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more than all the unsafe and unhallowed excitements of mere enthusiasm.
In these cautionary remarks, we by no means intend to cast a doubt upon all, or even a majority of those cases of late repentance which are continually presented to our attention; much less to depreciate, in the remotest degree, either the fulness or freeness of that provision of mercy which is laid up in the Saviour, even for the chief of sinners. But we are still of opinion, that too much care can hardly be taken in matters of this nature, where a mistake, once made, is a mistake for eternity; and we think that more hope may fairly be indulged, upon Christian principles, of those cases where the heart is renovated by a searching conviction of sin, than where the unskilful administration of spiritual cordials, produces a temporary and seeming relief, without touching the seat of the disease.
In deducing the practical uses from this life and death, we find the following judicious address to the professors of religion in general:
"You may possibly agree, in general, in the commendations Destowed on the labours of an apostle; on his tranquil faith-his unwearied sufferings his holy triumph. You may even acquiesce in much of what I have said on the Christian virtues of the eminent person whose departure we have been considering: and yet, in your own habitual character, you may be almost the exact reverse of both. Permit me then to speak to you with affectionate boldness. You are, in fact, not repenting truly of sin, nor turning with your whole heart to God in Christ Jesus. You have never asked, seriously, the great question, What must I do to be saved?' You have never felt yourselves as sinners condemned by the holy law, nor have you come to the promises of the Gospel to receive the reconciliation.' In other words, you have never entered on the Christian combat, nor begun the Christian race. Let me then urge you to this momentous duty. Awake, I entreat you, from the lethargy of a merely external Christianity, or the dream of a worldly-trifling self-indulgent life, and call upon your God for the blessings of his grace. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.' Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.' He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him.' Implore of him the gift of his Holy Spirit, to teach, enlighten, strengthen, and sanctify you. It is not in your own wisdom or power, but in His, that you can succeed in this vast undertaking. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” remembering that it is God' who alone can work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.' Begin the good fight of faith, and enter the heavenly race, by deep contrition for sin, and humble trust in the merits of the sacrifice of Christ, by a holy determination to renounce the service of Satan and the world, and to wage war with them all your future life. Go on afterwards by constant prayer,
jealous watchfulness, diligent study of the Scriptures, determined resistance to temptation, a holy use of the word and sacraments, sincere love to God and man, and activity in every good word and work. But, to this end, keep the faith once delivered to the saints, place all your hopes on the atonement of your Saviour, do every thing in dependance on his Holy Spirit, ascribe all your salvation to his mercy and grace: and, oh, let the animating language of the apostle in the text, and the example of our late venerated friend, invite, yea, urge you to comply with this exhortation. We must all repent, or perish. We must fight against our spiritual enemies, or be vanquished. We must win the crown of righteousness, or have our portion with the lost. There is no middle course. Religion is not an incidental matter, which may be done at any listless moment. It is the first of all concerns. It is a combat, it is a race, which demands all our attention, all our earnestness, all our exertions, all our powers and efforts of body and soul. Hear, as it were, the voice of the blessed saint, now departed, exciting you from the grave to enter on the warfare which he has accomplished, and pursue that prize which he has obtained; and may God grant that not one of us may decline the animating call, but that we may all, with one consent, yield ourselves now at length to the voice of conscience and the authority of truth!"
We shall now introduce our last extract from these Sermons, which we are unwilling to abbreviate, as we consider that such a man as Mr. Wilson may fairly claim to be heard, in his own way, upon the particular point to which he there adverts:
"The charge of Calvinism has, strange to say, become, within these last few years, a favourite topic of declamation. How far the term is rightly understood, and justly applied, I leave those to determine who are best read in the history of the Reformation. The mere assertions of fleeting and uninformed prejudice it is in vain to repel: but if any one, solicitous for truth, has been harassed by the accusation, let such an one be assured, that the revered person who has been the subject of this discourse, as well as the far greater number of those who are termed Calvinists, or Evangelical ministers, in the church of England in the present day, by no means lay any considerable stress, in their public instructions, on the deep and mysterious points which respect the purposes of God. The weight and burden of their doctrine rests on the vital and plain and undoubted verities which are essential to man's salvation, and which I have so often adverted to in this discourse. The inspired statements which are found in Holy Scripture on other topics, are held by them indeed, but held humbly and cautiously, as they have ever been in all preceding ages of the church; they are not made prominent; they are not so represented as to conceal or weaken, much less oppose, the more clear and express and copious instructions of the same revealed records; they are found in their discoures, as they are found in the holy volume, surrounded and guarded by a sacred reverence, a preponderating caution, devout uses and effects, silent adoration, fearful awe. abstinence arises, not from a distrust of their truth, but from submisVOL. XIX. NO. XXXVII.
sion to the book which contains them; a submission of which the very first dictate is a silent adherence to the spirit, bearing, proportion, and use of all the parts of revelation, as well as to each doctrine in itself. Since, therefore, we find only a very few thinly-scattered texts on the subject of the secret will of God; but almost innumerable series of texts, yea, whole books of Scripture on other topics on the fall and corruption of man, repentance, faith, the grace and mercy of God, the person and sacrifice of Christ, humility, love, peace, forgiveness of injuries, &c. we endeavour to foilow this order of instruction in our ministry. But then we cannot, we dare not wholly conceal any part of Scripture, or allow it to be, in its place, either useless or dangerous; nor can we soften or explain away the express and continually recurring truths of salvation, in order to avoid that humiliating doctrine of the divine grace, into which, no doubt, they ultimately flow. With regard to any individual reformer, the question has really no difficulty. The excellent roan, whose death we are considering, and who was at the head of what is termed the modern Calvinists, decidedly protested, in all his writings, against many important particulars to be found in the theology of Calvin; in short, against the very points which make the tenets of Calvin at all objectionable, and in which he differed from the other reformers."
