Sidor som bilder
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"But it existed before the Bible Society appeared ; it would "equally survive its dissolution. The nature and grounds of this division are not matters which fall within my present discus

It is the fact alone to which I appeal! As to the fifth objection—' Is it not sin to inflame all parties against the Church and to divide the Church against herself,

for the sake only of distributing the Scriptures in one parti'cular mode, and that mode repugnant to the practice of the * primitive Christians and of our venerable Reformers, and innplying that the Bible can do its own work, and virtually encouraging every man to be his oron divine ??~Mr. Cooper first exposes the disingénuous sophistry by which a distinction is attempted to be supported between the mode of distribution adopted by the Bible Society, and that of other societies, which has no foundation in lact. He admits that there is a sense in which, ' greatly as lie disapproves of the phraseology,' it is implied that the Bible can do its own work,' and in which the Society does encourage every man to be bis own divine ;' but he challenges a coinparison between the practice of the clerical pembers of the Bible Society, and the clerical non-subscribers, in all the branches of ministerial duty.

Objections, however, unsound, untenable, irrelevant as these, never can, Mr. Cooper justly maintains, have had any real E weight with the clergy in general.

That some vague and indistinct apprehensions of danger to the Established Church from the operations of the Bible Society, may have in several, perhaps in many instances, produced an unwillingness to support it, I am ready to admit; and wherever such apprehensions have been conscientiously entertained by any individuals, I I would be very far from indiscriminately involving them in the conclusion in question. But even in respect to these persons, I am not altogether without my tears. Being fully convinced, that a zeal for the Established Church is of itself no certain and conclusive criterion of a zeal for true Christianity, and that there may possibly be a great deficiency of just and lively feeling for the spiritual interests of mankind, in hearts which are tremblingly alive to the interest of their particular Church ; I would still, with all deference and humi. lity, repeat my former admonition, and submit it to the conscien

tious consideration of every individual who is indisposed, from whatever professed cause, to the Bible Society-whether at the bottom of his indisposition, there may not be a latent and an unsuspected portion of indifference to the great and general cause of Chris

I feel this admonition to be the more necessary and seasonable, because while I learn from your publication, that one objection to the Bible Society consists in its sending Bibles to Heathen Lands, without undertaking to furnish Preachers to explain and interpres them; I perceive also, in the same publication, an eagerness to Vol. IX. N. S.

2 X


[ocr errors]



bring forward objections against the only attempt which is making in our Church to supply this deficiency. To an indifferent observer there might appear an inconsistency of conduct in such endeavours, first to censure one Society for sending Bibles without Missionaries, and then to find fault with another, which is sending out the very Missionaries which are wanting.'

A8 to Church Establishments,' continues Mr. Cooper, ' they cannot be sent into Heathen nations. It is the labour of the missionary which, in this services, she must employ.

• And if the Societies already existing are not constituted according to her wishes, nor, as she supposes, are consistent with her modes of operation, the world still opens to her an abundance of unoccupied regions, amidst which, in her own way, and according to her own views, she may diffuse, without a rival or intruder, the pure ray of Gospel truth.

• Great and obvious are the facilities, which the rulers of our Church possess for healing her preseut wounds, if they have wisdom and courage to apply them. But if some late events are to be con. sidered as indicative of the counsels which they intend to follow, then indeed the case is hopeless, and the breach must be incurable. Intemperate protests, and coarse, indiscriminate abuse, may gratify the evil passions of mankind, but they never can do any good.'

'. As a member of the Bible Society, I feel thankful, says Mr. Cooper, ' for your publication ; for I do expect she will de' rive very important benefits from it.' We have already tendered our public thanks to Mr. Lloyd, but fear that in neither case they will be very acceptable. His too modest estimate of his own merits, will lead him to decline the meed of his services.

As to the Midburst case, Mr. Cooper very properly declines entering into it. Mr. Sargent's counter-statement is now before the public, but we shall not return to the subject.

