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Purge all my sins done heretofore,
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see ;
To do it as to Thee.
Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
And give it its perfection.
That turneth all to gold ;
Cannot for less be told.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Reviewers Reviewed. British Re- in the medium of its conveyance :") view, No. 36, Art. XVII. and this system is called “the re
ligion of the day,” in which Mr. A WRITER in the British Review, Richardson began his labours, (A.D. No. XXXVI. under the ostensible 1769.) This system was pronounced pretence of noticing “ a brief me. by Archbishop Secker not “ suffimoir of the late Rev. W. Richard- ciently evangelical," and the Archson, Sub-chanter of York Cathedral," bishop was followed in 1790 by has thought fit to dilate in po mea- Bishop Horsley, who, while he adsured terms, on the moral preaching mitted the improvement which had of the Clergy of the Established taken place, still spoke of “ the dry Church. No man is ignorant, that strain of moral preaching, too much the term moral preaching is now in use, and of the erroneous maxims used as a term of reproach, as a on which the practice stands,” and designation of offence imputed to a which were not then “ sufficiently large body of the English Clergy: exploded." It is not meant to disa but the precise nature of the offence pute the judgment of Archbishop has not been ascertained, nor is it Secker, or of Bishop Horsley, whose likely to be defined in the pages of opinions are recited as authority by the British Review. Mention in the British Reviewer. But there is deed is made of “ a cold and life- no presumption in counteracting the less system of ethics, little better assertions of an anonymous rethan the heathen instruction which viewer, or in asking, without any it superseded, and not always as reference to the preachers of a higher interesting as the ancient philosophy and a better class, whether they, who have at any time been most same standard of truth and righnegligent of that which is now po. teousness? If there has not been pularly, and with just limitations thiş agreement, if the alleged paralproperly called evangelical preach. lelism between the Heathen and the ing, and who have insisted chiefly Christian writers is merely of a on such topics as the attributes of negative cast, and consists altogeGod, the resurrection, and the last ther in the omission, or in the injudgment, or who have treated se. adequate notice of the fall of man, parately of repentance, humility, may not another parallel with equal meekness, temperance, charity, and truth and candour be drawn, beother Christian graces, can be justly tween the Heathen philosophers charged with delivering “ a system and certain Christian preachers, by of ethics little better than the whom the doctrine of the last judgHeathen instruction which it super- ment is less fully insisted upon than seded.” If the absence of those it requires to be ? Nothing, howleading doctrines of the fall of man, ever, can be more unjust, than to justification by faith alone, and impute to public preachers, whose other truths, which are now some- doctrines are founded in the Scrip. times made the form and sub- tures of truth, the adoption of a stance of religion, constitutes the “ system of ethics little better than offence of moral preaching, may not the Heathen instruction which it the same offence be imputed to the superseded." There are many reaSermon on the Mount, to the hor- sons, and many topics of pastoral tatory conclusions of St. Paul's exhortation, in which the preacher, Epistles, to the Epistle of St. whose judgment is not biassed in James, to the writings of the Pri- the interpretation of Scripture, will mitive Fathers, to some of the not think it necessary to insist on Homilies, which in the judgments what are improperly called, the of some men have a sacred and peculiar doctrines of Christianity, almost prescriptive authority, and which he cannot interpret at any to the discourses of many of the time in a sense agreeable to the best and most profound of English British Reviewers. It is easy to theologians, whose writings abound make the fall of man and the grace in tbe fullest and most varied ex- of God, the two sole causes of all positions of Christian truth. If the effects in religion and morality : most distinguished of the moral and to infer from the omission of preachers, Blair, or Sturm, or these doctrines, upon any occasion, Samuel Clarke, preached “ little however irrelevant their introduc. better than Heathen instruction," tion might be, a general charge of will it be contended, that the doc- moral preaching. trines and maxims of Aristotle, of Dr. Copleston preached a SerCicero, and of Epictetus, were little mon for the benefit of the Devon worse than Christian ? Have the and Exeter Hospital; the Sermon Heathen and the Christian preachers was afterwards published, and was been known to draw the attention reviewed in the Christian Observer, of mankind to the same virtues and in which it was described, as “comthe same vices, to enforce the same pletely exclusive of every motive common responsibility of all men, to benevolence deduced from the and to direct their hopes and their principles, which are peculiar to fears, to the same eternal recom- the Christian dispensation ;" as pense of evil and of good ? Has “having little or no claim to the the Heathen philosophy in its appellation of a Christian dis. highest elevation, or the Christian course;" and such as mutatis mu. morality in its lowest degradation, tandis might have "been delivered in any degree approximated to the in the porch, or in the academy, in a Mahometan mosque, or in a this, according to the reviewer, Jewish synagogue.” Dr. Copleston whose observations principally chal. naturally felt the wrong, which was lenge our attention, the full height done by this gross misrepresenta- or front of their offending. tion of his argument, and having “We are quite sure, that in endeavourendeavoured in vain to obtain a ing to excite attention to a spiritual and correction of this misrepresentation, superior cast, both of teaching and preachrepublished the Sermon with the ing in all who minister in holy things, we charges annexed. Thus the doc- shall incur no hazard of being understood trine of the Sermon was maintained,
to recommend the exhibition of any crude
doctrinal theories ; much less to advocate and the justice of the reviewer's
any other than the most practical and charge was denied. It is remarked, experimental course of instruction. Our most probably with allusion to this simple object is to guard against the decontroversy, by another writer in secration of the sacred office by a merely the British Review, in a candid and moral style of preaching, which is neither temperate critique on the Provost's honourable to the Law nor to the Gospel, Inquiry into the Doctrines of Ne.
