Imágenes de páginas

versation - Appearance of Evil-Prevalence of Popery-Angels Infidelity of the present Age-Recompence of Reward-Sin which easily befets us--Romilh Clergy Lords over God's Heritage-Cessation of Miracles-Difficulties of Scripture-Intermediate State-General Resurrection- Judgment-Final State and Condition of Men.

OCCASIONAL SERMONS. Forms of Prayer at St. Mary le Bow, in 1745-Pharisailm and Popery paralleled at ditto, on account of the Rebellion in 1745-Before the House of Commons, on the General Fast, December 18, 1745-At the Consecration of Dr. Warburton, January 20, 1760 (Mark iii. 14.) -Before the King, on the Day of his Acceffion, 1761 (1 Pet. ii. 17.)– The Good Samaritan : at Bristol, for the Benefit of the Infirmary-On Moderation : before the Lords, January 30, 1764-The Gospel preached to the Poor-On the Impotent Reception of the Gospel : before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, February 17, 1769 [Joh. x. 16.]

EPISCOPAL CHARGES. On reading the Scriptures-Increase of Popery-Licentiousness of the Times - Late Attempts against the Church-Difluafive from Schism.

In the Dissertation on the Confusion of Languages, &c. che Bishop combats, with equal learning and ingenuity, the hypotheses of those enthusiastic admirers of the primitive and facred tongue' (as they call the Hebrew), who would deduce every other tongue from it. He thinks it too fanciful and arbitrary to be confided in; and justly observes, that a similarity in a few instances, sedulously collected from many thousands, carry no proof of the doctrine contended for.

• Such operose trifles (says he) cannot be better exposed than by a familiar example. A learned divine, who was also a very great smoker, often used to divert himself with the etymology of his fa. vourite tobacco, which he derived from the Hebrew 20B bonus, ACH focus or fumus, and o Ejus, i. e. good is the fire or smoke tbereof. And it was pleasant enough for what it was intended, a play of the ima.. gination. But is the word, therefore, proved to be of Hebrew exfraction ? Or would a hundred such inftances demonstrate the Indian languages to be shoots of " Hebrew roots ?”

• If the Hebrew cannot make out its title to be the mother of all languages, it is certain the Chaldee and Arabic, or any other, can have no bercer pretence to lay claim to that prerogative. Some things may possibly be found alike in all languages; but this likenefs, for the most part, is merely accidental, and the many things wherein they differ are of far more force to demonftrate their different pedigrees, than the few things wherein they resemble each osher are to prove any relation or affinity between them: for consider the alroit innumerable multitude of languages in the world, and the great difference in the words, whereby they express the same common things. New words and names mult be invented for new things; þur Tould new names, with scarcely a radical letter, or a fingle


found the same, be given to things which always have been, always are, and always will be, in continual use, and spoken upon every occafion! The old names, or at least something like them, would certainly have been retained, if men had all derived their language from one and the same source. But the toral difference of the words for the very fame common things, evinces undeniably, thar che different languages must have spring from different sources. A fingle instance will make my meaning plainer, Bread in English, is lecbem in Hebrew, artos in Greek, panis in Lacin, bara in Wellh. Is there the leaft likeness berween them that they should be thought to be defcended from the same family? But the French pain, from the Latin panis, fufficiently discovers its relation.'

• Which or what was the primitive original language of mankiod, it being impoflible to determine, it is frivolous to dispute. The experiment hath been tried, more than once, of training up children separate from all society and conversation of men, in order to fee what language they would speak naturally, and of themselves ; but the event bach been, that they have talked no language at all; they could not so much as articulare, or utter any more distinct founds than deaf and dumb persons can do. And, indeed, it is reafonable to believe, that without the divine instinct at first, and human joftruction and example fince, men would have continued mutum et Turpe pecus, a mute and base herd, little superior to the bearts of the field ; at beft, neceflity would have taught them the use of Speech very slowly, and by no means so soon as they now usually atrain it.'

In the Dissertation on tbe Philosophy of Scripture, the worthy Prelate enumerates and answers the common objections which infidelity hath alleged to invalidate its credit. At the conclufion, by way of Itrengthening the cause of religion, by illus. trious examples drawn from the fields of philosophy, he gives the following account of four of the most eminent that Britain hath to boast of, viz. Lord Bacon, Boyle, Locke, and Sir Isaac Newton.

