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Elias and the Baptist for their models; without reflecting for a moment either upon the peculiar circumstances in which those holy men were placed, or the peculiar objects which they were appointed to accomplish. Thus while they passed their hours in a state of indolent abstraction-discharging no one social duty, and living as if they were alone in the world they succeeded in persuading themselves and others that they were treading the path which leads to Christian perfection, and pursuing the course most pleasing in the sight of God; that they were the especial objects of his regard, were hold ing habitual intercourse with him, and enjoying a foretaste of that ineffable bliss which would be their portion, when removed from this world of sin and misery to his immediate presence. Hence the stories of dreams and visions, which occur so frequently in the lives of the saints, and have been too hastily stigmatised as the offspring of deliberate fraud: whereas
they were in most instances the creations of a distempered mind, cut off from the active pursuits in which it was designed to be engaged, and supplying their place by imaginery scenes and objects. It forms no part of our plan to enter into a minute detail of the follies and extravagancies which were the natural fruits of the eremetical and monastic modes of life. Let it suffice to have pointed out the sources from which they took their rise; and to have exposed the mischievous conse quences of setting up any one mode of life as pre-eminently pure and holy-as rendering those who adopt it the peculiar favourites of Heaven." pp. 422-428.
The work before us concludes with a chapter on the heresies which prevailed in the church during the period under review. This, as our author observes, is unhappily not the least extensive of the five branches into which Mosheim divides the internal history of the church. Extensive, however, as it is, we must not dwell upon it. The subject is, for the most part, rather curious than profitable, except so far as it illustrates the frailty and perverseness of human nature, ever presuming to be wise above what is written; and to aspire after more knowledge than God has been pleased to communicate. Several of these heresies arose from the attempt to explain the doctrines of Christianity in a manner conform able to the dictates of the oriental philosophy concerning the origin of evil, What benefit, we would ask, CHRIST. OBSERV. No, 306.
can accrue from the discussion of systems and opinions identified with that most inscrutable of subjects? During this period of the church we find the Nazarenes and Ebionites;→→ the former receiving the fundamental articles of the Christian faith, while at the same time they retained the Mosaic ritual; the latter maintain. ing also the necessity of observing the ceremonial law, but rejecting many essential doctrines of true religion. These, however, may be regarded as rational, when compared with some other sects. The philosor phical heretics served only to shew how misapplied was the word phi losophy, in its best sense, as claimed by them. A greater love of folly was never exemplified. Marcion, with the hope of solving difficulties, invented too supreme deities; one the author of evil, who created the world; the other a power of pure benevolence, who was unknown to mankind till the coming of Christ, We give Tertullian's short refutation of this doctrine; rather in proof of his acuteness as a disputant, than from any necessity which there is for disproving the doctrine itself.
"In confutation of this doctrine, Ter, tion of God are comprised the ideas of tullian first observes, that in the definiSupreme power, Eternal duration, and Self-existence. The unity of the Deity is a necessary consequence from this definition, since the supposition of two Supreme Beings involves a contradiction in terms. Nor can this conclusion be evaded by a reference to worldly monarchs, who are as numerous as the kingdoms into which the earth is divided, each being supreme in his own dominions. We can not thus argue from man to God. Two Deities, in every respect equal, are in fact only one Deity: nor, if you introduce two, why you may not, with Valentinus, introcan any satisfactory reason be assigned duce thirty. Should Marcion reply that he does not assert the perfect equality of his two deities, he would by that very would admit that the inferior of the two is reply give up the point in dispute. He not strictly entitled to the name of God, since he does not possess the artributes of the Godhead; and that the name is ap plied to him only in the subordinate sense, in which we find it occasionally used in Scripture." pp. 481, 482.
Next come the followers of Valentinus, who, with his "thirty ons, 3 A
comprising the fulness of the celestial body," seems to have surpassed all who went before, or who came after him, in nonsense and absurdity. He appears to have lost sight of sacred truth, by his chace after it through the perverse mazes of endless allegory. Bishop Kaye doubts whether Tertullian understood the system which he undertook to describe. We may confidently affirm that he did not; and that it bids defiance to the grasp of the clearest and most capacious mind. Again, we find Hermogenes indulging in speculations concerning the eternity of matter. But it is useless to wade through these absurd speculations; we therefore conclude our brief notice of this chapter with an admirable remark, in which our author, while he accounts for this variety of heretical opinions, without injury to the truth of the Gospel, adroitly turns it into a weapon for meeting the Romanist on his favourite ground against Protestantism; namely, that of the diversity of sects and opinions which it has engendered.
