Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

one, that would trouble me for five minutes ever become a believer in the doctrine of the to answer it. Yet it does not follow, that Trinity, it would be from the Hutchinsonian people will see as we do. Where things philosophy. To such a declaration as this, have a new appearance, the world must have which the reader may depend upon, I can time; and the author who proposes them add nothing better, or more to the purpose, must wait with patience, and bear with every than a passage from one of his manuscripts, kind of opposition and defamation ; the latter concerning the religious use that may be of which is never to be understood as an un- made of Mr. Hutchinson's writings : and I promising symptom; for it shows that an am persuaded he persevered, to the day of adversary is in distress, when he answers his death, in the opinion there delivered. anything in such words, as will equally an- The passages is as follows: swer every thing. From the books of for- “ Cardinal Bellarmine wrote a small treaeigners I learn, that attraction and repulsion tise, entitled, De Ascensione Mentis in Deum are not in such estimation as they were fifty per Scalas Rerum creatarum, which he valued years ago. And at home, the ingenious more than any of his works, and read it over Mr. George Adams, who has been a student continually with great pleasure, as he says and practitioner in natural philosophy for in the preface to it. A work of that kind more than twenty years, has found it neces- may be done in a far better and more comsary to adopt the new agency of nature, and plete manner, by the key Mr. Hutchinson has made his use of it through the whole has given, than has ever yet been done, and course of a large work, which may be con- the natural and spiritual world made to tally sidered as an Encyclopædia in Natural Philo- in all particulars. Such a work would be sophy, taking a larger circuit than has yet of standing use and service to the church, been attempted by any writer upon the and be a key to nature and the SS., teaching science. Other ingenious men may in time all men to draw the intended instruction (as I am confident they will) follow his from both. For this purpose the SS. should example ; till it shall be no longer thought be read over, and the texts classed under their an honor to Dr. Horne that he renounced respective heads; and in reading other books, this philosophy, but that he did not reall just applications of natural images should nounce it.

be extracted from them, particularly where If the reader will not be displeased with there are any good divisions of an image into me, I will tell him a secret, which he may its parts and heads, as much will depend on use as a key to decypher some things not method and regularity. For the blessing of commonly understood. Between that philo- God on such an undertaking, without which sophy which maintains the agency of the all will be in vain, the Fountain of all wisheavens upon the earth, and the religion dom and Father of lights is humbly and ferrevealed to us in the Bible, there is a relation vently to be implored, to enlighten the under

а which renders them both more credible. By standing, and purify the heart, that it may be a person with the Christian religion in his counted worthy, through the merits of the dear mind, this philosophy is more easily re- Redeemer, to understand the mysteries of ceived; and if any one sees that this philo- the new creation shadowed by the old, and sophy is true in nature, he will not long explained in the SS. of eternal truth, and be retain his objections against Christianity : enabled to declare it to the people unadulbut here is the difficulty; he will never be- terated with any private imaginations, to the gin, who resolves never to go on. But of glory of God, the edification of the church, any reasonable person, whose mind is still at and his own salvation.” liberty, let us ask, why it should be thought On the other hand, there are in this age a thing incredible, that the creation of God philosophical opinions, in which infidelity should confirm the revelation of God? By triumphs: and certain it is they have too which I would be understood to mean-that plain an affinity to the atheistical doctrines the world which we see should be a counter- of Epicurus and Democritus, if they are not part to the world of which we have heard, the same thing: and therefore such an eviland in which we believe? Many in this age minded wit as Voltaire caught at them with see the force of that great argument in favor eagerness. He foresaw how, with a little of of Christianity, which is drawn from the his management, they might be turned against analogy between the kingdom of nature and all religion, and lead to the abolition of all the kingdom of grace, and admire it above divine worship: he therefore strained every all other things. Dr. Horne in particular, nerve to magnify and recommend them: had such an opinion of it, and conceived his industry in this respect was wonderful; such hopes from it, that he used to say, and and we find, by fatal experience, how far it did say it late in life, that if Priestley should has answered his purpose. The philosophers

a

[ocr errors]

of France have now seated themselves upon | he says by fact and reason. The whole is the clouds, from whence they look down written with the utmost coolness of temper, with contempt upon every degree of Chris- and without once appealing to any ambiguous tian belief; considering even Newton him- evidence. In his sermons, ħis sense is self an an example of the weakness of human strong, his language sweet and clear, his denature for believing the Scripture! Where votion warm, but never inflated nor affected: will this end?

