Page images
[ocr errors]

when bishops have once been fettled? and, ftrictly fpeaking, indeed, nothing of this nature can ever be promifed in any cafe. But if the Diffenters had been asked, on their applying for a toleration, how they could undertake to promife, that when that point was once fettled, nothing further, nothing hurtful to the established church, fhould ever be proposed and preffed on the government by them, furely this would not have been fufficient to defeat their application. And yet, what could they have answered? Not more, if fo much, as can be anfwered in the prefent cafe: that no fuch thing is at all intended, and that though it were,, there would be no danger, either of the intention taking effect, or caufing any difturbance. But on the former of thefe affertions our fincerity may, be queftioned. For it is argued, that bishops doubtlefs think the powers which they have in this nation, to be strictly juft and reafonable; and confequently must be defirous of their taking place in the colonies. Now for my own part, and I believe my brethren in general are of the fame mind, I have no imagination that bishops are intitled to, or that it would be right to give them, every where, the fame powers and privileges, that we happen, by the particular conftitution of this country, to poffefs, here. Several parts of that conftitution might perhaps full as well have been formed otherwise. Whether our fhare of it might or not I have never fet myself to confider; I hope and am perfuaded, it is, on the whole, as harmless and useful a branch as many others; and I endeavour, fo far as I am concerned, to make it fo. But were I to live where bifhops were only on the fame footing, on which it is now proposed they fhould be in our plantations, I fhould no more attempt to raise them higher, than I fhould to overturn the established form of government in any other refpect. It may indeed be prudent to fufpec clergymen, minifters of ftate, all men, to fome degree. But it cannot be prudent to refufe doing things that are highly proper, on account of little more than a poffibility, that an improper use of them may be hereafter attempted.-1 he Bishop of London's commiffaries, I believe, have gained no acceflions to what was granted them originally and bishops will be ftill more narrowly watched by the governors, by other fects, by the laity, and even the clergy, of their own communion. Nor will they have a greater dread of any thing, if either fo good or fo difcreet men are chofen, as I promife myself will, than of lofing all, by grafping at what doth not belong to them.'

Thus far the Archbishop. After all that can be faid to prove the reasonableness of his propofal, it is ftill no more a matter of furprize that American fubjects, who have learned how greatly their ancef tors fuffered from civil and ecclefiaftical tyranny, fhould be prejudiced against the introduction of epifcopacy, than that bifhops in England fhould plead for it. However well guarded and intended the firft fcheme of this kind might be, there can be no fecurity that thofe principles which have been used for its eftablishment, may not afterwards be employed to ftretch its authority. Inftances of fuch encroachments from fmall beginnings have not been wanting, and this will often render wife and moderate people cautious in admitting what in itfelf may be just and reafonable. Much is faid, and very fpeciously faid, in this pamphlet, to fhew that the defign here recommended is of this kind. Some perfons will yet think, that there are fubjects


which do more immediately call for the zealous attention of the go vernors of our church; as for inftance, an alteration in fome parts of our liturgy, &c. which has been long fo earnestly defired, and is still earnestly defired by many of the wife and pious of our communion. With regard to confirmation, (which is used as a confiderable argument in behalf of American bishops) it may, if properly regarded, be improved to fome good end, but it is doubtful whether there are not many here at home, confidered as members of the church of England, who have never received it: and among those who have been confirmed, there is reason to apprehend, that numbers know little or nothing of its meaning; that they attend it merely as a form, or have fome fuperftitious notions of its efficacy, which are far from tending to any valuable purpose. Certainly, if the rite itself is of any importance, it must be important alfo that care fhould be used to explain its nature, and direct it to that advancement of piety and virtue, from its connection with which it must receive its value. Art. 17. Proteftant Armour: Or the Church of England-man's Defence against the open Attacks and artful Infinuations of Popish Delufion. Extracted from the Writings of fome of the most eminent Divines of the established Church: and difpofed by way of Question and Answer, for the readier Information of Individuals. By Theophilus Anglicanus. Svo, 4 s. fewed. Robfon, Fletcher, &c. 1769.

No fubject of difpute has been more fully and judicioufly canvaffed, than that of which this pamphlet treats. The Proteftant caufe has been defended by a number of learned and able writers of different denominations, who have purfued their adverfaries to every retreat, and if unprejudiced truth may judge, fairly routed and vanquished them. Great care was alfo ufed formerly to propagate the principles of proteftantifm, that private perfons, in every ftation, might be guarded against the attacks of Papifts. Thefe labours were very fuccessful: but, for feveral years paft, this caufe has been more neglected, and there is reafon to believe that many of the inhabitants of thefe kingdoms, in all ranks, are, to a very great degree, if not totally, unable to defend themselves against the artful endeavours of popifh emiffaries. For this reafon, publications like this before us are feafonable, and ought to be encouraged.

