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revealed sentiments of the Father of lights; but if he holds essential errors, and teaches them, we repeat it, we are glad that he publishes them, for otherwise there would be little hope of any rectification of his opinions, or of purifying the minds of those who may have been contaminated by his conversation and preaching.
Among all the books which have been written in answer to Dr. Tomline, we doubt if any one is so well cal. culated to be generally profitable as this little volume by a Layman.' It is cheap; it is concise; it is plain; and presents extracts from Calvin, and the Articles, Homilies, and Public Formularies of the Church of England, in contrast with the statements of the Bishop of Lincoln, in such a way as to give the reader a fair opportunity of judging between them for himself.
Some of our readers will be ready to inquire, what have we to do with the religious disputes of these English Bishops and Laymen? Why should we read the book?
The Bishop of Lincoln among the high Church Arminians of England is precisely what the Rev. Horace Holley is among the Socinians of Massachusetts, and what the Rev. Dr. How, and the Rev. Bishop Hobart of NewYork are among the high churchmen of America. The Layman in correcting Dr. Tomline, very well opposes the anti-evangelical efforts of many who preach and write profusely in our own country. It is contended in America as well as in England, that predestination is dependent on foreseen compliances with conditions; that God can no more foresee contingencies than he can work impossibilities; that articles of faith may be subscribed without fully consenting to them; that to be very far gone from original righteousness,' means, 'not quite gone from it;' that baptism is all the regeneration a moral person needs; that every unrenewed man has as much inherent mental power to choose that which is morally good, as evil; and that good works are the appointed condition of man's becoming intitled to salvation. In short, there is not an error assailed in the book before us, which it is not as important to expose and refute in the United States as in Great Britain.
This American edition has been divided into chapters,
that it may be more conveniently consulted, and contains a Preface and an Appendix in which the operations of the will, and the doctrine of original sin, are particularly considered. Of these we have no opinion to express; because they have been generally, and we cannot say un. justly, attributed to the conductor of this Theological Review. Let them go, for what men of learning will say they are worth.
It would give us pleasure to make extracts from the body of the work; but it will not admit of it; for this plain reason, that no one part is more intitled to this dis. tinction than every other; and we have not room for the whole.
ARTICLE III.- Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick
Henry, by William Wirt, of Richmond, Virginia. Philadelphia: published by James Webster, 1817. pp. 459. 8vo.
We are not unmindful, that our province is theology, when we invite the attention of our readers to the volume before us. So far as any work relates to religious topics, we shall consider it a suitable subject for our review: and we have, in the present case, resolved to pay our tribute to the merits of these Sketches,' because Mr. Wirt honourably condemns, and discountenances, duelling; while he also clearly asserts, that his prodigy of eloquence was a believer in Christianity. Every thing which is said in this volume, on the subject of religion, is well said. It is a matter of regret, however, that Mr. Henry should have deferred the consideration of theology to a late period of life; and then should not have associated himself with any particular denomination o. Christians for the observance of Christian ordinances. We are persuaded, that his elegant biographer has stated the fact on this subject; and we commend his fidelity to the cause of truth; but we regret that there was any occasion for recording Mr. Henry's delinquency. Much, however, is gained, in our being able to say, that the first republican governor of the State of Virginia, the man above all others, excepting Washington, admired and esteemed, in a state that has VOL. I.
many distinguished unbelievers, was in his convictions and public acknowledgment, decidedly a friend to divine revelation, and the advocate of the Bible.
In his old age, Mr. Henry thus writes to an affectionate daughter:
“I have long learned the little value which is to be placed on popularity, acquired by any other way than virtue; and I have also learned that it is often obtained by other means. The view which the rising greatness of our country presents to my eyes, is greatly tarnished by the general prevalence of deism; which with me, is but another name for vice and depravity. I am, however, much consoled by reflecting, that the religion of Christ, has from its first appearance in the world, been attacked in vain, by all the wits, philosophers, and wise ones, aided by every power of man, and its triumph has been complete. What is there in the wit, or wisdom of the present deistical writers or professors, that can compare them with Hume, Shaftsbury, Bolingbroke, and others? and yet these have been confuted, and their fame is decaying; insomuch that the puny efforts of Paine are thrown in, to prop their tottering fabrick, whose foundations cannot stand the test of time. Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain, than the appellation of tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself, that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. And amongst all the handsome things I hear said of you, what gives me greatest pleasure is, to be told of your piety and steady virtue.”
