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Lord, and think that all religions will then be one. We know it is the defign of God," in the difpenfation of the fulness of times to gather together in one all things in Chrift." And the great increase of Christianity, the downfal of Paganifm, the fituation of the Jews, and conceffions of Mohammedans, render this event exceedingly probable..
What nature has been able to produce, without the affiftance of revelation, we may fee from the feveral kinds of Paganism, which prevail before the coming of Christ. As to what is now called the religion of Nature, it is manifeftly derived from the Chriftian religion, or at least owes its greatest and beft improvements to it. And as they both coincide, and the evidence for both are too ftrong to be denied, it becomes every man to act in conformity to the rules they prefcribe, that when he is to account for the ufe of the talents and powers with which he has been entrusted, the Judge may fay unto him; "Weil done good and faithful fervant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
From the fixth fermon, which treats on the love of pleasure, let us felect the following paflages:
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 phyfician, 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 diforders, the cure is to them as fickness, and their distemper health. They must first be perfuaded that they are fick and in danger, before they will hear of any fuch applications to the mind as forrow and repentance.
When pleasure is the difeafe, who will be perfuaded that he is fick? Is the love of pleasure criminal in man? Is not pleafure happiness, and fhould not every Being ftrive to be happy? Can we be too happy? Yes, we may become "lovers of pleafures more than lovers of God."
Religion or reafon are seldom heard by those who are over fond of pleasure, whofe mind fickens with remorfe, when, but a moment abfent from the hurry of diverfions, it is permitted to review the actions of the man.-Could young perfons, by any means, be made fenfible of the cruel confequences which inevitably follow an unbounded indulgence of appetite and paffion, it is not to be fuppofed they would facrifice their youth, their fortunes, their health, and happinefs, to difeafe and mifery. They may fee the fatal effects of incontinence, or the exceffive love of pleafure, in others; but few become wife by any other experience befides their own.
Pleasure is a boundlefs ocean, calm and fmooth near fhore, but at diftance ever agitated with outrageous ftorms. He that keeps within fight of land, may be fafe and happy; he that ventures farther is in great danger of being irrecoverably loft.
It is not criminal to feek pleafure when truth and innocence join us in the fearch; but every ftep advanced without them is wrong; and when they withdraw, the purfuit fhould end.-
We may advance towards fin with pleafures 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 fociety, 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 tranfient and unfatisfactory they are; and by no means let us fuffer them to acquire fuch an ab folute dominion over our hearts, as to make us "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God."
From the feventh discourse, which confiders the parable of the prodigal, we may felect fome of the reflections which are made upon the return of this thoughtless youth to his father's houfe.
In this miferable condition he, who before had attended to nothing but the gratification of his appetites, is now faid to "come to himself." The difference between the hired fervants of his father's houfe, who had bread enough and to spare, and himself, the fon of that father, though now reduced to a condition worfe than that of the fwine he mixed with, brought him to a fenfe of his tranfgreffion and duty. What a tranfition, from a ftate of affluence, honour, and refpect, to that of envying the fwine their filthy hufks, and wifhing to feed with them! When he is ready to perifh with hunger, he raises himfelf up from the ground, and refolves to go to his father. He is now made fenfible of his errors, owns his unworthiness, and determines to beg of his father, that be will be so good as to take him, not as his fon, but as a hired fervant. When he returns, he is forgiven. Such repentance intitled him to pardon. He had already fuffered for his follies; and thofe fufferings had obtained their moral end and purpofe, by leading the finner to repentance, and by producing an example to deter others from fuch evil practices, as are attended with so much mifery, and may in the end prove fatal. If this prodigal was reduced to fay, "I perifh," 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 fo than in cafes of repentance. He who puts off repentance to another day, fhews rather the irrefiftible power his fins have over him, than any real difpofition 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 fafeft way would be never to leave fo good a father as the prodigal had. When he left him to go into a foreign country, he removed himself far from the perfon and affiftance of his father. The prefence 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 mafter, he was under no restraint, and was therefore easily betrayed by his own paffions and appetites, and the bad examples of others, to wafte his fubftance with riotous living. It is very difficult for young men, left to themfelves to ftem the current of their own defires, 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 forgivenefs and kind reception which he met with from a moft indulgent father.'
