Page images
[ocr errors]

Review.- T'he Christian's Defence against Infidelity, fc.

[ocr errors]

finished his course. Cowper, descended | an undue magnitude, and rendered it disfrom an illustrious house, favoured with a proportionately large, when compared with liberal education, and placed under the others in this valuable series of “ Select smiles of fortune, rejected every overture Christian Authors.” In another selection that offered prosperity, and, in a deplorable equally appropriate, we máy hope to see state of mental aberration, having several it embodied, and its arrival will be hailed times attempted suicide, retired from the by us with a joy correspondent to its world to sigh out life in the anguish of merits. solitude, and the terrible forebodings of The names mentioned above, constitute an almost broken heart. In the autumn a mighty phalanx in the army of Emanuel, of 1767, these two persons met together at and no weapon formed against them shall Olney; an intimacy soon took place be- prosper. They appear as a brilliant contween them, which ripening into friend stellation in the hemisphere of Christianity, ship, continued through their mortal pil | irradiating the world with their lustre, imgrimage, interrupted only by the malady parting life and vigour to all who come of Cowper, and terminated only by death. beneath their influence, and dispelling the

The incidents thus noticed in the pre mists which sophistry delights to raise in ceding paragraph, Mr. Montgomery has the atmosphere of scepticism. With each wrought into an interesting and instructive of these renowned authors, the day of pronarrative, interspersing the various and bation has long since passed away. They diversified occurrences with reflections and have been tried in the crucible of criti. observations, which confer on the whole cism, and have come forth like gold when an additional value. From these he pro- purified; they have been assailed with the ceeds to characterize the hymns which shafts of malignity, which, instead of incompose the volume, assigning to several Aicting wounds, have merely served to their distinct degrees of merit, and con facilitate their elevation; and every attempt necting them with the peculiar yet varied that has been made to diminish their reputalents of their respective authors; but tation, has only tended to complete their assigning to those of Cowper the meed of apotheosis. more exalted praise.

Within the limits which we can devote • Taken as a whole, these hymns breathe to a volume of this description and maga spirit of genuine piety towards God, and nitude, it is scarcely possible to furnish display a degree of mental and reverential even an epitome of its several distinct, yet fervour, which cannot fail to command analogous treatises. Containing no supersolemn admiration. They have already fluous words, and pursuing no topic through taken their stand among the sacred poetry its remote ramifications, they appear as of our country, and although future com embodied essences, and must be fully perpositions may fill a more exalted niche in used before their excellence can be duly the temple of fame, none will be able to appreciated, or fairly understood. To dislodge them from the station which make extracts would, therefore, be to mutithey occupy in the estimation of the church late their symmetry, and diminish their of Christ.


In the Introductory Essay, Dr. ChalReview. The Christian's Defence

mers has briefly delineated the character of

each treatise; and of this we shall avail ouragainst Infidelity, &c. With an Introductory Essay, by Thomas Chalmers,

selves, not merely to convey his sentiments D.D. 12mo. pp. 536. Simpkin. Lon

and our own, but to furnish a favourable

specimen of his discriminating powers, of don. 1829.

his just appreciation of merit, and of the This volume includes “Leslie's Short and perspicuous and unequivocal manner in Easy Method with the Deists;" “Little which he delivers his opinion. ton's Observations on St. Paul;” “Dod. 1 In Leslie's “Short and Easy Method with dridge's Evidences of Christianity;" "Bates the Deists,” and “The Truth of Christianity on the Divinity of the Christian Religion;" | demonstrated," we have the historical evi“ Owen on the self-evidencing Light -ofdence for the truth of scripture exhibited Scripture;” and “Baxter on the Danger of in a form so convincing and satisfactory, making light of Christ.” In this collection that the mind which can reject such eviwe should have been glad to see “Westdence, must evince a total perversity of reaon the Resurrection," the company being son, as well as abjuration of all such testiin every respect suitable to this justly cele- |mony as can substantiate the truth of any brated treatise, though we readily acknow- by-gone event in this world's history, which ledge it would have swelled the volume to would go to expose every authentic record

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

to the charge of fabulousness, and reduce , Christ,' closes the volume, and though it the best established facts into a state of does not partake of the character of direct doubt and uncertainty.”

