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owned the excellent articles which they had subscribed, dissenters' who had renounced the faith of their venerable ancestors, profligates who derided both, and sceptics who despised all; men of every class in opinion, of every rank in attainments, however diversified and hostile on any or on all other subjects, would be found ready to coalesce, in operation at least, when piety was singled out for attack. Without laying aside mutual antipathies, and without engaging in a defensive league, they could yet co-operate in offensive warfare; some even of the worse informed and more intemperate adherents of orthodoxy have unwittingly joined the enemy's standard; and Socinianism has been equally surprised and delighted to find writers, who would tremble at the thought of denying the Lord that bought them,' among her most active and strenuous allies; Miraturque novas frondes et non sua poma. The ardour, therefore, of the party itself, and the disposition of the irreligious among other parties to assist it, has been considerably underrated by those who protested against 'writing the Barrister into notice;' the public ear would soon have been occupied by the applause of his friends, though it had never been solicited by the appeals of his adversaries.
At the same time, it would seem that the talent of the party, or at least its consciousness of strength, was rated a little too high. It was never suspected that want of piety would, in their estimation, so fully compensate for the want of every, thing else that can ennoble the heart or the intellect. It was presumed, that their taste and judgement would equally shrink from such disreputable aid; and that however their prejudices might incline them to favour the undertaking, both pride and policy would forbid them to identify it as their own. We had adopted this mistaken opinion, to some extent, ourselves. We really had no conception that the state of their resources was so pitiable, and the state of their feelings so warm; we little imagined that the appearance of the Barrister in the field would excite such ludicrous extacy among Socinians in all parts of the kingdom, or that after the doctrine of an atoning Saviour had withstood for centuries the united powers of learning and logic, of wit and eloquence, it would have been expected to give way at once before the efforts of mere slander and scurrility. Well may the author of the Vindication' exclaim, in the words of some unspecified writer," Poor Socinianism! through the straitness of the siege wherewith thine enemies have besieged thee, an ass's head is sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver "Let it therefore be shewn that the rational' party has really been so deluded as to fall in love after the manner of Queen
Titania; let it be shewn that the tribunals of the Socinian papacy have, in the plenitude of their critical wisdom, even exceeded the infallible Lord Peter, by recommending to general use an article extremely unlike good Banstead mutton;'-and we are persuaded that such an exposure of degrading fondness and ridiculous joy, of absurd assumption and artful imposture, will not fail of its proper effect on the public mind, nor be speedily forgotten.
We cannot assert that this task has been adequately per formed; for which, there is one very obvious reason. It seemed rather superfluous to prove that the doctrine of the Reformers was not a new gospel; and that its votaries, who are in. variably stigmatized for their excessive preciseness? and godliness, were not bad men. The writers, who have ho noured the Barrister with their notice, have relied too much on the religious knowledge and discernment of their readers; and have left many of his innumerable sophisms and false hoods and absurdities without formal detection, which they thought too glaring to require it. Mr. Styles's pamphlet is in this respect by far the least exceptionable; but it is still too vague and too imperfect. Instead of being A Vindication of Evangelical Preaching,' it should have been, to a greater extent, at least, a Refutation of the Hints;" considered in the character which it assumes, it is highly respectable, and to reflective minds sufficiently convincing; but we could wish it had gone more into detail, that it had imitated the irregular warfare adopted by the assailant, repelled distinctly every attack, closed with him on every point, and driven him successively from all his stations and subterfuges. We are aware that an Answer of this kind would have been somewhat voluminous; to refute all the falsehoods in a book, almost every page of which is crowded with them, would require a performance of twice or thrice its magnitude. Mr. S. does, in effect, dispose of nearly all the Barrister's errors, by arranging them into something like a mass, and exploding them at once; but for the very uninstructed, inattentive, or prejudiced,-and on no other classes could the Hints' have an injurious effect,
we fear that his Answer will not be found sufficiently ample and minute. We should also object to some of the phrases of rebuke, as rather too unceremonious. It is, nevertheless, an useful and interesting pamphlet; it is in many instances ably argued; it is pretty warmly seasoned with sarcasm, and is written in general with great vigour, clearness, and spirit. One proof of its merit the reader may possibly have observed, if indeed any of our readers ever condescend to open the Critical Review, in a singularly spiteful and angry critique, which wails and gnashes and writhes in every line most pite
ously; and which was evidently drawn up, under the Bar rister's own eye, at least, and probably by his own hand. No polemical writer can wish for a more splendid triumph, than to have his arguments merely answered by unsubstantiated reproaches, and his early life scrutinized for marks of ne discretion and topics of abuse which cannot be detected in his book.
A short account of this book, and a few extracts from it, we shall now submit to our readers; reserving to a future occasion some supplementary remarks on the Second Part of the Hints, for which Mr. Styles, we think, has left us room. .The plan this author adopts, is to notice the Barrister's false statements of the actual effect of Evangelical Preaching; his erroneous views of its nature and fallacious estimate of its tendency; and his disingenuous treatment of its advocates. After observing that the Barrister has not produced a single proof of the charge he brings against the actual effect of evangelical doctrines, and challenging him to mention "one solitary instance of an immoral character, known to be such, being tolerated in our religious munities," he proceeds,
But I see your countenance brighten. After a long search you havé discovered one evangelical culprit. It is the the poor man who presented a donation to the Missionary Society of twenty guineas. To be sure, when all the circumstances of the case are considered, this was a sad enormity; and as it is your only fact, you shall be permitted to make the most of it. The man is poor; he has a family; the times are hard ; and, from his trifling earnings, he wrung twenty pounds, and gave them to the cause of missions, thus robbing his children, and embarrassing his circumstances. Such is your statement; and it is certainly calculated to make an unfavourable impression on the public mind. Let us now examine the statement of the man himself.
