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For A PRI L, 1763.
RELIGIOUS and CONTROVERSIAL.
Art. 1. Reflections on Death. By William Dod, M. A. Chap lain to the Lord Bishop of St. David's. 2s. 6d.
HESE reflections were first retaled in the Christian's Magazine, and are now collected into a volume, to frighten his Majefty's fubjects with dismal ideas of Death, and horrible pictures of Damnation. Orpheus, we find, was not the only perfon that ever vifited hell, and came back again. Mr. Dod, it feems, has been there too, tho' he does not expressly acknowlege it; for otherwife, how could he have been able to defcribe fo exactly the state of the damned; where immortal fouls are roafting, or broiling, or boiling, it is not certain which," in a lake which burneth with fire and brimftone! Oh! fays he, who can dwell with everlasting burnings!—Who can dwell where devils and condemned shall mix their mutual and infulting taunts and upbraidings; where there shall be no fociety, but a fociety in common accufations, and where, every gentler paffion expelled, the tumultuous workings of defpairing minds fhall miferably confule and diftract each other! There too the paffions which were indulged and mortified on earth, shall become fevere l'ormentors, ever craving, yet never finding gratification.". Strange that fpiritual Beings fhould want animal gratifications; that a roafted foul fhould be calling for a wh-, or raving after a bag of mo. ney! Thofe, indeed, who were lovers of the bottle in this world, may well retain their affection for it in the next, where there are fuch flaming provocatives: a fad place, indeed, for thefty fouls; for Mr. Dod affures us, there is not even a drop of water to be had. But to be ferious, for notwithstanding the mistakes of fuch Writers, the fubject is too ferious to be ludicrously treated; and, indeed, it is not the fubject, but the abfurdity of those who prefume to inftruct us concerning it, which excites our rifibility, and, to fay the truth, our RESENTMENT alfo for who that hath a due regard for the honour of the infinitely good and gracious Being we adore, and for the amiable Author of the religion we profefs, can unconcernedly hear fuch grofs mifreprefenta tions of both? According to those who form their notions upon a lis teral interpretation of fome figurative paffages in the holy Scriptures, which they do not understand, the benevolent God (whom they ignorantly worship) is a dreadful and vengeful Deity, the object of fear and of horror, not of gratitude and love: and the meek and blessed Jefus is the unrelenting executioner of the most cruel fentence that could poffibly enter into the hearts of men, or Beings worse than men, to conceive. We would recommend it to all fuch Dealers in Hell-torments, to study the facred writings throughout, and to endeavour to attain a right understanding of thofe divine Oracles, in which they will certainly find a more benevolent fyftem: a fyftem that will correct and allay the heat of their abundant zeal for the horrors of damnation, and all thofe
dreadful doctrines which tend to drive weak minds to defpair, instead of reforming the guilty, who are feldom affected-we might fay, never properly affected, by denunciations of this kind.-Men, however misled by their paffions, are to be treated as rational creatures, and not terrified like School-boys.
Art. 2. The active and paffive Righteousness of Jefus Chrift, proved
to be the only meritorious and material Caufe of the Justification and Salvation of Believers,from Jer. xxiii. 6.. Being the Substance of three Sermons on that Text. Lately preached at Ravinftone in the County of Bucks. By Bar. Burton, Vicar of Ravinstone. 12mo. 9d. Fuller.
Curious orthodox ftuff; the right original fort; fuch as would rejoice the heart of old Owen himself, were he now living. A fine reverend Tritheift, this fame Mafter Burton; and a fine figure, he would have made in the last age! But, alas! the times are changed! Owen is gone! Behmen is gone! Law is gone all, as the Poet fays,
Flown o'er the back fide of the world, far off,
And in time we shall lofe poor Mr. Bar. Burton alfo: and who then will, like him, ftand forth, fingly, quite alone, in thefe heteredox days, -in defence of thofe good old doctrines which nobody understanding, every body (as in duty bound) mult admire the more, for that very reafon, as the divine Herbert wifely fingeth,
And what ye cannot comprehend admire.
In conformity to which admirable rule, we do highly reverence there three Difcourfes; and do recommend them to our Readers' accordingly.
Art. 3. Twenty-one Sermons. By the late Rev. Innes Pearfe, M. A. of Tadley, Hants. 8vo. 5s. few'd. Buckland, &c.
