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A Sermon preached at the Temple Church, May 31/, and
Berkley Chapel, Berkley Square, June 28th, upon the Conduct to be observed by the Established Church towards Catholics and other Difenters, by the Rev. SYDNEY SMITH, A. M. late Fellow of New College, Oxford, 8vo.
pp. 27. 1s. Carpenter. TN the reign of Elizabeth, the pulpit of the Temple I Church was the theatre of a very remarkable controversy, In the morning the meek, learned, and judicious Hooker laid down and explained the sound principles of Christianity in a perspicuous manner; in the afternoon, one Walter Travers, a petulant and forward declaimer, preached the contrary opinions with great vehemence, so that, as one of the hearers pleasantly observed, “the forenoon spake Can, terbury, and the afternoon Geneva.”.
Such a discordance, we believe, never happened since that period, till the author of the present fermon, by fome unaccountable circumstance, obtained admission into a pul. pit, which, for above a century past, has been distinguished by discourses of the first rank in theological excellence.
The object of the preacher is to abuse the Church of England as intolerant in adopting measures for her own preservation; when, according to him, “ she was never more powerful, or more juftly respected, than at this moment."
This is a pretty bold assumption, which we should be very glad to see proved, but unfortunately every day and hour's experience convinces us that what is here taken for granted is ihe reverse of the real state of the case. In the definition of an ecclesiastical establilhment, there are many radical defc&ts; and, indeed, from what is observed of the utility and political expediency of such an institution, we should fuppose that the author considers the Church as possessing no o: her rights or privileges, than what she receives from the state.
He is possessed of all that liberalizing fpirit which would concede all indulgence to every class and denomination of Christians, out of the establishment; but, as to the Church, she needs neither strength nor slay. The restrictions whereby Dissenters, as such, are kept from places of public trust, are very decently termed odious, and to deprive a man of the opportunity of obtaining certain honours in the state, is roundly called perfecution. The preacher, however, who deals in these assumptions and epithets, does not condescend to enter upon any thing like argument; so that we are saved
• the the trouble of entering into a refutation of his positions. In truth, a more flippant, empty, declamation we were never doomed to read; and therefore, after dismissing it from our table, we consoled ourselves with a page of Sherlock. the knowledge of that mystical union, whereby the Church is be: come as near unto Christ, as any one part of his flesh is unto another? That the Church being in such sort his, he must needs protect it; what proof more strong, than if a manifest law so require, which law it is not possible for Christ to violate ? And what other law doth the apostle for this allege, but such as is both comnion unto Christ with us, and unto us with things natural;" viz. that « No man hateth his own flesh, but doth love and cherish it.” If then the mystical union betwixt Christ and the Church be thus close, and they are identified by a law impossible to be violated, which to mere reason seems suitable only to the propinquity of one atom to another atom in the same body, (whether it be flesh or stone, blood or water); how strict and intimate that union; how divine and worthy of reverence that bond of holy wedlock, which Christ instituted as its pattern, it were to waste words to describe.
The Case of the Widow considered, and the Confolations
applicable to it enforced. A Sermon, composed by particular Request, and since preached at White Waltham, Berks, September 8th, 1805. By the Rev. WILLIAM PALMER, B. A. 8vo. Pp. 30. is. Rivingtons. THIS is a pathetic discourse upon a very affecting subT ject, and does 'equal credit to the talents, the feelings, and the piety of the preacher.
The following extract will sufficiently confirm the character we have given of this sermon :
“Let us then enter into the house of mourning, and consider the widow and the fatherless. 6* It is better," saith the preacher, (6 to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow," he continues, “ is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning ; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” And surely, there will be found mourning enough, whence all that caused joy and gladness liach been carried forth, and laid deep in the grave. In that house, upon which the Lord hath laid his own right hand, and which he has visited with the most particular dispensation of his providence, no sound of earthly comfort can be heard, because whatsoever part of its happiness was earthly, is returned for ever to its dust.
• To the reasoning of worldly wisdom, which sorrowful experience has not corrected, the assertion of a mystical, and therefore incomprehensible union betwixt those who are coupled together in the sight of God, may appear visionary and unmeaning. The weak determinations of men are often found to oppose the sublimest mysteries of God, with little consideration of their necessary truth and importance, as coming from him, who can neither deceive nor exaggerate. The Lord God, however, when he had made man of the dust of the earth, and had breathed into his nos. trils the breath of life, because it was not good for the man to be alone, took no other portion of that earth, to make him an help meet for him, but the man's own flesh he took, even the bone from his side near into his heart. " What,” says the author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, (Hooker's Eccles. Pol. Book i.) speaking on another subject, “ can be more immediate to our salvation, than our persuasion concerning the law of Christ towards his church? What greater assurance of love towards his church, than * Eccles. vii. 2.
“ The eyes and hands of the widow uplifted to Heaven for com. fort, which earth cannot give, speak her sense that she was indeed, « bone of his bones," who hath been taken from her, “and flesh of his flesh.” To surrounding friends she would in vain explain the excellency of her lost blessing ; that his presence was all that was needful to her happiness; that he had been the guide and counsel of her youth, the rock of her strength, the pillow of her repose. That under his influence, religion, and piety had taken up their abode in 'her heart; that by him, her unsuspecting mistakes had been corrected, and the straight and peaceful path of wisdoni made known to her : that through many frowns of adversity, and amidst scorns which misfortunes alone had sanctioned from the world, they had passed together, less regarding, because of that love which rendered outward things indifferent to them, and softened the feeling of their mutual wounds; while, if they · had ever rejoiced in the gleams of prosperity, which sometimes promised to shine upon them, the gratification of the other was the only delight that each of them had anticipated: this might indeed speak the regrets that oppressed her heart, but not de. scribe the pungent agonies of nature, thus divided from itself. Shall we, or does religion bid this wife, or those little mourners to cease from their weeping; or if we should do so, will she listen to our exhortation ; will she not rather say to her children, “ Weep on , ye bereaved and mourning little ones, for him who is gone for ever from you—whom the world cannot restore : ye have lost him, who loved you as no man shall ever love you hereafter : ye have lost him, who, because he loved youi, chastened you, my children, as none will ever again chasten you ; with a trembling hand and unwilling heart, that he might bring you to God." Will she not for herself, instead of ceasing to weep, cry out with Job, « Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for ; even that it would please God to destroy me ; that he would let loose his hand and cut me off. Then should
I yet have comfort, yea, I would harden myself in sorrow ;-what is my strength, that I should hope; and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life ?”
What has the world to offer to this mourner?-what can it pro. mise that shall hinder in her mind, the recurrence of past scenes so tender and so well remembered, which had rivetted her love to him to whom it was due, by the lasting tie of mutual and various fortune? Shall the giddy round of pleasure? Shall noise and tumult still such grief as this ? Shall folly stop her bleeding wounds ? Alas! when folly is weary of itself, and pleasure is driven to repose, in the stillness of the night, at that undisguised hour, which neither the guilty nor the wretched can escape, her griefs would gush out afresh!--Let then Nature's work be first done, and the mourner utter her complaints, and fill up the measure of Christian sorrow, and commune with her own heart, and in her chamber, and be still, while the silent work of his grace who hath thus cast her down, and can alone lift her up, is going on within her, and is disposing her to listen to the suggestions piety, and the voice of God.”
D UT not in splendid palaces alone,
The pomp of Britain's scepter'd lords was shown
The spoils of war, and banners of the brave!
Refulgent shone the storied roofs-array’d,