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were, and reduces them to the mere dust of the balance, by the eternal weight of glory which it places in the other scale. But is the best Christian exempt from sorrows? Is not his state represented as a state of trial; a race, a warfare, a life of self-denial, taking up his cross, and bringing his body into subjection? So much for the author's accuracy as a divine. True it is, indeed, that Christianity is a benevolent system; that, like its disciples, whatever house it enters, it says “peace be unto that house;”—but, then, the character of her benevolence is not faithfully delineated here. The painter has not left her in her naked majesty and beauty, but has patched and painted her to suit the heathen taste.
“But what,” asks the author, “ would this heathen say, if, after thus far soothing his benevolence, and thus far kindling his piety, we were also to tell him that his rational enjoyment of temporal blessings will ruin his eternal happiness"—" that he may see the birds exulting in their liberty; the beasts bounding over the plains, &c.; but that he (man) alone inust grieve for his unworthiness in voluntary and mysterious gloom; that the senses with which his Creator has framed him, are but tha instruments of his ruin in the hand of the tempter, and that his desires, which are the natural and only spurs to action, are to be subdued into aupine indifference and listless insensibility. Tell him farther, that when he has done and willed to do all that man is capable of doing; when, by a life of mortification and melancholy and entire abstraction from all worldly interest, he has wrought himself into habitual and invincible apathy; when he has accustomed himself to look with sullen and sour disgust upon the pleasures, and with carelessness, or, it may be, with scorn, upon the employments, and, as I should call them, the duties of social life, his labour, “even in the Lord, may yet have been “in vain; that as to him, Christ may in vain have shed his blood upon the cross, and that the God, whose mercy is over All his works, may have secretly and irrevocably doomed him, even before his birth, to everlasting perdition, from which no contemplations, however serious, upon the attributes and works of the Deity, no belief, however sincere, in his revealed word, no thanksgivings for mercies already received, no prayers for protection and succour, no remorse for sius past, no resolu
tions or efforts for amendment in time to come can rescue, I had almost said the hopeless, helpless, guiltless victim:—and that nothing but certain tumultuous, irresistible, inexplicable intimations can afford him any sate aud well-grounded assurance of pardon or reward.” pp. 24–26.
The author thinks that every man, “gifted with the feelings of humanity, would shrink from such a doctrine and discipline.” In this we very cordially agree with him; but not so in the declaration which follows, that “for the prevalence of such doctrine, and the vindication and praise of such discipline, he need only appeal to the observation of those who hear him.” If he designed to “appeal to the observation ” of the beau monde by whose magic circle he was chiefly environed, we, who live in London, do assure him, who lives at Shrewsbury, and therefore can know little about the matter, that the repose of our various modish chapelries is never molested by this species of hornet. If he meant his university audience, our eye has also rested pretty constantly upon the pulpit of St. Mary's, and we certainly have heard neither this discipline vindicated nor these doctrines broached. If he appeals to the members of the univerity who listened with such profound attention to Dr. Buchanan, at the Commencement 1810, we should expect them to rise up in a body and challenge his accuser to make good his charges. If, once more, he appeals to the hearers of Mr. Simeon (whose university sermons we have more than once judged it right to notice), we are persuaded that the quickest eye at a likeness can discover no resemblance here. Besides, the doctrine and discipline which Dr. Buchanan and Mr. Simeon are in the habit of vindicating, are placed distinctly on record in their own numerous pub. lications. Where, indeed, is the writer in the universe, with the exception of the author, who ever darkened
resolutions or efforts for amendment, can rescue, I had almost said (he has quite said) the hopeless, helpless, guiltless victim " Dr. Butler, however, does not leave us in doubt respecting the persons whom he intended to characterise by this extraordinary description. He lets us know distinctly that they are “the evangelical clergy.” Here, however, we would observe, that, after the wrong which Dr. Butler has done to the character of our Saviour, we cannot wonder that the tendency of his sermon should be to vilify and degrade his servants. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household.” lf a man can so mistake our Lord's principles of action, as to represent the conduct of Socrates in associating with courtezans as an adumbration of that of Christ, we cannot wonder that he should find a parallel (for, after this, no parallel can be extravagant) between those “ Inodern Puritans,” as he calls them, “the evangelical clergy,” and the adherents of the Church of Rome. In order to assist the parallel, he begins by declaring that the “great and characteristic blessing of the Reformation, was the removal of needless and burthensome ceremonies, of an usurped dominion, &c. of authority, &c. &c.” Now we unquestionably owe much to the Reformers for the restitution of a simple and spiritual form of worship; but do we owe them nothing else Was the emancipation from absurd ceremonies really the “chief and characteristic blessing of the Reformation * Did Luther call this the “articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae f" Or was it not the doctrine of “justification by faith alone,” which he so named; that very doctrine with which the evangelical clergy are sometimes charged as their crime, and their “foul disgrace ;” that, docurine which, at
