صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Ofate severe earth's lesson early taught,

That all is vain, save virtue, love, and truth:

We own it all who thro' life's day have wrought;

But thou hast learnt it in the morn of youth.

Pupil of heaven thou art; compute thy gain,

When dulness loads thee, or regret as


All is not lost, for faith and hope remain,

his own honesty as confidently as the other: and so of the rest. I am not quite satisfied neither, that every religious instructor claims to be an evangelical one. I strongly suspect there are some who have no great predilection for the term, and that, not on account of its abuse, but on account of its real meaning. Perhaps the Anti-jacobin Reviewer will, on some future occasion, suggest a than more significant appellation that which he would explode, and relieve his own friends at least from the unpleasant temptation of believing, that clergymen of the Church of England must necessarily But thy great Maker's own transcendent be evangelical preachers*.


To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Ir the following lines should meet your approbation, you will by inserting them oblige, yours, &c.


HERE hapless maid, here ends thy playful pains;

Nature hath shut the book-thy task is

Of all ber various charms what now remains?
To smell the violet, and feel the sun.
In liberal toil thy youthful hands did grow,
Quick moving at thy better sense's call;.
That better sense is gone! their task is now
To twist the yarn, or grope the friendly

* We have received a letter from a correspondent, who signs himself Anti-Venom, in which, after alluding to a declaration of the A. J. reviewers, in their Number for December last, that "could any thing induce them to quit their native land, it would be their wish to become the subjects of such a Prince," as the Emperor of Russia; he very generously proposes "to open a subseription for paying the expence of their removal to the dominions of this child and champion of Anti-Jacobinism, with whom they are enraptured;" for, he adds, we could well spare them." After deliberating, however, upon this proposal, we have not thought it adviseable to recommend it to our readers. EDITOR.

And gentle charity, which never fails. Now love shall glow where envy might have burn'd;

Now every hand, and every eye is thine: Each human form, each object undiscern'd, From borrow'd organs thou shalt still divine.


His love ineffable, his ways of old,
His perfect wisdom, and his presence bright,
Thine eyes, and not another's, shall

For the Christian Observer.



WHERE thorny ramparts seem to chide The hand which steals the flowery wreath;

I've seen thee thrust the thorn aside,

To pluck the flower which blushed be


And thus, M-r-a, as the wheel

Of life leads ou the changing hour,
Remember still the sweets to steal:

Elude the thorn to pluck the flower.
When fortune shews a dubious sky,
The East may smile, the West may lour;
Still to the brighter turn the eye:

Elude the thorn to pluck the flower.
In pity to its child below,

If Heaven the cup of comforts sour, The lesson learn, but chase the woe:

Elude the thorn, but pluck the flower. But then-ab, shun the sweets which grow Where pleasure paints her poison'd


Dark are those streams which gently flow,
And rude the thorns which guard her


And seek thy sweets on holier ground,

And where religion's altars rise:
Her's are the thorns which never wound,
And her's the flower which never dies,
E.-Y. D. R.



The Christian System unfolded in a
Course of Practical Essays on the
principal Doctrines and Duties of
Christianity, in 3 Vols. By THOMAS
ROBINSON, M. A. Vicar of St.
Mary's, Leicester, 8vo. London,
Rivington's and Hatchard, 1805.
Price £.1. 4s.

MR. ROBINSON is already known to
the public as the author of 4 volumes
of Scripture characters, which have
been generally acceptable, as well as
of some smaller pieces. In his intro-
duction to the present work he


The author submits to the public eye the following statement of his views of revealed religion, not without fear respecting his execution of the work, but with a cheerful hope of its utility through the divine blessing. He comes not forward as a disputant or a controversialist; but as a plain, practical writer, desirous to promote the purposes of Christian faith and holiness." "The chief attention of his life has been occupied by these subjects, not merely in the retirement of his study, but in the active performance of his ministerial duties. He has been labouring, not without effect, to establish among the people of his charge what he conceives to be the fundamental principles of the Gospel, and upon them as a firm basis to erect the superstructure of

Christian morality, of solid devotion, and of vital holiness. And now with a view to their spiritual progress, and in the hope that his instructions may be remembered with advantage after his personal services on earth are terminated, he sends to them from the press the substance of what he has invariably delivered from the pulpit." (p. viii.)

