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a slight sketch of the Jesuits' manner of regulating these matters when they possessed an uncontrolled authority.
"All the product of the year, such as corn, maize, fruits, wool, and cotton; all articles for barter, and in fact every thing the district afforded, was brought to these magazines, where proper officers were appointed to receive them, who took account of every particular, which was registered, together with the names of the persons who delivered them, and the day. No individual was allowed to keep any thing in his own house save the necessary quantity of corn, which on the first of every month was delivered to each family in proportion, according to the number of which it consisted; and in the same manner they received all other kinds of provision. Every day a certain number of cattle were slaughtered for the inhabitants, which, when killed, were taken to the store-house, where the officers attended to deliver the stated quantity to the master or mis'tress of each family; and if at any time they had occasion for more than the general allowance it was immediately given them, but nothing was suffered to be wasted. In like manner they were supplied with clothes; for all the cotton they spun and wove, or any other article which they manufactured-and they always were, and are still, very industrious was as soon as finished taken to the public stock, and at certain periods of the year every family received its proper quantity of apparel; and as the articles were all without distinction of one fashion and colour, there could not possibly be any partiality observed in the distribution of them. The officers and chiefs were only distinguishable from the rest by a chain round the neck, a white wand, a feather, fan, or some such simple peculiarity. There were, and still are, two hospitals for the sick-one for the men, the other for the women; where as soon as any one is taken ill he is immediately conveyed, as none remain ill in their own houses. Each hospital has a lay-brother to attend it, who is well skilled in surgery and physic, and has several assistants under him." pp. 146. 213-222.
From the frequent hints of the uncertain tenure by which Spanish America is now held, and the alluring motives held out to Britain, to snatch the golden sceptre of Mexico and Peru from hands too feeble to sway it long over the justly indignant natives, we may suspect that the object of this publication is to direct our attention to an expedition, which is but too congenial with the auri sacra fames. A scheme so replete with peril and with hope, requires to be previously discussed by abler minds than that which dictated the letters from Paraguay.
Either to account for the abrupt termination of the letters, or to give an air of truth to a questionable story, we are informed, that "After his return to Buenos Ayres, it is certain that he went to Conception, in Chili; as he was last heard of from that place, in the year 1803 but whether be lost his life in any insurrection of the natives, or was imprisoned by the government in consequence of his correspondence being detected, is unknown." P. vii.
We cannot perceive any just motive that could exist for publishing these letters. It was wholly useless to print them, if fictitious, because they contain almost nothing to amuse; if true, because they contain as little to instruct.
Art. XIV. The Importance of Right Sentiments concerning the Person of Christ. A Sermon preached at Essex Chapel, April 10, 1806, before the London Unitarian Society, for promoting Christian Knowledge and the Practice of Virtue, by the Distribution of Books. By Thomas Belsham, Price 1s. Johnson, 1806.
WH can call in question the importance of right senti
ments concerning the person of Christ?' Who can doubt whether right sentiments would clear away the rubbish of much useless controversy, relieve the mind from much painful 'embarrassment, and by precluding many objections against the Christian Religion, tend to facilitate its reception into the world?' Any reader, we suppose, by such language, must be prepared to 'expect an able and candid discourse on the importance of right sentiments concerning the person of Christ, let them be found with whom they may, from the general principle that Christ is the sum and substance of scripture doctrine. What then must be his surprize to find that by right sentiments Mr. B. means neither more nor less than Unitarian sentiments; taking it for granted throughout the sermon that they are right and scriptural, and those of Trinitarians erroneous.
Why did not Mr. B. give a title to his sermon, which might be allowed, even by his adversaries, to agree with its contents? He might have entitled it, The importance of Unitarian sentiments concerning the person of Christ. He might have contented himself with affirming that the Unitarian doctrine would clear away the rubbish of much useless controversy, would relieve the mind from much painful embarrassment, would preclude many objections to the Christian religion, and facilitate its reception in the world. If such had been his propositions, they had been fair and modest, and we should only have had to examine the proof by which they were supported. But to take it for granted that he is in the right, and that all who oppose him are wrong, is a very humble method of reasoning in one respect, however assuming it may be in another.
It may be said, Mr. B. was addressing a Unitarian audience, who considered those sentiments as true, and therefore when speaking to them he was at liberty to call them so. Certainly if he wished the rising generation of Unitarians' to take the truth of their religious principles for granted, rather than to examine themselves whether they were in the faith, he made use of very proper means. Or if his design was to stun his opponents rather than convince them, he could not have adopted a more suitable method. In fact, though some parts of the sermon might concern Unitarians only, and might be designed to awaken their zeal for acknowledged principles; yet other parts, and indeed the principal are, manifestly an attack upon Trinitarians, and
ought to have been conducted by an appeal to evidence, and not by calling this doctrine-true, and that erroneous.
But supposing the propositions had been in the most unexceptionable form, still they appear to us to be futile. Three good effects are held up as following Unitarian principles. What are they? Would God be more glorified, Christ more honoured, or the salvation of sinners more promoted? Would Christians be more spiritually minded, zealous, disinterested, or benevolent? Our author published a sermon several years since, in which he ventured to assert some such things as these but since that time he has publicly declared in behalf of himself, and all other Unitarians, that they will not trespass upon the holy ground.' The reader therefore may expect that whatever advantages Unitarianism possesses, it will never more pretend to be favourable to holiness. But let us hear them
1st. By embracing this doctrine we should clear away the rubbish of much useless controversy.' That much useless controversy has existed in the Christian world, there can be no doubt, but that what has concerned the divinity and atonement of Christ is deserving of that name, we have no other proof than Mr. B's assertion. Granting however that some parts even of that controversy have been useless, (and if they were on questions stated by Mr. B. they must have been worse than useless) yet it may be questioned whether the remedy he prescribes be proper. Few persons would wish to remove a pain in the head by the application of the guillotine. And to what does the argument after all amount? if you will all become of our minds, our differences will be at an end.' True, but the same may be said on the other side; and that which applies alike to both sides proves nothing for either.