After referring to those points, in a note Mr. Wilson adds: "Whatever opinion may be formed of the doctrines termed Cal vinistic, I trust every reader will allow that they were, in the revered individual before us, the motive and source of all holiness of life; not merely consistent with holiness, but productive of it, and directly leading to it and that, in particular, they were united in his mind with such personal humility, that when he was agitated, as we have seen, by fever in his last sickness, he had doubts of his own safety; and that he overcame these doubts, not by any reference to the sup posed purposes of God, but by the plain promises of the Gospel, and the general encouragements of fervent prayer. Let me assure the reader that these are the feelings, and this the conduct of the clergy, generally, who hold these sentiments, of which they conceive them to be the proper fruit."
This statement appears to require some few observations: In the first place, it appears to be no mean admission on the part of Mr. Wilson, in reference to the Calvinistic system, that "many important particulars are to be found in the theology of Calvin, in which he differed from the other reformers, and against which Mr. Scott decidedly protested." Mr. Wilson also, himself, in like manner protests against following this otherwise distinguished reformer throughout his whole system; and, we think, such an honest avowal should teach a little caution to many of the determined disciples of Calvin, who have neither enjoyed the opportunities possessed by Mr. Scott, and his biographer, for considering the sacred volume in all its parts, nor yet possessed their polemical talents in disinterring and dis
entangling truth; while it may also teach them a little charity for those persons whom they are in the habit of summarily de signating as Arminians, and then considering that there is an end of the argument. On the other hand, we agree with Mr. Wilson, that all the concessions should not be on one side; and that, since "the odium of all Calvin's system is cast, not only on Mr. Scott, but on numbers who stop far short of him on the Calvinistic points, nay, who entirely disapprove of them," there should be at least an equal exercise of candour and charity on the part of many who have never yet learned to distinguish between those who hold so much of Calvin's system as perhaps even the church of England herself maintains, and those who are willing to run all lengths with that reformer, no matter where they may carry them. The judicious advice of Bishop Horseley to the mere railers against Calvinism, will naturally occur to every reader who has met with it; while we are persuaded that they, to whom it is new, will thank us for the
"Take heed," says he, "before you aim your shafts at Calvinism, you know what is Calvinism, and what is not: that in that mass of doctrine, which it is of late become the fashion to abuse, under the name of Calvinism, you can distinguish with certainty between that part of it which is nothing better than Calvinism, and that which be longs to our common Christianity, and the general faith of the reformed churches; lest, when you mean only to fall foul of Calvinism, you should, unwarily, attack something more sacred, and of higher origin. I must say, that I have found great want of this discrimination in some late controversial writings on the side of the Church, (as they were meant to be,) against the Methodists; the authors of which have acquired much applause and reputation, but with so little real knowledge of the subject, that, give me the principles upon which these writers agree, and I will undertake to convict, I will not say Arminians only, and Archbishop Laud, but, upon these principles, I will undertake to convict the Fathers of the Council of Trent of Calvinism; so clearly is a great part of that, which is now ignorantly called Calvinism, interwoven with the very rudiments of Christianity. Better were it for the church, if such apologists would withhold their services."
In conclusion, we think that if there be one part of this little volume likely to be more useful than another, it is, perhaps, that in which Mr. Wilson shows that he has no desire to claim too much for Calvinism, nor to call any man master on earth, farther than he can be shown to have followed our common Master which is in heaven. We think this concession of Mr. Wilson likely to be attended with beneficial results, in proportion as the sacred cause of truth is above the petty interests of a party, and is independent of the adventitious support of even the most
splendid names; because, while no reproach is avoided, or sought to be avoided, by him, which the ignorant, or the ill-disposed may still choose to cast upon Calvinists, as Christians; there is yet a candid abandonment of those parts of the system of Calvin, which are not to be defended, and of course an invitation is thus virtually held out to all really honest brethren of different sentiments in the same household, who have not, perhaps, as yet, adverted to the intrinsic merits of the question at issue, nor attentively considered the actual points in difference, to judge for themselves, how very little, after all, good men are really differ ing with each other upon points of fundamental importance. We cannot but hail this trumpet for a parley, as likely to prove the herald of peace; and whatever tends to the promotion of union and harmony in the present conflict of sentiments, even in the same church, must surely be desirable. Let ultra-calvinists renounce their extravagancies, and rigid Arminians their prejudices, and much may yet be effected for our common happiness. In the mean time, let us rather strive to discover in what particulars we can agree, than define too nicely, or dwell too much upon, the points on which we differ; so that the golden and almost apostolic desire of one of the ancient fathers may yet be realized in our experience. "Let there be unity in things essential, liberty in non-essentials, and charity in all things.'
ART. III.-Memoirs of a Life chiefly passed in Pennsylvania, within the last sixty Years. 1 Vol. 8vo. P. 431. Cadell. London, 1822.
Or the birth, parentage, and introduction into society of this entertaining and well-written volume, all that we are informed is, that it was composed by a gentleman of Pennsylvania, and printed at Harrisburgh, in that State, in 1811; and that Mr. Galt, of Edinburgh, having discovered its merit, has just given it to the British public, with a dedication to Mr. Rush, the American ambassador at our court, who had devoted some attention to the satisfaction of Mr. Galt's inquiries respecting the author, but with what result is not stated.
The first chapter presents us with an account of the author's family and education; and with anecdotes of the "masters and ushers" of the academy at Philadelphia. His father, it seems, was an Irishman, who went to America in the year 1730, where he married the author's mother, who had been imported from Barbadoes at the age of seven years. The author,