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general, it is undoubtedly true, that mankind suffer nothing of affliction and misery in this world, in comparison with their guilt and their just deserts in the sight of God. I suppose that in the administration of Providence under the mediatorial government, there is no such rule upon this subject, as there was under the Theocracy, when men, haying filled the measure of their iniquity, were dealt with judicially, and the utter destruction of whole cities and nations was made a type of the eternal punishment which is to come upon the wicked in the future world. Without enlarging upon this subject, which is capable of a very clear illustration from the Scriptures, I proceed to the practical difficulties of the case in hand; assuming that if this fever had been sent judicially as a punishment for certain sins, the cause, the infliction and the effects, would correspond with the like cases under the ancient dispensation, which are referred to, and reasoned from, by those who hold the affirmative of this question. · First, then, it is natural to ask why the fever was sent upon the city the present instead of last year, or year before, since no other great calamity occurred in place of it during those years ? Why in 1819, and not before, since 1805 ? Can it be shown that there has within two or three years been an extraordinary increase or aggravation of those sins which are alleged as the cause of the visitation ? Is there more wickedness and less piety in proportion to the number of iphabitants than formerly? Did the guilt of last year, added to that of former years, fill up the measure of iniquity ? Why then was not the place destroyed ? Why, upon the principle supposed, has no general calamity fallen upon London for a century past, though the same sins which are referred to as the cause here, have, probably, to a far greater extent, prevailed there for a thousand years.
Secondly. Why did not the calamity or judgment fall wholly or at least chiefly upon those most guilty of the sins specified ? Why were not the chiefs and ringleaders of flagrant immorality punished ? Why was there not, as under the Theocracy, a marked and effectual discrimination between those who feared God and those who feared him not? These and many similar questions touching the reasons of the administration of Providence in the different cases, demand an answer.
Thirdly. Why has this calamity been withdrawn and no other taken its place, if it was a judicial visitation ? Have the alleged causes ceased to exist ? Have the people at large repented and reformed ? Has any shadow of change taken place for the better in this respect ? On the contrary, is it not notorious, and matter of general remark, that every description of immorality and impiety is indulged in since the fever with more audacity and greediness than at former periods?
Fourthly. Have the effects of this visitation upon the community, or upon any portion of it, been answerable to the magnitude of the causes alleged ? Is it clear that the inhabitants have suffered more by this calamity than they would have suffered in the ordinary course of Providence without it? Is it not known and acknowledged, that fewer of the inhabitants have been sick during the late season than is common when there is no* yellow fever; that there have been fewer deaths
Thoughts on the late Fever.
than is usual in the same period of time, especially in the summer ; that other forms of sickness during this fever in a great measure disappeared; that the instances of other modes of sickness were comparatively mild ?-If this was a special judgment sent to punish certain sins, where are its effects ?
Fifthly. It'this visitation was a special judgment upon this city, what shall we say of hundreds of places in the interior of the country where sickness has prevailed much more generally and fatally than here, in proportion to the population ?
I might multiply inquiries of this nature, but it were superfluous. But it may be asked, why disturb the common notion upon this subject, which if it be erroneous may be supposed to have some salutary influences ? I answer :
1. They are, I apprehend, mistaken, who imagine that any good effects result from the common opinion upon this subject. This opinion has no doubt some transitory influence upon the fears of the sordid, the ignorant, the superstitious, and the impenitent generally, of all descriptions; but it is transitory; it is mere panic, and when the subjects of it have got out of town, or otherwise imagine they have escaped the danger, they manifest increased hardness of heart, and greater boldness in iniquity. This fear and panic, so far from awakening men's minds to a sense of their guilt, and their obnoxiousness to endless misery after death, or to a sense of their obligations and duties towards God, seems, so far as I know, to affect them rather as animals, than as rational and accountable creatures.
2. If the common opinion upon this subject had some good effects, still it is safer and better to inculcate correct than erroneous views of this and every other question affecting the doctrines of Revelation, the events of Providence, and the duties and religious concerns of men. Indulging the current notion, wicked men who escape the ca. lamity, are apt to bless themselves for their good fortune, and to imagine that they are spared for some merit of their own, instead of feeling that the continuance of their lives, when they are secure, and apprehend no danger, is as great an instance of Divine forbearance and mercy, as when they are filled with fear and consternation ; that there is no safety living or dying without repentance and obediencc to the Gospel, and that they are held by the enduring bonds of moral obligation and the laws of God, to answer at the bar of judgment for the deeds done in the body, and there to be dealt with judicially, according to their deserts. Here they experience little else but mercy, being respited till the day of judgment from the judicial consequences of sin. Those mercies and afflictions of this life, which flow in the ordinary course of things from the apostacy of the species, do not discriminate the evil from the good, and these dispensations, which display the Sovereignty of God, are not peculiar to any class of characters, or any definable instances or degrees of guilt, or any certain conjuncture of outward circumstances. When the period of mercy and forbearance terminates, retribution will succeed, and the wicked will be judicially punished.
For the Christian Herald.
I saw beside the grassy tomb,
A little coffin fair ;
Received a sigh from all;
Which hid them from her view;
Impressed the last fond kiss ; And often would she then declare“No grief was e'er like this !”
