Imatges de pàgina

They became sensible that the tyranny she had hitherto exercised on the ocean was the means of compelling the rest of Europe to contribute to a war which was universally unpopular; and they felt, that if apprehensiona were entertained of the extension of the power of the French republic by land, the acts of violence which the English, committed by sea were still more to be dreaded. P. 32.

Whilst attempts are made to diminish even our just and well-earned fame, that of Bonaparte and the French is raised to the highest degree, and their faults are either passed over in silence or very much exte-, nuated. To this extraordinary change in the sentiments of the continental powers a historian will pay great attention; and the cause of the French ascendency will afford, it is to be hoped, a striking lesson to the present and future cabinets. The reflexions in this work, mortifying as they are to our pride, are evidently made by one of some influence in the political world.

. . ." RELIGION. Art. 24.<A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Durham,

at the ordinary Visitation of that Diocese, in July, 1801. By Shute, Bishop of Durbám. 4to. Is. 6d. Payne. 1802.

To popery the worthy prelate imputes in a great degree the origin of that revolutionary spirit which has gone so far towards the subversion of the ancient establishments of religion and civil government.' Every consistent protestant will subscribe to this opinion, as far as it relates to religion. The absurdities of the popish church were long disgusting to the thinking part of the French nation, and the higher classes, having once acquired a contempt for it, never gave themselves the trouble to examine into its truth, upon its original documents, and were not consequently prepared, on the removal of superstition, to introduce a simpler form of worship. The maintenance of opinions unfounded on the authority of the Gospel, and inconsistent with its purity, has given occasion to minds perhaps naturally averse to religion to reject the most valuable evidence of Christianity. This must be the case every where if the Scriptures be discarded for the traditions of men ; and hence, with great pro- . priety, the right-reverend prelatę selected for the subject of his , charge the necessity of cultivating the pure principles of the Gospel, and of studying the means of promoting in ourselves and others, a truly spiritual religion.

This spiritual religion is defined to be a sincere devotion of the mind to God, an humble resignation to all his dispensations, an universal and unvaried obedience to his will.' The impediments to it are • want of faith, ignorance of the Scriptures, the fear of single. larity, prejudice, acquiescence in the customs of others well re.. puted in the world. Such impediments concern the people chiefly: but their force may perhaps be quadrupled by a want of spiritual

instruction and accordant conduct in him who should be their guide - to truth, whose example should give activity to their duties and

spirituality to their hopes and views.' On this latter point the bishop dwells with becoming earnestness and respect to his hearers ; and having thus stated to them what are their chief impediments, he proceeds to lay before them the principal means of cultivating and promoting spiritual religion-of which the first cannot be too often

inculcated on both priest and people ; and with this impression oh our minds we place it before our readers.'

« There is no security in religious opinions which are not founded on clear and definite principles. Without such a guide all men are liable to be carried about with every wind of doctrine, with that sleight and subtilty, and cunning craftiness of deceitful sophistry, which the writings of modern infidels have too successfully em ployed. The young therefore, the unlearned, and the uneducated, which constitute the bulk of your congregations, cannot be too often reminded, what are “ the first principles of the oracles of God." They should not only be taught that the foundation of all true religion must be laid in the knowledge of God, and of ourselves; and that the grounds of the first of these two branches of religious knowledge can be collected only from the Scriptures and the works of creation ; of the second, from the Scriptures, from the world, and from ourselves; but they should be habituated to a familiar acquaintance with those doctrines, which are to be held as subjects of primary importance in each branch.' P. 14.

Faith is then to be inculcated as the beginning and end of all rea ligion; and having fully imbibed such a doctrine, the mind will be prepared to embrace charity as a comprehensive and efficacious principle.' From these general remarks the attention of the younger part of the audience is conducted to certain aids to devotion ; and they are particularly, and with great justice, recommended to peruse frequently the ordination service, and to reflect seriously on the solemn question proposed to them on entering upon their office, and the dreadful peril in which they have involved themselves if, in. stead of consulting the glory of God, and the edification of his church, they have been intent, solely or principally, on their own ease or worldly advantage.' Their zeal is excited by the most pressing motives ; and a direction is given which deserves to be studied attentively by every minister of the Gospel.

