« 前へ次へ »
cuted this part of his plan in a style that might compensate for the space it occupies; but Mr. Wilson is not qualified for the office of an historian. His language, with regard to the clergy, is often intemperate, and his flippant remarks upon foreign missions, reflect no credit on his understanding. Nor is the loose and undiscriminating manner, in which he speaks of some of the “ Independent Methodists,' to be justified by the occurrence of a few particular instances of the evils which he reprobates. The spirit of a satirist ill becomes the historian of religion.
Mr. Wilson is the zealous advocate of religious liberty in its utmost extent; but although the unalienable rights of conseience are inseparably connected with civil freedom, it is not as a political question that we prefer to exhibit the cause of Nonconformity, because it is not on political grounds that its importance chiefly rests. Perhaps the study of ecclesiastical history has not the most beneficial tendency on the spirit and temper. A man needs carry to the perusal a more than ordinary portion of Christian charity and heavenly mindedness, not to rise somewhat more charged with political warmth of feeling than in his best moments he could wish to retain.
We wish that Mr. Wilson had met with sufficient encouragement to complete his original plan, by giving the history of the Meeting-houses from Moor fields and Goodman's-fields, eastward to Limehouse, on the north to Islington, and westward from Holborn to Mary-le-bone. This still remains a desideratum which we hope the sale of these volumes will be sufficient to induce him to supply. They certainly deserve a place in the library of every Dissenting Academy in the kingdom.
· The portraits are twenty-six in number, and are respectably executed. Many of them are from rare originals.
Art. VII.--The Advantages of Early Piety, displayed in a Memoir
of Mr. John Clement, Surgeon, who died in the 20th Year of his Age. By John Hooper, M. A. Second Edition.-Price 2s.6d.
Williams and Son, Stationers Court. WE are happy to see a Second Edition of this pious and
useful sketch of biography. The plan and the execution of the work are calculated to realize the expectations of the worthy Compiler; and we shall present to our readers a fair specimen of his style, while we convey a just idea of the character of the book, by the following extract from the Preface to this edition.
« Here the excellence of religion will be seen in its influence on the character, considered as filial, social, professional, intellectual, moral, and religious; here will be seen the possibility of uniting piety and rationality, seriousness and cheerfulness, true devotion and every thing that is lovely and amiable, diligence in business and fervour of spirit in serving the Lord; here it will be seen, that a submission of the understanding to the humbling truths of the Gospel, and a subjection of the heart to its holy precepts, are quite compatible with general philanthropy, true patriotism, and intellectual pursuit."
Art. VIII. The Temptations of a Watering Place, and the best Means of
counteracting their Influence : a Sermon, preached at Brighton, Aug.
London ; Conder, Williams, &c. price is. 6d.
Christianity, when its ministers are not only zealous for its essential doctrines, and the general duties of obedience, but are penetrating and alert to detect the more artful deceivable
ness of unrighteousness,' and to drag minute and plausible sins out of their hiding places. It has, therefore, afforded us much pleasure to observe, that within a few past years, an increasing proportion of the published Sermons of Dissenting ministers, have borne with force and ability upon the more neglected portions of Christian duty. There are acts and habits, which have been lamentably forgotten, but are necessary to the exactitude of Christian holiness; and there are practices, which, though not totidem verbis described and prohibited in the Scriptures, and though often screened by interest, fashion, and family partiality, are not less hostile to the power and spirituality of religion, than the most disreputable vices. We rejoice to see the servants of Christ making war upon this territory of delusion and presumption, and we anticipate better days for the cause of religion and the happiness of mankind, when the filthiness of the spirit shall be as much dreaded as that of the flesh; and pride, falsehood, calumny, vindictiveness, covetousness, love of shew, and base worldly compliances, shall be disabled to maintain the stations which they too often usurp ainong the professors of piety:
On these grounds, this Sermon is entitled to the approbation and thanks of the Christian public. Its text is happily chosen ; Nehem. v. 15. " But so did not 1, because of the fear of “God." The Author brings to light many of those derelictions of Christian purity to which the frequenters of sea-bathing places, and of places noted for mineral waters, are especially exposed. The temptations of such places are particularly developed, as they relate to the opulent, or the would-be opulent, professors of religion, who take their families once a year to those scenes of fashionable resort. Alas ! how many children of such families have to date their RUÍN from the idleness,
lounging, and corrupting associations of such places; and from the wretched inconsistency of their parents who took them there! • If heads of families,' says Dr. Styles,
possess sufficient religious principle to enable them to live with equal consistency, abroad and at home, it is with the utmost difficulty they can
controul their households, in situations so fraught with temptation. Domestic discipline is unavoidably relaxed, -pleasure is the order of the day. The servants imbibe the spirit of their superiors, and are no sooner released from the claims of indispensable duty, than they mingle with others of their own rank, many of whom are deeply versed in the science of iniquity, and, influenced by such associates, they soon become insubordinate and vicious. Similar evils, arising from the same cause, assail the younger branches of the family. They na. turally expect a greater degree of liberty, because they are come out for amusement. Their usual avocations are suspended ;-they must not hear of lessons, exercises, or studies. With minds in such a state, how dangerous and polluting are the dissipating scenes around them! The moment they are dismissed from the immediate inspection of their parents, evil communications, which corrupt good manners, importunately invite them. The absence of restraint, facilities for the enjoyment of every worldly pleasure, and the syren voice of temptation filling the air with its deceitful and bewitching melody, are trials fof virtue, which few young persons can withstand, and to which they ought never to be exposed, without some all-powerful counteracting influence,' p. 13.
