Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

of destruction did previously pos- passions, specifically distinct in sess; and from whence,

existence, different in their nature, In the Third place, It will be and superior in power to all the rationally inferred, that such an purest sublimation of chemical exerted power must be attributed alemi bics, refined secretions, or to some distinct and foreign agent. whatever constitutes the principles The resulting arguments will run of animation, have impiously exthus:

cited rebellion against his benevo1st. The life which has been lent Creator, in murdering the thus destroyed, could not have creature of bis power, which he been the agent of its own destruc- generously put into his care and tion: but the man himself is guilty possession as the source of every of the deed : whatever constitutes, sensible enjoyment; and in destherefore, the active principle in pite to the laws of his Maker and man, must be distinct in its exist. Benefactor, both natural and reence from that which has been vealed, has even rushed into the destroyed by it.

presence of his Judge with hands 2nd. The agent in this destruc- yet reeking with the tokens of his tion (as it has been proved) must guilt, where we must leave the have been a Being totally distinct traitor and return. in its existence from that which Thus, then, by a simple and has been destroyed : but the whole rational analysis of this fatal caprinciple of animation which the tastrophe in human nature, the man possessed, however exquisite destruction of the body by the in its parts, or subtle aud defined act of suicide, has afforded us an its powers, has been destroyed. additional testimony to the immaSomething, then, altogether dif- teriality of the soul to which it ferent in its nature, as well as dis- was united. tinct in its existence from any After all, it is not impossible composition of material mechan. but the Materialist, against whose ism must constitute the essential tenets the preceding arguments character of the agent; and what are designedly levelled, and for is this but Immateriality and In want of abler subterfuges, may tellect.

even introduce the doctrine of the 3rd. And lastly; The degree resurrection as a presumed antiof power possessed by the guilty thesis against the allegation of any agent in the accomplishment of real or positive destruction of the this destruction, must likewise animal system, in the event of have been superior to that of any mortality; and from the assurance previously existing power in the of a future resuscitation, may presubject that has been destroyed : maturely infer the indemonstrabibut man already proved an imma lity of our former arguments in terial, or spiritual, existence, is proof of the superiority of the this guilty agent. The power of destructive agent. his immaterial nature, then, must Such a mode of reasoning, howneeds transcend the yielding func-ever, will afford him no assistance tions of his material system. whatever'; for it must be here re

A very general inference on the collected and inforced, that in occasion is obvious. The crime pursuing the present enquiry, of suicide then is alone imputable which is altogether physical, the to the agency of that immaterial whole of our arguments, as need or mental existence in human na. ful, have been limited to the phy. ture, distinctly denominated—The sical or natural constitution of soul of man; whose perturbated man; and that, in consequence,

VOL, III,

H

the most absolute and necessary desperate paroxysms of animal qualifications of his nature could derangement. Brutes and men, only be admitted.

are alike subject to this calamity, Nothing, however, of this kind and the absence of reason in the can be rationally predicted of that one, and its disordered state in the truly miraculous interference of other, render them equally innoAlmighty power we are now al- cent of its effects, however lanienluding to, and which can only be table: and, hence, the resulting considered as a mere adjunctive disquisition, viz. to human nature, and altogether Why are external objects alone casual and circumstantial; a se- devoted to destruction by the ragcondary and voluntary interposi-ing fury of the maddened beast, tion on the part of its Maker, to whilst similar derangements in the rescue that portion of nature from human frame so frequently termia state of destruction into which it nate in suicide? had actually fallen, and wherein it The physical impracticability of would otherwise bave inevitably the event in the one case, for want remained.

of that distinct and superior ener« The resurrection of the body, gy we have been considering as then, can by no means be contem-connected with and natural to the plated as a preventive to its des- other, will easily resolve the diffitruction: on the contrary, it im- culty; and whilst it demonstrates plies the previous fact: and the the self-destruetion of the brute as physical powers of the destructive an impossibility in the natural con. agent must be investigated, inde- struction of things ; it equally pendent of any subsequent and proves the existence and characsupernatural act of restoration in ter of another principle which confavor of the sufferer,

stitutes the difference in human The above remarks, it is like- nature.

