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REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
The History of the Origin and Transactions of the Missionary Society, &c.
[Concluded from our last]
We have already mentioned the extraordinary conversion of Dr. Vanderkemp, In a second Letter, the Doctor adds,
"You desire to have an account of some particulars respecting the conversion of my soul to Christ.
"Christianity, to me, once appeared inconsistent with the dictates of reason; the Bible, a collection of incoherent opinions, tales, and prejudices. As to the person of Christ, I looked at first upon him as a man of sense and learning, but who, by his opposition to the established ecclesiastical and political maxims of the Jews, became the object of their hate, and the victim of his own system. I often celebrated the memory of his death by partaking of the Lord's Supper; but, some time after, reflecting that he termed himself the Son of God, and pretended to do miracles, he lost all my former vene
I then prayed that God would prepare me, by punishing my sins, for virtue and happiness, and I thanked him for every misfortune; but the first observation I made was, that though I was oftentimes severely chastised, it did not make me wiser or better. I therefore again prayed to God, that he would shew me, in every instance, the crime for which I was punished, that I might know and avoid it ; but finding this vain, I feared that I should never, perhaps, be corrected in this life by punishment. Still I hoped I might be de livered from moral evil, after death, in some kind of purgatory, by a severer punishment; yet reflecting that punishment had proved itself utterly ineffectual to produce even the lowest degree of virtue in my soul, I was constrained to acknowledge that my theory, though it seemed by a priori reasoning well grounded, was totally refuted by experience; and I concluded, it was entirely out of the reach of ny reason to discover the true road to vir tue a happiness. confessed this my impotence and blindness to God; and owned myself, as a blind man, who had lost his way, and waited in hope that some benevolent man would pass by, and lead me into the right way. Thus I waited upon God, that he would wake me
by the hand, and lead me in the way everlasting.
"I could not however entirely get rid of the idea of being corrected by means of punishment; and still looked on the doctrines of Christ's deity and atonement as useless and blasphemous, though icarefully kept this my opinion secret.
Such was the state of my mind, when, on the 27th of June, 1791, sailing in a boat, with my wife and daughter, for amusement, suddenly a water-spout overtook us, and turning the boat in an instant upside down, we were sunk before we apprehended any danger. Both my dearest relations were drowned, and I was carried down by the stream above a mile; and must soon have infallibly been lost also, as from the violence of the storm, no person could attempt to approach the wreck, and it was supposed we must all have perished together. But now the Lord
stretched forth his hand to deliver me : a stronger vessel, lying in the port of Dort, was, by the storm, rent from its moorings, and blown out of the port towards me, till the men on board thought they discovered a person floating on the side of the wreck, and rescued me from the jaws of death.
"I considered this terrible event as the severest punishment that could be inflicted on me; and saw, the next day, as clear as the light, that it had no more power to correct me than all the former providences, and hence concluded my state to be desperate, and that God abandoned me as incurable by correction.
"The next Sunday I went to the church where the Lord's Supper was to be admi nistered; and though it seemed inconsist ent with my principles to join in the praises of one whom I still held to be an impostor, yet, being ashamed to withdraw from the table, I placed my self among the communicants; but, in order to di vert my thoughts from the object of the solemnity, I directed them to God nearly in this kind of meditation: "My God, I could not acquiesce in thy dealings with me, nor submit to thy will; but now I can. I chuse to be deprived of my wife and child, because it is thy will ;-accept them from my hands:-1 crust entirely
"At this moment these words were represented to my imagination, with an over-ruling authority, "Do not trust them to God, but to me." I started at the strange idea of not trusting to God, nor could I conceive the paradox. I felt my
self, however, pressed by the irresistible force of the command to obey; and from this (if I recollect well) I looked upon the invisible and unknown speaker as a person, whose qualities far exceeded every notion which I had hitherto entertained of my God; and it appeared clear to me, that it was the Lord Jesus who had thus addressed himself to me. To whom I replied,' Jesus, my Lord, in thee I trust I' When it was asked again, if I now was satisfied that they were safe, and in good hands;I expressed my full persuasion of it. To this a reply was subjoined, if I really spoke truth, I certainly should have committed myself, together with them, to his care. Sensible and ashamed of my neglect, I instantly offered up myself, and all that I had to him; and experienced, that the only religion acceptable to God was unreserved dependence upon Christ. Here for a mo. ment the matter rested, when I resumed in thought, "Oh, my Jesus! if I trust only in thee, I must be obliged to adopt the Christian doctrine, which I have many times examined, and seemed to find it a jargon of absurdities." To this he answered,' Examine it once more, and you will judge otherwise of my doctrine; and I will be with thee, and teach thee, that the imputation of Adam's crime to his posterity, and the way by which I save my people is the same; but eat now this bread and remember thy new Master.'
