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Such is the picture which our Author draws of the departure of Christians from the SIMPLICITY of found doélrine : those who are acquainted with ecclefiaftical history, the blackest part of the annals of human frailty, will be struck with the likeness. Not content with departing from the simplicity of sound doëtrine, Chriftians have fubftituted the very deviation in its place, and given it its name. Every party appropriates the name of found doctrine to those peculiar explications, speculations, and definitions which characterize itself, and discriminate it, and set it at the greatest diftance from all other parties : but these the Apostle expressly, and in terms of abhorrence, excludes from the idea of found doctrine, and urges Christians to avoid as repugnant to it. What the several sects have extolled as the foundelt doctrine is, in the Apostle's sense, most unsound. According to his sense of it, the only sense which merits the regard of Christians, the bigot of every denomination, the tenacious partizan of any feat, necessarily deviates in some degree, and generally deviates the farthest.

Sound doétrine, our Author farther observes, means practical doctrine. God gave a revelation of the trush for this very purpose, to purify and improve the hearts, and to direct and influence the practice of men. Every part of it is immediately and powerfully conducive to this purpose: all the precèpts of the Gospel, and all its principles, conspire in promoting it. The former prescribe the purest and the sublimest virtue: the latter are even more directly subfervient to it, they excite to that virtue.

All abstract definitions of deatrine, all abstruse questions about it, are in their very essence wholly speculative'; they are at best fit only for informing the understanding, too often only for perplexing it: their natural effects are thorny disputes, contentions, divifions, not the active exertions of Christian virtue and holiness; the utmost they can claim is, that they may be harmlessly amusing : they never can be profitable. If it were poffible to determine them with the greatest clearness and cer. tainty, yet they could not influence practice ; abstract ideas being too frigid to warm the heart; too weak to draw out good affections, and too dim to be kept in view in the moment of action.

We have now given a full view of what our Author has advanced upon a very important fubject, and heartily wish his Sermon may produce proper effects upon the minds of those who are principally interested in attending to it. When a Professor of Divinity, eminently diftinguished too by his learning and abilities, delivers his sentiments with such freedom and boldness concerning the departure of Christians, of every denomiDation, from the simplicity of the Gospel, 'it cannot fail of

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giving fincere pleasure to every friend to virtue and religion, and of lessening that attachment to the creeds and systems of fallible men, which has been so prejudicial to the interests of Chriftianity, and contributed, in a very high degree, to the spreading of scepticism and infidelity.

Resignation to the will, subjection to the authority, and res gard to the judgment of God; the confidence of the righteous; and the self-condemnation of the wicked at the day of judgment, are the subjects of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Ser. mons of this volume; which concludes with the republication of a Sermon on the Influence of the Pastoral Office on the Characters in answer to Mr. Hume; for an account of which very judicious and truly excellent discourse, we refer our Readers to the twentyfourth volume of our Review.

ART. III. Gibbon's Account of Christianity considered ; together with

fome Strictures on Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. By Joseph Milner, A. M. Master of the Grammar-school of Kingfton upon Hull. 8vo. 35. Cadell, &c. 1781.

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felves that the Author will excuse us, when we assure him, that the omission did not proceed from any designed neglect.

Mr. M.'s Work is divided into three parts : In the first, he examines, and endeavours to set in a true light, some facts and characters, which he thinks have been mir-Itated by Mr. Gib. bon ; in the second, he briefly confiders the nature (the Author's own words) of Christianity, and in the third, he disa courses on a variety of subjects, all reducible, however, to one point, the recommendation of the gospel to the attention of the polite and the learned, and the vindication of its doctrines from the aspersions of Mr. Gibbon,-whom he allows to be a man of exquisite judgment, sound classical erudition, and every quality necessary to form the accomplished historian. His found judgment, however, Mr. Milner tells us, has not secured him from a series of mistakes in every thing relating to Chriftianity; nay, one thing is clear, he further says, viz. that Mr. Gibbon cordially hates Chriftianity.

We have no doubt of our Author's fincerity, nor of the uprightness of his views, and think his zeal for the honour and interests of Christianity highly commendable, but cannot help observing, that, in our opinion, his zeal is not according to knowledge. This, we apprehend, will clearly appear to most of our Readers from the following short passages.

Speaking of reason, and rational religion, he says,Man being dark and blind with respect to God, and the beauty of

holiness,

Such is the picture which our Author draws of the departure of Christians from the SIMPLICITY of sound doElrine : those who are acquainted with ecclefiaftical history, the blackest part of the annals of human frailty, will be struck with the likeness. Not content with departing from the simplicity of found doctrine, Chriftians have subftituted the very deviation in its place, and given it its name. Every party appropriates the name of sound doctrine to those peculiar explications, speculations, and definitions which characterize itself, and discriminate it, and set it at the greateft diftance from all other parties : but these the Apostle expressly, and in terms of abhorrence, excludes from the idea of found doctrine, and urges Christians to avoid as 'repugnant to it. What the several sects have extolled as the foundest doctrine is, in the Apoftle's sense, most unsound. According to his sense of it, the only sense which merits the regard of Christians, the bigot of every denomination, the tenacious partizan of any re&, necessarily deviates in some degree, and generally deviates the farthest.

