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• Church is exposed by the rapid progress of modern Puri• taoism. To which table of duies - duties to God, or duties to man, this is to be referred, it is hard to determine: we suspect the duty our satirist speaks of, must rather be of that intermediate and ambiguous kind which we sometimes hear spoken of as duty to one's self; or it is a professional duty, it being a part of the religion of this Clerk, and, judging from the present performance, it makes up no small part of his religion, to ridicule and calumniate those whom he deems the enemies of the Church. Our Author has apparently received a commandment still newer than that which the Divine Founder of Christianity gave his disciples as a new commandinent; the loving one another' which our Lord enjoined, would seem in his view by no means to forbid a cordial hating of the Methodists. Probably be is an admirer of Dr. Jolinson, who said, he loved a good hater : we must, however, regret that he could find no object of satire more worthy of furuishing the exemplification of his ideas of clerical religion, than the Bible Society, and evangelical preachers.
Dryden, of whose religio laici tbis aspires to be an impitation, might be excused bis abuse of the Nonconformists : it was in character, and the mildness of the writer' corresponded, as he tells us, to the mercy of the government.' A man who, in Burnet's phrase, “ from baving no religion, came to choose s one of the worst,'--a papist in creed and a libertine in morals, could not but view the puritan Protestants of his day, with consistent detestation. But our Author, whose private character is, we would still hope, as much better than that of Dryden, as his talents are inferior, has been betrayed by his admiration of a dangerous model, into a tone of infidel ribaldry which nothing in Dryden can well surpass. If this be religion, what, it be asked, is irreligion?
• Within some tavern, whose presiding dame
The hollow friend, and unsuspected foe,
« Now lift the curtain-nothing need be chang'd
• Each has his portion ere the scene be clos'd,
And swell the Christian clamour of applause'! p. 18. This is followed by a death-bed scene, in which this poetical Clerk draws a picture of the supposed effects which the addresses of some fierce and gloomy zealot' bave bad on the mind of a dying pauper. If the fiction was no counter-part in reality, it does the more credit to the Author's imagination, who cannot be expected to frequent the death-beds of the poor for the purpose of collecting materials for satire ! Should he ever, in the course of his parish duties, be called to witness such a scene, we are afraid his theology would be of as little service as bis wit, and that this exquisite censor would pirove a miserable comforter."
Our Author, in conclusion, sketches out the romantic picture which his boyish fancy formed of the lot of the country rector. It is a vision worthy of boyhood : the civil squire who
• Half of my dues without a curse could spare,
Nor stormed if now and then I kill'd a hare;' The ready flock,
• Who liked their parson better than the next,
And not too often carried home my text ;' sufficiently indicate the sort of life this Clerk would like to lead, 'in a smiling country,' with a good glebe, and not too much duty. The wish is natural enough, and the country abounds with men of this negative character. This is their record, drawn by our poet himself.
6" Sober, not austere,
“ And gave no guinea to a Bible Club." ; We will add only two lines from a contemporary poet, who seems to bave exactly appreciated such reverend sentimentalists as our Author :
• Like him, how many! could we make the search,
Art. VII. Christian Records ; or a short and plain History of the
Christian Church; containing an Account of the Lives of the Apostles, the Sufferings of Martyrs, the Progress of the Gospel in different Ages, the Rise of the Reformation, &c. &c. 18mo. pp. 354.