VI. “What have I done to anger God?
Oh! tell me now I pray :-
When closely standing by :
To call a wandering sheep;
And still refused to come ;
Or turn to seek her home.
At last the gentle shepherd took
Her little lambs from view!
She turned-and followed too !
REVIEW. ThoughTS ON THE ANGLICAN AND AMERICAN-Anglo Churches. By
John Bristed, Counsellor at Law, ..uthor of the Resources of the United States of America, fc. New-York : John P. Haven. Boston : Samuel T. Armstrong. 1822. 8vo. pp. 500.
(Concluded from page 397.) It is a fault of some consequence, that the author should have avoided all reference ; and also that he should have dispensed, in his numerous extracts, with the usual marks of quotation. As reviewers, perhaps, we ought pot to intimate that the former fault were of any consequence to us, but from the latter we felt many times a serious inconvenience : for instance ; our hearts were in full and glowing sympathy with our author, while reading the eloquent passages in pages 327 and 329, instead of Rev. Dr. Mason, to whom the whole is fairly attributed, though without the distinct marks which generally and properly run through an extract. We must also distinctly make a complaint against the arrangement, or rather the nonarrangement, of these “ Thoughts." They are exceedingly interesting ; exceedingly well worth perusing over and over again ; but after having become familiar with every page, we feel utterly unable to give any regular analysis. The author may have thought, that a work which one could never open amiss, and which might as well be read from the middle as from the beginning, would be the most interesting and useful. We think otherwise. Reviewers have indeed some special reasons for desiring regularity of arrangement, and we confess that in searching regularly for needful illustrations, we were at length compelled to give up in despair. We then determined, more sagaciously, to open the book at a venture, and one hour's labour, at hap-hazard, showed us that we had at length got the best clue to all the scattered stores of this richly furnished labyrinth. We beg our readers to buy the book, and if they do not justify all our strictures, we feel quite sure that they will agree with us that they have obtained one of the most characteristic, interesting and efficient works which has lately issued from the American press :—a work which may have a dull sale in America, but of which a third English edition may arrive in this country, while there may be a large pile of this first edition in showy array on the shelves of its publisher.
We are perfectly ready to admit, that a church establishment is not at all necessary to preserve a nation from irreligion and heatbenism, or to secure the entire diffusion of Christianity in a nation. If the contrary position were correct, our author fairly asks : “How VOL. IX.
did Christianity gain ground, and maintain itself, during the first three centuries of its rise and progress ;—not only without, but in direct opposition to the power and force of the state? In the fourth century, Constantine, a mere politician, was some time balancing in his own mind, whether he should establish Paganism or Christianity as the state religion ; and finally determined in favour of Christianity, because he thought it, on the whole, at that time, to be the stronger of the two rival candidates for imperial favour.”
He does not, however, fully express, or even seem to admit another proposition, which, however, finds ample proof in his own pages; viz. that a church establisbment, which maintains the main doctrines of Christianity, cannot prevent, though it may obstruct their diffusion among its own proper subjects. He admits that the leaven of Christianity is powerful enough to pervade a lump of heathenism, but seems somewhat to doubt its energy when it enters the mass of formal Christianity. He glories in the triumph of the Gospel over established paganism, but doubts its power to subdue the contempt, and the opposition, of its worldly minded friends. We, on the other hand, agreeably to our remarks in the last number, believe, that it will work its soccessful way in a corrupt establishment; that its triumphs will be ered more glorious over the dignified enemies of its own household, and that in the progress of so grand a victory, it will subserve itself of that powerful machinery which has been worked so long and so efficiently in the service of the enemy.
The greater part of our author's statements casts much darkpess, we know, over this prospect. Turn, for instance, to the following spirited statement :
" The doors of the Anglican Church establishment are always open for the admission of ministers, who are entire strangers to the grace of Christ; devoid of Christian knowledge; lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God; profane, car. ing for no man's soul ; companions of the upholy ; making a gain of godliness, and entering the state church from the most degrading motives, that they may revel and fatten upon its revenues; while their hearts are radically hostile to the sacred function which they assume; and to the evangelical doctrines of the church, which they plunder and disgrace.
« Are such ministers calculated to promote piety, and prevent paganism, in a nation ? calculated to bring man into a covenant of grace with his offended Maker, when they are themselves enemies to God by wicked works? Are the mere, careless repetitions of a form of prayer, and the hurried, heartless reading of a printed, or a borrowed sermon, to manifest the presence, and call down the grace of God, upon the attendants in a parish church? What an awful proportion of these episcopally ordained clerks still remain in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity; and go forth to take possession of the church benefices and dignities ; procured for them, either by money, in the way of purchase and barter, or by fainily connexions and interest, or by political infuence and exertion ; for what? only to counteract and destroy the beneficial tendencies of the Gospel, with whose precepts and principles, their whole secular lives are at variance; to swell the triumphs of infidel and wicked men; and to tread in the foot tracks of that primitive bishop, who, after he had swallowed the sop, went out and betrayed the Lord of life."-pp. 258, 259.
Also: "In England, as a necessary consequence of the intimate alliance between church and state, the established clergy are, for the most part, trained up to their holy vocation, in the same manner as to any secular calling ; and generally