Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

more venerable, more lovely amidst its tears, than in all the pride and pageantry of bridal magnificence.'

Whether these high expressions of panegyric and condolence be well-founded, we presume not to say. Though we commiserate the condition of individual sufferers, condemn the violence of many of those measures of which they have just reason to complain, and lament the dissemination of infidelity in those countries in which error and superstition generally prevailed, we confess that, as Protestants and believers in revelation, we have not been accustomed to contemplate that church, which is part of an antichristian system, and to the gradual and total overthrow of which the prophecies of Scripture direct our views, with a very great degree of veneration and esteem.

In the sermon on the Creation, the author comprehends a variety of subjects very remotely connected with the text; for he not only considers the history of the world-perfect in its çreation'- but also thrown into confusion by sin-renewed by the divine mercy in Christ-and now waiting the last awful doom.-' Whether the sentiment that occurs in the following passage be not exceptionable, let the reader judge:

• We say, “ under the guidance of the word of God,” because we know no other way by which understanding is given to man. Nor do we consider this as the debasement,

but, on the contrary, as the highest exaltation of human reason. The invisible things of him are from the creation of the world clearly seen-and why? because God hath shewed them. In this consists the real dignity of our nature, that its powers are called forth, not by any intrinsic ability or resources of its own, but by the all-powerful inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God, ever present with the oracles of truth."

In a discourse on the Unity of God,' founded on Mark, X.18, There is none good but one that is God, Mr. Glasse observes, • The church of England, established on the most sure basis of Christianity, is, in conformity to the letter and spirit of her Master's doctrine, strictly UNITARIAN. Lét not my beloved brethren be startled at the word. Let them not shrink from a title, which is the glory of the true believer, because it has been profaned and conta. . minated by the enemies of our holy faith : because innovating heretics have dared to stigmatize us with idolatry, and to challenge for themselves, by a bold usurpation, the name of Unitarians, as if we had gods many, and lords many, while in fact we have but one God, and his name ONE ; his huly, reverend, incommunicable name.'

After having cited the article which expresses the Unity of the Godhead, consisting of three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, he proceeds :Rev. JUNE 1799

0

• Сар

• Can any charge then be more grossly unfounded, can any asser cion be more false and unprincipled, than that which accuses thç orthodox believers of multiplying the objects of religious adoration, and doing homage to more gods than one ?-When heretics cavil, and infidels blaspheme, be valiant for the faith. Now the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man. Witness this good confession before many witnesses. Acknowledge to its full extent the fact assumed in my text, that none is good but one, that is God. But reject with abhorrence the pestilent insinuation, that the Author of our salvation, though inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood, was not equal to him with respect to his Godhead."

The sermon on the Atonement,' from Psalm xxii. 1. begins in the following abrupt manner :

« To recite these words is to apply them. Your hearts are gone already to Mount Calvary, and you behold with the eye of faith your crucified Redeemer. The rocks are rent--the mid-day sun is plunged into obscurity—the graves are opened the saints who slept in death arise and appear--the frame of nature feels as it were the pangs of dissolution, while its Creator suffers. When, on the return of this sacred day, or at any other season of devotion, we meditate on the passion of our Lord—when we accompany the innocent Jesus through the horrors of his arraignment-through his unjust and merciless trial - when we witness the mockery and despitefulness of his triumphant enemies, the treachery, the defection, and the apostacy of his disciples when we survey the instruments of torture the wreath of thorns, the bloody scourge--the ponderous cross under which his weakened, exhausted nature fainted, and almost sank away

- when we view him fastened to the engine of death-his hands and bis feet transfixed with the nails—the iron entering into his soul-his blessed side pierced by wanton, officious cruelty-when we behold all this, how little do we comprehend the extent of our Saviour's anguish, how imperfectly do we conceive the bitterness of his cup, if we do not keep always in our view the leading feature in his passion, the woe of all woes, the terrors of God set in array against him, the wrath of his father heavy upon him, the consummate guilt of a world, heaped upon his guiltless head?"

