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appear that though much of novelty cannot reasonably be expected, yet ihere is great variety of matter in it, and that too of the most important kind.
On the, assumed superiority of modern over the ancient philosopers, and the erroneous conclusion thence drawn by the infidel tribe, that the powers of the human understanding are now improveable to a greater extent than they were in ancient times, we have the following sound observations :
May we not be permitted to ask whence this assumed superiority of modern over ancient Philosophers has arisen ? and whence the extraordinary influx of light upon these latter times has been derived ? Is there any one so infatuated by his admiration of the present age, as seriously to think that the intellectual powers of man are stronger and more perfect now, than they were wont to be; or that the particular talents of himself, or any of his contemporaries, are superior to those which shone forth in the luminaries of the Gentile world ? Do the names even of Locke, Cudworth, Cumberland, Clarke, Wilkins, Wollaston, (men so justly eminent in. modern times, and who laboured so indefatigably to perfect the theory of Natural Religion) convey to us an idea of greater intellectual ability than those of the consummate Masters of the Portico, the Grove, or the Lyceum ?; How is it, that the advocates for the natural perfection or perfectibility of human Reason, do not perceive, that, for all the superiority of the present over former times, with respect to Religious knowlege, we must be indebted to some intervening cause, and not to any enlargement of the human faculties ? Is it to be believed, that any man of the present age, of whatever natural talents he may be possessed, could have advanced one step beyond the Heathen Philosophers, in his pursuit of Divine Truth, had he lived in their times, and enjoyed only the light which was bestowed upon them? Or can it fairly be proved, that merely by the light of Nature, or by reasoning upon such data only, as men possess who never heard of Revealed Religion, any moral or religious truth has been discovered, since the days when Athens and Rome affected to give laws to the intellectual as well as to the political, world? That great improvements have since been made, in framing systems of Ethics, of Metaphysics, and of what is called Natural Theology, need not be den ed. But these improvements may easily be traced to one obvious cause, the widely-diffused light of the gospel, which having shone, with more or less lustre, “ on all nations, hasimparted, even to the most simple and illiterate of the sons of men, such a degree of knowledge on these subjects, as, without it. would be unattainable by the inost learned and profound.” The due estimate of natural and moral philosophy is
ably stated in the fifteenth sermon; and so is the science of inetaphysics in the following one; for the purpose of shewing the necessity of divine instruction in spiritual things. The subject of faith is treated with equal strength and clearness. “ As in the natural world,” says the preacher,
we see that all things advance by slow and gradual progress, to maturity and perfection; so, in the spiritual world, we are trained by passing through a state of imperfect knowledge, to one that will be more satisfactory and complete. We " walk by Faith” now, and see through a glass darkly," that our “ thoughts and desires being gradually enlarged and spiritualized, we may become better qualified to undergo that great change which is prepared for us," when, according to the Apostle's expression, we shall see “ face to face" and “know even as we are kuown.” Such a state of preparation and discipline is also best suited to our present nature. For, as our Lord once said to his disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;*” so it may be said to every man, in his present earthly state, that there are many things hereafter to be inore fully revealed which he is now unable to bear. Faith, which conveys to us but a partial, though a most certain knowledge, is better adapted to our finite capacities and comparatively feeble understandings, than the blaze of perfect illumination, on subjects too wonderful and excellent for us to attain to, until we shall have put off our earthly tabernacl It seems, indeed, probable, not only that our faculties are at present incapable of receiving greater degrees of information, on these subjects, than is communicated through the medium of Faith; but that, even if we could attain to greater degrees of it, our affections would be too much elevated, and our attention drawn off from those important duties which belong to us as pilgrims on earth, and without the performance of which, we cannot become meet to be partakers of our heavenly inheritance.
“It is not to be doubted, therefore, that God requires us to «
walk by Faith,” for the purpose of correcting our pride, and teaching us the necessity of bringing our understandings, as well as our affections, into subjection to his Holy Will. Thus are we constantly admonished to acknowlege His Wisdom and Truth; to trust in Him; to have recourse to Him for light and instruction; to set the highest value upon His communications; to restrain our presumptuous curiosity; and “not to think of ourselves more highly thnn we ought to think.” By setting şuch bounds to our Sight, as to disable us from walking by it in our spiritual and everlasting concerns, He shews us the value
and importance of Faith; leading us imperceptibly to that entire deference to His Wisdom, and conformity to His Will which constitute the foundatien of all true Religion and substantial happiness."
