But if, after all, we determine to repent hereafter, merely to stay the hand of vengeance, and because we shall then be so much nearer than we now are, or fancy ourselves to be, to the close of acting, we shall find our reckoning miserably calculated. For to determine to act wrong as long as we chuse, and only because we see the rod ready to afflict us, then to cry and beg for mercy is the same way not to attain it. The covenant of grace includes only those who strive, from the moment they enter it, to perform the conditions of it, or sincerely repent after transgression, and renew their obedience to the law of God. We let year after year pass on, before we think of the work we are called upon to do, and some of us determine to go to work only at the eleventh hour, But there is another parable to our purpose, which will tell us what our case may be. It may be that of the five foolish virgins, who, while the bridegroom tarried, slumbered and slept. But when the bridegroom was coming, they went to buy oil for their lamps; and when they returned, the door was shut against them, that they could not enter. So it may be with the man who resolves to repent at the end of his life. He may never attain to the years he expects to reach; he may be disabled by the distemper which will be fatal to him, from thinking seriously or at all; he may be cut off in an instant by various diseases and accidents. Let us put, however, the most favourable case ; will his prayers then be accepted Shall a fellow.creature presume to give such an ore assur. ance of pardon? He will entreat the Lord for him; but he must commit him solely to the mercy of his. Saviour, who knows his heart, his mo, tives, his fears, his past abuse of time, and opportunity for gaining knowledge. Wisdom is represented in the Book of Proverbs, as ad. dressing such men as I have been describing, in words, which I will repeat to you, as presenting a fearful and melancholy picture what their ease, without some extraordinary circumstance in it, may be ; " Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hands, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought my counsel, and would none of my reproof: í álso will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me, for that they hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord.”

same

We conclude our account of this instructive and edifying volume, by expressing a wish, that, as it was printed for the use of families, it may be in the possession of all who are desirous of increasing their knowledge of the doctrines and of the duties of the Gospel; and we pray God, that it may make them, as it certainly has a powerful tondency to make them, wise unto salvation.

Vol. V. Churchm. Mag. Sepi. 1803.

The

The Christian Hero; or the Union of Piety and Patriotism enforced;

Sermon, preached in the Chapel of the Foundling Hospital, July 31st, • 1803 ; Ry the Rev. John Hewlett, B. D. 8vo. pp. 23. Text.-Prov. xvi. 7. " When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh

even his enemies to be at peace with him." .

IN this excellent discourse it is justly premised, that from the event.

ful situation in which the country' is at present placed, our ways have not been such as to please the Lord; yet this assertion is not ad. vanced with a view to excite despondency but the contrary, for though there has been in our principles and conduct something to blame, there has been much also to commend and to remember “ in time of need with heartfelt satisfaction.”

In proof of our delinquency the preacher thus briefly sketches the prominent evils of the age: “ Our religious duties, have not been performed with that earnestness, zeal, and regularity, which they ought; the public notices of our Sunday revels and amusements in the metropolis are a sort of NATIONAL SCANDAL; and in general, our luxuries of every kind, our RAPACITY for money, and our PROFUSION ip spending it, our indolence and love of pleasure, are too excessive to be palliated, and too notorious to be denied." All this is truly observed, but the manner in which the profanation of the sabbath by the higher ranks of society is mentioned, does not appear to us to be strong enough. The public announcement of their Sunday REVELS is not only a sort of national scandal, but a most foul and flagitious aggravation of the crime, for we are well assured that no such articles of intelligence would appear in the newspapers if they were not communicated to the publishers by those who GLORY in their SHAME !! Should ibis abominable practice be renewed this winter, we pledge ourselves that we will hold up to public detestation the names of all parties concerned, without the slightest regard to their rank or situation in life.

Mr. Hewlett proceeds to draw a more pleasing picture, and he has done it with the hand of a master.

“ But, (says he) we have not added to our other faults the OBSTI, NACY, that is blind to conviction; nor the PRIDE that holds her head too high to see the dangers and the snares that lie in her path.

" There was a time, when many were tempted to enter the labyrinths of wickedness and error, by notions of LIBERTY and EQUALITY as false and impracticable, as they are mischievous and corrupt; but a gracious PROVIDENCe directing the energies of a wise and active government, saved us from anarchy and ruin. We were soon taught, by the sad ex. perience of others, that the popular clamour for liberty and equality led only to oppression, or to establish the lawless power of a few ; and that notions about the perfectibility of our fallen nature, when reducedto practice, were perverted to sanction or excuse the most atrocious crimes.

" Let it not be forgotten also, that the times in which we live have presented to us a completely new Page in the history of civilized so. ciety. It has brought the dreaming theories of cold-hearted sceptics and infidel philosophers to the test of practice and experience. The vanity of youth need not now any longer be duped, and the most credulous

ignorance

« FöregåendeFortsätt »