We much approve a measure of this kind in an old and respectable minister of the Gospel; and we are of opinion that works embracing so large an object come best from men whose judgment has been matured by long experience, and who are even verging towards the decline of life. For the lighter kind of theological combat, for the main tenance of an outwork, or the deCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 51.

fence even of a material post, none
perhaps may be more fit than some
In the general
young divines.
"defence of the Gospel" let those
rather be employed who have often
traversed the whole land, have sur-
veyed every district through which
they have passed, have fought many
smaller battles, and though still ca-
pable of exertion are beginning to
grow somewhat grey in the service.

We cannot give a better summary of the contents of these three volumes, which are distributed into 93 essays, than by adopting a concise statement of the author. Vol. 1. is said to contain practical essays on the divine attributes, the state of man, and the character and offices of Jesus Christ:-Vol. 2. Practical essays on the person, operation, and fruits of the Holy Spirit:-and Vol. 3. Practical essays on Christian obedience, prayer, and the sacraments.

Of the manner in which Mr. Robinson has executed his plan, we shall enable our readers to judge in


measure for themselves, by presenting them with a few quotations.

The first essay is on the divine origin of the Holy Scriptures. Mr. Robinson, after a short allusion to the external evidence of their truth thus proceeds:

"The Bible contains an internal evidence which proves it to be given by inspiration from God.' It raises the mind to the most sublime conceptions, and enjoins the most pure and spiritual worship. It is the only book which describes the misery of our present lapsed condition, exactly as we experience it ; and while it assigns the true cause, proposes an effectual cure for the malady we have derived from the fall. It disperses the fears of a guilty conscience; it brings the gracious offer of

reconciliation with God, and introduces the believer into a state of favour and communion with him. Its manifest tendency is to meliorate and exalt human nature, to subdue its corruptions, and implant all holy 2

principles and affections. It commands,
it produces, an abhorrence of evil; it incul-
cates and inspires the love of righteous
ness. Wherever its influence prevails, it
renders the soul superior to the temptations
of the world, and opeus to its view the bliss-
ful prospect of a glorious immortality. Who
will hesitate to say, that this cannot be the
contrivance of fools and deceivers, but
that it proceeds from infinite wisdom, and
is decidedly the manifestation of an al-
mighty, merciful, and holy God?
"We might appeal to a 'cloud of wit-
nesses', both ancient and modern. There
are innumerable instances of those, who in
consequence of this book have been de-
livered from unspeakable anguish and hor-
ror, and have been established in peace,
confidence, and joy. We can produce thou-
sands, who have been turned by it from
habits and dispositions the most vile and
abominable to the love and practice of
every thing amiable, excellent, and useful.
What is the general character of those,
who are most zealously attached to reve-
lation? and what of the persons who hate
and reject it? Will not the very striking
contrast between the two sorts afford a
strong presumption, that our religion de-
scends from heaven. (vol. i. p. 8—10.)

In the 3d chapter on "the power of God," Mr. Robinson represents the mechanism of our bodies as well as the faculties of our minds as proofs of the "power" of the divine artifi


[ocr errors]


ject of "the goodness of God," which is discussed in the succeeding chapter had been somewhat more extended. Our readers will be pleased with the following extracts:

In the following chapter the wisdom and knowledge of God," the sustentation and government of all creatures are adduced as proofs of the divine intelligence. It is perhaps difficult, however, thus to treat separately, and yet clearly and fully, of the several attributes of the Almighty. The Scriptures sometimes refer the work, even of creation, to the wisdom of God. "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth. By understanding hath he established the heavens." They teach us, indeed, to admire and adore that united wisdom and power which we cannot fully distinguish and explain. Blessed be God; for wisdom and might is his." "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever."