According to his own confession, he had been a a poor drunkard" and though he obtained twenty-eight shillings per week, when, he chose to work, such were the conséquences of vice, his ແ were in beggary and rags. This appears to have been the state of his morality before he heard Evangelical Preaching; or, as he says, "before I knew the grace of our Lord." But what was the state of his morality after he became infected with evangelical sentiments? It seems he departed from his good old course of drunkenness His family, too, were losers by the change. They lost their rags and their wretchedness.hiv ed in frugal comfort, and actually saved money and put it in the Bank. Nor was this all the poor man not only relinquished his criminal habits of inebriety and extravagance: but he fanatically wished to extend to, others the influence of that religion, which had changed his charact cter, improved his circumstances, and raised him from the degradation of vice to the honours of virtue and the dignity of an intellectual and immortal being. Comparative wealth, frugality, temperance, and public spirit, may be, in
* See Evang. Mag. for Nov. 1807.
your view, a poor exchange for the selfishness of crime, and its dismal consequences. But I rather think the public will applaud that which you harshly condemn; and the religion, which will make the drunkard sober, the idler industrious, and the miserable happy, deserves and will continue to enjoy the sanction of the legislature." pp. 9-11.
The charge against the doctrine of man's depravity, thus expressed by the conscientious Barrister, "it is very evangelical to trace moral evil up to the great Author of our nature," is repelled by a reference to the Mosaic account of the introduction of sin by the fall of Adam;
And what better account,' says Mr. S. have you given of the subject? You admit the fact, that moral evil exists, and you very rationally account for it thus; "it is the effect of acquired habit, of corrupt example, and miscon duct;" that is, depravity is the effect of depravity!!! Your admission goes to prove, at least, a wonderful aptitude in human nature to acquire evil habits, to foilow corrupt examples, and wilfully to turn aside into the walks of iniquity; and may I ask, is this aptitude natural? Is it property inherent in the species, or whence is it derived ?' p. 21.
The doctrine of Christ's vicarious expiation of sin is then vindicated from the misrepresentation and false deduction of the anonymous pamphleteer; and as he and his friends have, with no little exultation, professed themselves too dull to understand how there can be any difference between righteousness and self-righteousness,―a defect of faculty on which they have even attempted to be unusually smart and witty, Mr. S. briefly endeavours to inform their inquiring minds:
When we caution a sinner against self-righteousness, we do not refer to that moral virtue which forms the personal character, but to that pride which represents imperfect virtue as the meritorious cause of justification, and which leads its possessor to deem himself his own saviour, and to reject Christ and his merits, as the only foundation of hope. those who thus rely upon their works, as the ground of their acceptance with God, we consider as "trusting in themselves that they are righteous," without any one claim to the character; for the essence of virtue must be wanting, in the heart that is mercenary and confident, arrogant and proud.' p. 27.
The exposure of the Barrister's blunder, we should be most happy not to consider it as a wilful one,-respecting the doctrine of justification by faith and its tendency, should have been somewhat more ample: it is quite sufficient, however, for those who are capable of understanding that good works may be essentially necessary to final salvation without being its meritorious and procuring cause. Let us add, once for all, that a system which insists on the necessity of habitual, spiritual, scriptural holiness, as preparatory and antecedent Vol. V. O
to the possession of heaven, must necessarily be guiltless of licentious tendency.
Mr. S. then defends Dr. Hawker, and Messrs. Cooper, Burder, Hill, &c. against the accusations of their illiberal and unprincipled defamer; he seems to guess, indeed, that the virulence manifested against Mr. Burder is the effusion of revenge and personal malice. From the concluding remarks, we select the following spirited and even eloquent passage.
• Your pamphlet breathes the very spirit of an incendiary; it is violent without provocation; and, under the mask of zeal for the public cause, it aims, at this TREMENDOUS CRISIS, to spread the horrors of civil discord. At a period when unanimity is essential to our very existence as a nation, when surrounded with foreign enemies impla cable and designing, powerful and persevering, our situation demands the annihilation of every domestic feud, and a generous combination of all ranks and all parties, to support the public burthens, to share the common danger, and to defend the altar and the throne: this insidious production, as if circulated by an emissary of our subtle foe, would break the bond of social compact, and, with the flames of religious persecution, would give the signal for the invasion of our liberties, and the destruction of our laws.
But I am willing to resolve all your indiscretion, your injustice, and your intolerance into unmixed hatred to the doctrine of Atonement. This, I believe to be the fact: your friends, the Socinians, have long endeavoured to reason it out of existence; the Monthly Reviewers wish to have it expunged from the Articles of the Church, and discarded from the Bible; but the inflexibility of government will resist the one, and the mysterious Arm of Omnipotence will prevent the other. Your forlorn hope seems to rest on the ruin of those, who pertinaciously declare that the Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the world." This is your last resource; should you fail in this, you will gnash your teeth in silence. But fail you must; it is a doctrine, in the success of which all Heaven is interested; you must silence the harps of the blessed; you must furnish us with a new Bible; you must take the government of the universe into your own, hands, before you can obliterate the impressions which Calvary has made upon the intelligent creation of God." Whosoever falleth on this stone shall be broken in pieces; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder." pp. 71.-73.
In the strictures on the second Part, which contain many just but rather desultory observations, we find it strongly hinted that Mr. Fellowes, whose sound divinity the Barrister so melodiously psalmodizes, is the manager of the Critical Review; and that the applause which it bestows on the Hints' is the discharge of a debt of gratitude! We have left, however, no space for extending our remarks; and shall therefore quit the subject for the present, with a cordial recommendation of Mr. Styles's pamphlet to the attention of our readers.