« AnteriorContinuar »
I have now, to the best of my power, removed all the material objections of Michaelis, brought from internal evidence, to prove that St. John could not have been the . author of the Apocalypse. God grant that the British Palladium, the Scripture, may not be wrested, book after book, from us by the torrent of German hypercriticism and affected intpartiality.-“Write,” saith the angel, " that these sayings are credible and authentic." (chap. xxi. 5.). “ I bear joint witness,” saith the spirit, “ that if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are writien in this book." Chap. xxii. 18, 1:9.
: TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S '
THE literature of any country has ever been considerT ed as of the utmost consequence in forming the sentiments and morals of its people, and in every age ube strictest attention has been paid to it by the careful and vigilant Legislator. From it, national manners receive their tincture ; by il, they are exalted, and by it, they are alike degraded. But in the prosecution of this laudable design, of rescuing a country from the mist of error" and the gloom of superstition, great care is requisite on the part of those engaged in it; otherwise, what was intended as a benefit, may be perverted to the purposes of anarchy, confusion, and discord. During the tremendous revolution in France, we bave seen what mischievous effects have been produced by the pursuits of literature and of science, abused and misapplied, when placed in the hands of a Voltaire, a D'Alembert, anda Diderot, whose avowed declaration was to philosophize all Europe. How
far they have succeeded, the serious aspect of the times sufficiently indicates; when men no longer seem willing to submit to the restraints of legal authority, and are eager (as the venerable authoress of the Guardian of Education observes) to teach even their children to lisp rebellion in the nursery.
Where the cause of literature and of science is to be promoted, it is highly expedient, that societies be formed. But let them not be formed and multiplied without any regard to prudence and discretion. In this country in particular, we have for a considerable time had three societies, which have been of infinite service to the community, viz. the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and the society in the Adelphi for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, a society highly benea ficial to this country, whose chief object is Commerce. But with infinite concern it is, that I hear, that another society is about to be formed in the very heart and centre of the metropolis, and that an application will be made to his Majesty for a charter, in order to enable it to vie with the Royal Institution, where we meet (as the elegant author of Rhymes on Art remarks,) with science in coteries, and behold professors in petticoats.” I must confess, that I am not allured by the charms of those gentlemanlike ladies, who perform with a grave face the farce of philosophical experiment; and terrify their unscientific papas, by mimic thunders, electric shocks, and artificial' earthquakes.
I have read, and with some attention, the regulations of this projected institution, from which I can augur nothing but what will eventually prove destructive to the commerce of this country. It is an institution which will contribute more than any thing else to accelerate what the French have in view-our destruction as a nation; by converting the British merchant, and diligent sober-minded tradesman and mechanic, into the superficial and self-conceited philosopher. It was not by dabbling in philosophy, that our wise and prudent ancestors arose from the humblest walks in life to wealth and fame. It was by a steady attention to their business, that they became good and useful citizens. Like your valuable correspondent Jonathan Drapier, they contented themselves with that kind of occupation which was best suited to their sphere in life, viz. the knowledge of accounts, writing, and the laws of commerce. In those happy times, bankruptcies were few, and the name of bank
rupt was dreaded as a mark of disgrace, whereas now it is received with indifference and unconcern. .
One of the advantages held out to the members of this embryo Society, is curivus and extraordinary in the extreme. That to which I allude, is the power, vested in a father who is a member of the Society, to bequeath by will his interest in it to his son, who may succeed him, without a ballot, whether he is qualified by character and abilities or not. This is, I believe, the very first instance of an idea being started, that sense and understanding could bé conveyed like an estate or a bale of goods to the next beir. It seems then to be a matter of no consequence whether the members in succession are blockheads, profiigate, or dissipated, as they must be elected, not by their merit, but their undisputed claim of inheritance.