In a similar strain of declamation, the author concludes his sermon on John, xii. 28. entitled • The Name of God glorified.'

His manner of treating a popular subject at the close of the year,' We all do fade as a leaf, will appear from the following extract:

- The comparison between human and vegetable life has been elegantly descanted on by authors of the earliest antiquity--it has been stated, with eloquence and precision, by divines and moralists of later times—but more particularly we find it'illustrated, by all the varieties of metaphor, throughout the figurative language of scripture. And

surely

surely no comparisoti can be more apposite; no similitude more affectingly obvious.

When you hear of infancy sent to an early grave-when you be. hold youth and beauty languishing under deadly sickness, does not the image force itself on your minds of a fair and blooming flower, suddenly cut down by the pitiless hand of the destroyer? Or look around you—the world is now wintry; those leaves which so lately flourished in all the perfection of their richest verdure, now lie scattered upon the ground, faded, lifeless, discoloured, and about to mingle with their parent earth! Let us read our destiny in theirsfrom the dust we likewise had our origin, and thither we shall like. wise return.

• The parallel so accurately drawn in my text, in its primary signification, adapts itself to the natural decay of age, as typified by the falling of the 'withered leaf. But is it not also strictly applicable to the termination of our existence at other periods ? Are there not storms and tempests, which, even in the midst of summer, deprive the trees of their luxuriant foliage, and lay prostrate on the ground the glory of the once-smiling year? Is there not the slow.consuming canker? Is there not the devouring worm, that prematurely destroys while yet in the bloom, or even in the bud, the hope and the pride of spring? We are more than justified in the application of the fading leaf to death, come as it will, at any time, or in any form. At whatever season our life is brought to its conclusion, we do most assuredly fade as the leaf, all of us.

• We, like the plants and flowers, have our spring, which ushers us into life, when we burst forth in all the luxuriance of carly beauty. The summer, the high meridian of our days, next advances, when we flourish in the full maturity of strength and comeliness. Before we are conscious of the alteration, but probably not before others have perceived it, the blooming tints of youth, the ripened graces of manhood, are gradually retiring from us, and we fall into our autumnal wane. One more change awaits us, and completes the revolution of our days. Soon, very soon, are we led on by the withering hand of old age to the winter of death. And lo, when we are passed away, another generation cometh in our place, to whom life is imparted on conditions exactly similar to those ordained to us, when we entered on our portion of existence. In like manner, when the winter of nature is past, a fresh succession of leaves will appear, and will flourish during their appointed season.'

In the sermons on the nature, object, and triumphs of Christian faith, are many useful and striking observations of a practical and consolatory nature, blended with some others which in our estimation are exceptionable :

• Under the sanction of this high authority (says Mr. G. referring to his text, “ Ye believe in God, believe akso in me," ) 1 shall endeavour to shew, that to believe in God, without believing in Christ, is vain and fruitless-nay, that it is impossible--nor shall I scruple the assertion, harsh as it may sound, that he who is not a Christian, is virtually, though not nominally, an atheist and that to believe in God and in

Christ

[ocr errors]

Christ is one inseparable act of faith ; is indeed only one operation of the mind-which, if we allow not that Christ is God, can never take place; and therefore the acknowledgment of our BLESSED SAVIOUR'S DIVINITY, in which alone our hope of everlasting joy is founded, will be the glorious result of our enquiries.