The Editor of thefe pofthumous Sermons, is the Rev. Mr. Thomas Gibbons, who has prefixed to them fome account of the Author, with a recommendation of the Difcouries. "Good fenfe, fays he, evangelical fentiment, proper and animated enlargement, and an uniform and ftrong vein of practical godlinefs, are, if I mistake not, the true cha racteristics of the fubfequent Difcourfes." Such is Mr. Gibbons's character of Mr. Pearfe's productions, to which we have very little objection,
Art. 4. The Duty of a real Chriftian, both in Faith and Practice, upon Gospel Principles, for promoting a devout and holy Life, in a new and eafy Method, adapted to all Capacities, containing all Things effential to Salvation. With Prayers for Morning and Evening, and on feveral Occafions. Necessary for all Families. 12mo. 3s bound. Dilly.
The spirit and tendency of this work will appear from the following short fpecimens.
Of Original Sin.
"Mankind being thus corrupted by original fin, and the infection of Adam derived on all his unhappy pofterity, every man corrupts himself more and more by actual fin. The longer he lives, and the more he acts, the more he increaseth that original stock of fin conveyed to him by the first tranfgreffion. Wherever fuch a man moves, he acts in his own corrupt sphere. Even in his very prayers, and other religious acts, which one might think fhould raise him above himfels, and the common level of natural depravation, he is not able to rife above his own corrupt center. Though he feems to move out of it, it is but by fits and starts; and in all fuch fpecious performances, he is like a spider, which, indeed, in moving up and down fpins a web, but out of its own bowels; being, notwithstanding its bufy and restless activity, fastened by a continued thread to its own earthly principle.
"Thus the natural man in the best of his actions, never leaves nor forfakes himself. He may kneel, proftrate himself, look up to heaven, knock his breaft, figh, groin, and perform his prayers, and other devotional acts with much affectation, ftri&tnefs, and feverity; yet all this may be no more than fo many hypocritical, cuftomary, and counterfeit acts of worship. He fings and prays in the old man. His charity may be the work of the old man; who in the midst of lifeless formalities maintains his ground, and flatters the foul into a confident belief of her being in a good state."
Of the Nature and Offices of Jefus Chrift. "Great is the mystery, God manifefted in the flesh." "What can be more furprizing, or unaccountable in the world, had we no other light, than mere nature, to direct the enquiry, than to find out how the fon of God could become the fon of man; that he by whom the world was made, fhould himself be made of a woman: that a mere woman could receive the perfon in her womb, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain; and bring him forth, as a new-born babe, who was from everlasting: that the Creator fhould be humbled into a creature: that he, who was before Abraham, fhould come into the world two thousand years after Abraham and that he fhould be brought lower than the angels, who is God over all, bleffed for ever. -This is a mystery for us to wonder at, but not to be feen through by frail nature.” Of Regeneration, or the New Birth.
"The new birth admits of no delay or backwardnefs. He that is become a new creature, is ready to every good work; ready in mind, ready in Spirit; not only to be bound, but to die afo for the name of the Lord Jefus. The new creature hath the loins of his mind girt up, for the heavenly work unto which he is called. He doth not put off God with promifes, which he never intends to perform; nor doth he refufe prefent duty. He never loiters, nor grumbles, when called by Providence and duty. He does not prefumptuoufly dally with temptations; nor parley with his fpiritual enemy.'
Of the Law of Faith, &c.
"The only means whereby God could reflore man to his first estate, was, that he should take the nature of man unto his own divine nature. In which nature, united to the godhead, he might be able to take upon him the guilt, and fuffer the punishment of fin. For this caufe you
REV. Apr. 1763.
have read, that God gave his only Son to be made man, and to die for our fins.
"By faith in this death of the Son of God, falvation is brought to mankind. For, it delivereth the finner from all manner of guilt of fin, whether original or actual; whether paft, prefent, or to come. Further, as this mediator doth redeem us from death, and endue us with perfect righteoufnefs by his death; fo by virtue of the holy Spirit, proceeding from the divine nature, the believer is endued (altho' not at first) with perfect holiness, and preferved for ever from falling from this ftate."
Of Affurance or Certainty of Salvation.
