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I have chosen you and ordained you that nothing more than good habits; and ye shall go and bring forih fruit, and these habits, the result of man's own that your fruit should remain that what- unaided and independent exertions, soever ye shall ask of the Father in my or rather the result of external in. name he may give it you. Abstracted fluences and irresistible impressions. from any personal relation, which Those usually received, and (as Mr. those words may be supposed to have Wilberforce properly stiles them) pee as more particularly addressed to the culiar doctrines of Christianity, which disciples of Christ at that period, and declare the corrupted state of human age of the Church, in wbich they nature, the atonement of the Saviour, were first spoken; they contain this and the sanctifying influence of the plain and important truth, which is Holy Spirit, Mr. B. rejects as utterly not confined to any period, but in all inconsistent with truth and scripture: ages must have the same obvious and the preponderance of virtue over determined meaning: that the per vice in the world at large, and with a sonal salvation, of every true believer very few, if any, exceptions in every in Jesus, is founded, not in human individual in particular, he maintains merit, but in divine favour, not in to be indisputable :--the practice of our choice of Christ, but in his choice virtue he pronounces to be the only of us : for, that it is not of him that ground of acceptance with God, with willeth nor of him that runneth but of out any regard to faith in Christ, to God that she weth mercy: or to sum it his merits or his sufferings, all which up, in the full comprehensive words he proscribes as notions unscriptural of the Apostle, for of him, and through and absurd :-and, as to the influence him, and to him are all things, to whom of the Holy Spirit being that which be glory for ever and ever.' pil-5. prompts to virtue, he finds little dif
ficulty in expunging this likewise from his creed; being fully satisfied,
that the Scriptures do not teach XXIV. DISCOURSES on Atonement
the existence of any such person as and Sacrifice. (8vo. boards, pp. 443.)
'the Holy Spirit, and that there is no By W. MAGEE, D. D. Concluded
ground for the expectation of any from page 43 of our Epitome for last The sole incitements to virtue spring,
supernatural operation on the mind.' Month, 30.
according to Mr. B. from the cire
* cumstances in which men are placed, HE notes to these Discourses and the impressions to which they
form the most considerable part are exposed :'- moral and religious of the volume, and contain criticisms • babits, not being acquired any upon many scriptures; (those in par. "different way from other habits of ticular, which principally support the * mind:' that is, according to his rea. doctrines tauglit in the Sermons) and soning, all being equally the result of much information from bistory and
a necessary operation—the religious commentators, upon the subjects en- tendency, as well as its opposite, naforced. The sentiments opposed are turally arising out of a certain 'state those maintained by the denomina. of the brain ;' and habits growing tion of dissenters, “ known by the "by the influence of particular intitle of Unitarians, and distinguished pressions, with the same regularity from the other non-conformists by and certainty with which the fruits the appellation of Rational Dis. of the earth are produced and me. senters." Their opinions are given tured, by the genial influence of in extracts from the works of Dr. “the sun, and of the fructifying Priestley and Mr. Belsham, which showers.' are interspersed in the sermons and “ Thus does the advocate for human notes, and controverted by copious ar merit vindicate the independency of guments. To give our readers a spe human virtue-let us stop for a mocimen of the subjects discussed, we ment to examine this inore fullysubjoin the following extract from the · Virtue is a system of babits, con. appendix.
• ducing to the greatest ultimate bap*s To what then does Christianity "piness :'--' and men being the creaamount, on Mr. Belsham's plan: io "tures of circumstances, the habits
they form, whether good or bad, are * Rom. xi, 36.
'the result of the impressions 10
' which they are exposed ;'--or as we (for which, however, Scripture supande have just seen, are the result of a plies not the smallest foundation ;)
necessary and mechanical operation, he is exposed, equally with the Cal. and arise out of causes independent vinist, to the charge which he himof the agent, if such he can be called. self brings against the latter, of im
-Now it seems necessary to de- peaching the character of his Maker Vi mand of this writer, in what respect and traducing his works.' – Thus
Es scheme differs from that part of much for the consequences of the two ch the high doctrines of Calvin, which systems. Again, as to the principle of
he most strongly reprobates ?-does necessity, it is precisely the same ; be not equally with him, reduce all whether the Unitarian endeavour tó the actions of man under the neces. dignify it by the title of philosophical, sary and irresistible controul of mo or degrade it by that of predestination; tires, in which he bas no choice, and -or, if Mr. Beisham will still pretend over which he can have no power : to differ from the follower of 'Calvin, and does he not, whilst he thus con- whom he describes as, equally with curs with the Calvinist, differ froin himself, pronouncing man a necessary himself
, by abolishing the very idea instrument, destitute of self-agency, of merit, whilst he makes merit the it can only be in this; that whilst the foundation of his system?
