Imágenes de páginas

'our religion ;-when these and other causes of a like kind are attended to, it cannot be thought wonderful that there should, as to fome particulars, have been a great diversity of sentiments and opinions among christians.

i This Author in the second section gives a sketch of some beretical opinions which prevailed in the three first centuries, till the reign of Constantine, and in the third he relates some of those which dirturbed the church from the lat-mentioned period till the full eftab. lifment of popery. One passage from this part of his work is as follows:

• Amidt such a multiplicity of opinions partly agreeing and partly disagreeing, what wonder was it, that the passions of men were much inflamed, and their minds embittered one against another? In the public estimation, how did they rise or fall according to the several decrees of Councils, and the different attachments of different Popes and Emperors? The smiles and frowns of fortune changed alternately, sometimes on the Catholick, and sometimes on the opposite fide : Dignity and disgrace, victory and banishment, were the uncertain lots, which fell by turns upon Arius and Athanafius, the Omo-oufians or Omoi-oufians, the true or false believers, according to the prevailing system of orthodoxy.-In support of these jarring sentiments no pains were spared : Pious frauds, vifions and legendary Aories were often invented ; and to give a stronger sanction than all, a successive train of fictitious miracles were continually forged with great craft and dissimulation, though under a specious disguise of truth, and

sincere regard to the interest of religion. Creeds were set up by opposite parties againit creeds, and fynods against fynods.'

But this great variety of opinions upon disputable points, formed not the worst part of church history: the greatest evil was, that the pride, the weakness, the selfishness of men were engaged, and, from what might be often in itself innocent, raised the flames of discord and hatred, to the disgrace of the church, and destruction of real piety and goodness!

After giving a ketch of the errors of popery, and those which arose from monkery and school-divinity, Mr. Rawlins observes farther, that the reformation, chough a happy means of deliverance from the corruptions of the church of Rome, was not withoat its blemishes. In the remaining part of his pamphlet he endeavours to fhew, that the multiplicity of religious errors is no ground of objection against the truth of christianity, no proof of the insufficiency of the scriptures, nor of the necessity of a supreme judge or infallible interpreter. He farther infifts, that this diversity of opinion is really agreeable to the express declarations of scripture, that it is no reason for the obftruction of free enquiry, or for impeaching the wisdom or goodness of God, or the moral excellence of human nature.

The Author treats these subjects in a sensible and rational manner; but what his notions of the nature of error and heresy are, and in what respects he thinks them innocent or finful, it is not in our power to determine exactly from the present performance ; we must wait for a second dissertation on these points, which, he tells us, he designs to communicate to the world.


Art. 34. TA XIAIA ETH. A Dissertation on the Millenium.

8vo. 1.5. Horsfield. 1772. The publication of this pamphlet, we are informed, has been occafioned by a sermon printed on the same subject, in 1771, by Mr. Greenhill, who, according to the account here given, seems to believe “ Now to be the intermediate space of time between the Millenium and the end of the world.” This Writer, who discovers both good sense and learning, apprehends . it may not be amiss to admonish him, and others who may happen to agree with him in this particular, that the series of the prophecy, the course and order of the revelation exhibited by St. John, evince, that the Millenium is yet to come, nay that the seventh trumpet has not yet founded.'

After reciting the text in Rev. xx. ver. 4, where upon the binding of Satan, it is said, And I saw the souls of them that were bebeaded for tbe witness of Jesus, &c.-lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; he proposes the question, " Whether these words be capable of any other than a literal interpretation?

In order to throw some light upon the subje&t he briefly, but critically, considers what was the ftate of this controversy till about the middle of the third century, : • After this review, says he, if we give our opinion of these matters fairly, and without reserve, it will amount to this: the doctrine concerning the millenial reign of Christ appeared very early in the Church, and was built on a twofold foundation : firit, on the interpretation of those passages in the prophets, which foretold the restoration of the kingdom to Ifrael, inforced by this text of St. John: the second from oral tradition, pretended to be delivered down by St. John from our Lord himself; yet that it never generally prevailed, nor was it in the purer ages received as the doctrine of the Church.'