The powers and limits of hnman reason are well stated in the seventeenth sermon; and the peculiar doctrines of the Trinity in Unity, the Fall of Man, bis Redemption by, Jesus Christ, his sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and his title to Eternal Life, on the terms and conditions of the Gospel Covenant, are brought forward in a proper manner and vindicated as matters of pure Revelation,
We might multiply our extracts from this volume, with great pleasure to ourselves, and highly to the edification of our readers, but our duty calls us to pay respect to some other valuable publications which have recently appeared, and, therefore, we are under the necessity of closing our account of these sermons, with observing that they do honour to the preacher, and are admirably adapted to answer the noble purposes of the excellent founder of the Lecture. At the end of each volume, an account is given of the books consulted in the composition of every sermon, which, as it shews' the candour and modesty of the author, displays also considerable judgment and industry.
The English Liturgy, a “ Form of sound Words," a Sermon delivered in the parish Churches of St. Bene't, GraceChurch, St. Mary, Stoke Newington, and St. Mary, Islington. By GEORGE GASKIN, D. D. Rector of St. Bene't, Gracechurch, and of Stoke Newington; and Lecturer of Islington. Svo. pp 25. ls. RIVINGTONS. HIS sermon is offered to public inspection at the
particular request of some of the author's friends who heard it preached, and who thought that in these times of ecclesiastical anarchy, its utility might be increased, by being committed to the press. With their opinion we perfectly accord, and we sincerely hope with the worthy author, that it inay be instrumental
to the promotion of that knowledge which maketh men wise unto salvation ;, and that it may lead the candid and christian reader, to view and contemplate our liturgical services with increased delight and satisfaction.
If the perusal of the discourse does not produce these effects, the fault. most undoubtedly, is in the head or the heart of the reader.
It is shewn with great clearness of argument, and neatness of language, that our Liturgy is a “ form of sound words,” in virtue of its being constructed, according to the best models of Christian antiquity, and as it includes all things requisite to the orderly administration of the Sacraments, and the reverent and edifying public performance of other services : in virtue of its implying, that the Church, whose Liturgy it is, is of an apostolical constitution : and in consideration that it asserts and inculcates the pure and genuine fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
The duty of adhering stedfastly to the Church, and of frequenting her offices is well enforced ; and the necessity of calling the attention of her members to this subject, is stated in the exhortation itself, which is as follows:
“Admitting as we have reason to do, that the Liturgy of our Church, is a blessing to us, let us all, of whatever rank, or description we be, shew our sense of it, by invariably frequenting its offices. Opinions are best shewn, by the habits which they produce. So that it, while we profess to adhere to the Church, we neglect to join in her services, either through indevotion,, or to uunder to other places of worship, we are not consistent with ourselves, and there is room to suspect the defectiveness of our profession. The absentee, through inderotion, though he
be a member of the body, is a corrupt one, a vessel unfit for the Master's use. And the wanderer to other assemblies, seems not to be acquainted with the constitution of his own Church, nor sufficiently aware of the benefits, which accrue from the preservation of order in society. It should here too be recollected, that even this service, when performed as an act of public worship, by persons not in episcopal orders, or whose place of worship, though called a Chapel, has not received the licence, or sanction of the Bishop, but is opened in defiance of his jurisdiction, then ceases to be the service of the Church of England; and the persons frequenting it, actually become schisma
tics from the Church, and dissenters of I know not what new description.
“ Were these things reflected upon, with the seriousness they claim, we should be as a city in unity with itself t.” None of our tribes would resort to Samaria, but all to Jerusalem, “ to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.” Men would press to enter into his courts. Frivolous excuses would not be found to detain them either from the morning, or the evening service of the Sanctuary ; and ive shoukl no longer have to complain in our parochial congregations, that the sacrifice of prayer and praise, on working days, is almost every where deserted,”
Though we entertain precisely the same sentiments, and have the same apprehensions as the author in regard to such schismatical places as the one above alluded to, yet it is proper to nbserve in this place, that from an official communication which has been sent to us on the subject of the Chapel at Islington, it appears that the building has been regularly entered and certified in the Bishop of London's register under the act of Toleration. It is, ti erefore, to all intents and purposes a dissenting place of worship, which no member of the Church of England can frequent without being guilty of the sin of schism,
+ Psalm cxxii. 3. * To these observations, the Ministers of the Church have especial reason to call forth the attention of the inhabitants of Islington ; and God is my witness, I produce them, not to give offence, but to discharge a duty,
A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Roches
ter, in the year 1800; and published at their request. By John Law, D.D. Archdeacon of Rochester. ` 4to.
THIS is an able and at the same time a temperate vin
dication of the clergy, as well as a very judicious adinonnion to them. It detends them with great success from the charge so frequently and illiberally brought forward by the men calling themselves evangelical ininisters, that they do not preach the doctrines which they lave subscribed.