evidence, yet we hold it to be of prime “Not less conclusive in another depart- importance to the cause of Christian truth, ment of evidence do we hold Lord Little- as it detects and exposes the latent causes ton's observations on the conversion and of infidelity, in the worldliness, or love of apostleship of St. Paul. The soundness of pleasure, or the diversified pursuits which his reasonings established on the well- engross the mind, to the utter exclusion of known principles of human nature, and the salvation which the gospel reveals.” the no less sound and philosophical deductions which he makes from the whole sen- | timents and conduct of the apostle, render

REVIEW.–Natural History of Enthuhis arguments in favour of Christianity so

siasm. 8vo. pp. 220. Holdsworth. Lonclear and irresistible, that we think no

don. 1829. honest mind can give his ‘Observations' an It would have greatly assisted the reader attentive and unprejudiced perusal, without of this work, if the author had contrived in arriving at a thorough conviction of the some concise and perspicuous manner to truth of Christianity.”

give a definition of the subject on which “In Dr. Doddridge's Discourses on the he has written; it would then be distinctly Evidences of Christianity, we have a full known in what sense the term Enthusiasm and comprehensive survey of all the variety was to be understood, in its various comof evidence which is generally adduced in binations throughout the sections of his support of the authenticity, and divine volume. A standard having thus been authority, of the New Testament."

erected, to which his reasonings in their “The next treatise, by Dr. Bates, on numerous ramifications might be referred, "The Divinity of the Christian Religion, we should have had a fairer opportunity of contains a no less comprehensive, and still estimating the accuracy of his deductions, more powerful exhibition of the various while the legitimacy of his conclusions evidences which can be adduced for esta- would have been apparent. blishing the truth of Christianity. The evi- It will be readily allowed, that he has dences from history, from prophecy, from delineated the character of enthusiasm, and miracles, from the testimony of credible furnished in many respects the lights and witnesses, are all brought in distinct and shades by which it is distinguished. He convincing review before the mind; and has also traced its numerous operations our readers cannot peruse this admirable through intricate mazes, and detected, with treatise without an increased feeling of a discriminating eye, the effects which it confidence in the variety, and fulness, and produces on the mental powers, and on invincible character, of that rich assemblage the overt actions to which it leads. On of evidence, on the immoveable basis of these topics he expatiates in a style of which Christianity is established.”

reasoning which is at once creditable to “Dr. Owen's treatise "On the Divine his understanding, and honourable to the Original, Authority, and self-evidencing motives which have led him to this Light and Power of the Holy Scriptures,' investigation. His aim seems to be, to embraces a distinct, but most important draw a line between what may be deemed species of evidence; and this article will the censurable parts of enthusiasm, and that be held in high estimation by those who animated energy, without which, scarcely desiderate a satisfactory conviction of the any thing great or momentous has ever claims of the Bible to Divine inspiration, been achieved. To this important point of which he adduces the most solid and nearly all his efforts have been directed, indubitable proofs; and he affords a no and we rejoice to add, that his exertions less clear and satisfactory explanation to have been attended with considerable sucthose who possess no distinct apprehension cess. of the manner in which the word came But although no formal definition of forth from God, and was again given out enthusiasm has been given by the author, by those inspired men to whom it was it may easily be inferred, that he places its communicated, as well as the security and dominion in the ascendency which the infallible certainty that what they gave out imagination gains over the reasoning powers. as the mind and will of God, was indeed This, indeed, is the only field in which it of divine original, and a divine commu- can be presumed to operate, and in this nication.”

| he nearly coincides in opinion with Mr. “The treatise of Richard Baxter "On | Locke. It may, therefore, be considered the Folly and Danger of making light of as approximating very nearly to the cha

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

racter of insanity, with this difference, that active and contemplative scenes of life. enthusiasm is generally confined to one / The work consists of ten sections, in which particular class of objects, or perhaps to he surveys, I. Enthusiasm Secular and one leading idea, whereas insanity knows Religious. II. Enthusiasm in Devotion. no boundaries to its extensive empire. III. Enthusiastic Perversions of the Doc

“The excesses of the imagination,” he observes, trine of Divine Influence. IV. Enthusiasm " are of two kinds; the first is, when within its the Source of Heresy. V. Enthusiasm of proper sphere it gains so great a power, that all other affections and motives belonging to human

