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RELIGIOUS and CONTROVERSIAL. Art. 25. A copious Comment on Pfalm LXVIII. In which Sal:
varion by David, the Type of Mefliah, is preached to all Nations, Tongues, and Tribes, and Peoples. With Stri&tores on Ainfo worth, Calmet, Vitringa, Bythner, Bishop Lowth, Professos Michaelis, De Muis, Merrick, and other Writers on this Psalm. Svo. 4 s. 6 d. Boards. Wilkie, &c.
A very mystical performance, tending, in our opinion, rather to obscure than explain the pfalm on which it is written. Far be it from us to say, that there is nothing typical of the Chriftian scheme in the ancient Jewish ceremonial, &c. but this learned writer would bewilder us in a perplexing, endless labyrinth, where troch may be fought without aitaining any certainty or satisfaction. But we will dismiss the subject, left we expose ourselves farther to the censures of this Author, avho says concerning Calmet, that he “ has learning enough for an hundred fcholars, without one glimpse of spiritual knowledge." Art. 26. A Calm Reply to the First Part of Mr. De Courcy's Ree
joinder, as far as it relates to the Scriptural Mode of Baptism. By Joseph Jenkins, A. M. 12mo. 15. Wrexham printed, and sold bị Keith, &c. in London. 1778.
A short account of the Rejoinder is to be found in the fifty-eighth volume of our Review, p. 321, The different antagonises which have appeared against Mr. De Courcy, seem to give some importance to his work. Mr. Jenkins, who here enters the lifts, may be fometimes a little warm, but he is not chargeable with that fcurrility which writers on this subject have too often discovered. Mr. De Courcy has no doubt been provoked ; yet his own manner of writing has sometimes afforded an unhappy advantage to his opponents. The author of the Reply is not defitute of sense or learning ; but the fame observations which are offered on each side have been frequently repeated. The principal inference from the controversy, is, that each party should cultivate moderation and candour, and endeavour to regard one another as good chriitians, though they do not exactly agree concerning the mode of baptifm. Art. 27. A Letter to the Rev. Benjamin Fawcett, M. A. Oc
cafioned by his Pamphlet, intitled, Candid Reflections on the different Manner in which the Learned and Pious have expressed their Conceptions concerning the Doctrine of the Trinity" 8vo. 6 d. Buckland. 1779.
The intentioc of Mr. Fawcett's pamphlet appeared to have been very worthy of a chriltian minifter. We should have hoped, that all considerate persons would agree in the necellity of exercising moderation and charity on a subject, concerning which, the wife and vir. tuous in every age have entertained a variety of opinions. We do nor recollect that Mr. Faweéto writes with severity. When, indeed, he cenfures a bigotted, uncharitable fpirit, it may excite a degree of warmth not wholly improper; or he may poflibly be sometimes off bis guard; but we apprehend, he is far from condemoing any for the lentiment they embrace on the topic in quetion. The pamphlet before us, charges himn with the wapt of that candour for which he Icems to plead, and produces passages which are supposed to prove it: but it is to be observed, that sentences, or parts of sentences, detached from a work, and intermingled with reflections by another writer, may assume a very different air, and appear to imply what was far from the author's defign. It is not, however, our business to enter into the dispuce. Tbus much seemed due to justice; and we will add, that persons engaged in religious controversy are apt to forget that diftinction, which ought to be always kept in view, between forms and phrases of man's device, and the declarations of Scripture. We have not seen any thing in this performance, that should induce us to alter our judgment of Mr. Fawcete's defigo and prevailing sentiment; and surely the confideration of that uncertainiy, perplexity, and variety, in which the pious and the learned, as well as the bigotted and the weak, have been involved, on the point immediately alluded to, is sufficient to teach us, that we ought to be humble, diffident, and candid, in this as well as in all other instances.
For Mr. Fawcett's “ Candid Reflections, &c.” See Review, vol. lvij. p. 333. Also vol. lix. p. 234. Art. 28. Three Sermons, entitled, 1. Liberty, when used as a
Cloke of Maliciousness, the worst of Evils. II, The Evil of Rebellion, as applicable to American Corduct, considered. III. Great Britain oppreßling America, a groundless Charge. Preached on the Three preceding Fast Days, appointed to be observed on account of the American Rebellion ; in che Parish Churches of Twyford and Ouzlebury, Hampire. By Cornelius Murdin, M. A. Vicar. 4to.
