Sidor som bilder

If Antinomians were truly and anxiously desirous to learn, they would highly value such assistance as Mr. Biddulph proffers to thein in his Search after the Truth in its own field, the Holy Scriptures. He lias adopted the plan of passing regularly through the 'Acts and the Epistles ; renarking upon every passage, (or at least the most prominent of them, which he conceives to bear upon the novel opinions, whose contrariety to Scripture it is his object to expose. These opinions he states as follows.

Eternal Justification,- Imputed Sanctification,-That the consciousness of believing is the only evidence necessary, or possible, to satisfy the soul of its safety,--That sanctification is not a progressive work,—That the Holy Spirit is not the author of conviction of sin, and, finally, That the Holy Spirit is not a party to the covenant of grace, involving, as the author conceives this opinion does, a denial of His Personality,--together with a few minor points This last position, in the author's view of things, clearly shows the awfully dangerous character of doctrinal error, the smallest beginning of which, as well as the beginning of practical evil, is like removing a slight portion of a dam confining a body of water ; which, when an opening is once made, soon forces a passage for the whole mass, Doctrinal error, at first perhaps of little apparent importance, has often led the human mind into the endless mazes of deistical confusion.'

There is reason, however, to fear, that a profitable perusal of this rather laborious publication, implies more of patience, and diligence, and humility, than the parties most directly concerned appear at present disposed to exercise.

The Letters of Mr. Cooper, addressed to a serious and humble enquirer after Divine Truth, bear, only in part, upon the subject of the present article. They might, indeed, lave claimed a fuller consideration than we can now afford to them. Mr. C. states the design of his present publication to be twofold :

• First, to assist the serious and humble Enquirer in his search after truth; and, secondly, to promote the peace and harmony of the Christian Church.

• The Writer has long been of opinion that the present state of the religious world opposes some considerable and peouliar difficulties to those who are anxiously seeking “the Truth as it is in Jesus :" difficulties, which, if they do not altogether divert them from their pursuit, yet greatly impede and retard their progress. It therefore occurred to him, that an attempt to assist such persons in surmounting these dif ficulties, and thus to facilitate their advancement in the acquisition of the Truth, might prove, through the Divine blessing, no unprofitable employment of the time and thought which the execution of such a work would necessarily require. This was the suggestion which induced him to make the attempt. The execution of it has unvoidably Jed him to touch on some of those controversies which of late have so greatly distracted the Christian Church : but in touching on them be trusts that he has not manifested a controversial spirit, nor expressed himself in a manner inconsistent with that peace and harmony, which it is another part of his object to promote.'

This other part of his object is to produce a closer union of spirit and affection, among the divided members of the Christian Church. The temper proper to so worthy an attempt, Mr. Cooper unquestionably proves bimself, throughout this little volume, to possess. The correspondence is confessedly factitious. The Letters are in number sixteen. The first two are on certain difficulties in the way of a serious inquirer after Divine Truth; the third, on the distinction between essential and non-essential points in Religion ; the five following, on the Calvinistic Controversy; the ninth and tenth, on Regeneration and the Controversy connected with it; the eleventh and twelfth, on Antinomianism; the thirteenth, on the visible and invisible Church of Christ; the last three, on the Bible Society. On this latter subject, Mr. Cooper writes excellently, we may add eloquently: as a warm Churchman he deplores the indifference, or animosity, so generally manifested by the Clergy towards this noble institution, and be reluctantly admits the conclusion, that these unfavourable sentiments can arise from nothing less than a want of concern for the spread of Christianity itself, in the world. He anticipates the worst results to the interests of the English Church, from the continuance, among its Ministers, of this spirit of opposition to a cause, which must, and will proceed, and which, in proceeding, will leave its adversaries, great and small, under the cloud of general obloquy, and final discomfiture.

