Billeder på siden

In the Lectures here published, Mr. Hall proceeds on this plan. He does not profess to have discovered any new road, but to conduct his hearers and readers through an interesting country, previously occupied and described. A short and modest preface thus explains his design:

• It is the purpose of the following discourses to consider, at large, what is meant by the scriptural expression, “ Fullness of Time," or in other words, to point out the previous steps, by which God Almighty gradually prepared the way for the introduction and promulgation of the Gospel. In such a design, there is little to awaken the attention of the learned theologian; and, in fact, the author has only attempted to bring under one view, and to render generally intelligible, topics and arguments, which in the writings of our best and ablest divines have long ago been separately and thoroughly investigated.'

In the first sermon, Mr. Hall still more clearly explains his object, in the following words : I shall attempt to shev, that the whole of God's moral government of the world, and all the complicated events in the history of mankind, were, in fact, nothing more than a preparation, under the guidance and control of his providence, for the introduction of the Christian Religion ; “ the mystery ordained before the world,” “ hidden from ages and generations,” and by the mercy of God made manifest at last.' In prosecuting this design, Mr. Hall takes a view of the history of the Jewish people, explaining the reasons of their being preserved separate from the nations of the earth, and the uses of their religion as preparatory to that which was to be “ the fullness of grace and truth.” He disa courses also on the testimony of prophecy, and maintains that the preservation of the Jews as a distinct race, through all their fortunes and revolutions, is a standing evidence in favour of revealcd religion! He does not forget to notice the state of the world without the limits of Judea, and particularly the series of events under the four great antient monarchies, by which the world was brought into that particular situation which was most likely to facilitate the dissemination of the Gospel. He distinctly shews, as Dr. Robertson had admirably done before him, that there was a peculiar fitness in the period at which our Saviour entered on his public ministry; and he concludes this course of sermons with descanting on the universality and perpetuity of the Christian religion,

If in these lectures the preacher has thrown no new light on the evidences of revealed religion, he has discovered a commendable knowlege of his subject, with considerable judgment in arranging and ability in managing the argument.

We shall extract a short specimen of the author's manner, from the Discourse on Christianity as an universal rcligion.


• Compare

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

· Compare the Gospel of Christ with the Law of Moses, with the Koran of Mahomet, or with the multifarious superstitions of the Heathen; and then you will confess the decided superiority of the Christian Law. The moral precepts of the Gospel are adapted to every possible variety of climates, of situation and of employment: they all Aow from the source of universal charity, that charity which teaches us that, as the children of one common parent, as subject to the same vicissitudes of misery and happiness here, and heirs of the same immortality hereafter, we are to commiserate and relieve each other, to live for others more than for ourselves, and to “ do unto all men, as we would they should do unto us.” The duty of prayer, the secret unostentatious worship of the heart, which God, under a former dispensation, had declared to be more valuable and more pleasing to him than all the incense of sacrifice and burnt-offering, and which Christ enjoined by his precepts and sanctioned by his prac. tice :--this great duty is as universally practicable, as it is univer. sally obligatory.

The Christian is not called upon like the Jews of old, or the Maho. metan of our days, to quit his usual residence, and his ordinary oco cupation, to traverse distant and inhospitable countries, and to prostrate himself before the altar of his God at a stated season and in a particular place; he is not burdened with a yoke of particular ceremonies, of periodical ablutions, which purify the body, but not the heart; or of minute and trifling observances, which vex and harass the mind, instead of relieving and consoling it. The two simple sacraments, which mark the profession of his faith, interfere with no local duty, and interrupt none of the necessary occupations of civil life: and his first and earliest lesson, to love his God, to believe in him, to serve him, and to pray to him in secret, it is easy for him to practise at all times, and in all circumstances, in the place of his customary residence, in the bosoin of his family, or in the private recesses of his closet.

• Thus, while the moral precepts and the religious exercises of Christianity are adapted to the circumstances of every individual, the religion itself, as a system, is compatible with every form of political suciety. While it is indeed the only basis upon which any government can exist with stability and firmness, it neither prescribes to man any particular form of government, nor refuses to connect itself with any. It gives the outline, the great and fundamental principles, upon which the very existence of civil society depends, moderation, good order, and submission to established authority: but it leaves to the wisdom of man to determine in what way those principles are to be applied ; and what form of public institution is most congenial to his character and his circumstances, and most likely to ensure his happipess' (p. 254 6.)

The sermons are nine in number ; and it is from the last that we have selected the specimen here given, which may pro. bably excite in some of our readers a curiosity that our limits cannot conveniently, at this time, farther gratify.

Moo.y. Ant


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ART. IV. Twenty-two Sermons, on various Subjects, selected from the

Works of the Rev. Isaac Barrow, D. D. late Master of Trinity
College, Cambridge. 8vo. Pp. 469. 55. Boards. Cadell
jun. and Davies. 1798.
His selection from the works of an author of such eminent

reputation as Dr. Barrow possessed, in the line of his profession and in other studies, will be gratifying to many readers. Charles II. was accustomed to call the Doctor " an unfair preacher," because he so exhausted every subject which he undertook to discuss, that he left nothing to be said by those who succeeded him : indeed, his discourses are known to be replete with matter. It may have been expected that this re-publication of them should be introduced by an account of the learned author; whom some may suppose, from the title, to have lately enjoyed the Mastership of Trinity College, Cambridge: but, so far from presenting a life of the Doctor, the volume has neither preface nor advertisement; and the reader is left to his own conjectures respecting the motives of the publication, and the reasons for the profound silence of those who superintended the Clarendon press on this occasion*

It does not fall within our duty to supply this deficiency: but, as there are many to whom these sermons will be new, and whose admiration of them may induce a wish to know something of the author, we think it proper to inform such persons that the life of Dr. Isaac Barrow has been frequently written, and is to be found in all our general biographical compilements. He was born in the year 1630; was the predecessor of the great Sir Isaac Newton in the mathematical chair; was appointed to the Mastership of Trinity by royal patent in 1672, King Charles complimenting him at the time by saying that he had conferred the dignity on the best scholar in England; and he died on the 4th of May 1677, in the 47th year of his age, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a monument has been erected to his memory.

