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passion and rhetoric to enable it to command our utmost attention. No writer, however, whose manner of treating affecting subjects is so still and cold, can ever make this kind. of impression, unless that manner be also distinguished by a deep and invariable gravity; and this quality prevails in the greatest degree throughout these sermons. The homeliness of phrase which we have noticed does indeed much detract from the dignity of the discourses; but the seriousness is never interrupted; we do not recollect one sentence that appears adapted or intended to amuse. The single idea of an amusing nature, excited in perusing this whole volume, has been that of the damp and mortification which will fall on the spirits of any gay fashionable triflers, that may look into these sermons from complaisance to the celebrated name of the author. Perhaps indeed we should not talk of being amused at the mortification which indicates such an unhappy state of mind; certainly we should be glad for any of them suddenly to become so altered, as to be interested rather than repelled by the seriousness; but we fear it will be the lot of very few persons to pass from diversions and gay society to the reading of such passages as the following, with any other sentiment than disgust and recoil.

'Whenever therefore we are driving on in the career of worldly prosperity; meeting with success after success; fortunate, rich, and flourishing; when every thing appears to thrive and smile around us but conscience, in the mean time, but little heeded and attended to; the justice, the integrity, the uprightness of our ways, seldom weighed and scrutinized by us; religion very much, or entirely perhaps, out of the question with us; soothed and buoyed up with that self-applause, which success naturally begets in this no very uncommon state of soul, it will be well if we hear our Saviour's voice asking us, what does all this prosperity signify? if it do not lead to heaven, what is it worth? when the scene is shifted, if nothing but death and darkness remain behind; much more, if God Almighty be all this while offended by our forgetfulness both of his mercies and his laws, our neglect of his service, our indevotion, our thoughtlessness, our disobedience, our love of the world to the exclusion of all considera tion of Him, if we be assured, and if in reality it be the case, that his displeasure shall infallibly overtake us at our death, what, in truth, under all this appearance of advantage, are we getting or gaining? The world may amuse us with names and terms of felicitation, with their praises or their envy; but wherein are we the better in the amount and result of substantial happiness? we have got our aim, and what is the end of it? Death preparing to level us with the poorest of mankind; and after that, a fearful looking for and expectation of judgement; no well-founded hopes of happiness beyond the grave; and we drawing sensibly nearer to that grave every year. This is the sum of the account.' p. 482.


In speaking of the effect which we have felt in reading parts of these sermons, from the cool and somewhat austere

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manner in which the most interesting subjects are presented, we have described something different from the usual course of our experience: from our manner of accounting for it, we shall not be misunderstood to approve, in general, of so cold a manner of exhibiting the subjects of supreme consequence; for popular addresses we condemn it totally. From the causes just specified, taken with our previous respect for Dr. Paley, with the frequent proofs of the same vigorous intellect in this volume, with the circumstance that we read the sermons instead of hearing them, and with the consideration that the author is no more, we have been considerably interested and moved by several passages which maintain singular composure of manner in referring to the good and evil of eternity;' but the general rule for preachers will always continue to be, that since the instructor and the persons instructed have just the same momentous interest in the concerns of religion, he ought to exhibit and enforce with the utmost zeal, what they ought to receive with the deepest emotions of conscience and the most earnest aspirations for the divine mercy. Notwithstanding the seriousness of these sermons, and notwithstanding he may disapprove, on account of its formality, the method of always closing religious discourses by a distinct application of the subject to the conscience and the passions, every pious reader will feel a great deficiency of the requisite zeal, on the part of the preacher, in the shortened and inanimate conclusions of these discourses. It will be felt as if the Christian advocate cared not how soon or how tamely he dismissed his subject, as if he dismissed it without having become more partial to it while unfolding and recommending it, as if he had no tendency to fall into a prolonged expostulation in its favour, as if he had no expectation that his discourse should produce any effect, and as if he felt but little of either sadness or indignation to think it would fail.

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There will be considerable curiosity, and even anxiety, in the religious public, to learn the exact character of Dr. Paley's religious opinions; and each of the chief opposed classes of the believers in Christianity would be glad to find cause to assume so eminent a reasoner as according specifically with their views. As far as we can judge, he is not to be fully appropriated by any one of these classes. It is evident that his judgement was in a state of indecision relative to several important questions; and that candour must suggest, as we have suggested, the magnitude of his labours, in the investigation of the great basis and authority of religion in general, in excuse for his not having devoted a

competent share of attention to the determination of the specific principles, dictated in the inspired book which he so powerfully defended.

It would be more easy perhaps to say what this most able inquirer's opinions were not, than precisely what they were. His ideas of the person of Christ are no where attempted to be formally explained, and are but very slightly unfolded even by passing intimations. As distinct a passage as any we recollect, is the following.

In the mean time, from the whole of these declarations and of this discussion, we collect, that Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, is, at this day, a great efficient Being in the universe, invested by his Father with a high authority, which he exercises, and will continue to exércise, to the end of the world.' p. 348.

To this we may add two other citations.

That a person of a nature different from all other men; nay superior, for so he is distinctly described to be, to all created beings, whether men or angels; united with the Deity as no other person is united; that such a person should come down from heaven, and suffer upon earth the pains of an excruciating death, and that these his submissions and sufferings should avail, and produce a great effect in the procurement of the future salvation of mankind, cannot but excite wonder.' p. 288.

