Obrazy na stronie

“ Superior MS. Sermons. This day were publifhed price fixty fhillings, done up separately for the pulpit, fixty original manuscript sermons, adapted for every Sunday in the year, and for the principal holidays, and extraordinary occasions; printed in a new script type, cast on purpose, in exact imitation of manuscript. By a Dignitary of the Church of England. These original sermons are respe&tfully submitted to the clergy, as superior modern compositions better adapted to their avowed object, than any previous attempts of the fame kind, The author has himself preached every one of them, and he can therefore speak to their suitable length and effect, he can also boast of the san&tion which they have received from very diftinguished ornaments of the church.

N. B. Clergymen who may not choose to purchase the entire fet, till they have examined a few, may be accommodated with a score indifferently selected, for a one pound note, which may, if agreeable, be addressed to the publisher by the post.”

The impudence of this pretended Dignitary is only to be equalled by his consummate ignorance. Sermons printed in script " as it is called,oz in imitation of Writing may with just as much propriety bę termed “Manuscripts' as a printed volume of Essays may be denominated Manuscript Essays. But the advertiser takes upon him to speak confidently of the “ suitable length and effect of his sermons :" The first is no doubt a consideration of great importance to thofe who have no higher ideas of religion, than of its being a mere mechanical service, to be measured out by the price and the time. As to the “ boasted effect” of these elaborate compositions, the writer even if he had preached them a thousand times could know nothing. The labours of the most conscientious and pains taking parish priest, are frequently, to appearance, exercised in vain. At least he can but hope that his instructions may fall partly on good ground, or upon hearts disposed to receive and profit by them ; but the effect on the generality he laments, is merely momentary, and the seriousness excited proves but like “the morning cloud and the early dew which soon pass away.”

But it is a wase of words to enter farther into an examination of this scandalous advertisement. The fermons recom. mended in it, with all the vulgar puff of impudent quackery, are beneath contempt, and wretched indeed must be the un. derstanding of that man who would even undertake to read


, them on Sunday evenings for the edification of his family. They are as empty of matter, as they are feeble in style, and the few good things stolen from writers of eminence are utterly spoiled, by having been garbled and dislocated. If I thought that any clergy man could be fo loft to decorum, prudence, and a manly sense of duty, to fay nothing of his religious obligations, as to make any use of these pres, tended manuscript sermons, I should enter into a farther exposure of this dirty imposture, which is well known to be carried on not by “a Dignitary of the Church of England" but by a well known literary scribbler who has been for years the hireling of the speculating booksellers, and is reckoned a ready hand at a Sermon, or an Essay, a History or a Poem, Abridgements and Compilations of all qualities and all sizes.

I am, &c. :





THE motto to your last number gave me pleasure, be

I cause it reminded me of a very favourite writer, and to whose incomparable “ Essay on ihe Proper Leffons of the Church of England" I have been indebted for frequent satisfaction and instruction. But this pleasure has been al. ways mingled with regret that I could never gain any information respecting the life of Mr. Wogan. The first edition of his work appeared without his name, in four octavo vo. lunes, in 1754; and the second, which mentions him as " William Wogan, Esq. late of Ealing, in Middlesex," in 1764.' The only variation between the two impressions is, that the last has a copious index, but it is surely extraordi. nary that as the author was then dead, the editor did not prefix a biographical sketch of him to the new edition. '

The rich vein of Biblical knowledge which runs through. this work, is only equalled by the unaffected piety and hū. .. mility of the writer. He oftentimes throws uncommon


light upon difficult passages of scripture, and on no occasion does he'sink into common place. His sentiments are ftri&tly orthodox, and while he warms the heart by the ar. dour of his devocional reflections, he guards it carefully from the reveries of enthusiasm.

As the work is now become very scarce, and is not likely to de reprinted, I shall quote from the introductory address a passage which shews the author's view, and the spirit by which he was actuated in the composition and publication."

" As to the clergy who shall vouchsafe to peruse this work, the compiler prays leave to premise this declaration, that the publication hereof, proceeds not from any fond pretence of setting up for a teacher: His first and principal end, in ftu. dying and meditating on the Proper Lessons of our Church, was for his own .private information, and that he might be the better enabled to instruct his family. In publishing his thoughts to the world, he prays it may not be deemed an invasion of a province, which seems more properly to belong to our divines: he affects not to be wiser than his teachers; he rather acknowledges, that whatever found doctrine, or divine truths, may appear in these lucubrations, he owes them all, under God, to their instructions; and that his highest ambition is to be their Bajulus (as lord Bacon's word is), to be one of the poor Nethinim in their service, a drawer of water and a hewer of wood for the house of God. And if his weak but sincere endeayours shall ftir up any abler hand to improve or amend what is here offered and submitted to them, and for that reason ftiled an Essay) he shall esteem their admission of him as an inferior labourer under them, in building or repairing the sacred edifice of our Church, to be the greatest honour, and most ample amends for all the time and pains, and even expence, this work hath coft him." .