[ocr errors]

We wish that the important sub

"Could we suppose for a moment, that' a malignant spirit possessed these attributes, his wisdom would be no other than a mischievous craft, and his power would be exercised in violence and oppression: they would not therefore claim our adoration or "But when it apencourage our hope." pears, that our God is good, continually influenced by a disposition to communicate happiness, and that his omnipotence and omniscience are directed by the most perfect benevolence, we may and we should regard him with the strongest affection and confidence." (vol. i. p. 53.)

"Let every reader review his own history, and acknowledge therein the daily and innumerable proofs of the gracious providence of his God. Let us try to enumerate his favours, though all calculation must fail ; for where shall we begin, or where end the account? In helpless infancy, as well as in all the various stages through which we have passed, he has been our support. We are indebted to his care for the measure of health, and every comfort in life which we enjoy, for the kind friends so marvellously raised up and continued to us, and for the many deliverances from dangers and distresses, wrought for us in such a way as we could not contrive or conceive. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name'." (vol. i. p. 57.)


In the character especially of our Redeemer "he hath gloriously evinced the perfection of his goodness; goodness, beyond all calculation, immense and infinite! It is on this subject more than any other we shall be constrained to cry out in profound admiration, GOD IS LOVE. whole scheme [of salvation] originated from this source; and every part shews the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus'." "He Proposes the blessing to the most guilty, he invites, solicits, and importunes the most careless and obdurate to accept it, that is, to be saved and to be happy for ever." (vol i. p. 60.)

which occurs in the In a passage next essay, which is "on the patience of God," we observed with pleasure, that the offer of salvation is represented both as fair and unequivocal, and also as universal.

"Before judgment is executed, God

warns of the approaching stroke; he calls to submission; he proposes and invites to a reconciliation. He has devised a wondrous scheme of mercy; he has provided and revealed salvation; he offers it freely to every penitent offender; he urg's the acceptance of it upon all; and after repeated refusals, he still waits to be gracious." (vol. i. p. 72.)

[ocr errors]

In a succeeding essay on the mercy of God," nearly the same sentiments are expressed, but in such a way as indicates more clearly the author's general mode both of thinking and expressing himself on some points which involve considerable diffienties in theology.

"But when we speak of that mercy which is unto eternal life, we must remark that though the Gospel gives a general call, and the Lord declares himself ready to receive, and bless and save all, of every character, who turn to him in penitence and faith, yet those who so turn must acknowledge themselves indebted to him, for disposing their wills to obey the call and accept the gracious offer. They are therefore, in a peculiar manner the objects of his mercy, and they feel their peculiar obligations. Then they fear, and love, and praise, and serve him, and look with admiring gratitude on the high privileges, by which his special mercy, not their merit, has distinguished them from others. These are the vessels of mercy whom he prepares

unto glory,' and to his free and sovereign choice they owe their hopes, their holiness, and their salvation." (vol. i. p. 112.) The succeeding page contains a passage to which we are disposed to object, as communicating a somewhat partial view of a deep and awful subject; and there is one expression in it, proceeding, we have no doubt, from inadvertence, which seems to us to countenance an antinomian sentiment. We point it out the more readily, because no one who knows the author can possibly suspect him of any leaning to so pernicious an error.

"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.' The plan was formed" (the plan we presume from the context of each individual man's salvation) "before the world began,' and it remains immutable, unlike the uncertain compassions and short lived favours of our fellow creatures. It varies


not among the sundry and manifold changes of the world:' it will not be finally withdrawn even for our ingratitude and its blessed effects will be durable as the throne of David. Such are the sure mercies of David.' In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee saith the Lord thy Redeemer'." (p. 114.)

