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On the Bishop of Lincoln's Elements of Christian Theology. 273 but in the late increased price of paper, fixteen shillings was more than many people could conveniently spare. It was therefore highly benevolent in the pious Author, to put out a cheap edition of his invaluable Work. The cheap edition, which I have now before me, was printed in 1801 ; how many impressions have been struck off since that time, I am not able to say, but ailuredly not more than the intrinsic excellence of the Work justly deserves. Whether we consider the want of a concise and well-arranged book of this kind, which had till now been felt in the Christian world ;-the expensive and voluminous authors which the student was compelled to wade through to collect any proper and well-connected system of Divinity ;-or the clearners, concileness, excellent arrangementand elegant language of the “ Elements of Christian Theology,” it may justly be considered as a Work truly deserving the warm eulogium it has obtained, as well as the affectionate regard of Christians of every
denomination. No theological Itudent Thould, on any account, be ignorant of any part of the contents of both Volumes; no Christian of any rank, who is able to peruse the inspired Writings in his mother tongue; fhould be without at least the first Volume, which he thould peruse over and over again with the utmost seriousnels and attention of mind.
In the First Chapter of the First Part, which treats of the “ Authority and Inspiration of the Books of the Old Testament,” we are presented with luch a body of evidence to establish these two important points, that none but the most malicious and determined opposers of our Holy Faith, can avoid being thereby fully convinced of the truth of those facts. For this alone, the Work is invaluable. But there is not wanting an abundance of other important matter to make it deserving of our utmost regard. What is said on the subject of allegorizing the plain historical parts of the Old Testament, is fingularly deserving of attention ; as this engine, for a long time patt, has been employed by commentators, and other enemies of Christianity, to fubvert the very foundation of our Religion. The Mosaic account of the Creation, Fall, Deluge, and Dispersion of Mankind, which has to frequently been aflerted to be allegorical, is proved by the Bithop in p. 44, et seq. to be incontestibly literal; and such a body of evidence, luch strong reasoning, and such remarkable facts are produced to establish it, as must needs be highly gratifying to every lover of the Bible, and of Truth. The attempt to analize the Contents of this excellent Work would furpats the bounds of a letter, neither indeed does it seem to be necessary; for those who are desirous of being further acquainted with it, may now purchase it at a very reasonable rate, and those who will not put themselves to this flight expence, do not deterve it.
Of late. years the inundation of infidel writings, the produce of the Infane Philosophy of the times in which we live, has been very great. The vigilance of our Lawgivers, the writings of our venerable Bithops, and the well-timed exertions of our lay Brethren, have, however, under God's : Providence, put a clieck to them. The labours of a Watson; PretyMAN, and PORTEUS, have done incalculable service to the cause of that Pure and Holy Religion of which they are the distinguished ornaments and lupports : and those of Mr. Cumberland, Mr. Wilberforce, Mrs. Hannah More, and Mrs. We will consecrate their memory to the latest posterity. All these distinguished characters, I believe, are yet living, may they. kindly accept this tribute of just respect from one who will be content to be confidered as the humblest, if he may also be ranked amongst the Vol. III. Churchm. Mag. Nov. 1802.
warmest of their admirers.--Herein does the peculiar Proviđence of the Almighty, and his grand prerogative of extracting good from evil, most eminently appear, that while he hath been pleased to blunt the point of the Charpeft arrows which infidelity ever cast against his Holy Religion, he was pleased also to call forth the exertions of his faithful servants, and by thofe exertions to show to all mankind the truth and beauty of his Moit Holy Ward. Had the blatphemous " Age of REASON" never appeared, we should not have been gratified with “ THE APOLOGY FOR THE BIBLE ;" and if the errors and false principles of Modern Philosophers” had not attempted to poison the minds of Christians, “ The EleNANTS OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY,” and “LECTURES ON SAINT MATTHEW," would most likely Atill have been unpublished. Thanks be to God and those true servants of his who have defended his Holy Word, we are still in potletlion of the bright and glorious light of the everlasting Gospel in its greatest purity, whilft, in a very near country, that light was firft darkened partially, and then for a time altogether put out: may that same Divine Providence ftill preserve to us this invaluable blessing in all its purity, and in all its glory : may pious and learned men ftill continue to put to silence the blasphemies of foolish and wicked men : and may the Golpel of Truth bless us and our children till things temporal shall be lucceeded by things fpiritual, and the fashion of this world be changed, and we pass from the fleeting and imperfect things of Time, to the glorious and perfect fruition of Life and Immortality.
I am, gentlemen,
Your's, &c. Q&. 22, 1802.
INQUIRY CONCERNING THE INTERMEDIATE STATE. To Tuk EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's MAGAZINE.
