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But while Britain has engrossed the greatest share of this traffic, have not other nations suffered far greater misfortunes? This very objection leads to some striking confirmations of principle.
"' I am relieved (says our excellent author) from the necessity of suggesting a probable cause of provocation on the part of Austria, Prussia, and Russia; s;nce the striking retaliation which two of those powers have already met with, for their injustice and cruelty towards Poland, seem* of late to have made a strong impression on the public mind.
* Poland was, like Africa, impiously destroyed upon pleas of political expediency.—That idolatrous principle, that grand heresy of the age, which strikes at the very foundation of the whole edifice of morals, and insults the Divine Lawgiver, by arraigning the wisdom or goodness of his institutions, was the alleged defence of three mighty Sovereigns, for an avowed violation of justice.—They threw down the gauntlet to Omnipotence j and hi» vengeance seems to have taken it up.' pp. 217, 218.
But the other nations!—Louis XVI, in 1734, distinguished himself from his predecessors, and his contemporaries, by extraordinary exertions to increase the trade of the French in human sufferings ; by bounties offered on evely ship employed, and on every slave imported, "300,000 human beings, it is computed, were led into captivity by the direct instigation of tha government, which was soon after so terribly chastised." Spain, in 1189, deliberately pronounced that the trade should he carried on; her share has been comparatively moderate, both in the crime and the calamity. Holland resolved, in 1788, "that every means should be employed to promote a speedy enlargement of the Slave Trade;" 250,000 guilders were voted to the West India Company, and several encouraging regulations adopted ; these were limited to six years; " and God prescribed nearly the same limitation to the commerce, the liberty, and the independency of Holland." Portugal, at the same time, was increasing her share in the Slave Trade—but not by the direct interference of her government; she has felt but little of the scourge. On the other hand, how surprisingly have the United States increased in power and prosperity !—it is the only nation that has endeavoured to free itself from the common guilt, and every State but one, in that Union, has long since refrained from the blood of the innocent. Such is the result of this very striking examination of coincidences. Britain has not yet received her proportionate retribution. But when she Views the fate of others, when she considers her own transcewdant guih, when she descries the fiery rod which is prepared, though not yet exercised against her—has she nothing to fear? She is threatened, in the consequences of invasion, with that full amount of punishment, which she has deserved.
Vol. III. X
We rejoice (an:! it must have been the occasion of gratitude and triumph to our author and thousands more) that since the publication of this animated and brilliant appeal to the " justice, humanity, and sound policy" of Parliament, the House of' Peers has reclaimed its title to those distinctions. Already have we exulted over the fall of the sanguinary monster; for we cannot still think so meanly of the representatives, of the British Commons, as to suppose they will now intercept the blow of final extinction, that they will revive the dying varnpyreof our moral, commercial, and political interests, and defy the thunder of Heaven, by embracing its destined victim.
But while the continuance of the Slave Trade must subvert all the hopes of safety,—will the Abolition avail to establish them? We cannot expect impunity without reform; can we expect It from reform r—even if that reform be extended to our multiplied national crimes? There is an evident difference between nations and individuals, in their relation to the divine government, as there is for the former no futurity and. no redemption ; yet since there is so great an analogy, who* will dare to affirm that a nation shall cancel its black arrear of guilt, by simply ceasing to increase it? Reforms extorted by rear, or suggested by policy, may fail to conciliate the protection of Providence; but a continuation in sin must ensure its indignation. Confidence without reform,—a fast without contrition—what are they but impious hope and blasphemous mockery. How many such hopes have been expressed, and such fasts observed! How repeatedly has the most happy, flourishing, civilized, evangelized nation on earth, knelt professedly in supplication to the insulted Majesty of Heaven, her hands still reeking with murder, still clasping audaciously a golden Moloch to her bosom *!
We most anxiously wish, that political reforms may be accompanied by moral reformations ; and that Divine Protection may be implored as a grant, not expected as a purchase :— yet we remember that every public crime abolished, is an impediment to mercy removed; a statesman, therefore, like Mr. Wilberforce, or a writer like Mr. Stephen, who denounces public crimes as traitors to the State, performs a dutv whose value no mind can estimate; he deserves the noblest ot earthly rewards, the gratitude of his country,—he will cbtain the sweetest, the gratulations of his conscience.
