« PreviousContinue »
of his own ruu*. « Thou hast destroyed thyself, saith the Lord, bat in me is thy help.' 'Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. My soul, saith the Psalmist, waiteth on God, from him cometh my salvation. He only is my salvation, my God is the rock of my salvation.'
Arguing in favour of the universal redemption of mankind, Mr. B. says,
'The question too applies with no less truth and conviction, how far it is consistent with the justice, more than the goodness of God, to leave a great part of mankind in a condition into which they had not brought themselves by their own personal transgression,without help or remedy?' p. 210
But how is this consistent with Mr. B.'s own assertion, that the gift of Christ was of pure grace.? For if it would not be consistent with justice to leave any individuals without redemption from the fall, surely it must have been more unjust, thus to have left all: to increase the numbers could not diminish the injustice. The gift of l he Saviour, therefore, instead of being pure unmerited favour, as the Scriptures, and Mr. B. maintain, must, according to this part of his system, be the demand of mere justice. We make this remark, not with a. design to break a lance with this champion, but to remind him that there are weaknesses in .his system, of which he seems to be unconscious; to direct his attention to the true points, on which the controversy turns; and to induce hint to seek better information on the sentiments and reasoning of those who take the opposite side of the argument.
The following application of a text of scripture is curious; the sentences which accompany it deserve attention, if not from their novelty, yet from their truth.
« And whilst we are considering the exquisite punishment of Hell, we roust not forget its duration. The persons of the damned shall not be annihilated, but as the word of inspiration forcibly expresses it,' shall be salted with file *," i. e. both tormented and preserved by it, for the fire which torments them shall preserve them like salt from total destruction. Neither shall they find any dsliverance from the prison of darkness, or any redemption from the bottomless pit; « where their worm dieth not, and the tire is not quenched.' Where guilt always remaineth, punishment is ever due, and the inexorable justice of God will not fail to indict it. After death there arc no means of repentance, and without repentance there is no pardon, consequently the guilt of sin must remain, and therefore its W3get or punishment, death eternal.' pp. 373, 4.
The second volume is rather less doctrinal and polemic than Jthe former; so that here the deficient information, and frequent misconceptions of the author, are not so promiuent. Fif
teen of the sermons are acknowledged to be mere abridgements from Bishop Hopkins: they present a judicious, useful view of the moral law. But we should have recommended Mr. B. to alter the texts; for the old custom of wire-drawing, so as to treat of numerous different subjects from one passage of scripture, is, in our judgement, not less dishonourable to the sacred writings, than tedious and unconvincing to the hearers. The fifth commandment, for instance, is not a proper text for a sermon on the duties of masters and servants. On Christian liberty Mr. B. thus discourses,—
* The tyrant which most effectually captivates and enslaves the sinner is the love of the world, and its allurements. They rivet his affections to carnal gratifications and earthly enjoyments, and deprive him of any natural ability to escape out of their snare. But the Christian's liberty is manifested in his conquest of the world, " for this is the victory by which "he has overcome the world, even his faith*." His belief of the truths of the Gospel directs his eye to the most sublime and perfect objects, and his blessed master, by the influence of his grace, draws him towards them. His affections are placed on things above, not on things on the earth; he is in part dead to the world, and his present life " is hid with Christ in God J." He neither servilely dreads the frowns and discouragements of the world, or (nor) with fawning adulation courts its favours and rewards. To love God with all his heart is the single point in which all his actions centre, and to give himself up wholly to the guidance of his Spirit, which is a Spirit of liberty. In the expressive language of St. Paul, to be led by the Spirit, is synonymous with being free, u for if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are no longer under the law If.." And it is certain some of the "fruits of that Spirit are love, and joy, and peace§." What happiness then can be wanting in that breast where these virtues reside? What freedom or what consolation can be wanting to him whom the Son has promised that both " He and his Father will come to him, and make their abode with him. ||." Vol. II. pp. 8,9.
The sermon on Assurance betrays a lamentable want of vigour and precision. As far as we could ascertain the preacher's meaning, this Christian privilege amounts to nothing. We insert the following passage from a sermon against fleshly lusts, though indeed it is quoting the bishop rather than the vicar.
« It is by no means the part of Christian charity to consider such gross immoral practices, as the mere indiscretions of youth, as the world, through false candour, is apt to term them; such a construction serves only to cast a veil over vice, and render that a matter of indifference in the eye of the world, which is abomination in the sight of God. How pitiable soever such characters may be in themselves, a wide distinction ought to be made betwixt them and others. They who contribute, either designedly or inadvertently, to place good, bad, and doubtful characters on a level, most
* I John v, 4. f Coloss. iii. 3. J Gal. ?. 18. § Ibid. 22. || Johnxiv.23. >
preposterously debase their own worth, and obscure their own virtue, if they have any; they strive to keep guilt in countenance, and defraud rectitude of that reverence and esteem appropriate to it, injuring at once the cause of religion and morality, and undermining the best interests of society.'— pp. 276, 7.
We terminate our extracts with one of the best paragraphs which these volumes contain :—
'The first requisite then towards the attainment of this Christian armour is, not to fight in your own strength, but to rely upon his power and grace "who teacheth our hands to war, and our fingers to fight*," and who commands us " to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his mightf." Thus furnished in the onset, your first care should be, to " have your loins girt about with truth %," that is, your minds strengthened with soundness of judgment, and your spirits established in sincerity of truth, especially in the faithful discharge of those promises which you have made unto God. The girdle of truth may be construed to signify such a firm persuasion of the doctrines of the Gospel as tends to strengthen the weaknesses of human nature, to resist the temptations of Satan, and to withstand the allurements of the world. These, independent of evangelical verity, are wont to stagger our faith, and corrupt our sincerity. Daily experience proves how much the doctrines of divine Truth, rightly understood and properly applied, contribute to our spiritual strength and activity; and, on the contrary, how evidently the errors of ignoraBce darken the understanding, and the follies of impiety retard our progress in the Christian warfare. The word of Truth therefore ought always to be as near the heart of a Christian, as the very girdle about his loins. It is armour against errors of all kinds; it protects him from the authority and customs of the world; it shields him from its terrors, and defends him from its reproaches/ pp. 402, 3.