This may be called the preaching of an aged man, but his experience certainly qualified him for the instruction of young politicians; and were they to admit and act upon his testimony, they would secure whatever is per. manent and valuable in popularity, the esteem, which the good delight, and the wicked are compelled, to feel for an honest man.
Deism, we are happy to say, is not so fashionable as it was, and cannot now be deemed a qualification for office, or the enjoyment of public favour. Not to be opposed to Christianity, to commend it before religious people, to praise it as a public good, like the general education of our youth, and to live without either its personal restraints or consolations; this, yes, this is the fashion with most of our public characters. It has become re. putable too, for our philosophers, and deistical physi. cians in particular, to begin to read the Bible through, when they have retired from active life; because they think it a shame to die without ever having perused attentively a volume of such high pretensions, and acknowledged sublimity. • Better late than never!
If they could be persuaded to begin the examination in early life, they might, at least, have the satisfaction of knowing, that they have not neglected a work, which they may in future think important, to the imbecility, and uncertain attention of dotage. Mr. Henry's most eloquent sayings, which produced the most happy effect, are quotations from the Bible, or allusions to things recorded in the sacred pages. It might help the elocution of some of our young declaimers to read this ancient book.
We remember to have heard the Hon. Pierpoint Edwards, when most distinguished at the bar, and when an avowed infidel, quote the scriptures in his pleadings with powerful effect. In all cases of common law, there is no book which furnishes so many general principles, and so many cases of their particular application, as this blessed volumé. We remember an anecdote too, of Asa Spalding, Esq. an infidel of distinction, who being a member of a visiting school-committee, severely reprimanded those children who had not learned the catechism, and made them read the xxth Chapter of Exodus before the company. On being questioned concerning the consistency of his conduct on this occasion with his deistical notions, he said, “if I had not learned the catechism and read my Bible in youth, I should never have been any thing in society; and until we can find a more useful book, I would have children read it.'
Not on this ground alone, do we wish the mighty ones of the earth to search the sacred oracles, although it is an important one; but we are persuaded that should they search them, as they would a book of human science, it would not in all instances be in vain, even for eternity.
Should all our public characters believe in, profess, and obey, the religion of Jesus, we should then be that happy people, whose God is the Lord.
ARTICLE IV.-The Life and Power of True Godliness; de
scribed in a series of discourses: By Alexander M Leod, D. D. Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, New York. Published by James Eastburn & Co., and William Gilley. A. Paul, printer, 1816. pp. 424. 8vo.
In doing justice to the defects and merits of the vo. lume which we have just read, we feel no apprehensions lest we should offend the writer, for he will know how to estimate our motives, and is an author, neither of so much vanity as to think his writings perfect, nor of such sandy materials as to be worn away by a little attrition. The volume is handsomely inscribed, without fattery, to Colonel Henry Rutgers, in a very affectionate introductory letter. In a short preface, the author candidly avows it to be his object in sending to the press these ten sermons, illustrated by critical notes, to furnish “a work, at once both doctrinal and experimental," "adapted to the actual condition of society in our cities and our country,” which may be recommended to the perusal of those who are seeking the consolations of the gospel of the grace of God.” Such a work was needed, and in his attempt to furnish such an one for ministers, and the more intellectual part of the religious world, we think he has succeeded. For unlearned Christians we do not say he is too metaphysical, but that his metaphysics are not reduced, by the plainness of his diction, and the clearness of his thoughts, to the common sense of every man.
We shall, first, make a few strictures on most of his defects, that it may not be necessary to think of them, when we come to the consideration of his excellencies. We would prevent, if possible, every violation of the wholesome laws of orthography. We protest, therefore, against the introduction of a capital letter after nearly every colon in the book, and request, that in all future editions, it inay be exchanged for the small letter, which