RELIGIOUS and CONTROVERSIAL. Art. 52. Letters to a Lady inclined to enter into the Communion of

the Church of Rome. By William Law, M. A*. Now first printed. 8vo.

I S. 6 d. Phillips, &c. 1779. Although the author of this pamphles has been dead many years, he is still remembered with honour. The excellent spiric discovered in his conduct and his writings, though some things in the lacter are very objectionable, must be always esteemed. He was a Non-juror; and a myftic, and an avowed enemy of that Devil, Human Reafon 5. His opinion seems to have been, that no Chritian Church was entirely free from an Autichriftian spirit;, and on this con. fideration, chiefly, he seems to reft his argument in advising the lady with whom he corresponds, to continue in the communion of che Church of England. Protestants will be surprised) and jultly fo, when he expresses a doubt, whether' the Church of Rome, or England, has the most helps to a solid and fubftantial piety.'. However, on the particular point of leaving the latter for the former, he speaks in these terms: • I stay in the church of Eng. land, because providence has placed me in ios communion, and be caufe it has the terms of salvation; I wish every thing that is schis. matical in it was removed, by those who have a power of removing it; I do not go over to the Church of Rome, because that would be fhewing my approbation of thofe reasons on which the governors of that church proceed in their divifion from others, and would make me guilty of all the wrong fteps they have taken. This is nor the case of those who are educated in that Church ; they may be free from all the fchifmatical or unjust proceedings of their governors; as dhe private members of any other church may ; but it seems to be the cafe of those that renounce the Church of England for that of Rome: fach an act, I think, must make them a party to all that the Church of Rome has done in relation: to the schism. These feem to be the only principles of piety and religion, for ferious Chrifians to found their peace on, in this divided itate of the Church, where the divifion is wholly owing to the unreafonable claims and uncharitable proceedings of the governors on both sides, and whese both retain all that is of the effence of religion. We can neither ftay in one communion, nor go into another, but we are in the fame fate, as to che unity of the church ; every part is in a state of divifion, and chargeable with contributing to the cause of it. The ching that we are to look for, therefore, is not to be out of a divided part of the church, which is impoflible, till it pleafes God to alter the ttate of Christendom, buo that wei may live free from schismatical principles and passions, and wholly atrentive to every thing that the most ardent love of God, the most perfect love of our neighbour, and the highet imitation of the spirits. life, and sufferings of our blefled Saviour require of us.

Without taking farther notice of what is said relative to the pas ricular fubje& mentioned in the title, we shall only add a fhort ex

* Author of A serious Call to a devout and holy Life, a number of Controversial Tracts, and an edition of the works of Jacob Behmen; for which see Review Vol. xxxi. p. 442.

# We think we remember fuck an expreflion in some of honeft William's zealous writings:


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to me.

tract or two from what this writer adds on the subject of enquiry and fpeculation ; If we look into history (he says) we can hardly find any churchman remarkable for an uncommon extent of learning, without having troubled the world with some inventions of his own, some fancied improvements on the common christianity. The great Origen was one of the first instances of this kind ; the was celebrated as the oracle of learning, as a poffeffor of all the sciences; along with this, he was of a very pious and mortified life, and full of contempt of the world: but, for my own part, I should have left his conversation, his deep discoveries, and allegorical explanations of Scripture, to have spent my time and learned religion with a poor mechanic that I have somewhere read of, whose heart and life was governed by this spirit;_" I defire nothing but to love, adore, praise and obey God, in every thing, and for every thing." Was the world to see this remark on learning, they would in all probability impute it to my want of learning; and though they would be very right in judging my pretenfions to learning not to be great, yet it would be unjuit to think me an entire franger to the nature of it.. But I profess to you, that whatever parts or learning I am possessed of, I think it as necessary to live under a continual apprehension of their being a snare and temptation to me, as of any worldly distinctions, whether of riches or dignity, I should be poffeffed of: and I defire no other ime provement of science or knowledge, nor to see into any depths, but such as penitence, humility, faith, hope, charity, the pure love of God, and an absolute resignation to his providence, thall discover

! I am not against our using all the arguments that reason and learning can furnish us with, in defence of religion; but I think we are much mistaken, when we place our chief. trength there, and conclude that christianity must prosper, or infidelity decline, according as all objections and difficulties are more or less cleared up

and folved. For as religion never entered into the fallen world that way, by condescending to explain all the difficulties, or answer the objections that ignorance, malice, felf-love, pride, curiofity, wit, or worldly learning, could bring against it; as no revelation from God ever dealt in this manner, with this kind of adversaries, fo it is againg reason to think, that it must now, or at any other time, be supported in that manner. For these tempers have no right or claim to be answered or satisfied in their own way; as they are only so many disorders or corruptions of the soul, so they are to have no relief from religion, but that of dying before it.

