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The Nonconformist. No. IX.
253 Basle Cburches,) of all co-operation vexations. The malice of his enemies or approbation of this conduct. Forty threw every impediment in his way, heads of families in his congregation though the Council were certainly bore their testimony to the worth of favourably disposed towards him; and his character and talents, and peti. it was not till 1733, that (after finally tioned for his restoration; but all was establishing the frivolousness and unavailing, and he saw himself de- falsehood of the charges brought prived at once of all means of support, against him, and the inadequacy and degraded from his clerical functions, partiality of the evidence which had and reduced to the necessity of seeking supported them, and obtaining a in a foreign land, the means of sub- complete acquittal and restitution to sistence, and the opportunity of pub. his functions) he was able to return lishing the result of his labours in to Amsterdam and take possession of a cause to which persecution and his office. opposition only contributed to attach It was no small honour to Wetstein, bim still more strongly.
and at the same time considerable He bade adieu, in 1730, to his un, proof of the idea which was entergrateful country, and to his father and tained by the Remonstrants, as to e family, whose attachment to his inte- the freedom of his religious opinions,
rests seemed likely only to involve that he should have been thus chothem in the same fate, * and sought sen to succeed such a man as Le refuge at Amsterdam, where several Clerc. of his family enjoyed a high repu.
Le Clerc had, like Wetstein, been tation in their business of printers born and brought up in a high school and booksellers, and where the gra- of orthodoxy at Geneva. The indedually expanding liberality of the pendence, however, of his mind soon Remonstrant Churches offered bim drew him from the narrow dogmas the prospect of a safe asylum from of Calvin; and the perusal of the the malice of his persecutors. Here works of such men as Curcellæus and by accident in their house, he met Simon Episcopius, led him to such with the senior pastor of the Remon- a different system of theology from strant Church
at Amsterdam, by that which was the standard of faith whom, after he had told him the in his native place, that he, like history of his persecution, and the Wetstein, found it necessary to sacriupprotected state in which he re
fice his country to the cultivation of mained, he was immediately reconi
what he considered to be truth. For mended to succeed the celebrated Le nearly half a century he had ably Clerc in the professorship of philo- discharged the duties of the Remonsophy, at their college ; but as he strant professorship, and his numerous had been publicly degraded upon the and valuable philosophic and literary records of the Basle "Church, he was labours, it is superfluous to observe, recommended, for the sake of his own abundantly prove the industry of his dignity, as well as that of the college, mind, and the liberal spirit of his to vindicate himself from the asper. theological inquiries. There is no sions thrown on his name and cha- appellation, perhaps, more descriptive racter, either by writing, or an appeal of the talents and varied labours of at once to the Council. Wetstein's Le Clerc, than that of “ the Dr. independent spirit, and the hope that Priestley of bis day,” possessing all the this would be the shortest way of independent genius and acuteness of his ending his troubles, determined him modern parallel, tempered in bis theoto adopt the latter course, and he logical pursuits, with somewhat more once more measured back his steps coolness of judgment and discretion. to Basle to renew his troubles and He was the first man who dared to
hazard what were then deemed very "Debeo mihi ipsi et amicis meis ut
bold positions on the tender subject Forum de me judicium existimationem
of the inspiration of the sacred writmean toear; debeo patri optimo Jo. Rod.ings; and the full liberty in which he Werstenio, p. m. et fratri carissimo Petro indulged in speculations on religious Wetstenio
, "mala plurima passis, quod matters, the freedom with which be causam meam meliorem semper judica- ventured to differ from the highest vissent. Prolegom. .218.
names, and draw his own conclusions
from original sources, had long stig. which he had long laboured in vain matized bim with the odious appella- to procare. tions of Socinian and beretic, while At length, in 1751, in bis 58th the approbation of such meu as Lard. year, the first volume issued from the wer, Jortin, and a succeeding series of press: it was followed in the succeedable and judicious theologians and ing year by the second; and the work critics has honoured his labours, and has ever since maintained that celeplaced bim in the first rank of those brity which its jutrinsic merit, and who dared to break through the fet- the laborious industry of its compiler, ters with which theology had been so highly deserved. shackled, by the conubined efforts of The reputation of the author was Catholic and Protestant Churches. HIQW fully established, and literary
To such a man Wetstein was con- honours poured in upon him, His sidered a fit successor, and the zeal work met every where the highest and talent with which he discharged praises. The Royal Society of Lonthe duties of his oflice, justified the don, and the Academy of Sciences of choice.