J. K. wise presumed, are not a little supported by the evidences of natural

STRIKING INCIDENT IN THE history in general.

DEATH OF A MINISTER. One animal of the brute

MR. DONISTHORPE was the tion, for instance, will destroy an

minister of a congregation of Geother, and to which nature has neral Baptists, at Loughborough, lent her sanction in furnishing them

in Leicestershire, in the year with adequate powers and appro

1774. He had been an active priate engines for the purpose. (A servant of the church for many moral lesson is undoubtedly inti- years, and had often expressed a mated by the wisdom of its di. wish that he might die, preaching rector in so permitting it; but this the gospel of salvation. On the is not our present subject :) but last Tuesday in May, of that year, where, we inquire, is the animal at the advanced age of seventythat destroys itself? The differ- two, he ascended the pulpit to deence of the species between man

liver an evening lecture, when, and brutes, implied in the nega- having prayed with his usual fertive, cannot be rationally attribut- your, he proceeded to give out a ed to the mere absenee of a moral hymn; and in reading outprinciple in the latter, an unsus

“ The land of triumph lies on high; ceptibility of guilt, and consequent his voice faultered, and he sank in indiference to the temptation: the the pulpit. He was conveyed to human species is equally safe from his house, speechless, and expired any imputation of moral evil in on the Tuesday following: --See many unhappy events of this na Mr. Adam Taylor's Hist, of Gen. ture, when originating in the more Bapt. Vol. ii. p. 158.

crea

There are no fields of battle there!"

[ocr errors]

But "

ON RASH AND UNGUARDED a man understand the doctrines of EXPRESSIONS.

the gospel, without being taught “ Ye have not spoken of me, the thing them of God? “ No man can say that is right.”

Job xlii. 2. that Jesus is the Lord, but by the “A man may believe all the Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. xii. 3. “ All doctrines of the gospel, and yet go thy people shall be taught of God.” to the devil !"- Such was the un- John vi. 45. Can a person be qualified assertion of an eminent taught of the Holy Spirit to unpreacher in this city a few Sab- derstand all the doctrines of the bath’s ago, when enforcing the gospel, and yet perish eternally? duty of gratitude. A clap of Impossible! John vii. 38, 39. thunder could not have excited in “ If thou shalt confess with thy me more astonishment than the mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe sound of the words did; and in thine heart that God hath raised having taken the carliest oppor- him from the dead, thou shalt be tunity of retiring to meditate on saved.” Rom. x. 9. It follows, the subject, I involuntarily fell therefore, that the positive pointinto the following train of thought. ed declarations of the word of

Can this assertion be true? | God, and the unqualified assertion To the law and to the testimony; 1 of the preacher, cannot hang -what say the sacred oracles ?" | together. If a person may believe all the

may not a man profess doctrines of the gospel, and yet with his mouth that which he does be lost; one of two things will not believe in his leart ?” Withunavoidably follow-either that out doubt he may. Simon Magus salvation is not of grace through professed to believe the preaching faith, or that it is absolutely of Philip (Acts viii.) but he soon necessary for a sinner to believe made manifest that he neither something more than the doctrines understood nor believed “ - all the of the gospel, in order to his Sal- doctrines of the gospel;" for had vation. But let me see what the he done that, he would never have New Testament says to both of been so mad as to attempt purthese positions. “Go ye into all chasing the FIoly Ghost for a sum the world, and preach the gospel of money. “A man may say

le to every creature; He that be- has faith”---Well, “ by their fruits lieveth (the gospel) shall be saved." ye shall know them." Let him Mark xvi. 16. These things shew by his works of what kind it (viz. the doctrines of the gospel) is. “ He that saith he knoweth were written that ye might believe God and keepeth not his comthat Jesus is the Christ, the Son mandments is a liar, and the truth of God, and that believing ye is not in him.” 1 John ii. 4. Thus might have life through his name.” the apostles taught, and thus we John xx. 31. * By grace are ye believe. • Let God be true and saved, through faithnot of works every man (who contradicts him)

any man should boast.” Eph. a liar.” See Eccles. v. 2. ii. 8, 9. “ It is of faith that, it might be by grace.” Rom. iv. 16.

