« ForrigeFortsett »
ally and literally be designated,—' the Poisoner.' It is absolntn v, according to our Author, his business, in the distribubntion of the water, to contrive that it shall come mixed with poison to those individuals whom the legitimate authorities desire to send in haste to paradise. The miscreant is an uncommonly insinuating and pleasing young man; Ali became intimate with him, but was made aware what he was, and always, for fear of accidents, carried about with him some doses of the most potent emetics.
We must now bid adieu to the pilgrim whose many subsequent adventures, in his wide course of rambling, would supply, if we had room, plenty of entcrtaing quotations. lie went to Jerusalem and Constantinople, taking many interesting places in the route. We had little certain information about the grand mosque of Jerusalem; and therefore the minute description he has given will be deemed one of the most curious parts of the book. It will not however be found so interesting as a revealed secret is commonly expected to be.
At Constantinople, and each of the places which many other travellers have visited and described, he finds some materials for additional information.
Our general impression, on the whole, in passing through the book, i«, that it may be relied on, as a true history of wkat the Author did and saw. With the exception of a few scientific speculations, an occasional compliment to the French, and, nevertheless, some indignant declarations against despotism, he deals almost wholly in matters of fact; and that with a bareness and particularity which render the work in many parts extremely dry. He is much more a man of observation, in the plainest and most limited sense of that word, than of reflection. Except on points of physical philosophy, he does not display any very striking faculty of thought. He was not at all made for a profound examiner of the human condition and character, under the various forms in which they are presented to such a rover. And there is less of that lighter kind of sagacity which may be denominated shrewdness, than we should have anticipated in a world-worn, trained adventurer, capable of imposing on so many suspicious tribes of barbarians, by a perfect consistency of assumed character.
He announces a sequel to the work, of a nature entirely scientific.
The engravings, exclusively of several plates of fac-similes, and other mere characters, are about eighty, including several maps. They are for the most part on a rather small scale; but there are several of unusual dimensions, in order to give the whole length of the sacred edifices of Mecca and Jerusalem. Excepting the maps, handsomely engraved in London, the
V«l. V, N. S. V u
. French artist, being the same that were executed / dr.- French edition of the work, in 3 vols. 8vo. i rather inconsiderable merit, and will bear no sort vison with the common illustrative embellishments of glish travellers in 4to. Nor can any great reliance be on their truth of representation; some of them have been , vnd by a contemporary critic to be so completely different from some engraved representations of one of our own travellers of the highest authority, as to throw great doubt on the general fidelity of the Mahometan's pencil Aud, as to many of the objects, it was plainly impossible he could have attempted to delineate them on the spot, even if, which is more than doubtful, he is in any moderate degree master of the art.
Art. II. 1. Two Tracts intended to convey correct Notions of Regeneration and Conversion, according to the Sense of Holy Scripture and of the Church of England.—By Richard Mant, M. A. 1815.
2. The Essay on the Signs of Conversion and Unconversion in the Ministers of the Church, to which the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Church Union in the Diocese of St. David's adjudged their Premium for the year 1811.—By Samuel Charles Wilks, of St. Edmund's Hall, Oxford. 8vo. pp. 71. Hatchard, 18H.
IT is a deeply interesting, but difficult problem, how f.u errors of highly pernicious quality, are capable of being neutralized by virtuous motive or by corrective moral principles, so as to fail in producing their natural effects on the character and conduct. We are sometimes compelled to recognise the indications of sincerity, of upright intention, and even of genuine piety, in individuals, whose professed tenets on some important points, we cannot but condemn, not only as being erroneous, hut as tending to the most dangerous consequences. No error indeed, of radical importance, can, where the opportunity of ascertaining truth is afforded, be held without involving a degree of criminality, without implying a defect in the character, and without in effect having some prejudicial influence on the conduct. No error will be found to terminate in mere opinion at the point of doctrine which it ostensibly respects: it has a secret connexion with some less obvious deformity or defect in the conformation of the mind, as local defects in the bodily structure produce a degree of distortion in other parts of the frame. We might, however, instance many pious and exemplary members of the Romish Church, men blindly attached to its grossest superstitions, and holding opinions repugnant to reason and to Christian morality, yet exhibiting a be
tievoleiit zeal, an elevated piety, an enlargement of mind, which it might have been supposed could not consist with a cordial belief in those mischievous doctrines; in proof certainly not of the harmlessness of error, but of its yielding in some cases to the counteraction of a moral antidote. And a similar concession is due to certain modern promulgators of the Antinomian system, who glory in making void that moral law which the Apostle Paul declared it to be the object of his ministry to establish. The lives of these infatuated men are holier than their doctrines: the seat of error is their understanding. Where the errors of men spring from educational prejudice, from partial views of truth, or from a morbid dread of opposite error, there will be found particular occasion for candour in judging of their characters by their opinions. If, in too many cases, (to borrow an observation from "The Friend,") men are worse than their principles, there are others in which the principles are obviously worse than the men.
The only legitimate conclusion to be derived from these facts, is, not that any error is to be regarded with indifference, because it exists in combination with much practical excellence; but, that no respectability of character, or of numbers, on the side of error, ought to induce us to surrender the interests of truth. The actual tendency of error is not to be estimated by its effects in particular instances, but by its essential nature and its origin.
