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and by all to whom his various virtues and excellent endowments were familiar. But —“The deep distress Of her, who best his inmost boson knew, To whom his faith was vow'd, his soul was true, What pow'rs of faltring language shall express? As friendship bids, I feebly breathe my own, + And sorrowing say, “Pure spirit, thou art gone!” It has been remarked by Dr. Johnson*, that “he that writes the life of another is either his friend or his enemy, and wishes either to exalt his praise or aggravate his infamy.” The writer of the foregoing sketch, while he hesitates not to express the feelings of entire respect and attachment with which he can never cease to contemplate and cherish the memory of this excellent divine, trusts that he will escape the imputation, as he has endeavoured to avoid rendering himself justly obnoxious to it, of having regarded with undue partiality the character of his departed friend. Satisfied that the surest test of the principles and dispositions of men is to be found in their actions, he has rarely interrupted the course of this narrative by obtruding his own observations and opinions. From the facts which have been recorded, he believes his readers will be enabled to trace, with considerable accuracy, the more prominent features of the character of Dr. Kerr; and he will but just remark, that if a man's merit is to be estimated with reference to the benefits which have flowed from his exertions, it canuot be denied that Dr. Kerr possessed a solid claim to the esteem, the praise, and gratitude of his fellowcreatures. To this plain and faithful record of the labours of Dr. Kerr, and the more important events of his life shall be subjoined an extract from an account of him which appeared
* Idler, No. 84.
in one of the public prints. It was written by a gentleman who had been long and intimately acquainted with Dr. Kerr; and in it his character is delineated with equal elegance, discrimination, and truth. “Animated with the spirit of genuine piety and expansive benevolence, endowed by nature with comprehensive and energetic powers of understanding, and enriched by education with the embellishments of a highly cultivated mind; he exerted those faculties with a fervent zeal, and an ardent devotion, for the service of that God in whose sanctuary he was a sincere and faithful minister, for the interests of morality, for the instruction of his fellow-creatures, and for the benefit of that charity of which he was the immediate superintendant, the emiment benefactor and friend. “Among the more conspicuous instances of this good man's beneficence, we have to notice the chapel in the Black Town, in which his reliques are now enshrined; an edifice projected by himself, erected by o raised through his individual solicitations, consecrated by him under authority procured from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in which he gratuitously administered divine service for the instruction of the community in that vicinity, so long as his health permitted, in addition to his functions
Kerr; as well as the important advantages which have accrued to the Company from the same source; and we have to notice the Christian charity manifested by the publication of his religious tracts, which combined the advantages of disseminating the doctrines of Christianity and conducing to the utility of the Orphan Asylum. “In promoting the cause of the religion which he professed, and the benefit of the institution which he superintended, he was animated with an ardour, activity, and perseverance, which .# could abate but the attainment of the object. “ Hence, by some, with whose private interests, prejudices, or passions his public duties and sacred functions had to contend, he has been considered sometimes to have exceeded the serene and sober spirit of the evangelical character. An intimate knowledge of our departed friend enabled us more correctly to discern his motives and to appreciate his merits:—in truth, no trait of his conduct reflects on his character more lustre and honour, than this which some have ventured to arraign. “ His ardour was the flame of practical piety, his zeal was the emanation of active benevolence. “He was a plain, but an impressive and an edifying preacher. “With the accomplishments of the scholar, he combined the manners of the gentleman, and great knowledge of the world. “He possessed a generous, a disinterested, and delicate turn of mind, rendering him a respectable and valuable member of society, an agreeable companion, and an affectionate friend. “His soul was susceptible of all the charities; and he might be truly held out as an exemplary pattern of the filial, conjugal, paternal, and social virtues.”