The mischief done to the minds of simple If then these scripture testimonies

Christians by such unguarded expressions is be true, the assertion of the incalculable. For in so far as they are re

ceived, their natural operation is to draw off preacher must be false ! Again, let me examine this bold facts and doctrines contained in the gospel,

as a precarious, uncertain, if not insufficient declaration under 'another view. ground of hope; and for what purpose ? Why, Can a man believe that which he that they may look into their own minds, exdoes not understand? Certainly not, their own experience becomes the ground Acts viii, 80,31. Matt.xiii. 23. Can gospel and injure tlie souls of men.

lest

POSTSCRIPT BY THE EDITOR.

the attention of the hearer from the great

Theological Review.

common

sense.

Religious Liberty stated and enforced of which the following are the titles. on the principles of Scripture and Essay I. The principles on which the

in Six Essays, Christian church is founded.-II. with Notes and an Appendix. The original terms of church comBy Thomas WILLIAMS. London. munion.-III. The duty of enquiry, Williams and Son. Price 6s. bds. and right of private judgment and 8vo. pp. 228. 1816.

free discussion.-IV. The spiritual To review the writings of one who nature of Christ's kingdom. - V. has himself been long in the prac- Nature and effects of intolerance and tice of reviewing those of other men, persecution.-VI, Historic sketch of is an enterprise of such difficulty and the rise and progress of intolerance danger, that, had we not been pri- and persecution. These six Essays vileged with stronger nerves than are followed by some account of the usually fall to the lot of editors, present state, and final overthrow of we should have been anxious to de- Popery; and an Appendix, containing cline saying any thing of the volume some additional remarks on three of before us : and we are not quite sure the Essays. that, even under existing circum- It struck us, on examining the titles stances, many of our readers will not of these Essays, that the work would be induced to say that in attempting have been rendered more complete it, we display far more fortitude than had the author favoured us with a prudence. Mr. Williams, “ the learn- preliminary, Essay on a topic, not ed layman,” is a literary veteran, who unconnected with them, and of parhas on many occasions appeared at amount importance to any that he the tribunal of the public, and ob-has discussed. We beg leave to extained at their hands, the meed which plain ourselves by an extract from our is the just reward of his virtuous favourite poet : exertions to enlighten and inform his

there is a liberty, unsung fellow creatures. In the work before By poets, and by senators unprais’d, us he has undertakeu to discuss a Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the subject of no ordinary magnitude ; of Eartland Hell confed'rate take away: and it shall now be our business to A liberty, which persecution, fraud, report upon the manner in which he oppression, prisons, have no power to bind; has acquitted himself in the discharge "Tis liberty of heart deriv’d froin heav'n of it,

Bought with his blood, wbo gave it to manThere is something in the very And scald with the same token. It is held

kind, sound of the word “ Liberty," so con- By charter, and that charter sanction’d sure genial to the feelings of the human By th’unimpeachable and awful oath

And promise of a God. His other gifts mind, that a species of enchantment All bear the royal stamp, that speak them seems to entwine itself around it, his,

And are august; but this transcends them all. which has a powerful tendency to blind its votaries, and make them But waving all further remarks on often to lose sight of the just dis- this point, we proceed to something tinction between liberty and licenti- like an analysis of the Essays, which ousness. Nor is this danger con- we shall accompany with a few critifined merely to what is termed civil cal observations on the author's prinor political liberty; without due cau- ciples and reasonings. tion we may as easily be led astray

Essay I. is entitled 'Fundamental on the subject of "Religious Liberty," principles, or “ the principles in as on that which respects our exemp- which the Christian church is foundtion from political tyranny. We are, ed,” and these according to our therefore, obliged to Mr. Williams for author, are “ benevolence and love." having undertaken to discuss the In proof of this position he adduces subject, and to instruct the public Christ's new commandment to his mind upon it. How far we agree disciples to “ love one another." This with hím in his views of it, will he terms “the precept whereon the appear in the sequel.

church is founded, and the criterion The volume consists of six Essays, I by which it must be known." p. 6,7.

REVIEW OF WILLIAMS'S ESSAYS ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. 63 We fully agree with Mr. W. in all that I ii. 22—47. ch. viii. 5, 12, 35–39. ch. he advances on the importance of ix. 18—20. X. 34–48. xviii. 5–8. brotherly love and unity among the All Christ's real disciples are “ of this disciples of Christ; and are persuad-truth.” John xviii. 37. This truth ed that he is quite right in insisting they all “ believe with the heart unto upon it as a leading. (we do not say righteousness, and make confession the sole) test of discipleship. On of it with the mouth unto salvation.” this subject he might, with perfect Rom. x. 9, 10. It is upon the open safety, have gone much further than confession of this truth that they are he has done. For instance, he might called to acknowledge one another as have insisted that there can be no brethren, i Pet. i. 22. and thus it bereligion where there is no love, 1 John comes the ground of their mutual iv. 7, 8, 16. And that to profess to love; for they “ love'one another for love God, while we are destitute of the truth's sake, which dwelleth in love to our brethren, is to give the them and shall be with them for lie to our profession; for " he that ever.” 2 Jolm i. 2. loveth not his brother whom he hath 3. Love to this truth and to each seen, how can he love God whom he other for the truth's sake, is the bond hath not seen ?” ver. 20. Yet after of union among Christians, and it is all, we doubt the correctness of the the only effectual bond. Col. ii. 14. respectable Essayist, in saying that 1 Pet. iv.8. But then it is itself a fruit, " the Christian church is founded in or effect of faith--for “ taith worketh benevolence and love." It does not by love." Gal. v. 6. 1 Tim. i. 5. But all appear to us, that he hast kept his eye this goes to prove, that though the steadily fixed upon the scriptures in exercise of brotherly love is essential this statement, and the inaccuracy to justify the truth of our discipleinto which he has been betrayed, by ship, it is not the foundation on which his zeal for “religious liberty,” de- the Christian church is built. It is serves to be rectified; with a view to of much importance to set professors which, we offer to his consideration right on this subject, since a great the following remarks.

portion of the vile jargon which 1. When Simon Peter confessed abounds in the religious world takes Jesus of Nazareth to be “the Christ, its rise from mistaken views of it. the Son of the living God;" Jesus

Essay II, is intended to discuss answered and said unto him, “ bless- “ the original Terms of Church comed art thou, Simon Barjonas; for munion :” and on this subject he flesh and blood hath not revealed it seems inclined to adopt the wild unto thee, but my Father which is in theory of Mr. Robert Hall, concernheaven : And I say unto thee that ing which we have delivered our thou art Peter; and upon this rock opinion at considerable length on a {namely, the truth which Peter had former occasion, (See vol. II. p. 174– confessed concerning him as the true 178.) and until we see something, at Messiah, the Son of the living God) least plausible, advanced in opposiI will build my church.Matt. xvi. tion to our arguments, which has not 16–18. If, then, we are prepared yet been done, we think it quite unto admit the authority of Christ him- necessary to waste our pages in provself to be decisive on this point, it ing that the scriptures are far from will fo How that the truth which Péter countenancing any such visionary confessed, is the foundation of the plan of Church communion. Upon Christian church, and not “ benevo- this subject, however, the Essayist is lence and love”-for these come in not very consistent with himself. At under a different consideration than the commencement of the Essay, he that of the foundation of the church, says, “ the terms of Communion are as we shall presently shew.

the essentials of Christianity: love 2. No person was admitted to com- to Christ and obedience to his communion in the primitive churches, mands form those essentials, and are who did not confess the very same the universal characteristics of his truth that Peter did. This confes- disciples, in the New Testament.”p. sion entitled them to-baptism, and 19. But, surely, in order to love the latter to communion. For proof Christ it is necessary to know his of this, we appeal to the whole of the character, and what he hath done for Acts of the Apostles, and to all the us; nor is that all; it is also necesEpistles to the churches. See Acts / sary to believe in him, John xvii. 3.

« PreviousContinue »