and, from the editions through which they There is another report against the name pass, it is plain the world does see,

and will of our good bishop, which wants explanation. probably see better every day, that they are The learned adversary of the amiable Bishop not the discourses of a varnisher of visions. Hurd, and of the Rev. Mr. Curtis, of Bir- In his Commentary on the Psalms, he has mingham, and the friend of Dr. Priestley, a followed the plan of the writers of the New judge of all men and of all things, took Testament, and of the primitive church, in occasion, soon after the death of Bishop applying them as prophecies and delineaHorne, to give us his character of him, in a tions of the person of Christ and of the note to a book he was then publishing; in Christian economy. If he is judged to have which note many things are said well, and betrayed any enthusiasm in so doing, it is like a scholar : but there is one thing which, only because he happened to write in the though well said, is not just to the bishop's eighteenth century; when Christian learning, memory; who is there reported to have under the notion of improving it, is greatly diffused a coloring of elegance over the wild, corrupted; the fathers of the church but little but not unlovely, visions of enthusiasm.* known,* and less relished; and the zeal and Where could the gentleman find these wild piety of the reformation very much abated. visions? In the State of the Case between Erasmus was just such another enthusiast in Newton and Hutchinson, the author argues his divinity as Dr. Horne, and is frequently from the words of each, and confirms what found to have diffused a like coloring of ele

gance over like interpretations of the Scrip• The Socinian notion of enthusiasm being a ture; in which, however, he is not always curiosity which deserves to be known, I shall give either so elegant, or so successful, as the late it to the reader in this place. I have a book before bishop his follower: yet for this, in the days me, published by a Mr. E- -n, in the year 1772; a man, who seems no natural fool, but has made of better divinity, when faith and piety were himself much worse than one through a conceit of more in fashion, Erasmus was never reputed superior Christian wisdom. He delivers it to us as an enthusiast. A little warmth of devotion a doctrine of the orthodox, that if our belief were is very excusable in a Christian writer ; and not attended with some difficulties to our reason, there would be no merit in our believing ;" and we apprehend that a very strong conviction then adds, “ such men shall not scruple to call of the wisdom and excellence of Christianity enthusiasts; and to argue the case with them, would is necessary to the making of a good divine be like trying to convince the poor straw-crowned

-Ου δει μετριως κεκινημενον απτετθαι. monarch of Bethlehem—who is a king because he knows he is a king.” This gentleman tells us his

When a man of learning censures without mind fairly and plainly; for which we are obliged to justice, he opens a door for the free remarks him. But now let us try by his rule the faith of our of others upon himself. But I search not father Abraham. He believed in his old age, that into the gentleman's writings, for any examhis seed should be as the stars of heaven, from a wife that was barren; and this is the belief which ples of severity, scurrility, adulation, perwas accounted to him for righteousness. Here the plexity of principle, smoke and smother, season and experience of all mankind were contrary: pedantry and bombast: let others look for against hope he believed in hope : here were not such things, who take delight in finding them. only difficulties to reason, but an actual impossibility for my own part, I would rather wish that to reason. The promise might have been given before, while Abraham was young ; but it pleased God my learned friend, when he is throwing his to defer it till he was old, when reason could not re- fine words about, would consider a little beceive it; and from this circumstance only his faith forehand, how unworthy it may be found to was meritorious. No, says the Socinian; this man, by my rule, was an enthusiast, no more to be argued attempt to lessen in any degree the good with than the monarch of Bedlam, &c.

effect of such a character as that of Dr. Horne What the mind of that man can be made of, who upon the Christian world, in its present receives the Scripture as the word of God, and denies that faith has merit in admitting what is attended with difficulties to reason, it is as hard for to revive the reading of the Christian fathers, by

* I was therefore pleased with a seasonable attempt me to understand, as it is for him to receive the Ar- the Rev. Mr. Kett, in the notes and authorities subticles of the church of England ; and yet, if he has joined to the second edition of his very useful spoken of himself truly, I cannot deny the fact : and and learned Bampton Lectures, p. jii. where he as this man is but a pattern of other Socinians, I do recommends to the ecclesiastical student a selection suppose it to be the opinion of them all, that the from the writings of the Greek and Latin fathers. I proper act of faith in a Christian is an act of enthu- could add other names and other pieces ; but those

a

he has mentioned are very sufficient. 9

frasm.

