Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors]

They have a tendency that regards demon. It is important and valuyour whole character and your able, but the importance of it confuture life. They will fall short sists in its furnishing us with greater of their end, if they have not some means and powers of usefulness. efficacy in producing an excellent "It is the use we make of it, or character; comprehending under the superstructure we raise upon that term, piety to the Divine it, that must render it an advan Being and religious regard to the tage and a blessing. It will renauthor of Christianity. Should der us more honourable or more the foregoing hints carry weight to deformed, just as we apply it: your mind, should they meet your and the lowest degree of it, when approbation, should they be re- attended with suitable practice, garded as maxims, to which you will turn to infinitely more acwill seriously and strictly adhere, count than the highest degree of they cannot fail to make you a it, without suitable practice. It better, as well as a wiser man. It is better, unspeakably, to be even is a fact, that not only the happi- the silliest creature upon earth, ness, but the character in every and at the same time virtuously successive period of human life, disposed, than to be the finest wit depends in a great measure on our or first scholar in the world, and conduct in the preceding periods. at the same time proud, ill-natured or envious.

"Those who are above vulgar errors and prejudices ought also to be above vulgar passions and vices; and if they are not, they are more contemptible than the most ignorant mechanics or beggars.

Your bosom glows with a laud. able ambition to leave the seminary, into which you have entered, with a more improved understand. ing, with a more cultivated mind than you possessed at your admittance into it. It is to be earnestly wished that you would carry your views still further; the want of reason is much better namely, to come from it with a than reason abused: and that to stronger sense of virtue, with live and die the poorest ideot, is more solid habits of goodness. Be more desirable than to possess this object continually kept in knowledge, without applying it view. to the practice of righteousness.

"Every man will soon find, that

One good disposition in the soul is infinitely preferable to the finest parts, or the most brilliant wit. One virtue in the life is more valuable than a million of truths floating in the head, or any arts and sciences, with which the understanding can be stocked.

"The practice of righteousness is the first businness of life. It was for this we were stationed in the present world, and not so much for any of the purposes of specu lation and literary improvement. The only science worth pursuing with anxiety, is that which leads to the amendment of the heart, and helps us to establish our souls

"There is, indeed, an excellence in knowledge; but it is founded, principally, on its connection in purity and tranquillity." with practice. There is a great. ness in it; but, when separated from a virtuous character, it is nothing but the greatness of a

Price's Sermon, on the "Vanity,

Infamy and Misery of Knowledge, without suitable Practice." 1770, p. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24.

A life regulated by piety and even here, caution and self-denial virtue, united to an understanding should be recommended. For improved by science; superior attendance on them, regarded in talents of judgment and learning, this light merely, will divert the directed by candour, benevolence mind from a more essential object, and goodness; these include all your religious edification, and that is noble and respectable in a will lead you to seek, too intensely, character. the gratification of curiosity and a mental taste; and to give a disproportioned attention to the study of elocution. It will be an exercise of religious prudence to confine yourself as a hearer to one or two ministers only, and to at. tend their preaching with regulari. ty; as one who seeks not to be amused, but to be edified; not to hear the orator, but to worship his Maker; not to be instructed in the art of speaking, but to be built up in righteousness of lite.

These reflections resemble ma. thematical axioms; they carry their own evidence with them; and with the conviction they convey to the mind, they address it with the most serious force. Im. portant as are the objects of atten. tion exhibited in the preceding letters, here is still a more impor. tant and valuable object of regard; separated from which all the rest must lose their value and glory. Whatever else, then, you neglect, attend to your moral improvement: let the right and pious culture of your heart be the leading and daily aim of your thoughts and pursuits as the first thing in excellence, most extensive in its influence, and of the highest mo. ment, in the final results of all acquisitions and of life itself.

A diligent and frequent reading of sermons recommends itself to you as an useful practice, not only to direct and form your taste with respect to such compositions, but as a means of moral and pious improvement. This, we are informed, was a course of reading to which an eminent physician of modern times. paid great attention.