Whatever is declared in Scripture, you are bound to preach ; whatever is peculiar to Christianity, and essential to salvation, must be constantly laid before your congregations, and enforced upon their minds, “ whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear;" such principles and such doctrines are indispensable subjects of your instruction and exhortation, whether preached by papist or puritan, conformist or non-conformist; the choice of them is not matter of discretion ; for woe to them who preach not the Go. spel, the whole Gospel, undiminished and undisguised.' P. 21. .

We have been thus ample in our account of this Charge, because our clerical readers who have not an opportunity of perusing the whole will be happy to see as much of it as our limits will permit us 'to insert; and to them we particularly recommend the following judicious note on the celebrated controversy between faith and works.

• I cannot help thinking that some misconception and perversion of the Scripture doctrine of salvation may have arisen from an ambiguity in the words “ saved by faith without works,” arising from the

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different meanings which may be annexed to them, accordingly as they are spoken or written. If we could have been saved by our own good works, Christ would have died in vain. But as we cannot be saved by works, God has mercifully appointed that we shall be saved by faith without works. But to be “ saved by faith, without works,” that is, per fidem, nullo operum adjumento, has a very different meaning fronı being saved by faith without works, that is, per fidem infructuosam. In the first sense, without works, is the attribute of the verb; in the second, it is the attribute of the noun. The difference is still more striking in Greek. We are saved dia WIOTEWS, aveu efywv, but not dia TIOTEWS 775 AVEU Egywy. For, we are saved by faith-without works; but not by the faith which is without works. The former sense, by admitting that we are saved not by works, (for our best works are far short of our duty, but by an atonement of infinitely greater value, does not exclude the necessity of good works; but the latter supposes the validity of a faith unproductive of good works--a sense contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture. To be saved, without works (that is, not by our own good works, but) by faith, is not subject to the same ambiguity as to be “ saved by faith without works." P. 6. Art. 25.-The Restoration of the Jews, the Crisis of all Nations ; or,

an Arrangement of the Scripture Prophecies which relate to the Restoration of the Jews, and to some of the most interesting Circumstances which are to accompany and distinguish that important Event; with Illustrations and Remarks drawn from the present Situation and apparent Tendencies of Things, both in Christian and Mabomedan Coun. tries. By J. Bicheno, M. A. 8vo. 25. 6d. Johnson.

The restoration of the Jews to their own country secms to be warranted by their preservation for so great a length of ime in a state of separation from all other nations; by a variety of texts of Scripture, which can scarcely be reconciled to their return after the first captivity; by the promises of God never to forsake them uiterly; by the strong simile of St. Paul on the wild-olive and the graft; and by the corruptions of Christianity, which have so much impeded its progress in the world. That this event cannot be very far distant-we speak not of years but of generations—seems also to be a consequence of the first persuasion of their final return; and that it should be a crisis to all nations, we must readily allow; though, what the nature of that crisis may be, we profess ourselves ucable to ascertain, while, at the same time, we give due applause to those who employ their leisure and talents in examining what light the Scriptures throw upon this interesting and important subject. , On these accounts we read with pleasure the attempts of this writer to afford us, by an arrangement of Scripture prophecies and the opi. nions of the most celebrated divines, a better opportunity of exercising our judgement, and of tracing the connexion between the appearances of the present times and the probable improvement in the situation of mankind in future periods. If we be not so im. pressed with the actual state of affairs as to expect so speedy a crisis as the author, and be tempted to believe that it will not be attended with such grievous calamities as he apprehends, we are no less persuaded that such a crisis must arrive, and that the wisdom of God, in his conduct towards Jews, Gentiles, and Christians, will be made manifest, when, the course of their multiplied errors being completed, they will all unite in a firm belief of the truths of the Gospel. “ the determinate counsel of God” in bringing about the execution - of the judgments which he hath prepared. This is my apology, if an apology be thought necessary for this publication of my thoughts. Others may think that such discussions “ ought to be discouraged;" and that, * from the prophetical books, to which the extraordinary events now passing on earth naturally turn the attention of every religious mind, no expectation"-(as to the unfulfilled prophecies drawing to a speedy completion)" can reasonably be drawn." Every man (unless we have lost all our liberties, and no one may speak or write any thing but what favours the continuance of the present destructive measures) has a right, modestly, to declare his own opinion; and I freely confees that mine is very opposite to the above, and that I think such discussions ought to be encouraged and pursued, and that much, as, to the general outline of things, may be learnt from the prophecies,--and even courtiers thought so a few years ago, when the subject made in their favour. I think the most attentive research ought to be made, at this time of fearful expectation, especially into this part of sacred writ, and that an alarm ought to be sounded in every ear,--that the neglect of our clergy, particularly on this head, and the attempts which are made to excite prejudice against such subjects, and thus divert the public attention from them, is one of the most fatal “ signs of the times;" and what operates to harden the nation in impenitence, and to give additional strength to that dangerous infatuation which has seised the public mind a blind and furious infatuation, that threateng us with speedy ruin. If I err, either in the sentiments which I entertain, or in the attempts which I make to draw the attention of my countrymen to these subjects, I am sure my error is innocent, because I am certain my inquiries are sincere, and my motives and intentions pure. If reproached, I cannot blush ; if persecuted, I cannot be afraid. But a few words shall suffice for this conclusion. However defective the execution of what has been undertaken in the foregoing pages may be, the subject most certainly is of serious importance. That the prophecies, if we have formed right notions of them, look with a very unfavorable aspect on the cause we are engaged in, is acknow. ledged; but, though we were to shut our eyes against them, this would not make our case the better ; and it is possible that some good might be derived, would we come to the light, that our deeds might be reproved. The hope of this good, however distant and faint, is enough to induce every lover of mankind to venture much to do all he can to effect it,