GENTLEMEN, AS SI have for a considerable time thought very seriously on the follow
ing lubje&, from which I have derived great pleasure and confolation, and am desirous of investigating it as far as the question will admit, I thould be greatly obliged to your learned and judicious correspondent THE LONDON CURATE, for his lentiments concerning it.
The Bishop of Lincoln, in his " Elements of Christian Theology," Vol. II. p. 156, in treating of the third Article of our Church,“ of the going down of CHRisT into Hell," considers the expreslion of “ HELL" to fignify " the commos receptacle for departed fouls, in the intermediate time between Death and the General Relurrection.” This is certainly the same opinien as all the Orthodox Members of the Christian Church entertain concerning that Article. Now I am desirous of obtaining what light I can concerning this “common receptaclè for departed Souls," and " the intermediate State between Death and the General Resurrection." Highly as I value the abilities of the LONDON CURATE, I am delirous to obtain his sentiments on these two points, and likewise a reference to such authors as may have written on the subje&.
One of Bishop Pretyman's predecessors in the See of Lincoln, I think Dr. Green, wrote “ Four Discourses on the Four Last ThingsDeath, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell ;" in which he hazards some conjectures on this subject, but, not having the book now by me, I forget the exact particulars. I think the Soul-sleeping Controversy is now laid aside, and, if '. you
will forgive a play upon words, is itself gone to Neep; for it appears to be pretty generally agreed, that the ftate of separation of the soul and body, is a state of consciousness, though the negative to this was long maintained. I meet with continual allusions to this conscious state of er stence of separated human fouls, in modern authors of elegance and superior literary powers, who seem fond of confidering the separated spirits of their
riends, as sensible of the things which re transacted upon earth; as Seeing, yet not themselves being seen by, their furviving relations. In POETRY we meet with continual instances of this, but, as this art is chiefly conversant in the regions of imagination, little strength can be added to the argument from thence ; but when PuOSE-WRITERS coolly and frequently introduce the fubject, without the least necessity for so doing, we are led to conclude 'tis the result of their difpaflionate judgment. For my otun part, I see nothing repugnant to any doctrine of Scripture, in the notion of our departed friends being conscious of terrene transactions, and I think ?tis very confolatory to the feelings of surviving relatives, under the prefiere of severe affliction for the 107s of friends! It is Milton, I think, who, on this subject, beautifully observes." Thousands of Spiritual Creatures walk the Earth unseen," &c. Dr. DRAKE, in his “ Literary Hours," hath many allusions to this opinion; and many others, whole names I cannot at present recollect.
Mr. Rowe's beautiful “ Letters from the Dead to the Living" are built upon this idea, and are juftly and univerfally admired by every lover of chaste and elegant writing.
I am, gentlemen,
Your's, &c. September 4, 1802.
QUÆSTOR*, BISHOP HORNE'S LETTERS ON INFIDELITY.
LETTER VIII. SINCE the appearance of the
unbelieving fraternity among us, in these latter days, they have been celebrated for many extraordinary qualities : but their characteristic virtue, I think, has been modesty. A remarkable instance of this virtue has manifested itself in their conduct refpe&ing the publication of a certain edifying pamphlet, entitled Doubts of the Infidels: ur Queries relative to Seriptural Inconfitences and Contradictions--Submitted to the Confideration of the Bench of Bishops-By a weak Christian. It stole abroad in fo hamble and reserved a manner, without the name of printer, or vender, that it was a long time before I heard there was such a pamphlet in being. Informed, however, by a friend, that there certainly was such a thing, and that he had actually seen it, I made application to several booksellers of note in town; but they declared, they knew nothing of the matter.
As I am one of those who love to learn what is stirring, I was not to be easily put by; and therefore refted not, till I had made myself master of a copy. Happy in ny prize, with my hand upon my pocket, I betook myself immediately home, and having provided the implement necessary for the purpose, began to open the leaves.
Our correspondent will find some curious remarks on this subject in a treatise by Dr. Burnet (of the Charter House) De Statu Mortuorum et Refurgentium; and in one ftill more elaborate and learned, written by the Honourable and Reverend Mr. Campbell, “ On the State of Souls after Death" folio, 3724; of which, we believe, a new edition is about to be published. Mm %
In the process of this operation, the first words that caught my eye ivere the following in P. v. of the epistle dedicatory to my lords the billiops“ Inner chambers of the holy Inquisition-Whips, cords, pullies, fcrews, wheels, iron crows; and red hot pincers." Having no predilection for good things of this particular kind, I resumed my work, determining not to peep any more, till I came to the top of P. 20. where my attention was again forcibly arrested by the expreflions_-" Ripping women with child, dathing infants to pieces against the rocks, and broiling men to death with Now fires."