all events, it will not be denied that they hold and preach Now then, supposing them to be (as the author extravagantly enough does suppose), guilty of endeavouring to impose a, sort of papal and monkish ritual upon the world, might not their firm adherence to the grand distinguishing doctrine of the Reformation be fairly set against this proof of their papacy Could Luther be called from the throne, which we trust he occupies in heaven, to organize a church on earth, would he launch his thunders at the heads of those who were the champions and apostles of his chosen doctrine * Would he predict the revival of popery under their administration ? Would be not say—“This, this was the great and characteristic blessing of the Reformation, that men were again taught to seek their salvation at the foot of the cross?” Would not his discovery of their fidelity to this great article, persuade him to a generous interpretation of their sentiments and conduct as to other points? Would it not spread a sort of glory round their heads, in which the minor defects of their features would be lost If so, Luther and Dr. Butler do not see with the same eyes, or interpret upon the same principle. But we must repeat it, it was not to be expected that one who could so entirely mistake the character of Christ, should rightly appreciate that of his servants. This must be our answer to much of what the author has written between pages 28 and 35, and in which we scarcely know. which to admire most, the general boldness of the author's fabrications, or the occasional levity and profameness of his statements. We had almost said, that, as respects the clergy called evangelical, there is not one word of reality in the whole representation ; and if we had said so, we are not sure that we should have had any thing to retract. We do not, however, charge Dr. Butler with intentional misrepresentation. We can account for his grossest mistakes
his moral taste, to which we have already adverted, as lying at the root of some of his other misrepresentations. The substance of the several succeeding pages may be summed up in the imputation, that the evangelical clergy are even worse than the papists—for whereas the latter “appeal to antiquity for the vindication of their creed, the former vindicate theirs solely on the score of its novelty.” The same charge is reiterated in the notes, where a passage from Erasmus is extracted, which we suspect did not merely suggest itself in defence of the allegation, but suggested the very allegation itself. Now of this charge, as of much that precedes it, we are compelled to say, that it is wholly unfounded; and we here publicly defy the author to produce a single passage from the works of the clergy he calumniates to maintain it. If he cannot do this, ought he not either to retract his charge, or to be content that some men should have so little charity for him as to accuse him of wilfull misrepresenting his brethren We can tell Dr. Butler that the specific ground on which the objects of his vituperation rest their vindication; and he could not open one of their books without seeing this; is not the novelty, but the antiquity of their opinions. Their appeal is uniformly made to the Scriptures, to the authorised formularies of the Church of England, and to the writings of her blessed reformers and martyrs. We really cannot consent to pollute our pages with any more of the slanders which more or less fill those of the author, till he comes to the distinct charge in p. 41, “that strong indications of even more than
contempt for literature, are occasion-"
ally manifested in the writings and discourses of the fanatics of the preChaust. Obsesy. No. 121.
sent day.” We ask, in what writings, and in what discourses, are they to be found It is true, indeed, that a few sentences(and to these we suspect the writer refers),which may lead to a construction of this kind, may be found in a sermon of Mr. Simeon's, reviewed by us in our hast volume, p. 304, where we spoke of it more harshly, perhaps, than it deserved. A liberal adversary, (we are sorry ever to use this epithet in opposition to that which we think more appropriate to Dr. Butler,) o: finding thatevery other page of Mr. Simeon's writings breathed a contrary spirit; that he cultivated literature himself; that he recommended the pursuit to others;that he displayed in his printed sermons no inconsiderable share of learning; would have referred these few sentences, at the worst, to some unguarded moment; or, which would be the candid course, have interpreted them by the peculiar circumstances of the audience which he addressed. When a large body of men are occupied in one pursuit, they are likely to be absorbed by it; therefore, in every university, it may be conceived,that in the pursuit of learning every other object will be apt to be forgotten. Above all, religion, which, from our natural corruption, is least likely to present any powerful magnet to the mind, is likely to be abandoned. And more especially if there arises any distinguished teacher,who, himself possessing much learning. unduly exalts it; who, occupied in sacred criticism, forgets too often the subject matter of the critcism; who, bordering continually upon sacred ground, seldom enters it; who, holding his lamp to the vestibule of the temple, lets no ray of it fall upon the interior; who, by degrees, is doing that which, however unintentionally, has a tendency to withdraw the minds of Biblical students from doctrines to words, and from the obvious meaning to the various readings of the passage;—we can conceive that a man zealous for his God, and for his song and lettered countrymen,
should lift up his warning voice, and, in a strain which other circumstances would not justify, insist upon the comparative insignificance of literature. If we are not mistaken in the dates of the lectures of Professor Marsh, and the guilty sermon of Mr. Simeon, we imagine that the one may serve as a sort of key to the other. But whatever might be the opinion, or the literary heresy, of an individual, his offence must not be visited upon a large body. To say othing of Mr. Simeon himself, was r. Milner, the ecclesiastical historian, or is his brother, the Dean of Carlisle, a despiser of knowledge Or is Dr. Jowett, or Professor Farish, or Mr. Faber, to be classed among the religious Goths and Huns of the nineteenth century Is Mr. Wilberforce the foe of eloquence, or Mrs. More the extirpater of wit? Are the sermons of Gisborne and of Cooper, breathing as they do the purest evangelical religion, inferior in point of composition to any of the age There is nothing in the discourse before us which is more remarkable than this, that while the author professes to regard with peculiar abhorrence the vices of “acrimonious censoriousness and austere intolerance;” yet if we were asked to characterise his own production in a single sentence, we should think these very terms the best adapted to