One inducement with this writer for compiling the prefent performance, he tells us, was the confideration, that the arguments upon the fubject have probably appeared to fome difadvantage, by being fcattered abroad in different authors, or difperfed here and there in the works of the fame Author,' it seemed therefore, expedient to bring them together under one view, that they might act with their joint influence upon the mind.' He farther adds, that another and far more confiderable motive prevailed with him, viz. an apprehenfion of the increafing number of Papists amongst us, and the probably larger and more frequent imports of feduction from abroad. by means of thofe reflefs and peftilent feducers, the lately exiled Jefuits.'

The feveral arguments which are here produced, are thrown into a catechetical form, expreffed by way of quekion and anfwer, as

being, we are told, better fuited to inform the understandings of the many, than a continued chain of reasoning, which would pro bably difguft fome, and not eafily be apprehended by others.'

This book, it is faid, is chiefly intended for those who have not leisure or ability to read or purchase larger treatises upon the fubje&: the defign is really important, and it is to be wished that much fmaller tracts than the prefent were publifhed upon thefe topics, according to the method that has been purfued in former times; when they were difperfed at an eafy price, and often diftributed gratis among the lower people. This, if properly conducted, would be a means of furnishing them with fome view of their principles, and lay a foundation to be improved upon by those who are appointed, and whofe duty it is, to affift and inftruct others.

Art. 18. Confiderations on the Life and Death of St. John the Baptift By George Horne, D. D. Prefident of Magdalen College in Oxford. 8vo. 2 s. Printed at the Clarendon-prefs, and fold by Rivington, &c. in London. 1769.

After fome fuitable quotations from Lord Bacon's works, this writer tells us in his preface, that the doctrines of christianity are bes deduced from the facts on which it is founded; that the narration furnisheth both matter and method for the difcourfe, which is heard. with pleasure and remembered with cafe ;-that the contemplation of faith as it discovereth itself in the lives of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and faints, inclineth us to believe as they did; and the fight of frail mortals like ourfelves, who by the divine affistance, furmounted all obftructions, and continued to walk in the paths of righteoufnefs, naturally fuggefteth to every beholder, the question what should hinder me from doing the fame ? It is farther added, that this author was directed in the choice of his fubject, by the, circumstances of his fituation; fome parts of these confiderations having been delivered from the pulpit, as occafion called for them, in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalen College, upon the anniversary of the nativity of St. John the Baptift, before a learned and moft re-. fpectable audience. The reader, it is faid, hath now before him compleat hiftory of the Baptift, extracted from the Evangelifts, and methodized according to the order of time, in which the events appear to have happened, with fuch obfervations and reflections, as the feveral parts of it feemed to fuggeft, for the confirmation of faith, and the advancement of holiness.'

[ocr errors]


Dr. Horne expreffes his hope, that an attentive perufal of the fubfequent pages, may be of fervice to the younger ftudents in theology. with a view to whom, and to those more particularly of the fociety,. whose welfare and prosperity the author is bound by every tie to confult and promote, as they were at first compofed, fo they are now. published? Such is the account given us in the work itself; and we have not much to add to it. We find in the book many ferious, pertinent and practical reflections: but we fometimes obferve a pomp of ftyle and fwell of words which do not feem to convey any answerable fentiments. Thus our author, having spoken of the hapourable teftimony borne to John the Baptift by lefus the Son of God, proceeds to fay; After this declaration made by the matter,

[ocr errors]

the difciples cannot well be hyperbolical in their praifes of St. John, as the great pattern of repentance; the relation of Chrift; the friend of the bridegroom; the herald of the king immortal; the glory of faints, and the joy of the world.' John the Baptift was undoubtedly an eminent preacher of repentance, but we do not fo easily fee in what fenfe he may be called; the great pattern of repentance, as he is in this paffage.

There is a very fmall fhare of criticism in this work, though fome parts of the fubject afford opportunity for it. It is true, that pious and practical reflections, if well founded, are likely to be more effentially ufeful; but fomething more of the former, joined with the latter, might juftly be expected in a publication of this kind, by the prefident of Magdalen college in Oxford.

Art. 19. An hiftorical Catechifm: Or, Short Difcourfes on the Progrefs of revealed religion, the authority of the fcriptures, and the principles of Chriflianity. By Daniel Watfon, M. A. Vicar of Middleton-Tyas in Yorkshire. 12mo 1 s. 6d. Newcastle, . printed by White, &c." Sold by Murray, in London.