latter makes man a necessary instru. "Mr. B. indeed, exerts all his inge- ment in the hand of God, his system mity, as Dr. Priestley had done be- admits the possibility of rescuing him fore, to escape from this resemblance from this slavish subjection to his to the Calvinist—the attempt, how Maker, by placing him under the ireter, is rain. The Unitarian may resistible controul of chance or destiny, fancy, that he has provided a com or some other equally conceivable piete salvo for the difficulties of his power—for to suppose all the actions system, and a clear distinction from of men to spring necessarily from that of the Calvinist, by substituting motives, and these motives the unbis notion of a purgatory for that of avoidable result of external impresEerral punishment-hut here the con- sions and local circumstances, the sequences with which he presses the Divine Spirit giving no direction in Calvinist return upon himself--for if the particular case, and the man havit be inconsistent with infinite jus- ing no power either to regulate their tice and goodness to doom a being operation, or to resist their impulseme 'to eternal misery, for no other cause, is to suppose all that the Stoic and but that of not extricating himself the Atheist could desire. --Such is the out of the state in which bis Creator exalted merit of man, fashioned by the * placed him, without any power to deistical jargon of that which equally act or will ;'-—I would ask, by what disgraces Christianity and philosophy, principles of reasoning it can be re- by assuming their names.-Such are conciled to the same infinite justice the lights afforded us by the rational and goodness, to doom to temporary Christian : who mends Calvinism by Sisery, a being placed in circum- purgatory.; secures to man a proslances precisely similar; i.e. de. perty in his actions, by rendering him termined to one certain mode of ac the unresisting slave of motives; and tion
, by an indissoluble chain of mo. maintains the interests of religion, by tires and an irresistible necessity-if subjecting human conduct solely to the idea of punishmens for that which the mechanical operation of seconwas the result of inevitable necessity, dary causes.” p. 383–387.
be repugnant to the essential mature •; That we may the more perfectly se i of justice
, it must be equally so, whe- understand Mr. Belsham's meaning, lher that punishment be of long or he supplies us with a specimen of the short duration :-the quantity of the evil mode in which a judicions instructor, endured, if no evil zuhatever ought to should endeavour to reclaim a vicious be inflicted, can make no change in person, desirous of reformation.the nature of the case :—the power Having first carefully guarded him that prolongs or heightens the pu- against all unscriptural doctrines, nishment
, where no punishment was such as original sin, atonement, meriis deserved, may be more malignant, of Christ, and the like: having warnbut cannot be more unjust.Thus ed him not to expect any supernathen, allowing to the Unitarian the tural impressions upon his mind, nor fuil benefit of bis purgatorial scheme to imagine that-inoral and religious
habits are to be acquired in a way general operation of established and different from any other: having unalterable laws of our constitution ; pointed his attention particularly to here is no room, in the particular case, ihose parts of Scripture which direct for divine interference.--We may, achim to do justice, to love mercy, &c. cording to Mr. B's principles, indulge having urged him to fix in his mind, in sentiments of complacency to that just and honourable sentiments of first cause, the beneficial effects of
God, as the greatest, wisest, and best whose original arrangement we feel • of beings-he proceeds more cir- in the individual instance, but prayer cumstantially to the case of the of- addressed to the Divine Being can fender; and having begun, in due have no rational object.--Prayer, acform, with a definition of virtue, as a cordingly forms no part of this writer's course of conduct leading to the system-in no one line of his work greatest ultimate happiness, and of does he recognize it as a Christian vice, as that which leads to misery, duty-indeed, the mention of it has he next lays before the sinner, (or in not once escaped him. the milder vocabulary of Mr. B. the " It is not then surprising, that we • person oppressed by the tyranny of should find Mr. B. endeavouring to 'évil habits,') the exact state of his diminish the opportunities and in. case--" You are deficient in virtuous ducements to prayer, by contending,
habits, you wish to form them; you that the Christian religion has not • have contracted vicious affections, prescribed the appointment of a day,
you wish to exterminate them-you for the purposes of divine worship' • know the circumstances, in which but he goes farther he affirms, that
your vicious habits were originally Christianity expressly abolishes contracted, and by which they have every such distinction of days; that « been confirmed. Avoid these cir. 'under the Christian dispensation
cumstances, and give the mind a con- 'every day is alike; no one more trary bias. You know what impres ' holy than another,—that whatsoever • sions will produce justice, benevo- employment, or amusement, is law• lence, &c.'—Expose your mind re 'ful or expedient upon any one day peatedly and perseveringly to the in. of the week, is equally lawful ani
fluence of these impressions, and the expedient on any other day, i affections themselves will gradually that consequently a « virtuous man rise, and insensibly improve, &c. - 'is performing his duty to the SuALL that is required is, judgment, re preine Being, as really, and as acsolution, time, and perseverance !!! * ceptably, when he is pursuing the
