« AnteriorContinua »
past. The scriptures are not in- In later times the defences of tended to furnish us with materi- Christianity yield up by far too als for the construction of fanci- much, and from this charge even ful systems; they are the grand the valuable works of Paley can. instrument employed by God in not be exempted. Writers of fitting men for heaven. He the Socinian cast exclude from forms them for himself, by deliv. Christianity, that which constiering them into the mould of the tutes it the religion of a sinner. doctrine of Christ.
Should we by external evidence When once we ascertain the be convinced of the truth of reve. species of improvement of which lation, if we embrace their sentireligion admits, it will not be dif- ments, there is little in it to inficult to perceive, whether we terest the heart. To these may still continue to make progress, 'be added, a disposition which has or have long since begun to de- appeared of late, to account for cline.
the infidelity of some eminent 1. The number of those by characters, without imputing to whom revelation is rejected, is them any moral blame. Besides far greater at present, than it other circumstances, the terms was at the Reformation, and for and style of theologians are suffisome succeeding ages. This cient to disgust every scholar, will not be denied ; and it will and are held up as onė great also be admitted, that the increase cause of the rejection of their of unbelievers is a convincing doctrines. Mr. Foster, in his veo proof that religion amongst us ry valuable essays, appears on is on the decline. This increase this topic to have gone too far ; is the more surprising, as at no it is not by the wisdom of words, period have the evidences of rev. but by the foolishness of preachelation been more clearly and ing, that God is pleased to save ably stated ; nor the cavils of its them that believe. opponents more fully refuted. 2. Many who still profess to Still infidelity makes rapid pro- believe the scriptures, have not gress. Whence is this? With- that respect for them, nor that ont entering far on the subject, value for their doctrines, which it appears to me, that a consid- was common among Protestants erable share of blame rests with at, and for some time subsequent the defenders of revelation. In to the Reformation. Men who the early part of the last century, would be offended with the name several divines, to counteract the of infidel, have impeached the effects of infidelity, published sys- credit of some of the sacred writems of natural religion, which, ters, rejected from others passaby the unacknowledged aid of ges which did not accord with their scripture, they rendered tolerably peculiar system ; and degraded complete. In this way they ex- all of them from that high station, pected to win over their oppo- to which, in the opinion of our nents ; a plan just as likely to forefathers, they were so justly succeed, as it would be, to hope entitled. When we are told of the to prevail on a sick man to call a difficulties to be encountered bephysician, by telling him that he fore we can ascertain their meanwould recover without his aid. ing, we might judge them obscure as the responses of the might be adduced, to prove that Delphic oracle; and, if for safety if the preacher believed the docwe put ourselves under the guid- trines of the gospel to be true, he ance of one of these sage inter- did not at least think them of sufpreters, however substantial, or ficient importance to be introducimportant the passage at our out- ed into his compositions. He set might have appeared, when must have been a very careless stript of eastern hyperbole, and observer, who has not often reJewish phraseology, it is nought marked that in conversation, the but a shadow. The irreverence truths of scripture are often conwith which the German divines tradicted by those, who seem to treat the sacred writers, has long entertain no doubt of their own been known; perhaps similar in- Christianity. If then it is a fair stances of disresp. might be criterion, to judge of the profound among ourselves, at least gress of religion by the respect in our periodical publications, paid to the sacred scriptures, and some of which appear to have if the representation here given been very successful instruments be just, no doubt can remain but in freeing the public inind from that among us, religion hias been, the shackles of religion. “ Nor and still is, on the decline. is it to be forgotten,” says a late 3. But though we may have writer in the Monthly Review, dropt somewhat of the theory, it " that Paul was tinctured with may be alleged, that we have the theology of the school of Ga- made great progress in the pracmaliel, and his epistles ought to tice of religion. Persecution, be perused under this recollec- the stain of humanity, and the tion.” As the apostle mentions disgrace of our Reformers, is another instructer whom he had now abolished.
The investigain theology, (Gal. i. 11, 12) and tors of truth are marked by a seems to lay considerable stress liberality of mind, and freedom on this, that he received not his of inquiry, in their own speculagospel from man ; it would have tions ; and by a candour and been but decent in the Reviewer, charity to those, who differ from before contradicting him, to have them, unknown till the present told us whence his information enlightened age.