Speaking of the dangerous fascinations which are spread in some circulatiog libraries, trinket-shops, &c. under the disguise of an evening's amusement, and comparing them with the pleasures of the Stage, the preacher remarks,
· The Theatre does not deprive the fair and honourable tradesman of his profits, by an illegal and grossly immoral traffic; it requires in the audience some portion of intellect, exercises the judgment, and gratifies the taste. It does not reduce a whole assembly to the level of selfish gamblers or gazing idiots ; and however it may deserve censure, as a scene which attracts the licentious and dissolute of both sexes, and where the basest passions of our nature: are infamed, it is even, in this respect, less dangerous than those temples of dissipation, where multitudes of the same description assemble, not in places exclusively appropriated to them, as at the Theatre, but filling every part, and obtruding into every circle. Here, no distinction,
even in appearance, exists between the virtuous and depraved ; but females of the most correct morals, with their innocent daughters, are brought to mingle promiscuously with those of a totally opposite character. Yet these are scenes, which many professing Christians are not ashamed to visit ; where they, for the most part, spend their evenings; and if they do not themselves enter into the spirit of the follies around them, yet they permit their children thus to be amused at the expense of their virtue. It is difficult to understand, how individuals, at all acquainted with the nature of true religion, can consent to be drawn into so glaring an inconsistency. In any other circumstances, they would be the first to condemn it ; but having imposed upon themselves the task of idleness,-time hangs heavy on their hands, their moral sense is poisoned by the atmosphere of vanity, and they are transformed into the similitude of the world without once perceiving “ Their foul disfigurement.” p. 16.
We are doing a kindness to the frequenters, and to the stationary inhabitants, of watering places, in advising them to read this Sermon with deep attention; and in soliciting the former to make it the companion of their summer's relaxation.
Art. IX.-Christian Triumph ; a Sermon occasioned by the De
cease of the Rev. James Wraith. Delivered in the Protestant
and exemplary Christian Minister, from the words of Simeon, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” Mr. Wraith appears to have been a person of great simplicity of character, and of fervent zeal. He commenced his ministerial labours in the humble capacity of the village preacher, in which he persevered during fifteen years, from no other motive, and
with no other recompense, than the duty and the pleasure of
doing good.” In 1772, he accepted a unanimous invitation to take the charge of a congregation at Bolton, in Lancashire, where he continued ten years. During his residence at this place, he
delivered four Sermons every week at home; one or two
evenings were spent in the adjoining parishes.' He was at length driven from this situation by that spiritual pest---Antinomianism.
• There were some persons, to use his own language, of high Calvinism, so very quick sighted as to see all things done and finished from eternity: to mention justification by faith was an absurdity; to speak of good works, even in a believer, was to lose sight of Christ, and rob the Saviour of his Crown; and to insist on the evidences of our sanctification, as the proofs of our justification, was treason.'
It is with small propriety that sentiments of this description are termed High Calvinism : they are chargeable on no system of theology, but originate in the absence of all correct knowledge of religion, and an awful perversion of the Gospel.
Mr. Wraith subsequently passed ten years at Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, still combining itinerant exertions with his pastoral labours. He was instrumental in leading three persons to enter into the ministry. His last station was Hampstead, a place then the most unpromising,' as no dissenting minister, it seems, had previously.been settled there. Perhaps few parts of the kingdom bave, till very recently, been more destitute of the means of evangelical instruction, or exbibited more lamentable proofs of absolute heathenisin in the lower classes, than the villages a few miles distant from the metropolis. Here Mr. Wraith spent the last one and twenty years of his life, in the unblamable discharge of pastoral duties, and died the death of the righteous in his eighty second year.
The world,' says Mr. Snelgar, 'had no evil thing to say of him; and all concurred ' in the testimony, “He was a faithful man, and feared God
6 above many
Art. X.-The Moral Tendencies of Knowledge; a Lecture delivered before the City Philosophical Society, Dorset Street, and the Christian Philological Society, Spitalfields. By Thomas Williams, 8vo. pp. 50.--- }rice 2s. Williams & Son, 1816. THOUGH the question of the expediency of general education
has been so warmly agitated of late years, we do not remember to have met with any view of the subject, exactly similar to that given in the present pamphlet.
• The plan of this Lecture embraces two objects :-First, A cursory viero of Knowledge in its various branches; and Secondly, an attempt to show its Moral Tendencies.'
The first part. we pass without further comment, than a tribute to its general merit, qualified by one observation, which must be submitted to the Author's consideration. There is a want of systematic arrangement in the sumınary of the objects of our knowledge. Perhaps great logical accuracy was not necessary; but we cannot think that vagueness defensible, which, as its legitimate consequences, has produced the omission of some parts of learning, and the repetition of others. A more comprehensive and unexceptionable classification, if the scientific distinction of physics, ethics, and logic, was thought too scholastic, would have been, to arrange, in the abstract, all we know, into what relates to man, to nature, and to God.
• The moral tendency of knowledge, according to our Lecturer, is always to improve and exalt human nature.' It is adapted to teach man humility, while at the same time it confers a moral--it may be almost said, a physical superiority over his fellow men, and by enlarging his views, and refining his pleasures, it elevates him in the scale of intellectual being. It gratifies the perpetual activity of the mind, and renders it subservient to the embellishment of life and the improvement of society: It aggrandizes our ideas of the Supreme Being,' and, as its last and highest privilege, it