Prophetic Interpretation. VI. Enthusiasnature are overborne and excluded. It is thus | tic Åbuses of the Doctrine of a Particular that intellectual or professional pursuits seem

Providence. VII. Enthusiasm of Philansometimes to appihilate all sympathy with the common interests of life, and to render a man a

e Ent mere phantom, except within the particular circle

of the ancient Church. IX. The same of his favourite objects. The second kind of excess is of a much more evil tendency, and con

subject--ingredients of the ancient Monasists in a trespass of the iinagination upon chism. X. Hints on the probable spread ground where it should have little or no influence,

of Christianity, submitted to those who and where it can only prevent or disturb the operation of reason and right feeling. Thus, not misuse the term Enthusiasm. seldom, it is seen that the sobrieties of good sense,

This statement of the author's views, and the counsels of experience, and the obvious motives of interest, and perhaps even the dictates

and this syllabus of his book, speak strongly of rectitude, are set at nought by an exorbitant in favour of both, and produce within the imagination, which, overstepping its proper function, invests even the most common objects, either

mind a persuasion that it is invited to a with preposterous charms, or unreal deformities. participation in pleasure, which is more Very few minds, perhaps, are altogether free from

frequently promised than conferred. Nor such constitutional fictions, which, to a greater or less extent, intercepts our view of things as are we disappointed. In traversing this they are."-p. 3.

questionable ocean, we follow the guidance In the following passage, we have a just of a skilful pilot, who seems well acquainted discrimination between the active exer with the seas he has undertaken to navitions of the mind under the influence of gate, and the voyage he has to perform. sober and rational principles, and its strange He gains our increased confidence as we aberrations when governed by the reveries proceed, by uniformly pointing out the of a wild imagination.

ardour which reason directs us to cherish,

and the Enthusiasm which it teaches us to "Nature has furnished each of the active faculties with a sensibility to pleasure in its own exer. avoid. cise : this sensibility is the spring of spontaneous From the first section on “Enthusiasm exertion; and if the intellectual constitution be robust, it serves to stimulate labour,' and yet

Secular and Religious" our former quotaitself observes a modest sobriety, leaving the tions have been taken; and on the subject of forces of the mind to do their part without embar

prayer, in the second, entitled “Enthusiasm rassment. The pleasurable emotion is always subordinate and subservient, never predominant in Devotion," we have the following obor importunate. But in minds of a less healthy

servations. temperament, the emotion of pleasure, and the

" But there are devotional exercises, wbich, consequent excitement, is disproportionate to the strength of the faculties. The efficient power of

though they assume the style and phrases of the understanding is therefore overborne, and

prayer, have no other object than to attain the left in the rear; there is more of commotion than

immediate pleasure of excitement. The devotee of action; more of movement than of progress ;

is not in truth a petitioner, for his prayers termore of enterprise than of achievement.

minate in themselves ; and if he reaches the ex. « Such then are those, who, in due regard both

pected pitch of transient emotion, he desires noto the essential differences of character, and to

thing more. This appetite for severish agitations the proprieties of language, should be deemed

naturally prompts a quest of whatever is exorbit. enthusiasts. To apply an epithet which carries

ant in expression or sentiment, and as naturally with it an idea of folly, of weakness, and of extra:

inspires a dread of all those subjects of meditavagance, to a vigorous mind, efficiently as well as

tion which tend to abate the pulse of the moral

system. If the language of humiliation is at all ardently engaged in the pursuit of any substantial

admitted into the enthusiast's devotion, it must be and important object, is not merely to misuse a word, but to introduce confusion among our

so pointed with extravagance, and so blown out notions, and to put contempt upon what is desery.

with exaggerations, that it serves much more to ing of respect. Where there is no error of ima.

tickle the fancy than to affect the heart: it is a

burlesque of penitence, very proper to amuse'a gination-no misjudging of realities-no calculations which reason condemns, there is no enthu

inind that is destitute of real contrition.”-p. 34. siasm, even though the soul may be on fire with Having made it apparent that for existthe velocity of its movement in pursuit of its chosen object. If once we abandon this distinc.

ence, for its continuance, and for every tion, language will want a term for a well-known excellence and blessing which we enjoy, and common vice of the mind; and, from a waste. ful perversion of phrases, we must be reduced to

we are every moment dependent upon speak of qualities most noble, and most base, God, the author in his third section reasons by the very same designation."--p. 6.

