Page images
PDF
EPUB

stedfast in his opinion, whether in itself right or wrong, without any regard to the reasons, on which it it founded. It is impossible, that a person can be orthodox, in the true sense of the word, who is unwilling to have the merits of his opinions canvassed. He may be right in his opinions ; but, if he is, he is so but by chance, and has only his good fortune to thank for it. He is as truly a bigot, as the infatuated zealot, who holds all the errors of popery, though he may not be the occasion of so much mischief. In the present state of hu. man knowledge, discussion is the most probable method, by which truth is to be elicited; but, in a discussion, there must necessarily be error on one side or the other. He, therefore, who would attain to real knowledge, or promote the cause of truth in the world, must not be afraid to face error.

From these few principles, if I mistake not, it will be easy to de. duce the obligation, under which you, gentlemen, have laid yourselves, by calling your work the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine ; as also to regulate the expectations, which may be reasonably formed of a work denominated by that title. By the term Orthodox, when affixed to a miscellaneous work, admitting dissertations on different sides of a question, nothing more can be reasonably understood, than that the object of it, in its general result, is the investigation, defence and propagation of right opinions; and, by the addition of the term Churchman, it is denoted, that those opinions are intended to be chiefly of a religious nature. Though, therefore, in professing. that your work is designed for the use of Orthodox Churchmen, you may justly be considered as professing, that the object of it is the promotion of religious truth, the most important of all objects to the present and future happiness of mankind; yet you ought not, I think, to be considered as professing, that no papers, which contain any other than right opinions, or any other than what you may deem to be right ones, shall obtain a place in your miscellany. You are doubtless under some restrictions as to the papers, to which you grant admission; but these restrictions, I think ought to arise more from the manner, in which the opinions are proposed, than from the opinions themselves. If, from the manner, in which a subject is proposed, there is reason to believe, that such a discussion of it is likely to arise, as will eventually promote the cause of truth, you will, I think, be justified in bringe ing it forward, even though you should not agree in the opinions of the proposer. Truth will be sure to prevail in the end, whatever obstacles it may meet with; but, if it be suffered, by a procedure, like this, to have fair play, it will probably prevail the sooner. This, then, is the plan, which in order to agree with the true sense of your title, you ought, in my opinion, to pursue; and, if a judgment may be formed from many examples, which your work affords, and which, I have observed with pleasure, it is the plan, which you have actually adopted. With respect to our religious establishment, such is my opinion of the Church of England, and of the foundation, on which her doctrines and forms of worship rest, that I think the defence of the establishment will also be thus most effectually provided for. Though I wish the Church or England to be defended, I wish it to be defended, not because it is the Church of England, but because it is a true Church, because it is “ built upon the foundation of the

Apostlega

apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself-being the chief corner• stone."* Let but truth prevail, and I have no doubt, that the Church of England will prosper. On the contrary, I am persuaded, that, by the gradual spread of error, the attachment of the body of the people to the Church of England, on which her prosperity must eventually depend, will be gradually weakened; and this, in my opinion, is the greatest danger, to which the Church of England is exposed. This is a danger, to which she will always be exposed ; and it is only by the constant and strenuous efforts of her friends, in the promotion of religious truth, that she can be effectually protected against it.

From what I have said it appears contrarily to what, I find, is apprehended by many, that no title could give more scope for free discussion of a useful nature, than that, which you have chosen. I beg leave, therefore, to express my hopes, that you will keep the true meaning of it constantly in sight, and not be diverted, by any less enlarged view of things, from the execution of your excellent design. At the present period it would be easy to give instances of periodical publications, which, by their titles and otherwise make great professions of liberality, but which, being employed in the defence and propagation of a particular set of opinions, the truth of which is taken for granted, are really narrow. Ít remains for you, gentlemen, to convince those, who, by a perversion of the word from its true sense, hastily deem you narrow, because you profess to be Orthodox, that you are really Liberal. For my own part, thinking as I do of the nature and design of your work, and of the very important purposes, which I hope will be answered by it, I have thought it a duty, not only to recommend the perusai of it to all my friends, but to request some of them to assist you with their contributions. It is my earnest wish that my example in both these particulars may be followed by all your readers. For, whatever may be the excellency of your plan, or your skill and diligence in its execution, it is scarcely possible, that such a'work as yours should be maintained, so as to answer all the good purposes, of which it is capable, without constant and considerable assistance from without. In the hope, that you will receive this assistance,

I remain, Gentlemen, your mi Rempstone,

constant reader, and sincere well-wisher, Nov. 10, 1803.