VOL. I.

declining condition and dangerous situation; only because they avoided evil communicaand how much more it would be for his tions, and refused to be “conformed to this honor to use the eloquence he is master of, world.” Voltaire had no name for the Chrisrather in promoting than in hindering its in- tian faith, but that of superstition or fanaticism. fluence. He knows too much of the world There is a very useful and judicious dissection

a to be ignorant, that in this age, when so many of enthusiasm, by Dr. Horne himself, the best counterfeits are abroad, when some are so I ever met with, just published in a compilawild, and others so squeamish, no wound is tion by a society for a reformation of princiso cruel upon a religious man, as the imputa- ples, which if gentlemen will condescend to tion of a wild enthusiastic fancy: a fault examine, they may be better able to distinwantonly imputed, by the vicious and the guish properly betwixt those who are enignorant, to unexceptionable persons, only thusiasts and those who are called so. because they have a little more religion than All good men are walking by the same themselves : and if such persons have made way to the same end. If there are any individit their business, like Dr. Horne, to be deep uals, who by the shining of their light render in the Scripture, they will always be in the path more plain and pleasant, let us agree danger from those who are not so. Heathens to make the most we can of them, and be accused the first Christians of atheism and “ followers of them, who through faith and sacrilege, because they would not worship patience inherit the promises.” idols; and abused them as haters of mankind,

a

[ocr errors][merged small]

a

a

[ocr errors]

THE LAST LETTER OF THE REVEREND ROBERT This was followed, in the month of De

WELBOURNE, RECTOR OF WENDELBURY IN cember afterwards, by a letter from Mr. OXFORDSHIRE.

Horne, which gives a very affecting [Referred to p. 34.]

account of this good man's death. DEAR JONES,

“Our good old friend, Robertus WendelYou make it a doubt whether I am a letter buriensis, took his leave of this world about in your debt, or you in mine. This is a five weeks ago. His disorder was in the gentle rebuke for my silence; for so I must bowels, through which he has had no passage take it, conscious as I am of my own default; for ten days. But it was effected by putting and, yet excusable, if frequent returns of pain him into a warm bath, and he was brought and sickness may plead in my behalf. In back from the gates of death; at which he these circumstances I have been as it were expressed some regret, as having hoped that oblitus meorum for some months, and am his pains and sorrows were at an end. But therefore the more obliged to you for not a relapse soon carried his weather-beaten applying to me the latter part of the sen- vessel to its desired haven of rest and peace. tence. In the month of July, had I not He died in strong faith, lively hope, and perbeen prevented by a very bad fit of the stone, fect charity, having received the eucharist I was engaged to have been at

not

from the hands of the master of University without some hopes of seeing you : but it was College, who administered to him in extremis, not to be so : they now tell me I must, and and during his whole sickness. He desired I find it necessary to keep as quiet as I can. that a little water might be mixed with the Arrived as I am at the age of man, 1 do not wine in the sacramental cup; and this was presume upon much time to come. My the only particularity. Large bundles of chief concern now is to make such an exit as papers, bound up by himself for that purpose, my friends would wish me; which, by the were burnt, according to his order. A few grace of God, and their prayers and

my own,

sermons were left to his nephew, who was I hope to do. The manuscript you speak of, executor. He bequeathed his gold and silver as you seem to set a value upon it more than medals to Mir. Gilpin, and some copper ones it deserves, I thought to have redeemed with to Christ-Church. It is observable, that he a fair copy; but as I am now not likely to do had kept a most exact account of his expenses So, you may keep or destroy it as you please. from the time when he was eighteen years The heavy expense of your late removal of age. He once lent 10001. to Dr. **** must, I think, disable you from proceeding to which, as he took no security for it, he lost your degree so soon as you intended. If his by the doctor's death, both principal and ingrace of Canterbury considers his own bounty terest. He ordered scarfs, rings, hat-bands, as the impediment, he cannot do less than and gloves, for the proper persons who atgrant you a faculty from Lambeth. If I tended his funeral. Thus we must leave the should see our Archdeacon Potter, as I hope body of our friend in the dust, and his spirit to do in October, I shall give him a broad hint in the bosom of faithful Abraham, waiting to that purpose. Wishing you health and for the happy day of their re-union and prosperity, with my best respects to Mrs. J., glorification.” I am, dear sir, Most affectionate.y yours,