It was not to be supposed that the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration existed as a solitary and inconsequential proposition in the minds of those who so zealously contend for it on the ground of ecclesiastical authority; that it had no connexion with other errors; that it was the mere excrescence of opinion, or the only relic of an exploded system. Dr. Mant's Second Tract evinces that this is far from being the case. But, indeed, the connexion of this error with a system of error, exists not only in the opinions of individuals. The doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, and of the inherent efficacy of the Sacraments; the denial of the universal necessity of Conversion, in the sense of a spiritual change; the wild assumptions of the secular clergy respecting their Apostolic Commission; the claims of the Church, in fact, no less than the errors of her ritual and the constitution of her hierarchy: all originate in those false views of the nature and the end of Religion, which are to be traced to the great corruption of Christianity by the Romish Church.
That this is not a hasty or gratuitous assertion, made in the Spirit df a partisan, we might prove, by tracing the historical origin of these opinions to the same source. But it is not so mulch1 our object to prote these to be Romish errors, as to ahewtlrehr mutual dependence, and to demonstrate that those errors which proceed from the corrupt tendencies and sensual prejudices of the heart, are peculiar to no ecclesiastical constitution.
Were the object of the Christian ministry no other than U initiate the people into certain doctrines; were religion a mere science, the principles of which could be inclosed in definitions, and appropriated, for all available purposes, by the memory; the establishment of a body of authorized teachers by the Civil Government, would not be altogether an unwise or impolitic measure. And as the only object of solicitude in such a case, would be the substance of the lessons conveyed, not the character of the teacher, the Government would act consistently in contenting itself with securing the uniformity of the professed opinions of her accredited agents. It must be pre-supposed, indeed, that the Government was fully apprized of the certainty of the truths which it took so especial a means of disseminating1, nnd that it had opportunities which the nation at large did not possess, of discovering what it was deemed a bounden duty thus to impart. Hence the necessity of the hypothesis of an infallible test or expositor of truth.
Or we may take another view of the subject, and admit, that if the Christian 'priesthood,' as it is sometimes termed, bore any analogy to that of the Jewish economy, with which it is almost identified in the Papal Church; were it instituted for the perpetuation of certain typical rites and ceremonial observances, by the mere performance of which an important end was accomplished, irrespective of their conditional efficacy with regard to the individual worshipper; and were the rule* by which these services should be regulated, as definitely ordained in the New Testament, as the orderof the Levitical worship in the Pentateuch; then, the objects of the Christian ministry might be competently secured by an order ef ecclesiastical functionaries, established and endowed by the State. «'
'It is scarcely necessary to enter upon a course of evidence^ t» prove that this twofold hypothetical view of the religion of Jesus Christ, is, in reality, the very character which it assumes in the Romish Church. The whole system of that vast congeries of error, is built upon these assumptions. Religion is a thing to be dealt out by the Church in the form of external applications to the raemory and the senses: it consists of doctrines to be implicitly received from her authorized teachers, and of services, sacratucninl or ceremonial, which are substituted in the place of moral duty. The one sole qualification that she demands froiri, J>ec members, is, obedience. Faith, merit, holiness, grace, and a title to heaven, it is the prerogative of the Church_,to^,jmpart. None can be saved without the weaim ,-of Jipt sacrament/s^
mid 'hardy and determined, indeed, must that strong-willed sinner be, that can resist the mysterious operation of all the seven, squander away all the grace they bestow upon him, and miss the way to heaven in spite of the Church. The first question which the Priest puts to the infant when presented at the font, is, ' Quid petis ab ecctesid Dei? What dost thou ask of tha 'Church of God?' The response is,. ' Fidem. Faith.' The Priest proceeds: «Fidet quid tibi prastat ? What doth Faith * bring thee to? Response, Vitam iBternam. Life everlasting.' So then, Faith itself is the bestowment of the Church, 'the 'Sacramental grace,' conferred in Baptism upon the unconscious infant. And this explains how it is that we are admitted hi Baptism, according to the language of an archdeacon of the English Church, into 'a state of Grace:' that is to say, Faith being conferred upon us, we become believers. And the rest of the consequences predicated in the Catechism follow of necessity. We are made 'children of God, members of 'Christ, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.' What need then, rather, what possibility is there of after-conversion? A relapsed convert may be reclaimed: an inconsistent Christian, we will not say an immoral Christian, may be urged to repentance. But, upon the Romish principles, to suppose with that modern Luther, that arch-heretic Wbitfield, that
* In every Christian congregation, there are two sorts of people, some that know Christ, and sorao that do not know him, some that are converted, and some that are strangers to conversion;—this, (according to Dr. Mant) is a conceit which revelation warrants not, and which reason and experience disclaim.' p. 61.
But let us hear further upou this point, a dignitary of the English Church, the late Regius Profesnor of Divinity in the University of Oxford!
'That among men, baptized as Christians, taught from their infancy to believe the doctrines and practise the duties of Christianity, » special conversion also at some period of their life is necessary to stamp them true Christians, is an unheard of thing in the Gospel, and is plainly a novel institution of man.' Bishop Randolph's Charge ft Bangor. 1808.
But we have descended almost imperceptibly from the Romish to the English Church. We return to the subject of Faith as supposed to be conferred by the Church of Rome in Baptism. The very term Faith, it must be conceded, implies that something is included in the religion even of-the Papist, besides what the tongue can impart, or the life and knee perform; that there are certain indefinite qualities which are to be produced in the soul by the ordinances of the Church. These qualities might with strict propriety be designated by