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Mayhew, D.D. Pastor of the West Church in Boston, New-
Having never seen the Candid Examination which hath occasioned
in á Letter to the Author of An Answer to Dr. Mayhew's Ob-
and the Doctrine of the Co-equality of the Father, Word, and Holy
8vo. 6d. Bishop.
God, bis Neighbour, and himself. 8vo. 2s. Crowder. Though this performance has neither accuracy of method, nor ele. gance of composition, to recommend it, every sensible reader will pervse it with pleafure. The Author's design is to promote the practice of social ard moral duties; his sentiments are, in general, just and manly; he appears to be well acquainted with mankind, and to be a friend 10 freedom of enquiry, to virtue, and to religion.
He sets out with a few plain thoughts on the theory of religion in general. I look upon this world, says he, as a large extensive coun, • try, through which I muit pass before I can arrive at that blefled one,
• for the enjoyment of which I was created ; and that there are many • paths leading cross it; and as but one only can be disect, where shall • I find a sure guide capable of pointing it out?
God hath been so good as io give me one, to wit, my Reason; ' which though that of no man can be infallible, yet it is an infallible
guide to me to all intents and purposes, as far as it regards myself ; be
cause, if by that I examine with care, fincerity and impartiality, and ' attend to what it dictates, God will most certainly, as he is both good ' and just, accompany my endeavours with his all-saving grace, and I • shall go on securely and chearfully in the road to eternal happiness ; • because his justice can never require more of me than to make use of • this reason in all its extent, to enquire which is the true religion, and • afterwards to believe and act as I am convinced. No man can poslibly • believe otherwise, and God never commanded im poslibilities.
• This REASON tells me, that the only true religion is that one which • was instituted by Jesus Christ, and left to his apostles, (for I am sure • he could not leave two) and from them is handed down to us, by a • succession of pastors, teachers, and ministers of his gospel; and . against which church, or religion, he has promised the gates of hell Jhall not prevail.
• But it will be objected, That the profefiors of every different religion : in-the world pretend to this, and positively inlift upon it that this is
theirs ; and consequently, though there can be but one true religion, • we thall still be at a loss where to find it. However, I have a comfort ' in this perplexity, which has always been a very satisfactory one to me, • and I think should, in season, be fo to all mankind; and thus i • answer :
• That if (for example) John, after a diligent and impartial exami• nation (and this is an affair of no less consequence than eternal happi' ness, or eternal misery, in the life to come): If, I say, John, with. • out regard to any temporal interest, after the most frét examination, • in which he has employed the whole ftrength of his reason, is really
and sincerely of opinion, that the religion called A, which he pro' fesses, is that which Jesus Christ left to his apostles; then I say that • John is, to all intents and purposes, as far as regards his own ialva
tion, of the religion which Jesus Christ left to his apɔsties, and con
sequently a member of the one true church; and if his actions corre• spond, by his obedience to the laws of that faith, it will conduct him • to eternal happiness in the world to come. And I say the fame of Tho'mas, Willian, Edward, &c. in respect of the religions called B, C,
D, which they profess, and I call upon St. Paul, Romans, ch. 2. v. 14. i to back this affertion.
• But pray take notice, that if any thing is wanting in this examina• tion which might have been performed ; if John chules to profess him, • self of the religion A, only because he was brought up in it, or be• cause the practice of it is more agreeable to his humour, more conve.
nient to his worldly circumitances, less contradicting to his appetites, • or out of any other temporal motive; then I say john is acting infin. • cerely, nay wickedly, and carries about with him a tham conicience, • which will one day Ay in his face, and, without a fincere repentance, • must conduct him to eternai perdition. And I say the fame of Th.. mar, William, Edward, &c. regarding the religions B, C, D.
• But if, to the best of my capacity, I am diligent and careful in my examination, and sincere in my choice, God's justice (as I said above) cannot condemn me for believing, as I was convinced. And as this
must be reasonable even to demonftration, I cannot but hold up my • hands in wonder, when I see any power upon earth persecuting a man
for the profession or practice of that religion in which he is fincere.'
After delivering his sentiments bricAy on the theory of religion, our Author goes on to treat of the practice of it, and gives a great deal of very useful and pertinent advice to persons in the highest llations of life, in regard to their most important duties.
R Art. 12. Four Sermons preached at the Meeting in White-Heart
Court, Grace-Church-street. By Thomas Story.-Taken in Short-hand; and, after being transcribed at length, examincd by the faid. T. Story, and published by his Permission.
Hinde. The subjects of these fermons are: - The nature and neceffity of knowing one's-self.-The insufficiency of natural knowledge, and the benefits arising from that which is spiritual. - The fall of man in the first Adam, and his restoration by Christ, the second Adam.-The merciful invitation of God to all mankind, to come unto him for salvation.
-As few of our readers will give themselves the trouble of perusing them, we shall only say, that they are such rhapsodies as one generally hears in Quaker-meetings.
RU Art. 13. A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of
Berks, at the late Visitation in May 1764. By William Dodwell, D. D. Archdeacon of Berks. 8vo. is. Whifton.
In this charge the Doctor points out the several adversaries, and their several methods of opposition, which the ministers of our established church are surrounded with, and suggests the proper principles and practices by which they may bett hope to support their insults, and defeat their influence. Many of his reflections are very just, but what is chiefly observable, is his zeal for the doctrines and constitutions of the church, to which he says, we cannot conform too rigorously.
