« السابقةمتابعة »
human efforts necessarily become un- Essay V. On abandoning the Concertain in their effect. This cause of cerns of Eternity to Chance-VI. On fear is not unlike the former, which Virtue, unconnected with Piety-VII. originates in our ignorauce of the Di. On splendid Virtue, onconnected with vine purposes. Of course, the answer Piety-VIII. On Benevolence, unconalready made will apply here. There nected with Piety-IX. On Devotion is as minch reason at least to bope that merely external--X. On a mere Assent God will work in them to will and to to the Articles of the Christian Faithdo,' as to fear he will not. Let them XI. On professing Repentance at the try. The worst than can happen is, Close of Life-XII. On external Reforthat they may lose their labour; and to mation-XIII. On occasional and trancounterbalance that evil, they will have sient Professions of Piety-XIV. On to recollect, that their ultimate ruin Artificial Substitutes for Piety-XV. was not rendered certain by fatal neg. On Pretensions to Piety, unconnected lect. The objection to exertion would with Virtue-XVI. On the different certainly have no weight with them, Degrees of Wickedness—XVII. On Inwere the suffering or the loss to be fidelity-XVIII. On the Calpability of avoided of a temporal nature: why Error in Religion-XIX. On the Nature should it have force in a case where an of true Piety," Vol. I. pp. xiii, xiv. infinitely higher interest is at stake? We have no disposition to be Let thein recollect, that the same Being brief in our remarks or our exon whose operation the beginning, pro- tracts, either here or in the other gress, and completion, of piety de classes, but what arises from the peod, bas given them directions to follow, and injunctions to obey; that be impossibility of being diffusive. lias even promised to give the Holy The first of this class we should
fair Spirit to them that ask him.' Let them select as affording a very
spenot omit doing what they liave power cimen of Mr. Burnside's peculiar to do without the possession of pious manner and cast of mind, and as principle, merely because they do not yielding scope for that forcible apknow the limits of that power. Let peal to common
sense and the them not, by their neglect, convert the ordinary analogies of human lise by want of Divine influence from a mis
which his work is so particularly fortune into a crime. Let them rather
marked. Amongst niany passages consider the knowledge with which they are favoured of these counsels and exhor. equally good, we may extract one tations, as the sign of a merciful dispo. which, if not exhibiting all the sition in the Deity.” Vol. 1. pp. 85,86.
terseness and simplicity of Paley, To all this, inost“ moderate Cal- with his interesting and home style.
may yet bear a general comparison vinists” would add, that the desire and the effort to turn to God, was
“Suppose à man, owing to an extra
ordinary circumstance, sailing on the in itself an argument against sup- ocean for some distant and unknown posing that the inquirer was not region ;-will he quietly take his elected; since the very evidence chance whether he shall be landed in a of election is its fruit, displayed pleasant and fruitful country, among a in
repentance, conversion, and civilized and humane people? whether newness of life: and these begin he shall arrive in a dreary desert, or ning to exist, there could be no
among cannibals? Will it satisfy him ground to despair of their recipient country, or people as the latter, not
that there may be in reality no such being included in the covenant of withstanding strong rumours to that
purpose; or that the ship oi board of The next class of papers pro- which he is, may possibly take him to ceeds from Essay V. to Essay XIX. the former, when there is at least as These, we presume, are referred much likelihood of the one happening to by the author, when speak- as the other? Will he, aware of the
“considerable numbers suspicious and contrary opinions existthat follow," which are to explode
ing on the subject, pursue his voyage the false ideas of piely 100 preva- ing emotion recollect that it will soon
with concern, and without any lastdent in the world." Their litles are
terminale, he knows not how soon! as follow:
Will the same in difference continue, if
he has noderstood that on landing at Taylor, and Tillotson (with the last the wrong place he will be unable to named of whom Mr. Burnside retrace his steps and to re-embark?