What will be the effects of this wise institution, but the inundating our metropolis with sceptical and atheistical philosophy ? For who will in all probability constitute the majority of the auditors present at the lectures to be there given, but those whose previous education, and subsequent habits, by no means qualify them for the patient, laborious and cool investigation of mathematical truths. Without meaning to undervalue the real abilities of commercial preople, I must assert, that very few of them have had sufficient time, leisure, or inclination, to attend to literary pursuits. Engaged as they are from morning till night in the serious and important concerns of business, their minds distressed perhaps by losses sustained in the day, or anxious about the fate of thousands, can we suppose them able to go with thoughts sofficiently composed and collected to enjoy a philosophical lecture in the evening? The contrary is the more probable. But this is not the whole of the mischief that may result from the establishment of this Society.
The mischief that I dread, is, the introduction of sceptical and infidel notions into the minds of the illiterate and uninstructed, who are too apt to assume the office of judges, and particularly in matters of religion, to reject revealed truths merely because they cannot be brought within the limits of their narrow and contracted reason. People of this stamp come to the study of the Holy Scriplures with the absurd idea of making them bend to their pre-conceived and prejudiced notions; whereas, on the contrary, the Scriptures should be the test of the validity of them. Whatever in religion will not admit of actual de
monstration and mathematical proof, they reject as false and incredible. Reason, human reason, is with them theic sole guide and paramount instructor.
I an aware, that in defence of this institution, it will be pleaded that the revival of literature was owing to the splendid magnificence and liberality of a Florentine merchant, Lorenzo de Medici; and that the merchants of London are justified in imitating his example. But the times are different; and therefore what might be beneficial in the time of Lorenzo, may prove the reverse in that of George the Third, King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. For my own part, I cannot see what benefit will be derived to the nation from philosophical pastrycooks, hatters, and tinmen; for in the list of subscribers I have remarked the names of two of the latter description. In their capacities as hatter and tinman, I believe them to be respectable; but I think that they are going beyond their sphere, and only incurring ridicule, when they assume to themselves the title of philosopher.
QUERIES RELATING TO METHODISM.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
MAGAZINE. SIR, COME time since, one of your correspondents men
tioned with approbation Mr. Pearson's definition of a Methodist, as given in his “ Second Letter to Mr. Overton,” which is, “ A Methodist is one who sets the discipline of the church at defiance, and breaks out into open schism." Your correspondent, deeming this definition correct, seems to think, that it is therefore an injustice to apply the term Methodist to those ministers of the establishment who call themselves, or who encourage their followers to call them, Evangelical or Gospel ministers, Without controverting this opinion, I wish to ask, whe
thər ther those persons, who, for the sake of hearing what they • call Gospel-preaching, that is, the preaching of Calvinism, or what the preachers of it call moderate Calvinism, in some neighbouring church, are in the constant habit of deserting their own parish church; thus breaking the bond of union, which, according to the constitution of the Church of England, is intended to subsist between the minister of a parish and his people, and opening the way to the meeting-house; whether, I say, those persons may not, without any injustice or impropriety, be called SemiMethodists, or Half-Methodists? I further wish to ask those evangelical or gospel ministers of the Church of England, who encourage this practice, whether, if they be not themselves Methodists, they may not properly and justly be called Makers of Methodists? For sure I am, that the instances are innumerable, in which Semi-Methodists, or Half-Methodists, have become Methodists, that is, have either left off attending the church altogether, or have divided their attendance between the church and the meeting-house. Some evangelical or gospel ministers, as I am credibly informed, scruple not to administer the communion to the inhabitants of other parishes, who habitually resort to their parishes for the sake of their peculiar doctrines. I advise such ministers to consult the
§enty-eighth Canon ; from the perusal of which, they will probably find, that they are not so strictly observant of the discipline of the church, as they would be understood to be. I am, Sir,
- - - Your humble Servant,
Feb. 1, 1806. A QUERIsr.
ON IMPROVEMENTS UNDER ESTABLISH-
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHodox church MAN’s
OUR correspondent X, Y, Z, in your number for Oc
tober last, p. 263, says, that, under an establishment “the first mover of improvements seems as if he could not be exculpated from a violation of the most sacred obligations.” I take for granted, that he means to limit the application of this assertion to those members of an