The end of Christianity, we are told, has been as effectually defeated by corrupting its doctrines, as by undermining its evidence. When • natural religion, says the Doctor, could not be maintained in oppofi• tion to this revelation, it was artfully said to be the same, and the gof
pel was asserted to be nothing more than a republication of the law of nature. Every thing peculiar to this dispensation as a new covenant, as a scheme of reconcliation of offending creatures to their offended
creator, is exploded, even by some who pretend to receive the Bible; * and force is offered to the express letter of scripture, and to the com
mon sense of every impartial reader of it, to explain away whatever • is said upon, or implied in the doctrine of redemption. The founda
tion of it in the fall of man, and the corruption of his nature, is positively denied; the necessity of it is evaded by attempts to prove that
repentance and amendment for the future is a fufficient expiation for • palt offences; the subilitution of a vicarious facrifice is represented as 3
injustice; the notion of any satisfaction to be made to the honour and justice of the divine law-giver is ridiculed ; and the efficacy of that which we are taught, and are to teach others, was actually made by • the meritorious atonement offered by the eternal Son of God, is inva• lidated, by disowning his divinity. Thus our Saviour is deprived of • every thing but an unmeaning name; his disciples of every valuable • hope in and through him; and his religion of every thing which distinguishes it from a good system of ethics.'
That Episcopacy was the primitive form of church government for fifteen hundred years after the publication of Christianity, the Doctor says, is as certain and known a fact, as that Christianity itself was pu. blished and received.- A church without a bishop, we are told, was a case not heard of for fifteen centuries, and an attempt towards such an establishment would have been anathematized by every primitive council.
Our Author employs several pages in explaining the apostle's injunction, to obey them ibat have the rule over us, Heb. xiii. 17. In what instances this obedience is to be paid, both the reason of the thing, we are told, and the express precepts of scripture, direct us ; namely, in such things as are indifferent in themselves, but are expedient for upholding decency and order in those which are more important. These are the only points in which we can possibly testify our dutiful submillion to those that in the church have rule over us. In matters of necessary duty, the obedience is paid to God, not to them, and would be binding, if no such ecclefiaftical rulers had been at all appointed. In matters which by the law of God are prohibited, we must not obey any human authority at all; and therefore the only instances in which we can polfibly obey those whom we are so exprefly enjoined to obey, is in those outward ceremonial obfervances, which were originally indifferent in themselves, but were, fome or other of them, absolutely necessary to
support regularity and utility in public worship, and the offices thereto I belonging.
There are, fays the Doctor, so many cautions in the apoftolical • epistles against divisions and separations, so many exhortations to
peace and unity and unanimity, to a fameness of mind and judgment, • which can never be expected in any other sense than this, of conform• ing to divine authority in effentials, and to human authority in cere• monials; that it may well seem unaccountable that men of such un• questionable goodness and judgment in other instances, as many of our • dissenting brethren, should not be moved by the force and the piety '• of this argument. Till this point is established, vindications of par. * ticular ceremonies would be endless and unavailing. It were fruitless • to make concessions, when more might in the same method be de• manded, till a Nate of entire anarchy would enfue ; and some of our • own members, who approve of the present constitution of our church, • might on the same principle separate from it, because such concessions • are made, as others now do, becaus: they are not granted.'
This is sufficient to thew the Doctor's zeal for the hon church, which, we doubt not, is very sincere. It is obvious, however, that the most effectual method of advancing the honour of the church of England, is to review her whole conftitution, in regard to doctrine, discipline, and worship, and to make such alterations, as the candid
and discerning of every denomination have long wished to fee made, and which the genius and Spirit of the times, indeed, as well as the interests of true religion, render highly expedient and.neceffary. If this is not done, it is easy to foresee, that the clergy will become more and more disregarded. and religion suffer on account of their indolence and selfishness. It is melancholy, indeed, to observe that, whilft a noble spirit of improvement prevails amongst us, in regard to arts, sciences, trade, commerce, in the army, in the navy, &c. nothing of it appears in the church. To what cause or causes this is owing, let others determine.
R PO ETICA L. Art. 14. Juvenile Poems, on several Occasions. By a Gentleman of Oxford. 12mo. 25. sewed.
Fletcher. It is commonly said by modeft Authors, that they publish at the request of friends. Those would be friends indeed, who lhculd persuade a bad Writer not to publish. Such honest dealing, we doubt, is very rare; and therefore it is the less to be wondered ar, if this Gentleman of Oxford had not the fingular good fortune to meet with an instance of such uncommon friendship. Happy would it have proved, however, for his reputation, if it had been otherwise ; and not unfortunate for his Reviewers, who have had the mortification of perusing his juvenile performances: for which, it is feared, his riper years will scarce be able to recompense them. If, therefore, he hath any more verses which have not yet seen the light, we, bis most impartial friends, do earnestly request, that he will permit Mrs. Susan to light the fire with them.
Art. 15. An Elegy, written in a Quaker's Burial Ground. To
which is added, the Country Quaker. Folio. 19. Keith.
In an advertisement prefixed to this poem, the Author reminds us of our promise, “to call from obscurity the productions of modeft merit, “ and, at the same time, to repress the hopes of presumptuous impo“ tence;" — with a modesty not very common, he only hopes to obtain from us an impartial decision of his merit, or deficiency, as a Writer ; and observes, with great judgment and propriety, that there is, perhaps, little difference between the inflations of impotency, and the effu. fions of genius, in point of self-discernment: A Writer who can entertain such sentiments as these, may be assured, that we shall, with the utmost candour, give him that estimate of his poetical capacity he de. fires. —He appears to poffels a competence of imagination; but we think him fomewhat deficient in taste and judgment. His harmony is in general pretty full; but there is a weakness, and sometimes a heaviness, in his melody. He is more than once, likewise, ungrammatical. -If he is a young Writer, we would advise him to withhold his productions for some years from the public eye; as there is no doubt bus he will improve both in talle, knowlege and judgment, the native rude principles of which he seems to postess.If he is not young, we would recommend it to him, to quit the poetical road, as few improvements be made in that art in the decline of life.