—— :'—7" "«e
* We stop the press to congratulate our country on its deliverance from the shame of repeating this awful spectacle; the decisive victory of the cause of Liberty, Humanity, Policy, and Religion, in the House of Commons, Feb. 22d, is as glorious as a final triumph.
Art. XXI. The Sick Man's Employ; or, Views of Death and Eternity realized ; occasioned by a violent Fit of the Stone. To which are added Devotional Exercises for the Afflicted. By John Fawcett, A.M. 12tno. pp. 136. Price Is. 6d. bound. Button and Son, and Suttaby. 1807.
'T'HIS is a new edition of a little volume first published many years since; and we depart from the general rule, of confining our attention to contemporary publications, out of respect for a veteran in the service of religion, whose labours in several departments of public instruction, we have reason to believe have been extensively useful. A portion of that usefulness we can have no difficulty in ascribing to the small but excellent performance before us. Being occasioned, as the title mentions, by the author's own severe afflictions, it has that forcible and accurate expression of feeling, which is not easily imitated by even the most serious person, writing with the same intention, without having experienced oppressive pain and the apprehension of approaching death: the kind of composition that springs from piety and rhetoric, can seldom rival, or strongly resemble, that which is the result of piety and suffering. It compresses within a very short space the principal topics both of alarm and consolation, presents them in a simple and striking manner, and is equally adapted to assist the devout reflections of the sick, and to inform those in health, what are the thoughts of serious men when they are languishing in pain, and believe themselves dying.
Plain Christians, who amidst their religious enjoyments experience a mixture of melancholy sentiments, will not, in reading this little work, be mortified and distressed by a strain of uninterrupted and almost poetical rapture, which some writers have aimed to express, and some pious men have undoubtedly been privileged to realize, but which it is too possible may sometimes have checked the consolations of good men in their afflictions, by exhibiting such an uncontrolled exultation of feeling, and such a scenery of imagination, as they were conscious they could not attain. In these meditations they will find animated confidence so tempered with cautious reflection, that they will be gratified in seeing an example of that pitch of consolation and assured hope, which their occasional gloomy moments will not prevent them from confidently aspiring to reach.
It was essential to the design of the work that the language should be perfectly plain; but it is also natural and spirited.
The latter part consists of devotional exercises, very properly cast into $hort simple passages; some of them are the identical expressions of eminent Christians in the prospect of death. Here is added, a pleasing account of the sentiments and conduct of an amiable young lady, whom the author repeatedly visited in her last illness, concluded by an elegiac tribute to her memory.
We would particularly recommend this work to the many estimable persons, who make religious admonitions, and a present of some serious writings, a part of their benevolence in visiting the sick.
Art. XXil. Further Evidences of the Existence of the Deity, intended as an
humble Supplement to Archdeacon Paley's Naturai Theology. By
George Clarke, Isleworth. 8vo. pp. xvi. 46. price 2s. Faulder. 180*6.
JN the preface, which is nearly half as large as the whole work, the author
. jftforms us, that he had written the following arguments for the existence of the Deity from the adaptation of the sexes, before he had seen Archdeacon Paley's Natural Theology. Finding that this evidence was noticed as unanswerable by such a reasoner as Paley, Mr. C. determined to give the argument to the public in a more expanded form than was consistent with the archdeacon's plan. It is against the contemptible sophistry of Mira-. baud, in his Systems de la Nature, that this pamphlet is directed. After noticing the difficulty which atheists must find in determining whether rnan was formed before, during, or after the fortuitous concourse of atoms which produced the wondrous symmetry of the universe, Mr. C. attacks 'Mirabaud's assertion, "that man was born male and female."
He argues with great force, that though it is improbable that one animal of any kind shouldhe accidentally formed, yet it is more than doubly improbable that another of the same species, but different sex, should, without design, be produced,as exactly answering the purpose of reproduction, as the most consummate wisdom could have contrived. The difficulty and improbability increase by geometrical proportion, if we transfer our attention to the numberless different animals which must be thus accidentally formed, and then accidentally matched. But we think this is almost useless labour: (for the man who is so basely credulous as to admit the self-existence and "voluntary motion of atoms, and the possibility of their constituting one single organized and intelligent being, may deny whatever else he pleases. This life affords too much employment for us all, to allow of devoting one moment to the cure of a maniac, by treating him as eomfioi mentis.