The first was, perhaps, the most universal genius that ever appeared in this country, or in any other. He made the laws of his country his particular study; and was promoted, by his superior mesit in his profession, to the highest employment in the fate : but his active, comprehensive soul was not confined or limited there. He sanged through all arts and sciences, showed wherein they were defective, chalked out the method how they might be improved; and the advancement of learning that hath been made fince his days, hath been chiefly owing to a persuance of bis schemes, by treading in his footfteps, and tracing and deducing the rivers, whereof he discovered the springs and fources. His writings (the principal of them being written in the learned language) bave done infinite honour to the nation; and in all of them, even those of them which are not profes.. fedly written upon divine subjects, there is yet a great spirit of piety

• Herod. lib. 2. cap. 2. Purchar. b. 3. chap. 8. Walton Proleg. 1. feat. 3. Calmet. Dia, under the word Language.

and and religion; and we plainly fee his reverence of the Scriptures, by his frequent allofions io them, and citations from them. His noted axiom was, “ That a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to Atheismo; but depth in philosophy bringech men's minds about to religion;" and he placech theology at the head of all learning, as the highest perfection and attainment of human nature.

• The second was of a noble family, and applied himself chiefly to experimental philosophy : and what was the consequence of bis searches into nature, but having a more profound reverence for the God of Nature? It is related of him, that he never mentioned the name of God, without a folemn pause in his discourse; so far was he from treating it lightly or irreverently ; fo full was his mind of pious love and veneration. Amidst his numerous philosophical writings, he found time also to write upon religious subjects. He wrote a treatise particularly on the excellency of theology, compared with natural philosophy, and another of the file of the Scriptures, with admiration and rapture. He was at the expence of large imprelions of the Bible, and tranflations into feveral languages, tor the use of the poor, both at home and abroad. Having employed his whole life in doing good, he extended his benevolence and charities to mankind after his death, and founded an annual lecture, with a handsome falary, for the proof of natural and revealed religion, againt Acheilts, Deifs, and all other infidels whom soever.

• The third was a moft excellent metaphysician, and inquired particularly into the powers and limits of the bumar under sianding : an author, happy in a wonderfully clear vein of thinking and reason. ing: drew his materials not so much from books as from his owa thoughts and reflections, and knew how to dress those thoughts in easy and agreeable language ; a friend to liberty, both civil and reli. gious, but an advocate for revelation ; wrote largely of the reasonableness of Cbriftianity; made a moft excellent parapbrale and annotations on the principal of St. Paul's Epifles, wherein he hath done more towards clearing and explaining their fense and meaning than any commentator, I had almoit said than all the commentators before him; and, doubtless, would have obliged us with more such writings if he bad lived longer, having dedicated the remainder of his days wholly and solely to these studies.

The fourth was a prodigy indeed of mathematical knowledge ! There was done like him before him; and it may be questioned, whether after him there will any “ arise like unto him." It is faid by Dr. Keil, that if all philosophy and mathematics were confidered as confilling of ten parts, nine of them are entirely of his discovery and invention. And his modesty, humility, and other virtues, were as great and conspicuous as his learning and knowledge. He fpoke always of the Supreme Being in a manner becoming a philofopher; attempted to settle the chronology of ancient kingdoms conformable 10 Scriptore; and wro:e observations on some of the most difficult parts of holy writ, the Prophecies of Daniel, ana St. Jobn's Revelatioz; making thus the word of God the port and haven of all bis labours, and doing as every wise man thould, beginning with philosopby, and ending in religion.'


The Bilhop, in his Dissertation on Dreams, adopts the hypothesis of the late Mr. Baxter, and attempts to make a practical use of it. He considers them as proofs of the immateriality and immortality of the soul, and as indications of our natural temper and disposition. He gives some directions how to make them turn to a good account; and, at the same time, guards the reader against the extremes of fuperftition and scepticism.

In the Dissertation on our Saviour's Temptation, he opposes the speculations of those divines who would refine away its reality, by considering it only as typical, allusive, and visionary; and contending for the fact, enters into a discussion of its reasons.If he had been so fortunate as to have offered any new ones, we fhould have been happy to have presented them to the Reader. The old are well known, and have been well answered.

One of the most learned and laboured of the Dissertations is that on the Demoniacs. The subject is also ingeniously discuffed, and with temper and moderation too. The Bishop thinks all the instances of Demonical poffeffion recorded in the Gospel, cannot be referred to any natural causes, such as madness or epilepsy, but "must be attributed to the operation of spiritual agents.- In this Dissertation he produces some passages from the works of the learned Joseph Mede, to prove that he was not (as hath been reported) a favourer of the novel doctrine.

The following is very observable : “ The use of the word Demon, in the worst sense, or directly for a Devil, wiil be almost confined to the Gospels, where the subject spoken of, being men vexed with evil spirits, could admit no other fense nor use." is evident then (says the Bishop), that Mr. Mede was so far from falling fhori in belief, that the carried it farther than the generality of Christian divines.'

From different parts of the Bishop's Works, we will transcribe his sentiments of some diftinguished fedts of Christians; and from thence the judicious Reader will be able to discover the leading bias of his mind, with respect to theological prin ciples and institutions.

POPERY, “ It took its rise in times of the greatest ignorance and fuperftition, of the greatest degeneracy and wickednes; was advanced by ligile and little; was propagared sometimes with all the cunping and dexterity, sometimes with all the malice and cruelly in the world.

DISSENTERS. I speak not of all, but of many of them (and am sorry to say it, but the truth compels, me), that they are no less ene. mies to the constitution in church and state than the Papirs ihemfelves. Nay it may be quesioned, whether the danger is not greater at present arising from the Diflenters than the Papiits. - The Papifts are no declared enemies 10 royal:y and ocbility ; but the Difienters are for levelling all degrees, and have laid the crown and nobility all in the duit. When Jacobitiíon lubadted, the Papills were for


i It for ever miserable. “ He would have all men to be saved ;” and whence then ariseth the obtruction to his good will and pleasure? or how cometh it to pass, that his gracious purposes are ever defeated ? Was ic for want of wisdom, or power, to fit and make them able ? or was there any defect of mercy and goodness to dispose and make them willing to acquire everlasting life ? No, you will say jully ; the fault is intirely in the creatures, and not at all in the Creator. (Eccles. vii. 29.) “ God hath made man upright, but they have fought out many inventions." He made them capable of happiness, but they themselves are the authors of their misery. But (Aas, xv. 18.) “ known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” He foresees the moft distant and contingent actions of all his creatures. He foreknows what courses they will take, their beginning, their progress, their end : and nothing can be more contrariant to the divine nature and attributes, than for a God, all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, all-perfect, co bestow existence on any beings, whose destiny he foresees and foreknows, must terminate in wretchedness and misery, without recovery or remedy, without respite or end, He certainly would either have created them of a different model and conftirution, or not have created chem at all. '“ God is love ;" and he would rather not have given life, than render that life a torment and curse to all eternity. Man, indeed, must have been made a free, rational, moral agent, or otherwise he could not have been capable of good or evil, of reward or punishment; and it is as juít, and reasonable, and fitting, that he should be punished for his evil actions, as that he should be rewarded for his good ones. But God never inficts punishment merely for punishment's fake. In the midit of judgment he remembers mercy. His chastisements, like those of a loving father, are designed nor to barden men in fin, but to reco. ver them to goodness, to correct and meliorate their nature, to terrify, to compel, to persuade, to oblige, and at length to bring them to repentance and reformation. His goodness could never give birth to any one being, and much less to a number of beings, whose end he foresaw, and could not buc foresee, would be irretrievable misery; nor could even his justice, for short-lived transgressions, inflict everlasting punishments, Imagine a creature, nay imagine numberless creatures, produced out of nothing, and therefore guilty of no prior offence, fent into this world of Irailty, which, it is well-known before hand, they will so use as to abuse ir, and then, for the excesa ses of a few years, delivered over to torments of endless ages, without the least hope or possibility of relaxation, or redemption. Imagine it you may, but you can never seriously believe it, nor reconcile it to God and goodness. The thought is locking even to human nature ; and how much more abhorrent then it must be from the divine perfections! God must have made all his creatures finally to be happy : he could never make any, whole end he foreknew would be misery everlasting.

• But poflibly you may object, that by this same method of arguing it would follow, that the devil and his angels will at laft be saved as well as wicked men; and I cannot deny the consequence, which extends alike to all free, intelligent, racional, moral agents what. ever ; lo neither can the devil and his angels, till they cease to be


« AnteriorContinuar »