« AnteriorContinuar »
Lord, and think that all religions will then be one. We know it is the design of God, “ in the dispensation of the fulness of times to gather together in one all things in Christ.” And the great increase of Christianity, the downfal of Paganism, the situation of the Jews, and conceflions of Mobammedans, render this event exceedingly probable.
• What nature has been able to produce, without the affiftance of revelation, we may see from the several kinds of Paganism, which prevail before the coming of Christ. As to what is now called the religion of Nature, it is manifestly derived from the Christian religion, or at least owes its greatelt and best ima provements to it. And as they both coincide, and the evidence for both are too strong to be denied, it becomes every man to act in conforinity to the rules they prescribe, that when he is to account for the use of the talents and powers with which he has been entrusted, the Judge may say unto him ; " Weil done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
From the sixth sermon, which treats on the love of pleasure, let us select the following pallages :
• Revelation has given men great light in the knowledge of their duty, and has added many new motives to encourage them in the performance of it. But to what purpose is it to have the advice of a fkilful physician, if it is not followed, or to know a certain remedy, if the patient is determined not to take it? When men are in love with their disease, which is often the case in moral disorders, the cure is to them as fickness, and their distemper health. They must first be persuaded that they are fick and in danger, before they will hear of any such applications to the mind as forrow and repentance.
• When pleasure is the disease, who will be persuaded that he is fick? Is the love of pleasure criminal in man? Is not pleafure happiness, and should not every Being strive to be happy? Can we be too happy? Yes, we may become “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
* Religion or reason are seldom heard by those who are over fond of pleasure, whose mind fickens with remorse, when, but a moment absent from the hurry of diversions, it is permitted to review the actions of the man. ---Could young persons, by any means, be made sensible of the cruel confequences which inevitably follow an unbounded indulgence of appecite and palfion, it is not to be supposed they would sacrifice their youth, their fortunes, their health, and happiness, to disease and mifery. They may see the fatal effects of incontinence, or the exce/live love of pleasure, in others; but few become wise by any other experience besides their own.com
Pleasure is a boundless ocean, calm and smooth near fhore, but at distance ever agitated with outrageous storms. He that keeps within fight of land, may be safe and happy; he that ventures farther is in great danger of being irrecoverably lost.
• It is not criminal to seek pleasure when truth and innocence join us in the search ; but every step advanced without them is wrong; and when they withdraw, the pursuit should end.
• We may advance towards sin with pleasures in our eye ; but when we return back, it must be with forrow and repent, ance in our heart.
• If therefore we would fincerely promote our own happiness here and for ever; if we would be deemed useful members of society, and good men in our private families; if we value health and long life, and fame and immortality, let us be moderate in our pursuit of pleasures ; let us not fet too great a value on them, knowing how transient and unsatisfactory they are; and by no means let us suffer them to acquire such an ab. solute dominion over our hearts, as to make us “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
From the seventh discourse, which considers the parable of the prodigal, we may select some of the reflections which are made upon the return of this thoughtless youth to his father's house.
In this miserable condition he, who before had attended to nothing but the gratification of his appetites, is now said to 66 come to himself." The difference between the hired fervants of his father's house, who had bread enough and to spare, and himself, the son of that father, though now reduced to a condition worse than that of the swine he mixed with, brought him to a sense of his transgression and duty. What a tranfition, from a state of affluence, honour, and respect, to that of envying the swine their filthy husks, and wishing to feed with them! When he is ready to perish with hunger, he raises himself up from the ground, and resolves to go to his father. He is now made sensible of his errors, owns his unworthiness, and determines to beg of his father, that he will be so good as to take him, not as his son, but as a hired servant. When he returns, he is forgiven. Such repentance intitled him to pardon. He had already suffered for his follies; and those suffer. ings had obtained their moral end and purpose, by leading the finner to repentance, and by producing an example to deter others from such evil practices, as are attended with so much misery, and may in the end prove fatal. If this prodigal was reduced to say, “ I perish," another may indeed perish : and if father had not been a merciful and forgiving father, to whom could he have gone for relief, when no man would give unto him? Delays are dangerous; but never more so than in cases of repentance. He who puts off repentance to another day, shews rather the irresistible power his fins have over him, than any
real dispofition in him to repent. Every act of compliance with his vices is a new defeat, and he will grow weaker and weaker as they continue to triumph over him. The fafest way would be never to leave so good a father as the prodigal had. When he left him to go into a foreign country, he removed himself far from the person and asistance of his father. The presence of that good man no longer influenced his conduct; his voice was no longer heard, his advice no longer regarded. The young man was his own master, he was under no restraint, and was therefore easily betrayed by his own paffions and appetites, and the bad examples of others, to waste his substance with riotous living. It is very difficult for young men, left to themfelves to stem the current of their own desires, and to turn away the eye and heart from every bad example they will meet with in life.- Next to a bad education, bad company is the greatest evil and misfortune that can happen to the young and unexperienced. - It leads to the extremeft calamities, and in the end may not be attended with the penitence of the prodigal, or that ready forgiveness and kind reception which he met with from a moft indulgent father.'