Sound doctrine, our Author farther observes, means practical do&rine. God gave a revelation of the truth for this very purpose, to purify and improve the hearts, and to direct and influence the practice of men. Every part of it is immediately and powerfully conducive to this purpofe : all the precepts of the Gospel, and all its principles, conspire in promoting it. The former prescribe the purest and the sublimest virtue: the latter are even more directly subservient to it, they excite to that virtue.

All abstract definitions of doctrine, all abstruse questions about it, are in their very essence wholly speculative'; they are at best fit only for informing the understanding, too often only for perplexing it: their natural effects are thorny disputes, contentions, divisions, not the active exertions of Christian virtue and holiness; the utmost they can claim is, that they may be harmlessly amusing: they never can be profitable. If it were poffible to determine them with the greatest clearness and certainty, yet they could not influence practice; abftract ideas being too frigid to warm the heart; too weak to draw out good affections, and too dim to be kept in view in the moment of action.

We have now given a full view of what our Author has advanced upon a very important subject, and heartily with his Sermon may produce proper effects upon the minds of those who are principally interested in attending to it. When a Professor of Divinity, eminently distinguished too by his learning and abilities, delivers his sentiments with such freedom and boldness concerning the departure of Christians, of every denomidation, from the fimplicity of the Gospel, 'it cannot fail of

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OMNISCIENCE, the united influence of two such principles must warm and animate the soul, must give life and energy to all its exertions, and must ever produce a sublimity of virtue.

Art. IV. A Letter to the Author of the Hifory and Nysiery of Good

Friday 1. By a Layman. 8vo. I S. Rivington. 1782.
HE objcctions of the Diflenters to the fasts and festivals of

the Establifhed Church may be reduced to the following heads : “ The Almighty, by a positive command, hath allotted one seventh part of our time to his own immediate service by the acts of public devotion: and only that part. All inftitutions which exceed this limited portion are the superfluous appointments of mere human authority, exerted beyond the prescriptions of the Divine law, and therefore not obligatory on Christians. And especially may we dispute their propriety, when it cannot be ascertained when the events, to which such redundant inftitutions more immediately refer, really took place. Hence the veneration of them receives a double objection. Religion doth not authorize them: and chronology cannot determine their date."

This is the main ground of the debate. The Author of the present pamphlet joins issue on the footing of these objections, and proceeds to shew cause why fasts and festivals ought to be appointed by Christian legiflators, and for what reasons ChriItian subjects ought to submit to their appointments.

That one day in seven was prescribed by Divine authority, and in the very body of the moral law, he pretends not to question. But, though one day in seven was appointed, he itrenuously infifts, that it was not to the exclufion of any other that particular circumstances might authorize the appropriation of to the purposes of religion. Though the law respecting the Sabbath was given to the Jews, yet, nevertheless, we are informed from the Mosaic code, that other days were also confidered as sacred by tne express appointment of the legislator himself.

Hence the Feast of the Paffover, of Weeks, of Expiation, of Trumpets, of Tabernacles, of a day of Atonement, &c. &c. from which it appears, that God required more than a seventh part of time to be dedicated to his service; for at the appointment of these festivals it is expressly said, “ It shall be a holy convocation to you; ye thall oblerve it by an ordinance for ever.”

From a review of the subject respecting the institution of fafts and festivals, the Author concludes, that worldly powers

I Sce Rev. Vol. LVII. p. 330.

have a right to appoint them.' If any obje&tion should arise from their being Jewish institutions, the Author observes, that the same liberty of departing from the exact letter of the Ten Commandments was claimed by the Apofties of our Lord also. They appointed fasts, they attended feasts-and that too after our Saviour's ascension.

With respect to the exact day on which the several events commemorated happened, the Author observes, that it is an object not worth contention. The day considered in itself is nothing: but all its consequence depends on the appropriation given it. It is the thing itself that ought to be the grand object to a Christian. And though the chronology may not be settled, yet there is fomething which none but infidels can dispute ; and it is that which ought to be kept in mind, and therefore to appoint a particular time to commemorate it cannot be absurd or superfluous. He particularly instances in the three grand institutions of the Church, viz. Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter Day. We ought undoubtedly to maintain an habitual sense of the importance of those events; but will that habitual sense be lessened by the appropriation of any particular days to the commemoration of them? Will they not rather come in aid of the general impresion? Will not their habitual in Auence be strengthened by this particular appropriation ?--With respect to the alteration of the 7th day to the ift, the Author observes, that there is no positive command for it. The whole rests on tradition, and that tradition pretends not to any explicit abrogation of the original appointment. There is a great deal in this argument. We know not what a Dislenter can advance to evade the force of it. We should be glad to see. But let him remember his ground, and adhere closely to it. Let him produce the authority for the alteration of the Sabbath: but if he doth not prove that authority to be expressly divine, and if the evina dence of it be not something better than traditional, he will give a Churchman an advantage over him, that he will find it very difficult to surmount.

The Author makes a good use of the argumentum ad hominem. The Disfenters do not object to the appropriation of some days to commemorative purposes. They oblerve the 5th of November; and keep national falts. These appointments are merely human. If we object to one institution, because it is not founded on better grounds, why not to another for the same reason? Is there no will.worship among the Diflenters ? — nothing but what they can appeal for “ to the Law and to the Testimony?

• You are a Diffenter (says this Writer), the paitor of a congregation, we will suppole, and you think it wrong to dedicate that time to the service of God which ought to be employed in fecular affairs. Suffer me to ask, Do you enforce by your prac

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