The following is the fummary which the Writer gives of his own sentiments on the point under consideration : • What I contend for is, says he, that the firtt resurrection is not to be understood literally, and that here nothing more is expressed, than that the enemies of Christ being deilroyed, and the power of Satan restrained, the Church thall enjoy, for a determined time, an uninterrupted peace. Were I to indulge my own speculations, I might seem to see Mahometanism extirpated, Popery reformed, and the whole Church in general, both in manners and discipline, enjoying a more than primitive purity. I could hope that our daily prayers would at length be answered, and that all who profess and call themselves Chriftians would be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace and righteousness of life, unmolested by enemies without, unhurt by internal divisions. More than this is not from hence to be gathered ; but as I take this to relate to that period, ch. xi. 15, in which the angels proclaim the kingdoms of this world to be our Lord's and his Chrilt's, the scene is enlarged, and all the ancient prophecies receive their completion by the restoration of the Jews, and call of the Gentiles. The many excellent things which are spoken of the city of God shall be accomplished; and in a more literal fenfe, Chriit shall have the Heathen' for his inheritance, and be anointed King on his holy hill of Sion.'

Our Author offers several considerations in support of his hypothes fis, which appears to us to be greatly fiozilar to that of Dr. Whitby ; a particular account of which, with the arguments in its vindicacion, may be seen at the end of the second volume of his commentary on the New Teitament,

The pamphlet concludes with a recital of fome paffages from the book of the Revelations, and from the prophecy of Isaiah t, which describe the happiness of the Neru Jerufalen, referring, as this Writer seems to suppose, both to the fate of the Christian Church upon earth, and its final and perfect felicity in a future world. The defeription is grand and affecting : it recals to his mind, he says, fome. lines in Pindar which he recommends to our perafal. They have some similarity to the scripture expreflions he had felected : he presents them to us in the Greek, anattended by any English transla-. tion. It may not be upacceptable to some of our Readers if we conclude this article by adding Mr. Wet's translation of this part of the second of Pindar's olympic odes :

“ But in the happy fields of light,
Where Phæbus with an equal ray
Illuminates the balmy night,

And gilds the cloudless day
In peaceful, unmolested joy,
The good their smiling hours employ!
Them no uneasy wants constrain

To vex th' ungrateful foil,
To tempt the dangers of the billowy main,
And break their strength with unabating toil,
A frail disastrous being to maintain.

But in their joyous calm abodes,
The recompence of justice they receive ;

And in the fellowship of Gods

Without a tear eternal ages live.”. Art. 35. Sermons to Tradesmen. 12mo. 1 s. Cadell, &c. 1772.

This is certainly a very seasonable, and, if properly attended to, may prove a very useful publication. The firit of the two sermons has passed through one edition, and we cannot but express our with that each of them may be more generally known and read. The subject of the first is Proverbs xxiii. 4. Labour not to be rich : that of the second, Romans xii. 11. Not forhful in bufiness. From the sea cond of these discourses we shall just extract the following passage, not as being superior to other parts, but as it appears to have fome particular propriety at the present time.

Some neglect their private concerns, by entering warmly into what they judge the concerns of the public; that is to say, by becoming violent partisans in political contests.-Were those liberties in danger, which are the birthright of Britons, and the glory of this favoured country, all who breathe this air of freedom, hoold exert their utmost in their defence. Every thing of private or personal consideration Mould give place when LIBERTY demands our aid.

Ch, xxi. 4, 23. xxii. so

lx. 19, 20.

I would


I would be far from endeavouring, by the most diftant infinuation, to damp the hallowed fire of genuine patriotism. I with every Britiff breait to feel its ardours. I had rather a jealousy of our privileges, which our ancestors purchased with their blood, thonld run into an extreme, than any eneroachment on them be filently permitted and tamely borne.-But, my fellow-citizens, you should be upon your guard against the artifices of designing ambitious men, who would pervert your honelt zeal for your country's good, to their own selfish finilter ends. And what is more frequent in policieal ditentions, than for the leaders of either party (whatever they profess) to have far different objects in view from those of national advantage? Generally speaking-I except a few individuals --self-interest is their ruling principle.- A man whojnterferes in the contention usually sublifting between those who are in ofice and those who are out, to the neglest of his own domeitic bulinefs, will find it hard to reconcile his practice with his duty, and to jutlify himself in the eye of prudence and wisdom.' Art. 36. Sermons, ' By

By the late Rey. Mr. John Whitty, Minister of the Gospel at Lyme-regis, Dorset.. In two Volumes. Vol. I. Containing Discourses on the Lord's Prayer, with others on various Subjects, adapted to the Family and Closet. Vol. II. Containing Discourses adapted to the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Evo.

