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black or grey, he occasionally wore different coloured clothes; and the teacher was equally welcome to his pulpit, whether habited in a coat of black, blue, drab, or any other colour, with buttons covered or metal.*
Rance, should in his dying hours when mentioning to his friends the inscription of his name to be put on his tomb-stone, add " with a peculiar emphasis,--Don't call me Reverend !" See Evangel. Mag, for July 1807.
* If the dress of ministers were generally considered as a matter of indifference I should not have thought the subject worthy of notice. It is however, but too evident that the christian church, in general, is still in such a state of non-age, as to attach the idea of holiness to garments and to colours. This connection has sometimes had an unhappy effect where one might have least expected. I knew an instance in which a dissenting minister, justly respected for his talents and virtues, on being presented by the female part of his audience with a gown and cassock, deemed the matter of such importance, that he, before a numerous congregation, expressed his gratitude to the ladies for having “ clothed him in the “ robes of the sanctuary !” This attacbment to “ weak and “ beggarly elements,” is, I hope, on the decline, especially in the country ; that remnant of the rags of popish finery, a band, is now chiefly to be seen dangling under the chins of the ministers of the metropolis.Whilst I do not presume to blame any person for so far indulging the fancies of our “ children of larger growth,” as to confine himself to wear a mourning habit, nor should I in certain cases be inclined to censure him, were he to submit to be covered with a flounced surplice, and to be adorned with a crucifix, yet I cannot but deem it the duty of every man of sense to endeavour to lead the people to reflect on the folly of all such distinctions in the christian church : though alas ! it sometimes happens not only in this but in far more important matters, that a minister instead of endeavouring to remove, is endeavouring to confirm popular prejudices.
In 1775, Mr. Robinson published A-Discussion of the question—Is it lawful and right for a man to marry the sister of his deceased wife? which was subjoined to—The legal degrees of Marriage stated and considered, by John Alleyne, Barrister at Law. This tract was written at the request of the late Dr. Stennett, and Mr. Josiah Thompson, baptist ministers, well known in the religious world. Our author argued the affirmative side of the question : the editor of the Legal Degrees had a high opinion of the merit of the performance, as appears by a handsome letter sent to the author, of which the following is an extract.
I have on this subject been particularly struck, when visiting some of the Roman catholic churches in the Netherlands, which previous to their conquest by France were adorned with the chef d'æuvres of the great masters of the Flemish school. "A catholic painter, when using his pencil, is careful to attend to historic truth ; his pictures are therefore, standing protests against the practice of his church. Whilst viewing the variety of splendid garments which adorn her priests, we beholda representation of Jesus Christ and his apostles, preaching to the people in habits no ways distinguished from those of their auditors.
When will the clerical profession take a hint on this subject from the medical ? A modern writer informs us“ Șoine of the faculty having taken offence on observing that “ Dr. Somerville frequently appeared in public without his “ sword, and in coloured clothes, and being on that account “ one day openly insulted by his indignant brethren, he came " the next day to the coffee house, having on the jehu of his “ 'coachman, who on the contrary, had on the doctor's tye. “ Here, gentlemen, he said, is an argument to the purpose, “ that knowledge does not consist in exteriors.
of you who would trust me to drive you, and the world shall
suon see, also, as I pass through the streets of London, that " the wig does not constitute the physician. Having made for “ several days this exhibition, the tye-wig was quckly con“ verted into a subject of ridicule, and Dr. Somerville gained " the day.”-Thornton's Philosophy of medicine, vol. 11. p. 43.
There are none
REVEREND SIR, Watford, Aug. 18, 1775. Impressed with gratitude for the very great favor you have done me at the request of the “ Reverend Dr. Stennett and Mr. Thompson, I
cannot but, in the first instance, return you my " thanks for your Strictures on Affinite Marriages, " which (though I abhor flattery, .yet) I must say, are exceedingly sensible and conclusive in fa
of such alliances." In the year 1775, Mr. Robinson published the first volume of a translation from the French of the sermons of Mr. Saurin, pastor of the French protestant church at the Hague, which was followed at intervals by three more volumes, the last of which appeared in 1782. Two years afterwards was published a second edition, together with an additional volume, to which was added a translation of An Essay onthe conduct of David at the court of Achish, King of Gath. By Mr. Dumont, pastor of the French church at Rotterdam. In an advertisement to the latter, the translator gives a very high character of a volume of posthumous sermons of . the author,, pronouncing them “ the most plain
artless and edifying he ever had the happiness of
reading ... placid, ingenious, gentle, natural, " and full of evidence and pathos.” The sermons of Dumont, are not, however, to be placed in the highest class; although they are far superior to the generality of sermons usually termed evangelical and experimental, and are not undeserving of an english translation. A third and a large impression of Saurin's Sermons, together with a sixth volume, translated by that eminent preacher and writer, the late Dr. Henry Hunter, have since been published, and which has been followed by a seventh volume, translated by Mr. Joseph Sutcliffe, of Halifax.
To the volumes translated by our author are prefixed prefaces replete with instruction and entertainment, and which may safely be placed amongst the most valuable of his works. The preface to the first volume displays the abilities of the author in historical composition, and that to the third, his piety and cândour on that most interesting subject, freedom of thought in matters of religion; but the latter laid the foundation of a controversy, more particularly with those who ar'rogate to themselves the term orthodor. Respecting this controversy I shall hazard a few remarks when considering another of Mr. Robinson's publications, in which the subject is farther discussed, and applied to a most important practical purpose.
Although I have had the pleasure of reading the twelve volumes of Saurin in the original,
I should by no means deem myself properly qualified to criticise the translation, had I not found my opinion confirmed by much better judges: but during a frequent perusal it struck me the work was differently performed, some parts appear to be both faithful and spirited, in others there are evident marks of haste and carelessness. I have heard that several of the discourses were translated by some of Mr. Robinson's family, subjecte to his correction, which may account for the difference: it is however surprising that in some instances, he should have mistaken the import of even the plainest words, one of which occurs in the title to a sermon on the divinc attributes—“ Le grandeur de
Dreu,” which is unhappily translated and runs through the sermon, the grandeur, instead of the greatness of God. Considering however the author's numerous avocations, and constant labours, it
may perhaps rather' excite surprise that he succeeded so well: hislabours proved most acceptable to the religious world: many of the sermons of Saurin rank in the highest class, and possess the singular advantage of combining the excellencies of both the English and French preachers; the reasoning of the former and the eloquence of the latter. Dr. Doddridge was of opinion that in them were united the beauties of Cicero and Demosthenes.
Admirable, however, as these discourses in general are, they are not free from defects. The principal of these are pointed out by Mr. Robinson in the preface to the 5th. volume. Pulpit fash