In the ninth fermon when the Author is fpeaking concerning the evils of life and the fear of death, he concludes with these reflections:
Let us fuppofe a man in a far country, expofed to every misfortune and calamity, that men have ever experienced in life: let us fuppofe him to be informed of another country, where he fhall enjoy every comfort, every bleffing, which his faculties in their most improved ftate are capable of receiving; where he shall meet again all the friends he ever had, and converfe with Beings who are free from fin and folly; where reafon, virtue, and happiness prevail; where all is good, and great, and glorious, without alloy and without end; would he not with inftantly to be conveyed to this delightful country? Would the terrors of the paffage difmay him, when he is affured, that however dark and difmal it may appear, it is as fwift as light, and he will be tranfported thither in the twinkling of an eye? Thus it is with every good man, who leaving this vale of tears, goes to the heavenly Jerufalem. As foon as his eyes are clofed, his immortal part is in paradife, where he will join the fpirits of the bleffed. There he will find all his friends, who departed before him, and receive all that follow, if they behave in fuch 2 manner, during their fhort pilgrimage on earth, as to make R 4
themfelves worthy of being removed to the fame region of blifs.'
The Preacher, in the eleventh difcourfe, fhews the advantage and neceffity of religion, to fociety and to individuals, from which we will infert the paffage that follows:
All men wish 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, confcious of their demerits, deny that retribution they have fo much reason to dread. Thefe hopes and fears afford great encouragement to men to do what is right and just, and deter them from committing thofe things, which they know will not be approved by him, who has made them accountable for the ufe of their faculties and powers. Society therefore has not a worse enemy than the man who opposes religion. To reform a corrupt scheme of worfhip is honourable and praise-worthy; but to run down all religion, or, by oppofing the best, make way for the return of a fuperftition that perfecutes, is madness and folly, as well as wickedness and impiety.
Society and law prefuppofe religion; they acknowledge it to be their foundation and fupport. Men are not to be governed but by religion, and become monfters without it. It is effential 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 fpecies, to society, and law, and government, and ranks himself with the beafts that perish. He that opposes one particular form of government may find a ftate fomewhere or other to his mind, and become a good citizen; but the man who publicly oppofes all religion is alike an enemy to all focieties 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 lofs 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 fubdue 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 diftinction between the good and bad, will deter all men, who are fo wife 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 deftroying his foul? The wicked man, indeed, has reafon to be afraid, his own confcience condemning him; but the good man, being always ready to ac
count for his conduct, will not fear what man can do unto him, nor greatly dread any commotions or difturbances whatever.'
We shall conclude this article with obferving, that the thirteenth fermon is upon the words of Chrift to Peter, "Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church," &c. The true interpretation of which text our Author fuppofes to be no more than this, that Peter fhould first preach his gospel to the Jews and Gentiles, and begin the converfion of both." He confiders the declaration as entirely perfonal, appropriated to Peter, bearing allufion to his name, which fignifies a rock; and he regards other explications which interpret the rock of Chrift, or of the confeffion of Peter, and not of his perfon, as fubterfuges, equally unworthy and unneceffary.
MONTHLY CATALOGUE, For SEPTEMBER, 1772.
HUSBANDRY and AGRICULTURE.
Art. 12. Georgical Effays. Vols. III. and IV. Small 8vo. 5s. fewed. Durham, &c. 1772.
E have given an account of the two former volumes of these Effays, fufficient to apprize our Readers of the nature, defign, and execution of the undertaking: fee Review, vols. xl. xliii. and xlv.
In the preface to the third volume, the Editor (Dr. Hunter, of York) has given the public fome information relative to the plan of this work; which, he tells us, owes it existence to the united labours of a fociety of gentlemen eftablished in the North of England, for the improvement of agriculture.' At first, fays he, it was propofed to infert none but original papers; and in conformity to that defign, the two firft volumes were published. Since that time the fociety have agreed to enlarge their plan, by mixing with their own tranfactions fome of the most approved pieces of other Authors; by which means every thing neceffary to eftablish the theory and improve the practice of agriculture, will be drawn into a clear and comprehenfive view.'
The effays contained in these two volumes are upon the following fubjects: I. On the Connexion between Botany and Agriculture: By the Rev. R. Peirfon, A. M. F. A. S. II. On the Analogy be tween Plants and Animals: By the fame. III. On the Sexes of Plants: By the fame. IV. On the Nature and Properties of Marle: By J. Ainflie, M. D. V. On Drill fowing: By Dr. Hunter, the Editor. VI. On Top-dreffings: By the fame. VII. On Manures, and their Operation: By the Rev. A. Dickfon, 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 fame. X. On the Juice of Carrots: With Dr. Marggraf's Experiments on obtaining Sugar from Beet-roots, &c. XL. On the Culture of Potatoes: By Richard Townley, Efq; of Belfield, near