-which leaves whole congregations in
the quiescent though perilous state of cessity and Predestination :
spiritual darkness and security in which “ If any doubt has ever been made of it found them, and of which, we fear, it the strength and quality of the Christianity may be too truly predicated, that it is not of Dr. Copleston, we do not think, that
o not think. that even its object or design to turn inany such doubt ought in common candour to
from darkness to light, and from the power survive the perusal of this Discourse, in of Satan unto God.” which we find the true spirit of the Gos Experimental instruction is the pel breathing in every line, the scholar language and study of a sect: tempered into the disciple, the accom
practical instruction, comprehendplished reasoner bowing to the discipline
ing Christian truth in combination of the cross,—the man adorned above most in our day with those gifts, which with Christian righteousness, is the minister occasion to self esteem and en
great duty of the Christian minis. courage ideas of human dignity, avowing try, and it is neither candid nor just his own inberent guiltiness before God, to assume, that that duty is neghis reliance on Christ alone for pardon and lected. But what shall be thought acceptance, as attaioable only by his grace, of this series of gratuitous insinua. and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.”
tions, that there is a style of There is nothing peculiar in the preaching, which not only in effect case of Dr. Copleston, except the « leaves whole congregations in the high merit and character of the quiescent, though perilous state of person unjustly suspected and ac- spiritual darkness in which it found cused. There are many others, of them,” but of which it is also the purity and integrity of whose feared, " that it may be too truly doctrine, of the strength and quality predicated, that it is not even its obof whose Christianity, if any doubt ject or design to turn many from had been suggested by the delivery darkness to light, and from the and publication of one and another power of Satan unto God.” This discourse, that doubt ought in sentence can impute no less to a common candour to cease on the certain portion of the Clergy, than more full developement of their re- a wilful and deliberate indifference ligious opinions, and whose censors to the object and design of their ought to blush and be ashamed of sacred office, a profane and callous the presumption and the precipi. disregard to the salvation of themtancy, with which they infer from selves, and those that hear them. single cases, hardly understood, a Be it, that there are some, by whom general charge against the English the “full and unreserved expoClergy of preaching “ little better sition of the humbling and transthan heathen instruction.” 'Nor is forming doctrines of the cross," is
less appreciated than it deserves to pressed, with the usual variations be, and that there are some by of uncharitable suspicion, in ano. whom the doctrines themselves are ther part of the article. variously interpreted and under “ Still it is not to be doubted or disstood ; it is nevertheless affirmed, guised, that there exists an entire and with confidence, that there are essential difference between certain views none the object or design of whose and statements of Divine Truth, within preaching is NOT in agreement the pale of the same ecclesiastical estawith the recorded commission of blishments ; or perhaps we should rather St. Paul, to turn many from dark
en mony from dark say, that cases are not uncommon, where ness to light, and from the power
Divine Truth is scarcely exhibited at all
in its sacred lineaments and due proof Satan unto God, as far as their portions, but is superseded by the lifeless «c faculties" will allow, and as far and spiritless ethics of natural religion, a as is consistent with the existing system altogether destitute of the vitality circumstances of the Church upon and power of a revelation from heaven, the earth.
and neither calculated to confer honour Upon the important truths for
upon God, nor to improve the condition
of his creatures, We fear it is a trath, which he contends, the reviewer
which however painful to tell, and howobserves the difference of some, and
ever unwelcome to hear, is still not less the agreement of all, which it is a truth-that in some quarters, the happily not in our province to ex. genuine and life-giving principles of our plain, as it is not in our power to early reforiners, as displayed in their doccomprehend.
trinal instructions, exhibited in their holy
lives, and embodied in their invaluable “ We desire to institute no invidious
formularies, are found no longer; and that comparisons; but it is impossible, with
a cold and heartless system of mere all our unfeigned attachment to the
morals has usurped the place of the only Church of England, (and we are, per
legitimate principles, which Christians can haps, rendered somewhat more quick
safely recognize as the role of their faith, sighted on account of that very attach
and the guide of their practice. Now we ment,) not to observe a difference between
apprehend, that Mr. Richardson, least of some, who minister at the same altar.
