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church, most of them with especial reference to the momentous points which have so deeply agitated the legislature and the community. To detail the contents of these works, some of which contain much valuable fact and reasoning, would be incompatible with our limits; and so far as they bear upon the great legislative question under discussion, they will probably soon be superseded by its settlement. But the evils of Popery are not a temporary topic; nor is the duty of guarding Protestants against its delusions, and striving by the blessing of God to rescue its votaries from them, a temporary duty. In this view indeed, we might notice, with great satisfaction, many of the publications to which we have alluded; but we have singled out from among them the above, on account not only of its general value, but of its taking a wider range than the mass of anti-papal works, and pointing out the primal sources, so to speak, of Popery, the indigenous Popery of every human heart Our present labour will, however, be very brief, as some of the most important parts of the work have already appeared in our volumes; the treatise being chiefly an enlargement of an argument pursued by the author as a correspondent, in our pages, in several papers entitled "The Philosophy of the Roman-Catholic Religion," July to October 1825, and another paper, the first for January 1814. The work is discursive, and not very strict to formal method and arrangement; but it abounds with terse and valuable truth: its descriptions are striking, its style lively, its arguments weighty, and its whole tenor for practical edification. It is not, however, a sleek and milky volume. Revolutions, say the French, are not made with rosewater; and Mr. Riland seems to think the same of moral revolutions, and that, whatever of good may be in progress among us, honeyed eulogies are not what the necessities of the age require. The infidel must
quail under his lash; the Papist will not easily forgive his disclosures; and we fear that there are some who call themselves Protestants and churchmen, who will find that the writer has discovered, even within their favoured precincts, doctrinal errors and practical anomalies, which they may find it easier to disclaim than to renounce. Yet if truth be kindness, Mr. Riland is not a harsh writer; and we honestly think that there are few persons who may not be the better for his volume, and who ought not to thank him for his well-timed animadversions. We shall throw together a few illustrative extracts.
Having had occasion to speak of the ignorance and irreligion of the poorer classes, the author turns to the richer, and is far from thinking that matters improve as we ascend in the scale of society. He proves his assertion as follows:
In the concerns of the life to come, there is a certain vulgarity of thinking, common alike to plebeian and patrician, to the illiterate and the learned. The recent and rapid advances of the human mind in physical, intellectual, and even ethical science, have been attended with no progress in the knowledge of the faith of Christ. Our divines may have increased in numbers and in theological attainments; and if theology could communicate principle as well as knowledge, the path to heaven would widen, and be thronged by multitudes. But the way is still narrow; and the gate is yet strait!
The world will allow us to say this officially; to read it in the lesson of the day; and to amplify the solemn saying in a sermon. But if we mean what we preach, and awaken men's belief of our sincerity in the interval between one Sunday and another, then begins the debate between a minister and his flock. So long as he is not missing in the circles of pleasure, he may deliver, without suspicion, the most fearful warnings of God against a slumbering world; and none will molest him. But the moment his own example comes in aid of his doctrine, and irritates the consciences of those around, his creed is discovered to be false and foolish. The real offence, however, is not in the doctrine, but-we repeat it -in its practical consequences." pp. 49, 50.
In making this melancholy report, Mr. Riland corroborates his assertions by an allusion to the too
generally demoralized state of the periodical press, justly considering that our current literature is a fair index of public sentiment; and that, if it be so, alarming indeed must be that public sentiment of which almost all our newspapers, and too many of our monthly and quarterly publications, are specimens.
Mr. Riland strongly points out the injurious effects of Protestant irreligion upon infidels and Papists. "Whatever be our doctrinal purity, If yet opinions, as such, are of no value. they mature into principles, the fruit will soon be seen; and the objector be at once silenced. But the defensive plea of the Romanist is, that the fruit does not appear; and the infidel by-stander laughs at both parties, and reminds himself of the avowal of one of St. Peter's pretended successors, How profitable is this fable!" p. 57.
