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him in his own opinion; when he reflects what should be the un." blameableness of his flock, and contemplates the success of his best endeavours for them. He need not be told the faults of his bre: thren, he feels frailties enough of his own. He wants not the detail of the delinquencies of his people ;- he knows what is his own responsibility, and what has been his own exertion. If he has, haply, the applause of his own conscience for his diligent and unwearied attention to every part of his holy office; he knows, that even then, when his own heart condemns him not, he is not herein justified : he may not acquit himself: for he that judgeth him is, his master and Lord. : .6 Would to God, the charity of earth were as merciful as the judgment of heaven! Was our situation but rightly appreciated, how much less favourable would be our reception among men : how much more extensive would be the benefit of our labours to them? But let any man judge, how distressing, how discouraging it must be ; to be always speaking truth, and never to be regarded ; to be earnest for the good of others, and repaid with contempt:to be zealous for our religion, and yet derided : to be circumspect in our conduct, and still defamed : to be innocent in our amusements, and evil reported of: to be diligent in our calling, and yet lightly esteemed. The candid mind indeed will condemn such treatment as shameful and most unworthy: and he who dwelleth on high, will laugh it to scorn. Our care is to be ap. proved of by him, as his faithful stewards : and our comfort is, that his approval will bring a man peace at the last.”
This visitation sermon is dedicated to Archdeacon Coxe, at whose request it was printed, and it well merited the distinction conferred upon it by so able a judge.
A LETTER to the Right Rev. Dr. Beilby Porteus, Lord · Bishop of London, on the subject of his Citation of the Writer before the Spiritual Court, on an unfounded Charge respecting certain Doctrines contained in his Vifitation Dis course, preached before Dr. Gritton, drchdeacon of Ellex, at Danbury, July 8, 1806 By Francis STONE, M. A. Rector of Cold Norton, Efex. 8vo. pp. 42. 15. 6d. Eaton.
T HIS modest gentleman treats his diocesan very cava.
lierly for exerting himself as became his funétion in watching over the flock comınitted to his charge, and in
preserving the same from the designs of those “ wolves in theep's clothing,” who can subscribe what they do not be. lieve, and who tell the people from the pulpit that their creeds are contrary to common sense, and that the prayers they repeat are idolatrous.
The Rector of Cold Norton wishes to have the power to destroy the faith of the church; but at the same time he is very anxious to enjoy his portion of her revenues.
He clings fast io the temporal benefits of his living, and he honestly tells us that he would fain be a bishop if he could, in which case he would “ introduce a bill into parliament for the purpose of conceding to the clergy, the optional public use of two liturgies, namely, the present Trini. tarian liturgy, or a public form of prayer on the Unitarian plan, such as is used in Essex-ftreet Chapel."
This is an excessive act of liberality to one class of men, but what regard would be paid by it to a congregation of Trinitarian Chriftians who have always professed their be.. lief in the divinity of the Son of God, and trusted for sal. vation only to the merits of his atonement. Pour souls !, when their good old minister dies, and one of Mr. Stone's friends is appointed to succeed him, they are to burn their prayer books, and learn a new liturgy, the existence of which they never heard of before. Not only so; but they must get rid of their old religious notions, and no longer hope or pray for the remission of sins and the attainment of everlast. ing lifc, through the mediation and sufferings of the Redeemer.
Now ihis generous conceffion amounts to this, that the men of no religious principles are to obtain church preferment without being tied to any conditions; the unity of faith and the edification of the people must be set aside, that the . Unitarian ininifters may be provided for, out of those revenues which were originally settled for another cause, and for the maintenance of a very different set of men.
It is curious to observe in what a light manner subscription to articles of faith is treated of by this miserable sophift. Honest Will. Whiston was justly indignant with Dr. Clarke, for saying that " an assent to the Licurgy and Articles may and must be given to them in such a sense as may make them consistent with the Scriptures and with themselves; and not in such a sense as the words may most obviously signify.'* This would in fact be to quibble away all folemn declarations whatever, and to open a wide door to every kind of equivoa
cation and perjury.But Mr. Stone goes even farther than this; and is not ashamed to avow, that his prior subscription to the articles, which (by the bye) was a condition extending to his future conduct as a beneficed clergyman, does not in any degree bind him afterwards. In what school he has learnt this trick we know not, unless it be in that goodly one which taught,
That saints may claim a dispensation
To.swear and for/wear on occasion, ... and that
Oaths are but words, and words but wind,
As shadows to a substance do.
realm is only binding in proportion to its youth, and that when once an act becomes old it may be violated with ima punity. The law and morality of this Unitarian Rector are quite suitable to his gospel and his reasoning.