As Mr. B. has quoted from the Apocrypha, he ought to have taken some pains to prevent their being placed on a level with the books of the sacred canon. We never see these human relics bound up with the inspired volume, without regret. The frequent appeals to the articles and liturgy of the English establishment, might be intended to accomplish the object announced in the title page; but many of the members and ministers of the church of England will loudly protest against Mr. B.'s statement of her creed ; and numerous evils arise from making any other appeal than that to which the prophet challenges—" to the Law and the Testimony."
To the seriousness of mind and purity of intention, which Mr. B. discovers, we wish to give all the honour which they can claim; and are sorry that we cannot, without compromising the paramount rights of truth and duty, bestow any commendation on the accuracy of his statements, or the eloquence of his address.
» Psalm cxliv. 1. f Eph- "• 10- X lbid- 14,«
Art. III. Memoirs ,of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, Governor of' Nottingham Castle and Town, Representative of the County of Nottingham in the Long Parliament, and of the Town of Nottingham in the first Parliament of Charles II. &c.; with original Anecdotes of many of the most distinguished of his Contemporaries, and a summary Review of public Affairs; written by his Widow Lucy, Daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, Lieutenant of the Tower, &c. Now first published from the original MS. by the Rev. Julius Hutchinson, &c. To which is prefixed the Life of Mrs. Hutchinson, written by herself, pp. 480. Price bds. 4to. 11. lis. 6d. royal 4to. 21. 12s. 6d. Longman and Co. 1§06.
'"THIS work is recovered from the ruins of Time, like a precious piece of sculpture from the ruins of Herculaneum. Sullied with the mould of years, and antiquated with the change of costume, its first appearance is uncouth and unattractive ; but on closer examination, its graces steal forth imperceptibly, its beauties are multiplied, and magnified on the eye, which continues to gaze with improving delight till the image hefore it has revealed all its grand and simple proportions, and looks, as it sprang from the brain of the author, " a Goddess armed,"—a statue of thought, exhibiting at one view', the character, the genius, the history, of a romantic and turbulent age !—Had this volume been published in its own day, its merits would have raised it to a high rank among contemporary histories, and it probably would have been transmitted with honour to posterity ; yet amidst the rich inheritance which that age did bequeath to after times, it is possible that this legacy might have been unworthily estimated and little regarded. But now being given to a generation unborn when it was written, it appears with the double and rare advantage of both novelty and antiquity, to recommend it. Those who are tempted by these recommendations to read it, will not be disappointed: but we were disappointed; for we opened it with the yavyning expectation of having to drawl through, the dullness of a piece of local, temporary, family history, as little interesting as the praises of dead husbands by disconsolate widows frequently are. It is unnecessary to explain why we were thus prejudiced: how delightful then was our disappointment when we discovered that we were not wading, barefoot and ancle-deep only, down the channel of a shallow rivulet brawling over gravel-stones, but found ourselves borne on the current of a broad deep river, that frequently overflowed its banks, but never sunk below them.' The copious volubility of Mrs. Hutchinson's style, the exuberance of her thoughts, and tile variety of her subject, so charmed our attention, that, to confess the truth, in the end we shut the book with as much reluctance as we had opened it.
The authenticity of the manuscripts from which this work has been printed, is satisfactorily established by the Editor, in a very suitable introduction. They have been carefully preserved in the family, and are published by a descendant of Colonel Hutchinson.
These writings consist of a fragment of the history of Mrs. Hutchinson's own life ;—an address to her children concerning their father, also a fragment ; and Memoirs of the life of Colonel Hutchinson, the author's husband. . .'
The fragment ofMrs. H.'s own history, so far as it proceeds, is very entertaining, and after awakening as much interest by its simplicity, as Sterne ever excited by his most refined artifices, it breaks off as suddenly as he does occasionally, in the very moment when expectation is wound up to such enthusiasm, that disappointment is felt most severely, yet mingled with a strange unaccountable kind of delight. Mrs. H. was the daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, Governor of the Tower of London, where she was born in \f>\%. She commences this narrative of herself with fervent acknowledgements to Almighty God, for the advantages which she enjoyed under his Providence, in her birth, family, fortune, education, and connections. She warms the heart of the reader by her ingenuous piety in the very first sentence ; and this fire from the altar, thus kin died at the beginning, burns to the conclusion of her work. Then, in the fine spirit of ancient romance, she takes a sapid retrospect of the history of her native country, which she crowns with a splendid eulogium on its national glory, the character, valour, and virtue of its inhabitants; and particularly extols the Divine mercy, in sending forth the light and the liberty of the gospel through this island. It appears in this account of her earliest years, that from infancy she devoted herself to religion and literature. We regret that we cannot dwell longer on this part of our subject. With charming naivete she tells us,
-' My mother, while she was with child of me, dreamt that she was
walking with my father in the garden, and that a starre came downe into
her hand, with other circumstances, which, though I have often heard,
I miiided not enough to remember perfectly; only my father told her, her
dreame signified she should have a daughter of some extraordinary emi
nency; which thing, like such vaine prophecies, wrought as fane as it
could, its own accomplishment: for my father and mother fancying me
then beautiful], and more than ordinarily apprehensive, applied all their"
Vol. HI- C