This volume is adapted, throughout, to meet the views and difficulties of persons who are stumbling at the threshold of Christianity, and whose attention is so distracted by the jarring clamours of the crowd which fills the outer court of the Temple, that they know not how to distinguish the still small voice that invites them to enter. The subjects treated are viewed chiefly in their external bearings, and incidental relations. In placeof further remark,we will present the reader with one or two extracts. In his seventh letter, Mr. Cooper thus apologizes for the Calvinist :

• While the practical evils, which Calvinism is charged with producing, are so prominently and studiously exhibited to view by many of its opponents; let us not omit, on the other hand, to do justice to this calumniated sytem, nor forget the abundant good, which it is not only capable of accomplishing, but which it actually does accomplish. I have no doubt, but that some of the sublimest feelings of pure and spiritual delight, which are ever experienced on earth, are those, of which the Calvinist partakes, when in his secret retirement with God, the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit, and shining on his own gracious operation on the heart, he meditates on the wonderful and unspeakable privileges, to which through Christ he feels himself entitled; and resolving all the blessings which have been already received, or are pre

pared for him hereafter, into the eternal purpose and electing love of God his Father, and absorbed in a holy contemplation of the Divine counsels and perfections, he lies prostrate before the throne of grace in deep humiliation, and with overwhelming joy. I do not say that others have not their peculiar feelings of spiritual delight; but these are his. And does he rise from such communion with his God with. out enlarged desires and resolutions of more seriously devoting himself to the Divine favour, of more decidedly overcoming the flesh and the world, and more faithfully of doing the will and advancing the glory of his Lord and Savigur? Facts and experience reply to this enquiry. Among no denomination or description of professing Christians is there to be found a larger proportion of humble, pious, and devoted servants of God; persons of a truly Christian spirit, zealous in good works, and exemplary in every duty and relation of life, than among those who hold the Calvinistic tenets. I am sure that your observation and your candour will fully justify this statement. And therefore, so far as this system is to be judged of by its actual effects, I think that on a candid reconsideration of the subject, you will be induced to abandon your objection, and to admit that it was founded on an erroneous and partial view of the subject.'

In the twelfth Letter he thus dwells on one of the correlative effects of Antinomianisın.

• From the fear of countenancing, or of being suspected to countenance, the abominable conclusion, which Antinomianism involves, the opposer of this system is strongly tempted to depart from that full exposition of the doctrines of grace, which he has been previously ac. customed to maintain. Instead of continuing to exhibit these doctrines in their complete scriptural meaning, and of shewing their uniform and necessary tendency, when thus exhibited, to enforce holi. ness of heart and life, he is in danger of being induced by degrees to state them less plainly and explicitly; to qualify his former explanations of them; to fence them with guards ; and to fetter them with conditions, which are not warranted by the word of God; and thus to pare them down and to fritter them away, till at length they are stripped of all that is vital, essential, and spiritual, and are reduced to little more than a dead letter and a lifeless form of words.' In order to show that the scheme of doctrine, which he espouses, is not one which supersedes the necessity of good works, he may be led to speak of good works in such language as to appear, not indeed to lay an undue stress on the necessity of moral obedience, for that he cannot do, but to assign to it a place and an office, which in the Christian system it is neither designed nor qualified to fill: or, to avoid the charge of preaching imputed sanctification, he may almost desist from asserting the necessity of justification by faith only, as if he were become ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, or had forgotten that it is still “ the power of God unto salvation."

• Incalculably great must be the evils, which such a deterioration of evangelical truth will obviously produce! And wherever such a deterioration is produced; wherever the waters, which antecedently have flowed clear and salutary, thus become turbid and noxious; wherever




the preachers of the word of God thus suffer themselves to be driven from that purity of doctrine, and to be spoiled of that unction from the Spirit which formerly characterised their ministry; then the triumphs of Antinomianism are coinplete; then it produces its full measure of mischief, and gratifies to the utmost the malicious designs of its diabolical author. How devoutly is it to be wished that all the ministers of the word of God were duly aware of the peculiar temptation, to which they are exposed from this insidious attack; and by taking special heed to themselves and to their doctrine, would show that they are not ignorant of these devices of Satan! So far as the voice of an humble individual may be capable of reaching, I would endeavour to sound forth the note of alarm, and to awaken my brethren in the minis. try to a full sense of their danger and duty in these times of peril and difficulty.'

