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observation we have now made; we confess that, after reading it, we seemed to know nothing either of Arianism or Orthodoxy. Yet even in this declamatory admonition, so unfitted either for the confirmation of truth or the detection of error, there are several bold and striking passages, which, if incorporated with solid argumentation, might have been considered as happy specimens of Skelton's eloquence.
The discourse on Arianism is followed by a friendly remonstrance with the dissenters." We admire the tone of candour and moderation which pervades this remonstrance with a set of people, who, he thinks it possible, may be finally saved, without having recourse to the “ uncovenanted mercies of God." There are several remarks in the remonstrance which are inapplicable to the great majority of dissenters in this country, but which were probably just when applied to the Presbyterians in the North of Ireland. Taking however the general question at issue between the separatists and the establishment, the remonstrance does not appear much cal. culated to accomplish its avowed design. The complexion of its reasonings is loose and desultory ; proceeding all along upon an assumption of the very points in dispute--the divine institution of episcopacy, and the consistency of establishments with scriptural principles. We have often been surprised that so many of the modern philippics against dissenters abound in these illogical assumptions; and are persuaded that the number and prejudices of dissenters have been in no small degree increased, by this method of opposition. The sermon, intitled, “ Compassion to the French Protestant Refugees,” contains in it some allusions to the subject of separation, and breathes so mild and liberal a spirit, that we shall extract a few sentences from it.
• It is objected by some that these men having been bred Presbyterians ought to be discouraged, because they increase the number of our Dissent
-Too many it is to be feared of these objectors, have little Chriszianity themselves, or they could not think of thus shotting their hearts against such men as have proved themselves true Christians. It is, and I hope ever will be the glory of our church, that, although no other since the purity of the first ages hath afforded less pretence to Dissenters, she hath, notwithstanding, always allowed more freedom and indulgence to those who differed from her than other churches have done. Her only aim hath ever been, to make real Christians. --Such she gladly receives to communion ; and when through their infirmities and prejudices, she cannot receive, she shelters and protects them.- He is therefore no true son of the church, whatever he may pretend, who is for shutting the doors of charity against the oppressed ; against such as have given up their country and all thai was dear to them, to preserve their consciences.
What right can he have to talk cf churches, who wants the characteristic charity of a Christian, and consequently is of no church?' Pp. 326, 327.
The discourse on " Confirmation" contains some interesting addresses to the young; but we are sorry to observe, that it sanctions several gross and popular errors respecting the design of baptism, In the general tone of sentiment which pervades the book of Common Prayer," in the scriptures themselves, is there any, principle which would warrantithe following statement? In baptism you are called out of this vain and sinful world, washed from sin, and gathered into the church of God by a covenant of peace made between him and your soul !” (p. 291.) Are not such representations calculated to strengthen the most fatal delusions, by leading men to identify the washing of water" with the regeneration of the Holy Spirit? But we are happy to turn to a subject which affords our author unlimited scope for all the energy of his eloquence, and at the same time requires no misrepresentations to support it. We allude to his Sermon on the duty of Bishops." It exhibits the spirit of primitive sanctity in all its majesty and simplicity. The temper and deportment which become the highest official characters, in that church of which Skelton was so distinguished an ornament, are de lineated with the most faithful accuracy and enforced by the cost animating motives. It is surely impossible to read the following melancholy portraiture of a careless and ungodly pastor, without feeling poignant regret that ever the best of causes should be so basely betrayed, Alluding to such chas, racters he inquires, ::.
• Whence this lethargy on the side of truth and goodness? Whence that alertness on the part of error, heresy, schisni, superstition, infidelity and wickedness? Why is God so miserably, and the infernal fiend so zealously, so strenuously served? What infatuation on both sides ! With what impudence does he call himself a labourer in God's vineyard who never labors! who never even works! who does nothing, but eat, drink, sleep, shorn of all his spiritual strength, and fast bound, hand and foot, by luxury and indolence, on the lap of pleasure, while the gigantic Philistines of heresy and immorality are upon him! His faith is so dead, and his conscience so drowsy, that neither heaven nor hell can rouse him. If him at all in motion, it is only to perform some mere legal duty, which not performed, might deprive him of his bread; but-here, however, he goes so close by the stafute, and so narrowly turns the corner of the canon, that Christ hath not the compliment of a hair’s breadth more, though the sheep he died for are perishing. But were the prospect of a better parish, in case of greater diligence, set before him, on the music of such a promise, we should probably soon see him in motion, and serving God, Oshareful ! for the sake of Mammon, as if his torpid body had been animated anew by a returojng soul. Is it true then, that this world can do so much more than heaven. pp. 309, 310, Sermon xviji,
A volume of Sermons on various and unconnected topics enn seldom be subjected to a minute analysis ; but the design
of a critique is accomplished, if the general complexion of thought and the prominent features of style and arrangement be ascertained. 'Characteristic faults and excellences may be specified, but a particular detail of the good and bad in a series of discourses would be unnecessary and tedious. The merits of Skelton, may in some measure be collected from the few quotations we have made. It would be easy to adduce further specimens ; for though every sermon in the volume contains sentiments which need either to be qualified or explained, yet froin each of them we could select passages of peculiar excellence, distinguished by the brilliancy of their illustrations, the energy of their language, atiờ their impressive appeals to the best feelings of the heart in support of the sacred claims of pure and undefiled religion.
