Imatges de pÓgina

and the light of the western a weak man, when he had no less churches. Jerome in his como advantage than that of conversmentaries on Isaiah and Ezekiel, ing with those, who had conand Husebius in the third book versed with the apostles, and was of his ecclesiastical history, af- himself a disciple of Polycarf, firm, that he believed in the who was instructed by St. John thousand years reign of Christ the divine ? Besides, it appears on earth, according to the letter from the confession of Jerome of the Revelations ; , which, by himself* (who had taken up as the way, is one very probable strong prejudices against this reason, why all his writings, in doctrine as Eusebius) that Pafias which he professedly treats that was also a disciple of St. John ; subject, have been suppressed, and Eusebius owns that Irenæus and that only one of his many called him so, and the companvolumes (that on heresy) is come ion of Polycarp; and surely down to us, recovered and pub- these connexions well qualified lished by Erasmus, in which, him for a witness to their docthough the matter of the work trine. If Papias was a plain leads not to this point of doc- man, he was the less likely trine, yet there is enough to to impose upon others; nor confirm what Eusebius and Je- could it require much learning rome have affirmed of him as to to know whether his master, Stthis matter. In particular, he John, explained his prophecy of delivers it as an article in the the Millennium in a literal sense symbol or creed of the churches or not. Whether Papias was a in his time, that Christ should man of learning or not, is nothçome to restore all things : Anding to the purpose ; he was an in Book v. chap. 28. and 30. that honest man, charged by no au• at the end of six thousand years, thor of credit with holding would be the Sabbath of rest, heretical notions, and so great a when the Lord will destroy the veneration had he for the aposreign of anti-christ, put the just tles, that he was a diligent colin possession of the kingdom, lector of all remarkable particuand restore the promised inheri- lars concerning them, and even tance to Abraham. Eusebius, of their sayings. What his who was no friend to this doc- credit in 'the church was, aptrine (nor yet to one of still pears by his being made Bishop greater importance) makes Pa- of Hieropolis by the immediate pias to be the first author of it, successors of the apostles; and and endeavours to discredit his the dignity of his office in those authority, by calling him a plain, days of the church, may be alilliterate man; and yet asserts lowed a good presumptive arguthat he led Irenæus into this er- ment of the sufficiency of his ror. But if Ireneus was a man qualifications for the discharge of such ability and learning, as of it, or else we must say, that be is represented, and docs ap- all things went wrong apace in pear by what we have left of his the church, even in the first cenworks, how came he to suffer himself to be imposed upon in a

Hieronym. Ep. 29. matter of such consequence, by $ Euseb. Eccl. Hist. Lib. 3.

Papias ånd Irenæus vindicated. 337 tury ; and then there is an end in greater clearness, and fuller of all ecclesiastical authority. measure than has been hitherto, But the truth of the matter lies and that not in the way of huhere ; the tide of prejudice and man learning and criticism, but opposition ran so strong against by larger communications of the the millennial doctrine, after the Spirit of Wisdom from the Fa. second century downwards, that ther of Lights in the hearts of no arts of calumny and misrep- the simple and unlearned, both resentation were spared in or- men and women ; and that as der to sink it, insomuch that even well to humble the pride of men good men were, by education on account of their natural and and the authority of the learned, acquired endowments, as to make prepossessed against it, and this manifest that the excellency of has been so much the case in wisdom is 'not of man, but of general for now more than four- God. That the full understandteen centuries, joined to the ing of the scriptures has not yet wicked practice of corrupting, been given, will readily be grantcurtailing, and suppressing the ed ; and that they shall be unworks of the first fathers on this derstood in perfection cannot be subject that it is next to a won- denied, since to that end they der that we have any of their were given. Now, we know testimonies to it left.