Christ. Observ. No. 123.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
MR. observer, My natural serenity of temper must prevent my addressing you with any keenness of raillery, or acrimony of censure, however I may feel the injury which I have long sustained, and which I now publicly lament. My origin is not vulgar; nor is my residence mean: I associate with the happy spirits above, who treat me with reverence, and who never feel more exquisite delight than when I am present. At the same time I reside amongst men; and, considering the obligations they are under to regard me, as also the happiness which I impart when I am properly regarded, I confess I am hurt to be treated, as I generally am, with utter neglect, or with that trivial notice which makes much nearer approaches to the mockery of insult than the homage of respect. My empire is small, and my faithful servants are few. A rival *, whose appearance is frightful, whose sentiments are impious, and whose voice is disagreeable, lives in these lower regions, and has been too successful in expelling me from many of the abodes of men. But the injury, on account of which I now apply to you for redress, springs from a class of people whom I respect, and by whom I am respected. You know that I have a claim, founded in wisdom, and established by custom, to appear at table for a few moments at the time of meals, before the repast is begun, and when it is concluded. Meals, in these indulgent times, are of frequent recurrence. On some of these occasions I am called in; on others I am forgotten. This produces, as may easily be conjectured, much irregularity of conduct, and much perplexity of feeling, which at present I need not describe at large. I entreat you to advocate my
cause. Assemble around you, Mr. Observer, your pious and learned friends. Examine ancient records, and ancient manuers. Trace out the practice of the wise that has been marked with propriety, and that of the foolish that has been marked with absurdity. You may inform your readers how I have been abused by detention that was unreasonable, and vociferation that was ridiculous; and how I am now -equally abused, such is the change of manners, by being compelled to move with dispatch, and to speak in -a whisper.
From the inspired oracles, the custom of the wise, and the dictates of enlightened and solid piety, lay down, I entreat you, such rules that my appearance on these occasions may be regular and proper. Let me not be compelled to usurp the place of a venerable sister*; and yet .do what you can to free me from the insults which I experience from such enemies as these ; conformity, cowardice, formality, forgetfulness, and neglect. Especially would I entreat you to decide on the important point, whether I ought to be admitted to the evening tea-table, which certainly is an honour that I do not now enjoy, except in a few exempt instances. In short, you -will be explicit in stating when and how I am to appear. . Such, Mr. Observer, is my request; and I have no doubt but that ..your attention to it will promote the interests of
*To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
ON my way home from my church in the evening of last Fast-day, I perceived that the ringers of the parish were preparing for a peal. Struck with the extreme impropriety of this, I returned, and endeavoured to convince them how in-consistent such an act was with the
solemnity of the day; and after some little conversation, succeeded in persuading them to desist. During my remonstrance with the ringers, one of them observed, that he thought there was no more harm in their ringing the bells, than in the farmers of the parish employing their horses and men, on that day, in the usual labours of husbandry. Though there was no great difficulty in answering this arguinent, yet I was sorry that he had it to produce ; and if such a person perceives the conduct of the farmer to pass unnoticed, he will be next led to question the propriety and utility of the fast itself. Can, then, nothing be done to induce the farmers (and indeed tradesmen in general) to pay a more decent attention to the duties of a Fast In cities and large towns, the shops may be shut, and the streets may wear the appearance of a Sabbath-day : but go a few miles into the country, and, but for the chiming of the church bells, a person would hardly see any thing to remind him that it was a day set apart for public humiliation before God. Now this evil seems to call for some interposition of authority. The clergyman of a parish can do little with fifteen or twenty farmers, who are determined not to lose can hour's work, especially as they have the general practice of the country to support them. Desirous as I am, in these momentous times, to promote as much as possible the religious and universal observance of a fast, yet what can an individual do to remedy an evil of such magnitude as this? I do therefore hope, that some persons possessing influence and authority may be induced to consider and suggest the means by which a remedy may be applied. a co UNT RY itect Oir. , P. S. Another of the ringers thought there was no more harm in ring.ing on the evening of a Fastday, than on the evening of a Sunday. This is true. I wish, however, to ask; whether, as I can in some measure regulate the conduct of my own parish, though not of a whole county, I can !. a stop to ringing on a Sunday evening I mean, whether I have authority to do so?. It is doubtless an employment but ill according with the sanctity of the Sabbath.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
READING lately the Epistle Dedicatory of the judicious Hooker to his Ecclesiastical Polity, I could not help applying the following passage to the controversies of the present day, and thinking the case of those formerly stigmatised (whether justly or unjustly was seldom considered), with the name of Priscillianists, very much resembles the treatment now experienced by the men so injudiciously attacked under the name of Calvinists and Evangelical Clergy. “I deny not” (says this excellent writer) “but that our antagonists in these controversies may peradventure have met with some not unlike to Ithacius, who mightily bending himself by all means against the heresy of Priscillian (the hatred of which one evil was all the virtue he had), became so wise in the end, that every man careful of virtuous conversation, studious of Scripture, and given unto any abstinence in diet, was set down in his calendar of suspected Priscillianists, for whom it should be expedient to approve their soundness of faith by a more licentious and loose behaviour.
