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on Midwifery by Dr. Denman. A concise and fair account, as well as a candid examination, is given of the Brunonian system; the solidity of several of its principles being admitted, while the difficulty of its application in all diseases is demonstrated.
The chief defect in this work is a want of originality. It is true that, in a dictionary of any particular science, little is expected beyond an accurate explanation of the several terms, and a faithful report of the latest discoveries in that science, arranged under the appropriate heads. To do this in a proper manner requires, however, no small skill; since it is not sufficient that the matter is obtained from the best authorities, unless it have also undergone a skilful arrangement and compression. But this is rarely accomplished in the work before us; instead of brief and comprehensive reports from various authorities, long unvaried extracts are introduced from some particular writers with such frequency, as to give it too much the appearance of a dictionary of quotations. It is but fair to say, however, that the different articles are in general properly selected, and that the work is on the whole calculated to answer its purpose to the profession. The plates are sufficiently numerous, and are respectably engraved.
Art. XIV. An Exposition of the Historical Books of the New Testament; with Reflections subjoined to each Section. By the late Rev. Timothy Kenrick. With Memoirs of the Author. 3 vols. price 21. 25. p. 1600. Longman and Co.
FROM the biographical sketch which is prefixed to these
bulky volumes, we learn that Mr. K. was born in Denbighshire, Jan. 26, 1759, and received a classical education in a private school at Wrexham. Discovering a predilection for the office of the Christian ministry among the dissenters, he was in his sixteenth year sent to the academy at Daventry, then under the care of Dr. Ashworth, and afterwards of Mr. Robins. He there pursued his studies with exemplary diligence; so that, before he had completed his course, was chosen assistant tutor to Mr. Robins, and afterwards sustained the same office under his successor Mr. Belsham.
On the resignation of the venerable Micaijah Towgood, in 1782, Mr. K. was invited to succeed him in the pastorship of a dissenting society at Exeter: he accepted the charge, but was not ordained till the year 1785. In addition to the pastoral office, he undertook, in 1799, the work of a tutor; and instituted a small seminary, principally with the view of providing a succession of dissenting ministers. In these employments he persevered with unremitting ardour till his death.
In the summer of 1804, having paid a visit to his friends in
Denbighshire, he returned from a short excursion to Chester and Liverpool, on the 22d of August, to Wrexham. Walking out in the evening to the fields which surround the town, he was observed suddenly to fall: medical aid was instantly procured, but with no avail. It was supposed to have been an apoplectic seizure, that in the midst of health and vigour put a period to his laborious life.
Mr. Kenrick's religious sentiments in the earlier part of life are thus described by his biographer.
Some of the first religious impressions on the mind of Mr. Kenrick were accompanied by his admission of the tenets inculcated in the Assembly's Catechism for although it does not appear that this celebrated formulary of belief was put into his hands, yet he had acquired from other quarters its unscriptural views of the divine character and government. One of his favourite books in early life was Dr. Doddridge's "Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul." This treatise, with many claims on approbation, justly incurs the accusation of describing religious excellence as a certain train and state of the affections, rather than as a principle and habit. So powerful was its influence on Mr. Kenrick, that agreeably to a direction and a form contained in it, he drew up and subscribed a solemn act of self-dedication to a holy life. But while he gave this proof of the devout and serious temper by which he was always characterized, his feelings were overcast by a bordering on that despair which Dr. Priestley likewise, as we learn from his memoirs, experienced in his youth, and which proceeded from the same, or nearly the same cause. It was then the practice of Mr. Kenrick to regard God as the arbitrary sovereign of the human race, and not as their gracious Father: he was then perplexed as to the proper object of his worship, and had a constant fear of incurring the displeasure of one of the three persons in the trinity by presenting his addresses to another of them. At a subsequent period, he frequently contrasted with gratitude the doubts and the despondency of his former days, with the serenity and joy arising from his belief in the pure religion of the Gospel.'
For a person, who held such unscriptural notions, to renounce them, and adopt those of Socinianism, was scarcely to be regarded as a change for the worse. It is surely unnecessary to observe, that they receive no countenance either from the writings, or the example, of Dr. Doddridge, or of any other eminent person, whose memory is reverenced by the Christian church in general: and if Mr. K. or his biographer intended to represent them as forming an essential part or consequence of that orthodox faith, which the vast majority of Christians in all ages have maintained, and which he thought fit to abandon for Dr. Priestley's new and improved religion, we must view; it as grossly dishonourable, if not to their integrity, at least to their understanding.
From the time of Mr. K.'s removal to Exeter, his Rosinanté. carried him with accelerated speed, till he had reached the utmost bounds of the Socinian region, and was close to the low
wall which separates it from the wilds of Infidelity. With Dr. Priestley, his adventurous leader, he thought that at death he should take a long nap', till the morning of the resurrection, and for perhaps some thousand years have no more existence than his grandmother's cat. Of what choice materials, what finer clay, must the soul of Mr. Kenrick or his biographer be made, (for that it is composed of clay is well known to 'rational' Christians), so as to be filled, by such an opinion as this, 'with serenity and joy! There is nothing in evangelical religion rightly understood, which will envelope the soul in so deep a gloom: we say, rightly understood: for, whether it be owing to wilful misrepresentation or ignorance, the fact certainly is, that scarcely in twenty years co we meet with one Socinian writer who fairly states its doctrines, of appears to understand them.
Exposition of the sacred Scriptures formed part of Mr. K.'s professional services at Exeter and the proverb Tam pastor quam ovis was again verified; for his hearers were so much pleased with his expository labours, that they sent a respectful request to his widow to allow them to be published at their expence; and likewise two volumes of his sermons, which we have already noticed according to their deserts. (Vol. II. p. 457.)