strongly in favour of “Divine influence," Enthusiasm thus delineated, thus cha and exempts it from the charge of en. racterized, and thus described, the author thusiasm, though he readily allows that this proceeds to trace through the varied de- doctrine may be strangely perverted ; and partments of mental operation, and the of the ways in which this perversion takes

[ocr errors]

Review.- Emanuel, or a Discourse of True Religion, fc.




place, he gives many instances. On this | Review.- Emanuel; or, a Discourse of momentous subject he devotes more time

True Religion, &c., and on Communion to the latter part than to the former, but

with God. By Samuel Shaw, With an enough is asserted to shew that in the con

Introductory Essay, by Robert Gor. version of the soul he recognizes the agency

don, D.D. 12mo. pp. 304. Whittaker. of the Holy Spirit, and the efficacy of his

London. 1829. all-powerful influence. Hence he observes that

ALTHOUGH this volume contains many

excellent observations on the nature and "A change of moral dispositions so entire as to be properly symbolized by calling it a new birth,

characteristics of genuine religion, several or a resurrection to life, must be much more than expressions may be found, from which the a self-effected reformation ; for if it were nothing

volume can derive no honour, and the more, the figure would be preposterous, unnecessary, and delusive."--p. 66.

reader but little advantage. The topics of On « Enthusiasm being the source of discussion are numerous, and drawn chiefly Heresy,” the author introduces the imagi- , from obvious, and even familiar sources ; nation as rioting in her own unrestrained, but they are sometimes pursued in such excesses, and proceeding step by step until detail, that when the subject is exhausted, she reaches the wildest absurdities. A the author seems unwilling to desist from love for novelty furnishes a stimulus to writing. In addition to its prolixity, the speculation, and ingenuity is always ready paragraphs frequently wear a controversial to defend what fancy wishes to be true. aspect, though without professing to assume The written word, he argues, “is our only that character. Hence, local sentiments guide," and he who renounces its dictates occupy the place of general principles; wanders on dangerous mountains, that are and we are led by them to behold a sysdestined to be pathless for ever.

tem embroiled in the ferment of some • “The Enthusiasm of Prophetic Interpre

latent civil war, when we expected to find tation,” has a strong bearing on some dog- the energies of its defenders uniting against matists of the present day; and all who are the attacks of assailants, and fortifying its acquainted with their mode of procedure, passes to repel the incursions of an invad. must acknowledge that the picture is fairly ing foe. We readily allow that this poledrawn, and that its features are strikingly mic spirit is not remarkably prominent, applicable.

yet even in the instances where it appears,

its manifestations might have been spared, “At several periods of church history, and again in our own times, multitudes have drunk without doing the work any real injury. to intoxication of the phial of prophetic interpre But making all due allowance for these tation ; and, amid imagined peals of the mystic thunder, have become deaf to the voice of com.

peculiarities, for we will not give them a mon sense and of duty. The piety of such per harsher name, a host of truths may be sons, if piety it may be called, has made them

found, which assert and enforce the necesa hunger and thirst, uot for “the bread and water of life," but for the news of the political world." sity of experimental and practical godliness, -p. 100.

and in this department the intrinsic excelThe remaining sections of this work we lence of this work consists. It invariably have no room to particularize. They bear, inculcates a spirit of holiness both in heart in their respective characters, a strong and life, and urges the acquirement, and resemblance to those we have noticed, and the retention of its influence, by many very evidently partake of a kindred spirit. That powerful motives. Of the author's sinevery thing which the author has advanced cerity we can no more entertain a doubt, meets our most decided approbation, is an than we can question the genuineness of assertion we should be unwilling to hazard. that animated piety which is visible in On a subject so equivocal in its character, every chapter. and so varied as enthusiasm is, in its ano- Actuated by the same principles, and malous operations, a diversity of opinion aiming at the same object, Mr. Gordon may be expected to prevail. With its has infused into his Introductory Essay a general tenor, delineations, and tendency, devotional feeling, which is perceptible in we have, however, been highly pleased; all his paragraphs. This is accompanied and having perused its sections with a with much cogent reasoning, with many more than common interest, we cordially powerful arguments, and recommended to recommend it to all who wish for infor- our notice by the captivating strains of a mation respecting this mental disease. persuasive eloquence. With this Essay, There is one class of readers to whom it and with the pious sentiments expressed will most probably give offence, and these by Mr. Shaw, we cherish a conviction are the enthusiasts, whether in science, that every serious reader will be highly secular affairs, or theology.

pleased ; and to such as these, all the


[ocr errors]

Review.-The Reference Testament - Life of Cranmer.

