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here maintained, confining himself to "poetical and moral proofs," or the wonders of nature and some phænomena of the human mind; in short, the proofs of design. The reader of Paley will come very ill prepared to admire this p.oduction; but he must not expect any thing like method or sober proof; the whole book is rhapsodical, and its principal excellence in our esteem, is the picturesque and animated reality of its descriptions. It opens with a passage, which intimates both the style and the plan.
There is a God: the humble plants of the valley and the cedars of the mountain bless him; the insect hums his praise; the elephant salutes him with the rising day; the bird chants him among the foliage; the lightning proclaims his power, and the ocean declares his immensity. Man alone has said: "There is no God," p. 1.
It is a favourite principle of M. C., that a glowing imagination and cherished sensibility are utterly averse from scepticism. In another part of his work he says, "L' athéisme ruine autant les beautés du génie que celles du sentiment; il est la source du mauvais gout et du crime, qui marchent presque toujours ensemble." The remark itself has been made before; and M. C. has not the kind of talent requisite for explaining and elucidating his principles.. In the same spirit, he affirms that,
A man cannot return an infidel from the regions of solitude; if he arrived there a believer of nothing, he departs a believer in every thing. Woe to the traveller, who, after making the circuit of the globe, returns an atheist beneath the roof of his fathers!"
We can assure M. C. that he will never be a Newton or a Locke; indeed the metaphysical proofs of theism which are subjoined in the original work, demonstrate his incompetency to accurate ratiocination. Non omnia possumus omnes. We defy the said Newton or Locke to have written the following description of an ocean scene, which we insert, almost against our will, without curtailment.
The vessel in which we embarked for America, having passed the bearing of any land, the space was soon occupied only by the two-fold azure of the sea and of the sky, extended like a canvas to receive the future creation of some great painter. The color of the waters resembled that of liquid glass. A vast swell advanced from the west, though the wind blew from the east; enormous undulations extended from one horizon to the other, and opened in their vallies long vistas through the deserts of the deep. The fleeting landscapes changed with every minute: sometimes a multitude of verdant hillocks represented graves separated by furrows in an immense cemetery; sometimes the curling summits of the surges resembled white flocks scattered over a heath: now the space appeared small for want of an object of comparison, but if a billow reared its mountain crest, if a wave curved like a remote coast, or a squadron of sea-dogs passed by
in the distance, the space suddenly opened before us.
We were most powerfully impressed with an idea of magnitude, when a light fog, creeping along the surface of the deep, seemed to increase immensity itself. O! how grand, how melancholy is, at such times, the aspect of the ocean! Into what reveries it plunges you, either if imagination transports you to the seas of the north into the midst of frosts and tempests, or lands you in southern seas, on islands blest with happiness and peace!
We often rose at midnight and sat down upon deck, where we found only the officer of the watch and a few sailors smoking their pipes in profound silence. No noise was heard save the dashing of the prow through the billows, while sparks of fire ran with a white foam along the sides of the vessel. God of Christians! it is on the waters of the abyss, and on the expanded sky, that thou hast particularly engraven the tokens of thine Omnipotence! Millions of stars sparkling in the sombre azure of the dome of heaven; the moon in the midst of the firmament; a sea unbounded by any shore; infinity in the skies and on the waves! Never didst thou move me more powerfully with thy greatness, than in those nights, when, suspended between the stars and the ocean, I had immensity over my head, and immensity beneath my feet!
I am nothing; I am only a simple, solitary wanderer: oft have I heard men of science disputing on the subject of a Supreme Being, and I have not understood them; but I have invariably remarked, that it is in the spectacle of the grand scenes of Nature, that this unknown being manifests himself to the human heart. One evening (it was a profound calm) we were in the delicious seas which bathe the shores of Virginia; every sail was furled; I was engaged upon the deck, when I heard the bell that summoned the crew to prayers; I hastened to mingle my supplications with those of the companions of my voyage. The officers, with the passengers, were on the quarter; the chaplain, with a book in his hand, stood at a little distance before them; the seamen were scattered at random over the poop; we were all standing, our faces toward the prow of the ship, which was turned to the west.