that it is according to the pur“ It is likewise to be observed, pose of God, to conceal his sethat together with the opposition crets from the great and wise of to the doctrine of the Millenni- the earth, and to reveal them unum, sprang up in the church a to babes,* persons of an humble fondness for that critical and mind, and of a resigned and simcontentious kind of theology, plified understanding ; and that which teaches men to doubt of

thus it shall be in the last days, every thing, and dispute against when he will pour out his Spirit every thing; insomuch that there upon the servants and upon the are few of the canonical books handmaids,and all his children of scripture, which did not meet shall be taught of the Lord.I with some oppugners to their The worthy author, from divine authority, about that time. whose work the preceding exBut the God of truth hath set his tract is taken, was Rector of seal upon the Sacred Writings, Winwick in Northamptonshire ; and his providence hath preserv. a clergyman much esteemed by ed them to us; and so long as men of learning and piety for his We are possessed of this blessing, warm attachment to the truths so long will this doctrine be sup- and duties of our holy religion, ported by an authority, against aiming in all his discourses, to which the gates of hell shall not promote the spirit and power of prevail ; and fully assured we religion in its professors, and to may be, that the time when the win souls to Christ.

He was a knowledge of the scriptures, true follower of the Lamb; and both as to the mysteries of our holy faith, and the interpreta- Math. xi. 25. S Joel üi. 29. tion of prophecy, will be given Isaiah liv. 13.

Vol. I. No. 8. UU,

in imitation of his divine Master, was sudden, we trust it did not made it his delight to work find him unprepared : He died, the works of him that sent him in an advanced age, of an apowhile it was day,” and when the plexy, December 11, 1784. night of death came, though it


Religious Communications.

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in bidding us love him with all GION.

the heart, and with the utmost (Continued from p. 203.) fervour of our affections, he is The propensity to commit sin, either ignorant, not knowing our is not more universal, or power. frame ; or unjust, demanding ful, than the propensity to palli- that which he knows to be imate and excuse it. Indeed, this possible. Beside, who sees not last is one of the capital exhibi. that on this principle, Abraham, 'tions and proofs of human de- David, Paul, and in short, the pravity. Insensibility to the ob- whole host of worthies whose jects of religion has seized the character and exercises the scripwhole species. Of course, it be ture records, were a set of viscomes a common interest and sionaries and enthusiasts. Their wish, to justify, or at least, to religion was not a cold and lanextenuate it. To this point hu- guid thing. It was vigorous, acman ingenuity has directed its tive and ardent. Love to God utmost strength, and its unweari- was their ruling passion. It tried efforts. The result has been umphed over every rival affecan infinitude of apologies, plau- tion, and every opposing intersible in appearance, but in reali- est. Devotion to the divine hon'ty, frivolous and absurd.

our was their grand principle of One of the most imposing of action. Here they sought and these apologies is this : that found their happiness. This from the very constitution of our they esteemed the life of life. natúre, we are principally attract. They conversed less with their ed and impressed by things visi- fellow-creatures around them, ble ; and that God being spirit. than with an UNSEEN DEITT. ual and invisible, all emotions In communion with him, they which have him for their object, found the sorrows of life soothmust necessarily be indistincted, its burdens lightened, and a and languid.' This suggestion, new sweetness mingling itself though it assumes the "garb of with every joy. In short, their philosophy, is in fact one of the sentiments and feelings, their most irrational and preposterous plans and pursuits, were precisethat can be conceived. If it ly what the generality of men proves any thing, it proves far are prone to consider as the too much. It presumptuously height of enthusiasm. arraigns and blasphemes the God But let us take a nearer view of of heaven : for it declares, that this boasted theory, that none but

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sensible objects can éxcite strong we then urged to open our hearts emotions. . What is it in an earth. : to bim, and give him the stronga s ly friend, that engages esteem: est, the tenderest affections of and love? Is it his external : which they are capable ! " form? Is it his head, his The argument arises to its hands, or his feet? No surely, highest pitch of evidence, when : The features of his mind, the we consider that this glorious ) qualities of his heart, his integ- and exalted Being .condescends. rity, benevolence, tenderness and to invite this tender tribute, and, generosity_these are the objects to assure us that he accepts it. which attract and rivet our affecmi He calls us to give him our hearts.. tion. The man whom we know He permits us not only to severto possess these and similar attri-i ence him as a Father, but to love! butes, in an eminent degree, we: him as a Friend. He indulges, can strongly love, though we have nay more, he commands us, to never seen. We can love him trust in him at all times, to pour when absent ; and we can love out our very souls before him, him when dead. Thousands who to cast our burdens on his arm, never saw a WASHINGTON, have and to seek a refuge, amid the cherished him in their hearts, as storms of life, in his compassion the father of his country, and the and love. Those who thus afglory of mankind. Thousands fectionately confide in him, the who saw and loved him when honours with appellations of living, think of him with event the tenderest.endearment. He an increased tenderness and sen- styles thema 'his friends, his child eration, now he is no more. dren, his jewels, his treasure his