“ So far as Mr. Belsham's language proper business of life, or even when is intelligible, his process of conversion enjoying its innocent and decent amounts to this he tells the vicious • amusements, as when he is offering person, that he bas contracted bad up direct addresses to him in the clohabits, and he desires him by all sset, or in the temple.'---From these means to get rid of them; how far premises he peremptorily concludes, this salutary advice and direction that all distinctions of days should would operate to the reformation of “be exploded; that our business, and the sinner, they who may have been our amusements should be pursued reclaimed from vicious courses by on every day alike; that the laws şuch ineans can best say ; but, one which enjoin the observance of the thing deserves particularly to be re • Sabbath are unreasonable and unmarked, that whilst the mind of the 'just,'-- he likewise maintains, that sinner is directed to contemplate the the sabbatical spirit naturally leads excellence of virtue, to excite its own to uncharitable and censorious feelenergies, to expose itself to impres- ings-that persons who are so very sions and the like,-not one word religious on a Sunday, as to make escapes of the propriety of prayer; on * regular attendance on the services the contrary, all supplication for the of the church a matter of conscidivine assistance seems to be expressly ence, are too apt to lay aside reli. excluded, and indeed evidently must gion for the rest of the week;' and be so, on Mr. Belsham's principles. at upon the whole, the Sabbath For, if goodness be the necessary re- institution is highly injurious to the sult of impressions and circumstances, cause of virtue. To this pernicious the mechanical effect of particular institution, our author does not scruple traces on the brain, derived from the to attribute the decrease of national
morality; and he rejoices with a To account for the knowledge the Christia: joy, that the late “ill advised' Greeks bad of the divine mysteries, proposition for enforcing a stricter we should recollect that the Egyp
observation of the Lord's day,' tians and Chaldæans were everesteemwas wisely rejected by the legisla- ed by all profane, as well as sacred ture.” P. 389-392.
historians, to have been the most antient of all nations: and we find in
Scripture, that it was with these naXXV. EXTRACTS from the PENTA: intercourse; for Abraham lived some
tions the Patriarchs had the greatest TEUCH compared with similar Pase time with the Chaldeans, and in sages from Greek and Latin Authors; Egypt, where the children of Israel ilk Notes. By Edw. PopHAM, also with their posterity sojourned for D.D. Rector of Chillon, Wills. Svo. Pp. 224. Rivingtons and Hatchard. these two nations should have so
some time. It is no wonder then O this volume is prefixed a de. early a notion of sacred mysteries, as
dication to the Archbishop of well as of all other kinds of learning. York, from which we give the follow- took their light. Orpheus, the most
From Egypt it was that the Greeks ing brief extracts. “The similar passages which are
antient among them, visited Egypt, selected from the Greek authors are
and searched into all their records.
Next after him, was Pythagoras; numerous, and some very remarkable; particularly such as refer to who not only travelled into Egypt, the creation of the world, the forma- but into Chaldæa also; and it was tion of man, the flood, the building of took his notions, as the succeeding
from Pythagoras chiefly that Plato Babel, &c. Not less remarkable perhaps are those from the Latin au- poets did from Orpheus : so that the thors; as the fiction of Æneas's descent
nearer they were to the original, the into hell, when his father Anchises,
better always were their copies. amongst other mysteries tells him,
“ I am well aware, my Lord, that I
have overlooked many places in the Principio cælum, ac terras, camposque Pentateuch, which might have been liquentes,
inserted with similar passages from Lucentemque globum lunæ, Titaniaque Greek or Latin Authors : but I am astra,
less anxious on this head, flattering Spiritus intus alit: totamque infusa per myself that any such oversight may
artus Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore
act as a spur to the young student, miscet.
not only to supply the deficiencies, Inde hominum, pecudumque genus, vitæque but to proceed through other books volantum,
of the sacred writings, (which an ill Et quæ marmoreo fert monstra sub æquore state of health obliges me, not withpontus.
out reluctance, to decline) and hoping
Æneid. vi. 724. at the same time, that while he is enWith the like also in the fourth deavouring to make himself master of book of the Georgics. The first book the Greek and Latin authors, he will of Ovid's Metamorphoses is little else pay an equal attention to the inspired than a paraphrase upon Genesis. writers : in short, that he will search What opinion the wisest of the Ro- the Scriptures; as they contain a mans had touching the heathen greater fund of learning strictly so gods, cannot be better learnt than calied, and require greater abilities, from Cato; who, being reduced to and a greater share of knowledge to great extremities in the desert of understand all the parts of them, than Libya, was advised by Labienus to any one book that ever was published consult the oracle of Hammon, being in the world, Every page and almost then near unto it: to which Cato every line of the Sacred Writings canmade a very remarkable reply, as re
not fail of filling a reader of true corded by Lucan.
taste and judginent with inexpresEsthe Dei sedes nisi terra, et pontus, et
sible pleasure and delight. The study aër,
of the Scriptures is indeed like the Et cælum, et virtus ? Superos quid quæri- study of nature; the closer and more tríus ultra?
curious we are in our inquiries into Jupiter est quodcunque vides, quocunque either, the greater cause we shall
Phars. ix. 578. find for wonder, praise and adoration. Vol. I.