6 Let another was derived. Besides, there are man praise thee,” said Solomon, many by whom the doctrines of " and not thine own mouth." the gospel are admitted as true, What is proper for an individual, but at the same time treated as might not be unsuitable to a naa unimportant. This appears of- tion; and were the age modest, ten in biographical sketches, in as well as enlightened, posterity which persons are exhibited, as might be trusted with the celedistinguished for all that is great bration of our praise. It is readand good, without the least hint ily admitted, that the first reformthat they were actuated by Chris- ers did not entirely lay aside the tian principles; and at last safely spirit of persecution ; yet in this placed in the mansions of bliss, they acted on principle, though a without the smallest allusion to mistaken one, that they, who beJesus, the only way of access to lieved not the truth of God, por the Father. Many a sermon worshipped him in the way of Vol. III, No. 4.
his appointment, ought to be truth is useless. Yet this is the punished by men. Episcopalians extreme into which some have were frequently guilty of perse- gone, whilst others of the same cution ; and Presbyterians 100, school, who appear to be in earnlai
am sorry to say, clisplayed much est in what they assert, can hardof the same spirit. But there ly be said to possess all the can
this difference between dour of which the age boasts. them : Episcopalians persecuted Dr. Priestly was accounted the for noncompliance, with what most candid man of his party ; they themselves acknowledged and now that he is gone, the palm to be indifferent: Presbyterians of candour may perhaps be transwere unwilling to tolerate those ferred to Mr. Belsham. In a rewho did not adopt a form of gove cent publication, speaking of Calernment, which they deemed vinism, he describes it as “ a rigessential to the well being of a orous, a gloomy, and a pernicious Christian church. But is it cer- system; as full of horror; as the tain, that no latent spark of this very extravagance of errors; and spirit still remains, ready to burst as a mischievous compound of forth on proper occasions ? A impiety and idolatry.”
« The disposition to bear down their op- God of Calvinism,” says he,"is ponents, by other weapons ihan a gloomy, arbitrary tyrant; a those, which the apostles used, malignant, omnipotent demon." is alleged to have appeared of. Though the object of censure is tener than once among their suc- different, Mr. Belsham is as keen, cessors in the southern part of the and, if we durst say it, almost as island ; and in Hill's View of illiberal as an old Puritan. But the Church of Scotland, there are Calvinists, I suspect, are not com
I some sentiments which would by prehended in the bill of charity ; no means disgrace the lips of a and from Mr. Bi's account of Spanish inquisitor. With grati- them, it must be acknowledged, tude let us bless God for the free- they hardly deserve such a fadom from persecution, which we
With them the ordinary have so long enjoyed; nor let rules of warfare may be set aside; us forget, that to our civil, inore and this pestilent sect, hunted to than to our religious rulers, we destruction by every possible are indebted for this blessing. ineans. The above quotation will
But it is supposed, that in lib- shew, that candour and liberality erality, candour, and charity, we are not yet universally prevalent; as far excel the Reformers, as and that Calvinists are no longer they surpassed us in zeal. In entitled to the exclusive privilege your valuable publication, that of abusing their opponents. indifference to religious truth, Much light might be thrown which is so often veiled under on this subject, by comparing the the name of charity, has been al- moral systems of the present ready well described ; and I have day with the morality of scripno'wish to resume the subject. lure, which was that adopted by To steer clear of persecution and our first reformers. Our nationilliberalily, it is surely not neces- al character ought also to be comsary to maintain the innocence of pared with that of our fathers at the crror; for if error is innocent, ': close of the 16th, and during the
greatest part of the 17th century. 6. That I suffer not myself to But as I have already trespassed be prepossessed with any judgtoo far, I shall conclude with ou- ment at all, till the whole busiserving, that king James would ness and both parties be lieard. no longer find it necessary to
7. That I never engage my. publish a book of sports, to pre- self in the beginning of any vent the too strict observance of cause, but reserve myself unthe Sabbath; and that, if our Con- prejudiced till the whole be session of Faith and Catechisms heard. were again submitted to the con- 8. That in business capital, sideration of Parliament, instead though my nature prompt me to of grave discussion, they would pity ; yet to consider, that there provoke to ridicule, or excite dis- is also a pity due to the coungust.