The globe of the sun, whose lustre even then our eyes could scarcely endure, ready to plunge beneath the waves, was discovered through the rigging in the midst of boundless space. From the motion of the stern, it appeared as if the radiant orb every moment changed its horizon. A few clouds wandered confusedly in the east, where the moon was slowly rising; the rest of the sky was serene; and towards the north a waterspout, forming a glorious triangle with the luminaries of day and of night, glistening with all the colors of the prism, rose out of the sea, like a column of crystal supporting the vault of heaven.
He who had not recognized in this spectacle the beauty of the Deity, had been greatly to be pitied. Religious tears involuntarily flowed from my eyes when my intrepid companions, taking off their tarred hats, began, in a hoarse voice, to chant their simple song to that God who is also the protector of mariners. How affecting were the prayers of these men, who, from a frail plank in the midst of the ocean, contemplated a sun setting in the waves! How the invocation of the poor sailor to the father of the distressed went to the heart! The consciousness of our insignificance, excited by the spectacle of infinity; our songs, resounding to a distance over the silent waves; the night, approaching with its dangers;
our vessel, itself a wonder, among so many wonders; a religious crew, penetrated with admiration and with awe; a priest, august in supplication; the Almighty God, inclined over the abyss, with one hand staying the sun at the portals of the west, with the other raising the moon in the eastern hemisphere, and lending, through immensity, an attentive ear to the feeble voice of his creature; this is a picture which baffles description, and which the whole heart of man is scarcely sufficient to embrace !' pp. 76-81.
We must be permitted to add another short extract, in which a most enchanting and enviable scene is depicted with uncommon felicity. It was in a vast forest near the cataract of Niagara.
• An hour after sun-set, the moon appeared above the trees in the opposite horizon. A balmy breeze, which the queen of night brought with her from the east, seemed to precede her in the forests, like her perfumed breath. The lonely luminary slowly ascended in the heavens, now peacefully pursuing her azure course, now reposing on groups of clouds which resembled the summits of lofty, snow-covered mountains. These clouds, folding or expanding their veils, rolled themselves out into transparent zones of white satin, dispersed into light flakes of foam, or formed in the heavens bright beds of down so lovely to the eye, that you would have ima gined you felt their softness and their elasticity.
The scenery on the earth was not less enchanting; the soft and blueish beams of the moon darted through the intervals between the trees, and threw streams of light into the obscurity of the most profound darkness. The river that glided at my feet was now lost in the wood, and now reappeared glistening with the constellations of night, which were repeated in its bosom. In a vast plain beyond this stream, the radiance of the moon reposed without motion on the verdure. Birch-trees, scattered here and there in the savanna, and agitated by the breeze, formed islands of floating shadows on a motionless sea of light. Near to me all was silence and repose, save the fall of some leaf, the transient rustling of a sudden breeze, or the rare and interrupted hootings of the owl; but, at a distance was heard, at intervals, the solemn roaring of the cataract of Niagara, which, amid the calm of night, was prolonged from desert to desert, and died away among the solitary forests." pp. 81-83.
Such is the temple where a pure spirit might worship his Maker, where the offerings should be simply the emotions of admiration and gratitude, where the will should be captivated, and the mind entranced, and the affections alone should sacrifice to the Author of all things. Such was the worship of man in Eden, and such it will be in paradise. Yet the reflection, bitter and unwelcome as it is, must be forced on the considerate mind, that from a being who is not only frail but guilty, such devotion is intrusive and presumptuous. services can be acceptable to the Most High which are not preceded by penitence, and offered at the altar of mercy; no unclean or rebellious votary can be admitted to his presence.
It is the glory of Christianity that it promises to reconcile the offended, and to purify the vile; that it renders the throne of God accessible to the creature, and the homage of the creature honourable to God.
Art. XIII. Twenty Short Discourses, adapted to Village Worship, or the Devotions of the Family. Vol. II. Published from the MSS. of the late Rev. B. Beddome, A. M. 8vo. pp. 187. Price 2s.--fine 3s. Burditt, &c. 1807.
are pleased to meet with a second volume of these excellent discourses, as it intimates that the first has been. received with approbation, by the religious public; and the extensive circulation of such writings is a general benefit, which demands our congratulations. Our notice of the first volume (Ecl. Rev. vol. i. p. 948.) was, from circumstances, brief and cursory; though it was the result of an attentive perusal. Our opinion of both the volumes, therefore, is nearly the same; but a just sense of our duty, requires of us, in the present instance, a little more detail in the expression of it.
In these synopses of the sermons which the author delivered in the course of his ministerial services, there are abundant evidences of a rich and vigorous mind, intimate acquaintance with human nature, and perfect familiarity with the sacred Scriptures. His sentiments unquestionably indicate the sacred source from whence they were derived, and the extensive observation and experience, by which they have been applied, explained, confirmed, and exemplified. His style, likewise, is deeply tinctured with scriptural phraseology; it abounds with quotations, illustrations, allusions, and metaphors, from the inspired writers; yet at the same time, it often rises to a freedoin, an elegance, and a dignity, of which contemporary productions do not afford many parallels. His plans are often elegant, and his manner unites, in some measure, the solidity of the old school, with the charms of the modern. The author's talents as a writer, we are confident, would have appeared to much advantage in regular and elaborate composition: his ear seems to have been very susceptible of rhythmi cal harmony, and his best devotional hymns, now dispersed among different collections, may be ranked with those of Addison, Watts, Merrick, Doddridge, and Cowper. In theology he was of the Calvinistic school, approaching, perhaps, even to hyper-calvinism; but he often loses sight of any rigour that might be imputed to his system, in the energy of expostulation and pious intreaty, and affords ample proof, by numberless passages, of his utter aversion from autinomian principles. A reverence for the memory of a good and great man, is our reason, not our apology, for add
ing, that he presided nearly sixty years over a Baptist congregation at Bourton in the Water, Gloucestershire; where he died in his 78th year, Sept. 3, 1795. Some of our readers, probably, could give their testimony to the excellence of his pastoral character, and to the ingenuity, the fervour, and the pathos, of his oral addresses.
These discourses are, in some degree, sui generis. They are far from being finished sermons, and perhaps as far from naked skeletons. We should rather compare them to concentrated essences, which the reader, and especially the preacher, might use at his discretion, diluted into a more acceptable and serviceable form. Hence, though their length would render them very suitable for family worship, they may prove too solid and strong for feeble intellects. As a foundation for serious reflection, and for discourses from the pulpit, they are excellent. To young ministers, especially, they must be a real treasure; not merely as a help in official services, but as a copious fund of religious instruction.
It is unnecessary to enumerate the titles of these sermons. We shall give an extract or two, though we are aware of the disadvantage under which incomplete specimens appear.
The fifth and sixth sermons, on Rev. iii. 20. Behold I stand at the door and knock, &c. are in our esteem, among the best in this volume; they are indeed the most amplified. In explaining the words, the author observes,—
Christ desires to have the soul, with all its powers and faculties, delivered up to him, that he may take possession of it, and fix his residence there for ever: and herein he is influenced by a regard to our interest, as well as his own glory. Our peace and safety in this world, as well as our happiness in the next, depend upon a compliance with his solicitation. If the heart be opened to Christ, heaven will be opened to us: but if the heart be shut against him, heaven will be shut against us. • Christ's manner of knocking is various. Sometimes he does it more faintly, at others more strongly; sometimes more silently, at others more loudly; sometimes with a longer intermission, and at others with a constant succession, one application after another. If one sermon will not do, another shall; if one conviction be stifled another shall arise.-And as the manner, so the means are various. Sometimes he knocks by the law: The commandment came, says the apóstle. Is not my word, saith the Lord, like a fire, and like a hammer, which breaketh the rock in pieces ?-Sometimes by alarms of conscience, which says, as Nathan to David, Thou art the man! When conscience speaks by commission from God, it will make the deaf to hear. Those who will not hearken to the voice of parents, ministers, law or gospel, shall be made to hear the voice of conscience; and in the great day it will speak so loud that both heaven and earth shall hear-Sometimes Christ calls by his providences, especially those of an afflictive nature. Of this we have the remarkable instance of Manasseh, under the old testament, and of the Prodigal Son under the new.Ministers also are instruments in the hand of Christ, to alarm and