Our author's strictures upon the Church of Rome are often very striking and forcible; but one great object of his work is to shew that Protestantism may be Antichristian as well as Popery, that exploded errors may be revived under new names, and that we may be declaiming against Antichrist while practically obeying him; a fact too true, using the term Antichrist in its larger signification, though with this difference, that Protestants may be Antichristian, but Protestantism is not so, while the Church of Rome, as a body, has this badge prophetically attached to her communion. Individual Papists may be better than their religion, and individual Protestants worse than theirs. Taking the term Antichrist in this general sense, following description is painfully
"It is not salvation which the exclusionary would urge his fellow-sinners to embrace. It is the very thing left out of Antichrist is satisfied his calculations. with shew and ceremony. He delights in the splendour of Episcopacy, but execrates the prelate who faithfully fulfils its duties. He will load with preferment the man who defends an establishment; but bitterly repent of his liberality, if the defender should enforce its doctrines, and also realize them in daily life.
"Antichrist will allow, rather encourage, an ecclesiastic to defend the Atha
nasian Creed, especially its damnatory clauses, and to deliver elaborate declamations on the Trinity; provided the apologist be indifferent to the influences of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of the love of God, and be not a partaker of the communion of the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of the Trinity is cordially believed only by those persons who, discovering themselves to be by nature and practice the children of wrath and enemies to God, are anxious to escape everlasting misery, and therefore seek to be reconciled to the Father, through the death of the Son, by the influences of the Holy Ghost; and, as a proof of their spirituality, and practical faith in this mystery of godliness, walk in newness of life: the connexion between such faith and holiness being indissoluble.
"Yet few things induce so much selfcomplacency in the mind of a theorist in religion, as the persuasion of his Athanasian orthodoxy. It is also one of the many points where the lower classes of nominal Christians closely tread in the steps of their superiors. A pious clergyman has by no means to struggle in his parish, with objectors to metaphysical niceties and damnatory clauses: these are not the stumbling-blocks in the way to eternal life; for none, at least of his plebeian opponents, are disturbed by modes of faith. But when he begins to shake
their confidence in their own assumed
security; and warns the formalist, scoffer, blasphemer, sensualist, Sabbath-breaker, libertine, the lover of money and slave of the world, and the profane person, to flee from the wrath to come; then he may expect the revival of questions once put by philosophical Epicureans and Stoics: What will this babbler say? May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?' And the inquiries will be
made for the same reason,-because he preaches unto them Jesus and the resurrection! These subjects, as he treats them, form the basis of appeals to the conscience; and not of a cold and barren discussion, which creates no alarm, and awakens no hope.
"In the mean time, Antichrist is conscious that the union of a strong attachment to a church, with a practical contempt for its injunctions, is the foundation of his kingdom. Towards the superstructure a High Churchman and a High Dissenter-who are essentially the same characters--contribute largely both labour and materials." pp. 91–96.
From the last sentence we learn that Mr. Riland has as little indulgence for the sins of Churchmen, as of Protestant Dissenters, and of Protestant Dissenters, as of Papists themselves. He remarks that "whatever dark stories may be told of
a national hierarchy, they are capable of being paralleled in the annals of any, the most obscure, sect which has yet appeared within the precincts of the universal church. Antichrist is very able to intrude his worldliness and his infallibility, wherever man lays his hand upon the ark of our common salvation. A Dissenter who is nothing better than a Dissenter, and who preaches the Gospel of strife and contention; a student of such works only as owe their importance to authors on his own side; allowing himself to be irritated and vexed at the success, reputation, and influence of a pious clergyman; a builder of meetings opposite to parish churches, as if in defiance: a supporter of such missions and societies only as emanate from his own party;-such a Dissenter as this is nearly as sectarian and exclusive as the wearer of the triple crown." p. 107.
But it is to the members of his own church that Mr. Riland chiefly directs his faithful remonstrances.
"The Gospel is not in the least more acceptable to us because it has been embodied in Articles and Homilies. On the contrary, examples are sufficiently notorious, where the essentials of Christianity are rejected with greater irritability and scorn, when ecclesiastics have detected their intrusion into instruments signed by themselves. A minister of religion, whether ordained in Italy, England, or Switzerland, is no more necessarily a believer in Jesus Christ, than was Simon Magus, in the day when he was admitted within the visible church by the symbol of regeneration." pp. 109, 110.