"I would not say, that the very words you read here, were literally spoken to me; but only that I can in no other way convey to you a more exact account of the ideas which rapidly passed through my mind while sitting at the Lord's Table, and which seemed rather to be suggested in an obscure whisper, than in an audible voice. "Immediately after this, I fell into a kind of stupor, from about ten o'clock till three in the afternoon; only on my way home from church, 1 reflected for a moment on this wonderful event. Returning to my senses, which seemed for a while suspended, and recalling by degrees what had happened, I suspected the whole to be mere imagination; but recollecting the command, "Examine the Christian doctrine once more, and I will teach thee," I concluded, if the matter were not visionary, the truth of it would appear in the revision of the Christian system. I immediately sat down to make the trial, not knowing how to begin; but I remembered that I was directed to the imputation of Adam's transgression; and I saw thence a long series of new truths, proceeding from that principle in the form of Corollaries, and in a most easy course traced out the way, by which a sinner from being similar to the guilty and condemned Adam, is
brought to the image of a righteous, holy, and glorified Redeemer; and so restored from sin and misery to virtue and happi-. ness, without punishment, and as a child, independent of reasoning. By free grace I learned how the justice of God is not only uninjured, but exalted, and placed in the strongest lustre, through justification by faith. I rose before I had seen the end of the chain, and wrote down the most striking articles of what I had learned, assured that I had never before received any true notion of the doctrine of Jesus. The next morning, casting my eyes on the Bible, I concluded, that if this book was written by divine authority, perfect harmony ought to be found between its contents and the doctrine, of whose truth and divinity I was now convinced. I was at first reluctant to put it to the trial; but, considering that it must be done, I resolved to read the apostolic epistles attentively; and was astonished to find the striking harmony of the three first chapters of the epistle to the Romans, with my own notes I soon observed, however, that "the riches of the divine treasure, far exceeded the partial knowledge of Christ, which was communicated to me." I was, for instance, surprized that the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, of which St. Paul so explicitly treats, was wholly wanting in my Elements. I revered now the Scriptures of the everlasting God; and valued, as a gift of the highest importance, this source of all-saving knowledge.
"After this made another trial, by comparing my gospel with the doctrine of those who had been taught in the school of Christ; and I was not a little comforted by our mutual faith. They all bare witness to the same truth, though they often mixed it with prejudices.
"These were the first steps by which it pleased God to turn me from darkness to light; in which I am compelled to admit, that in many, nay, in all instances, my knowledge was very imperfect. Taken up with the love of Christ, I had little of no experience of the strugglings of unbelief, of the power of sin, of the assaults of Satan, the depth and extent of misery in which I was, of the guilt from which I was delivered, of my natural enmity against God, and even of my own ig
"But I pass to your question, relating to my views of the gospel. This is of such vast extent, that the present letter would be insufficient to contain the answer. If the following general observations should not, as I suppose, answer the object of the Directors, I hope you will consider them as first openings of a correspondence, in which you will please to point out the
particular heads of the doctrines which they wish me more fully to explain.
You will have observed, that when the Lord Jesus first 'revealed himself to me, he did not reason with me about truth or error, but attacked me like a war. rior, and felled me to the ground by the force of his arm. He even displayed no more of the majesty of a benevolent king, than was necessary to compel me willingly to obey him. But as soon as I had sub mitted myself captive to my Conqueror, he assumed the character of a Prophet; and I then observed, that the chief object of his doctrine was, to demonstate the justice of God, both in condemning and saving the children of men. I was pleased to find it had been represented to St.Paul in the same light, when he admired and adored; because therein the justice or righteousness of God is revealed from the word of faith so evidently, that it excites faith and conviction in the hearer; but at the same time I learned, from my own case, that faith in Christ may be produced without an explicit view of the Christian system, only by representing Christ as the Hence gospel proper object of faith. preaching proves in the hand of the Spirit, the instrument of exciting faith as easily in the rudest barbarian, as in the most learned Greek. As this master-piece of divine wisdom takes in a complete view of God's dealings with mankind, from the beginning of the creation to the end of the world, it would swell this letter to an enormous size to consider it fully; there fore I am forced to leave the subject unfinished.