might, in some respects, bear an Will he be deaf to the warning voice of other vessels, urging him to change apt aud honourable comparison); his course, as they themselves had namely, a careful analysis and exdone from a strong conviction of their posure of the ordinary and misdanger? or will he content himself with chievous workings of the heart of asserting doubts of the facts which be man against religion. We should hears stated, but never takes the trou- suspect that the author has conble to investigate ? No such case as versed much with mankind on their that whieh has been described was religion, before he wrote on the perbaps ever realized. We have leard subject; and in few works per. of ships driven by stress of weather haps, on the whole, is the trile and towards a rocky coast, and of ship. vulgar refuse of the buman mind, wrecked seamen attempting to land in a conntry reported to be inhabited by which is all that 100 many offer at merciless savages: but in both these the shrine of a pure and heartcases, their conduct was the effect of searching God, more effectuaily necessity, and Providence interposed swept away with sound and manly, in their favour; the one finding them- and often original, argumentation, selves in a secure port, instead of being than in the pages before us; more dashed to pieces, and the other, far particularly in the several Essays from beiog devoured by their fellow of the class at present under conmen, receiving from them every mark
sideration. We are only appreof hospitality and benevolence. Whe ther the Divine Being, however, would hensive in the perusal of the Essays, equally interpose in favour of persons
as well as in the enumeration of who should voluntarily ron similar their titles, that too great a dehazards, will not unreasonably admit gree of sameness, and even repeof a doubt.” Vol. I. pp. 98, 99. lition of subject, if not of remark,
might strike the reader. And we The same point is subsequently must repeat the suggestions already urged; and it is ably demonstratexi, made, of the propriety of a difthat “indifference, under such cir- ferent and clearer arrangement of cumstances, would be absurd, even
the Essays ; that one subject might were the man, upon whom the Lord
more immediately seem to arise out will at last raiu fire and brimstone of the other, and the reader be inand an liorrible tempest, to see as sensibly drawn on from point to little cause to blame himself ou ac. point, ill, like the fabled inonarchi, count of the tremendous calamity, lie has reached the completion of as for a bigl wind by which his the thousand and one nights. property and his person may be The following is a passage from seriously injured in the world.” ike Essay on Splenilid Virtue unThe difficult and delicaie point, connected with Piety. of asserting the superior wisdom
“ The river which abundantly frnc. and consistency even of the infidel tifies a country, may very naturally over “the thoughtless sivner, the awaken curiosity concerning its source; inattentive religionist, or the gay and travellers may, without the charge and superficial sceptic,” is well of laborious idleness, take difficult and drawn out and guarded from mis. hazardous journeys to discover it. But application.
the source itself possesses no extraordi. Mr. Burnside is possessed of one nary merit in giving rise to a stream great and leading excellency; in
which gushed ont naturally and with a which, perhaps, the practical writ. force that could not be restrained.
These observations will, I think, apply ers of the present day are progres- to all those great and happy results of sively advancing to an eminence natural endowment, where little or no almost unknown since the times of pains are taken to direct its course, Baxter and Owen, of Reynolds, and to distribute it through projzer
channels, that its benefits may be as “ I would not, indeed, have it to be much multiplied and extended as pos- thought, that with a view to the prosible, or at least to prevent its doing motion of pious affections and babits, mischief by taking a wrong direction, certain propositions are to be admitted The non-improvement, and especially for the purpose of meditation, that have the abuse of talent, reminds us of the no foundation in truth ; that we are noble and generous instincts in some called upon to entertain worse notions animals, for which their Maker, and of our character, our condition, and our not they, is to be praised, and which, powers, than is agreeable to fact; or to make them truly serviceable, or at that it is our duty to acknowledge that least not injurious, must be placed we are more indebted to the grace of under the government and controul of God, than is really the case. At the human reason. It is happy where great same time, I must observe, that no endowments, abandoned to chance, con- injury could possibly result from such tinue moving, like the planets in their misconceptions, supposing them to exist: orbits, with useful, thongh unconscious, whereas, on the contrary, should the magnificence and splendour: but it will sentiments baving the opposite tennot be owing to the wise and good dency prove to be errors, and fonnded conduct of their possessor, if they do in guilt, they would be of no ordinary not deviate from their course, and prove magnitude and danger." Vol. I. p. 364. materially detrimental.” Vol. I, pp.
