« ForrigeFortsett »
clear ani energetic ; its principles firm and constitutional. The learned Professor takes a comprehensive view of the portentous events whiel have overwhelmed the world during the long and arduous reign of our beloved Monarch; he laments that visitation of Providence which prevents baim from beholding those glories which gild his declining years ; lie then descends to the public character and principles which he has maintained through many a severe and painful struggle : his firm and constitutional stand against the incroachments of Catholic usurpation justly form a leading feature in the manly and judicious panegy. ric of the preacher.
« During a reign of inore than half a century (the longest but one in the annals of our country, and the longest of all, if we date froin the personal exercise of legal power) the unvaried object of his government has been the happiness of his people. Born in this country, he professed at the very opening of his reign, to glory in che naine of Briton: and what be then professed he has exempli. fied: by his unifornz practice. Unwearied have been his endeavours to preserve the Constitution in Church and State ; and with un. shaken fidelity he has maintained the solemn engagement, which as Sovereign he had, contracted with his subjects. The Protestant reformed religion, as by law established, he has supported with equal sincerity and firinness. True to the principles, which placed his family on the throne. of Britain, he has never ceased to distin. guish between those, whose allegiance is entire, and those whose allegiance is imperfect. The mandates of a foreign power, whether they concern our civil, or our religious obedience, are equally obnoxious and disgusting. They are a yoke, which our fathers were unable to bear; and it will be borne only by degenerate sons." P. 4
The just and equal toleration by which every sect and deno. mination of Christians is protected by the laws, which have been enacted during his Majesty's reign, is considered by the preacher aş one of its principal ornaments.
« On the other hand, while we rejoice that our Constitution is still entire, let us not forget, that the present reign is distinguished above all preceding reigns by the progress of religious toleration. of the penal laws against dissentients from the established Church, which remained at bis Majesty's aceession to the throne, there is 'not one, which has been left unrepealed. The members of the Chưreh of Rome, no less than Protestant Dissenters, have obtained perfect liberty for the propagation of their opinions, for the educa. tion of their children, and the ceremonies of public worship. There is indeed no form of Christianity, be it what it will, which is not protected by the law of this country, and protected equally with that, which is by law established. P.6.
The firmness of his Majesty, in resisting the abolition of the Test and Corporation Acts, which we consider as the very
bulwarks of our civil and ecclesiastical constitution, leads the Professor to consider the necessity, and to defend the justice of a l'est-law, which he accomplishes with his usual force and precision.
“ Nor must we forget, that the more zealous men are for the propagation of opinions, which are adverse to those of the establishment, the greater is the danger of their overturning the establishment. Where religious indifference, as in a neighbouring nation, pervades the community at large, it is immaterial to inquire, whether men nominally belong to this or to that religious party. In a country, where religion is no object of real concern, men are no less on a footing of religious equalty, than if they were positively attached to the same religion. In such a country therefore it is of no importance, whether a minister of state be called a Protestant, or a Papist. But in this country, where religion is holden in high estimation, where Christianity is regarded as the law of the land, and the various forms, under which it is professed, are perpetually clashing with that form, which is by law established, a religious test, even for civil offices, is the more necessary, in order to prevent the inevitable consequence of an indiscriminate admission to political power, namely a general confederacy of the various dissentients against the established Church. No infringement is thereby intended on religious toleration, or the freedom of religious worship. The mere abstract question, whether a religion be true, or false, the State indeed does not determine : but it is so far concerned with religious opinions, as they affect the welfare of civil society. And if religious tenets are in themselves a test, either of attachment, or of dislike to the whole constitution, they acquire a civil character, and become a criterion for admission to civil employments.
* A distinction therefore in the choice of those, who exercise the powers of the State, and moreover a distinction, which is founded on attachment to the Church, may be defended not only as expedient, but as necessary for the preservation of the whole. The toleration, which is sometimes called complete, and which levels all religious distinctions, would in a short period be no toleration at all. The very name of toleration implies establishment. But if men of every religious persuasion in this country were alike ada missible to the highest offices of State, the present establishment could not be of long duration. Religious liberty therefore is now enjoyed to as great an extent, as is compatible with the genefal welfare : and this liberty has been obtained during the reign of his present Majesty." P. 12.
From the parts which we have already quoted, it will be easily discovered that this discourse is, both in thought and argument, far superior to the common run of loyal and patriotic effusions: nor can we wonder at the distinction, when we know that it comes from the pen of the Margaret Professor.
Akt! X. : A Sermon preached at the Collegiate Church of 'Christ at Manchester, for the Benefit of the National Schools. • By G. Gaskin, D.D. Secretary lo the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge, &c. Rivingtons. 1814. • The connection between the National Society for the Education of the poor, and the venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge is open and avowed ; one end is proposed for the exertions, one object animates their labours--the propagation of Christian principles and Christian Knowledge, as it beams forth in the doctrines, and as it is confirmed by the discipline of the Established Church. We are not surprised there'fore to view the exertions of the good Secretary, who has for sa great a number of years devoted his valuable and unostentatious labours to the transaction of the business of his important office, employed in the service of the National System of Education. The establishment of schools, wherein the children of ihe poor are educated in the faith of Christianity and in the principles of the establishment, in the great manufacturing towns is a point so essential in a civil no less than in a religious light, that it would be an object worthy of the interference of the legislature to effect. : By private hands however has the goodly seed been sown, and we trust that it will be nurtured by the same pious care, till it reaches its perfect growth. We are persuaded that the Sermon before us must have had inuch effect in promoting its sacred object. The ancient mode of catechetical instruction is enforced with much piety and zeal; and the words of so experienced a pastor as Dr. Gaskin, must have their due effect upon the miod of every thinking congregation. The peculiar excellency of the Catechism itself is seasonably enlarged upon; and from this part of the subject the preacher is led to consider the interests of that institution of which he stood forth the advocate.