The manner in which Dr. Horne treats ROBERT WELBOURNE. this melancholy subject is so tender and Wendelbury, Sept. 7, 1764.

affecting, that I shall here add another

a

letter, which he wrote to another inti- sometimes rising to a degree of sublimity, as mate friend, upon a like occasion. if inspired by the subject. It would be worth

your while, when you have two or three To W. S.

hours upon your hands, to read over the two 12th Feb., 1780.

chapters, as they stand by themselves, de We are all much affected by the melancholy tached from the civil history, and form a sort tidings communicated in your letter. They

of whole on those great and much debated are indeed such as I have expected to hear points of theology. The story of the degenmany times; but, when they come, it seems

erate Greeks, the foolish emperors, and proflias if one had never expected them in earnest. gate empresses, is tedious and tormenting to And yet, when the first feelings are over, we read; but the chapters on Arabia, Mahomet, cannot be concerned for the person departed, the Saracens, Caliphs, Crusades, Tartars, and but for ourselves only. Her sufferings were

Turks, are very curious and informing; long and heavy, and, therefore, we cannot in though shocking to the imagination are the reality be sorry to find she is released from repeated carnage of the human race, and dethem. For many years she was in the fur- vastations of the globe, first by one set of

When to nace, and it was more than usually heated. savages, and then by another. Melted down at length, and purged from these you add the intestine quarrels and bitter dross, she is formed anew, a vessel for the animosities between the Greeks and Latins, heavenly temple, and does not now wish to till, at the last siege of Constantinople by the have suffered less in the day of trial and pro- clared he had rather see a Turk's turban there

Turks, one of the Greeks in high station debation. Let us copy her patience and resignation, which were truly exemplary, and than a Cardinals cap-one really shuts the prepare to follow in God's good time. Having book, almost ready, with Charlotte Smith, to

write an ode to Despair. paid the tribute of grief that is due, let us return, with fresh vigor, to the duties of life,

As to Lindsey, as a writer, he is a poor and prepare to answer those calls, which our creeping soul. I think I shall put down faith and our country, our church and our

some strictures; but the worst is, one shall be king, will shortly, I think, make upon us all. involved by degrees in so many different con

troversies-nature and degree of inspiration, ANOTHER LETTER TO THE SAME, ON ANOTHER

doctrine of satisfaction, our own establishment, subscription to articles, &c., liturgy,

episcopacy, &c., (for they are all lugged in) To W. S.

—and now, besides the case of the demoniacs,

2d July, 1788. the existence of any devil or Satan at all, In reading Gibbon, I was astonished to which Lindsey denies. Another difficulty is meet with so much gross and vulgar obsceni- that of obviating the sayings and examples of ty, om the pen of a refined and elegant many latitudinarian protestants thrown in historian and philosopher; and had thoughts our teeth, men otherwise of great note, and of stringing the passages together, and pre- universally almost esteemed - some of our senting them to the public. I did not much own church, that were or are bishops, who like the dirty work, and am therefore glad have wished for a change of forms, &c. But, to be prevented by some one, who has done however, the bold strokes of Priestley, Lindit with great gravity, in the Gentleman's sey, &c., will let them see every day, more Magazine for June, under the style of, and more, the danger of innovation, and cure “Selection from Mr. Gibbon's learned and them, perhaps, of their disorder. entertaining notes,” &c. Who the late

prelate was, that used to talk bawdry in Greek, Copy of Mrs. SALMON'S LETTER TO HER SisI know not, but think it must have been TER, ON THE DEATH OF Bishop HORNE, ****; for they do not always go together. In the xlviith chapter (the last of the fourth

[Referred to p. 71.] volume) Gibbon has displayed all his skill to My DEAR SISTER:

17th Jan. 1792. expose church-polemics and churchmen, on This morning, at twenty minutes past two the subject of the incarnation, and the differ- o'clock, our dear lord departed this life. He cnt opinions and councils holden concerning died, as he lived, a saint indeed! He had it. He has taken great pains to investigate not been able for some days to express himand state all the niceties and minutiæ of the self clearly ; but yesterday, when Mr. Selby dispute (as indeed he had done before in read prayers, he joined with him, and rethe case of the Logos and the Trinity,) and peated the Lord's prayer with as much sets off as if most seriously interested in the composure as ever he did in his life. After cause; his style more flowing than usual, and that he received the sacrament with my mise

SUBJECT.

a

« AnteriorContinuar »