« AnteriorContinuar »
techumens; writing and arithmetic are postponed to the definition of faith; and all chance of enabling the children to better their condition in life is wickedly sacrificed, in order to scatter among the multitude the thriving seeds of a pious, but extatically fanatical spirit. Religious dilettanti, of every sex and age, reinforce the industry of the regular priesthood. Students of talent forsake the pleasures of youth and wealth to preach up a gloomy self-tormenting asceticism. Crowds of Missioners contend for the holy task of carrying out the Gospel to the remotest East. — Pietistical guilds have been instituted among devotees of every denomination. To hold more than the thirty-nine Articles of Faith, is become the title to merit among our sects. Clergymen prefix their names to books of mysticism, not merely without the fear of ridicule, but with the expectation of preferment. Divination, by means of the Scriptures, is professed even in both Parliaments. Petty pamphlets, of the Papists, peep on us from every corner; their chapels multiply; their converts are re-peopling; even the Jesuits, whom their pupils have suppressed, have here their seminary: Magazines of astrology are published monthly; almanacks, indicating planetary influences over the members of the human body, are printed in the very presence of one of our Universities, and hung up in every house. Platonists write, and are read. Swedenborgians build magnificent temples. Manicheans tutor our very bishops. No garb, which creduJity assumes, is now unwelcome: to be a Methodist, is to be comparatively rational. The classics of Paternoster Row supplant, in the libraries of the Priests, Lucretius and Cicero. Persons of unequivocal respectability have combined to prosecute the impugners of the faith, and have been supported by juries of the people. Plot-finders and heresy ferrets multiply, and are patronized. We are in a league to protest against the principles of Protestantism. In such a temper or disteinper of the public mind, who does not perceive that reason is in danger, not faith; the press, and not the gospel. Who does not feel, that it becomes the few residual
friends of humanity and toleration to rally with closer „union around the expiring Name of free enquiry, and, if possible, to shelter it froin the rash gusts of popular fury, and that yet more formidable extinguishment by periodical pursuit, and systematic suppression. ConteFol. VII. Churchm. Mag. July, 1804.
deracies of another kind are assuming but too disastrous an aspect."
We perfectly coincide with our correspondent R. A.S, in his opinion of the pernicious tendency of the Monthly Magazine, and have frequently had it in contemplation to expose the pestilential principles which it inculcates in Theology, Ethics, and Politics. Our correspondent may not be acquainted that its most strenuous supporters were and are apostate clergymen of the church of Eng, land, whose articles they subscribed, and whose faith they vowed to defend; or professed Socinians and Deists, If our correspondent wishes to see a complete refutation of the false reasoning, not to use a harsher term, of the late Principal Campbell, we recommend to him the 8th and oth volumes of the Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, a work conducted on the soundest principles, with the greatest abilities, and with increasing spirit. ED,
LESLIE's “! REHEARSALS.”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
but more particularly of the younger part of it, who may be entering upon the great stage of public life, without having duly weighed and established their notions on the great point of religion, and on the subordinate one, though intimately connected with religion, of politics, to a work of much celebrity in its day, though now by no means so generally known as its intrinsic worth and excellence deserves. Most of the family, however, to whom I belong, are well acquainted with it, and have been taught justly to appreciate it. The work, Sir, to which I allude, is “ The Rehearsals, or a View of the Times, their principles and practices;" written by that çonscientious, judicious, and learned divine, and zealous champion of the church, Charles Leslie. It was originally published in folio balf-sheet numbers, weekly at first, and afterwards twice a week, from 1704 to 1709
In 1750 these papers were re-printed, with some addi-
pernicious tendency of the Observator conducted by the infamous Tutchen, and the Review conducted by the not inuch less infamous De Fue. Other seditious scribblers, however, though of inferior note, come in for their share of reproof and castigation. These party-tools, through the medium of the above-mentioned periodical papers,
diffused throughout the kingdom such dangerous doctrine, as uncontroverted would have gone nigh to unhinge our establishment both in church and state. Against this poison Mr. Leslie resolved to furnish an antidote. And though no honour could be gained in a contest with such disgraceful adversaries, yet a sense of duty urged him to crush them, in order to prevent their doing any further mischief. This he so completely effected, that I defy any one, however bigoted to the cause of democracy, heresy or schism, to persist in his error, provided he will but attentively read and fairly weigh the arguments adduced in the work above mentioned.