That a great and happy Being should voluntarily enter the world in a mean and low condition, and humble himself to a death upon the cross, that is, be executed as a malefactor, in order, by whatever means it was done, to promote the attainment of salvation to mankind, was a theme they (the apostles) dwelt upon with the warmest thankfulness.' p. 290.

With regard to the death of Christ, he expresses strongly his impression of the mysteriousness both of the appointment itself, and of the manner in which that sacrifice produces its appointed effect; but he fully asserts that it was really and strictly a sacrifice, that it is constituted a part of the economy of human redemption, and that, though in some inexplicable manner, it is efficacious toward that great object. How much we regret that the sermon written to assert this great doctrine, which we regard as absolutely of the essence of the Christian religion, should have been confined to ten pages! We could not but be much gratified to find the respected author decidedly avowing this faith; but it is painful to observe his apparent reluctance to dwell on it even long enough to illustrate its evidence. He says, ' we have before us a doctrine of a very peculiar, perhaps I may say, of a very unexpected kind; and this its peculiarity and strangeness would seem to have caused him an irksome feeling in advancing it. He seems to have quite forgotten,

that exactly in proportion to the degree in which it is of a peculiar and unexpected nature, the proof of its truth ought to have been laboured and complete; whereas he appears to have been haunted by some uncomplacent feeling, which precipitated him through a scanty though appropriate selection of scriptural authorities, connected by short reasonings, and followed by a general conclusion, to escape from the subject as soon as possible by a suggestion or two concerning the moral influence which such a doctrine claims and is adapted to have on our feelings. It was only,' he says, for a moral purpose that the thing was revealed at all; and that purpose is a sense of gratitude and obligation: a position which we do not perfectly understand. We should have thought that the purpose for which that sacred economy was revealed, must be exactly parallel to that for which it was appointed. If it was appointed as a grand expedient for saving men, the leading purpose of its being revealed must be, that men may so understand it, adopt it, and confide in it, as to be saved.

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The sermon which follows the one on the efficacy of the death of Christ, is designed to prove, that all need a Redeemer; and this is done in a plain and rather forcible manner, by displaying the imperfect state of the human character, even in good men, and representing what a slender claim could be founded on such deficient virtues. But though it must, on the whole, be allowed, that the Doctor is not very much a flatterer of his species, we think that, in unfolding the culpable state of the human character, he does not go to the depth and basis of the evil. He seems to regard moral defect, or sin, rather as accidental to individual men, than as radical in the nature of man; and therefore that necessity of a Redeemer, which is primarily to be inferred from the inspired declarations respecting the melancholy moral condition of our very nature, is inferred solely from an enumeration of actual sins and sinners. According to our view of the doctrine of the New Testament, it is not precisely and merely because men have been guilty of a certain number of specific sins, of omission and commission, that they need a Redeemer, (and, on this hypothesis, some men much more than others, as having been guilty of more and greater sins); but more comprehensively and abstractedly, because they are in that radically corrupt state of moral being, of which these specific evils are but the indications and natural results. Nor does our author appear to entertain such an estimate of the operation and awards of the divine law of perfection, as to make the inference from this quarter, as to the necessity of a Redeemer, so absolute and awful as it seems to be made

in the New Testament; for though he judges that on the ground of this law a man could not, by his best efforts, have merited the vast and endless felicity designated by the term Heaven, he is by no means disposed to pronounce that such a man might not have merited on that ground some measure of happiness; much less that the imperfect obedience would have merited punishment. The necessity of a Redeemer that is here insisted on, is therefore of a very modified kind.

To avoid admitting the appointment of a Redeemer as an entirely new economy of the moral relations of men with their Almighty Governor, in regard to the terms of their acceptance, our author briefly proposes a theory, which makes the death of Christ the cause, and virtue, holiness, or a good life,' the condition, of salvation.

• We must bear in mind that in the business of salvation there are naturally and properly two things, viz. the cause, and the condition; and that these two things are different. We should see better the propriety of this distinction, if we would allow ourselves to consider well what salvation is what the being saved means. It is nothing less than, after this life is ended,' being placed in a state of happiness exceedingly great, both in degree and duration, &c.'

After displaying the magnificence of this prospect, he proceeds.

• Will any one then contend, that salvation in this sense, and to this extent; that heaven, eternal life, glory, honour, immortality; that a happiness, such that there is no way of describing it, but by saying that it surpasses human comprehension; will any one contend, that this is no more than what virtue deserves, what in its own proper nature, and by its own merit, it is entitled to look forward to, and to receive? The greatest virtue that man ever attained to, has no such pretensions. The best good action that man ever performed, has no claim to this extent, or any thing like it. It is out of all calculation, and comparison, and proportion, above and more than any human works can possibly deserve. To what then are we to ascribe it, that endeavours after virtue should procure, and that they will in fact procure, to those who sincerely exert them, such immense blessings? To what but to the voluntary bounty of Almighty God, who in his inexpressible good pleasure hath appointed it so to be? The benignity of God towards man hath made him this inconceivably advantageous offer. But a most kind offer may still be a conditional offer. And this, though an infinitely gracious and beneficial offer, is still a conditional offer, and the performance of the conditions is as necessary, as if it had been an offer of mere retribution.

Some who allow the necessity of good works to salvation, are not willing that they should be called conditions of salvation. But this, I think, is a distinction too refined for common Christian apprehension. If they be necessary to salvation, they are conditions of salvation, so far as I can see.

The cause of salvation is the free will, the free gift, the love and mercy of God. That alone is the source, and fountain, and cause of salvation, from which all our hopes of attaining to it are derived.


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