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discourses, which they must hear, who are much conversant with it, the mind of a man suffers not a little from the variety of light and unprofitable conversation, in which he is frequently engaged. This scatters the thoughts, and so indisposes them for any speculations that are great and noble, sublime and sacred, that some time is required to reduce the wandering, to compose the spirits, and to restore that tranquillity of soul which is indispensibly necessary for the prosecution of religious enquiries. And although the general assertion of a famous recluse, That he always came out of company a worse man than he went into it," savoureth too much of the cloister, yet whoever, as the world goes, should diligently note the times when he came out of company a better man than he went into it, might, perhaps, find his diary contained in a less compass than at present he is apt to imagine."
Our next extract shall be on the ministerial character:
"Behold," saith our Lord, "they that wear soft clothing are in king's houses* :" look for them among the attendants upon the princes of this world, and not among my servants? They who thirst after temporal honours and advantages, must go where such things are to be had. And let them go any where rather than come into the church with these dispositions. For he who would persuade others to despise the world, while the love of it appears to direct and govern all his own actions, can expect no better success than it may be supposed St. Peter would have met with had he invited those, who stood with him round the fire in the High Priest's hall, into the service of that master whom they had just before heard him deny. When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethrent: attempt not to do it till then, lest thou not only fall into condemnation thyself, but lay a stumbling block in the way of the weak, and cause the name of God and his Gospel to be thus blasphemed through thy doublemindedness, while thy life is at variance with thy doctrine. He who undertakes to reprove the world, must be one whom the world cannot reprove. All eyes will be upon him; his actions, his words, his very gestures and looks will be observed and canvassed by his sharp-sighted enemies. It will therefore behove one so exposed on all sides, to abstain from the least appearance of evil, to stand at the utmost distance from temptation, and to prevent even the possibility of a suspicion. The axe must be laid to the root, and the passions mortified, till the man become, in the emphatical language of Scripture, 'dead to sin‡,' as a corpse is to the delights and concerns of life. The dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a portion in any thing that is done under the sun§,"
* Matt. xi. 8. † Luke xxii. 32. Rom. vi. 2. § Eccles. ix. 5, 6. Vol. X. Churchm. Mag. July, 1806. Soire
Some person has prefixed to this edition a dedication to Sir Williain Dolben, which, considering that the book shews no mark of editorship, we cannot but disapprove, as a liberty improperly taken with the original work. The name of Rishop Horne surely stands in no need of patronage, nor his book of recommendation.
The beneficial Effects of Christianity on the Temporal
Concerns of Mankind, proved from History und from Facts. By the Right Reverend BEILBY PORTEUS, D.D. Lord Bishop of London. Second Edition, 8vo.
HE zeal and abilities of the venerable author of this
excellent performance, have been so often and so successfully displayed, in behalf of the best interests of man, that it is with the greatest pleasure we perceive bis intellectual strength undiminished, and his powers still exerted in the defence of that religion, of which he is so great an ornament.
The question of the utility of Christianity is one of considerable importance; and it is discussed in this pamphlet with great force and ingenuity. Infidelity has not scrupled to charge our religion with cruelty and intolerance. This absurd accusation is not only repelled with success, but, on the contrary, it is fully proved, that “ Christianity has added most essentially to the sum of human happiness; that it is not only in its own nature calculated to promote the peace, the welfare, and the comfort of mankind, but that it has actually done so; that its beneficial effects are in a greater or a less degree visible throughout the Christian world, and that considered in all the various points of view, in which it presents itself to our observation, and in all its different bearings on the several conditions and relations of human life, it appears evidently to be the purest and most substantial blessing, even in the present state, that heaven in its bounty ever conferred upon the sons of men.”
The truth of these assertions is completely established by the plain statement of facts, which the most determined and most ingenious adversary of the Gospel will not find it very easy to controvert.
The beneficial effects of Christian government are thus concisely but forcibly stated :
“With respect to paternal power, the first Christian emperor, in order to prevent the destruction of grown children by their father, (a practice, at that time, too frequent) very wisely and humanely ordained, that the public should maintain the children of those who were unable to provide for them *
" In the year 319 he put an effectual stop to this terrible practice, by making it a capital offence; and even affixing to it the punishment denounced against parricides +.
“ The exposure of infants, however, still prevailed : this he also restrained by an edict, in the year 331; and under the emperors Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, this crime was made a capital offence 1.
“Another branch of domestic tyranny, perpetual servitude, was, as a learned civilian observes, greatly discountenanced by the Christian religion ; and about the twelfth or thirteenth century, when ecclesiastical legislation was at its height, is dated the extinction of slavery in Europe $.