Berlin, enrolled him among their We now find him engaged in the members. He paid a visit to Basle explanation and illustration of his pre- in the succeeding year, and on the decessor Le Clerc's philosophy, and spot where he had been degraded and the Newtonian system, at the same forced to banish himself from his fatime devoting a large portion of his mily and country, was loaded with time to his great work, with only the bighiest honours, all seeking to now and then a vexatious interruption, make reparation for the injuries he which his old persecutors contrived had received. to throw in his way, as if to expose
Arrived at the sunimit of his wishes, their own malice, and stimulate him and in the full enjoyment of that reto still greater exertions in the labour putation to wbich he was so richly he had undertaken.
entitled, but which had been so long Jealous of that success which they withheld, it soon appeared that he now found themselves unable to pre- was not destined long to enjoy the vent, their malignancy could only blessings of honourable repose. A vent itself in attacks on his private disease, which close application and character, and he found it necessary, the anxiety of his mind, under the by a second public appeal to the pro- vexations he had met with, had comper authorities at Basle, to vindicate bined to aggravate, and which, it behis reputation, and put his enemies came plain, would end fatally, began to the blush, by the open testimony to make steady progress towards its which he received from the college of crisis: his constitution, though uatuthe falsehood of the charge.
rally strong, bent under the exhaus. Basle soon after made an effort to tion of bodily and mental exertion, recall him, by elerting bim Professor avd in the year 1754, only two years of the Greek language; but Wetstein from the final completion of his great was not inclined to venture amongst work, his earthly labours terminated, them, and the Remonstrants added to and be expired at Amsterdam, in the his honours that of the Professorship 61st year of his age. of Ecclesiastical [listory.
Of the great monument which he He now set hiinself in earuest to has left behind bim, his edition of the the preparation for the press of the New Testament, we have not time result of the labours of his life. No here, however interesting the subject pains or expense were spared to render might be, to enter into any minute it worthy of his name: he again went examination. The lapse of seventy over to England to examine a MS. of years has only added to the estimation the Syriac Version of the New Testa- in which it has been held, and it ment. His correspoudence on subjects stands the first as well as the best connected with this work was immense, compendium, as far as his materials and even a Cardinal of Rome (Quirini) went, of what is valuable in critical did not disdain to assist liis labours, and bibliographical learning, is well and furnish him with the collections as in copious illustration from the of the MS. of the Apocalypse, in the fathers, the Rabbinical writers, and possession of the Mouks of St. Basil, the critics of all ages, of the meaning The Nonconformist. No. IX.
255 of the text. Of his canons or rules bid us to suppose that he could have for estimating the value of various followed the dastardly counsels of his readings, it is no mean praise to say tutor and persecutor Frey,* and conthat such a man as Griesbach, with cealed his sentiments, if, after being the light of another century around excited to a direct examination into him, has done little more than remo- the question, (which hardly appears del what he laid down; and it is no to have been the case,) he had been small token of bis liberality and free. convinced of the truth of the heretical dom of investigation, that he should tenets which were laid to his charge. first have ventured to affirm, that, in At the same time, it is quite evident adjusting the balance between two that his Trinitarianism, if it existed at readings, the most orthodox ought all, was of a very different sort from to bear the character of suspicion. that of the Basle ministers. It seems
Of his nerits as an expounder of to approach much nearer (if, indeed, it Scripture, and his religious opinious, was any thing but) Arianism; for when (subjects which seem considerably the interpretations which he has not connected,) something may be said. scrupled to put upon many passages, Treading in the footsteps of Locke, mainly relied upon for the support of Newton and Le Clerc, of whom he the doctrine of the Trinity, are con. always speaks with the bighest vene- sidered, it is difficult to conceive that ration and applause, he was well he or any one else could, if they had aware, that there was a much sounder set themselves deliberately to the task, systein of exposition and illustration have made out that doctrine from of the sacred writiugs, than that which what was left. had been till their and his time the With the Socinians, Wetstein and acme of theological criticism, and his Remonstrant friends had no im. consisted in heapiny up classical illus- mediate connexion; they were in no trations, and retailing the comments way brought together in the defence of grammarians and sophists: he kuew of the same cause; io many respects that to throw light upon the meaning they differed, and an unealled-for proof the Scripture, he must go to those fession of co-operation, would at that authors from whom information could time have only prejudiced that cause be derived as to the manners, ideas and which was gradually, but securely language of the persons by whom making its way. They avowed themthey were written, and for whose in. selves the followers of no peculiar struction they were intended; and ac- theological system, contenting themcordingly, though, to accommodate selves with encouraging in all a free the mere scholar, he has collected an and liberal spirit of inquiry, uno immense quantity of parallels for every shackled by the fetters of bigotry and word and expression, from Greek and dogmatism, not doubting that the Latin authors, sacred and profane, yet result would be honourable to themthe peculiar merit of his annotations selves, and advantageous to the inis the industry and judgment with terests of true religion. which the best and earliest sources of Whatever the peculiar opinions of information in every department, are Wetstein were, no one can help adsought for and brought to bear. miring the candid, gentle and liberal Those who have read his notes can- spirit of his writings, though treated not fail to have remarked and admired with the harshest epithets and the the character of solidity, candour and bitterest animosities. He is ever impartiality which they bear, although on some points they may wonder that he stopt short on the threshold of
Alio vero tempore de eadem questruth.
