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makes many pious and judicious reflexions; and he gives three remarkable criteria of it ; namely, the general diffusion of knowledge and truth, the establishment of liberty and peace, and the practice of piety and righteousness. In the second discourse, the commencement of the century is made the introduction to very serious reflexions on the brevity of life, on the wisdom of God in appointing a succession of generations, and, amidst the fluctuating state of all human affairs, on his own immutability. Hence consolation is derived, as it respects the Christian cause, or the support which individuals receive from Providence. On the first head, it is to be piously considered that “the religion of the Gospel cannot fail.'
« Christianity has hitherto survived the most formidable oppositions, according to the prediction of its divine author. It has hitherto subsisted in various ages and countries, and during successive generations. And we have no reason to fear for the ark of God, or the truth of his word.
• The Christian, indeed, cannot but lament the wide spread of infidelity, and the rejection of the Gospel by many who rank among the acute and ingenious. But he looks to God, he considers his invariable faithfulness, and immediately every apprehension that the Christian cause will fail for want of due support is banished from his mind, and he chides his desponding fears. • Though the religion of Jesus
has been so much corrupted, and its corruptions have been a fruitful source of infidelity, when he considers the prophecies of the word of God, he sees that this was predicted. An antichristian power was to arise in the very bosom of the church, and make the Christian system a quite opposite thing from what it was when it came out of the hands of its divine author. He perceives that this power was to reign and flourish for an appointed time, then decay, and at length be totally destroyed. As the former part of this prophecy has been fulfilled, to the disgrace of humanity and religion, we have good reason for concluding that the latter will be accomplished.' P.49.
Both discourses are written with equal perspicuity and gravity. The mind of the preacher was evidently impressed with the awful truths communicated through his means to the congregation; and they are calculated to inspire every serious Christian with the firmest confidence in the hand of Providence, which over-rules the perplexed and intricate politics of the world, and adjusts them to his own wise and salutary purposes. Art. 23.-The Church of England vindicated from Misrepresentation ;
showing her genuine Doctrines as contained in her Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies. With a particular Reference to the Elements of Christian Theology, by the Bishop of Lincoln.' By a Presbyter of the Church of England. 8vo. 35. Mawman. 1801.
Are the Articles of the church of England Calvinistic, or the con. trary ? and in what sense did the framers of them, and their successors for more than a hundred years after their projection, subscribe to, them? In opposition to the prevalence of fashion, our presbyter takes up the Calvinistic gauntlet, and maintains his opinion with
CRIT. Rey. Vol. 34. April, 1802.
great firmness. The novel doctrines of the bishop of Lincoln, of whose diocese he professes himself a member, he opposes most strenuously, and points out several striking contradictions between his • New Elements of Christian Theology and the Articles and Canons of the church.
· Had your lordship lived with Ridley, Hooper, Latimer, or Cranmer, could you have maintained the articles in the sense they held them, or gone to the stake in the maintenance of them ? Compare every page of their writings with your Christian Theology. Would you have appointed Peter Martyr or Bucer, known and professed Calvinists, to the theological chairs of the two universities, or ordained the pupils who attended their lectures, and avowed their sentiments ? Had your lordship been called to Lambeth, must you not have marked with abhorrence the articles drawn up there by your episcopal brethren? Had your publication come before the university when Barret and Baro preached against the Calvinistic doctrines, must you not have gone into the university pulpit, and made a public recantation, or been expelled ?' P. 9.
These are forcible questions; and whatever may be the opinions at present 'maintained in the church, whether more or less agreeable to Scripture than heretofore, we cannot hesitate to join with our presbyter in the assertion that his doctrines are of closer consistency with those of our first reformers than the new system which comes forward so boldly under the sanction of the episcopal authority of the day.
The subject is of a serious and most important nature ; and the writer is impressed with a due sense of the solemnity of subscribing to articles of faith. We cannot too frequently bring this matter before the public, nor too seriously adjure the clergy and candidates for the ministry to attend to the plain dictates of họpour and conscience, in opposition to the impious and abominable sophisms ad. vanced by some celebrated Cambridge divines, which render the act of subscription nugatory and absurd.