“ The first edict against gladiatorial shows, was by a Christian Emperor ; and Honorius afterwards completed what Constantine had begun. This horrid exbibition was by his laws finally abolished. To this we may add, that the savage punishment of crucifixion was also put an end to by Constantine**
“ In these instances, (and more might be produced) we see that some of the greatest miseries which oppressed mankind in the Heathen world, were actually removed by the laws and edicts of CHRISTIAN RULERS tt. Here, then, there can be no doubt that the happy effects of those laws are to be ascribed solely and exclusively to the beneficent spirit of that heavenly religion, which meliorated the heart, and humanized the dispositions of those who made them. And we are therefore, warranted in concluding, that many of the other great im
Taylor's Civil Law, p. 406. ^ Ibid. 406. [ Ibid. 406. & Taylor, p. 435. Pope Alexander the Third, declaree, in the name of his Council
, that all christians ought to be exempt from servitude. That law alone (says an historian not much disposed to speak well of any christian legislator) ought to render bis name dear to all the people of the earth. Volt. Un. Hist, v. 20. p. 266. ed, Amst. 12mo. 1764.
History of the decline of the Roman Empire, v. 3. p. 157. Josliu's Eccles. Rem. v. 3. p. 220.
** Ibid p. 219. ft Even in the dark ages of Popery, the wars of contending princes and powerful lords, were frequently checked, and the fierceness of the times greatly mitigated by the authority, the renon-trances, and the infuence of the clergy; particularly by what was called the Truce of God, and other devolent devices of that nature. Robertson's Charles V. ¥. 1, p. 51,61, 335, 330, 338.
provements * Decline of the Roman Empire, Vol. III. p. 673. ý Bolingbroke, Vol. IV. p. 133,
provements in civil, social, and domestic life, which render our situation so infinitely superior to that of the antient as well as to the modern pagan world, are to be attributed to the operation of the same powerful cause.
“ If this important truth stood in need of any further con firmation, it is to be found in the confession of those who are either the avowed enemies of Christianity, or at least have no unreasonable prejudices in its favour, to mislead their judgment,
“ They acknowledge, that the prime and genuine influence of Christianity, may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect effects, on the barbarian proselytes of the north ; and that on the fall of the Roman empire, it evidently mullified the ferocious temper of the conquerors.
“ They acknowledge that Constantine acted the part of a sound politician, in affording Christianity protection and support; because it not only tended to give firmness and solidity to his empire, but also to soften the ferocity of the armies, and to reform the licentiousness of the provinces ; and by infusing a spirit of moderation and submission to government, to extinguish those principles of avarice and ambition, of injustice and violence, by which so many factions were formed, and the peace of the empire so often and so fatally brokent.
They acknowledge, in still more pointed and decisive terms, that no religion ever appeared in the world, whose natural tendency was so much directed to promote
and happiness of mankindt.
They ackndwledge that Christianity, divested of all fanaticism, and better understood than in former ages, has rendered modern government less sanguinary, and given more gentleness to the manners of mankind.
“ They acknowledge, in fine, that these charges are not owing to the cultivation of letters, because, wherever they ficurished the most, humanity was not the most regarded; but that from the Gospel numberless acts of mercy and kindness take their rises.
“ Such are the acknowledgments of men of distinguished eminence in the world of letters, but certainly not much disposed to make needless concessions in favour of Christianity, And with these unsuspicious testimonies, added to the various facts that have been produced, we are enabled to estimate the re
Ibid. p. 281, 282. ş. Rousseau, Émile, T. III. C. 4. 12mo. Frank. p. 102. It is asimirably said by the same writer :--La philosophie ne peut faire aucun bien, que la religion ne la pa se encore mieux; et la religion en fait beaucoup que la pluilosophie ne sauroit faire."---Ibid. p. 101.
spective merits, and to delineate, in a few words, the true characters of philosophy and of revelation.
la one of these, PHILOSOPHY has usurped the throne of God in the other, CHRISTIANITY has long established its empire. And it should seem as if (among other reasons). Pro-' vidence had permitted the former to triumph, in a kingdom so near our own, almost on purpose to contrast together, to show in the strongest possible light, and to force upon the very senses of mankind, the different spirit, and the different effects of infidelity and religion. The scenes that have lately passed in one of these countries are well known. They are too horrible to relate, and too recent to be forgotten. The blessings experienced in the other are before our eyes, and, I trust, engraved on all our hearts. After contemplating both with due attention, let us then say, whether the tree (planted on each of these neighbouring shores) is not known by its fruit' whether the fruit of PHILOSOPHY is not now, what it always has been, unrelenting cruelty; and the fruit of the GosPEL, unbounded benevolence and universal love. Here then, are the two, great moral teachers and guides of life proposed to your choice; and as you approve the temper, and relish the actual effects of the one, or of the other, decide between them."
After perusing the above, our readers will judge for themselves of the importance of this publication; and they will not rest satisfied without reading the whole. We hope that the tract will be printed uniformly with the bishop's little piece on the Evidences of the Christian Religion.
The Third Chapter of Habbakuk paraphrased. By John Ogilvie, D. D.
RAPT in the blaze of bright surrounding flame,
*Matt. xii. 23.