tione loquens dicebat, se non videre, quid That Wetstein always disavowed
impediat quo minus quis, et privatim et the charge of Socianism, and, indeed, discedał; cautius tamen et prudentius
publicè, à sententia Synodi Dordracenæ all acquaintance with the works of its facturum, si tacito Arminianorum, Epissupporters; that several of his potes copii, Curcellæi, et Limborchii nomine, have an orthodox tendency cannot be se cum H. Grotio, aut tum præstantissimis disputed; and the indency and Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ theologis in hâc re fearless honesti
ter, for- sentire profiteatur.--Prolegom. 192.
AND REFLECTIONS MADE IN A COURSE OF GENERAL READING.
ready to do justice to an opponent, GLEANINGS; OR, SELECTIONS
Toleration Obsolete. handed down as amiable, as his writ. The mind of man outgrows doc. ings would bespeak him. To his trines and sentiments, as a child does family be seems always to have been its clothes. A century and a half ago, warmly attached, and certainly amply philosophers and liberal statesmen fulfilled the prophetic blessing with contemplated nothing better for a which his uncle had hailed him when community, divided in religious opian infant at the baptismal font: nion, than Toleration. Before their Augeat bic patus felici gaudia nostra
generous scheme was fully accomOmine, sit patriæ gloria magna suæ !
plished, it began to be seen that Tole
ration had a tincture of evil; that Passionately attached to his studies, whilst it mitigated the practice, it he still joined with warm delight in recognized the right, of persecution. the sober pleasures and amusements of lu principle, Toleration is at variance social intercourse. Strangers Aocked with Liberty, without which no paaround him from all parts, attached triot, no philanthropist, no enlightto him by the simplicity and benevo- ened Christian will rest contented. lence of his manners, as well as by the It is a question of curiosity, to depth of his learning, and the libe. whom we are indebted for the first rality with which he imparted it. To public expression of this sentiment, young students, and indeed to all who now, happily, so common! Do we stood in need of his advice or assist- owe it, with other signal benefits, to ance, he was easily accessible, and de. the French Revolution? lighted in readily imparting every aid Rabaud de Saint Etienne, a Protesthat it was in his power to afford. tant minister, thus declared himself He lived to see his favourite work, in the National Assembly of France, the labour of his life, the cause, per- August 27, 1789: haps, of all his vexations, but also the " It is not for Toleration that I source of all his pleasures, launched plead. As to intolerance, that sarage into the world, and honoured with word, I hope that it is expunged, for the unanimous approbation of the ever, from our anuals. Toleration learned; and in this, the completion suggests the idea of pity, which deof all his wishes, the happy consum- grades the dignity of man; but Liberty mation of bis foudest hopes, he sunk ought to be the same in favour of all into the tomb, after an illness, the the world." certain termination of which had been long before his eyes, but which he
No. CCCXLV. bore with the same mild and resigned Free and Slavish Writers. tranquillity of disposition, which had Writers who possess any freedom supported him through all the trials of mind (says the Author of the Hisof a laborious and troubled life. tory of the Decline and Fall of the
E. T. Roman Empire, in his Vind. of xv.
and xvi. chaps.) may be known from Speaking of Castalio, he says, “ Sal- of their style and sentiments; but the
each other by the peculiar character tem quod ad ine attinet malim legere scrip- champions who are enlisted in the tum visi docti et pii, meæ sententiæ OPP0situm, quam scriptum hominis mali et
service of authority, commonly wear indocti pro mea sententia editum. A tali the uniform of the regiment. Opadversario semper aliquid discimus pressed with the same yoke, covered occasionem probet-modestius rectiusque with the same trappings, they heavily judicandi."--Tom. II. 804.