"It is as impossible that the natural man (1 Cor. ii.14.) should obey the gospel,
as that a blind man should look on a watch and say what time of day it is. The equity of giving him the law of faith is founded on his natural pride, which engages him to assert he is willing to obey the will of God, just as to a blind man who asserted he could see, we should present the watch, and bid him look on it, to convince him of his blindness. Good works cannot be separated from faith; be
ing nothing but phenomena tredentis qua talis, as cold shivering is the phenomenon of an access of the ague. Hence the exercise of faith alone, and not the attempt of imitating the law of works, proves the means of sanctification.
"And now, Sir, I hope I have fully answered the questions you proposed; and I pray that I may be enabled to wait still upon the Lord, constantly watching, that when he cometh and knocketh I may open to him immediately, and be ready to do whatever he commands.
"I thank you for your kind wishes, and Hope you will pray for me, that they may
be granted, as I pray for the Directors of your Society and you, Sir, that you may be led in that path by which the glory of the kingdom of our Lord and Sa viour Jesus Christ may be enlarged and spread over the whole earth." 1. T. V.
After this long extract, we can
only add, which we do with pleasure, that the Mr. Cooper, supposed, in the second part of this work (p. 317, 321) to be drowned, has long since arrived in this country; and is, we believe, still living.
acquainted with the character of the writer, will give him credit for pure and pious motives in this novel publication: and we may venture to affirm, that the traveller who can, like him, see God in the works of nature and art, and rise, from the observation of ordinary objects, in devout aspirations to his Saviour, will enjoy abundantly more delight in his journey, than he who has only amusement in view.
This little volume has also an other object, the description and recommendation of many charitable institutions, for which the author successfully pleaded. In this re spect, the work may not only en, tertain, but promote among gene. rous readers, the support of those excellent institutions, some of which are scarcely known to the public at large. It is exceedingly pleasant to a benevolent mind, to observe in what a variety of channels the Christian charity of this country, and of the metropolis particularly, is daily flowing; and if any one of these is benefited, the author will not have published, nor the reader have perused this pamphlet in vain.
In a list of errata (not printed in some of the first copies) besides
some literal mistakes of the press, the author acknowledges two errors of some importance :-In page 40, 41, The Friendly School, in Foxcourt, Holborn, is unaccountably confounded with The Horslydown-School; it was the latter for which the Doctor preached. He acknowledges also having been misinformed as to the Friendly FemaleSociety; the sermon he preached, was the third, instead of the firft, for that Institution.
of the original Christian writings, of which he treats. He then proceeds to treat of, 1. The Christian Deity; -2. The Christian Wor ship; -3. The Piety of the Christian System; - 4. Benevolence of Christianity; 5. The Doctrine of Human Depravity; — 6. The Christian Scheme of Meditation;7. The Christian Doctrine of Justification; 8. The Doctrine of Grace, or Divine Assistance; -9. The Doctrine of the Future State; -10. The Character which Chris Sermons on the Divinity of Christ. By tianity tends to form; - 11. AddiR. Hawker, D.D. &c. Third Editional Considerations; Conclu tion, corrected by the Author, 8vo, boards, 6s. 6d. -12mo, boards, 35. 6d.
This arrangement is simple, the style easy, and the whole calculated to promote the best religion in the world; the religion of God our Saviour. We only add, that from the conciseness of the work, it is more likely to be read than similar productions of a more voluminous
In the second volume of our Ma
gazine (p. 41.) we gave a decided opinion in favour of these valuable discourses, which have long been out of print; but are here reprinted as the first volume of his works, both in 8vo and 12mo, to suit the different purses of purchasers.
An Essay on the Internal Evidences of Christianity. Published in pursuance of the Will of the late Rev. John Hulse, of Elworth, in Cheshire; as having gained, in 1802, the Annual Prize, instituted by him in the University of Cambridge. By John Scott, B.A. of Magdalen College; Master of the Grammar School, and Lecturer in the High Church of King ston upon Hull. 8vo, E9 pages.
We are happy to see a son of the Rev. Mr. Scott, late of the Lock Chapel, and now Rector of AstonSandford, following the steps of his worthy father, and appearing among the champions for our most holy faith.