[ocr errors]

volumes of “Select Christian Authors," of 1 be a valuable gift. Such as are disposed which this is one, strongly recommend to think, will find in its references, maps, themselves, by the great essentials of the and plates, much to gratify, as well as inChristian religion, which, unitedly and struct the mind, and by attending to the distinctly, they embody in their pages. directions given, they may make a pro

ficiency in Biblical learning, that will be Review.- The Reference Testament,

attended with lasting benefits. Others, being the Common Version of the New

who are not disposed to make any exerTestament, with References, and a

tions for the acquisition of sacred know. Key to Questions, &c. &c. By Hervey

ledge, will find this to be simply a New Wilbur, A.M. Wightman and Cramp.

Testament, the chapters of which may be

read without any interruption, and all London. 1829.

besides may be passed over in silence. So far as the sacred text is concerned, this volume has no claim to any particular notice; it is the New Testament, and it is

REVIEW.- The Life of Archbishop Crannothing more. Being designed, however,

mer. By J. A. Sargent. 12mo. Hurst, for the use of schools, it contains numerous

Chance, and Co. London. 1829. marks and references, from which both the No person acquainted with either the civil teacher and the pupil may derive some or the ecclesiastical history of this kinguseful instruction. In passing along the dom, can be ignorant of the name of chapters of each book, Mr. Wilbur intro Cranmer. The turbulent times in which duces a letter at the commencement of he lived, and the active part which he took such verses as comprise any thing remark in public and private affairs, immediately able, either in history, biography, fact, connected with church and state, have tenddoctrine, precept, custom, or local pecu ed, by calling forth his energies, to immortaliarity, &c. &c. These letters arrest the lize his name; while his tragical exit enrolattention, and an occasion is furnished for ling him anong “the noble army of mara variety of questions, which the teacher is tyrs," who have suffered for the cause of to propose, and the pupil to answer. To Christ, stamps with eternal infamy the facilitate the labour of both, several maps papal system, by the blood-thirsty venand tables are included in the volume, geance of which, his death was inflicted. and from these may be obtained, in a great In this volume, the life of Cranmer is degree, the means of understanding the traced in detail through all its more question, and of giving a satisfactory reply. momentous and prominent incidents; the

To meet the author's design, an enlarged part which he bore in some of the marand comprehensive survey of what the riages and divorces of Henry VIII. are Bible contains, must be acquired, for introduced in connexion with the restlessalthough the volume comprises only the ness of that ambitious and unstable moNew Testament, its numerous references to narch; and the causes unfolded which led the events and incidents recorded in the to his exaltation to the prelacy, as well as Old, bring the latter so fully before us, the reverse of circumstances which accomthat the whole range of Revelation de. plished his overthrow, and conducted him mands the reader's attention. The method to the stake. Cranmer in early life was thus adopted is admirably calculated to under the influence of that degrading superexpand the mind in relation to sacred sub stition which prevailed in this country prior jects, and to store it with that variety of to the Reformation. But the light which knowledge, which can at once improve dawned in the morning of that auspicious the intellect, and amend the heart. We | era, soon dispelled the clouds which had perceive no formidable obstacle which the | enveloped his mind ; and to evince the pupil has to fear, the plan being simple, sincerity of his attachment to the glorious and in general divested of obscurity cause, he finally expired in the flames. Time, however, will be required, and the From the reproaches which had been cast mental energies must be called into exer- on the memory of this venerable martyr cise; but the reward will be ample; for he by the adverse party, this volume furwho obtains a tolerable acquaintance with nishes a satisfactory vindication; and after what is here recommended, by following / viewing the dangerous ground on which he the means furnished for the important had to tread, the violence of party spirit, acquirement, may be justly considered as the changes which, in quick succession, no contemptible Bible student.

took place in public opinion and legal To young persons, on leaving school to enactments, we need nor wonder that he enter the world, this New Testament would should become the victim of papal virulence.

« PreviousContinue »