convey to our readers some idea of
its qualities; and if the terms “profane levity and unfounded assertion” were superadded, we do not know that any thing would be wanting to complete the description. We do not mean, however, to enter the lists with him in favour either of Calvinists or Methodists, excepting to say, that he misrepresents both. He seems to attribute to John Wesley, and his followers, the errors (if errors they be) of Calvinism, although their decided hostility to that system is well known, and although Wesley himself was the ablest oppugner of its peculiar doctrines which the last century produced. Nor is he less
mistaken as to the opinions of Calvinists: he attributes to them notions which, we will venture to say, are no where recorded, except, perhaps, in the annals of Bedlam. Of this, at least, we are confident, that they are not to be found in the writings of any divine of the Church of England to whom Dr. Butler would give the appellation of modern Puritan. We again, therefore, call on Dr. Butler either to name the writings which contain these obnoxious opinions, or to retract his charges, under pain of being accused of intentional misrepresentauon. Our author, in one of his notes, has attacked Dr. Buchanan for appearing to favour Unitarianism,by remarking in his sermons, entitled the Eras of Light, that “the true criterion of the faith of a Christian at this day is to acknowledge the continued influence of God the Holy Spirit;” a remark which obviously means no more than this, that as there are many in the present day who will readily acknowledge the love of God the Father, and the mediation of God the Son, but who are nevertheless very averse to the admission of the continued influence of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the hearts of believers, it becomes especially important to insist on this last truth. Indeed, the language of Dr. Butler, in this very publication, is of a nature which seems to call for some such remark as that of Dr. Buchanan. “Let us bear in mind,” he says, “that the age of miracles has long ceased, and that we are now left to the common operations of reason and investigation, for advancement in our religious as well as all our other intellectual improvements.” p. 114. How widely different from this language is that of the Church of . England! What is the language of her liturgy “Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts,” &c. “Thou alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men.” “O Lord, from whom all good things do come, grant to us, that, by thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that be good.” “Grant us by thy Holy Spirit to have a right judgment in all things.” “Without thee, nothing is strong, nothing is holy.” “Lord of all power and might, who art the Author and Giver of all good things, graft in our hearts the love of thy name, increase in us true religion,” &c. “Grant to us the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good tithout thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will.” “Of tly only gift it cometh that thy people do unto thee true and laudable service;” and “ Forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee, mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts.” “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit.”—And what say the Articles on this subject? They tell us, that “Works done before the grace of Christ,and the inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God;” and that “godly persons are such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things."--Still more in point, if possible, are the Homilies of the Church. “It is the Holy Ghost, and no other thing, that doth quicken
the minds of men, stirring up good,
and godly motions in their hearts, which are agreeable to the will and commandment of God, such as otherwise, of their own crooked and perverse nature, they should never have.” “As for charitable and godly motions, if man have any at all in him, they proceed only of the Holy Ghost, who is the only worker of our sanctification, and maketh us new men in Christ Jesus.” Homily for Whitsunday, ed. 1802, pp. 389, 390.— Can it be that Dr. Butler is a minister of the church which thus speaks; the same Dr. Butler who stems to contend (p. 119) for the divine inspiration of some of the Greek and
Roman classics, and yet tells us, as one having authority, to bear in mind that we are now left to the common operations of reason and investigation for advancement in religious improvement? We must leave it to him to explain this paradox. We deem it incumbent on us to notice another misrepresentation of Dr. Buchanan's meaning. In the same sermons Dr. Buchanan had said, that “the usual name of reproach” for religious men “at this day is methodist;” and that this name “is now applied to any man of pure and unaffected piety, and is, in short, another term for Christian.” Dr. Butler is very angry with him for saying so, and, in the warmth of his displeasure, misrepresents what he has said. He assumes that Dr. Buchanan's proposition amounts to this, that all men of pure and unaffected piety are methodists (p. 109); whereas idr, Buchanan only says that they are so called; and that, in the phraseology of the irreligious, methodist is, in short, another name for Christian. We believe that Dr. Buchanan has not much overstated the matter, although of late the current term of reproach has been somewhat varied, and “Calvinist,” or “modern Puritan,” is occasionally substituted, as the pages of Dr. Butler bear witness. We had resolved, in the outset of our review, to carry on a sort of flying warfare with the author through the whole of his notes, as well as his sermon. But, really, the number of objectionable passages deters us. Not only is there much wrong; there is scarcely any thing right. To attack every-fault would exhaust all the small shot of our critical canister, wear out our readers and ourselves, and perhaps, after all, not materially affect the author, who may now be healing his wounded reputation as a divine, by the issue of another play of (we presume Saint) HEschylus. We pass over, therefore, among many other passages, what he quotes, at p. 112, as a fine observation, but which we always thought a most peri