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vol. ii. 65, 66............iv. 296, 297.
296, 297............ii. 339, 340, 341.
435, 436......... iv. 318, 319.
120-124...........iv. 316, 317.
These are all the passages in which the author appears to me to have had recourse to his Collections on different topics. The index will point out many others, wherein he has treated the same subjects much in the same way; but he does not seem in these latter places to have designedly copied himself. .
The following GENERAL REMARKS ON THE DIFFERENT PIECES AS THEY ARE ARRANGED IN THIS EDITION, will give the reader some idea of the pleasure and benefit which he may expect from these writings :
The First Volume opens with the Vanity of the World ; a treatise written, probably, when our author was very young. It discovers more playfulness of fancy and less solidity of judgment than his subsequent works. His arguments are not always tenable: for instance, when he would prove the world vain, because a madman may be happy without the world ; for, by the same reasoning, he might prove heaven itself to be vain. The Expositions of the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments are treasures of instruction: the first respecting God and his relations to us; the second respecting our duty to him and to our neighbour. These treatises form a body of divinity,“ rich in doctrinal, experimental, and practical truth; where every thing is found with its just proportion..
The Second Volume begins with Three Discourses, which I have connected together under the general title of Discourses on the Law. These are a proper supplement to the Exposition of the Commandments, as they bring home the subject in the way of application. The Five Discourses concerning Sin open to the mind of the reader just and impressive views of its subtle workings, its universal infection, and its dreadful consequences; with the duty and the means of escaping its tyranny and its curses. The Doctrine of the Two Covenants is a most accurate and able discussion of topics, which involve some of the most intricate and yet important questions in Theology. The reader will with difficulty find any treatise, in the same compass, equally judicious and satisfactory; wherein he will see at once, all glory ascribed to the grace of God and yet man treated as rational and responsible. The same wisdom is displayed in the Doctrine of the Two Sacraments. In the first discourse, the notion of baptismal regeneration is placed on scriptural ground, and the views of the Church of England vindicated from misconception.. The treatise on Regeneration is so full and satisfactory, as to leave little to be added on that important doctrine.
In the All-sufficiency of Christ to save Sinners, which occupies the first place in the Third Volume, the author opens the riches of redeeming grace: and in the Excellency of Heavenly Treasures he enforces, with his accustomed energy, the dignity and value of real religion. The piece entitled Practical Christianity enters deeply into the duty of working out our salvation; ably replies to objections; urges most forcibly, on a variety of grounds, a serious regard to this duty; and lays down judicious directions for complying with it. There are many admirable passages in this discourse. The Assurance of Heaven and Salvation a principal motive to serve God with Fear, takes up much the same subject; and is alike judicious in its statements, and animated in its exhortations. On glorifying God in his Attributes is á full and interesting discourse on the influence which the Divine. Perfections ought to have on our hearts and lives; wherein interior piety and holy conversation are
urged on the most affecting and ingenuous motives. In the Almost Christian the author has nicely discriminated between the actings of nature and of grace, and has forcibly argued the necessity of self-inquiry on the subject, and the misery of falling short of real godliness. The doctrine of Conscience is treated with his usual ability; and the Great Duty of Mortification is explained. at large, and with just discrimination.
In the Fourth Volume is a series of Discourses, connected together by the author under the title of Death Disarmed. In these discourses, Afflictions are divested of their evil and Death of its sting from considerations connected with our resurrection and immortality; and the process of the Last Judgment is disclosed in an impressive and affecting manner. The Miscellaneous Sermons are unequal in point of value, but they all bear the impress of a vigorous mind. .
Such is the comprehensive nature of these writings, that there are few points of doctrine or duty, on which they will not serve as an admirable guide of the judgment and director of the conscience.
