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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. Ls. 6d. Phillips, &c. 1779.
Although the author of this pamphlet has been dead many years, he is ftill remembered with honour. The excellent fpirit difcovered in his conduct and his writings, though some things in the latter are very objectionable, must be always esteemed, He was a Non-juror, and a myftic, and an avowed enemy of that Devil, Human Reafon +. His opinion feems to have been, that no Chriflian Church was entirely free from an Autichriftian spirit; and on this confideration, chiefly, he feems to rest his argument in advifing the lady with whom he correfponds, to continue in the communion of the Church of England. Proteftants will be surprised, and jultly fo, when he expreffes a doubt, whether the Church of Rome, or England, has the most helps to a folid and fubftantial piety. However, on the particular point of leaving the latter for the former, the fpeaks in these terms: I ftay in the church of Eng land, because providence has placed me in its communion, and be cause it has the terms of falvation; I wish every thing that is fchifmatical 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 those 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 not the cafe of those who are educated in that Church; they may be free from all the fchifmatical or unjust proceedings of their governors; as the 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 Chriftians to found their peace on, in this divided state of the Church, where the divi fion is wholly owing to the unreafonable claims and uncharitable proceedings of the governors on both fides, and where 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 flate, as to the unity of the church; every part is in a state of divifion, and chargeable with contributing to the caufe of it. The thing that we are to look for, therefore, is not to be out of a divided part of the church, which is impoffible, till it pleafes God to alter the state of Christendom, but that we may live free from fchifmatical principles and paffions, and wholly attentive to every thing that the most ardent love of God, the most perfect love of our neighbour, and the highest imitation of the spirit, life, and fufferings of our bleffed Saviour reguire of us.
Without taking farther notice of what is faid relative to the particular fubje& mentioned in the title, we shall only add a fhort ex
Author of A ferious Call to a devout and holy Life, a number of Controverfial Tracts, and an edition of the works of Jacob Behmen; for which fee Review Vol. xxxii. p. 442.
+ We think we remember fuch an expreffion in fome of honeft William's zealous writings.
tract or two from what this writer adds on the subject of enquiry and fpeculation; If we look into hiftory (he fays) we can hardly find any churchman remarkable for an uncommon extent of learning, without having troubled the world with fome inventions of his own, fome fancied improvements on the common chriftianity. The great Origen was one of the first inftances of this kind; he was celebrated as the oracle of learning, asta 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 fhould have left his converfation, his deep discoveries, and allegorical explanations of Scripture, to have spent my time and learned religion with a poor mechanic that I have fomewhere read of, whofe heart and life was governed by this fpirit;-" I defire nothing but to love, adore, praise and obey God, in every thing, and for every thing.' Was the world to fee 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 unjust to think me an entire ftranger to the nature of it. But I profefs to you, that whatever parts or learning I am poffeffed of, I think it as neceffary to live under a continual apprehenfion of their being a fnare and temptation to me, as of any worldly diftinctions, whether of riches or dignity, I fhould be poffeffed of: and I defire no other im provement of science or knowledge, nor to fee into any depths, bút fuch as penitence, humility, faith, hope, charity, the pure love of God, and an abfolute refignation to his providence, fhall difcover
I am not against our ufing all the arguments that reafon and learning can furnish us with, in defence of religion; but I think we are much mistaken, when we place our chief ftrength there, and conclude that chriftianity muft profper, 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 condefcending to explain all the difficulties, or anfwer 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 adverfaries, fo it is against reason to think, that it must now, or at any other time, be supported in that manner. For thefe tempers have no right or claim to be anfwered or fatisfied in their own way; as they are only fo many diforders or corruptions of the foul, fo they are to have no relief from religion, but that of dying before it.
As to the relief which is fought for in fuch difcoveries, humility, faith, and refignation make it needlefs, and give the mind a comfort and reft in God, which cannot be equalled by any fuch fpeculative 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 fupport to my mind, and a better guard against all anxiety, than the deepest discoveries that the most speculative inquifitive minds could help me to.'