• An act of faith is the assent of the mind to the certainty of that which reason of itself cannot comprehend, nor argument demonstrate, upon the reliance we have on the authority which declares it to be true.'-— Now to the belief in God, this act of faith is equally necessary, as to the belief in Christ Jesus.—Reason, that is, unassisted reason, cannot comprehend, nor, without the help of revelatior., can argument demonstrate the one or the other.-If without revelation any man could form a notion of God, every man must do so.-A truth of this naturė, if it could be seen by any, would be seen by all ; and those gracious manifestations of himself, which God in pity to our infirmities hath from time to time vouchsafed us, would have been unnecessary and superfluous. But they are not superfluous. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. Until the candle be lighted, where is its usefulness? And this light it cannot be said to have in itself, being indebted for it to the fire, without which it is altogether unprofitable. Thus, with respect to spiritual knowledge; the soul, which by Divine assistance can apprehend so much, without ullu. MINATION is able to comprehend nothing. Let the mind of man be enlightened by the power of God, and he is then, and not before, enabled to discern the Creator in his wondrous works.'

Pure Deism the author describes as

• A religion without a service, without a temple, without a sacri. fice, without a Redeemer, without a Comforter, without prayer, without praise, without faith, without hope, without sanctification, without salvation-without every thing !' -Gospel truth, or the religion of the Bible, declares, that the Son of God is come, and hath given us understanding, that we may honour him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ-THIS IS THE TRUE God, and everlasting life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. If this is the true God, it follows, that all other gods are false ; and he who denies the truths of Christianity, must pardon ns for pronouncing him to be absolutely without God, inasmuch as he is without the only true object of religious adoration.'

Mr. Glasse might well apprize those who may be dissatisfied with some of the positions advanced in this sermon, by an advertisement prefixed to it, that if he should be attacked on the subject, he is enabled to retire for protection to the adamantine shield of Bishop HORSLEY.'-- In the introductory sentences of the sermon entitled "The Christian's Rest,'on Psalm iž. 5. I laid me down and slept - I awaked, for the Lord sustained me, the author informs us that the words have a natural, and that they have a spiritual signification. They are a morning hymn for the faithful Christian while on earth; and they will, on the resurrection-day, burst from his heart, after his silnce:

In the grave.' He therefore proposes in the sequel to speak of sleep, and of waking-of death, and of rising again.'

The other subjects, which we have not already recited, -are • the Transfiguration'_' the State of the Departed'— the Vanity of Human Wishes'-' the just Judgments of God’– the Foundation and Promise of Christian Hope,' &c. &c.

"Art. XVI. ' The Equality of Mankind: a Poem, by Michael Wod.

hull, Esq. Revised and corrected, with Additions. 8vo.

pp. 40. London. 1798. WHE

HEN this poem was first printed by its respectable author,

we paid due attention to it, in M. Rev. vol. xxxiv. p. 23. Having then treated the subject as a mere poetic fiction, and delivered our opinion of the impossibility of forming social systems on so Utopian an idea, we shall here abstain from repeak ing it ; choosing rather to refer to sentiments on such a topią which were given by us in a calm, unagitated period :-nor need we repeat our idea of the merit of Mr, W.'s poem as a composition. We shall therefore content ourselves with pointing out the alterations and additions which distinguish this gew impression.

Poets write more frequently from the head than from the heart, and are not so much bent on making converts as on gaining admirers. Mr. W.'s despair of producing any practical effect, by this effort of his must, may be inferred from the new motto which he has chosen :

Carmina tantum
Nostra valent, Lycida, tela inter martia, quantum

Chaonias dicunt, aquila veniente, columbas." VIRGIL. Neither does he seem desirous of provoking controversy, for the short advertisement prefixed thus concludes :- Whether the opinions of those to whom the author takes the liberty of sending copies accord with or differ from his own, in regard to the auspicious or malignant influence of those signs which still continue to retain their ascendant in the political Zodiac, he flatters himself they will be received as marks of personal respect." - The present poem commences with the 7th line of the orie ginal edition ; the first six being very properly expunged;

• Uataught to bend the pliant kace, and join'The passage extending from line 36 to line 44 inclusive in the first edition is transposed, and now follows line 6.

The ten lines following line 26 in the original edition are omitted.

For “ War a needful trade” in l. 61. of the original edition, we now read • War a licens'd trade.'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »