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upon this point, by enabling us to come at the very minds of the framers of our Liturgy." I myself wish the work could be brought to light, if it exists, though I dare not hope for so much good as L. R. calculates upon from its discovery: for if we see disputes arise on the plainest passages of the word of God, we may well expect disagreements on the word of man. But if his wish is to inform himself of the intention of the Church of England in the words impugned by Calvin, and defended by Cranmer; and thus to satisfy himself whether he can conscientiously subscribe to that intention, he may do so on the principle mentioned in his quotation, that "the church has sufficiently explained her meaning in the articles and elsewhere." I would therefore recommend him to study the articles and offices, and diligently to compare all that bears upon the point he wishes to elucidate, and I think he will be able "to come at the very mind of the framers of our Liturgy," without this correspondence. As an example of the process, let him take the first clause of Article XXV., the whole of Article XXVII., and the answer to the question. "What meanest thou by this word Sacrament?" in the Catechism; in which I conceive the whole doctrine of our church respecting the "opus operatum" is contained. By a careful collation of these three passages, I come to the conclusion, that the proposition to which our assent is required is this:
is a spiritual utility and efficacy in the sacrament of Baptism rightly administered, not inherent in the essence thereof, but adjoined by promise to it, which is vouchsafed to the recipient invisibly but certainly; and that the outward sign or form thereof, viz. water, wherein the person is baptised in the name of the Father,
und of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is not only a pledge to assure us thereof, but also a means by which we receive the same."
Again, taking the several answers to the questions, "Who gave you this name? "Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe, and to do as they have promised for thee?" and "What is the inward and spiritual grace?" the address to the sponsors immediately after the form of baptism, and Article XXVII., I define regeneration, or new-birth, to signify, in the language of the framers of our liturgy, "the real but invisible spiritual benefit which the baptised person receives by being made, by the washing of regeneration, a member of Christ; that is, one of the family of the children of grace, from having been one of the children of wrath." If L. R. wishes this subject to be enlarged upon, and you will permit it, I shall be most happy".
* Our beloved and revered correspondent L. R. has been gathered to his eternal rest, in a world where he has no
need of human aid to perfect his knowedge of whatever concerns the mysteries of the Gospel of that Saviour whom he so greatly loved, and so zealously served while upon earth. We presume that a would have considerably modified the tone of his paper, had he been aware that the correspondent whom he recommends to study the Articles and Offices of the Church was the late Rev. Legh Richmond, who was more conversant with the writings of "the fathers of the English Church" than almost any one of his contemporaries. Our own pages, and particularly our earliest volumes, abound with proofs of his intimate and enlightened acquaintance with the text and history of our church documents. We hope to be able to lay before our readers some account of the life and death of this truly excellent man; whose eminent piety, and zeal, and amiableness, and simple eloquence, have rendered very important services to the church of Christ.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The Confessions of a Gamester. justified in going even farther. We London. 1824.
WE are not among the number of those who expect to make men good, merely by amusing them. The corruption of human nature lies too deep for any such superficial remedy. Nay, we have even heard of depraved individuals reading entertaining tracts, meant for their conversion, only with a view to learn more of the arts of wickedness. Black Giles and Tawny Rachel, for example, may have thus been made, as may some even of the narratives of Scripture itself, to minister to sin, "for to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." The dexterity of Mr. Bragwell (in the Two Farmers), in managing the sale of his land at the auction, so as to entrap unwary attendants, by a good dinner and the circulation of intoxicating liquors, into biddings far beyond the worth of his acres, may likewise have been faithfully copied by many, who would hoot down the whole CheapRepository system of instruction as fruitful in error and enthusiasm. Religious novels, so classified, may have done similar mischief; and we are not sure but that Celebs itself may have taught some of its fashionable readers, to enter yet more extensively into the frauds and oppressive tactics practised upon defenceless tradesmen.
But who is to be responsible for these effects? The reply is direct: They must answer for the consequence, who, by similar perversions of Christianity, would gladly take a lesson in the science of deception from the parable of the unjust steward; since, in that narrative also, the bane and the antidote are both set before them.
In this relation, we might be
might plead, as already remarked, that a considerable portion of the sacred Scriptures themselves-of the book intended to purify us from the artifices, pollutions, and criminalities of the world-is occupied in describing processes of human depravity. Neither is this done in circumlocutory periods, and with the address of a modern fabulist, who hides the grossness of profligacy behind the mask of a cautious phraseology; but circumstances are told in the plainest and most undisguised terms. There is no effort at concealment. We are fully aware, also, of the fact, that the simplicity of scriptural narrative has become a source of infidel clamour; and we are farther conscious, that some of our recent "improvers" of the Bible, have judged it advisable, in their abridgments and digests, to omit what they regarded as objectionable; and thence have made very considerable concessions to the delicacy of unbelievers.