Buckland. 1772. The Editor of these discourses informs us that, of the two' volumes of sermons by this Author already publithed, few' more were printed than had been subscribed for ; that several persons had expreiled their fatisfaction in them, and requested that their number might be increased; and that this has occasioned another publication.

The true character of these discourses seems to us to be that they are serious, practical, and well adapted to the edification of common chriflian societies. They cannot be considered as very animated, critical, or elegant productions : but in a plain, though not dilgaiting dress they discover a spirit of piety in the writer, and a concern to advance real religion and virtue ; to which purpose the different fubjects brought under consideration are all of them directed. The Author appears as a serious and earnelt advocate for all christian virtues and good works, arising from a proper principle and difo position of mind. Though calvinistic in his sentiments, he does not, in these sermons, enter far into disputable points. In the first volume he pays very little regard to them, and in the second, the great ends of a religious and virtuous conduct are always kept in view; although here the Reader will find somewhat more of the peculiarities of calvinism; and many, no doubt, will think that the view Mr. Whitty has given of the supper of our Lord, is not firiely conformable to that plain, simple, and short account of it which is found in the New Tefament.'

SERMONS 1. The fure Foundation. -Occasioned by the Death of the Rev. Mr. B. Meffer. Preached in Grafton Street, June 21, 1772. By Joha Macgowan, 18. Keith.

[ocr errors]

II. At the Five Fields Chapel, St. George's, Hanover-Square, before the Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Mafons, June 24, 1772, being the festival of St. John the Baptist. By the Rev. Mr. John Gower. Published at the Request of the United Lodges, under the Sanction of Sir Robert Stewart. 8vo. 6 d. Cooke, &c.

We have a good deal of Free-mason wit in this sermon; for instance : As the Mason frequently tries every minute part of his work by the compass, square, level, and plumb-rule, in order to give to each member its true and exact proportion ; in like manner should we constantly try every minute action of our lives, whether it will Square with God's word; whether it is level with his commands; whether it is upright, according to the plumb-rule of conscience, and within the compass of innocence.'-In the quibbling days of gued King Jamie, a genius like this would certainly have made its way to the Mitre!


CORRESPONDENCE: To the AUTHORS of the MONTHLY REVIEW. « GENTLE MEN, Nyour Review for Auguft lait, I see the Article Wensley.Dale has

fome particulars of Sir Isaac Newton ; to which I will only add, that what Fontenelle mentions in his panegyric on Sir Isaac is true ; that his mother was an Ayscough, sometimes written Akew; and that she was of an ancient family, whose ancestors were considerable gentry: the famous Anne Askew, in Fox's Martyrology, was of the iame family. His another's brother, Ayscough, a clergymar, grandfather of my mother, was the person who invited on his fiiter's completing Isaac's education at the University, not according to the tradition mentioned in the poem of Wensley.Dale, of a gentleman observing him in the field keeping theep, but on the uncle's finding him in a hay-loft, at Grantham, working a mathematical problem.

Of this clergyman, Ayfcough, there are several descendants, one of which is Mr. Thomas Ayscough, who has lived above 50 years at the bankers in Lombard-Street (formerly Brasseys, and now Lee and Ayton) with others who are still in being as well as myself. My mother's sister, who attended him in his lait illness, and who was very much with him at other times, has told me, that when he had any mathematical problems, or solutions, in his mind, he would never quit the subject on any account. Dinner has been often three hours ready for him before he could be brought to table : that his man often said, when he has been getting up in a morning, he has sometimes begun to dress, and with one leg in his breeches, sat dowa again on the bed, where he has remained for hours before he got his cloaths on; and my father has often told me that he was the most modelt and bashful man that could be ; and that in company he was never positive nor overbearing, even in those matters which were demonstrated to his own mind. And I had the pleasure of experiencing, when a child, his humane and kind behaviour to children.

I am, your liumble fervant, 07. 13, 1772.

I. H.' We are obliged to I. H. for the foregoing Letter. Every circum. stance relating to juh a Genius as NEWTON anuld be accepiable to the friends of Science and Literature,

« AnteriorContinuar »