Each discourse in the three volumes contains an illustration of ten or twelve verses, with a few reflections at the close. A specimen or two will give a sufficient idea of the book.
• Matthew xx. 28. Even as the son of man came to give his life a ran som for many.
To this purpose I devote my time and attention, while I live, and for promoting the same grand and useful design I shall also die, laying down my life as a ransom or deliverance, i. e. the means of deliverance for many : for my death, by affording a clear proof of my divine mission, and preparing the for way my resurrection from the dead, and ascension into hea ven, will furnish men with the most powerful means for delivering them. from subjection to sin, now, and from the fatal consequences of it in another world.
Matthew xxviii. 19. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
That is, baptize them, upon the profession of that religion which came from the Father as its author, which was communicated to the world by Jesus Christ, and confirmed by the miraculous gifts of the holy spirit; by this commission the Apostles were authorized to admit proselytes from all nations, from Gentiles as well as Jews.
Luke xxiii. 43. And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
In answer to the request of the penitent malefactor, Christ promises that he should be in the same state with himself on that day. In order, therefore, to determine where this man was to be, we have only to consider
where Christ was. Now it is evident from the history that Christ died on that day, and was laid in the grave; yet he lay there under the smiles of heaven, and with the certainty of a resurrection. The meaning of Christ then, as illustrated by fact, could be no more than that he should go to the state of the righteous dead; to pious men of former ages, where he should lie in the hope of a resurrection. Agreeably to this notion it has been observed, that according to the opinion of the Jews, paradise was that part of the habitation of the dead which was assigned to righteous and good men. This Jesus might well promise to him, because he discerned in him some promising dispositions, and was convinced, from what he now observed, and from the miraculous knowledge which he had of his charac ter, that the conduct for which he was suffering was to be ascribed rather to the erroneousness of his principles than to the depravity of his heart. John iii. 3. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of
Except a man part with his errors and prejudices, particularly that error which leads so many of the Jews to suppose that the kingdom is to be of a temporal nature, he is not qualified to become my disciple: to see the kingdom of God, is the same thing as being admitted into it.'
From these examples it will be seen, that this is a Socinian commentary written by a sensible and well-informed man, the necessities of whose creed, however, suggest such laws of interpretation as, if applied to the classics, would render them utterly unintelligible. The examples surely require no other remark, than that if such principles be the real doctrines of the Bible, it is the most obscure and ill-contrived book in the world; it is calculated to convey, in almost every page, erro. neous notions, and has in fact conveyed them wherever it has been read; it must therefore forfeit all claims to divine origin, and be considered as the disgrace even of human literature.
We should add, that the work is destitute of any merits that could render it serviceable to those who are satisfied with the plain meaning of Scripture, and have no wish to see it perverted into some kind of conformity with the Socinian creed...
Art. XV. Twenty Short Discourses, adapted to Village Worship, or the Devotions of the Family. Vol. III. Published from the MSS. of the late Rev. B. Beddome, A. M. 12mo. pp. 182. price 2s. 8vo. fine 89. Burditt, Button, Williams and Co. 1808.
HAVING expressed at some length our high approbation of
the second volume of these discourses, (Vol. III. p. 531.) we deem it scarcely necessary to say more, in announcing the third, than that it is in no respect inferior to the two which are already in circulation. Like thein it displays an admirable combination of various excellences; uniting the practical application of genuine scriptural doctrine which prevailed among our reforiners in the sixteenth century, and the preci
sion, point, and method of the seventeenth, with much of the purity and elegance of the eighteenth. We could give instances in which the several qualities are very conspicuous, but must admit only one, which strongly reminds us of the Fathers of the English Church. It occurs in Sermon X. 'on the Connection between Faith and Works;' James ii. 18. Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. The preacher considers the text as a beautiful sarcasm' which gives a severe reproof to his presumptuous hope and carnal confidence of self-deceiving hypocrites; who profess to rely upon Christ as a Saviour, but obey him not as their king; who embrace, his promises, but reject his commands, and sin that grace may abound.' p. 79.
Having observed, 1. that true faith is visible, 2. that it is made visible by its fruits, he says,
It may not be improper here to notice the seeming difference between Paul and James on the subject of works, especially as some may think their statements incompatible with each other, or find it difficult to reconcile them. Paul affirms that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified, and that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. James says, Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. The former shews how a poor self-condemned sinner, trembling on the precipice of eternal misery, may find acceptance with God, and tells us that by the deeds of the law, either before or after conversion, in whole or in part no flesh can be justified. The latter treats not of the ground of a sinner's acceptance with God, but of that which proves him to be a believer, or by which his profession of faith in Christ is justified. The one shews how our persons may be accepted of God, and the other how our faith may be approved of men: the former is by faith without works, and the latter is by works only.' p. 82.
We subjoin the whole of the third division.
III. Those who pretend to faith, and yet are destitute of good works, are awfully deceived.
Such will one day be the scorn of men and angels, and even of God himself. "Shew me thy faith without thy works," if it be possible. The attempt is vain and delusive! You might as well pretend to remove mountains, or dry up the sea. Be not deceived therefore: let such vain words have an end. Can a sinful and unholy creature, who neither fears God nor trusts in the Redeemer, who neither cares about his own soul nor the souls of others, can he be a believer? Can he be possessed of faith who is a stranger and an enemy to holiness? He may indeed have a faith that will answer the purpose of stupifying his conscience, and lulling him into the deep sleep of carnal security; but it will not avail him in a dying hour, nor at the bar of God. It will neither save him from misery, nor bring him to glory. If the heart be unhumbled and the life unholy, duties neglected and corruptions unsubdued, our faith is a mere pretence, and our. hope is all a delusion. That faith, which leaves a man where it finds him,