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years of the reign of Louis XVI. he was placed in a financial office at Naples; and, amongst other projects, he had brought to maturity the restoration of the port of Baiæ; a work which was abandoned at his death.
We might enlarge our catalogue; but we have executed, imperfectly indeed, but to the utmost practicable extent allowed us, our picture of the ancient and present state of Neapolitan literature. We have followed the track, but not the footsteps, of Count Orloff; and have supplied, from other sources within our reach, the unavoidable imperfections of his plan, by selecting the most conspicuous figures, the ductores Danaum, the prima delecta virorum; not seeking to disturb the oblivious repose of a whole host of literateurs, whose reputation is so exclusively the property of their own country, that it is by no means likely to migrate beyond its limits; the
fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum ; names praised, indeed, to the utmost height of panegyric, in their own circle, and owing no small part of their celebrity to that commerce of flattery, with which savans and academicians amuse and
abuse each other.
ART. II.-Two Sermons, occasioned by the death of the Rev. Thomas Scott, late Rector of Aston Sandford, Bucks; preached at St. John's, Bedford Row, 29th April, 1821. By Daniel Wilson, AM. 8vo. London, 1821.
In an earlier period of our literature, the biography of eminent men, and especially of persons distinguished by their exalted piety, was ordinarily confined to such notices of their characters and labours as occurred in their funeral sermons; and the absence of these obituary records was often a substantial subject of regret, since, with all their imperfections, they are at least valuable as the conduits for conveying to us, in numerous instances, (as the biographical frequenters of the invaluable library of the British Museum can testify,) the only memorials of piety and talent which a less literary age was accustomed to put upon record for the benefit of a succeeding generation. If these "antidotes to oblivion" were deficient in particular details, they still seized upon the principal lineaments of the character, and presented such an outline for the imitation of those who should come after as might enable them to transfuse into their own lives, if they were so minded-those graces and virtues of the Christian character, which men of like passions with themselves
had been enabled to exhibit in their progress through the same pilgrimage; while it was not less instructive, nor less animating, to observe in how many of these instances the influence of true religion appeared throughout in the seasons of sickness and decay, and in the still more appalling hour of conflict with "the last enemy that shall be destroyed."
In the present case, as in that of Mr. Richardson, noticed in the last number, we find that not only the funeral flowers of a sermon are strewed over the grave, but that a regular memoir is to stand, like the stately cypress, beside the tomb of the departed.
The expectation of a "life" of the late Mr. Scott, from the pen of his son, may account for the scanty notice which is taken by the preacher of the personal history of the deceased; a single note serves to supply the following series of dates:-Mr. Scott was born near Spilsby, in 1747, and ordained deacon in 1772. He became curate of Olney in 1780; chaplain of the Locke Hospital, (of which he was the entire founder,) in 1785; and rector of the humble preferment of Aston Sandford, in Bucks, in 1801, at which place he died, April 16, 1821, in the 75th year of his age. In treating the text of 2 Tim. iv. 6-8, Mr. Wilson considers that the words with which the apostle there exhorts and animates his son Timothy to redoubled ardour in the ministerial charge, from a consideration of his own approaching departure, and of the eternal reward which awaited the faithful pastor, admit of a fair and legitimate application to the case of the individual who has been so recently discharged from his long and honourable services, and to those labourers who are yet toiling in the same vineyard, in order to their encouragement to renewed exertions in the ministerial office. The object therefore which the preacher chiefly proposes to himself is to stir up his clerical brethren, by a brief review of the living labours, and dying consolations of the deceased, to "do the work of an evangelist;" to "preach the word," and to "be instant in season, and out of season."-In reference to the nature of the reward thus proposed to all faithful stewards of the divine mysteries, we find the following judicious observations in limine:
"This crown the Lord the righteous judge' will award; for God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labour of love.' The reward is not indeed one of desert-our only foundation in respect of merit is the free justification which is by faith of Jesus Christ; for as sinners we are not only unprofitable servants, but deserve condemnation; but it is a gift of grace, and as believers in Christ we humbly expect, for his sake, a heavenly recompense, in proportion to our services and sufferings in his cause."
And, in proof of the harmonious consistency between the divine
mercy and the Christian reward, we find the following quotation from Calvin himself:
"The free justification which is conferred on us by faith, is not inconsistent with the reward of works. Yea, rather these two things rightly agree, that a man is justified freely by the benefit of Christ, and yet that he will receive the reward of his works before God. For as soon as God receives us into grace, he accounts our works acceptable; and thus deigns to bestow on them a reward, though an undeserved one.” ”
. As the above distinction is not always attended to, and the natural tendency of our nature, even as Protestants, is to exalt human merit at the expense of divine grace, Mr. Wilson, in proposing to our view" the recompense of the reward," to which even Moses himself "had respect," appears to have judged well, in thus laying his foundation, on the chief corner stone of the church in every age. Mr. Wilson first notices the well-known work of Mr. Scott, called "The Force of Truth,' of which he speaks in the following terms:
"The manner in which he was called to the spiritual combat was remarkable. His narrative of this event, we may venture to assert, will be classed in future ages with those of which the process has been recorded by the most sincere and candid avowals of the individuals themselves. The Force of Truth' cannot indeed be equalled with The Confessions of St. Augustin,' or the early life of Luther; but the main features of conversion, and the illustration of the grace of God in it, are of the same character. The church has seen few examples so minutely and satisfactorily detailed of the efficacy of the doctrine of Christ, as in the instance before us. We there behold a man of strong natural powers, intrenched in the sophistries of human pride, and a determined opponent of the chief truths of the Gospel, gradually convinced and subdued. We see him engaging in a laborious study of the Scripture, with preconceived opinions firmly fixed, and reluctant to admit a humiliating scheme of theology: yet borne on, contrary to his expectations, and wishes, and worldly interests, by the simple energy of truth. We view him arriving, to his own dismay, at one doctrine after another. We behold him making every step sure as he advances, till he at length works out, by his own diligent investigation of the sacred volume, all the parts of divine truth, which he afterwards discovered to be the common faith of the church of Christ, to be the foundation of all the reformed communities, and to be essentially connected with every part of divine Revelation. He thus learns the apostolical doctrines of the deep fall of man-his impotency to any thing spiritually good-the proper atonement and satisfaction of Christ-the trinity of persons in the godhead-the regeneration and sanctification of the Holy Spirit-justification by faith only-salvation by grace-the necessity of repentance unto lifeseparation from the sinful customs and spirit of the world-self-denial, and the bearing of reproach for Christ's sake-holy love to God and
man-activity in every good word and work-dependence upon Christ for the supply of needful grace-humble trust in his promises for final victory, and an unreserved ascription of all blessings to the secret and merciful purpose and will of God. The whole narrative is so honest, and so evidently free from any suspicion of enthusiasm, as to constitute a most striking testimony of the power of divine grace.