The work is divided into four chapters. In the first are accumu-, lated the evidences for the future restoration of the Jews : in the second are described the probable events connected with this restora. tion, with conjectures on the quarter whence their deliverance may be expected to originate. Of these events, two appear to us to be very probable—the total overthrow of the fourth monarchy, or the entire destruction of the image seen by Daniel, and of the Turkish empire, or rather Mahometan principles. To the conjectures re. specting the nations which are to contribute to the restoration of the Jews, whether Spain, France, or Great-Britain, we attribute very little weight ; and they do not appear to us to be in the least strengthened by a late attempt to translate and interpret the eighteenth chapter of Isaiah. In the third chapter the future character of the Jews is considered, and the effects of it on the nations of the earth, which gives rise for the ingenuity of additional conjectures; but the truth of them we must leave to futurity to determine. The last chapter embraces a still wider field—the kingdom of God on earth, and the general conversion of mankind. These glorious themes cannot be too much the object of a Christian's contemplation; and we may form some estimate of our Scriptural faith by the manner in which we receive the strange notions embraced by many Christians, who, equally with infidels, are incredulous on the absolute conquest of virtue over vice, duty over sin, and the triumphant reign of the saints on earth.

The state of the present times has naturally too great an influence to permit us perhaps to determine impartially on the subjects of such a work as the present; yet the study of them cannot be too much encouraged, if they lead us to a fuller conviction of God's moral government, and diminish our attention to the lower politics of in. dividual kingdoms. If a writer-a man of piety and well read in the Scriptures--conceive that he sees reason for apprehending his nation is engaged in the support of a superstition doomed to destruction, and of countries which must eventually fall, we cannot condemn him for communicating those reasons in a serious and dispassionate manner, whether we agree with or differ from him in the interpretation of prophecy.' His work may lead others to a more extensive view of the subject : and the clergy cannot be too much occupied in explaining the mysterious ways of Providence, and refuting whatever may be unfounded in the explanations of disputants who judge differently. The serious disposition of the present writer may be traced in the following extract.

• A persuasion, which the events of ten years have served to make invincible, has sunk deep into my mind, that an awful crisis is at hand, and that what we have seen is but the beginning of sorrows; that the wonderful occurrences of the present moment, so little ex. pected a few weeks ago, are pregnant with others still more astonish. ing; and that, however unconscious the principal actors in the great drama may be, of the parts which they are acting in the tragic ac. complishment of the awful decrees of heaven, yet they are fulfilling

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"But let us remember, it does not follow, because our cause may be bad, that therefore that of our enemy is altogether good. By no means. The crimes which have been committed are without a parallel, and cannot go unpunished. All that the author wishes to impress upon the reader's mind is, that there is reason to conclude, both from prophecy and the appearance of things that God, in his mysterious providence, is employing the French (be they deists or atheists, or whatever they may) as instruments to scourge the na. tions for their sins, and particularly to inflict his decisive judge. ments on anti-christian and Mahoinetan oppressors ;-tbat on our part, as Christians and Protestants, it would have been wise and

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