Thefe paffages we leave to the confideration of our Readers.-The laft of these letters is dated May 29, 1732. Though they treat on the circumftance of entering into the communion of the Church of Rome, they have refpect to the particular fituation of the lady and
her family on other accounts. In fome parts they bear strong marks of Mr. Law's peculiar and striking manner, and give intimations af his mystical turn in other respects, but not like what is to be found in the rest of his writings. One principle, though not expressly declared, feems implied, and runs through this tract, viz. a fuppofition of fome inherent fanctity attending the office of what he would call the christian priesthood, which directly leads us towards the Church of Rome. It is to be prefumed there are few, if any proteftant readers who will not think that there are many reafons for avoiding the Roman communion more weighty than any that is here fug gested...
Art. 53. Advice to Youth; or, the Advantages of early Piety.
Defigned for the Ufe of Schools, as well as young Apprentices - and Servants; to promote the Art of reading English, and draw the Attention to Matters of the greateft Importance in early Life. By John Fawcett, Mafter of a Boarding-school at Brearley-Hall, near Halifax. 12mo. 1 s. 6 d. Leeds, printed; London, fold by Johníon, &c. 1778.
This Author appears earnestly to defire the comfort and happiness of thofe for whom he writes. His addrefs is fervent and affectionate, and many proper and useful exhortations are delivered. His plan is Calviniftical, and he feems 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 fuch a question be introduced at all, especially in an Addrefs to Youth Let it rather be left to metaphyficians and polemical theorists! We are, however, unwilling to cenfure a work fo well intended. While fo many writings appear, as Mr. Fawcett obferves, which tend to loofen, if not wholly to deftroy all regard to truth and virtue in youthful minds, we are glad to fee publications, on every plan, which are calculated to affift and ftrengthen fuch 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 Essay on the Toleration of Papifts. 8vo. 1s. Dodfley. 1779.
The defign of this effay is to fhew that, while liberty remains a public bleffing, religious toleration must be confidered as a measure highly conducive to the general intereft; and that religious and civil freedom have nothing to fear from the indulgence which the government has lately fhewn its Roman Catholic fubjects.
The Author fays, that he never wishes to fee a repetition of the flavish fuperftitions and encroachments of Rome; but the fituation of the world, he thinks, is not at prefent expofed to them. The prefent face of Europe, we are told, is different from that barbarous and gloomy region, where thofe deep foundations were laid for fuperftition and prieftcraft. Commerce, refinement and philofophy, have difpelled that general darkness which concealed their hatefal defigns; and the ftupendous 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 fhews an enlarged, liberal, and manly turn of thought...
1. The Neceffity and Advantage of religious Principles in the SoldieryPreached 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. Richardson and Urquhart.
We meet with nothing in this difcourfe to entitle it to particular notice, except the Author's zeal against enthusiasts and fanatics, with whom he thus humourously disclaims all alliance: "Let not this be understood as if spoken in behalf of the oftentatious ravings of many modern enthufiaits on the one hand, or of as many moping and melancholy fanatics, which fome fools, but more knaves, have often affumed for private and pecuniary, buc oftener for worfe purpofes. Befhrew the preacher, who would recommend the least tincture of either as requifite in the military character-who would fend the whole foldiery together upon a religious knight-errantry-and prefcribe to the fuperior officers to become knights of the woeful figure to the inferior, according to their refpective ranks, to become proportionably more difmal.' II. At the Cathedral Church of Hereford, before the venerable the Dean, &c. Aug. 19, 1778; being the Day on which Vifitation. By the Rev. Thomas Hornes 4to. 6 d. Inftruction for the inftructors. III. Chriftianity an eafy and liberal Syftem; that of Popery, abfurd and -burdenfome-Preached at Salters Hall, Nov. 5, 1778. By Hugh
Worthington, jun. 8vo. 6 d. Buckland, &c.