Mr. Wogan appears to have also written a treatise intituled “The Scripture Doctrine of Christ's Diyinity;" but this I have never seen. If any of your readers can supply a few notices of this excellent man and his writings, a consi. derable service, I apprehend, will be rendered to the cause of literature and piety.

· I am, &c.


Review of New Publications.

A View of the Evidences of Christianity at the Close of the pretended Age of Reason: in eight Sermons, preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's, in the year 180,5; at the Lecture founded by the Rev. John Bampton, M. A. Canon of Salisbury. By EDWARD NARES, M. A. Rector of Biddenden, Kent, and late Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. 8vo.

(Continued from page 56.) THE third lecture treats of the Origin of Evil, and the

1 Scriptural Account of the Fall of Man. Here the Manichean system of two principles, and the Platonic doc. trine of the necessary imperfection of matter, are successfully combated and refuted. The mythological scheme of inter. pretation which has been devised and adopted by many who admit the authority of Moses, is thus ably exposed;

“In what light then can we regard the bold assumption of the celebrated translator, (Geddes] that to acknowledge the history of the fall to be no better than “an ingenious piece of ancient mythology, and to compare Moses to Pilpay and Æsop, is by no means to weaken the authority of Scripture.” To me it appears, I must confess, not only that the authority of Scripture would be weakened by such an interpretation, but that if the history of the fall is by any means capable of such a construction, we might as well be without any Revelation at all. For, as my text expresses it, " It were better that we were not at all, than that we should live still in wickedness, and to suffer, and not to know wherefore.”

When we take a Pagan mythology to pieces, we come perhaps to something like the truth. Osiris turns out to be the sun, and Isis the moon; but the sun and moon are realities, and we are content to rest where this solution of the allegory leaves us. But let the serpent stand for our unruly appetites, and the tree of knowledge for our consciences, and what do we learn thence? Still have we to enquire, why have we unruly appetites? why do our consciences so affect us? If the serpent is supposed to be a figure only, for temptations in general, and the tree of knowledge for VOL. XIV, OO

the Chm. Mag. April 1808.

the fruits and consequences of sin, we must look further for the literal sense of these 'very things so represented by allegory : for what could operate as temptations to the Protoplasts of man? How could compliance with any desires become sin? or how could sin produce pain? Pain of conscience I mean. We must still search for evil, such evil as should induce pain of conscience, in some contradiction to an express law; otherwise remorse of conscience, and pain, and sin, are all idle words. So that if these representations of Moses are but figures, they cover no literal truths : if the account of the fall be an allegory, it is an allegory without a key. It may seem to explain present appearances, while we consent to call sin the transgression of a law ; but without the tree of knowledge there was then no law; without the serpent no temptation. Such a law as the Apostle represents to have been written in the hearts of the Gentiles by the finger of God, would in the case of the Protoplasts have been without an object. The rest of mankind must have been born, and civil society established, and property distinguished, before the first human pair could have become moral creatures, and then not the whole of the Decalogue could have applied to them. Before these events, not one law of the Two Tables could have applied to their conditions, as must be evident to any person capable of reflection.

“ Celsus then was much nearer the truth than he apprehended, when he alleged that the Mosaic history did not admit of being allegorized, or rather resolved into allegory; and his learned antagonist needed not to have been so forward to express his jealousy, that what was easily granted in the case of the Egyptian and "Grecian mythologies should be denied to the cosmogony and fall, as described by Moses : for it is certainly not a fanciful representation of the creation of man, and the origin of evil, that we want; but the exact and positive history of those events, as the first and indisputable foundations of religious and moral responsi. bility.

The variety of theories on such subjets, and the necessity of revelation upon them, are well stated ;

66 The Gospel alone may tell us what we are to do; but it is only in conjunction with the Old Testament, from which it never should be separated, that it tells us what we are. Thus connected it gives us that account of the species, which it would not only be vain, but entirely absurd to seek for otherwise. No philosophical investigation of matters can ever instruct us thoroughly either in the origin of mán, or the origin of evil. If we will not be informed of these matters historically, and I may add, in regard to the crea- ' „ tion at least, supernaturally, we must be contented to be ignorant; and what is more, we should be contented to be silent ; for surely we have great reason to complain, when metaphysicians pretend to instruct the world upon these points. If they can prove the


« PoprzedniaDalej »