When we find a prophetic passage from the Old Testament, which respects, primarily at least, the persevering kindness of God to the collective body of the Jewish church, employed for the purpose of esta blishing the doctrines of individual election and final perseverance: and especially, when we also read that "it" (namely, as we must presume, the plan of God as it respects individual election) "will not be finally withdrawn even for our own ingrutitude;" we are led to suggest to Mr.

Robinson and his readers another passage of Scripture, which serves at least to guard this view of the subject. When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." "When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them, for his iniquity that he hath done shall he


We heartily approve of the following sentiment, which occurs in the succeeding chapter," on the veracity of God," and we can assure the pious author that we are not less desirous of profiting by it ourselves than of urging it upon others.

"We may, indeed, mistake the sense" of Scripture; "and after the most serious investigation we should draw our conclusions with modesty and caution. When we proceed to the study of the inspired Volume we should bring no systems with us, nor aim at the vindication of a party and especially should we be careful to lay

aside all wrong affections which would eloud the understanding and warp the judg(vol. i. p. 120.)


The next chapter is on the Trinity in Unity, and we agree with this pious and, in general, very judicious writer, that "on no point whatever are caution, diffidence, serious at tention and devout prayer more necessary."

disputation, means of exercising merely the intellectual talents, dog mas retained even in a rational age chiefly by means of a few zea, lots, who derive undoubtedly some support to their cause from the records of our own venerable church. We cannot however, too often declare our opinion that these doctrines, now so frequently bearing The subjects handled in the course the reproach of being evangelical, of these three volumes are so many constitute the sum and substance of and important, that we must not at- Christianity; and that we stand tempt to follow Mr. Robinson through much indebted to such men as Mr. each. Suffice it to say in respect Robinson, who, in an age of relito the topic of the Trinity as well as gious ignorance and indifference, several others of a doctrinal nature, and in the face of much opposition, into which we shall not particularly have laboured to revive this ancient enter, that the commonly received and orthodox faith. The doctrines arguments which are the arguments indeed must be viewed together: in general the most sound and con- they then constitute what Mr. Rovincing, are employed to prove their binson terms "the Christian systruth-that an excellent practical tem," so far at least as the term syspurpose is uniformly kept in view: tem is applicable to Christianity: and that if the author occasionally for thus they mutually support and errs a little, he errs only after the strengthen, correct and guard, illusmanner of other doctrinal writers, trate and adorn each other: and not a few of whom sometimes repre- when they are deeply impressed on sent a particular proof or argument, the mind, they infallibly produce to be more clear and strong than the holy affections; and by this influ premises entirely warrant; and al- ence on the heart they secure the most all of whom appear to us to great end of obedience. The folbecome rather obscure and perplex-lowing extracts from the essay "on ed when they enter the region of metaphysics. Happily, Mr. Robinson seems in general very glad to make his escape from this ground, almost as soon as he finds himself upon it.

The evangelical doctrines of the corruption and inability of man, of salvation by grace, of the atonement of Christ, of justification by faith alone, and of the operations and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which, together with other doctrines connected with them, occupy the two first volumes of this work, are deem ed by many to be the " hay and stubble" of Christianity, to be a corrupt admixture which has added itself to the pure gold, and which ought to be separated from it. These doctrines, according to others, who do not absolutely reject them, are barren theories, subjects of doubtful

the atonement," will exemplify our author's method of connecting the grand doctrines of Christianity with their practical effects.

"It is this" doctrine, he observes, "which in a peculiar manner, arrests the attention of the careless sinner, softens the hard heart, and constrains the penitent to weep with unfeigned contrition. Nothing else can cause such genuine sorrow."

"It is the view of Christ dying as a sacrifice for sin, which raises the trembling Penitent from the dust, and encourages him to rejoice in hope. He seems to hear the expiring Saviour say,Look unto me and be saved,' and then his fears are dispersed. At least, he ventures to make application to God for mercy in dependence on that faithful saying, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.'

if he can present his supplications with any In approaching to the throne of grace, boldness, or expect a favourable audience,

it is simply and entirely because he can urge so powerful a plea, Jesus Christ the

« السابقةمتابعة »