There is another view in which the Works of our author acquire peculiar interest. He was one of the last of that race of Sound Divines to which the Reformation gave birth; and who, in uninterrupted succession, had maintained, in the Episcopal Chair, the genuine doctrines of the Scripture and the English Church. Bp. Hopkins, and his contemporary Bp. Beveridge, had scarcely any eminent successors of equal or nearly equal rank, for many years, who unequivocally and openly held and inculcated the pure doctrines of the Reformation. The distinguishing truths. of Christianity are opposed to the pride and passions of man: he naturally, therefore, repels these truths; unless either some secular considerations induce him to profess them, or diyine grace incline him cordially to receive them. Among those, therefore, who profess doctrines against which corrupt nature is in continual
rebellion, it must unavoidably follow that the tendency will be to deterioration. Under the influence of Concupiscence, many, who cannot resist the evidence of .. the truth, will hold it in unrighteousness; and others will not think the evidence worth weighing, and will secretly scorn to submit to any controul, while they may abstain from openly impugning the creed of their
country. And, under the influence of Pride, operating · in the most plausible disguise and in a thousand forms
and in every possible degree, persons, of a calmer temperament, of virtuous habits, and even of religious feelings, will often endeavour to smooth what they feel to be the ruggedness of truth, by reducing its statements more within the level of their own comprehension, and by accommodating those statements to the feelings and pretensions of the natural mind. After the energy of the Reformation had been, from the operation of such causes as these, for many years on the decline, other circumstances rapidly accelerated its decay. Christian Truth, which had been associated with political . extravagancies and crimes in the latter part of the reign of Charles the First and during several subsequent years, suffered severely under the serious invectives and the witty sneers directed against them in the profligate court of the restored monarch. The scholastic and inelegant manner, too, of exhibiting Christian Doctrines, which had generally prevailed, became unfashionable: a more easy and polished style was introduced : and some good men were not aware of the caution which should be observed on such a subject : old terms were to make way for terms less offensive : truths were rather to be explained, than the complex words which denoted them continued : fundamental doctrines were to be reduced within as narrow a compass as possible; and a liberal spirit was to be cultivated. A: singular correspondence between Drs. Tuckney and Whichcot is printed at the end of Whichcot's Aphorisms. In this correspondence the Ecclesiastical His.
torian of Great Britain may find the tenets and feelings of the Old and New Schools fully developed by men of piety and sagacity; and will see clear indications of that insensible departure from Divine Truth, which increased during the subsequent years *. Bishop Hopkins unites the Truth of the Old School with the Elegance of the New: He sacrifices no one doctrine to the pride or the passions of man; but he exhibits the truths of the Gospel with a force and elegance superior to most of his contemporaries. To the ingenuous student, therefore, these writings are of distinguished value: while he is.
* Burnet gives an interesting account of the Divines who formed the New School. See the History of his Own Times, fol. edit. Lond. 1724. vol. i. pp. 176-191. Whichcot led the way; and was followed by Cudworth, Wilkins, More, and Worthington; and, under these, : were formed Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Patrick, Lloyd, Tenison, and the historian himself. Indifference, sloth, and secularity had so widely infected the Church, “ that if a new set of men,” he says, “ had not appeared, of another stamp, the Church had quite lost her esteem over the nation.” They laboured chiefly a to take men off from being in parties, or from narrow notions, from superstitious conceits. and a fierceness about opinions,” They maintained, besides, a good correspondence with those from whom they differed, " and allowed a great freedom both in philosophy and in divinity.” Their project, so far as legitimate, was doubtless, a noble one : but it was difficult to be accomplished; and the attempt required a clear discernment of the distinguishing truths of the Gospel, a deep impression of their paramount importance, and both the inclination and the skill grace. fully to interweave them as the principles and motives of all action. In such qualifications these good men had not the pre-eminence requisite for their undertaking: while, therefore, we find in their man. ner an admirable improvement on the pedantry of the preceding age, and in their matter numberless engaging and elegant displays of the evidences of Christianity and of the grandeur and beauty of its precepts, we are seldom roused and invigorated to action by its distinguishing doctrines: that life and energy which emanate from the doctrines connected with the Fall and Recovery of Man, and which are appropriate to Christianity alone, too often yield to motives drawn from the Schools of Philosophy: and the fitness, beauty, and expe. diency of Religion and Virtue take place of the authoritative Will of God and the gracious Provisions of the Gospel.
This is a copious subject, and merits a full and able investigation. The Church can only recover and confirm her influence over the na. · tion, in proportion as she treads back her steps to the Truths prominently enforced by her Founders. Bp. Hopkins shews her faithful members the way: nor can any young clergymán better discharge the duty which he owes to her, than by Pasbioning his sentiments and his manner on our author's model.