• As to the relief which is fought for in such discoveries, humility, faith, and refignation make it needless, and give the mind a comfort and rest in God, which cannot be equalled by any such speculative light: for my own part, this one saying, “Shall not the judge of all the world do right?" is more to me, is a stronger support to my mind, and a better guard against all anxiety, than the deepest discoveries that the most speculative inquisitive minds could help me to.'

These passages we leave to the consideration of our Readers.-The last of these letters is dated May 29, 1732. Though they treat on the circumstance of entering into the communion of the Church of Rome, they have respect to che particular fituation of the lady and 1:13


her family on other accounts.' In some parts they bear strong marks of Ms. Law's peculiar and striking manner, and give intimations of his myftical turn in other respects, but not like what is to be found in the rest of his writings... One principle, though not expressly declared, seems implied, and runs through this tract, viz. a suppofition of some inherent sanctity attending the office of what he would call the christian priesthood, which direally leads us towards the Church of Rome. It is to be presumed there are few, if any protestant readers who will not think that there are many reasons for avoiding the Roman commụnion more weighty than any that is here: fuga gested... Art. 53. Advice to Youth; or, the Advantages of early Piety.

Designed for the Use of Schools, as well as young Apprentices - and Servants ; to promote the Art of reading English, and draw

the Attention to Matters of the greatest Importance in early Life. By John Fawcett, Master of a Boarding-school at Brearley-Hall, near Halifax.' 2mo. I s. 6 d. ' Leeds, printed; London, fold by Johnson, &c. 1778.

This Author appears earnestly to desire the comfort and happiness of those for whom he writes. His address is fervent and affectionate, and many proper and useful exhortations are delivered. - His Calvinistical, and he seems rather perplexed : with the question, " Why should we call men to know, love, and fear God, when they have no power for it?' But why should such a question be introduced ar all, especially in an Address to Youth. Let it rather be left cô metaphyficians and polemical theorists! We are, however, unwilling to censure a work so well intended. While so many writings appear, as Mr. Fawcett observes, which tend to loosen, if not wholly to destroy all regard to truth and virtue in youthful minds, we are glad to see publications, on every plan, which are calculated to affift and strengthen such momentous principles. This valuable end may be answered, if youth will attend, by this performance, as well as by others, of fuperior or of inferior merit, among the variety of books of this kind, which are extant in the English language. Art. 54.. An Esay on the Toleration of Papists. 8vo. IS. Dod.

fley. 1779 The design of this essay is to thew that, while liberty remains a public blessing, religious roleration must be considered as a measure highly conducive to the general interest, and that religious and civil freedom have nothing to fear from the indulgence which the government has lately shewn its Roman Catholic subjects.

The Author fays, that he never wishes to see a repetition of the flavish fuperftitions and encroachments of Rome; but the situation of the world, he thinks, is not at present exposed to them. The prefent face of Europe, we are told, is different from that barbarous and gloomy region, where those deep foundations were laid for fuperftition and priettcraft. Commerce, refinement and philosophy, have dispelled that general darkness which concealed their hatefal designs ; and the stupendous edifice is crumbling faft away, and totters on the brink of destruction.

The Author contents himself with a few general reflections; but this effay is written with elegance, and shews an enlarged, liberal, and manly turn of thought.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

S E RM ON S. 1. The Neceflity and Advantage of religious Principles in the Soldiery

Preached before Sir George Savile's Regiment of Yorkshire Militia, and a Company of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, in Camp, Aug. 2,1778. By Thomas Bateman, A. M. Chaplain to the Duke of Gordon, Vicar of Whaplode, Lincolnshire, &c. 460.

Richardson and Urquhart. We meet with nothing in this discourfe to entitle it to particular notice, except the Author's zeal against enthufiaits and fanatics, with whom he thus humour ously disclaims all alliance: " Let nor this be understood as if spoken in behalf of the olentatious ravings of many modern enthufraits on the one hand, or of as many moping and melancholy fanatics, --- which fome fools, but more knaves, have of. ten assumed for private and pecuniary, bac ofreaer for worfe pure poses.Beshrew the preacher, who would recommend the least tinc. ture of either as requifite in the military character-who would send the whole foldiery together upon á religious knight-errantry-and prescribe to the superior officers to become knights of the woeful igure--to the inferior, according to their respective ranks, to become proportionably more dismal.” II. At the Cathedral Church of Hereford, before the venerable the

Deap,, &c. Aug. 19, 1778; being the Day on which he held his Visitation. By the Rev. Thomas Hortes 4to. 6 d. Baldwiu. '