This is not the place for rebutting accusations already answered, a thousand times, by eloquent and learned apologists. We introduce the matter, merely to remind the reader of the inexpediency of being jealous of those moral teachers who bring forward their remonstrances against sin, by first describing its malignity. Let no rustic clown justify his invasion of a neighbour's garden, or hen-roost, by pleading that he learned the arts of dishonesty in the school of Black Giles. Neither let the practised land-jobber defend his arrangements of iniquity, by referring to the high example of Bragwell. And as to the patronesses of a more elegant department of crime-we trust, that no poor flower-girl, working sixteen hours a day, in a stifling garret, by the
bed-side of a sick mother, will labour on without payment, because some extravagant woman of rank has read a parallel case in the pages of Cœlebs. Must we also add, if the unjust steward was commended because he had done wisely, woe be to that person who perverts this portion of the Scriptures to his own destruction; and can find here such practical heresy as may hasten his progress to everlasting misery, because our Lord himself delivered a graphic example of the fraudulent policy of the world.
But what have the authors of the performances first mentioned done, as well as tell plain tales about the manners of men? What did He who was Truth itself-spotless, pure, undefiled, perfect; what did He do as well as paint the most repulsive features of human character? He described the guilt and misery of a fallen creature, in order to make that creature acquainted with his guilt and his misery; and this as a necessary preparation for the Divine lessons he had in store, and was ready to communicate. He walked the vast infirmary of the world, traversed its wide-extending and crowded wards busy from couch to couch, not to gather amusement, and to mock the miserable by leaving them to perish; but that he might administer consolation, and more than consolation; a sovereign REMEDY-not a palliation, but a cure-perfectly adequate to the most wretched case, and offered to all distempered and sin-sick souls, without reserve or partiality.
If Jesus Christ did this with a consciousnesss of his own entire ability and willingness to heal and bless the miserable, his disciples have, at all times, endeavoured to follow his steps, at whatever distance, and moving, with whatever difficulty; and, in the connexion before us, we are bound to honour such instructors as have aspired to imitate a perfect example, in occasionally making fiction the vehicle of eternal truth. We have the
Pilgrim's Progress, a treasure of practical religion, though borne in the earthen vessel of an uninspired parable. We since have had many treatises of the same school; and, in the passing day, it would be uugrateful to forget certain popular writers, who have done not a little towards regulating the spiritual movements of society, by mingling something to attract their imagination with the monitory wisdom of the Gospel.
This expression of our own gratitude is quite consistent with the declaration that we never expect to convert bad men merely by diverting them to crush vice by strewing entertaining tracts in St. Giles's, and by sending exquisitely bound copies of Celebs to the high circles of fashion. No! neither do we in the least expect to demolish a well-known splendid building in St. James's Street by a loan, to its proprietor, of the Confessions of a Gamester. But this we venture to do, to thank the writer of the volume in question, for the serpentine skill evidenced in the compilation of his narrative. It is one of the happiest recent specimens of the art of making a trifler think. We do not say, that a man already entangled in the toils of Newmarket, or the pandemonium of a gambling house, will be delivered from his fetters by a perusal of these Confessions; but the book may be regarded as a powerful warning to such as are directly tempted to come within the banefully enchanted circle it so vividly describes. Both in medical and moral practice, it is more easy to prevent a disease than to cure it.
Whether the book under consideration is all fiction or all fact, or a mixture of both, is, as we think, of no very serious importance to the public. Any work which tells what its writer, if he be competently acquainted with life and manners, supposes to be actually doing in the world, is practically true: and we no more doubt that the
career run by the hero of this tale has been, and is now, pursued, or pusuing, by a fearful number of gamesters, than we doubt the past and present existence of the vulgar vices described by Fielding, or question the realities of the metaphysical wickedness which marked the literary society of Paris in the days of the Baron Grimm.