It is odd enough that this despiser of human authority should be eager to shelter himself under it. He quotes an anonymous pamphlet, written, as he says, by a bishop, in which it is maintained " that subscription to the thirty-nine articles is to be considered as to an old, obsolete statute, virtually, though not ipfo facto; repealed." ;
Who this prelate was ke forbears to name, nor do we think it worth while to enquire after him; the opinion he has expressed neither reflects credit upon his judgment nor his prin
ciples. A statute in forceand continually acting upon those for · whom it was made, is not old and obsolete, neither can it be said
to be virtually repealed without flatly contradi&ting the com-
Mag. Jan. 1808
tion of his assent to them, while he is resolved to preach against them as “old wives' fables.” So much for the liberal casuistry of this bishop, whoever he was, and the excellent instructions which, according to this, he gave to those who came to him for his paftoral advice, “that they might very confcientiously believe one thing and subfcribe ex animo their faith in the contrary,” merely on the ground that the statute they signed is not of modern date, but was drawn up and enacted by a set of bigoted unenlightened men, in convocation and parliament assembled, above two hun. dred years ago.
We are glad to see that Mr. Stone's former publisher has not suffered his name to appear in the title page of this scandalous, pamphlet; which shews in what estimation the.. Rector of Cold Norton's conduct is held among the conscientious men of the Unitarian persuasion.
On Singularity and Excess in Philological Speculation ; a
Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's, on Sunday, April 19, 1807. By RICHARD LAU.
RENCE, LL. D. Rector of Mersham, Kent. 8vo. pp. ? 41. 15. 6d. Rivingtons. THIS is an admirable discourse on an important subject,
1 and reflects additional credit on the learned author, whose Bampton Lectures on Calvinism have completely dea cided that controversy, and established his reputation.
In this reasonable Sermon before the same learned body, Dr. Laurence “ surveys the fingularities of those, who, in their elucidations of religious truth, have been studious of deviating from the path of vulgar observation; and, captivated by a fondness for deep research, have preferred, in some instances fanciful, in others conjectural, hypothesis to plain and solid argument." : The extravagance of " etymological speculation," is for ft -confidered, and thus ingeniously exposed.
“ It is certainly an object of importance to verify the facts and opinions recorded in the Old Testament; which cannot perhaps be better etrected, than by proving the inspiration of Moses and the Prophets, by shewing that those - holy men of God spoke as
they were moved by the Holy Ghost." And of this abundant proof, arising both from internal and external evidence of the most convincing kind, has been repeatedly urged. But there are writers, anxious to adduce a more ingenious species of tesiimony, who have had recourse to a different mode of reasoning, and have endeavoured to demonstrate the truth of Scripture by pointing out, that it was so generally received and greatly revered by all antiquity, as to have been adopted for the basis, upon which superstition raised almost the whole structure of Pagan mythology. This argument has been prosecuted with a labour, which has seldom been equalled, and with a minuteness, which perhaps has never been exceeded. All the stores of Oriental as well as Grecian literature have been explored to establish probable etymologies, Resemblances of names and characters have been studiously sought for, where none more immediately appeared; and the most trivial coincidences swelled into imaginary importance. The fancy has been stretched to the utmost, in order to apply the fable .. of the poet, and the reverie of the philosopher, to some fact, oc. currence, or doctrine recorded in the sacred Writings. Nor has conjecture been idle in supplying any little circumstance to complete a correspondence, where a deficiency of the kind existed. It signified nothing how polluted the stream of mythology might be, while it was deemed possible to ascertain the purity of the fountain, from which it was supposed to flow. Scarcely perhaps will it be conceived that the characteristics, which distinguish the god Silenus, were derived from the page of revelation; and yet a writer (Bochart) of extensive learning, and profound research, has expressly so derived them, asserting that the Heathen deity was intended to represent the divine Shiloh of Scripture, and even extending the comparison to a long string of parallels. Those who go in quest of a similitude to prove some favourite point, will easily find one; especially if their imagination be warm, and their views comprehensive ; but tortured etymologies, and equivocal allusions, although they may amuse the original discoverer, will never satisfy a cool and unprejudiced enquirer.
“ In support indeed of the theory under consideration it may be alleged, that there are many circumstances in the mythological fables of the heathens, which clearly evince a coincidence with sacred history, scarcely possible to have resulted from chance. But, while this is readily granted, and even strongly urged, we should recollect, that, by penetrating too deeply, we shall never obtain that, which is to be found only on the surface; and that, by attempting to proye too much, we expose ourselves to the harsh censure of proving nothing. In enquiries of this description, there is doubtless something fascinating, particularly to youthful and ardent minds, but little perhaps satisfactory and solid, little to. expand the intellect or convince the judgment.”