Baker. 1779. Mr. Murdin very justly observes, that a minister of the gospel has much better fubjects to employ his time about than those above mentioned, and acknowledges, it is with some reluctance that he has deviated into the thorny path of politics. Possibly the time allotted to this deviation, might have been more usefully employed in perfuading his hearers to repentance of their fins, and the iteady practice of piety and virtue. Many objections may be made to his political creed and discussions : if he allows himself to read and think on the other side, he may perhaps find it difficult to defend all his asfersions: but however that is, Mr. Murdin appears to be an honest, well-meaning writer, who, . if he errs, does not do it wilfully, or to serve a private purpose.' We could hearlily join with him in the wish, that the cruel messenger of war fent against the Americans, may be speedily changed into a messenger of peace and reconciliation, and that harmony and concord may be speedily restored to these divided nations. Art. 29. A Charge, delivered in the Lodge of True Friend
ship, in Bulwark-Street, Dover, on the Feitival of St. John the Evangelift, December 27, 1778, and published at the Defire of the faid Lodge. By the Reverend Brother James Smith, Vicar of Alkham, in Kent, and Author of “ The Errors of the Church of Rome detected.” 400. rs. Canterbury, printed; London, fold by G. Robinson. 1779.
As we have not the honour to belong to the fraternity of FreeMasons, we can say little or nothing concerning the royal craft. A brother, a reverend brother, here appears to extol the institution,
wbich he does with great zeal, and, for aught we know, with troth and justice. But we, who are uninitiated, can say nothing concern. ing those folemn, awful, and instructive scenes, where at which only the faithful brother can be present, and which, it is added, raise in our minds the most useful and sublime ideas, mixed with the purest delight.'
While this reverend brother speaks most highly of the dignity and utility of the order into which he has been admitted, he at the same Lime, delivers much good advice concerning the spirit and behaviour which every member of this body should endeavour to preserve and cherish.
For our account of Mr. Smith's book, entitled, The Errors of the Cburcb of Rome detected, see Review for December 1777, p. 472.
SERMONS. J. Preached in the Church of St. Michael, Cornbill, Feb. 10, 1779.
Being the Day appointed for a General Falt. By Robert Pool Finch, D. D. Rector of that Parish. 4to. I s. Rivington.
In this sensible discourse, the preacher laments the degeneracy of the times; and earnestly exhorts his heaters to repentance and reformation. The Doctor writes well; but when he talks of • eftablijk. ments granting and extending toleration at difcretion, and as circumStances require ;' and of authority relaxing or tightening the reins, as its own discerning eye fees fit ;'-we think he is rather fond of mani feling his zeal for political orthodoxy, and high-flown ecclefiaftica! claims. Il. At the primary Visitation of the Right Reverend Beilby Lord
Bishop of Chefter, in the Cathedral Church, Aug. 13, 1778. By Thomas Townson, B. D. Rector of the Lower Mediety of Malpas. 4to. I S. Chester, printed, and sold by Bachurft in London.
The text of this discourse is Luke iv. 32. And they were afonifted at bis doctrine, for his word was with power. The reflections which are here made on the matter and manner of our Lord's preaching, are sensible and judicious, ingenious and edifying ; and the ftyle is easy and agreeable. III. The Coming and Enlargement of the Kingdom of God: At Salter's
Hall, April 28, 1779, before the Correspondent Board of the Society in Scotland (incorporated by Royal Charter) for propagating Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands, and for spreading the Gospel among the Indians in America. By Thomas Toller. Published at the Request of the Society, &c. 8vo. 6d. Buckland. 1779.
Pious, fenfible, and well composed. The text, Thy kingdom come. The preacher brings convincing proof of the importance and utility of that institution, which he recommends to charitable regard. He pleads for the free exercise of religion, and manifests a liberality and
candor of sentiment becoming a christian minifter. At the same - time, he shews, that the extensive dissemination of popery, and the . alarming influence of popish emissaries, are objects worthy the serious attention of this fociety.
IV. Preached at Truro, before a Provincial Grand Lodge of Free
Accepted Masons, on the Festival of St. John the Baptift. By the Rev. Cornelius Cardew, M. A. Master of the Grammar School, Truro. 8vo. 6 d. Richardson, &c.
