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life, for rather the effect of God's regenerating work is a spiritual change in the mind, proceeding from a new principle of life, even the Holy Ghost,) which the mind did not previously, and could not, otherwise, possess: and this spiritual life, supernaturally communicated, lays the foundation for new exercises of perceiving, of feeling, and of acting, of a kind entirely distinct from any thing, of which the unregenerate mind was capable." p. 55. “We cannot think correctly of the new birth if we exclude the ideas of life and spirit; and we do not speak with precision, if we define the blessing conveyed, without including in our definition, spiritual life. Indeed, this expression is most conformable to the precision of metaphysical science. Life is a term very well understood; and as well understood by the vulgar as by the philosopher. Men of erudition may continue to dispute about that in which it consists; but it is obvious to all that life and death are distinct and opposite; and that in whatever the principle of vitality consists, there are different kinds of life in the universe. The gardener knows as well as his master, the difference between a living and a dead rose-bush: and without the aid of philosophy, the wandering savage will prefer his living dog to a dead lion. There is, moreover, a propriety in distinguishing one kind of vital nature from another. Vegetable life is distinct from animal life; and the animal life as distinct from the rational: but the spiritual life is as distinct from any of these, as any one of them is from the other. Even philosophical accuracy, therefore, justifies the plain Christian, in retaining those distinctive terms, which Christianity recommends to his use, in speaking of the origin of piety in the heart. The religious life of man, as a new life, requires a name descriptive of its nature. It is derived from the Spirit of God; it is concerned about spiritual things; it introduces a man into a spiritual empire; it makes him spiritually minded; it makes him walk in the Spirit; it endows him with spiritual discernment; it qualifies him for worshipping God in spirit and in truth; and it ultimately settles the believer among the spirits of just men made perfect.'Why then not call it a spiritual life.” p.59.
To this Sermon, and indeed to most of the other, are appended critical and logical notes, which are equally worthy of the attention of the plain and the learned Christian.
The third Sermon exhibits “ several degrees of personal religion.” The highest attainment in the spiritual life on earth he considers to be willingness to suffer for the cause of God. We have not room for any more long quotations; but we must be permitted to doubt the soundness of the remark concerning a renewed person; that never is love more intense, than at the period of his espousals, or his desires more ardent for deliverance from evil, and for the enjoyment of his Redeemer.” p. 90. Had he said rarely instead of never we would have been silent in this case, but we are persuaded, that persons who have been born of God in early life, frequently feel more intense love and ardent desires after perfect holiness, than they experienced in their espousals; and that those who have been restored to the divine favour after some sad season of declension or temporary apostacy, have felt more lively emotions of a spiritual kind, when brought again into the banquering house, than when his banner of love was first spread over them.
The fourth Sermon, on “the Spirit of adoption," and the blessings which it confers on the believer, is replete with good sense, and unfailing consolation. He handsomely remarks in it, that “if we meet with some instances in which it is difficult to discern the seal of the living God in the foreheads of his servants; there are many in whom the impression is distinct and lasting. Their shining countenance[s] show that they have been in the mount with God.”
The fifth Sermon is a learned and able dissertation on “ the means of growth in grace.” In expressing the utility of the sacraments, he makes use of a very fine si. militude. “Sense is the path through which the Redeemer travels to the mind, to invigorate our reason, to confirm our faith, to awaken our affections, to engage us in the practise of devotion, to comfort our hearts, and inspire us with the full assurance of hope.” p. 165. We should be well pleased to republish from this discourse a long note on the qualifications for admission to the sa. craments of the church; but we can give only his conclusion, that "the principle of church membership is not mere profession; is not actual regeneration; but APPARENT CHRISTIANITY described in the law of Christ. Any SCANDAL publicly persisted in, or avowed, disqualifies even a Christian for the communion of the visij ble church of Christ." p. 163. In the last five discourses he considers the assurance of a saving interest in Christ; the evidence of a man's possessing true religion; the duty of those who have not assurance; and the consolations, the stability, and perfection of true religion in man. These are excellent performances; and are calculated to subserve the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, especially among the argumentative part of mankind, who think, and justly too, that the system of evangelical doctrine is a science, and that each proposition contained in it should be as satisfactorily established by argument as any principle in jurisprudence or medicine. If any writer in theology, whom we have read, has almost persuaded us
that the science of divine things will admit of that which is properly called demonstration, it is Dr. M‘Leod. Indeed every step in a mathematical demonstration is dependent on things which are not proved, but perceived, or understood; on those propositions which are self-evident; on those judgments which result involuntarily from our men. tal constitution. The same is true of every train of reasoning about the things revealed to us in the scriptures. Take away from any science all axioms, or admitted first principles, and you take away all ratiocination, and render it impossible to infer any thing. Why, then, do not reasonings in religion and mathematics, provided they are correct, depend on one and the same solid basis, even our constitutional judgments? And if the foundation of mathematical reasoning is no better than the foundation of our reasonings about the human mind, and religious subjects, why should the superstructure of the one be thought more secure than that of the other? We have had occasion frequently to offer a remark, which we now repeat with new conviction of its truth and importance, that one principal reason why the sciences of the human mind and of religion admit of more dispute at this day than exists about mathematical problems and propositions, is this, that metaphysical and theological writers have not defined the meaning of their words, and invariably used them according to their definitions. Dr. Mc. L. has done much towards the introduction into theological discussion of precise and definite language. We hope he will continue to write; and that his cotemporary authors will imitate and excel his example.
In the mean time he must expect to be told by some, VOL. I.
that he is an enemy to metaphysical reasoning; because he does not believe, that the mind consists of only two faculties, the understanding and the will; and because he does not conceive the will and affections to be the same thing. Could he teach that disinterested love is faith, and every other grace at the same time, he would be logical enough, for those who now declaim against him, and all other Calvinists, for being as they say, inimical to argument on the doctrines of Christianity. He must expect too, much censure from people of a different description, for filling his book with metaphysical jargon; for thus they describe all discussions, which require patient attention, or which may exceed their power of comprehension. Still
, he will not become weary in well doing, we trust; nor cease from attemping to make the most sublime doctrines of the cross plain to every candid reasoner; that in so doing, he may contribute to the glory and felicity of that day, in which the friends of Jesus Christ on earth, shall know clearly, and ‘see eye to eye.'
ARTICLE V.-Cælebs Deceived: by the author of 'An Antidote
to the Miseries of Human Life, Cottage Sketches,' &c. &c. Philadelphia: printed and published by A. Small, 1817. pp. 286. 18mo.
A Novel! and a Theological Review! What fellowship has light with darkness? and what concern a Novel with your Review?'
Stop Sir, for a moment, and we will inform you. A theological review is a second view of any thing which relates to theology; or to the doctrine concerning the being, perfections, providence, revelation and worship of God. Now we have viewed 'Celebs Deceived' once, in reading it, with a great deal of pleasure; and we shall review it, in giving our readers some account of it.
It is a religious novel.' These are rare things, which may be truly called religious novels!' True, but this is really one; and it has enough of fictitious narrative, to interest the youth that is not pious; while the reverend minister of the gospel will find it worthy of his attention.
Cælebs in search of a wife' describes not more novel scenes than · Cælebs deceived;' while the last gives us more exhibitions of religious characters than the first. The descriptions of persons too, in the book on our table, are more natural, than the delineations of the former Cælebs, and his ethereal Miss Lucilla Stanley.
When we first took up the book, we expected to find a continuation of the history of our former acquaintance; and to have been informed of the deceptions practised upon his mind, since he found himself surrounded with a family, and compelled to associate with some of the men of the world. But we soon found our mistake; and were not sorry to be introduced to a new Celebs, and to such beings as we can not only conceive of, but know actually do exist.
Our new hero writes his own memoirs; and makes us acquainted with himself, his aunt and her daughter, his evangelical preceptor, his god-mother and her family, his presbyterian guardian and his household, the principal personages of a country parish, and with one Mr. L. an Irish gentleman of the Romish Church. A fine picture of the whole group we have in the title page, from the pencil of Cowper.
" I see that all are wand'rers, gone astray
“ And never won."