That no injury could possibly 133, 134.
arise from just views, however of the other Essays in this great, of the grace of God, and class, the tenth, on a mere Assent ihe corruption of man, we readily to the Articles of the Christian allow. But we cannot regard an Faith, somewhat disappointed us; over-wrought abjectness in ihe view promising the discussion of a state of man's depravity, or an undue of mind under which a large pro- recognition of Divine grace-lor portion of the Christian world are example, supposing it wholly arbi: found; and giving as little except a trary and irresistible in its operafew, not very recondite, rules for tions—as without any " possible converting nominal into real assent. result of evil,” or even without The Essays on the different De. evils of " no ordinary magnitude grees of Wickedness, on Infide- and danger.” It would be neither lity, on the Culpability of Error in for us nor for our author to say, Religion, we consider, on the other which of the two errors is most hand, amongst Mr. Burnside’s bap: pervicious ; to assert ibat we are piesl efforts. In the first, he well incapable of working out our own compares the maxim of the Stoics, salvation with fear and trembling, tbat" all sins are equal," with that or to deny that it is God that of St. James, that " to offend in worketh in us, of his good pleaone point is to be guilty of all;" sure, both 10 will and to do. and points out the proper guards The Essay on Infidelity has our and uses of the Scripture doctrine. fullest approbation. It contains The topic is doubtless hazardous :
a most serious, argumentative, yet and the author is more successful in highly practical, appeal to, we fear, shewing the use of it for humbling a very numerous class of persons, conceit, than in guarding it against and is quite worthy the talents and the abuse that may be made of it, piety of the author. It attaches itas if it sanerioneri indifference to self to more individuals than at the commission of great crimes. first it might seem to aim at, by In the *Essay on the Culpability of means of an opening affirmation Error in Religion, we ihink the with which we entirely concur, following passage questionable, and indicative of a little rashness, which charity, that among the professors of
“ I may affirm, without breach of occasionally betrays itself amidst Christianity themselves, the number is the bold and forward marches of by no means small, of those who, whatMr. Burnside's pen.
ever their faith in the Old and New
Testament may be in a calm moment, answered in the negative, it could not instantly adopt the sentiments and lan. justly appear severe in pronouneing guage of unbelievers, whenever any an unfavourable sentence. The person doctrine or precept is cited in oppo- might, agreeably to the opinion of his sition to their practice. Observations, adversaries, actually be in an error, and therefore, on the divinity of the Scrip- then he would be culpably so: or if he tures, are irrelevant in much fewer were not in an error, he would deserve instances, than they appear to be at to be in it: vor would he bave any good first view. I cannot but think, that reason for supposing he was not miseven true believers will not find the taken. subject altogether unprofitable, con- “ But conscience may perhaps see sidering the difficulty they sometimes reason for a more agreeable decision. experience in replying to the objections In that case, is the individual infallibly and arguments of opponents, and more correct in interpreting a particular porespecially how often they are harassed tion of Scripture? By no means : but by temptations to unbelief when duty it will follow, that if he is mistaken, his calls for self-denial, and affliction for mistake is not culpable. It appears, patience.” Vol. I. p. 324.
therefore, that though of two contrary
opinions one at least must inevitably be But, as applicable to infidels, wrong, the holder of it may be as free as well as 10 all religious opinion- from guilt, as he who maintains the truth, ists, whether right or wrong, we may The possibility of this, I believe, is turn to the next Essay, on the Cul- universally admitted. Hence people pability of Error in Religion, for a who eutertain very different ideas on pretty full extract; which will give certain points of doctrine, the constitua specimen of Mr. Burnside's reason- tion of the Christian church and posiing and searching powers in the tive institutions, feel mutual esteen for consideration of buman motives each other, as having equally aimed to
arrive at Divine truth, though they in and human claims. He is discuss the end formed such various conclusions. ing the point of a supposed differ. They see nothing in their respective ence of judgment in two persons life and conversation, or in their applirespectiug any scriptural doctrine. cation of religious principles in which Who is to decide? Rather to whose they agree, to warrant an unfavourable judgment will either party choose opinion of each other.