To enter into a full detail of the means, by which this culture "Independently of their theologi. of the heart may be advanced, cal menit, which should have great would be foreign from the nature weight with you, in explaining and design of this address. It the doctrines of natural and rewill be very obvious that devoti. vealed religion and throwing light onal exercises are in this view of on passages of scripture, we shall main service; and ought to be scarcely any where meet with a attended to with regularity, con- richer treasure of practical obser stancy and fervour. vations, and with reflections on life and manners, that are better calculated to improve the understanding, mend the heart and regulate the conduct."

It will be highly beneficial, as it is indeed, the genuine and proper employment of the Lord's Day, to give it to your religious and

as on some accounts it may be, to avail yourself of the opportunity, it may afford, to hear the most celebrated preachers and eminent models of pulpit oratory; yet,

moral improvement. Desirable, The great and amiable Dr. Doddridge is said, when an aca demical student, to have laid it down as an inviolable rule, (and

Dr. Kippis's "Life of Sir John Pringle," p. 75, 76, prefixed to his “ Six


herein, says his biographer, he you must consider yourself placed was an excellent model for stu- in a select society, where there is dents) to read some practical more virtuous restraint felt, and divinity every day. If you pay a more purity of manners preserved, constant regard to the culture and than you will find in any circle improvement of your mural and of the same number, taken indisreligious character, you will find criminately from the world at nothing more serviceable, in this large. It may be added, that respect, than the chapter on "The the authority under which you Rule of Life," in Dr. Hartley's are placed, is an authority, the Theory of the Mind. It abounds exertions of which are particuwith philosophical observations larly directed to favour virtue and and deep reflections, which can- religion; and it acts with a more not fail strongly to affect the powerful and engaging force, beenlightened reader, and with im- cause it is exercised by those who portant directions, that will great. would not have been called to the ly assist virtuous attainments. posts they fill, had not their own moral character stood fair, and even high, in the estimation of the public.

Be it, indeed, your chief study to seek virtue; to follow after righteousness; you will not be at a loss for means to gain the end. The great point to be carried, is to engage you to make this your principal object, and to leave on the mind a deep impression of the importance of attending to it amid-t the fascinauons of youth. In that period of life the heart is very susceptible of impressions, either good or bad: the character begins then to form and settle for life and no future stage of your existence, probably, will be more favourable, or so favourable, to the acquisition of good dispositions as is your present. The discipline of the seminary, where you are, secludes you from many snares and temptations; the studies, in which you are engaged are all mental and innocent; and most of them have a good moral tendency: you Oh! it is important to humanity are led, in the course of them, to that the persecutor be exposed, converse with moral writers, to however sanctimonious may be contemplate the best characters, the mask wherewith his Gehennic and to study the great command- visage is concealed. My soul ing principles of natural religion sickens in reflecting on the case of and revelation. After every al. Servetus; and, scarcely less so, lowance for the difference in cha- in remembering How the fond racters amongst those around you, hopes of the excellent Boerhaave

Quaker Ministers. London Institution, 16, ix. 1812. There are not many, if any, pe riodical publications, on our table, which it gives me greater pleasure, from time to time, to peruse, than thy Monthly Collection.

So propitious is your situation to virtue, should a youth educated in it, though not destined for the ministry, turn out, not to say a vicious character, but merely indifferent to piety, and not a proficient in virtue, every one will say, that he shews himself very unworthy of the advantages and culture which he has enjoyed. But this, my Eugenius, will not be your dishonour and shame.

[ocr errors]

were, bigotedly, blighted; though ters,' (p. 511, 1. 23, a fundo;)
the world became so eminently for, I suspect that thereto hangs
benefited, by his disappointment; a tale, which he may be able to
while the erebic councils of Cal. reveal. What does he mean by
vin gave an apotheosis to the im- approved? Who are the ap
molated Spaniard, obtained him provers? Are Quaker speakers,
a celebrity in the world, greater after all we have heard of the
than the discovery of the circula- necessity of their being inspired,
tion of the blood, towards which only like the preachers in other
he was thought to be verging, has sects and hierarchies? Are they
since yielded to our Harvey. subjected to consecrations and
I believe, though, that Amicus, ordinations [the approvals] of
in his unity of sentiment with men? If so, then, are not
George Harrison, (in the last their [approved] ministers, boná
number, pp. 511, 12, 13.) on fide, what they have always so
the subject of the Friends com- strongly declaimed against, viz.
ing forward, as advocates for tol- men-made ministers?
eration, religious liberty, &c. is With a feeling of respect to-
away from pure Quakerism; wards the well-meaning Amicus.
though he be, pretty evidently, a and to his eulogised friend, con-
professor, under that name. When clude
the mistaken Lord Sidmouth