This fermon treats of the excellencies of love and free masonry: the former, as the apofle says in the text, is the fulfilling of the law,' and the latter, as Mr. Cornelius Cardew says, is a moral fcience:' and that one principal end of the inftitution, is the cultivation and improvement of the polite arts and sciences.' • Indeed, fays he, we boaft, and I apprehend on good grounds, that it has, through a long series of ages, contributed to dispel the gloom of ignorance and barbarism.' But though free masonry hath taught Mr, Cardew to talk about those tellere, or waich-words, which coas stitute a kind of universal language, by which he can distinguilh a brother in any part of the world yet ic hath not instructed him in making choice of the best language for the pulpit : and though order and proportion are pretended to be the alpha and omega of this moral fcience ; yet there is a sentence in Mr. Cardew's fermon, which is out of all order, and can only be reduced to regularity, by beginning where he hath, like a bungling mason, ended it. • Love beginning,' says he, • with the nearer relations of parent, brother, friend, and neighboar, and all the tender charities of domestic life, as it goes on to enlarge its circle, embraceth by degrees, within its comprehensive grasp, not only the whole human race, and every order of spiritual intelligence, but takes every creature in of every kind, and at last centers in the great Author of all existence.' So this circle, as it enlarges, comes at last to a centre! We thought free masonry taught, at least, gesmetry among the other arts and sciences, of which, the preacher tells us, it may make so confident a boalt.' But we will charitably help him to a very great authority to countenance his error in mathema tics. It is no less than that of Dr. Sacheverel himself, who, in his famous fermoo at St. Paul's, makes two parallel lines meet in a centre ! Q. E. D. V. The Doarine of Divine Influence on the Human Mird. Considered
in a Sermon, pablished at the Request of many Persons who have occasionally heard it. By Joseph Priekley, LL. D. F. R. S. 8vo. I S. Johnson. 1779.
In this discourse, the Author opposes the doctrine of fovereign and irrefiftible grace, the new and miraculous birth, or the possibility of inftantaneous converfion, as being altogether unscriptoral and deceitfal. He founds his opposition to the pretenfions of those empirics in religion, who maintain the immediate agency of the Deity on the minds of men, on the parable of the fower ; which may be considered as a prophecy, verified by all bistory, as well as by daily observation; and in which our Lord compares himself and his apoftles to persons who merely scatter good feed promiscuously, or without distinction of places or soils; that is, whether they be well or ill adapted to receive it and bring it forth; and who do not alter the previous quality or condition of the soil itself.
This parable accordingly inculcates this important truth ;_' Thac all the benefit we are aui horised to expect from the gospel, arises from the natural effect that the great truths and motives of it are calculated to produce upon the mind; that the interpofition of the
Divine Being, in the dispensation of the gospel, confifts folely in imparting these truths, and suggesting those motives, and not at all in giving any supernatural efficacy to the truths or motives after chey are presented.
To what end has been the whole apparatus of revealed religion,' says the Author, ' if moral impressions were made upon men's minds by an immediate divine agency?'-Why were the miracles of Moses and Christ performed, by which a sanction was given to their characters and doctrines; if the Divine Being fill found it necessary, after all this, to produce the effects intended by these miracles, through his own immediate agency on the minds of those who had been wit. nesses 'to, and spectators of, these miracles? This last miraculous and immediate interposition of the Divine Being, must make the former miracles unnecessary and superfluous.
• We read,' says the Author, of our Lord's giving light to the blind, limbs to the maimed, and the use of reason to those who were deprived of it; but never of his giving a found mind, in a moral sense, to those who were deftitute of that. For this, though the greatest of all purposes, he made use of nothing but instruction and admonition. He used no other means, either to disarra the malice of his enemies, or to correct the imperfections of his belt friends. Otherwise Judas would never have betrayed him, por would Peter have denied him.'
The Author enforces this doctrine by the parable of the fig-tree; to which our Lord likewise compares human nature. In this parable, the quality of the tree is not represented as liable to be altered, otherwise than by the natural effects expected to be produced, by digging round it, and dunging it. In both these cases, the improvement of man is not described as effected by the divine power immedi. ately acting on his mind; but through the medium of certain natural means, external to the mind, and adapted to produce that end, according to the usual and uniform course of nature; that is, by the natural influence of motives operating upon it.
Such is the do&rine intended to be inculcared in this discourse; in which the general agency of the Divine Being on the minds of men is maintained to be real and conitant; but not immediate, that is, miraculous. To encourage the latter opinion, or that of a super natural influence on the mind, is to encourage an en:husiasm, and, in some cases, a dangerous delusion, leading men co negle the natural and only efficacious means of improving their characters, and to depend on certain Supernatural impulses and feelings, of vague and uncertain description, and that cannot have any relation to moral virtue,' VI. Preached at the Chapel in Deal, on the Festival of St. John the
Baptift, June 24, 1779, before the Provincial Grand Lodge of Kent, and published at their Request. By ihe Reverend Brother, James Smith, Vicar of Alkham in Kent, and Author of The
Errors of the Church of Rome decected, &c, 8vo. 6 d. Wilkie.
We fincerely congratulated and honoured Mr. Smith, when, under the power of full conviction, le separated himself from the church of
. Vide Rey, for Dec. 1777. p. 472.