In the ninth fermon when the Author is speaking concerning the evils of life and the fear of death, he concludes with these reflections :
· Let us suppose a man in a far country, exposed to every misfortune and calamity, that men have ever experienced in life : let us suppose him to be informed of another country, where he shall enjoy every comfort, every blessing, which his faculties in their most improved state are capable of receiving; where he shall meet again all the friends he ever had, and converse with Beings who are free from sin and folly; where reafon, virtue, and happiness prevail ; where all is good, and great, and glorious, without alloy and without end; would he not wish instantly to be conveyed to this delightful country? Would the terrors of the passage dismay him, when he is affured, that however dark and dismal it may appear, it is as swift as light, and he will be transported thither in the twinkling of an eye? Thus it is with every good man, who leaving this vale of tears, goes to the heavenly Jerusalem. As soon as his eyes are closed, his immortal part is in paradise, where he will join the spirits of the blessed. There he will find all his friends, who departed before him, and receive all that follow, if they behave in such 2 manner, during their short pilgrimage on earth, as to make R4
themselves worthy of being removed to the same region of bliss.'
The Preacher, in the eleventh discourse, shews the advantage and neceffity of religion, to society and to individuals, from which we will insert the passage that follows:
• All men with for the continuance of their being, if they may be happy. The good can have no reason to doubt their being happy, when ever and where-ever removed : the wicked, conscious of their demerits, deny that retribution they have so much reason to dread. These hopes and fears afford great encouragement to men to do what is right and just, and deter them from committing those things, which they know will not be approved by him, who has made them accountable for the use of their faculties and powers. Society therefore has not a worse enemy than the man who opposes religion. To reform a corrupt scheme of worship is honourable and praise-worthy; but to run down all religion, or, by opposing the best, make way
for the return of a superstition that persecutes, is madness and folly, as well as wickedness and impiety.
Society and law presuppose religion ; they acknowledge it to be their foundation and support. Men are not to be governed but by religion, and become monsters without it. It is essential to the nature of man, and is what properly distinguishes him from all other animals. The man therefore who pretends to have no religion, is an enemy to his species, to society, and law, and government, and ranks himself with the beasts that perish. He that opposes one particular form of government may. find a state somewhere or other to his mind, and become a good citizen; but the man who publicly opposes all religion is alike an enemy to all societies or governments, and must be a bad citizen where ever he is found. Such a one is ever to be dreaded, but more in times of general depravity and distress, than in times of tranquillity, or in an age of public virtue. Religion makes men brave. The good and pious have nothing to fear, and become gainers by the loss of life. They know it is better for them to die, and be with the Lord, than to continue in the flesh. But if this hope of happiness is not powerful enough to subdue the fears of death, the greater dread of offending him, who has power to punish the foul, and who has declared he will make a proper distinction between the good and bad, will deter all men, who are so wise as to fear the Lord, from doing what they know he will not approve. Death ceases to be terrible when compared with the torments of the damned ; and who is he that would purchase the continuance of his life, at the hazard of destroying his soul ? The wicked man, indeed, has reason to be afraid, his own conscience condemning him; but the good man, being always ready to account for his conduct, will not fear what man can do unta him, nor greatly dread any commotions or disturbances whatever.'
We thall conclude this article with observing, that the thir. teenth sermon is upon the words of Christ to Peter, “ Thou art Peter ; and upon this rock I will build my Church,” &c. The true interpretation of which text our Author fupposes to be no more than this, that Peter should first preach his gospel to the Jews and Gentiles, and begin the conversion of both.' He considers the declaration as entirely personal, appropriated to Peter, bearing allufion to his name, which fignifies a rock; and he regards other explications which interpret the rock of Christ, or of the confeffion of Peter, and not of his person, as fubterfuges, equally unworthy and unnecessary.
For SEPTEMBER, 1772. HUSBANDRY and AGRICULTUR E. Art. 12. Georgical Eljays. Vols. III. and IV. Small 8vo. 55.
fewed. Durham, &c. 1772. E have given an account of the two former volumes of these
, of , fign, and execution of the undertaking : fee Review, vols. xl. xlü. and xlv.
In the preface to the third volume, the Editor (Dr. Hunter, of York) has given the public some information relative to the plan of this work ; which, he tells us, owes it existence to the ' united labours of a society of gentlemen established in the North of Englaod, for the improvement of agriculture.' At first, says he, it was proposed to insert none but original papers ; and in conformity to that design, the two first volumes were published. Since that time the fociety have agreed to enlarge their plan, by mixing with their own transactions some of the molt approved pieces of other Authors; by which means every thing necessary to eitablish the theory and improve the practice of agriculture, will be drawn into a clear and comprehensive view.'
The essays contained in these two volumes are upon the following subjects : I. On the Connexion between Botany and Agriculture : By the Rev. R. Peirson, A. M. F. A. S. II. On the Analogy between Plants and Animals : By the fame. III. On the Sexes of Plants: By the same. IV. On the Nature and Properties of Marle : By I. Ainflie, M.D. V. On Drill fowing: By Dr. Hunter, the Editor. VI. On Top-dressings : By the same. VII. On Manures, and their Operation: By the Rev. A. Dickson, A. M. VIII. On the different Quantities of Rain which fall at different Heights over the fame Spot of Ground : By T. Percival, M. D. F. R. S. IX. On the Orchis Root: By the jame. X. On the Juice of Carrots : With Dr. Miggraf's Experiments on obtaining Sugar from Beet roots, &c. XI. On ine Culture of Potatoes : By Richard Townley, Esq; of Belfield, near