"The Roman Catholics are in the habit of urging the divisions among Protestants, as an argument against Protestantism; and their own pretended freedom from dissensions, as a proof that they compose the true church. If this is a valid argument against Protestantism, the long catalogue of heresies which have been just enumerated must furnish an equally valid argument against Christianity itself. But the divisions which arose, both among the early proselytes to the Gospel and the early reformers, were the natural consequences of the change effected in the condition of mankind by the new light which had burst upon their minds. Their former trains of thinking were interrupted-their former principles to a certain extent unsettled-they were to enter upon a new and enlarged field of speculation and of action. When, therefore, we consider how many sources of disagreement existed in their passions and prejudices-in the variety of their tempers and the opposition of their interests; it cannot be matter of surprise that all did not consent to walk in the same path, or that truth was occasionally sacrificed to the ambition of founding a sect." pp. 584, 585.
Upon the whole, we can warmly recommend this work to the atten
tive perusal of the theological student; and we trust that our brief notice of it may assist in extending its circulation. It is a work abounding with valuable informa tion; though we think that some of the space, which has been devoted to a review of the elaborate trifling of scholastic subtleties and refinements, might have been advantageously curtailed, or at least filled up with the author's own reflections upon topics of far greater moment. To the general soundness of his principles we have nothing to'ob ject; and we admire the Christian spirit of fairness, candour, and moderation which is every where conspicuous in his pages. We have seldom seen an historical work, in which controverted points of theology are touched upon, where there was so little appearance of party spirit, or gratuitous and dogmatical assertion. The style, though not very popularly attractive, is perspicuous and correct. It is perhaps rather too circuitous and redundant; a fault into which men of research and learning are too apt to fall.-We trust that Bishop Kaye will not confine his labours to the publication of the present work. He speaks of Irenæus, Cyprian, Tertullian, Clemens, and Origen, as the five principal Christian authors of the second and third centuries. A minute and careful investigation of the works of any one of these might furnish scope for a volume similar to the present; and throw much light upon the state of the Christian church, during this most important period of its history.
Sermons, chiefly practical, preached in the Parish Church of Clapham, Surrey. ByWILLIAM DEALTRY, Rector. I vol. 8vo. London: Hatchard and Son. 1827.
We have taken the best posssible method both of exhibiting our high opinion of the merits of these dis
courses, and of enabling our readers of the Just-The Ascension of Christ,
The reflecting reader will feel
We will at once illustrate and fortify our remarks by inserting the titles of the several discourses in the volume. "On Indecision in Religion-The Omnipresence of God
Christ the Foundation of the Church Christ the Refuge of his People-The Christian's Conversation-The Penitent Thief The Joy of the Apostles at Christ's Ascension-Rejoicing in the Sabbath Motives for Christian ConcordThe Spiritual Design of Providential Appointments-Samuel's Departure from Saul-The Jewish Prophet at Bethel-The Constancy and Deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-Sowing in Tears, and Reaping in Joy--The Ministry of Reconciliation-The Resurrection
In making choice of a few passages for quotation, we find some difficulty in making a suitable selection, for the very reason that Mr. Dealtry's sermons are connected discourses, not marked by a few striking passages of extraordinary brilliancy, standing out from the body of the composition, but woven together into a web of uniform strength and texture; all for use, and nothing for display. His habit is to keep closely to his subject; generally drawing his matter directly from the very words of his text and context; following step by step their language and spirit, so as to form upon them a full and "practical" comment. Our readers will perceive this from the discourse which we have given in full: a very few additional detached passages must conclude our quotations.
The following is taken from the discourse, entitled "Christ the Refuge of his People," from Isa. xxxii. It forcibly points out the 1, 2. sincere happiness which even many Christians lose by not duly reflecting upon their exalted privileges, and living in the enjoyment of them; and by not more practically and habitually making "Christ their refuge" amidst all the storms of this frail and perilous life.
"With what humble gratitude should we avail ourselves of the blessings thus graciously vouchsafed!
"We read of these things, and we profess to believe them. Not a person is to be found, acknowledging the Christian revelation, who does not admit that Jesus Christ is a Saviour in every way suited to and with Him alone, is to be found adethe necessities of man, and that with Him,
quate consolation under all the pains and troubles of mortality. But how few seem to come to Him for these benefits! You
see men conflicting with the wind and the pursuing their parched and sultry road, as tempest, as if there were no hiding-place; if there were no rivers to quench their 3A 2
thirst, no rock to offer them its friendly shade. You see them harassed with the troubles of life, and vexed with its anxieties, dejected and depressed by a thousand circumstances which they cannot avert, but not even thinking of Him who would give, rest to their souls; eagerly inquiring who will shew us any good, but never seeking for the light of that countenance' which can alone impart it.
"And is not this statement likewise applicable in some degree, even to them who are essentially of a different character, who have really come to Christ as their Saviour, and are numbered among His true disciples? Do not even these sometimes suffer themselves to be disturbed by griefs, which a more intimate union with Him would immediately dispel? Are they not on some occasions inclined to deem their troubles almost irremediable, and to seek the remedy elsewhere than from Him, who alone can impart it? Do they not frequently yield to a suggestion of distrust and unbelief, when a right view of His grace, and a firin trust in His declarations would banish their griefs, and restore to them the blessing of peace? How much, my brethren, in these particulars are Christians frequently wanting to themselves! How little comparatively do many of them realize the truth of the description here given of the Messiah! How often while they omit to avail themselves of the privilege, might they run into this refuge and be safe! How often might they repose under this great rock, and drink of these living waters!
"May we learn to behold our blessed Redeemer in the light in which He is here presented to us! May we be duly sensible of the overflowing fulness of His grace, and at all times, and under, every emergency repair to Him with fervent gratitude and with ardent hope! The man who seeks for that shelter will assuredly find it; if he would drink of that stream he will not be disappointed; his experience through life will confirm the justice of the description, Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest: as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land: and his dying testimony will declare, I have not been deceived; have trusted in Christ, and He has never failed nor forsaken me; I can now resign myself cheerfully to His disposal, and I doubt not that I shall still find Him to be ahiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; my refuge in the hour of death, my Redeemer in the day of judgment.' pp. 77-80.
The discourse on "The Christian's Conversation" presents us with the following description of
his character. The writer is commenting on Philippians iii. 20.
We may understand the Apostle as affirming, both on his own behalf and on that of all Christians who live in conformity with their principles, the following propositions:
I. We delight in heavenly things: "II. We walk by heavenly rules "III. We partake of heavenly privileges." p. 82.
Under the first of these heads, Mr. Dealtry remarks:
"The men of this world think chiefly Many who acknowof earthly things. ledge the importance of religion would, upon a careful review of what passes in their minds, be surprised to discover how little it is in their thoughts. The real Christian is a man of different habits. He cannot, indeed, avoid giving much both of his time and his attention to the ordi pary concerns of life; and to these concerns it is indeed his duty to attend; but they are incapable of diverting him from objects of more serious importance. He is convinced that the things which accompany salvation deserve all the thought which he can possibly bestow upon them; and he habitually turns to them as of all subjects the most interesting to the re newed and enlightened mind. There are times when the most careless of men will either give, or pretend to give, themselves who mind earthly things it is a painful or to spiritual considerations; but to those an unsatisfactory task; a service of restraint; the heart is not in it; there is nothing which bespeaks a mind delightfully or even willingly occupied; and when the occasion has gone by, a new train of thought, of a very different kind, presently banishes every serious impression.
"With the true Christian, on the contrary, with the man whose heart is right towards God, it is a cheerful and voluntary engagement. He is glad to escape from less profitable reflections, and to take refuge in those which connect him with heaven. His delight is in the law of the Lord, in the revelation which has been made by the Holy Spirit, and in that law doth he meditate day and night. He finds in the records of the Divine will, and in the works and providence of God, inexhaustible sources of meditation, and these statutes are his songs in the house of his pilgrimage.
"And as his thoughts are much occupied about heavenly things, so also is, he very desirous to attain to them. It is their value that they are so much in his because he loves them and appreciates mind. His are not the cold notions of a man who merely assents to the excellency of the realities of heaven without any perception of their worth: he feels all the force of the question, What is a man
Review of Dealtry's Sermons.
"This disposition and these desires will necessarily be followed by corresponding exertions to obtain salvation.
"This he will consider as his great business upon earth; and having learned what he must do to be saved he will do it with all his might." pp. 83-85.
The blessedness of those who thus live is described, in allusion to the language of the Apostle, under the heads of access to God;" peace with God;" and "fellowship with all the persons of the sacred Trinity." We detach a frag
ment of the discussion.
"We cannot indeed deny, that in
God his Redeemer. Hear the declaration
God shall hide me in his pavilion, and
rejoicing, in the
give thanks unto the Lord, and to
This Psalm is entitled "A Song
In the discourse on "Christian Concord," Mr. Dealtry shews, in a most just and convincing manner, how forcibly a spirit of true humility tends to secure this inestimable blessing.
"It will be found, I believe universally, that the more humble a man is, the less will he be disposed to contend for his own views on the subordinate points of religious disputation. He feels how unqua lified he is to decide absolutely upon questions which have exercised to so little purpose the most enlarged and powerful minds, and he loves not argument for its own sake; he will enter into no dispute for the pleasure of victory; and whilst he probably is not without some settled opinion on those subjects, the chief view with which he ever regards them is to humble him still more in the sight of his Maker; to fill him with admiration of the wisdom and knowledge of God, and to lead him to the more devout and earnest cultivation of those holy principles which unite him more closely to his Redeemer, and to all the members of