"It was first published in 1779: at the close of twenty years he prefixed to the fifth edition a solemn declaration that every thing he had experienced, observed, heard, and read, since the first publication of it, had concurred in establishing his most assured confidence, that the doctrines recommended in it were the grand and distinguishing peculiarities of genuine Christianity. This declaration was repeated in each subsequent edition, till the time of his death."
We may here observe that, since the publication of this Funeral Sermon, a very interesting memoir has appeared, of the latter years and death of Dr. Bateman, the physician, which contains the following remarkable testimony in favour of another work of Mr. Scott, his Essays on the most important Subjects in Religion:
"I read to him" (says his biographer) " the first of Scott's Essays, which treats of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures.' He listened with intense earnestness; and, when it was concluded, exclaimed, 'This is demonstration! complete demonstration !""
"He preceded his revered, though unknown instructor, Mr. Scott, only one week. He never ceased to remember, with the deepest gratitude, his obligations to that excellent man. It was only the evening before his death, that he recommended, with great earnestness, to a young friend, whose mother, under affliction, was first beginning to inquire after religious truth, to engage her to read Scott's Essays; acknowledging, with fervent gratitude, the benefit he had himself received from that work, and concluding an animated eulogium, by saying, "How have I prayed for that man!
In describing the writings of Mr. Scott, consisting of six volumes quarto and nine or ten volumes octavo, Mr. Wilson
"He kept the faith,' not only in the main characters of his theology, but in the use which he found the sacred writers made of each doctrine; and in the order, the proportion, the manner, the occasion, the spirit, the end of stating and enforcing all they taught. In this view, the way in which he had been led to study the Scriptures for himself, and diligently to compare all the parts of them with each other, was of essential service. He was not a man to receive the impression of his age, but to give it. The humble submission to every part of divine revelation, the abstinence from metaphysical subtleties, the entire reliance on the inspired doctrine, in all its bearings and con
sequences, the candour on points really doubtful, or of less vital im portance, which are the characteristics of his writings, give them extraordinary value. Thus, together with the commanding truths above enumerated, he held as firmly the accountableness of man, the perpetual obligation of the holy law, the necessity of addressing the conscience and hearts of sinners, and of using, without reserve, the commands, cautions, and threatenings which the inspired books employ, and employ so copiously; the importance of entering into the detail of the Christian temper, and of all relative duties; of distinguishing the plausible deceits by which a false religion is concealed, and of following out the grand branches of Scripture morals into their proper fruits in the family and the life. In a word, he entered as fully into the great system of means and duties, on the one hand, as into the commanding doctrines of divine grace, on the other. He united the Epistles of St. Paul and St. James.'
Adverting to Mr. Scott's Answer to the Bishop of Lincoln's "Refutation of Calvinism," Mr. Wilson observes,
"The prejudices inseparable from any living controversialist must, of course, be allowed to subside, before a calm judgment can be formed of his character; but, when that period shall arrive, I doubt not that his laborious productions, more especially his masterly Reply to the work entitled the "Refutation of Calvinism,' "will be admitted to rank amongst the soundest writings of the age."
Mr. Wilson afterwards calls this Reply "incomparable for the acute and masterly defence of truth," and further observes of it,
"I consider this work (second edition) to be one of the first theo→ logical treatises of the day. It is pregnant with valuable matter, not merely on the direct questions discussed, but almost on every topic of doctrinal and practical divinity.".
In adverting to the most celebrated of Mr. Scott's works-his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Mr. Wilson thus expresses himself:
"It is difficult to form a just estimate of a work which cost its author the labour of thirty-three years. Its capital excellency consists in its following more closely, than perhaps any other, the fair and adequate meaning of every part of Scripture, without regard to the niceties of human systems; it is a scriptural comment. Its originality is likewise a strong recommendation of it. Every part of it is thought out by the author for himself, not borrowed from others. It is not a compilation; it is an original work, in which you have the deliberate judgment of a masculine and independent mind, on all the parts of Holy Scripture. Every student will understand the value of such a production. Further, it is the comment of our own age; furnishing the last interpretations which history throws on prophecy, giving the substance of the remarks which sound criticism has accumulated from the different branches of sacred literature; obviating the chief objections