Αγνωστος. try. [Rel. Mon. 9. That I be not too rigid in
matters purely conscientious,
where all the harm is diversity The following are the Rules, which of judgment. the celebrated Lord Chief Jus
10. That I be not biassell with tice Hale prescribed for him
compassion to the poor, or faself, at his entrance into office, vour to the rich, in point of juscopied from the original, under
tice. his own hand.
11. That the popular, or court applause, or distaste, have no in-' fluence in any thing I do in point of distribution of justice.
12. Not to be solicitous what
men will say or think, so long 1. That in the administration as I keep myself exactly accordof justice I am entrusted for ing 10 the rules of justice. God, the king and country; and
13. If in criminals it be a therefore,
measuring cast, to incline to mer2. That it be done, 1. Cp- cy and acquittal. rightly. 2. Deliberately. 3. Res. 14. The criminals that consist olutely.
merely in words, when no more 3. That I rest not upon my
harın ensues, moderation is no owo understanding or strength, injustice. but implore and rest upon the
15. In criminals of blood, if direction and strength of God. the fact be evident, severity is
4. That in the execution of justice. justice, I carefully lay aside my 16. To abhor all private soli-' own passions, and not give way citations, of what kind soever, to them, however provoked. and by whomsoever, in matters
5. That I be wholly intent up- depending: on the business I am about, re- 17. To charge my servants, mitting all other cares and 1. Not to interpose in any busithoughts, as unseasonable, and ness whatsoever. 2. Not to take interruptions.
than their known fees. 3. Not to give any undue prece
THINGS NECESSARY TO BE CON
dence to causes.
4. Not to rec
“I would not enter on my list of
friends oinmend council. 18. To be short and sparing (Though grac'd with polish'd manners
and fine sense, at meals, that I may be the fitter
Yet wanting sensibility,) the man for business.
Who needlessly sets foot upon a
ON KILLING GAME.
" The sum is this. If man's conveni.
Else they are all the meanest things MR. GILPIN, in his remarks
that are on the scenery of the Isle of As free to live, and to enjoy that life, Wight, (See Observations on the As God was free to form them at the Western Parts of England, &c.
first, London, 1798, p. 339) having
Who in his sovereign wisdom made
them all." noticed the immense swarms of
Cowper's Task. sea fowl, which at certain seasons hang on the beetling precipices That bares, and partridges and near the Needles, proceeds, as woodcocks, and all other animals follows :
fit for food, may be deprived of “ That man has a right to de- life for the purpose of being used stroy such animals as are noxious for food, is unquestionable. The to him is undoubted. That he profession, therefore, of a gamehas a right also over the lives of keeper or a warrener is equally such animals as are useful to him innocent with that of a butcher. for food and other necessaries, But the sportsman will do well to is equally unquestioned. But ask himself, Whether, though whether he has a right to destroy the animals which he kills are fit life for his amusement, is another for food, amusement is not, as bis question. If he is determined to appellation indicates, his main act the tyrant (that is, to consider object in destroying them; and power as conferring right,) the whether, to use Mr. Gilpin's lanpoint is decided.
Power he cer
guage, a clause authorizing their tainly has. But if he wish to act destruction for that object is 10 on authorized and equitable prin- be found in his charter of rights ciples, let him just point out the over the brute creation ? X. Y. passage in his charter of rights over the brute creation, which gives him the liberty of destroying life for his amusement.
A HERMIT'S MEDITATION. “On Noah, and in him on all mankind,
The author unknown. The charter was conferr'd, by which
Ix lonesome cave, The flesh of animals in fee ; and claim
Of noise and interruption void, O’er all we feed on, power of life and
His thoughtful solitude
A Hermit thus enjoy'd : death. But read the instrument, and mark it His choicest book well.
The remnant of a human head The oppression of a tyrannous control The volume was-whence ho Can find no warrant there.”
This solemn lecture read.