A feasonable and fenfible difcourfe, in which the errors of Popery are properly reprefented. It feems that the prefent times render it highly expedient to guard people, frequently and feriously, against the delufions 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-Occafioned by the Death of Mr. Samuel Wilton, who departed this Life, Jan. 21, 1779, aged 68. By N. Hill. Published at Requeft. 8vo. 6d. Buckland.
he held his Baldwin.
A pious lamentation and improvement of the death of a good man, who had been, as the Preacher expreffes it," at once an or nament and pillar" of the church of which he was a member. V. At the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, on Afh-Wednesday, 1779. By Robert Lord Bishop of London, Dean of his Majefty's Chapels. 4to. Cadell and Dodfley.
A fenfible difcourfe from Luke xiii. 1, 2, 3.-His Lordship com fiders fome of the reafons, upon which we may prefume our blessed Saviour's determination to be founded; viz that we are not warranted to infer from great and fignal calamities any great and uncom mon wickedness in the fufferers.-On the grounds of reafon and experience, however, and from our notions of the wisdom and justice of God, we may be allowed, his Lordship fays, to obferve a more equal providence difpenfed in the fates of kingdoms, than in the affairs of individuals. The cafes are widely different; and the fame reafons, motives, and ends, do not hold in both. Kingdoms and nations, as fuch, are beings of the prefent world, and they are ob
noxious to the judgments of God in this life only; therefore the counfels of God with regard to them may be governed by other rules and we are warranted to estimate their profperity and adverfity by measures different from thofe by which we ought to judge of the merits and demerits of private perfons. The language of fcripture is in this refpect agreeable to the univerfal teftimony of history; that righteousness exalteth a nation, but wickedness is not only a reproach, but in the end jure destruction to any people. It hath pleafed God fo to conftitute the nature and order of things, that the one follows the other by certain confequence; and fometimes too by his peculiar decree.-The Bishop concludes his discourse with fome very ferious observations on the moral and religious state of this nation. VI. A Difcourfe PREVIOUS to a Day of general Humiliation, appointed to be observed by public Authority, Feb. 10, 1779. 4to. Canterbury printed, and fold by Buckland in London.
This appears, from a preface by 'the Editor,' to be a fermon written on fome former occafion, and now feasonably reprinted, as applicable to present times and circumftances. Its defign is to fhew how righteousness and prosperity have been infeparable companions, rifing and falling together, in the most remarkable states. The inference and application are obvious.-We think we have seen this discourse before,-or one nearly fimilar to it; but we cannot recollect the author. The Editor has added fome pertinent notes; in which he has introduced a few ftrictures on the progrefs of Methodifm, "that vulgar frenzy of the times," as fome one styles it: -or in our Editor's phrase that unintelligible jumble of feripture. phrafes and fcripture paffages.' But, perhaps, the zeal of this Writer carries him rather too far, when he tells us that he looks upon Methedifm 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 Bishop of Chefler. 4to. Payne, &c.
This judicious difcourfe, containing many important and feafonable truths, and expreffed with an elegant fimplicity of language, well deferves the ferious attention of every friend to virtue, religion, and his country.-His Lordship fhews, that thofe unhappy diffentions which have fo long torn the ftate in pieces; which have been one principal caufe of our prefent evils; and which, if not timely extinguished, or at leaft greatly mitigated, will probably lead (as in all great empires they have univerfally led) to final ruin, take their rife from what few feem to fufpect, the want of RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE. He points out the genuine and natural effects of RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE on the human mind, and fhews that it will give us every thing which our prefent fituation feems more peculiarly to require, PUBLIC SPIRIT, UNANIMITY, AND UNSHAKEN FORTITUDE.
II. Before the Honourable House of Commons, at St. Margaret's, Weltminster. By George Stinton, D. D. F. R. S. and S. A. Chancellor of the Church of Lincoln, and Prebendary of Peterborough. 4to. 1. Dodfley, &c.
A candid, judicious difcourfe from the words-Fear God : bonour the King.