Page images
[ocr errors]

with all that marks the origin and the observance of a day of rest; development of both dispensa- but that it is very desirable also, tions, and the process by which that Christians should continue to the

one supplanted the other. consecrate the first day of the When it was apparent that vitality week to the exercises and duties no longer circulated in any part, of religion. He thinks the Sabit sloughed off, gradually detach- bath a very excelleot thing; he ing itself from the living body, and merely wants to undermine the leaving room for a new and more foundations on which it is suphealthy formation.

ported! He is inspired by such a We have said, that in the above love of simple truth, that he is extracts Dr. B. has given what determined the world shall have appears to us to be nearly all the it, though it prove not only useless argument which the New Testa- but pernicious; as it must be if ment affords. We are aware that he admits that the Sabbath is a Dr. Wardlaw, in a distinct dis- very excellent thing, but would course, has endeavoured to set fain remove some of the buttresses the matter on surer foundations which support it, merely because than those of merely inferential they are founded in supposed prereasoning He contends that judice. He sometimes speaks as Heb. iv. 9, 10, (“There remainelh though he almost wished there therefore a rest for the people of was more conclusive evidence for God,” &c.) applies to the Christian the religious observance of the Sabbath. But so doubtful is it Sabbath in the New Testament; whether this text was ever in- but, alas! if nature has given tended to apply to the weekly us a mind so eminently logical Sabbath at all, (and we confess, that nothing less than demonfor our own parts, we are inclined stration will satisfy us, who can to adopt the negative, in com- help it? Our author, therefore, pany with that formidable array is bent upon proving to people, of criticism which the Doctor ad- that though the Sabbath is a very mits is against him,) that the con- good thing, (if there were but any clusiveness of his reasoning is, as it reason for its observance,) there is appears to us, very questionable, no obligation to keep it. Was there Such, indeed, are our author's argu- ever such a Quixotic pursuit of mentative powers, that he has given truth since the time when our first much plausibility to his theory: in- parents laid their hands on the tree deed we have sometimes almost of knowledge of good and evil, and thought that the Doctor's reasoning made away with their happy ignoappears more powerful when used rance! It is said of Hume, that in defence of some dubious prin- when pressed with the question, ciple; as though he felt that bis whether, supposing religion to be ingenuity was taxed to compen a beneficial error, he would subsate for the comparative weakness stitute for it pernicious truth, reof the cause he had undertaken to plied, that he would !

This was sustain.

truly heroic. We rather hold with As to the author of “ the Modern the old fashioned maxim, “ Where Sabbath examined," we frankly ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be own his conduct fairly puzzles us. wise.”

wise.” We grant, indeed, that He not only acknowledges that so coincident are truth, morality, it is competent for the civil magis- and happiness, that in proportion trate to enjoin, on political grounds, as the first is really advanced the

interests of man will be infallibly flaw in the reasoning-any room promoted. Wherever, therefore, for doubt it would be a matter truth is really discovered, we would of universal lamentation : that, at have it made known, no matter least, not a single individual would with what apparent risk that com- be found endeavouring to improve munication may be attended,- quite such doubts into powerful arguconvinced that no real injury can ments, and to show that less than be sustained. But then we must a seventh of our time was enough be quite confident that what we pub. for

God! lish is truth, and important truth.

Of the works which stand at the On the other hand, in an extremely head of this article, we have doubtful point, like that now before already given an opinion in passus, the very fact that the imagined ing. In Mr. Conder's the reader errors are obviously and confessedly must look for most information on beneficial, ought to be, since the the political law of the Sabbath, interests of truth and human hap- the other works being almost enpiness are so

so consentaneous, 'a tirely taken up with the theological strong presumptive argument that argument. Dr. Wardlaw has treated the opposite views are false ; so

the subject with the greatest copithat, in fact, the conduct of our ousness; no argument that could author, instead of being a magna- possibly be pressed into the service nimous sacrifice in the cause of having escaped him. In Dr. Burtruth, may prove nothing but an der's, on the other hand, you see overweening estimate of the cor the subject brought into as narrow rectness of his own opinions. Ab limits and compact a form as possolute certainty can alone justify sible, and those arguments selected, a man in publishing his sentiments with characteristic discrimination, at such fearful hazards.