Whether Calvin be, like Priscillian, an heretic, I leave to those who are more wise than I am, to determine. I confess there is something in the Divine decrees, not beyond my faith, but beyond my very limited faculties to comprehend. The evil which I deeply lament is, that this hatred of Calwin should be carried to so unreasonable a length, that every man careful of virtuous conversation, studious of Scripture, and given to any abstinence from worldly pleasures, should be in danger of being set down in the calendar of suspected Calvinists; and that the surest expedient to prove his soundness from the taint of evangelical doctrine, is to indulge in a more licentious and loose behaviour. Such proctors (Barristers I had almost said) and patrons the truth might well spare. - Sermons, charges, pamphlets, volumes, are daily issuing from the press, against those who are denominated Evangelical Clergymen, and Gospel Preachers. Could the venerable Cranmer or Latimer revisit that church which they planted, and watered with their blood, what would they say to find such names converted into terms of reproach ; and that a zeal for the doctrines they taught, and the practice they recommended, should only serve to bring on the imputation of methodistical cant and hypocritical puritanism : I am, &c. B. N.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The Life of Ulrick 2 wingle the Swiss Reformer. By J. G. Hess. Translated from the French by Lucy AikiN. London: Johnson & Co. 1812. 8vo. pp. 325.
The Reformation is an event to which the attention of Protestants cannot too often be called. It was, like the descent of the ark upon Ararat, the moment of deliverance to the family of God. It was a period at which the proper standard of religion was once more adjusted; and, therefore, to which all subsequent periods in the history of the church may properly be referred, and by which our progress or decay may in some measure be estimated. This motive might have been enough in itself to have induced us to avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded us of touching upon this great theme, by the publication of the volume before us. The Reformation, indeed, is far too large a topic for a review. The crowd of distinguished characters who performed in its principal scenes; the remarkable vicissitudes in its history ; the extent of territory through which this vast moral movement was felt, are all unfriendly to any attempt at cursory investigation. But in the history of the reformation in Switzerland, we are presented with a sort of corner, which is more within our grasp. Another motive for this examination is, that the life of Zuinglius is little known; having been lost in the blaze of another luminary, which, moving in a more conspicuous orbit, and shedding a mightier influence upon surrounding nations, has almost exclusively occupied the eye of every examiner. Now the present work brings together more particulars in the history of the Swiss reformer, than have been be
fore condensed into the same number of pages. In addition to all this, the work is well written; and though we have not seen the origimal, we venture to infer, from the good sense and good English of almost every sentence, is well translated. Of some defects, indeed, both in the author and translator, we shall have occasion to speak hereafter. For the present we shall devote ourselves to a far more gratifying task—that of collecting from this work, and placing before our readers, some of the most interesting parts of the life of Zuinglius and of the history of the Reformation in Switzerland. Ulric Zuinglius was born in a village of Switzerland, Jan. 1, 1484. Born in the house of a peasant, he is one of the many instances that real genius is of a nature not to be kept down by any weight of superincumbent circumstances. Reared amid the awful rocks and chasms of his country, and familiar for a time only with its rustic inhabitants, he carried into life something of the stern majesty, and of the unambitious integrity, which such scenes and circles might be thought likely to inspire. His father, from the indications which he gave of extraordinary talent, having determined to dedicate him to the church, he was sent to a school, first at Basil, then at Bern, and afterwards at Vienna; whence he returned to Basil, where, at the age of eighteen, he obtained the situation of a teacher. We have no leisure to follow him through the steps of his education; or to notice any particulars, except that from the first he preferred classical studies to the scholastic philosophy; that, contrary to the spirit of the age, he always betrayed a disinclination to bow to the authority of any single writer ; that his change of masters was benefi