The author makes three preliminary observations.-1. That he understands by Christianity, that religion which is taught in the New Testament, and which he considers
as taught also in the Articles of the Church of England; - 2. He assumes, that the same religion for substance is taught by both Testaments, the Old and New; and, 3. He observes that it is the internal evidence of the truth of religion, not of the authenticity, genuineness, or divine inspiration
The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, A new Edition with Notes to the First Part, by ihe Rev. J. Newton, and others; and to the Second, by Dr. Hawker. bound.Ditto, Fine Paper, with the Life and Plates, 45. sheep.—45. 6d. calf.
Nothing need be said of Bunyan's Pilgrim: the Notes by Mr. Newton, Mr. King, of Hull, &c. were printed some years ago by the late excellent Mr. Thornton; but these extending no farther than the first part, by the particular request of the publisher, Dr. Hawker has subjoined some brief notes to the second. After mentioning these names, it need hardly be added that they are judicious, savoury, and evangelical. To the Life of the Author, in the best edition, is sub. joined some remarks on his writ ings, with a key to the allegory.
A Golden Treasury for the Children of God. &c. By C. H. Bogatsky, 12mo, 35. 6d. Fine Paper, in calf,
This work is well known, and in much esteem. It contains texts of Scripture, with remarks, and some
verses subjoined for every day in the year but some editions having been printed, under pretence of more general usefulness, in which many of the most evangelical passages were omitted; an the former editions, all being in the square form, neither convenient for the book-case nor the pocket, -we doubt not but the present, which may be depended upon as a genuine and complete edition, in the usual 12mo size, will be highly acceptable to the religious public.
The Analytical Compendium, or Outlines of Sermons, extracted from various Authors. By T. Hannam. Vol. II. 18mo, pp. 356.
TH first volume of this work was review ed in our Magazine for Angust 1800, when we took occasion to recommend it more particu larly to young ministers, and those whose situations afford not the opportunity of reading more voluminous works.
The second volume, now before us, is conducted upon the same plan, and comprizes the substance of about sixty-three sermons, selected from the works of Bp. Horne, Dr. Gill, Dr. Evans, Messrs. Walker, Townsend, and others. The subjects, though va rious, will be found important and edifying, and the discussions judicious and evangelical.
Keeping the Heart, and Searching the Heart Two Treatises. The First, a Saint indeed, or the Great Work of a Christian the Second, the Touchstone of Sincerity, or the Signs of Grace and Symptoms of Hypocrisy. By the late Rev John Flavel. A New Edition, 2s. 6d. in boards; and 35. 65. bound.
THERE are few writings of a more useful tendency than those of Mr. Flavel. His sprightly remarks, his warm addresses to the heart, his judicious quotations from ancient writers, and his just and practical inferences, render his works truly valuable and instructive. To those who have a spiritual taste, who desire to be acquainted with their own hearts, who
are anxious to know their real state; and are looking for evidences of grace, these two Treatises will be exceedingly acceptable. This edition is neat, with a portrait of Mr. Flavel; and forms an interest ing pocket volume.
Short Meditations on Select Por
tions of Scripture; designed to assisi the Serious Christian in the Improvement of the Lord's Day, and other Seasons of Devotion and Leisure. By Daniel Turner, A. M. Third Edition, 12mo, 35. 6d.
THE public opinion of these Essays is sufficiently apparent in their sale, were we to add our suffrage (which seems unnecessary) it would be in terms highly commendatory, and respectful to the Author's me
An Alarm in Zion; being Extracts from an Address to Christians of all Denominations, occasioned by the Alarm of Invasion in 1756. By the late Rev. G. Whitefield. Adapted to the Present awful Crisis, with Notes and Observations. 12mo, 3d. or 18s. per 100, to give away.
THE zealous loyalty and liberal principles of Mr. Whitefield are well known; and we consider this re-publication as well-timed, and the tract well adapted to the purpose of animating Christians to the defence of their country, as well by their prayers as by their arms. The notes are interesting and copious, embracing chiefly the followthe Importance of ing topics: Prayer;-the Lawfulness of Defenthe Horrors of Invasive War; sion, &c. From the last we give the following striking extract, taken from Denon's Travels, published under authority of the First Consul..
"The situation of the inhabitants, for whose happiness and prosperity we were, no doubt, come to Egypt, was no better. If, through terror, they had been obliged to quit their houfes on our approach; on their return, after we were withdrawn, they could find nothing but the mud of which the walls were formed. Utensils, ploughs, doors, roofs, every thing, in short, of a combustible nature, had been burned,