Inftru&tion for the instructors. III. Christianity an easy and liberal Syftem ; that of Popery, abfurd and

burdensome Preached at Salters Hall, Nov., 1778.: By Hugh Worthington, jun. 8vo. 6d. Buckland, &c. ,* A seasonable and sensible discourse, in which the errors of Popery are properly represented. It seems that the present times render it highly expedient to guard people, frequently and feriously, againit the delusions of the Church of Rome, while we maintain a charitable and Christian spirit towards its particular members. IV. The Death of Samuel, and the Lamentation made for him, confi

dered and improved - Occasioned by the Death of Mr. Samuel Wilton, who departed this Life, Jan. 21, 1779, aged 68. By N. Hill. Publilhed at Request. 8vo, 6 d. Buckland,

A pious lamentation and improvemend of the death of a good man, who had been, as the Preacher expresses it,“ at once an ornament and pillar” of the church of which he was a member. V. At the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, on Ath-Wednesday,

1779. By Robert Lord Bishop of London, Dean of his Majesty's • Chapels. ato. Cadell and Dodfley.,

A fenfible discourse from Luke xiii. 1, 2, 3.–His Lord'hip com foders fome of the seafons, upon wbich we may presume our blessed Saviour's determination to be founded; vix that we are not warTanted to infer from great and signal calamities any great and uncommon wickedness in the fufferers.-On the grounds of reason and experience, however, and from our notions of the wisdom and justice of God, we may be allowed, his Lordihip says, to observe a more equal providence dispensed in the fates of kingdoms, than in the affairs of individuals. The cases are widely different; and the same reafons, motives, and ends, do not hold in both. Kingdoms and nations, as such, are beings of the present world, and they are ob


I s.

noxious to the judgments of God in this life only; therefore the counsels of God with regard to them may be governed by other rules : and we are warranted to estimate their prosperity and adverfity by measures different from thofe by which we ought to judge of the merits and demerits of private persons. The language of scripture is in this respect agreeable to the universal testimony of history; that righteoufness exalteth a nation, but wickedness is not only a reproach, but in the end jure deftruition to any people. It hath pleased God so to conftitute the nature and order of things, that the one follows the other by certain consequence; and sometimes 100 by his peculiar decree. - The Bishop concludes his discourse with some very serious obfervations on the moral and religious state of this nation: VI. A Discourse PREVIOUS to a Day of general Humiliation, appointed

to be observed by public Authority, Feb. 10, 1779. 46o. Canterbury printed, and fold by Buckland in London.

This appears, from a preface by the Editor,' to be a sermon written on some former occasion, and now seafonably reprinted, as applicable to present times and circumftances. Its design is to hew

how righteousness and prosperity have been inseparable companions, riling and falling together, in the most remarkable states. The inference and application are obvious.-We think we have feen this discourse before, -or one nearly similar to it; but we cannot recolJeet the author. The Edicor has added some pertinent notes ; in which he has introduced a few strictures on the progress of Me. chodism, “ that vulgar frenzy of the times," as fome one styles it: mor in our Editor's phrases that unintelligible jumble of feripture phrases and scripture passages.' But, perhaps, the zeal of this Writer carries him rather too far, when he tells us that he looks upon Methodifim as a judgment of the Almighty, who for our wickedness permits this firong delufion to remain among us.'

SERMONS preached on the late General FAST, Feb. 10, 1779. 1. Before the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in the Abbey. Church,

Westminster. By Beilby Lord Bilop of Chester. 4to. is. Payne, &c.

'This judicious difcourse, containing many important and seafonable truths, and expreffed with an elegant fimplicity of language, well deserves the serious attention of every friend to virtue, religion, and his country.--His Lordihip shews, chat chofe unhappy diffencions which have so long torn the stare in pieces; which have been one principal cause of our present evils; and which, if not timely extinguished, or at least greatly mitigated, will probably lead (as in all great empires they have universally led) to final ruin, take their rife from what few seem to suspect, the want of religioUŚ PRINCIPLE. He points out the genuine and natural effects of RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE on the humán mind, and shews that it will give us every thing which our present situation seems more peculiarly to require, PUBLIC SPIRIT, UNA NIMITY, AND UNSHAKEN FORTITUDE. II. Before the Honourable House of Commons, at St. Margaret's,

Westminster. By George Stinton, D.D. F.R. S. and S. A
Chancellor of the Church of Lincoln, and Prebendary of Peterbo-
rough. 4to. 13. Dodsley, &c.
A candid, judicious discourse from the words--Fear God: bonost

the King.


« VorigeDoorgaan »