Price 3s. 1816. THIS HIS comprehensive little work is intended for the use of
such persons as have neither time to read, nor spare money to purchase the volumes of our ecclesiastical historians; and the Author is entitled to our thanks for the goodness of his design, and for the labour which he has employed in condensing the materials with which his reading has supplied him, on the several topics included in the cheap publication before us, though we cannot applaud its execution. The service which he has performed, might have been acceptable to us, if he had used more discrimination in the compilation of its contents. Many particulars have occurred to us in our perusal of the book, which do not correspond to the statement in the preface, that the work consists of plain facts.' Incidents are put down, occasionally, as true, which are destitute of the authenticity requisite to invest them with the character of facts.' Of this kind are the following : 'He (Peter) was bishop of Autioch • nine years.' p. 4. ·St. Mark was of the tribe of Levi,' p. 18
St. Luke was a Jewish proselyte, and one of the seventy disciples.' p. 19. The Apostle John's being put into a cauldrou of boiling oil, p. 8. The story of the Thundering Legion, p. 32. Of the Theban Legion, p. 50. cum multis aliis. We are indeed surprised at the facility with which the Author puts down as matters of unquestionable certainty, points the most doubtful and circumstances the most improbable. Some writers seeni to be afraid of believing too much : the fear of the present writer seems to be tha
of believing too little. On some topics, his statements are adapted to mislead the reader; as when he affirins of the primitive Christians, that they used forms of prayer, or liturgies in their public worship, p. 77. The use of Godfathers and Godmothers in the baptism of infants. p. 78. The observance of Festivals, p. 75. &c. These were practices which to the primitive Christians,' in the only proper acceptation of the terms, were unknown. A large proportion of the pages of this work, is occupied with details of persecutions; and bere, we apprehend, the prejudices of the Author are discovered. He is truly copious in his narrative of the sufferings inflicted on the Protestants in the reign of the 'bloody queen Mary;' but be carefully conceals the cruelties of the Reformers of the English Protestant Church: Cranmer, as well as Bonner, imbrued his hands in the blood of religious Professors. The atrocities of the High Commission Court and Star Chamber under Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. are passed over. Of the infamous measures pursued by the profligate Charles II. and his still more abandoned Ministers, towards the Presbyterians of Scotland, wo have only the following account : p. 303.
• Dr. Leighton, archbishop of Glasgow, a very meek, learned, and pious man, whose works are read with great delight by those who love the spirit of devotion, was sent by King Charles II. to try to unite the church of Scotland to that of England.'
It is easy to perceive, from the manner in which this sma!! volume is composed, the way by which errors and doubtful stories have taken their place in ecclesiastical histories ; and it adds one more to the numerous instances in which the cause of truth bas failed of receiving efficient
support from the haste and mistaken judgement of an author. There is much that we most cordially approve in the present work, but as a whole we are by no means prepared to give it our reccommendation.
Art.VIII. .4n Answer to a Sermon preached, by the Rev. Charles Simeon,
M.A. of King's College, Cambridge, at the Church of St. Catharire Cree, Leadenhali Street, on Wednesday Evening, Dec. 31. 1817; relative to a Question between Jews and Christians. By
Benjamin Abrahams, an Israelite. 8vo. pp. 22. W!
E cannot perceive that this answer possesses very high
claims to our consideration in point of argument, though we are bound to mention with general commendation the respectful and temperate language in which it is drawn up. Its leading object appears to be to dissuade the patrons of the “ London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews," froin the prosecution of their purpose. The Author admonishes them to drop the notion of converting Jews: No human power
on earth can do it--God will not have it. In this assertion we do not agree with Mr. Abrahams; we expect the conversion of the house of Israel, as an event within the purposes of God, though we are entirely of bis opinion that no human being can accomplish it. With the London Society we have no con'nexion; and though we would not have iis conductors drop . the notion of converting Jews,' we most devoutly wish them a larger share of wisdom ihan, judging from some parts of their plan and proceedings, they seem to possess.
Mr. Abrahams represents Mr. Simeon as being but very imperfectly acquainted with the holy law : unfortunately, his own knowledge of the Scriptures is exposed to our suspicion, from the strange manner in which he cites the prophetical writings. When he quotes Isa. i. 11. “ To what purpose is the multitude “ of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord; I am full of the “ burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I “ delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he
goats,"—in proof that sivs were forgiven without sacrifice and blood ;-when he refers to Isa. i. 18. in support of the same assertion, he overlooks the connexion and mistakes the import of those passages. The same remark applies to his quotations from the 40th and 50th Psalms. We would recommend to Mr. Abrahams the investigation of the question, p. 12, Whether the acknowledgement of Jesus as the Mes. siah, and the reception of the Christian doctrine, would impose upon an Israelite, as of indispensable obligation, the abolition of the law of circumcision, and the profanation of the "holy sabbath.' On the whole subjeet of Christianity we would presume to invite the Author's most serious attention to its evidences and its objects; and in taking leave of him, would just suggest for his consideration, that as the variety of sects among the Jews furnishes no real grounds for impeaching the truth of the Mosiac legislation, so the diversities of Christian profession (p. 21) furnish po solid objections to the truth of Christianity.