The author, in the opinion of many readers, will have made his Gamester too successful, and too hard-hearted. The first point we shall not debate. The second admits of little hesitation; because, it appears to be all but impossible to set bounds to the degree of obduracy created in the human heart by the systematic pursuit of any given evil. In every instance, as Burns too exclusively says of a course of sin specified by himself,
it hardens all within, And petrifies the feeling! Gaming indeed is one of those departments of guilt which combine a certain exercise of the intellect with the indulgence of the baser passions. A devotee to the turf and the dice must be a man self-possessed, cool, collected, and capable of inak ing complicated calculations. The tempter does not generally assault him by very sudden and perceptible attacks. In this respect, the sensualist-strange as it may sound -has an advantage over the victims of avarice, and the professors of play. If men die by their own suicidal hands, as bacchanalians, and as having given way to such animal lusts as war against the soul, their guilt is far more evident to themselves than is the case with the man who soberly retires to rest, with a head calm, though busy with the arithmetic and the computations of the succeeding day, and even when he foresees the ruin of his inexperienced dupes, who will come and flutter about his nets. He is wicked by rule and compass-by a kind of mathematical precision. His guilt is of the most malignant type-but its malignity
We therefore cannot wonder at hearing of gamblers who journey on to eternity itself without any very lasting remorse; though wives have died of broken hearts, and children have not been recognized by their fathers. It is the inevitable course of events, as the sparks fly upward. Death indeed-and the approach of death, as of a spectre troubling the imagination of bad men-may be attended with what have been called the compunctious visitings of nature; these things have sometimes darkly clouded the last days even of a gamester, and made him anticipate the terrors of an invisible state. But up to this dreary extremity of life he may have travelled with comparative quietness and freedom from alarm; and this is his very misery and ruin. Spiritual diseases are often as flattering as certain of those which affect only our physical frame. There is little pain. The fever itself -a mortal symptom-induces, as sometimes happens under the influence of opium, pleasurable and almost delicious feelings. But deathdeath-not to be ultimately shunned-not much longer to be contemplated at an indefinite distancecomes at last; and the veil of the eternal world hides the rest.
The author, or editor, of these Confessions has, as we think, acted a most wise part in bringing the Gamester to his shrowd-without hope, impenitent, and rejecting an offered salvation. Is this a cruel opinion? Shall we be blamed for almost rejoicing, that the narrative, supposing of course that it is fictitious, describes not a sinner that repenteth, but a sinner who perishes everlastingly? Let us explain. We have long been much disgusted, but far more grieved, by reading, from time to time, narratives of the happy deaths of men who have lived protracted lives of deliberate wickedness. Some of these die calmly in their beds, surrounded by weeping friends, and in the bosom of families brought to indigence
and disgrace by their atrocities; but then comes the obituary, descriptive of their last days, as marked by an extraordinary change. This obituary circulates in magazines, and reprints, and tracts, and it is interesting; and all the friends of the dead are congratulated on the event; and so they wrap up the matter.
But, on the very shewing of many of these accounts, the report bears upon it the very impress of suspicion; and of apprehension, in all thoughtful minds, with regard to the state of the departed. Our clerical friends are too well aware of the difficulty of ascertaining, almost under any circumstances, the validity of recently formed pretensions to religion. The most sagacious among them, and those best acquainted with the mysterious and contradictory operations of their own minds, have been frequently puzzled and confounded in the attempt to estimate character; and, in respect to death-bed scenes, we have known not a few clergymen of large experience confess the keenest bitterness of disappointment, in seeing many, many, persons totter back, even in the early stages of recovery from what was judged to be fatal indisposition, to the world, and to their former sins; and this, after hopeful symptoms of repentance; after decided acknowledgments of the peril they had incurred; and after as decided an assent by the lip to the doctrine and merciful offers of the Gospel! Instances such as these would do much, it might be supposed, towards improving the instructors of mankind in the science of human nature. Yet, how many seem to be ever learning in vain! The spiritual physician sees his own patients relapse. Why then does he not more frequently question the soundness of cures performed by his brethren?
We can indeed find an easy and honourable apology for their credulity. They take the merciful side; they hope against hope; they think other practitioners more skil
ful than themselves: they would bid the apparent convert welcome to the fold; they would rejoice over any sinner that repenteth; they would exult in the high expectation of seeing another child of guilt and wretchedness rescued from the ruins of the fall. This is all well, and bespeaks the humility and meekness of heart possessed by these men. But they may not be quite aware, that thousands upon thousands will read the obituary with feelings of a very different character. And these are they who will quarrel with the author of the Gamester, for not having brightened the last days of a hoary profligate with the golden beams of hope. They will also look over the happy deaths of felons, without watching whether their contrition, self-abhorrence, particularity of confession, petitions for pardon addressed directly and importunately to those whom they have injured, whether these evidences of sincerity are, at least, equal to their expressions of hope, or, as is frequently the case, of high confidence. They will neglect to parallel the statement, in its just proportions, with the narrative of the thief on the cross; for though his case, under such circumstances, is a favourite reference, yet it is generally an abused one. What did the thief do? Far more than is stated to be done by some of our canonized felons! The leading characteristic in the penitent of Mount Calvary is self-abasement. The highest
point of hope, in his example, is only discernible in an act of prayer. It is painful to note the diversity between the record of this man's dying moments, and the details of many a modern tract.
In reference to the point under discussion, it is also observable, that there exists a strange and anomalous coincidence between these suspicious and premature accounts; for all along we are quite conscious of the distinction between the sincerity and insincerity connected with