Mr. Watfon dedicates this little piece to the mafters and miftreffes of families in Middleton-Tyas. It is hoped, he fays, these short difcourfes, though they give but a general and fuperficial view of the, hiftory of Providence, may not be altogether uninftructive, and that what is offered on the principles of Chriftianity may have its ufe in helping young people to understand what they were accustomed to repeat when children, and is perhaps ftill frefh on their memories, though it is much to be feared not fo well understood by them as it ought to be. For it is a misfortune, that even before they come to an age for being properly catechifed, they become ashamed of it; and think it only fit for mere children. Hence it comes to pass, that though they can repeat the church-catechifm by heart, yet if you put the questions to them in different words, they do not know what you mean; whereas, if you ask them a queftion in common life, they immediately give you a fenfible anfwer.' Our Author afterwards adds concerning his book, I have drawn it up with all the plainness I could, and have purpofely omitted many questions and anfwers, in hopes that thofe I have put down may excite a curiofity in them to turn to the note at the end of each difcourfe, and read the account at large in their Bibles.' We have only farther to fay, that Mr. Watfon's intention appears to be very good. He feems to follow Dr. Law's plan in his confiderations on the theory of religion: but young perfons will till need other affiftance to explain, illuftrate, and inforce the short account with which they are here prefented.

Art. 20. A Letter to Mr. Harwood, wherein fome of his evafive gloffes, falfe Translations, and blundering Criticifms, in Support of the Arian Herefy, contained in his liberal Tranflation of the New Teftament, are pointed out and confuted. 8vo. 1 s. Rivington. This nameless writer expreffes himself with fo much warmth and violence, that we fhall not be furprifed if time fhould difcover,, that he was gratifying fome private refentment, while employed in the compofition

compofition of this Epiftle; yet, for the honour of religion and learning, and because the Author appears to be a man of fenfe, and a fcholar, we hope this will never be found to be the cafe :-but, on the contrary, that all his acrimony and bitterness are to be refolved into mere constitutional irritability.

With respect to Dr. Harwood, as he feems to be a zealous wellwisher to rational religion, and genuine Chriflianity, we fhould be glad if we could entirely exculpate his tranflation from every charge brought against it by this his anonymous antagonist. His work undoubtedly fhews his ingenuity and application. The introductory part, in particular, has great merit; and there is no queftion but that the whole was well-intended. but to attempt to bias the fcriptures toward one fide of an argument, where they have not themselves determined the point, and to make them fpeak in favour of opinions embraced by any party, is an unwarrantable and dangerous practice; unfuitable with the reverence due to a divine revelation, and inconfiftent with true proteftant principles.'t feems, moreover, to be the general opinion, that Dr. H. has, in too many inflances, degraded the language of fcripture, while he has departed from that fimplicity which he had himself fpoken of as its greatest excellence and beauty.-Nevertheless, he certainly does not deferve to be treated with that contempt and virulence which we find in the angry trinitarian pamphlet before us.

Art. 21. Aferious Addrefs to Mafters of Families, with Forms of Family Prayer. By Jofeph Priestley, LL.D. F. R. S. 8vo. 9d. Johnfon and Payne.

Dr. Priestley has rightly obferved, in his preface to this tract, that there feems to be a great want of books of practical religion, free from fuperftitious notions, and recommending no fuperftitious practices.' This is peculiarly the cafe with regard to compofitions for faTo fupply this want in fome meafure, the Doctor mily devotion. has here published a few rational forms, which he has introduced with a fenfible and pathetic addrefs to the heads of families, recommending a revival and due difcharge, of this now almoft exploded and forgotten duty.

Art. 22. A full and Free Examination of the Rev. Dr. Priefly's Free Addrefs on the Lord's Supper; with "jome Strictures on the Treatife itfelf. To which is added, a Proof of the incomparable Excellency of the Oxthodox Syflem, confidered in a practical View. By Henry Venn, A. M. Vicar of Huddersfield, and Chaplain to the Earl of buchan. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Dilly.

Who does not know the principles of Mr. Venn; and that Dr. Priestley is one of thofe called Rational Divines? Who does not know that in the eyes of Mr. V. Dr. P. muft appear in the horrid light of a * Free Enquirer ;' and who does not, confequently, infer, that in the eyes of Dr. P. Mr. V. muft appear to be a fanatic?

* See Review, vol. xxxviii

p 200.

A term of reproach used by fuch orthodox writers as Mr. V. when they have a mind to indulge a little in fpiritual Billing gate. KEV. Sept. 1769.


Art. 23.

« EelmineJätka »