all men, intended to apologise ........for the
i We had rather, indeed, that they, who
absence of sound scriptural instruction in may derive benefit from the discovery,
any case; and still less to assert or inshould discern this difference for them
timate, that it was of no importance selves, than be more particularly re
whether truth or something else than minded of it by any plainer statement on
truth were propounded from our pulpits. our part; but we will simply observe,
No one better understood than himself that the good of souls—the security of the
the indispensable importance of that kind national establishnient—the very exist.
of instruction which can alone effectaally ence of the country-all appear to de
abase the singer and exalt the Saviour; mand the full and unreserved exhibition'
which, while it displays the depth of our of the humbling and transforming doc
original apostacy, and the extent of our trines of the cross. All unite in declar
practical incapacity, does' yet assert the ing, that the necessity of repentance and
absolute necessity of a renewed heart, renunciation of sin cannot be too ear
and a holy conversation ; and at the same nestly enforced ; that faith in Christ, as
time directs the penitent to the only single the fundamental principle of our common
source of all spiritual life, and all sincere Christianity, and alone sufficient to pro
obedience, in pointing to Him, who came duce the fruits of righteousness, cannot
into the world to save sinners, and without be too distinctly inculcated as essential to
whom no man cometh to the Father. Mr. salvation—that the influence and agency
Richardson was least likely, of all men, of the Holy Spirit, (in his ordinary opera
to feel that the course of religious intions, indeed, but not less certain, because
struction, which (we say it ' more in sornot extraordinary,) cannot be too strenu
row than in anger') is but too commonly ously maintained and that the meagre
afforded, could supply any adequate restatement of mere moral duties, abstracted
medy for the moral miseries of mankind from and unconnected with, a justifying
a system which leaves men as fully satisfaith, cannot be too carefully avoided.”
fied with themselves in their natural ColThe same sentiments are ex dition, as if the expensive sacrifice, pro
pounded by a Gospel of mercy, bad never they have heard only upon occabeen offered, and indeed had never been sion, at various times and in distant necessary; and which in the proportion Bloc that it sets up human merit, irrespective
places, in London, and in the counof saviog faith in the great atonement,
try, as chance or choice, and vicious does in the same degree depreciate and or censorious curiosity has drawn invalidate the costly provision once of them from their favourite preachers fered for the sins of the world.”
to their own or to their neighbour's Is it unjust to call upon the Re- Church? The charge cannot be viewer to specify some of the cases justified without betraying a neglect “ where Divine Truth is scarcely of sound doctrine, and an exceeding exhibited at all, but is superseded love of itinerancy in pursuit of by the lifeless and spiritless ethics error: nor is a casual attendance of natural religion :” and to declare sufficient to ascertain what may be openly and without reserve in what the course of religious instruction, quarters the genuine principles of nor can the experience of a few inthe Reformers are abandoned, in dividuals establish the fact that “ which the cold and heartless such a course is “ not uncommon" system of mere morals has usurped
in a Church, in which from ten to the place of the only legitimate twenty thousand sermons are deliprinciples, which Christians can vered every Sunday. A charge, safely recognize,” in which there is which it is thus difficult to substan“ an absence of sound scriptural tiate, should at least be advanced instruction," in which “ something with studied and scrupulous modeelse than truth is propounded from ration: and while the Reviewer is our pulpits," in which the system of painfully reflecting on the character religious instruction « leaves men of accusations, not proven, it may fully satisfied with themselves in direct his attention to be reminded their natural condition," sets up that the body which he accuses has human merit irrespective of saving been industrious in vindicating the faith in the great atonement,” and genuine principles of the Reforma“ depreciates and invalidates the tion, and in supplying the public costly provision once made for the with sound scriptural instruction : sins of the world." These are grave that in the hour of danger, they charges which should not be ad. have been zealous in maintaining vanced without sufficient proof; the evidences of Christian truth; and what is the nature of that that they have powerfully counterproof? We know of no volume of acted the efforts of the socinians in printed sermons out of the Unita. disputing the original apostacy and rian school which deserves these practical incapacity of mankind, the accumulated imputations. And in necessity of the great atonement, and respect of sermons delivered from of faith in that atonement, the sole the pulpit, we are bold to ask, does merit and worth of the One propiti. the charge rest on the testimony of ation for sins, the Deity, personality individuals, or on the collected evi- and office of the Holy Spirit, with dence of the whole company of the incarnation and divinity of the British Reviewers? Does it refer to Son of God. Whatever be the sermons wbich they themselves have merits of the school of which the heard, or to sermons wbich they British Reviewer is the advocate and know only by report, and of which apologist, and whose fair fame we the merit has been debated with the desire not to depreciate, the versions exact discrimination of a religious of the Unitarians and of Mr. Bella. coterie? Is it appropriated to ser- my, and the insinuations of Hone mons which their forbearance has from the Apocryphal Gospels, have been exercised in hearing for a long been examined and refuted by some course of time, or to those which who are not of that school, and