The objects then, which lay portion. Are they oppressed? hold op some of our strongest He is their patron and avenger. affections, are imperceptible toDo they complain? He has an sense. The purity and rectitude ear for their criesuna bottle for of a fellow-creature command their tears. 1 Nor is there a-saino our veneration. His benignity on this earth so poor and despis. and condescension conciliate our ed, but the HIGH AND LOFTX love..

' And has not He who is at One who inhabits eternity,comes once the source, the sum and down to dwell in his heart, and the perfection of every thing cheer him with the consolationis venerable and lovely, the highest of his love. possible claims upon us ? True, Such are the astonishing forms we have neither heard his voice in which the divine condescennot seen his shape. But of his sion and goodness exhibit themexistence, we are as certain as of selves to man. What returns our own. His beauty over, they demand, what emotions they spreads creation. His glory should excite, what animation shines conspicuous in every ob- and tenderness they should im ject our eyes behold. Nor is part to all the exercises and dur there a day, or moment of life, ties of religion, let our minds, if in which his bounty does not they are not overwhelmed with meet us in ten thousand various the contemplation, conceive; but forms. By what potent and surely, no language, of man or numberless considerations are angel, can adequately express,

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It is equally surprising and of fact, and of experiment. Is it affecting, to observe that those rational then to brand every who would banish 'sensibility thing in religion, of the experie from religion, are not unfre, mental kind, as fanciful and en: quently those who would be thusiastic ? Are not its teachers thought to possess the greatest called upon to describe and dise exquisiteness of feeling on every tinguish its peculiar features and other subject. The neglect or exercises with the greatest pose unkindness of a friend, though in sible accuracy? And in a case of a "solitary instance, they can such universal and everlasting scarce either support or forgive: moment, should not all be solicia while years of recollected sin, in tous to try their characters and which they have lived, against feelings by the standard of the God of heaven, excite little truth? compunction. They can melt Doubtless, the cause of experi: over a tale of fictitious wo; mental religion has suffered while their hearts are cold and much through the medium of its callous to the real and unpar professed friends. Many who. alleled sufferings of the Saviour. have been its loud advocates in They can overwhelm an acquain- words, have by their conduct, tance with congratulations on given it a deep wound. Many some trivial escape ; they can who have confidently boasted of even.

their inward feelings and frames,

have yet exhibited too convincing Boast quick rapture trembling in ovidence that their hearts were I from the Spider's snare they save a

false and hollow. These de: Fly:

plorable instances prove nothing

against the reality of vital reli yet if a tender Christian speak gion ; but the reverse. The with some emotion of his hope world is full of impositions which of heaven, and of redemption are practised under the mask of from endless ruin, they pity, and honesty and patriotism. perhaps ridicule him as a weak, does not imply that there is no enthusiastic being

honesty or patriotism in exist In no age has the philosophy ence, but rather that there is, of the human mind received and that the most depraved and greater improvements, than in vile are sensible of it. For who the present.

Volumes have ever thought of counterfeiting a been written for the purpose of nonentity ? Let us then beware illustrating the nature and ori. of enthusiasm, and of hypocrisy. gin of qur ideas and emotions, and But let us likewise beware, lest, of tracing our various pleasures by an undistinguishing clamour and pains to their distinct sources. against these abuses of religion, In this department of philosoe we be imperceptibly led to give phy, as well as the other, much up its characteristic features, its has been gained by endeayouring foundation, and its very essence to reduce every thing to the test


their eye,

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