Art. VI. Sermons, by the Rev. D. S. Wayland, M.A. Vicar of Kirton

in Lindsey, Lincolnshire. Dedicated by Permission, to the Bishop

of Lincoln. 8vo. pp. 344. Price 9s. IT is very possible, we imagine, that the circumstance of

these Sermons being published under the patronage of the Bishop of Lincoln, may induce in the thoughts of many persons the suspicion of their being hostile to sound doctrine. From this apprehension we feel it to be our duty to relieve the minds of our readers. The discourses comprised in this volume, are neither charged with invectives against Calvinism, nor mixed with sophisms in support of Baptismal regeneration; they are perfectly free from these kinds of exceptionable matter. They are very serious and practical, and are composed in a very neat and chaste style, which, though it does not rise to sublimity, is

[ocr errors]

frequently elegant, and always perspicuous. They are not the produce of a brilliant imagination, nor do they contain profound discussions of theological questions; their pretensions are of a higher order, and other and better qualities are included in their character. Mr. Wayland's solicitude to alarm the careless and impenitent sinner, to add strength to the man struggling with temptation, and to impart consolation to the Christian oppressed with sorrows, is apparent in his work, and these effects be bas not omitted to connect with the Divine blessing on his labours. With the praise which we cordially award to the Author, we should, we must confess, have been glad to express our entire satisfaction with the Sermons before us. But to do this, it would be necessary that they should exhibit more prominently, and more powerfully, the essential points of Evangelical doctrine. Mr. Wayland justly represents the Gospel (p 229) as a scheme of • truth, mercy, and boliness, intended to reconcile them to God • by the sufferings and death of Christ; and by the influence of

the Holy Spirit, enlightening their minds, purifying their hearts, and elevating their affections, to lead them to that better country, where, through dithculty, trial, and sorrow, the

true Christian will arrive at last,' and he not infrequently adverts to these topics ; but, though we willingly, on the presumption of these passages, include him among those preachers who are " the Servants of the Most High God,” and who shew “ unto men the way of Salvation, we should have felt more pleasure in furnisbing this notice of his discourses, if we could have more fully ascertained his doctrine on the principles of the Christian Revelation...

The table of contents includes the following texts and subjects. On the strict Requisitions of the Gospel. Matthew xvi. 24. On the Happiness of a Life devoted to Religion. Proverbs iii. 17. On quenching the Spirit of God. Thess. v. 19. On Devotedness to Christ. Romans, xiv. 8. On Brotherly Love, John xiii. 35. On Presumptuous Sin. Psalm xix. 13. On the Discouragements, and the Supports of the Christian. Isaiah xl. 29, 30, 31. On the elevated State of the Christian in this world and in that to come. 1 John jii. 2.' On the Parable of the unjust Steward. Luke xvi. 8. On the Duty of persevering in Prayer. Luke, xviii. 1. On a candid Attention to the Gospel. Acts xvii. 11, 12. On the Preparation requisite before the Lord's Supper. 1 Corinthians xi. 28. On Re. pentance. Luke xiii. 3. On Preparation for Death.' Genesis iii. 19.

On the Happiness of Heaven. Hebrews xi. 16. On the Disobedience of the Man of God., 1 Kings xiii. 18. The last discourse was preached at the visitation of the Author's Diocesan, at Gainsborough, 1815. In the discourse · On the strict Requisitions of the Gospel,

[ocr errors]

the Author addresses the following considerations to his readers, which we take leave to recommend very seriously to ours.

• And now, which among us can lay his hand upon his heart and say, “I have denied myself." I do not speak of self-denial in no. torious and acknowledged vice: I have scarcely spoken at all of it in this view. We are Christians in name at least; and we read, or sometimes hear our Bibles. We cannot therefore be ignorant, we cannot deny, that to abstain from gross vice is absolutely essential to Christianity. This then I pass by. But who is there here, who practises self-denial in things which are in themselves innocent, because they have a tendency to lead him on to sin : who is there, who abstains from what is pleasing and harmless to himself, because it may offend his ignorant brother? My dear friends! I do not set up for your accuser; God knoweth