• How glaring' (observes our author most pertinently) must be the conduct of any bishop, priest, or deacon, who avows his abhorrence and disbelief of any article which he hath so solemnly avouched, as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture? Let every man of candour and conscience judge what must be the state of a person's soul, in the sight of a heart-searching God, who makes such a confession of faith, holds all his church preferments under it, and continues to enjoy them, though he openly denies the professions he has made to be true, and proceeds even to brand, as false and abominable, what he hath subscribed as proved by most certain warrant of Holy Scripture!' P. 38.
The attack made by the bishop of Lincoln upon the Athanasian creed has struck the world with astonishment. Whatever may be its merits or demerits, no one could have suspected that the latter should be proclaimed to the world by episcopal authority, or that,
at the late ordination, on Trinity Sunday, at Bugden,' (as the writer asserts on information) (the Athanasian creed was not read.' It is certainly very consistent with the bishop's avowed opinions to forbear the repetition of this creed in his presence on Trinity Sunday, or any other occasion : but what becomes of the authority of the church, which has ordered the creed to be read on that day at least?
. That it is very inconsistent and presumptuous in the bishop to subscribe, as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture, what he declares to have no warrant from Scripture, is evident; and to begin an exposition of the doctrinal articles of the church with an explicit disavowal of her creed, and in the article in question, standing in strict connexion with the whole system, and itself of singular importance, as involving the eternal state of millions, is not a little extraordinary. I hope he will not expel me from his diocese for preferring the acknowledged authority of the church to any one of her recreant sons. P. 60.
• Admitting the truth of the creed, those who without doubt perish everlastingly, afford an awful scene, at which the bishop expresses his abhorrence, and not only entertains doubts, but branda' the Church itself, and her authority, with all who, as true churchmen in former or present times, believe the doctrine to be proved by most certain warrant of Holy Scripture, as unwise, inconsistent, and presumptuous.' P.61. .
This extraordinary conduct towards the church must be deemed by every one highly injurious to its interests; and the opinion of the writer before us, to which, as it stands in the following extract, we give our unlimited assent, we recommend to the serious attention of all who have any regard for the truths of the Gospel and the doctrine and discipline of the church of England.
• I would just observe, that in our articles of faith no link can be broken without dissolving unity of opinion. The whole system may be wrong, disputed, refuted, if the Scripture so admits; but the whole, as a formula of doctrine designed to prevent diversity of opinion, must stand or fall together. I am not at liberty to select what I like, and reject what displeases me. If the whole be not consisa tent with the Scripture, and with itself, it must be renounced as the doctrines of men, and not subscribed, as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.' P.62. ,
The writer's opinion is sanctioned in the strongest manner by the authority of the church in its fifth canon.
· Whoever shall affirm that any of the articles agreed upon for providing against diversity of opinion are in any part erroneous, or such as he may not with a good conscience subscribe unto, let him be excommunicated ipso facto. P. 62.
The positive language of the church may be some excuse for the decisive tone with which our presbyter maintains its authority,
• The bishop' (he says) should review his broad assertions, and
compare them with his own standard of doctrine. I plead not against those who reject the authority of the church. Every man has a right to search the Scripture for himself; but a bishop, a minister, a member of the church of England, stands (automatargites) without excuse, who rejects the authority to which he solemnly professes his assent and consent.' P. 154.
The writer is evidently one of the party usually denominated evangelical; and he affords us traces of that masterly pen which lately delineated the history of the church. In the diocese of Lincoln there are, we understand, several presbyters who adopt the same opinions; and the opposition between these and the bishop of their diocese, reminds us of the awful asseveration~ a house divided against itself cannot stand.' The question should assuredly be decided. Either let the articles, the liturgy, the homilies, and the canons-for they all must stand or fall together be wholly relinquished, and a new code of ecclesiastical doctrines and discipline be framed upon clearer views (if any such there be) of Christianity; or let the present system be supported with honesty and zeal: let it not be impugned by those whose honours and emoluments are derived from it: let it be asserted that, without infringing on the toleration due to every other sect, the church is resolved to secure the allegiance of its own members. The present state of things has a tendency to give too much encourage. ment, on the one hand, to fanaticism, under the name of evangelical instruction ; and, on the other, to fill the church with a body of clergy opposers, or, at least, very indifferent supporters of its express tenets.