move along, perhaps not with an equal pace, in the same beaten tract of prejudice and preferment.
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Art. l.–Sermons, chiefly on Practical mental Duties of Religion.
VIII. On Subjects. By E. Cogan. In Twu Perseverance in a Christian, Course. Volumes. Svo. pp. 530 and 526. IX. Faith the Principle of a Christian's Mawman. 1817.
Life. X. On the Vices of the Tongue. R. COGAN is well known as XI. On the Duty of the Young to
a profound scholar, an acute remember their Creator. XII. On reasoner and an elegant writer. Hav- the Pursuit of Happiness. XIII. On ing, at the close of the year 1816, the Obligation to imitate Good Exresigned the pastoral charge of the amples. XIV. On the Goveryment congregation of Protestant Dissenters, of Anger. XV. On the Fear of God. assembling in the Old Meeting House, XVI. On the Spirituality of the WorWalthamstow, which he had held for ship of God. XVII. On the Quessixteen years, he was requested by his tiou, What is Good for Man. XVIII. friends to print a selection of his Ser. On the Misapplication of Words. mons, and the publication before us XIX. On Accountableness to God was made in compliance with their for the Use of Privileges.' XX. The request.
Progress of Christianity, an Argument The Sermons are Forty-Six in num- of its Truth. XXI. On Submission ber, Twenty-Three in each Volume. to God. XXII. On the Inequality of The Contents are as follows:-Vol. I. the Divine Dispensations. XXIII. Ser. I. On Future Life and Immor. On the Hope of Immortality. tality. II. On the Benevolence of On the first perusal of these Titles the Deity. Ill. On the Importance in succession, we were struck with of Moral Rectitude. IV. On the the sameness of several of the subjects; Origin and Benefit of Affliction. V. and we must confess, that in going On Perseverance in a Virtuous Course. through the volumes we have freVI. On Benevolence. VII. On the quently felt the like impression. But Servitude of Vice. VIII. On the we have also been agreeably surprised Security of a Virtuous Course. ix. in some instances to find, under nearly On the Influence of Religion in Sea- the same heads, if not different subsoos of Joy and Grief. X. On the jects, yet subjects very differently Vanity of Riches. XI. On the Ex. treated. Mr. Cogan has not, in fact, ample of Christ. XII. On a Faithful done justice to himself; for by a more Adherence to Christ. XIII. On the studied, and with regard to a few Brevity of Human Life. XIV. On sermons we think a more appropriate, the Connexion between Theism and wording of his subjects, he might Christianity. XV. On the Providen. have obviated the objection. This, tial Government of God. XVI. On however, is only one proof out of Devotion. XVII. On Resignation to many of his entire artlessness, and of the Will of God. XVIII. On the the manly simplicity of his mind. The Value of Religious Knowledge. XIX. Ars concionandi never appears in his On Christian Self-Denial. XX. Re- compositions. His sermons consist ligion the Best Philosophy. XXI. of his own thoughts on serious subOn the Termination of a Christian jects, expressed in the readiest, and Course. XXII. On Christian For- therefore generally the best, language. bearance. XXIII. On the Duty of They are a true picture of his mind; seeking those Things that are Above, that is, of a mind of great powers, -Vol. II. Ser. I. On the Resurrection long exercised upon the great ques. of Christ. II. Moral Rectitude alone tious relating to the constitution and acceptable to God. III. On the Ex- destiny of the human being. ercise of Ambitious and Malignant
In bis Farewell Sermon, the last Passions. IV. On the lofluence of of the Second Volume, the preacher Christianity. V. On Religious Zeal. explains his uniform object in the VI. On Acquiescence in the Disposals pulpit, which was to promote pracof Providence. VII. Op the lostru- tical Christianity. His primary wish