Mr. Clarke's pamphlet, however, may have its use; his labours in the ,cause of the common-sense, virtue, and happiness of man, demand our approbation.
Art. XXIII. Sacred Hours ; or Extracts for private Devotion and Medita■ tion: comprehending the Psalms, arranged and classed under various Heads, together with Prayers, Thanksgivings, Hymns, &c. Sec. principally selected from Scripture, the whole intended as a Compendium of Divine Authority, and a Companion for the Hour of Solitude and Retirement: 2d Edition, with Additions. Two Vols. 12mo. pp.730. Price 12s. extra Boards. Faulder. 1S06.
rrHE plan of this little work, never supposed a selection of Beauties from the Sacred Volume, but the combination, under appropriate heads, of dispersed texts and passages, on the most important branches of moral duty, and practical piety." It appears frqm this sentence that the author was duly aware of a probable ground of objection to the work which she had compiled; and if that objection be valid in itself, this explanatory remark cannot impeach it'."" It might excuse the author from any improper design, but could not clear the work from a radical fault in its practical fendency. If we thought that these volumes, by selecting and arranging some of the devotional parts of Sacred Writ, would induce the reader to neglect the original, we should earnestly deprecate their extensive circu>. . Jation; but such an effect is by no means necessary, nor we think probable. It contains so much that is truly devotional, that none but a serious and conscientious reader will endure the perusal ; and such a reader cannot fail to remember, that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is all profitable in different ways and in different circumstances. We fully approve the motives of the compiler in omitting all the New Testament, except a few passages that are classed under the head of prayers; to select would be to deface, where all is invariably and indispensably important. The first volume contains Prayers, Thanksgivings, &c. selected from the Old and New Testament, and from the Apocrypha. The insertion of selections from the Apocrypha we do not censure,, because they are at least as unexceptionable as the prayers of Sir W. Jones, and Dr. Johnson, which follow; but we strongly protest against the intermixture of the Apocryphal, with the Canonical Scriptures. After the Occasional Prayers from various authors, (many of which, however, are such a* devout heathens might write, and have written,) follow portions of Scripture, arranged and classed under various heads for instruction and meditation; here again we are much displeased at seeing the Son of Sirach ranked with Job and Isaiah.
In the second volume, the Psalms are inserted entire, classed under different heads, "as well as their varied matter would admit." The remainder of the volume is occupied with ' Hymns and Pious Addresses to the Almighty.' Many of these are rather moral than evangelical, as the reader will suppose, from the compositions of Mrs. More, Mrs. Carter, and Mrs. Barbauld, Langhorne, Dryden, Young, and Cowper, being classed indiscriminately together.
Art. XXIV. Hymns by the late Rev. Joseph Grigg. ;12mo. pp, 23.
Price 6d. Rivingtons. Baynes. 1805. HPHE best Hymns in this small collection,' which consists of but nineteen, are probably known to many of our readers. One of these Is here printed as the Xlth.'
"Behold a stranger's at the door!
the other as the XHth.
"Jesus! and shall it ever be,
The latter, especially, is a very pleasing effusion of a devout heart;
When I've no sins tp wash away, »
No tear to wipe, no joy to crave,
No fears to quell, no soul to save."
The literary merit of the hymns, in general, is very inconsiderable r but the pious views and feelings which they disclose, will appear to many a sufficient recommendation. Yet we should be very glad to see, among modern devotional compositions, more imitations of Cowper, and of Watts's best manner; we might then venture to open a volume of hymns,. without first laying aside the principles of criticism.
Art. XXV. The Power of Religion on the Mind, &c. By Lindley Murray. Thirteenth Edition, improved. I2mo. pp. 316. Pncb 3s. 6d. bound. Longman and Co. Darton and Harvey. 1807
TJAVING briefly recommended this very useful work in our second volume, p. 308, we should not have judged it proper to mention another edition of it, but for the pleasure of remarking, that an omission which we there pointed out as a defect, has since been supplied by this