Mr. Simons's Letter to a respected friend, is highly interesting on several accounts ; the living image it presents of the mind and character of the writer, the naïve expression of strong feeling, and the primitive, inartificial continuity of its style. We have seen nothing, in print, that contains so much of fact, relative to the shocking outrages which some pitiable individuals have lately committed against Holy Scripture, and common

We must profess to feel a reluctance in becoming instrumental to the repetition and perpetuation of the distressingly offensive assertions, which Mr. Simons bas einbodied in bis Letter. And yet, we cannot but hope that bis Letter may be extensively read.' Mr. Simons has had the opportunity of knowing more of Antinomianism, than those can know who read only the wary publications of its defenders, and lear only their eomparatively cautious preaching ; he has read their private correspondence, has heard their private conversations.

It is in the overruled vature of most of the evils that afflict the world, when they proceed beyond a certain extent, to provide for themselves an antidote, or at least a boundary. Such, it may be hoped, will be the case with Antinomianism. The sulphureous eructation of impiety which now blackens the heavens, will, we trust, inspire many with a seasonable terror; especially those, who are foolishly lingering upon the sides of the pit.

There is, however, one aspect of this gloomy subject which, in the eye of the Christian, beains with chearfulness, and exultation. Is it possible to contemplate the prophetic pictures, drawn with so much force, and particularity, and coincidence by Paul, and Jude, and Peter, without recognising the character of those circumstances which are meeting the eye and ear at every turn “In the last days perilous times shall come.” In this day, beyond a comparison, is this scripture fulfilled in our ears. Is there, tben, no ground of expectation that ours are indeed “the Last Days ?" that the prevalence and triumph of impiety in the World, the indifference, the falseness, the delusions


of professors, the wanderings, the darkness, the fears of Christians, are all drawing to their close that we are touching upon the times of refreshing from above, that yet but a few days of weariness, disgust, distraction, and He that shall come, will come,-come to his Temple, thence for ever to expel every thing that “ defileth,” or “worketh abomination," or "maketh

a Lie.”

[ocr errors]

Art. IV. Beppo, a Venetian Story. Fourth Edition 8vo. pp. 51. price 3s 6d. London, 1818. HAT does Beppo mean, is the common inquiry? • Beppo

is the Joe of the Italian Joseph.' The Joe of this story is an Italian Merchant, who having been cast away about

where 'Troy stood once,' and made prisoner by the Mussulmans, becomes first a slave, and then a renegado, grows rich, and at length, after having been long given over as dead, returns to Venice, to the great surprise of his wife and her cavalier servente,

to reclaim His wife, religion, house, and Christian name.' The poem is of the burlesque kind, and were it not that it is Jicentious in its moral, occasionally vulgar and profane in its expressions, and rather tedious in its narrative, it might serve very well to laugh through after dinner. There is a happy whimsicalness in some of the rhymes, and now and then a stroke of humour and of satire, which will succeed with the good natured reader, who has not adventured to read the poem aloud, nor set bimself to read it through. Our readers will, we think, be at no loss to conjecture its character. They may judge of its style from the following extracts.

• Of all the places where the Carnival

Was most facetious in the days of yore,
For dance, and song, and serenade, and ball,

And masque, and mime, and mystery, and more
Than I have time to tell now, or at all,

Venice the bell from every city bore,
And at the moment when I fix my story,
That sea-born city was in all her glory.
They've pretty faces yet, those same Venetians,

Black eyes, arch'd brows, and sweet expressions still,
Such as of old were copied from the Grecians,

In ancient arts by moderns mimick’d ill;
And like so many Venuses of Titian's

(The best's at Florence-see it, if ye will)
'They look when leaning over the balcony,
Or stepped from out a picture by Giorgione,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »