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with those who at that time claimed the denomination of orthodox, and he appears to have been an adept in that kind of divinity: but, which is far more important, he also appears earnestly folicitous to advance the true interest of his hearers. Learned and skilful he certainly was; and we apprehend he acted conformably to the noble dictates of virtue, integrity, and goodness.
We meet with one long letter on the subject of the Trinity, in which are a few singular things : but we particularly remark his declaration, that they, who believe the fcriptures, agree,
that, if it be not impossible, it is sufficiently revealed.' Now the great stress of the objection, as to the present day at least, seems to rest here, that the scriptures, when fairly examined and candidly explained, contain no such revelation.
In another letter relative to diflenters from the church of England, we find a liberality of sentiment; and some intimations, if we mistake not, that established forms and customs might be considerably amended but who pleads for the infallibility of human ordinances ?
The editor of this volume concludes the account of his ancefor in this manner :
· Thus I have endeavoured to draw a likeness of the Doctor in miniature ; nay, indeed, I have studied to make him his own biographer ; though I know many people do not approve this method of writing lives, as not being fufficiently didactic, nos admitting that favourable point of view in which most readers exped an editor to place his fubject; yet, on the other hand, if it does not give a lattering likeness, it is more likely to give an exact one, as being drawn from the original. But whether it be to or not, I leave to the connoiffeur to determinc.'
We must now take some notice of the fermons ; concerning which, however, we have not much to offer. They are of the old puritanical kind; they have an air of seriousness and earneftnefs adapted to engage attention and to accomplish good purposes ; they wear the marks of sense and ingenuity in the author, and of his powers of persuasion; they present pertinent and useful observations, and some that will not fail to strike the reader's mind with considerable force: but the di. vifions are tedious, and at times obscure; and the distinctions are nice, if not unsatisfactory or unintelligible, perplexed with (cho. lastic terms, and tinctured with those notions of religion, and of the divine government, which, in these days, would be thought more likely to turn men from all care and concern about their duty to God, and their own fafety, than to lead them to a wife and due degree of thoughtfulness and diligent endeavour to work out their own salvation.
- It is rather curious, (how far it is instructive, let the reader determine,) to observe our author addressing his audience in this manner :
• In a synthetical way, I might recommend to you in order subjeEluin, principia, et affecius: but, to avoid the confufion of too many lubdivisions, you may briefly observe these particulars in their order; Motor, Merio, Mobile, Motus, Via, et Terminus, (p. 85.) which agree exactly with the order of nature and the construction of words in the text.'
The text is, Draw me, we will run after thee *. There are other specimens of a like kind in the volume, (and which are allo specimens of the fashion of preaching in those days,) but we think none fo remarkable as this. Lest we should be deemed partial, we will here add a few lines which may be thought more worthy of a preacher, when he says,
• 'To profess religion towards God, and at the same time to walk dishonestly towards man, is to give ourselves the lie : " He that faith he loves God, and yet at the same time hateth his brother, is a liar.” It is a shame for men, while they would seem re. ligious, to fail in morality-while they would be thought eminent in grace, to come short of what even nature would teach them. To make great profession of religion, without producing fruit answerable thereunto, is much like the tree which Pliny speaks of, that had leaves as broad as a shield, but fruit scarcely so large as peas.'
Little narrations and allufions are occasionally and pertinently introduced: but though we meet with such practical remarks and exhortations as that which we have just given, the sermons, for the chief part, are rather of that sort which is termed doetrinal.
We agree with Mr. De Coetlogon, who writes a recommendatory preface to this volume, that it contains the fentiments espoused by many, not all, of the Reformers; and that it certainly accords with that code of doctrine prescribed, by act of parliament, for teachers in the church of England: but when he declares his apprehension, that ignorance and absurdity alone can deny their concurrence with the Holy Scriptures, we cannot but withhold our affent, submit to Mr. De Coetlogon's censure, and rank with the ignorant and absurd, rather than subscribe to those representations of the Supreme administration, which appear to us, though not so intended, liable to the charge of profaneness.
We have already paid our willing tribute of respect and applause to the memory of Dr. Wallis : but though we esteem him, as wife and good, and respect him as an eminent, nay, a great mathematician, we must regard him as an indifferent logician in divinity, as far as any judgment can be formed * Canticles, chap. i. 4.
from these sermons; and for this defect we can easily account, from his being tied down to a system, the system of Calvinism, considered by numbers as the voice of Scripture and of God and by which, therefore, they interpret the Bible.
.The discourses, however, will prove acceptable to many readers; and from respect to the editor, as a descendant of Dr. Wallis, though unknown to us, we wish they may meet with a liberal reception from the public. It has been intimated to us, that he is in narrow circumstances, owing to his father having been difinherited from the Pynsent estate. This fact, when made known to the great family now in possession of that eftate, may possibly meet with attention :-may the result prove advantageous to him!
ART. XIX. Sketches and Hints of Church Hipory, and Theological
Controversy, chiefly traoflared and abridged from modern foreign Writers. By John Erkine, D. D. one of the Ministers of Edinburgh. 12mo.
Pp. 307. 35. Boards. IN n Dr. Erskine's own words, the chief design of the fol
lowing sheets is to impart to others the entertainment and instruction which I have received from foreign writers, as to the history of the carliest ages of Christianity, and the prefent state of religion and theological controversy.' We approve the Doctor's design, and we commend his work; though we cannot compliment him on his zeal for ecclesiastical efta. blishments; nor conclude, as he in effect seems to do, that opinions must be right, because they have received the fanction of human authority. Neither can we perceive any real, nor probable, connection between some part of what is termed Arminian doctrine, or indeed Unitarian and Socinian principles, and the return and prevalence of Popery. We can more easily allow a danger of this kind, if a total want of real principle and piety should be prevalent, or when a spirit of mere diffipation, or ignorant zeal for what bears the name, though not the nature, of religion, are encouraged; and yet more if governors and statesmen are inclined to despotism; when this is the case, they can find no engine better fitted to the purpose, than that which is furnished by superstitious tenets.
Among the extracts from German writers, (and German writers are principally quoted,) we find some accounts of the Ex-Jesuits, as they are called; particularly those who are said to be settled in great numbers under the protection of the Empress, in White Rullia : many connected with them, we are here informed, are spred under different characters, in all countries; and, in a variety of forms, insinuate themselves into
and intermix with every class of society. If there be truth in this, it behoves the people to be on their guard.
To a mind of any discernment, if not overwhelmed by bi. gotry and superstition, it must be astonishing to observe, (as we may
in some parts of this volume,) the nonsense, folly, and blasphemy, which the priests of Popery have vended, even in later years ; and it is yet more astonishing that such absurdities Thould be received with any kind of patience : at the same time it may also occasion surprize, but of an agreeable and pleasing nature, to learn that many publications have appeared favour able to reason, truth, religion, and liberty; and that some of these have Roman Catholic authors. One memorable instance of the latter kind is afforded by Koltner, a Franciscan, who pub. lithed a fermon at Vienna, replete with virtuous truth :-but, it is added, - Koltner's honeft zeal has been rewarded with the loss of his office as teacher of ecclesiastical law, and with persecution.' Several of these relations are given, in a chapter of selections from Dr. Seiler's German Literary Journals, 1776 -1778.
Though this work is composed principally from foreign materials, yet to make extracts from a book of extrašis, does not well accord with the nature of our Review; beside which, tome account of the originals have, in different ways, been offered to the public. We cannoi, however, refrain from taking some notice of a translation from the Spanish, of GAR. CIAS's Guide to eternal happiness, concerning which we are gravely and wisely informed, that eight days religious retirement, and following the exercises here prescribed, will procure eighe thousand degrees of grace and glory.'-Farther, among the pious emotions recommended, are thanks to God for damning Julian, Mahomet, Luther, and Calvin.'-An anonymous piece, by a Roman Catholic, printed at Francfort in 1784, contains many sensible remarks on ecclefiaftical imposition and craft :--among others, we notice the following short sentence: « Good sense has forced itself into palaces, and monarchs entertain just and liberal sentiments of the rights of mankind, and of the limits of religious zeal. But how long will this light shine ?'-If the remark be true, as we heartily wish it may be, we rejoice; we wish also, and we would willingly hope, that it may long continue, and greatly improve !-We will just add to the above, a few lines of a remarkable passage from Helvetius de l'Homme, fect. 4. C. 21.-" There is one only case, where toleration may be highly hurtful to a nation. That case is, when a nation tolerates an intolerant religion; and such a religion is the Catholic. When their religion becomes powere ful, it will shed the blood of its thoughtless protectors, and as a
serpent, poison the bosom which cherished it. The interest of German princes fempts them to Popery, as affording beneficial offices to their families and friends. When they embrace Popery, they will constrain their subjects to embrace it allo; and if for this purpose they must shed human blood, human blood they will shed.'
This little volume is chiefly confined to obfervations on the ancient and modern state of Christianity, &c. : but we meet with one short chapter on the poems of Offian; in which the author infills on a remarkable resemblance that the Song of the Bards over Cuchullin bears to the Lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan. The book concludes with an account of some different denominations of Christians in North America.
Art. XX. A Reply to the Rev. Dr. Priestley's A peal to the Public,
on the Subject of the late Riots at Birmingham, in Vindicacion of the Clergy and other respectable Inhabitants of the Town. By the Rev. Edward Burn, M. A. 8vo. pp. 125. 28. Bald. win. 1792 Aupi alteram partem is the motto that Mr. Burn has chosen;
and to all controversies, in which the passions of men, as in the present instance, are excited into violent a&tion, it may with the utmost propriety be prefixed. When our readers confider how easily facts, or parts of facts, may be omitted, overlooked, or mil-fated ; and how differently different men, furveying the same occurrences through media variously coloured by their respective interests, habits, or prejudices, will describe and argue on them; they will perceive the neceslīty of hearing opposite ftarements, if they wish to acquire any accuracy of knowlege. Dr. Priestley, whose“ Appeal to the Public" we have already noticed *, and which, on the whole, must be al. lowed to do him credit, has been too great a sufferer by the Birmingham riots to be admitted as a calm and dispassionate historian. “ Some natural tears," he may be supposed to have dropped on the recording page, and some portion of regret and resentment must have clung about his mind, which, in spite of all his philosophy and religious principles, may probably, at times, have seduced him from the path of folid evidence, found reasoning, and Christian candour. With respect to the clergy, we apprehended that this was indeed the case, as we intimated in our Review of the “ Appeal ;” nor could we imagine that the party accused would remain silent under the feveral charges
* See Monthly Review, New Series, vol. vii. p. 286.