" It is observed by Mr. Addison, fects of it, though finely expressed in that the antient Jews, without con the following lines, will scarcely adsidering them as inspired writers, have mit of a comparison. transmitted to us many hymus and
- αυταρ ενερθε Ποσειδων ετιναξε odes, which excel those that are de
Γαιαν απερεσιην, ορεων σ' αιπάνα καρηνα. livered down to us by the Greeks and Παντες δ' εσσειoντo σοδες πολυπιδακς Romans, in the poetry, as much as in
I Idns, the subject to which it is consecrated.
Και κορυφαι, Τρωων τε πολις, και Σηες Where shall we find the Deity de
Αχαιών. scribed with such poinpand solein- Εδδισεν ο υπεγερθεν αναξ ενερων, Αιδονευς, nity as in the writings of the inspired Δεισας δ' εκ θρονα αλτο, και ιαχε, μη οι penmen? Whenever they speak of the Majesty of Heaven, they do it in Γαιαν αναρξηξε: Ποσιδιων ενοσιχθων, such terms as sufficiently testify they Oικια δε θνητοισι και αθανατοισι φανει η were at that time more than men.
Σμερδαλέ, ευρωεντα, τα τε Συγιεσι θεοι "To illustrate the manifest supe
Iliad, xx. 57. riority of the sacred writers over every other writer whatever, it will “ But the sublimity of language is be sufficient to quote only one in
not the only beauty of the Scriptures; stance in each of these particulars,
the narrative part will be found innamely, the Sublime, the Narrative, expressibly elegant, though delivered and the Pathetic.
with all the air of simplicity imagi" How sublime is the description nable. The creation of the work! David gives in the 18th Psalm, which
was such a subject, as any uninspired he composed and sung, as we are in
writer would have dressed up in all formed by the Sacred History, 2 the pomp and grandeur that the art Samuel xxii. 1. in remembrance that
of elocution could devise : yet, in the the Lord'had delivered him out of sacred page, we find only one plain the hand of all his enemies, and out description of that great and importof the hand of Saul! 'l'he earth ant event, God said, Let there be 'trembled and quaked, the very foun.
light, and there was light; Let there dations also of the hills shook, and
be earth, and it was so.' were removed, because he was
“ The Sacred Writings are full of • wroth. There went a smoke out in
this majestic simplicity and unaffect, • his presence, and a consuming fire ed grandeur; and in the historical out of his mouth, so that coals were
part no where is it more conspicuous, • kindled at it. He bowed the hea. ihan where Joseph, making himself • vens also, and canie down, and it known to his brethren, expresses the " was dark under his feet. He rode
tender concern of a dutiful child in upon the cherubims, and did fly;
the plainest, yet most pathetic lan• he came flying upon the wings of guage, I am Joseph-Doth my • the wind. 'He made darkness his
father yet live? What a scope is • secret place; bis pavilion round here left for the imagination ! Every • about him with dark water, and word is important and interesting,
thick clouds to cover him. At the and each deserves a pause of contem. brightness of his presence his clouds plation. If we compare the following . removed, hailstones, and coals of passage with the above, the inferiority fire. The Lord also thundered out of the Greek poet will be obvious at of heaven, and the Highest gave his first sight, * thunder; hailstones, and coals of
Οδυσσευς" * fire. He sent out his arrows, and Ald
syw τοιοσδε. . • scattered them; he cast forth his
Odyss. xvi. 204. lightnings and destroyed them. The * It is in these delicate strokes of • springs of water were seen, and the nature, that one, among many, of foundations of the round world were Shakespear's great excellencies con. discovered at thy chiding, O Lord, sists. When Macduff is informed at the blasting of the breath of thy that his wife, children, and servants (ispleasure.'
were all slaughtered, he exclaims "I have never met with any pas
My wife kill'd too? Sage in either Greek or Latin author,
• He has no children. - All my pretty that could be placed in competition
ones? with the abovà sublime description. * Did you say, all? *The wrath of Neptune, and the ef. • What, all Macbeth, Act is, Se, 3."