"This illumination of the mind is the most sensible and evident thing in regeneration, and it is that, whereby they, that deny the work of the holy Spirit in renewing the faithful, may most plainly be convinced: for, nothing can be more wonderful, than that men, who before were dull, rude, fimple, and unlearned, yea uncapable of any kind of knowlege, fhould on a fudden become able most iteadfastly to comprehend in their minds, and very fenfibly to exprefs in words the hidden mysteries of the chriftian religion. Yet, we know this to be true both by experience, and by the evidence of the apostle, who writeth, That the Spiritual man discerneth all things, because he hath the mind of Chrift, 1 Cor. ii. 15, 16. A knowlege that cometh not by any natural ftrength or means, but it is the gift, and cometh by the work of God, fpeaking to us in his holy word.'
Of Se'f-denial and Mortification.
"When the difciples of Chrift could not caft the evil fpirit out of a man, that was a lunatic, he not only tells them, that it was thro' want of faith; but also gives them an important inftruction in these words, Howbeit, this kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fafting, Matt. xvii. 21. Which fcripture fhews, that fafting is not an occafional thing, adapted only to the fervice of two or three days in the year; but that it is a proper way of devotion, or a right method of applying to God. And if that prayer be most prevailing, and enters fartheft into heaven, which is attended with falling, it must be confeffed, that fafting is to be a common ordinary part of our devotion. Is it powerful enough to caft out devils, and to cure lunatics; and fhall we neglect this duty, when we pray against the evil tempers and paffions which poffefs our hearts, and against the temptations which distract our minds ?"
"Do I ftedfastly believe, that God has an only Son, that was made man?
"Do I believe that this Son was God from all eternity, and died for the fins of mankind in his human nature ?.
"Do I, without wavering, believe in the holy and undivided Trinity, or three perfons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the Godhead, and that thofe THREE are only ONE GOD?"
"Have I wounded, maimed, murdered, or challenged any perfon to fight?"
"Have I taken any thing to fhorten my life, or entertained any thoughts of destroying myself, before my appointed time fhall come?
"Have I delighted in impure thoughts? in immodeft difcourfe, fongs, and books? in unchaft embraces, and other actions tending to enflame luftful defires?
"Have I ftolen other people's,—or received stolen goods ?-Have I given falfe evidence," &c. &c.
Of prayers, not a few are interfperfed in this manual; among which are fome for the principal feasts and fafts of the church.
Art. 5. An Anfwer to the Reverend Mr. John Wesley's Letter* to William Lord Bishop of Gloucester; concerning the Charges alledged against him, and his Doctrine, in a Book entitled, The Doctrine of Gracet, &c. By Samuel Charndler. 8vo. 6d. Nicoll.
There is fomething very impertinent in this Mr. Chandler's taking upon him to write an Anfwer to a Letter addreffed to another perfon; but we doubt there is fomething worfe than impertinence in this affair. There is an appearance of forgery in the name affixed to this officious pamphlet. We fufpect there is no fuch person as Samuel Charndler, and that the Writer, whoever, or whatever, he is, intended to impofe his flimfy fcribble upon the public, as the production of the learned Doctor Samuel Chandler.-Such low and despicable practices reflect the greatest fcandal upon literature.
* See Review for laft month, page 235.
+ See Reviews for November and December lift.
Art. 6. A Letter to the Right Hon, Chs Tnd, Efq; 8vo. 6d. Nicoll.
Smartly and feverely cenfures the extreme œconomy, as the Author conceives it, obferved in the reduction of our forces. He acknowleges himself interested in the fubject; and he warmly reproaches Mr. T-nd for having deferted the interest of the army; he who was heretofore looked upon as the foldier's friend, his patron, his protector!" Unfortunately for me, fays this fpirited Writer, I am in one of the fixteen regiments which You, Sir, have been the means of breaking. To you, therefore, and almost to you alone, to you their patron, their advocate, their protector, are the Officers of fixteen corps indebted for their prefent diftrefs, and fature mifery. They are to fupport their poverty with dignity. They are to ftarve like Gentlemen. If I may judge from my own feelings of the fenfibility of others, by their own expreflions of what they feel, you, Sir, have much to fear from their refentment, at lealt from their defpair."
But our Letter-writer does not confine his view of the subject to the partial intereft of the army. He confiders it more extenfively, and endeavours to fhew, that the public in general, are, or may be, too much affected by fo large a reduction of our brave, victorious troops. He particularly infifts on the neceffity of maintaining an adequate force for the fecurity of our extenfive conquefts in America; where, he obfervés, we