Art. 24.—A Blow
at the Root of Infidelity; or the Agreement of Nature and Scripture in Testimony of a Triune God; a Sermon. By the Rev. John Chamberlain, Bath. Svo. Is. Mawman. 1801.
If we were not convinced that the author of this work wrote from the purest motives, and was a complete believer in the doctrine which is maintained in it, we should have supposed that the former part of the publication had been intended rather as a burlesque on, than a se. rious proof of, the article of the Trinity. To suppose that the material heavens can lead us to the knowledge of the Trinity, and that there is a trinity in unity in them, can only tend to confuse our opinions on a very important topic, which ought to be examined only by the light of revelation. As a text to this strange composition, is given the spurious verse in the First Epistle of St. John, in the vulgar translation ; a circumstance which leads us to form a very indifferent opinion of the biblical talents of the writer, to whom we recommend a serious attention to the words and spirit of the sacred writings, instead of trifling deductions from vain philosophy. Art. 25.-Thoughts upon modern Religion, and its Influence on mo
dern Manners. 8vo. Is. Rivington. 1801. Our expectations were raised at the commencement of this work, but were not gratified at its termination. The writer introduces the carly reformers to make their reflexions on the events which have taken place within the last twelve years. The prostration of Antichrist was an event to which they looked forward with the utmost confidence : they triumphed in the idea; but what must be their surprise to perceive their descendents so far from rejoicing in the fall of popery, that the tidings of its re-establishnient are received with pleasure, and that the British troops are adorned with hcnours from a pope and a Mahometan prince. The pen of a great master might be employed on such a subject; but our author very soon quits it, to dilate on the supposed frequency of adultery, dueling, and boxing, among us. The duties of the Sabbath, it is true, are too much neglected, and this shameful conduct is a marked feature in the degeneracy of modern days. The omission of family de. votion is another point on which the writer with justice expatiates; and we could wish that the example of one of our legislators was followed in every house; for, in the family of that gentleman, no company, no consideration whatever, prevents their assembling together before breakfast for short prayers, and the perusal of a portion of the Scriptures, or a book on religious subjects. They who have had the advantage of being in such families know that the spirit of devotion is no obstacle to cheerfulness and happiness, and that all the duties of social life are best performed where parent and child, master and servant, daily bend the knee before the Creator, and where each, in consequence thereof, with a grateful heart enters on his daily occupation. Art. 26.-Extracts Moral and Sacred; or a few Hints selected from
the Writings of the Wise and Good, in Support of the Cause of Religion and good Order. By the Rev. D. Yonge, M. A. &c. 8vo. 35. 6d. Boards. Rivingtons.
This compilation is made with great judgement, from the works of Burnet, De Luc's Histoire de l'Homme, Bryant on the Authenticity of the Scriptures and the Plagues of Egypt, David Levi, Soame Jenyns, Locke, and Stillingfieet. The concurrent testimony of these eminent men to the truths of religion may be well introduced by every clergyman to the parlours of the higher order of his parishioners; and we cannot but recommend to such the spirit with which the preface is indited.
• Having spoken of the gentlemen of the dissenting interest, I cannot help adding a word of serious admonition, though perhaps neither party will pay any attention to it. When heavy imputations are laid by the writings of one to the charge of the other, and any thing like animosity prevails among Christians, I cannot help saying, “Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to another?" Weak master though I be, I say in words of the highest authority to those of the establishment, “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another.” “ Judge not, that ye be not judged." Upon the same authority I say to the dissenter, and if he receive the Gospel he must bow to it with submissive reve. rence, “ This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Put away from you all envy, wrath, malice;" and, if I could join you both together in the common cause of truth, I would add, “ Love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king'” If