2nd "It would relieve the mind from much painful embarrassment; a practical trinitarian must always be in an uneasy state of mind." Of the truth of this assertion we are unconscious; and we ought to know ourselves better than Mr. B. can know us. We may from hence however conclude with certainty, that when Mr. B. was a trinitarian, he was always uneasy, and that the sentiments which he ascribes to trinitarians were once his own. He assigned to the Father, it seems, " all the stern and terrible attributes of deity, and to the Son all the milder glories of the divine nature: the former engrossed the whole of his fear, and the latter the whole of his-love. All bis acts of worship too were scenes of confusion and perplexity! We only say, if things were so, Mr. B. has fully acquitted himself of one charge at least which his old friends may have brought against him, namely, that of having deserted the truth. It would be difficult to decide whether the notions he has relinquished, or those which he has embraced, be most averse from the doctrine of the Scriptures.
3d. It would preclude many objections against the Christian religion, and tend to facilitate its reception in the world. -Sp we have often been told before; but do facts favour the assertion? We have heard of no accessions to Christianity by means of this system. We have heard of proselytes from other denominations; and there may have been deists who become Unitarian ChristJans, but we have not heard of any. On the other hand, we have frequently heard of Unitarians becoming deists. Dr. Priestley used to reckon Unitarians very numerous; but Mr. B. expresses his fear that they bear but a very small proportion to the general body of believers.' It is possible their numbers of late years may have been considerably diminished. If so, we are persuaded it will be found, on examination, that not the trinitarians, but the deists, have thinned their ranks. It is true there has been now and then an individual, who convinced of his lost condition as a sinner, has found rest for his soul in the doctrine of the atonement; but there have been few of this description, to many of the other.
To conclude, while Mr. B. properly warns his hearers against human authority, it is easy to observe with what eagerness he seizes and magnifies every thing of the kind when found on his own side. Whether Sir Isaac Newton favoured Unitarian sentiments, or not, makes nothing as to their truth or falsehood: and who that was not disposed to make much of a little, would have introduced him amongst their decided advocates?'
Art. XV. A Sermon, preached in the Parish Church of Grantham, at the Visitation of the Rev. the Archdeacon. By the Rev. J. G. Thompson, A. M. Rector of Belton, 4to. pp. Price 1s. 6d. Hatchard, 1806.
THAT Minister has just views of the nature of his office,
who considers its dignity to be derived, not from the adventitious distinctions with which it may be found connected; but from the majesty of him whose messenger he is, and the importance of the message which he is commissioned to deliver. From him, the current of popular opinion, the smiles or frowns of superiors, can obtain no undue compliances. Whether he addresses a convocation of the learned, or a congregation of peasants, he will not, he dares not, shun to declare the whole counsel of God.' Of such a spirit appears to be the author of the Sermon now before us.
The sublime apostrophe of the prophet, as quoted by the Apostle, Rom. x. 15, is the text; and the discourse is suitably arranged under two general heads-The excellency of the Gospel itself,' and, by reference, the excellency of the character of its ministers. The nature of the Gospel is plainly and feel
ingly stated; and we could with pleasure extract passages, which would corroborate our opinions.
In reviewing the excellency of the ministry of the Gospel, the author considers the honours and the high responsibilities of those who sustain it; and he enforces the solemn considerations offered on those topics by apposite appeals to the Scriptures. The discourse is concluded by an application of the subject to the particular occasion of its being preached, in which the author offers to his clerical brethen, advice worthy of a faithful minister of the church to which he belongs. Among other interesting remarks, we observe the following,
If I may presume to recommend any thing to my own brethren, it would be that they take more pains to keep up an union among themselves in opinion, in practice, and in discipline. We have the best and most scriptural guides in our Liturgy, our Homilies, and our Articles; but, if instead of maintaining the plain, evident, and scriptural form of doctrine, they most clearly set forth, we divide in our opinions concerning them: if under the erroneous title of articles of peace, we refine their meaning almost to Socinian laxity; if leaving the plain, evident and intelligible interpretation of them, we put an arbitrary and unwarrantable sense upon them: what was meant for right understanding and unanimity, is likely to have no meaning at all, or at least, none that we can safely be guided by: nor can it be expected that others, who see not their excellence and haye not studied their contents, will long retain respect for them'
Every one of us must have the witness in himself that we are naturally nothing but corrupt and unclean, in the sight of God; that salvation must be by grace, or none could have it; and that to be fit for the place of purity, where God dwells, we must be sanctified, by him who alone is able to cleanse us from all iniquity. Let us preach these things: let us repeat them day after day; let us maintain and defend them; let our churches resound with these glad tidings of good things, and we need never fear to leave the result to God.'
The whole discourse is, indeed, worthy of general peusal.
Art. XVI. Commercial Phraseology in French and English By William Keegan. 12mo. pp. 216. Price 3s. 6d. Vernor & Hood, 1805.
THIS is a laudable endeavour to unite practical utility with
the prosecution of a branch of education, not unfrequently so conducted as to afford to the pupil little real beneit. Commerce has an idiom peculiar to itself; and if the study of it does not contribute much to the refinement of the taste, it prepares for the creditable discharge of highly important functions.
The prevalence of the French language, as a medium of communication, among European nations, is well known; and it is consequently an object of importance, in every system of education, which has the slightest pretensions to be esteemed liberal. The ordinary attainments of our youth are generally