Though, however, we cannot undertake to write again what has been so often written the life of Dr. Isaac Barrow,-it may not be improper to give the following concise account of his works, that our readers may be apprised from what parts of them the selection now published has been made.

In 1683, all Dr. Barrow's English works were published in three volumes folio, by Dr. Tillotson, afterward Archbishop of Canterbury. The first of these volumes contains thirty-two Şermoris, on several occasions, with a brief Exposition of the

[ocr errors]

* The volume comes from the Clarendon press at Oxford.



Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Decalogue, and the Doctrine of the Sacrament :-also, a Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy, and a Discourse on the Unity of Faith. The second volume contains, Serinons, and Expositions on the Articles of the Apostles' Creed. The third volume contains forty-five Sermons on several occasions : to which is added a Defence of the Trinity.

In addition to Dr. Barrow's Mathematical Treatises, which were published in Latin by himself, there was given to the public, in 1687, a fourth volume, entitled “ Isaaci Barrow, S.S.T. Professoris, Opuscula," &c.

Sermons 1 and 2 of this octavo volume are the 36th and 37th of the third volume of Dr. Barrow's works; the 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th, are the 39th, 40th, 41st, and 42d of the same volume; 7, 8, are the 4th and sth of volume 2 of the works. Sermon 9, is the ist sermon of volume 1, and is the only one taken from that volume. Sermons 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, are the 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 12, 13, 4, 45, 23, of the third volume of the works; and sermon 21, of the octavo, entitled a Defence of the Blessed Trinity, is at the end of the 3d volume of the works.

Why these discourses are so transposed from the order in which they stand in the works, we do not know; and we are equally ignorant of the principle which governed the selection : but the object, no doubt, must be good, and many will be thankful for having their attention thus invited to the works of a Divine who has been celebrated for a strong and comprehensive mind.


Art. VI. Memoirs of the Courts of Berlin, Dresden, Warsaw, and Vienna, in the Years 1777, 1778, and 1779.

By N. W. Wraxall, Esq. Svo. 2 Vols. 145. Boards. Cadell jun. and

Davies. 1799. T! HOUGH few subjects furnish more interesting matter than

may be derived from anecdotes of living characters, yet they are too frequently ushered into the world under very exceptionable circumstances. Nevertheless, in proportion as they contain amusement they will find readers; whence it sometimes happens that a work of this kind is received with avidity, while the publication of it incurs general censure. In the memoirs under present consideration, we have particularly to commend the writer's sense of propriety in this respect. Though originally collected with a view to publication, their appearance has been delayed by a reluctance to disclose facts of a private nature, during the lives of the persons to whom


they related. The lapse of more than twenty years has fully emancipated the author from these restraints,' by the decease of the individuals principally mentioned.

To these Memoirs, as to his former Tours, Mr. W. has given the form of letters. The allusion to recent events, in the preface, appears to us ill placed. It is a misapplication of the use of comparison, to adduce great crimes as exculpatory of others with which they have no connection. Anarchy has sins enough to confess, without making it answerable for despotism and superstition.

The first letter dated from Hanover, September 1777, contains many curious anecdotes concerning the house of HaTrover; among which is a relation of the principal circumstances attending the death of Count Konigsmark, and an account of the last illness and death of King George I. These latter particulars, which were received from a domestic who then attended his majesty, and which are therefore to be regarded as authentic, differ from the generally received accounts respecting the time and place of his decease.

• No remonstrances (we are here told) or expostulations could prevail on his majesty to stop at Ippenburen. He had only 18 miles from thence to his brother's palace at Osnabrugh, where he knew that every accommodation and aid could be procured. His tongue began to swell, his senses to fail, and his articulation to become indistinct. But, as long as he could make himself understood, he continued to repeat • Osnabrugh! Osnabrugh!' They therefore hurried on, in hopes of reaching that city while he was still alive, though the king was fallen totally senseless into the arms of one of his attendants, a gentleman ramed Fabrice. The place where he expired is difficult to ascertain ; but it is believed that he breathed his last, as the carriage mounted the high hill out of lppenburen. The body was, indeed, still warm when they arrived at Osnabrugh, where his veins were cut, and every method was vainly used to recover him, as he never gave any sign of life after leaving Ippen- . buren.'

The ad letter (dated from Zell) contains a history of the arrest of the unfortunate Caroline Matilda, queen of Denmark, of Struensee, and of Brandt. The next four letters are dated from Berlin, and are almost wholly occupied with an account of the actions of Frederic the Second, and a review of the principal campaigns during his reign, particularly those of the seven years' war.

Mr. W. declares himself not disposed to be the panegyrist of Frederic, yet appears to be little less than an enthusiastic admirer of his qualities; ranking him as superior to all other princes, not only of the present but of any age, Cæsar excepted, for his talents, equally adapted to the field and to the cabinet, to active as well as speculative Dd4


« ForrigeFortsæt »