E. PEARSON. * Ephes. ii. 20.

TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.

GENTLEMEN, A S it will doubtless be acceptable to many of your readers, who have - been gratified with the perusal of Dr. Townson's Life, to read the epitaph on that worthy man, which is in the church of Malpas, I have transcribed it for your Magazine, and request its insertion.

Your's, &c. Nov. 12, 1803.

A CONSTANT READER.

The

The Rev. THOMAS TOWNSON, D. D. Archdeacon of Richmond, whose Remains are interred, as he directed, near the north wall of the church-yard, was sometime Fellow of St. Mary Magdalen Cole lege,' Oxford, and more than forty-one years rector of the lower mediety of this parish, whose constant attention to the temporal wants and spiritual welfare of every rank, joined with benignity of mind, and courtesy of manners, gained him universal esteem and cordial affection. He was learned, humble, pious. His writings were distinguished by classical elegance, sound argument, evangelical purity, His devotion was fervent without enthusiasm, his liberalitý inesi haustible, yet studiously concealed, his chearfulness invariable. and his countenance heavenly. His life and death were alike edifving. the one was piety, the other peace. He expired full of hope in Jesus Christ, on Sunday evening, April 15, 1792, aged 77 years.

ON THE OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD'S DAY:

TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.

GENTLEMEN, THE perusal of the vote of thanks by the “ Society for the Suppression

T of Vice” to the Rev. Mr. Rush, the minister, and Messrs. Stidder and Feltham, the Churchwardens, of the parish of Chelsea, for their lauda. ble endeavours to check the profanation of the Lord's day, has suggested to me, that the insertion of the following short remonstrance in your miscellany might be of some use to the same purpose. It occurs as a note in one of my publications, where it is not very properly placed, and where. probably, it has not obtained much attention. I agree with the respectable Society in thinking, that it is a point of the highest importance to secure a due observance of the Sabbath; such an observance of it as may be shewn, by plain deductions from scripture, to be now obligatory on Christians.

I am, Gentlemen,

yours, &c. Rempstone, Oct. 20, 1803.

E. PEARSON.

• Tho' this is not the place for practical remarks, I cannot let pass this last occasion of mentioning the observance of the Sabbath as a moral duty, without reminding the reader how incumbent it is on those, who would pay a due regard to moral obligations, to encourage no mode of spending the Sabbath, which may lead to the breach of such an obligation. As masters of families, we ought not, on that day, to exercise, to demand, or to permit works of either business or pleasure, which may hinder ourselves or others from what, under the christian dispensation, is to be considered as the essential part of the observance of the Sabbath, the public worship of God. Without Jewish superstition, or puritanical pre,

ciseness,

ciseness, let us contribute our endeavours to make the Sabbath, agreeably to the meaning of the term, so far a day of rest, as to afford an opportu. nity to those who would not otherwise enjoy it, of performing religious services, and receiving religious instruction. An attempt was lately made, honourable to the individuals who made it, to check the profa. nation of the Sabbath, by the prohibition, under heavier penalties than at present, of Sunday Newspapers. If success in that attempt had at all promised to render the observance of Sunday more like what it ought to be, I should have looked forward to it with great satisfaction. But I cannot help thinking, that nothing will effectually be done to this pur. pose, until those whose conduct is the object of imitation, and who must therefore greatly influence the conduct of others, shall bring them. selves to set a better example. When a rich or fashionable man breaks the Sabbath, he probably occasions fifty others to break it with him. How is it, that persons in the higher ranks of life, who have so much better opportunities than others of being informed of their duty, and who in this instance, have so much fewer temptations to transgress it, are so openly unmindful of it? if any ranks of people have an excuse for making Sunday a day of mere relaxation and amusement, certainly the lower ranks, whó, on other days are under an obligation of labour and confinement, can plead it with most reason. What would a gentleman say, if on driving into an Inn-yard on a Sunday, he were told, that the ostlers and postillions were gone to Church? what ought he to think and feel, if he were conscious, that they remained at home, in expectation of his coming ? certain it is, that while the custom of travelling on Sundays con. tinues so prevalent, the detention from Church of a great part of the family at every posting Inn will continue also; and whoever by this practice, continues to support the custom, is answerable, insome degree, for all its consequences."

