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29. A Dialogue between Isaac Walton and Homologites: in
which the Character of Bishop Sanderson is defended against the Author of the Confessional. 8vo.
Fletcher. In the year 1650, an oath of engagement was framed by the parliament in these words : “ I A. B. do promise, that I will be true and faithful to the commonwealth of England, as it is now established, without king or lords.”
Upon this occafion, a question was put to Dr. Sanderson, whether a royalist, who had taken the oath of allegiance to king Charles I. might conscientiously take this engagement.
He answers, that this oath admits of two senses, one stricter, the other more moderate. The stricter is this : “ I acknow.' ledge the sovereign power of this nation, whereunto I owe allegiance and subjection, to be rightly slated in the house of commons, wherein neither king nor lords (as such) have, or henceforth ought to have, any share. And I promise that I will perform all allegiance and subjection thereunto; and maintain the same with my fortunes and life, to the utinost of my power."
The more moderate is the following.
" Whereas, for the present, the supreme power in England [under which power I now am] is actually possessed and exercised by the house of commons, without either king or lords; I promise that, so long as I live under that power and protection, I will not contrive or attempt any act of hoftility against them; but living quietly and peaceably under them, will endeavour myself, faithfully in my place and calling, to do, what every good member of a commonwealth ought to do, for the safety of my country, and preservation of civil society therein."
The doctor then endeavours to prove, that the latter was most probably the sense of the impofers. But for his answer he has been censured by the author of the Confesional, who (as the charge is stated in this Dialogue) alledges,
That what he hath given as the more probable sense of the engagement is evidently not so;
That he himself did not believe his construction of it to be such as the imposers intended, or would allow;
That, if his querist was doubtful about the meaning of it, he ought in conscience to have referred him to these imposers;
That in reasoning upon the engagement, he is inconsistent with his own doctrine concerning the covenant ;
And, That the design of this tract on the engagement was to encourage prevarication with a state-oath among the friends of the exiled king. The author of this piece defends Dr. Sanderson, against these
feveral charges, and more particularly endeavours to shew, that the imposers, for political reasons, were contented, that the latter should be the declared sense of the engagement.
He has introduced Ifaac Walton, who composed the life of bishop Sanderson, as one party in the Dialogue; to the other he has given the name of Homologistes; and as far as the Confessional is responsible for any thing faid by him, it is either referred to or quoted.:--The subject is debated in a liberal and ingenious manner.
30. Remarks upon the Rev. Mr. Whitefield's Letter to the Vice
Chancellor of the University of Oxford ; in a Letter 10 the Reve Mr. Whitefield. By a late Member of the Univerfiry of Oxford. 8vo.
Fietcher. This is a very judicious and spirited answer to Mr. Whitefield's letter,
31. A Letter to a young Gentleman under Sentence of Death. 8vo.
Pr. 3d. Nicoll. A piece of the quintessence of methodism, worked up into 6 Salve for a fore conscience.'
32. The Creed of Eternal Generationis. Compiled from the Writings
of some of those sensible, confiftent, and orthodox Gentlemen. By Isaac Harinan. 8vo. Pr. 6d. Johnson.
This writer has collected some of the dogmas and positions of Dr. Gill, Mr. Brine, and others, concerning the supposed eternal generation of Jesus Christ; and, by setting them in opposition to one another, has represented them as a system of contradictions.
33. The Invalidity of Schifmatical and Heretical Baptism proved from Reafon, Scripture, Councils, and Fathers. By Orthodoxus. 8vo.
Pr. 6d. Steare. This writer tells us, that heretics and schismatics are no part of the church; that they are under the influence of the devil, and in communion with him ; that they constitute a society with him at their head; that into this society they can only initiate; and that true baptisin is only to be had where there is, a true church. Now 'the church, says he, is a fociety of people professing the same faith, and living under the faine laws. This fociety, however much dispersed, must live in a unity of faith and sameness; their faith must be the doctrines and precepts revealed by Christ, and taught by his apostles
and their succeffors, and always received as such every wherë, and by all people.'
If the condition, expreffed in the latter part of this para graph, be neceffary to conftituté a true church, there can be no true church upon earth; for it is impoffible to mention any creed, or system of doctrines which all people receive as the genuine doctrines of Chrift: consequently, upon this writer's principles, there can be no such thing as true baptisin.
The distinguishing characteristic of this author is an intemperate zeal for the point he undertakes to establish. 34. The real Antiquity and Authority of the Church of Rome vindi. cated and proved from the Scriptures of Truth, &c. 8vo. Pr. 15. 6d. Johnson.
The following paragraph will be sufficient to convince' every reader of understanding, that this performance is a piece of nonfensical truinpery.
• How greatly mistaken, and blasphemous are they, who take upon them to teach men, saying, God's word is a dead letter; and that, men must have another spirit, besides the word to understand the word. Thus like Pharaoh's gentlemen, or fellows of his royal society, Nebuchadnezzar's wife men, our modern reviewers, with our fpiritual teachers, dare be blafphemous enough to take upon them the giving an account of the Spirit; feparate from the Word, by their expofitions and spiritual teachings as immediately inspired, or directly fént from heaven, but are no wiser than the fellow's of Pharaoh's royal fociety, or modern reviewers, &c. Happy the man not overtaken by these fpiritual gentlemen, nor by the reviewers or fellows of Pharaoh's royal society, &c. but fimply gives heed to the word of God, as the very mind of God, and all that is neceflary to make men happy in time, and in eternity.'