The Sermons are followed by a reply to 'Bishop Hoadley's “ Plain account of the Lord's Supper; twenty-one short ren flections intitled Senilia," and a few family prayers. The reply to Hoadley is in a high tone of declamation abundant in sophistry and defective in argument'; containing a great deal that may be called scolding, and some things that are not very intelligible. The Bishop contended that the sacrameny of the Eucharist was purely of a commemorative nature, and that the consecration of the elements was unnecessary
and superstitious.* Skelton considers these simplifying views of a religious rite, as opposed to the doctrines and ritual of the church; as tending to degrade the mysterious sanctity of the institution, and of course diminishing the feelings of respect and reverence, which he conceives to be connected with the ceremony of consecration. The grand principle of Hoadley's Plain Account is in our view as defensible as ever, notwithstanding all the suspicions and virulence of Skelton; the dan gerous consequences, which he considers to be involved in such a' principle, appear to us to have only an accidental and not a necessary connexion. The general character of the “ Reflections" so much resembles that of the Discourses, as not to need any distinct specification.
Wo appeared Art: VI. •Fox's History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the
Second, with an introductory Chapter.
(Concluded from p. 811.) • TELLING the story of those times,' was Mr. Fox's descrip
tion of history. But if we try, by a strong effort of imagination, to carry ourselves back to any given period of past times, and if we take back along with us the history which
Vide supra p. 711.
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professes to tell the story, it will be striking to consider how little it is in the power of history to perform. Let our own country be the scene, and any past age the time. That country at the time perhaps contained seven or eight millions of human beings. Each one of these had his employments, interests, and schemes, his pleasures and sufferings, his accidents and adventures, his youth,' and the changes of advancing life; and these pleasurable and painful interests had an infinite importance to the individual whose thoughts they filled, and whose heart they elated or afflicted. Of this immense crowd, and all their distinct, their anxious, and in theirown view eventful courses of life, history knows nothing. Incalculable thousands, therefore, and tens of thousands of emotions of joy and agony, of ardent hopes, of romantic schemes, of interesting disclosures, of striking dialogues, of strange incidents, of deep laid plots, of fatal catastrophes, of scenes of death, that have had their place and their hour, that have been to certain haman creatures the most important circumstances in the world at the time, and collectively have constituted the real state of the people, could not be saved, and cannot be redeemed, from sinking in oblivion. This vast crowd of beings kave lived in the social and yet separating economy of families, and thus have been under an infinite number of distinct polities, each of which have experienced innumerable fluctuations, as to agreement or discord, as to resources, number, cultivation, relative sorrows or satisfactions, and intercourse, alliances, or quarrels, with the neighbouring little domestic states. All this too, though constituting at all times so great a part of the moral condition of the good and evil of the coinmunity, is incapable of being brought within the cognizance of history. There are larger, sabdivisions of the nation, yet still so small as to be very numerous, into the inhabitants of villages and towns, with all the local interests and events of each; and even these are for the most part invisible in the narrow sketch of the history of a nation. We may add all the train of events and interests connected with religious associations, with the different employments of the people, with civil and literary professions, and with all the departments of studious life, together with the lighter, but both characteristic and influential course of amusements and fashionis.
No one ever wished to see the world so literally filled with books as to leave no room for the grass and corn to grow, nor therefore regretted that a host of writers of superhuman knowledge and facility had not been appointed to record all the things interesting to individuals, or families, or districts, that have been done or said in a whole nation during centuries; but it is at the same time to be acknowledged, that nothing
really deserving to be called a history of a nation can be written, unless the historian could exhibit something that should... be a true and correct minjature; of what has thus been an almost boundless assemblage of moral being and agency. He must in description reduce this vast assemblage of particulars to some general abstract, which shall give the true measures of all the kinds of good and evil, that have existed in a whole nation at the assigned period ; and he must contrives some mode of narration that shall relate, asi cone course of action, the whole agency of millions of separate, and din versified, and often mútually opposivg agents: 1. But how is alt this to be done? The historian does not know a ten thousandth part of all those facts of good and evil among individuals, the collective annount of wbich formed the moral character and condition of any people during any given period, and which collective amount he is required to ascertain, as he proceeds, and to give in a continued abstract ; nor, indeed if he could know so vast an asseniblages'i wanld it be possible for him so to combing and compare all these things together, as to make any true abstract and estimate of the whole, nar if he could make such a summary estimate, would it be of any material value, as thus :divested of all particular appropriation to individuals and given as the description of the character and state of an imaginary being called a nation. A nation having one characa ter and condition, and acting as one being, is but an idłe, fiction after all ; since in plain sense it is as individuals that men are good or evil, are happy or miserable, and are engaged in an infinite diversity of action, and not as constituent particles of some multitudinous monsterio "1 ,105
What is it then, that a work professing to be the histary of a nation actually does? What it dões is precisely.this: it devotes itself to a dozen or two, of the most distinguished persons of the times of which it professes to relate the story, and because the stations and actions of those persons much affected the state and affairs of the nation, frequent notice is taken of the people in the way of illustrating the conduct of those principal persons. The natural order would seem to be, that the people, consisting of so many millions of living and rational beings, should form throughout the grand object; and that the actions of these leading individuals, who by the very nature of the case will occupy, after the historian's best efforts to re, duce their factitious importance, a very disproportionate share of attention, should be narrated as tending to explain, and for the purpose of explaining, the state of the natìon, and the changes in its character and affairs. It might be presumed that the happiness or calamities, the civilization or barbarism the tranquillity or commotions, of a large assembleds portiq