“ The ordinary description of week-day; or Sunday, Charity Schools, in which poor Children are habituated to an attendance upon instruction, is well calculated to answer these ends, and has unquestionably been productive of incalculable good, in various ways, tò the Children themselves, and of relief and comfort to their indigent parents and relatives. ::" By being instructed in the arts of rcading, and writing, and the elementary parts of arithmetic, they are, so far, fitted for those occupations of life, to which, in populous, and trading, districts, especially, they are likely to be destined.
" But, the prime objects to be had in view, in the course of educat on, should ever be, an inuring them to a regular attendance on the public Service of God, in our apostolic established Church,
and a furnishing them with correct catechetical instruction in the true principles of our holy religion, and the duties of the christian life. Hence, through God's blessing, the good to be wished for, can alone be expected; and towards the accomplishment of this good, the Inbabitants of these populous districts have not been backward, in furnishing their personal, and pecuniary, aids.
" I might call to your recollection the circumstances of Europe, as exhibited to view, within the period of our remembrance, and remind you of the efforts that have been made, to extirpate the religion of Christ from the Earth, to unhinge the frame of Society, tä check the means of grace, and suppress the hope of Glory.
“ Considerations these are, which should animate us, with increased alacrity, to sow the good seed, to impress upon the youth of our Country, the infinite importance of Christ's religion, to the present comfort of individuals, to the peace and happiness of Socie. ty, and to our future well-being, in another and better world.
“When Infidelity is effecting mischief, in frightful forms, let faith, which worketh by love, produce her proper fruits, and counteract that mischief. Whilst Atheists, and Sceptics, are forming plans, to spread, far and wide, impiety, and a leavening disorganization, let Christians do their utmost to propagate true religion, and loyalty--that religion, which is founded on the doctrine of a crucified Saviour—that loyalty, which our Church Catechism, in consonance with the word of God, inculcates.
“ And whilst Sectaries of every denomination, who are them. selves united together in no one particular, but that of enmity to the genuine principles, and platform, of our primitive and apostolic Church, are using their utmost endeavours to alienate the rising generation from the established religion, let such as wish well to our Sion, equal them in zeal for its prosperity, and use the best means in their power to guide our poor youth in the way, wherein they should go.” P. 27.
Our readers, cannot fail of being convinced by the prei ceding extract that these great and important schools would not have found a more pious or hearty advocate than the worthy Secretary whọ thus undertook their cause.
Art. XI. An Essay on the Doctrine of Assurance. By G.
D'Oyly, B.D. Christian Advoca!e in the University of Com. bridge, and Domestic Chuplain to his Gruce the Archbishop of. Canterbury. 8vo. 26 pp. Rivington and Hatchard. 1814.
The office of Christian Advocate has grown, under the hands of its present possessor, into a situation of much dignity and importance. The power of argument which Mr. D'Oyly has shewn in confounding the wretched sopłıistries of pert and perti
,, uacious VOL, III. JANUARY, 1815.
nacious infidelity, has done credit not only to himself, but to the office which he holds. The present publication also comes from líis pen as Christian Advocate, whose duty it is not only to answer the cavils of the intidel, but to confute the errors of the enthusiast- ioie
"The doctrine of assurance, or an inward and sensible feeling of acceptance with God, is the great engine of fanaticism from its highest to its lowest degree. Its nature and tendency is thus "ably described." ;:
6. For this opinion, besides the tendency which it must ever have to make men rather watch the state of their feelings, than attend to the quality of their actions ; rather wait in passive supineness for perceptible notices and impressions to be made on their minds, than employ themselves actively and steadily in the discharge of their practical duties--cannot fail to be productive of much desponding apprehension on the one hand, of much arrogant presumption on the other. Those Christians, whose temper is of a less ar dent and presumptuous cast, conscious that they feel no assurance of their sálvation which yet they are persuaded, if they were in a staté of salvation, they would feel, must naturally be weighed down with the heaviest gloom and alarm respecting their spiritual state; while others, of a sanguine and enthusiastic turn, working them selves into the belief that they really feel this assurance, will too easily be filled with spiritual arrogance and presumption, and sex duced into the most dangerous of all states, a state of false security : respecting their prospects of final salvation," P. 2.
Mr. D'Oyly next considers the two foundations upon which it is generally mamtained the authority of Scripture, and the personal experience of many devout Christians ; though as he ob. serves, the first ground is comparatively neglected; the Scripture being generally brought to confirm the feeling, and not the feel. ing to fulfil the Scripture.
Mr. D. first brings forward those passages in Scripture which appear so strongly to reprobate that temper of mind which the doctrine of assurance must inevitable produce, and fairly con. cludes that the general purport of Scripture is strong and decisive against it. He secondly adverts to those texts, from which it has sometimes been supported.
* And amongst the foremost texts of this description must be reckoned the words addressed by St. Paul to the Romans *: • The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children
of God.' This sentence has often been taken separately from its - context, and alleged as an undoubted proof that the Holy Spirit
* Ch. viii. 16,