At the conclufion he says, . It amounts to a demonstration, that the prefent church of Rome is antichrift, is that beaft; the mass book is that image to the beast, agreeable to the pagan worship; and her, that is, the beast's infallibility and authority, is from the dragon, which dragon is the devil. Thus thë real antiquity, power, and infallibility of the church of Rome is vindicated, and proved from the scriptures of truth.' 315. Remarks on the Public Service of the Churcb; with some Di
rections for our Behaviour there. By a Clergyman of the Church of England. Highly proper to be understood by People of all Ranks and Ages. 800. Pr. 6d. Hooper.
As many people are guilty of mistakes and improprieties, in the performance of divine service, in the church, this writer,
to obviate all irregularities of this nature, has drawn up a series of obfervations on the Liturgy, interspersed with occafional directions to the congregation : and, for the benefit of the common people, has thrown them into a compendious, form. Some of these remarks are his own; others are extracted from Bisfe's Beauty of Holiness.
For the entertainment-or, considering the nature of the work, we should rather say— for the edification of our readers, we fhall present them with three or four of his directions, rélative to the behaviour of the people during the time of divine service.
• Let thofe who are troubled with any violent cough, omit attending on public worship, till fuch time as they are better ; for, in such cafes, God will readily accept of their private devotions, 'when done with a conscientious and pious intention.
This also should be done by such persons as cannot attend church without taking an infant in their arins: for what atten. tion can they pay to divine service, who are constantly bufied in quieting a child, whofe frequent noise is not only a trouble to themselves, but a disturbance to the whole congregation ?
• I must openly condemn any kind of trifling, such as adjusting of the dress, counting of money, cutting the nails, reading ditferent parts of the prayer-book, and many other things of the like nature, as I have, from time to time, observed, in the course of divine service. In this they take advantage from the height of the pews, hugging themselves in being obscured from the fight of others : but let such persons remember, they are in the presence, and under the immediate eye of God, who is nicely watchful of all their actions and thoughts, and will punish the offender, at a time when he least expects it.
• Another thing I have often observed, and which I cannot help taking notice of, which is, that of people's starting up at the least extraordinary noise: if a book or stick but fall, or a dog but bark, (which animal should be fhut up at home, and not suffered to enter the church, it not only being wicked and profane, but frequently a great disturber of devotion) I say, let a ftick but fall, a dog but bark, or any other like trivial accident, and you shall have twenty persons starting up, even from their knees, in the midst of a prayer, and stretching out their necks, to see what is the matter, to the great con tempt of worship, and the manifest destruction of devotion. Whenever I fee this happen, I cannot but conclude, that futh people have not a spark of piety, or the least sense of religion ; and am secretly led to wish, they would rather stay at home, than come to church, to inake a mock of God, and diiturb o her people; for such behaviour, as every other of the fame
kind I have mentioned, is not only bidding a defiance to Goit and good men, but to good sense and good inanners.
• One other thing I must take the liberty to mention, and I have done; that is, the improper use of the fan, which, I fear, indulges too many with an opportunity of hiding, under the pretence of modesty, or that of veiling their faces from the inspection of others; (an idle custom this, as both face and hands Mould be held open, and directed up towards heaven) I say, 'I fear it indulges too many with an opportunity of biding, under these pretences, their mock piery, or, what is little different, their impious drowfiness, or wil!ul indevotion. Too often have I seen the profanelt levities, and most indecent fooleries, committed behind that fashionable machine : it may, perhaps, be of singular service at other times, and in orber places, by concealing a whisper, sparing a bluí, or preventing a confusion; but in the house of God; where every one Nould collect their scattered thoughts, as if they were going to die, they Niould not have the least temptation to the contrary. It were fincerely to be wished, therefore, that the female part of every congregation would, for the future, leave this temptation to levity at home; for a truly devout worshipper can never want a guard against wanderings.'
In this extract we evidently discern the air and manner of that enterprising genius, who has converted Hogarth's prints into lectures of morality.
36. The Principles of Infidelity and Faith confider'd in a compara
tive View. Two Discourses preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's in the Morning, at St. Peter's in the Afternoon, on the First Sunday in Lent; March 21, 1768. By John Rawlins, M. A. of Christ Church. 8vo. Fletcher and Co,
This writer gives us a general view of the various ill-concerted schemes of Atheists and Deists, and sets in an opposite light the advantages which arise from a true Christian faith. He then considers some of the principal pleas of unbelievers ; and concludes with an application to the friends of revealed religion.
These Discourses are ingenious, though there are some palsages in them which an accurate and elegant writer would wish to correct. They may be very serviceable to young students in divinity, as they contain a synopsis of tre chief controversies now subsisting between unbelievers and Christian writers.