which will tell most powerfully. We cannot quit this subject Mr. Gurney's we have already without expressing our surprise

characterized. Mr. Thorn's Lec. that the probable arguments urged tures need no praise of ours; as in defence of the Christian Sab- they have already passed through bath should not at once satisfy

several editions, and their pracevery real Christian. Not that tical value is universally acknowdemonstration would not be better; ledged. Mr Macfarlane's volume only that where our predilections is not so argumentative, perhaps, as aid our reasonings, a far inferior some of the others, but it contains degree of probability to that very much valuable matter; espewhich sustains the common view cially some curious and important of the Christian Sabbath, is, in information on the principal causes general, sufficient to secure our of Sabbath-profanation, and of the assent. Where the “wish is fa- various enactments of the legislather to the thought,” we are not ture, and of the assembly to repress apt to ask for the rigours of it. This is contained in a somedemonstration. Now, one would what voluminous appendix. It will think that this would be the case more particularly interest the Scotin the present instance; that every tish reader. All of these works conChristian would make the most tain many excellent remarks as to of every

little argument; that the mode in which the sacred day not presumption, (however should be observed, and the beneweak,) would be left out of the fits, both national and individual, total; and that if there was any which it is calculated to impart.


pp. 494.

We cordially recommend them to east and from the west, the south general perusal, and trust they will and the north, and shall sit down obtain it.

with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

in the kingdom of God, A Practical Exposition of the Assembly's So was brought to pass our ac

Shorter Catechism, exhibiting a System quaintance with the much-respectof Theology in a popular Form, and par- ed author of the invaluable work ticularly adapted for Family Instruction. By Henry Belfrage, D.D. Minister in now under notice. An admirable Falkirk, N. B. Edinburgh. 1832. missionary sermon he preached at

the Tabernacle several years ago, The benefits to the Church of (1825,) won for him the esteem of Christ resulting from the formation numerous auditors; since which his and establishment of Missionary multiplied publications bave been Societies are incalculably great. received with gratitude and benefit Beyond the direct advantages, the by the one Church of the sanctiincidental good has been vast and fied of every denomination ; yet inconceivable. The promise has none of them more merits such a received its full accomplishment reception than the present book. in various and gracious exemplifi. Independently of its intrinsic excations, Prov. xi. 25, “ he that' cellence, of which we shall speak watereth, shall be watered so him- anon, the very act of recalling the self.” Many individuals, in their attention of pious persons to this spiritual and temporal advance. established formulary of sound ment, are living proofs and wit- words, is rendering an important nesses of this fact. Congregations service. Much of the superficial, of the faithful are also ready to the feeble, the inconsistent theoattest that their prosperity and logy of many in the present day, comfort have been augmented, may be ascribed to their forming somewhat in proportion to the systems, and acquiring knowledge, spread and maintenance of mis- only from ephemeral publications, sionary zeal amongst them. All such as abridgments of justly-celethis is easily accounted for on brated works, and periodical pamprinciples of analogy and Scrip- phlets. The plants in the moral and ture. Still there is one incidental intellectual garden are refreshed by benefit, which is, perhaps, scarcely these watering-pots, which sprinkle acknowledged with sufficient em- the leaves; but we wish for perenphasis and gratitude, and which nial streams, which moisten the will yet constitute a very plea- root, and make glad the Paradise surable topic in the united song of of God. By the tree of knowledge, the redeemed, amidst the sweet in the forfeited “ Eden, a river reminiscences of the beatified mul. arose to water the garden, and titude. We refer to the introduc- from thence it parted, and became tion of the pious to each other at four heads." All there was signimissionary festivals: then the ficant, symbolical, instructive. purest, the most sublime Christian It has been truly observed, that fellowship is experienced. Friend- when catechetical formularies have ships are formed which death will been judiciously employed, sound not dissolve, and many have, at theological learning has been posthe sacramental table, had a fore. sessed and manifested. Of this, taste of that hallowed delight the Scotch, as a body, form a which shall be perfected when striking instance. The Neologists multitudes shall come from the in Germany, and the sceptics of

Geneva, had not so easily won world” for it, our own descendants their dishonourable triumphs, but are lamentably uninstructed; and for the neglect, or merely the se many sons and daughters of the cular use, of their catechetical pious-may we not say of minisstandards of faith. So obvious is ters ?-have less divinity than the this fact, that a minister of most children in our Sunday-schools. extensive and protracted obser- A volume to alarm the churches vation has frequently said, that he on this subject is, indeed, a desicould decide on the extent and deratum, and may avert evils not value of the theological knowledge imaginative, or anticipated only possessed by his brethren, and ex. by the morbidly apprehensive. emplified by the rising ministry, as

For the soul to be without know. connected with their acquaintance ledge is not good ; so considered with the Assembly's Catechism. our esteemed friend in delivering

The theological prodigy,—the and then laying before the public lusus theologia of the present day, his practical Exposition. began to develop his monstrosi Much of the point and pith of ties by decrying catechisms; and the matter will be lost to those when his “ Orations” were first ob- who hastily read it, from the mantruded on an untutored multitude ner of the printing. Divisions in of professors, he, in his preface, paragraphs are wanted; emphatic prudently depreciated those for- words should be in italics, or mularies to which the Scottish otherwise distinguished; there is Church owes so much of her lu no running title to the pages, or minous glory: and an impartial numerals employed; and a few observer would testify, that from Scotticisms are found, which an neglected parishes in the North instructed compositor would have have sprung those who, of late suppressed. Pp. 64, 236, 393, years, have

discord in 443, and several other passages churches, and propagated erro- have the “ mark of the north neous opinions; and farther, that the perverted, we do not say perthough “ Bible Classes” are to be verse, employment of the signs applauded, and their successes ac

66 will and shall.” knowledged with gratitude, it is to These are specks in the sun; be regretted that they are the mole upon the fair face; the permitted to supersede that form insect on the beautiful flower; and of sound and spiritual words, by it cannot be deemed otherwise than which the church of the redeemed kind to suggest their removal in a has so long been blessed. Much second edition in the many editions of the desire to exclude so excel- which it is hoped will be spread lent a composition, may be traced through the Christian community: to the secret and often unsuspected for though emanating from the dislike to puritanic plans and pie. kirk of Scotland, a truly evanty. Evening lectures prevent the gelical spirit pervades every page, children of families being cate-' and renders it the property of the chised. Few ministers have the universal church. The author children of the church to those quotes episcopal and prelatical weekly examinations which used writers, with Christian esteem; to be the source, the well-spring of speaks rationally, and without bilife to our societies; and though gotry, on the subject of using the the offspring of the poor are taught, Lord's Prayer in our public devoand we bless the Light of the tions; and, page 22, exclaims, N. S. NO, 93.

4 D


[ocr errors]


“ How remarkable is that invoca- cour, has shed its improving intion in the Litany of the Church of fluence on their scheme, but whatEngland, after the supplication for ever singularities they may relinmercy to the Father, the Son, and quish, may they ever maintain the Holy Ghost, o holy and ever that strict adherence to veracity, blessed Trinity, three persons in and that profound awe for the one God, have mercy on us miser name of God, which has shed on able sinners. It is delightful to them an honour, far beyond any the friends of the gospel to mark, countenance of the world.” Such not only in the Articles, but in the declarations from the official deworship of that church, such a scendants of John Knox, are subtestimony to the faith once de- stantial proofs of the march of livered to the saints. This is a sanctified intellect and affection. nobler glory than all the pomp

Indeed there is a manliness and which adorns her cathedrals, and vigour of opinion, and a noble hara more sure defence than all the dihood in avowing it, which differ statytes of human policy.”. The essentially from the rude violence same enlightened mind, and hals of the day, as displayed in the lowed temper leads him, p. 231, wind and tide of popular opinion. to speak correctly of a class of There is little moral courage in Christians, daily becoming better the world; few dare be singular. known, and rapidly assimilating A man may have physical courage to the one body of which Christ is to lead a mob, who would not dare the head.

to broach an unfashionable senti“I may remark, ere I pass to the next ment. To this pusillanimity much question, that it is a mistaken

view of this of prevalence of error is to be as commandment (the third) which has led the Quakers to represent the taking of

cribed. We are all candour and any oath as prohibited in it."

forbearance, while mischief is in An oath is, on many occasions, progress, and are not excited to necessary to the settlement of alarm till it be effected and condoubtful points, and a good man's summated. fearing it, signifies not that he We regret we may not extract shrinks from it

, but how solemnly from these admirable pages, senhe is affected by it. It must timents on the most feeble and be admitted, that the multiplica- awful heresy of our times: the tion of oaths in all public con- peccability of our blessed Lord, cerns, has grieved the hearts of p. 65, an error whose very exismany, and has destroyed in the tence may be attributed to its minds of others all reverence for adaptation to the least virtuous such appeals; but while such sensibilities of our corrupt nature, abuses call loudly for correction, by which some are prompted to they will not justify the abolition dive into all secrets, which afford of this ordinance. “In noticing this food and nourishment to an impeculiarity of the Quakers, it is pure and depraved imagination ; but candid to state the high claims on capital punishments, p. 282; which they have to the respect of on war, p. 283; and on subjects of the Christian world, by their strict apparently minor, but vital imregard to truth, the simplicity of portance to the rising generation, their manners, and their uniform especially indolence, cleanliness, and steady opposition to war and punctuality-pp. 284, pussim. oppression. Time, which sobers There is the same intrepid spirit extravagance, and mollifies ran- evinced in speaking of the poeti.

« PreviousContinue »