made the attempt to unchristian. Dr. Aikin, on his Biographical
ise our laws, on religious meet-
ings, by forbidding, virtually, the
twos and threes from gathering
together, many worthy characters
wondered that the Quakers did
not petition like the other sects,
against that outrageous measure
of inexpressible insolence. If the
Quakers had petitioned any au-
thority upon earth, on such a
subject, they would, ostensibly,
have abandoned that devotion
which characterises them; which,
in fact, distinguishes them from

Stoke Newington,
SIR, Oct. 17, 1812.
Observing in the last number
of the Repository a letter respect.
ing the suspension of the biogra
phical work in which I have been
long engaged, I request your in-
sertion of a brief reply. Were it
necessary, I could easily state the
causes of the long delay in the
completion of this work, from
which it would clearly appear
that the fault has not lain with
every other sect. If they were, the writers, who have always
been ready to deliver copy before
it was demanded. It is more sa-
tisfactory, that I am able now to
inform the public, that the Eighth
Volume will immediately go to
press, and that there is every rea
son to expect that no further delay
will occur in the publication of
the remainder..

now, to unite in support of Chris-
topher Wyvill and other enlight
ened legislators, I think it would
be a similar departure from their
pure principle, of resting only on
Divine support. If I am mistaken
in this opinion, I hope Amicus,
in a future number, may be able
to set me right.

But the burden of the present
address is, to call on him, to ex.
plain his term 'approved minis-

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,


"Still pleased to praise, yet not afraid to blame."


ART. I. History of Dissenters, that account, the motives of an opponent, to depreciate his services and attainments, and to inflame the passions of mankind against his name and character.

from the Revolution in 1688, to the year 1808. In four volumes. By David Bogue and James Bennett. Vol. IV. London. Williams, &c. &c. pp. 512. 1812. In conducting our Review de. partment, we trust that we have not been unmindful of its motto: our praises, we believe, have been cheerful; our censures, fearless, For the most though reluctant. From p. 1-106, a sketch is part, indeed, the works submitted to our attention, have merited given of the lives of eminent and received our general, if not Christians, of the state of religion our'unqualified, approbation. The in England, of eminent men in most signal exception has been Scotland, of religion in Ireland furnished by the present publica. and of religion in America, durtion. This History (so it is called) ing the second period of the histruth and duty have constrained tory*. The remainder of the us to brand with the strongest re- volume, treats of the third period, probation. Mean, vulgar and de. from the accession of George the fective in the composition, intem. Third, to the year 1808. In the first chapter we have perate and bitter, beyond most contemporary writings, in its an account of new sects which spirit, it carries with it its own have arisen during the present antidote, as to every intelligent reign. These, according to our and discerning reader, and can authors, are only the Sandema mislead only those unreflecting nians and the Swedenborgians. It and illiterate partizans who con- is fashionable with a certain class sider the self-assuming orthodoxy of persons to mourn over the re of the day as a compensation for cent increase of sects and sectathe want of knowledge and talent, ries. The evil, however, does of fidelity and candour. It is not not appear to be quite so extensive because the creed of Mr. Bogue as is apprehended: and the fact and Mr. Bennett differs from ours "affords some consolation" to that we make these animadversions Messrs. Bogue and Bennett, who on them, in their capacity of his observe with pain "the diversities torians of the Dissenters: for al- of human opinion" perpetually though we, too, have our senti. adding to the number of divisions ments, our partialities and, it may

be, our prejudices, we have never * From the death of Queen Anne to judged it necessary to arraign, on the accession of his present Majesty.

We understand and hope that the volume before us, is the completion of the labours of these adventurous gentlemen in a field which they ought never to have entered: the arrangement is that of the preceding volumes.

« AnteriorContinua »