We have mentioned Mr. Riland's impartiality, as respects offenders of various sects; he is equally impartial, as respects their offences: formalism and latitudmarianism are equally the objects of his alarm; for justly does he remark, that
"Antinominianism and Self-righteousness are the two permanent heresies of the Christian world; and they never appear to be so triumphant, as when they delude their victims into a persuasion that they may die safely if they receive the outward and visible sign of the redemption of the Cross, without being equally anxious to derive the inward and spiritual grace from the Redeemer."
Mr. Riland's great object is to shew men that religion is the dedication of the heart to God.
"Where the heart is touched by the Gospel-as the revelation itself is distinct from all the vehicles, and earthen vessels, in which it is presented to the acceptance of mankind religion equally reigns through the six days intervening between Sabbath and Sabbath. Not only in the
sacred hours, but at all times, a genuine Christian bears the impress of his principles. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.' The character of such a convert will infallibly display itself—where hypocrites and formalists, of all communions, shew nothing but what may coexist with the world's decorous forms of insincerity—in the recesses of privacy; in the arrangements of domestic life; in the social circle; in the transactions of business. Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.'" pp. 197, 198.
In a similar practical and heartsearching strain he elsewhere remarks:
"A Protestant who enters into debate with his opponents, in order to erect upon the ruin of their heresies a number of sound opinions, and contents himself, at
the close, with the conviction-and we will allow the conviction to be real-of his having been successful, has gained nothing beyond the barren triumph of a casuist. By such an issue religion has not become in the least more valuable to him. The controversy was not the evidence of his sincerity; neither could its result be the pledge of any consolation. He stands where he stood before. He has defeated an antagonist, but not subdued himself; as there is a wide difference between a man who proudly advocates the Christian cause, and one who yields it a practical submission. Therefore religion is nothing, if it be not a personal possession. The kingdom of God is within you'—an internal, active principle.
They whose adherence to the Reformation is matured into a spiritual character, uphold their system of belief as absolutely essential to their peace and consolation. They do not dispute about the bread of life as though they were examining an abstract theory of nutrition, but as being unable to live without the Divine nourishment itself. With them, the Gospel is no more a point of controversy, than a remedy is to a sick man, who by its application has been effectually cured. In either case, speculation has been forgotten in reality. In more direct
a sinner awakened from the dreams of self-righteousness, and from a visionary search after happiness in worldly things, feels that he needs forgiveness
and sanctification; and that, without these Divine gifts, he must perish everlastingly. He is alarmed, and wants a shelter from impending wrath; he is miserable, and cannot purchase felicity. Oh, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death!' To a spirit thus wounded, nothing can bring relief but the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ-not an ability to
confute the tenets of an opponent." pp.
We cordially thank our uncom. promising adviser for these honest statements: such discrimination of character is at all times of great moment, and certainly not least so in the present age, when even our works of charity, our religious institutions, the circulation of the word of God, our widely-spread theological knowledge, and our large toleration, have brought into the apparent ranks of the faithful soldiers of Christ so many of the secret spies and abettors of the enemy.
1. Sermons before a Village Congregation. By the Rev. J. JOWETT.
2 vols. 10s. 1828. 2. Short and Familiar Sermons. By the Rev. T. SCARD. 5s. 1828. 3. Discourses on the Church Confession. By the Rev. T. BARTLETT. 3s. 6d. 1828. 4. Family and Parochial Sermons. By the Rev. F. G. CROSSMAN. 8s. 1828.
5. Sermons designed to strengthen the Faith and Increase the Devotedness of Christians. By the Rev. J. H. STEWART. 10s. 6d. 1828.
6. Discourses on Experimental and Practical Christianity. By the Rev. W. F. VANCE. 5s. 6d. 7. Parochial Sermons. By the Rev. C. BRADLEY. 10s. 6d. 8. Sermons on the Devotional Services of the Church of England. By the Rev. T. SIMS. 10s. 6d.
9. A Memorial of Ministerial Labour. By the Rev. W. MUDGE. 10s. 6d. 10. Sermons Doctrinal and Practical. By the Rev. J. PROCTER. 1828.