I will mention a few of the subjects discussed in the Rehearsals, that your readers may form a slight judgment of the comprehensiveness of his plan, the importance of the topics, the extent of his knowledge, and the high interest such a work ought generally to excite. In the first volume will be found a most interesting account of the artifices of the Dissenters in the Great Rebellion, and of their renewed attack upon the church in the reign of Queen Anne : Of the Origin and Nature of Government, in which the futile notions and inconclusive reasonings of Mr. Locke are most ably and satisfactorily refuted, on the solid ground of scrIPTURE TRUTH. This part of the work I particularly recominend to those wlio chatter about the original compact, and are fond of lugging in upon every occasion their nonsense of vox populi
, vor Dei. In the second volume, after a most instructive and entertaining continuation of the latter subject, the case of Presbyterian ordination is considered, and the opinion of Calvin and Beza adduced with respect to the necessity of Episcopal ordination. On the persecution of the Episcopalians in Scotland. On the principles of Whiggism. The nature of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In the third volume are discussed the impor, tant points of the power of the Crown-Of the Test ActF2
Of the Constitution and Power of the Church and Prieste. hood-Of the Supremacy. A most elaborate confutation of the doctrine of Materialism, which has unfortunately but too many favourers in the present day. In the fourth volume, when treating of Presbyterian discipline and doctrine, Mr. Leslie takes occasion to refute the cruel Calvinistic tenets of Predestination and Reprobation, and to explain the Scripture doctrine as maintained by the Church of England, and to point out the fallacy of the assurance and experiences that are laid claim to by so many poor deluded creatures at present. He shews, what Winchester, Pearson, Kipling and Daubeny have lately so fully proved, that our thirty-nine articles are not Calvinistic; and the doctrine of universal redemption, of free-will, and other points connected therewith, is explained, though in the most concise, yet in the most satisfactory manner. Indeed I think this volume superior to either of the others, both on account of the importance of the subjects and of the able way in which they are handled. To these succeed other discussions of great moment-On Church Government, in which the lax notions of Bishop Hoadly and their pernicious consequences are exposed -- On the sin of Schism-On the institution of Episcopacy, and the necessity of Episcopal Ordination—the rise of the Presbyterians-On the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and the cruel treatment it has undergone. Great part of the fifth volume is directed against the Church of Rome, and her pretensions to in fallibility are subverted, and her errors detected— The remainder is employed in a reconsideration of many of the points before discussed, which was found necessary through the pertinacity of his adversaries; who, though confuted over and over again, would still vamp up their old objections, and propose them as fresh arguments. In the sixth volume Infant Baptism is maintained, and the nullity of Lay-Baptism demonstrated-The succession of Bishops in our Church from the Apostolic times, is ghewn.
These, Sir, are not the hundredth part of the important subjects treated in these very interesting volumes; and treated, not in an abstruge and dry manner, but with much learning, and infinite wit and humour, and frequently enlivened by narrative and anecdote. The great excellence in the conduct of these papers, and on which Mr. Leslie prided himself, is that they point out at once the
jugulum cause, the main hinge on which the controversy turns. Leaving, therefore, the collateral ramifications as necessarily involved in the ruin of the parent trunk, he lays his keen axe at once to the root of the tree, and completely hews it down. I shall be happy if, by this imperfect account, I can draw the attention of your readers to a work that embraces so many topics of pecuJiar importance at present, while sectaries of every denomination are using such powerful efforts to overthrow the Church from without, and while there are so many false brethren propagating schism within.
A full and authentic account of the life of Mr. Leslie, would be as valuable an accession to literature as that of his intimate friend the learned and excellent Dr. Hickes. I am happy to see that the works of these great and good men are daily rising in value, and are sought after with the greatest avidity.
Your well-wisher, London, July 11, 1804.
A Hich CHURCHMAN,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
CIRCULAR letter has lately been transmitted to
the Clergy of the Diocese of London, on the subject of Briefs; which imputes the smallness of the returns to the negligent conduct of many of the Ministers and Churchwardens. Permit me, through your excellent publication, to state, in defence of the parties accused, that Mr. Nares, in whose name the letter is sent, has unjustly charged them with negligence: for the fact is, where Briefs are not read, or are read altogether, it is not through neglect, or from a desire to get through them as quick as possible, but because, on repeated trials of properly reading them, nothing has been collected. Why the liberality of our countrymen, in other cases so exemplary, is here withheld, is worthy of enquiry;