I now laid down the pamphlet, and considered with myself, what had happened lately among us, to occasion this lamentable yelping. Sometimes I thought the Archbishop of York in the course of his last visitation, must have wedged some northern heresiarch under the screw, and with one turn of the machine, to the great diversion of the company, cracked all the bones in his ikin, like the claws' of a lobster. At other times I concluded (though no mention had been made of it in the Morning Chronicle) that his grace of Canterbury had invited the bithops to dine with him upon a roasted infidel, whipped to death by his chaplains. That one of these events had taken place, there seems to be little doubt, though it was impoflible to say which
I finished, however, my talk of leaf opening, and began to read regularly ; when I found that a deed had been done itill more atrocious and petrifying than either of the above; for that, by an act of parliament procured by these same bloody-minded prelates of ours, the intidels are now obliged, on a Sunday evening, to blafpheme in PrivÁTE !
This is a falling off, to which my memory furnishes me with nothing fimilar, unleis it be the story of a man, much given to the use of the long bow, who asserted, one morning, to his family, that he had just seen forty couple of dogs running through the yard. It being denied that so many were kept in the country, "Nay,” cried he, I ain fure there were twenty." The audience still continuing sceptical, “ Why, then," said he, with perfect gravity, " it was our little brown cur !!”
For such “ cruel, barbarous, and inhuman," ulage, these gentlemen are determined, it seems, to have their revenge upon the church, and really think themselves able, at this time of day, to write revelation out of the world, in a twelve-penny pamphlet !- Take this whole business together, and it is enough to make the weeping philofopher laugh.
In the thirty sections of their pamphlet, they have produced a list of difficulties to be met with in reading the Old and New Testament. Had I been aware of their design, I could have enriched the collection with many more, at least as good, if not a little better. But they have compiled, I dare say, what they deemed the best, and in their own opinion presented us with the eilence of infidelity in a thumb-phial, the very fumes of which, on drawing the cork, are to strike the bench of bishops dead at
Let not the unlearned Christian be alarmed, “ as though some strange “thing had happened to him," and modern philofophy had discovered arguments to demolish religion, never heard of before. The old ornaments of deism have been “ broken off,” upon the occasion, " and cast into the fire, and there came out this calf.” These fame difficulties have been again and again urged and discussed in public; again and again weighed and considered by learned and sensible men, of the lạity as well as of the
clergy, who have by no means been induced by them to renounce their faith.
Indeed, why should they ? For is any man surprized, that difficulties should occur in the books of Scripture, those more especially of the Old Testament? Let him reflect upon the variety of matter on which they treat; the distance of the times to which they refer ; the wide difference of ancient manners and customs from thole of the age in which we live ; the very imperfect knowledge we have of these, as well as of the language in which they are described ; the conciseneis of the narratives, fufficient for the purpole intended, but not for gratifying a restless curiosity; above all, the errors and defects of translations,
Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for setting points of this kind. Pertness and ignorance may alk a queftion in three lines, which it will cott learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the fame question thall be triumphantly aiked again, the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject. And as people in general, for one reason or another, like short objections better than long answers, in this mode of disputation, (if it can be styled such) the odds must ever be against us; and we must be content with those for our friends, who have honesty and erudition, candour and patience, to study both sides of the question -Be it fo.
In the mean time, if we are called upon seriously for fatisfaction on any point, it is our duty to give the best in our power. But our adversaries will permit us to obferve, that the way they are pleased to take the way, I mean, of doubts and difficulties) is the longest way about; and I much . fear, they will never find it the shortest way home. For if they really have determined with themselves, not to become Christians, till every difficulty that may be started concerning the revealed dispensations of God, or any part of them, be fully cleared up, I will fairly tell them, that, I I apprehend, they must die Deists. I will likewise farther tell them, that if they should resolve not to believe in the existence of God, till every objection can be solved, relative to the works of creation, and the course of his providence, I verily believe they must die Atheists. At least, I will not undertake their conversion, in either case. For in the first place, whether the solution be satisfactory to themselves, none but themselves can be the judges; and their prejudices will not suffer them to judge fairly. In the second place, if they produce an hundred objections, and we can solve ninety-nine of them, that which remains unsolved will be deemed a plea sufficient to justify their continuing in incredulity. In the third place, it is impossible in the nature of things, that we should be equal to the solution of every difficulty, unless we were well acquainted with many points of which it has pleased God to keep us in ignorance, till the last day shall open and unfold them. Nay, in some instances, it is impossible, unless we could see and know, as God himself fees and knows.
But it is an axiom in science,, that difficulties are of no weight against demonstrations. The existence of God once proved, we are not, in reason, to set that proof aside, because we cannot at present account for all his proceedings. The divine legation of Moses, and that of Jesus Christ, stand upon their proper evidence, which cannot be superseded and nullified by any pretended or real difficulties occurring in the Jewish and Christian disa pensations. If we can solve the difficulties, so much the better ; but if we cannot, the evidence is exactly where it was. Upon that evidence is