hearts and mine: but I cannot help thinking that there are many of us, who are strangers to true Christian self-denial. Ah! we were not; should we go on, as we do, living to our appetites and passions ; doing all that is agreeable to our natural dispositions; enjoying all the pleasures which fall in our way, without reflecting whether they are dangerous to our own religious feelings, or to those of others ? Should we be satisfied with saying, “ We break no express commandment of God ?" (though we know but little of the Commandments, or of ourselves, when we say even this.) Should we unnecessarily go into society, where we are certain to hear religion ridiculed, and the name of God blasphemed ; because such society is pleasing to us? Should we enter into amusements, whose natural tendency it is to weaken our religious impres. sions; to bind our souls to earth; to make us forget death, judgement, and eternity? Should we read books, which will undermine our principles, and destroy our seriousness; because they gratify our curiosity, or enchant our imagination? Is this Christian self-denial ? --Let our own consciences answer the question !

It must frequently have occurred to some of our readers, to compare the state of that part of the world which is within the reach of their own observation, and in which the profession of Christianity is general, with what would be the moral condition of a people on whose tempers avd conduct the influence of Christian principles should be directly felt, and to deduce from the comparison inferences not very favourable to the character and reputation of many avowed Christians. What the Gospel can effect, and should accomplish, is well illustrated by the following representations of its tendency.

• Suppose that, instead of seeking with such restless anxiety, the riches and other advantages of this life ; pushing back, and envying those, who are before us in the chase; we possessed the heavenly mindedness of Jesus Christ, and his indifference to every thing here below but the service of God: that, instead of seeking the approbation of men, without reflecting whether we are justified or not in the steps we are taking, we were indifferent to human applause : that instead of pursuing every imaginary insult with a spirit of hatred and revenge we forgave our offending brother, and wiped the remembrance of his fault from our minds: that, instead of minding high things we were contented in the state in which it has pleased God to place us : - what would be the result of this? What but a scene of harmony, and love, and peace, of which now, alas ! we can form but a very inadequate idea? Where would be the violent and tempestuous passions, that disturb the peace of families, and make the houses of some, an image and a foretaste of hell ?' Where would be the agitation of rivalry, the bitterness of disappointment? Where would be the unpleasant feelings of peevishness and discontent, the mortification of pride, the torment of anger? There would be nothing of all this my brethren, and we should feel the justice and beauty of our Saviour's declaration, “ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” p. 36. Sermon II.

The earth has become the inheritance of mankind by far other means than the practice of Christian meekness.

We quote part of the Preacher's expostulation with that class of persons, too large a one, it must be confessed, who despise or neglect warnings, and resist the strivings of the Spirit of Grace.

• Do you know what will take place if you continue to live in sin ? The favourite passions, which now are the chief hindrance to your return to God, will become stronger by indulgence. You will, every time you indulge them, see them in a less dangerous light. You will cease to deplore, you will begin to palliate and excuse them. You will say, “ After all, there is not much harm in being intemperate; or in « being unchaste, or in swearing; or in committing any other action, * which the Gospel declares to be sinful ; provided I do no harm to "any body by it: I am no one's enemy but my own." Great God ! and is it nothing to be at enmity with thee? Is it nothing to make thy dispensation of mercy ineffectual? Is it nothing to break the laws which thou hast made, for the temporal and eternal happiness of thy creatures? Is it nothing, to tempt thy Holy Spirit to desert us, and to give us over to a reprobate mind? p. 53. On Quenching the Spirit of God.

From the same discourse we transcribe a passage wbich exhibits a summary of the Author's sentiments.

• We find if we peruse the word of God that to abstain from doing evil is not all that is required of us. We are to learn to do good. Now, to do good, in the sense in which the Gospel understands it, comprehends a sincere conviction of the depravity of our nature, and of our own individual sinfulness : a sense of our need of a merciful Saviour to redeem us; and of the influence of his Spirit to help our infirmities. It comprehends a devotedness of heart to God; a delight in his service; a determination to fulfil all the duties which he enjoins, whether they regard Him, our neighbour, or ourselves. All these duties, repentance, faith, universal holiness, are the gifts of the Spirit ; and are obtained by the use of those means which the same Spirit has appointed. These means are, meditation, reading the Scriptures, and the public and private worshipof God, Thus is the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »