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have pointed my enquiries. I do not know that it is within the com-'; pass of my information to bring any more useful or more proper of. fering to the truth of our faith.'

We entirely agree with the sentiment of the above extract, respecting the importance of the enquiry. When any man, by the force of philosophical speculation, has raised himself superior to local prejudices, and the attachments of soil, the, firit object that itrikes him is the equal extent of territory that has been embraced by the superstition of Mahomet, and the doctrines of Jesus. Both cannot be true in the extent in which they are admitted by their respective followers ; for they contradict each other. The consequence is, that a religion may obtain through various climates, have the most rapid and extensive propagation, stand the test of centuries, be believed on by the virtuous, defended by the learned, and adored by the populace, and yet be false. Upon what principles then are the dogmas of the Arabian prophet to be rejected ? Upon what principles is the system of Christianity to be received ? And, are these two sets of principles in perfeet unison with each other? It' is impossible to propose questions, more comprehensive in their import, and more interesting in their nature.

His second and third discourses are appropriated by Mr. White, to the examination of the previous circumitances under which the doctrines of Mahoniet and Jesus arose. And they appear to have been as propitious to the one, as they were hostile to the other. One particular in the enumeration deserves especial notice.

6. The great and powerful principle of national pride, which pleaded ftrongly in favour of the pretensions of Mahomet, formed. one of the most stubborn and formidable obitacles that opposed the progress of the gospel.

• Called forth to fight the battles of the Lord against an unbelieving world, and confident of victory from the promise of a divine assistance for ever at hand, the Arabian beheld in the religion of his warlike prophet, the grand and only inftrument which could raise his country from obfcurity to glory, from weakness and contempt to power and dominion.

But to the Jewish people, Christianity presented no such flattering views. Its grand and fundamental coarine, faith in an humble, suffering Metvah, obfcured the brightest proipects, and overthrew the fajreft opinions, which a long and uninterrupted tradition, apparently supported by prophecy, had taught them to entertain, Their first step towards embracing the gospel, was founded on the ruin of every hope which ambition had inipired; and previously to their conversion, they were called upon for ever to renounce their, dearest expe&tations of brilliant conquests and unbounded dominion, under the auspicious guidance of a mighty and triumphant deliverer. They could not therefore look but with indignation on the pro


gress of a 'religion, which tended to deprive them of their peculiar privileges and distinctions; to confound them again with the mass of mankind; and to reduce them from that haughty pre-eminence which they had hitherto claimed, to the same level with the surrounding nations, whom they had been accustomed to thun with pious abhorrence, or to fpurn with fullen contempt.'

In the fourth and fifth sermons are traced the characters of the founders of the two religions. These are drawn with a masterly hand : that of Mahomet, we think, with somewhat 100 sombre a pencil, though it fets out with a grand air of impartiality, allowing to tlie impoftor elevated abilities and considerable virtues. But the paflions of luit, and efpecially of cruelty, make rather a more conspicuous figure in the copy, than they do in the original. Mahomet was in some instances politically fevere : we have our doubts whether he: were in any respect naturally cruel.

To the delineation of our blessed lord' however no just exception can be made. It is as accurately conceived, as it is nervously expressed. After an ingenious and striking parallel between the four gospels and the history of Socrates, as delivered by Xenophon and Plato, our author proceeds.

• The impostor of Arabia seized the sceptre, before it was offered to him; the dictator of Rome rejected a crown, which it was both unsafe and dilionourable for him to wear; aud was conscious, that, he had already obtained the folid power of monarchy, while he reluctantly, though oftentatiously refused its gaudy appendages. But far different was the conduct of Jesus Christ. He declined as well the reality of dominion, which Cæfar poffetred, as the appearance of it which Mahomet affumed. He declined them, át a time when by accepting them, he might have gratified the pride of his countrymen, subdued all the prejudices which obstructed the belief of his million, and averted many of the dangers which threatend his life,

Now if bis humility had been only affected, in order to cover designs of which ambition was the hidden motive, there would have been some unguarded moment when the mark would have dropped off. But the whole life of our blessed Lord, in all its vicillitudes, is marked by the fame calm indifference to worldly honours, the fame manly difregard of popular applaufe, the lame exemptiou from the impatience of desire when pre-eminence was offered to himg and from the anguish of disappointment when it was refused.

• Though regardless of the picasures, and sometimes deftitute of the comforts of life, he never provokes our difguit, by the fourness of the milanthrope ;; or our contempt, by the inactivity of the recluse. He never affected gloomy austerity, nor sought to be les questered from the world, in order to preferve the fpirituality of his mind. But his ministry was professedly, and really, destined to active employment; and engaged in promoting the noblett in: rerests of mankind. He therefore freely mixed with them in all the habits of social intercourse : and in those moments, when all tho avenues of the heart are open to gaiety and affection, he filently,



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instructed his companions in the rare, but exquisite art of being chearful without levity, and of uniting folid improvement with harmless entertainment.

. And yet with all the gentleness of a meek and lowly mind, we behold an heroic firmness, which no terrors could shake, and no oppolition could restrain. This union of opposite qualities constitutes, indeed, the distinguishing beauty of his character. It presents us, as it were, with the lights and shades, which, mixed in due proportion, contribute to the finishing of the picture. Had his actions been governed only by the soft and yielding influences of gentleness and compaffion, he never could have compleated a work, which called for the most determined efforts of active zeal and fortitude. Besides this deficiency in point of positive exertion, his conduct, if wholly guided by the gentler principles of the human heart, would have lubjected him to the fufpicion of a blind and irrational impulse; it would have been imputed to a complexional felicity of temper, a mere instinctive benevolence; which having no moral motive, couid be entitled to no praise; and which being destitute of a steady principle, would prove of little benefit to inankind. The conduct of our blessed Lord was, therefore, guided by reason as well as by affection ; and was distinguished as much by an heroic zeal for the truth, and an unrelenting opposition to the errors and wickedness of the times, as by the gentler qualities of meekness, compassion, and forbearance.'

The three following discourses are appropriated to the inveftigation of the evidences of the two religions, as well external as internal.

The ninth sermon, the text of which is the celebrated aphorism of our favigur, By their fruits ye shall know them,” winds up the comparison, by examing the two religions in their effects. In the first place our author considers the characters that belong to the professors of each ; and, fecondly, that he may not be accused of ftating circumstances, merely concomitant, under the idea of cause and effect, lie goes on to show of the two fyftems, “ that the one is naturally destructive of the great principles of human welfare, and the other as naturally conducive to them.” Under his first head indeed Mr. White poffefses the most palpable advantages in the moral, active and intellectual character of Christian states, and the servility, ignorance, and noth of the Mahometans. To the latter he applies the forcible defcription of Tacitus : “ Ut corpora lente augefcunt, cito ex“ tinguuntur ; fic ingenia ftudiaque opprefferis facilius quam

revocaveris. Subit quippe etiam ipfius inertiæ dulcedo : “ et invisa primo defidia, poftremo amatur.”—Though we have not room for the application our author makes of his principles under the second head, there is something so ingenious and philofophical in the introductory reasonings themselves, that we cannot refuse them to our readers,



• FIRST. The influence of religious persuafion must always be great either in improving, or contracting, the faculties of the understanding. Opinions which are the first received and the last parted with, which are united with all the hopes and all the fears of huo manity ; which among the great mass of mankind are seldom doubted of, and feldom are corrected ; cannot be supposed to be indifferent in their effects upon the mind. The understanding is equally fubject to habits, with our other powers ; and according to the manner in which it has been exercised, or to the reach and extent which it has acquired in its cominon exercises, will be its exertion and cha. racter in every other employment. The votary of a weak or narrow superstition, which exhibits its Gods in the shape, and endows them with the passions of mankind; he whose mind has been accustomed to no higher forms of excellence, and to no brighter objects of contemplatiop than the doctrines which such a religion affords, cannot ealily be imagined to poffefs an understanding much elevated or improved ; and will not carry to other employments that liberal and enlightened spirit which rational speculations excite and confirm. So far as the influence of its truths upon his under. {tanding extends, his religion will tend to contract it; the difficul. ties which oppose its progress will be so far increased, as its former habits have blinded or weakened it; and amidst this general depres. sion, it can only resume its powers, when some unusual and im. portant concern calls them forth, and leads them beyond the limits which had been formerly imposed upon them. A religion, on the contrary, which exhibits sublime objects of contemplation; which arrays its Deity in every poslible excellence; and which mingles none of the infirmities of man with the perfections of heaven; may naturally be supposed to improve and to exalt the human under. standing. By giving it in its common and permanent employments an object of transcendental excellence and magnitude, by accustoming it to high ideas of wifdom and perfection, it must even in fenfibly have an influence in stamping a fimilar character on all its exertions: and while to the mind and views of the philofopher it affords a portion of the fame fublimity and spirit, to the common habits of opinion also it communicates somewhat of the same ex. tent, and marks with bolder features the general character,

• But the great influence of religious opinion upon the powers of the human understanding, ariles from the information which it gives to man of his nature and end. All excellence is relative to the lituation in which it is shewn; and before any kind of ambition can be excited, it is first necessary to know what it is that ambition can attain.

• In the ordinary business of life the exertions of mankind arc proportioned to the probability of success. No greater industry is exerted, and no greater variety of intelligence acquired, than what seems necessary for the station in which it is probably to be brought into use. The differences of fortune and condition thus in a very obvious manner affect the capacities, or acquisitions of the mind. The poffeflor of rank and opulence, who is raised by fortune to the higher conditions and the greater duties of life, feels himself called upon for wider views and more liberal accomplishments than the ge


nerality of mankind : and if he poffeffes the common ambition of his Itation, he will proportion his efforts to the opportunities which are offered to him, and to the expectations which are formed of him. The poor man,

on the contrary, concerning whóm no such expectations are entertained, and whole life is probably to be pailed in domestic duties and corporcal labour, as naturally accommodates his mind to the situation in which he is to act : and feldom is folicitous about any acquisitions either of knowledge or of virtue, which are not demanded by his condition : and thus the inequalities of rank and of fortune, which are produced by the improvements of society, have a natural and obvious tendency either to exalt or to depress the capacities of their poliefiors, and to adapt all their exertions to the fituation in which they are to be employed. It is in the fame manner that religion operates on the mind of man. From religion only he learns what are the final views and expectations of his being ; for what purpose his mental powers were given; to what ends they Jead; and what higher degrees of excellence they may yet receive. He, will, therefore, we led to accommodate bis ambition and his desires to the senfe he pofleffes of bis nature. The consciousness of greater capacity for virtue, will be attended with a stronger sente of obligation to become virtuous.

To the poor native of unenlightened countries, what motives can his religion afiord tò excite the ardour, or the activity of his mind? The service of Deities little elevated above the rank of man, cannot much improve his opinion of the consequence of his being, or animate bis desire of their favour; and a long Futurity to be passed in the same occupations which now engage him, or in the narrow circle of animal enjoyment, cannot produce in him any bigher conceptions of the dignity of his nature, or animate him to the exertion of any other powers, than those that are to be employed in the life for which he thinks himself destined. Little raised in his pursuits above animal life, he will have founething contracted and abject in all his hopes. He fees before him an indistinct prospect of happiness in corporeal indulgence, or indolent repose: he therefore is prompted by instinct, and directed even by 'reason, to accommodate himself to this definy of his nature ; and lie thinks it folly and delufion to disquiet himself about any higher pursuits than those in which Eternity seems to be engaged. No views of mental improves ment have ever dawned upon his mind; and he leaves the world, as he entered it, ignorant of all the nobler capacities of his nature, and uninstructed in the dignity of his being by those religious en: couragements and affiutances, which alone could instruct him.

• How different is the influence of enlightened religion ? Taught by this,'man becomes acquainted with the character of his being. Regarding himself no longer as the groveling inhabitant of earth, he extends his hopes beyond the reach of animal enjoyment. He finds himself deilined to immortal life; he feels himself endued with the capacity of eternal happinefe. To this fublime end his mind almost involuntarily endeavours to fit itself. His imagination, his understanding, his heart áfume new energy and extent, as they are employed on lo boundleis å scene, And while he looks forward to those brigh¢


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