11. Sermons. By the Rev. W. MOUSLEY. 5s. 1829.
We wish we could devote a few pages to almost each of these publications. In looking back a few
years, we can well remember the period when every volume of sermons written with a fair portion of ability, and truly in accordance with Scripture and with the formularies of our own church, could claim from us a distinct notice and eulogium; whereas now, by the wonderful blessing of God upon our national Zion, such volumes are issuing from the press so rapidly that the columns of a magazine can scarcely keep pace with the announcement of them; and we are constrained, in the present brief article, to make a display of sundry bags of wealth, without having space to unpack them, so as to exhibit even a specimen of their contents. Having recently, at the solicitation of very many of our readers, adopted the plan of adding a few brief notices to our longer and more argumentative reviews, we hope in future to be able to keep a less crowded list; but being at present greatly in arrears, we can do little more than publish the names of a few of our literary creditors, and plead our insolvency as our only excuse for not better complying with their demands.
But in truth, some of the most excellent volumes of sermons offer the worst materials for a critique ; much of their claim to the praise of usefulness arising from their being plain, scriptural, and practical; free from novelties and doubtful speculations, and therefore not calling for those discussions which dangerous or doubtful speculations require. Sermons of the very highest order of thought, or of extraordinary originality or power of eloquence, are not often to be expected,especially when we consider the numerous demands upon the time of our clergy, and the vast quantity of material which is requisite for the returning pulpit wants of every successive week. The consequence is, that the great mass of published discourses are not sufficiently remarkable to attract much popular attention; and a few extracts, with a general approbation, seldom interest
any class of readers, except the author and his friends. But would we, therefore, discourage the multiplication of volumes of sermons of this character? Would we say, that no clergyman shall put into the hands of his flock a selection from his discourses, unless they happen to contain something very extraordinary, and calculated to rivet the general attention of mankind? Far, very far, from it. If, indeed, but half a score books were allowed to issue yearly from the press, we should be very scrupulous as to the claim of any particular volume to publication; but when millions of reams of paper and print are indulgently allowed by the public to the fugitive literature of the day; to news, and politics, and trash of every sort, which no person ever pretends to read a second time; it is surely a refinement of scrupulosity to complain, as many of our critics do, that a clergyman should offer to his friends, or those of his countrymen who may be interested in his publication, an occasional volume upon subjects of the very highest importance, because he does not happen to be altogether a Horsley or a Barrow, a Chalmers or a Hall. If, by the force of local connexion, he be able to introduce into only a hundred families a volume of sound scriptural instruction, which would not have found access thither in any other form, we would not say that his labour has been in vain; much less would we attribute his attempt to a culpable vanity or overweening egotism. If a clergyman diligently compose his own discourses, and his exertions have been found beneficial to his flock, it may be very creditable to both parties that the latter wish to receive, and the former is willing to grant, a more permanent record of their value than was afforded by a single and oral delivery from the pulpit; provided both are willing to understand that the interest ex. cited is of necessity chiefly local and pastoral, and not to feel
wounded or disappointed if the public at large are not so sensible as they think they ought to be of claims of which they know nothing.
We should not object to take the pile of volumes now on our table as a fair average specimen of the ordinary preaching of that large and respectable portion of the pastors of our church, who are currently known by the name of the Evangelical Clergy. In so doing we should not so much put forth their claim to the highest prize of eloquence, or the widest range of literature, or the most exalted developments of intellect, (though in each and all of these departments we could find powerful claimants,) as to the brighter meed of sound, useful, scriptural preaching; united with a respectable degree of learning and talent, and consecrated by an earnest desire to promote the glory of God, the kingdom of the Redeemer, and the temporal, spiritual, and eternal interests of mankind. When we thus view the discourses before us as a specimen of the doctrine and style of preaching which are heard from week to week in hundreds and thousands of our pulpits, we cannot but offer our warmest congratulations to our country and our venerated church. We discern, indeed, in these volumes different grades of talent, inany differences of opinion, great discrepancy of style, manner, and natural temperament, and even some varying shades of doctrine; but, taken as a whole, they all belong to the class which we have above designated by the popular appellation, whether of reproach or approbation,-though for ourselves` disclaiming that and every other party badge amongst the members and ministers of our common church. But taken, as we have said, as a whole, and allowing for every minor difference of sentiment, they agree in their leading ideas of the nature and effects of the Gospel of our blessed Saviour: they agree in their view of the fundamental doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and its bearings