The error, to submit? The difficulty of any whichever party it lies with, is not of external appeal being stated, he the heart, but of the head : or if the disproceeds
position be in fault, the fault is not
incompatible with general uprightness " Let this appeal, then, be made to of character, and is inseparable, perthe internal judge, who resides in every haps, from the best of men on this side ope's breast. Let it inquire whether the grave.” Vol. II, pp. 351, 352. the person has ever compared the re- “ I have hitherto proceeded on the ligioas tenets in which he was educated, ground, that a man's own conscience pos. or which he adopted in mature life, sesses exclusively the right of arraignwith the Scriptures : whethier he ever ing the state of his heart in determining read his Bible, at least with care and the sense of Scripture, and that he would diligence : whether he ever examined be warranted in charging another who the objections and arguments of bis should assume this authority, with aropponents : whether he endeavoured rogance and uncharitableness. But I to discover, not to dictate, the sense must now observe, that there is a case of Scripture : whether in his researches in which, I conceive, he will have no he made proper allowance for the un- reason to complain of any undue liberty; due infloence which the contrariety taken by his antagonist; namely, the of the book in question to many of his case in which his external conduct is inclinations and modes of conduct; might liable to reproach. A person of this probably have on his judgment : and description can scarcely be supposed whether, in fine, he bas been in the to have any ideas of the word of God habit of praying with solicitude for the that are worthy to be named principles. assistance of the Divine Spirit to lead If he holds any set of tenets which he him into all truth. If conscience should, calls scriptural, he must have derived upon making these inquiries, find itself them not from his own study of the CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 241.
Biblema kind of book by no means elsewhere, his reasoning might not adapted to his taste--but from contin. too readily lead, by abuse, to a gent circumstances; and his reason for
truly latitudinarian spirit-we mean retaining them is probably confined to the force of education, and the influence such a one as should be incompaof connexions in life, of fashion, or
tible with those safe and even neof interest, in conjunction with their cessary social prepossessions which imagined reconcileableness to his cor- bind together members in the same rapt habits and manners. If, then, his religious community, and maintain notion of the principles inculcated in the discipline of each particular Holy Writ should happen to contradict church. 'We doubt whether the those of his neighbour whose character frequent depth of his speculative is irreproachable, he ought not to be mood will always fasten his docsurprised, in the course of controversy, trines with a sufficient practical to find doubts entertained concerning his diligence and impartiality. The effect in the minds of those who only wonder is, that his neighbour think little and feel much. should consider such a discussion with The Essay on the Nature of true him at all advisable or useful. It sig. Piety, which closes the present senifies nothing to correct bis religious ries, reiterates some preceding obopinions, supposing them to be erro- servations of an analogical nature, neous, relative to certain subjects at
to illustrate what is described as least, while his morals continue bad. the definition of true piety; namely, At the same time, it is possible that a
the existence and prevalence of a man may hold the truth in unright. eousness. In this unbappy case, his right disposition towards God. We opponents would act wrong in con. scarcely know how this Essay comes demning the opinions themselves on that to appear in such company as those account, as they might easily find others that precede it. It belongs clearly professing the same principles, who live to a different class : and the “truly agreeably to the truth. Yet he could pious" must certainly feel shy in the not charge them with acting wrong in that instance, and still less could he the virtuous without piety, the pious
same apartment as the unbeliever, blame his injured and afflicted asso
in profession without virtue, &c. ciates for affirming, that, witb all his pretensions to knowledge and faith, The following passage opens widely he really possessed neither the one nor
the gates of mercy and religion to the other." Vol. I. pp. 353, 354.
mankind. A somewhat striking analogy fol- “ Having thus explained the defini. lows, to prove that internal reli- tion of true piety, we are enabled to gion may be taken as a criterion of account for certain facts relative to it, qualification, as well as external which before seemed exceedingly myconduct, if the standard of that sterious. High and rare as the accominternal religion be assumed on a plishment appears, the disposition may broad, and undeniable point, such as easily be supposed to occupy the as general feelings of piety towards breast of a child, as that of an adult;
to exist in the man of slender capacity God; which he illustrates by the
as well as in the greatest genius, in the return that would be expected to. illiterate as well as in the learned. Such wards a prince, to whom we might a disposition cannot indeed shew itself be indebted as we are to God; till age unfolds the faculties, knowledge and he shews how clearly the in- enlarges the understanding, and cirternal religion of many might be cumstances afford opportunity for disproved, did we measure the con- speech and action.
Yet the turn of duct of men towards God by what mind which gives rise to a certain would be their conduct to a princely
course of action, and facilitates its probenefactor upon earth. The whole gress, exists prior to it; nor would it character of this Essay illustrates it should never have an opportunity of
lose its existence or tendency, though the author's generalizing views in manifesting itself in this world. The delineating the religion of mankind; pleasing opinion, therefore, concerning and we will not say that here, as the departed spirit of a child dying in