THE HUMAN SOUL THINKS NOT ALWAYS.

TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE,

GENTLEMEN, MR. LOCKE, in his admirable " ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UN

DERSTANDING," Book 2, Chap. 1, sets out with stating that an Idea is “any object about which the human mind is employed whilst thinking," he then goes on to prove that all our ideas are derived either from SENSATION Or REFLECTION; that is to sav, “ external sensible ob. jects,” or the internal operations of our minds." He says, the soul comes to be stored with all the materials of reason and knowledge from er, perience; and then affirms that the soul thinks not always.The ingenious and hitherto unanswered, arguments by which he establishes this proposition, are such as have been admitted by most learned and reflecting men from the time of Mr. Locke, to the present moment. This excellent writer remarks that he cannot conceive it any more necessary for the soul always to think, than for the body alwuys to move; the perception of ideas (or thinking) being in his opinion to the soul what motion is

to the body; not its ESSENCE but one of its operations; and therefore though ihinking be supposed 10 be never so much the proper action of the soul, yet it is not necessary to suppose that it should be always thinking, any more than that the body should be always in action. This is an excellent argument, confirined afterwards by the most sound reason. ing, and by various views which the writer hath taken of the subject in the subsequent parts of this chapter.

Mr. Locke says, SLEEP without DREAMING, is an affection of the whole man, mind as well as body; and he proves this position from the absurdity of those who maintain the opposite hypothesis, that “the soul during sound sleep thinks.” The London Curule says, “how can that which is immaterial sleep? He might wiin equal propriety say, “ how can that which is material, viz. the body, sleep.” The modus of one is per haps as intelligible to us as the modus of the other, and yet our being ignorant of it does not prevent it from being really so. “How can the soul be annihilated, or how compressed in a clod of the valley”? says the above writer. Surely the maintainers of the soul's SLEEP, in its state of separation from the body, assert neither the one nor the other of these positions! It Mr. Locke's assertion be true that “thinkingor the perception of ideas," is not the ESSENCE of the soul, but only one of its OPERATIONS, and is no more n. cessary to it than motion is necessary to the body, (and if this be not true, the falsity of it must be demonstrated ere it can he reasoned upon) then how can any one pretend to say that when the soul sleeps or thinks not, or is unconscious of thinking, (by all which expressions 1 here mean the same thing) it is annihilated or per up in a clod of the valley. I no more mean to annihilate the sotd by this theory of its unconsciousness of thinking during its separate state, than to annihilate the body during the time of its natural rest in sound sleep, for the soul may exist, as was said before, without thinking, as well as the body without motion; and in iny opinion does so during the time of its separation from the body. Now it the soul during the sound sleep of the body does never think; then u fortiori during the sleep of the body in death, the soul does not think, or is in a state of unconsciousness till united again to the body at the general resurrection,

I am, Gentlemen,

yours, &c. Dotober 18, 1803.

X. Y.

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

REVIEW of OVERTON and DAUBENY.

(Continued from p. 250.)

Chap. II. Sect. 2. THE professed design of Mr. Overton in thi; section, as we have

already stated, is to shew the sense of the Articles of the Church of England from the known private sentiments of the reformers. We Vol. V. Churchm, Mag. Nov. 1803. Ss

have

Homeland created, in eo of Mr.o

« PreviousContinue »