Page images

who is bowed down with years. Without this, an old man is but the lame shadow of that which once he was. They honour him too far that say he is twice a child. There is something in children that carries a becoming prettiness with it, which is pleasing and of grateful relish. But ignorant old age is the worst picture that time can draw of man. It is a barren vine in autumn, a leaky vessel ready to drop in pieces at every remove, a map of mental and corpcreal weakness; not pleasing to others, and a burden to himself. His ignorance and imbecility condem him to idleness, which to the active soul is inore irksome than any employment. What can such a one do when strength of limbs shall fail, and the love of those pleasures which helped him to mis-spend his youth, shall, through time and languid age, become dull and blunted ? Abroad he cannot stir, to amuse himself with what passes in the world; nor will others be fond. of coming to him, when they shall find nothing but a man, composed of diseases and complaints, who for want of ķuowledge hath not discourse to keep reason company. Like the cuckoo, he

may be left to his own moultering in some hollowed cell: but since the voice of his spring is gone (which yet was all the note he had to take us with) he is now no longer listened to, and in his melancholy hole he lazeth his life away. If study were valuable for nothing else, yet it would be highly so for this; that it makes a man his own companion without either the charge or the cumþer of company. He is neither obliged to humour nor to Hattera He may hear his author speak as far as he likes, and leave him when he does not please him, nor will he be angry though he be not of his opinion. It is the guide of youth, to manhood a companion, and to old age a cordial and au antidote. If I die tomorrow, my life to-day will be somewhat the sweeter for knowLedge. The answer was good which Antisthenes gave, when he was asked, what fruit he had reaped of all his studies. By then (said he) I have learned, both to live and discourse with my self.

The volume is excellently printed, and we sincerely hope that the publication will answer the intention of the editor in making the “Resolves of Owen Pelltham once more a popular book.

The Plausible Arguments of a Romish Priest from Scrip

ture and Antiquity answered, by an English Protestant. Rivingtons. pp. 143. ERE are two treatises in this little book, both writ

ten by the learned and very Rev. Thomas COMBER, D. D. who died Dean of Durham in 1699; the first was



written in 1686, and the second in the following year. They were reprinted in 1735, and are recited among those tracts of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, which are out of print. We regard Dean ComBER as one of the best of those profound and deeply read divines who graced the two centuries preceding the last. If we did not possess his immortal work on the Liturgy; the list of authors cited in the margin of the second of these tracts might give us some idea of the extent of his reading. These small but useful treatises made their first appearance at the time when popery inade its tremendous effort at the close of James the Second's reign ; they again passed through the press during those machinations of the papists which manifested themselves in the rebellion of 1745 ; and have again come forth on the recent ayi. tation of what is called the Catholic Question, or the admission of the papists in Ireland (and if in Ireland, in England too, of course) to all the rights and privileges enjoyed by Protestants. Whilst we have received great consolation in the assurance that the late premier, Mr. Pitt, never pledged himself, or his country, to accede to the demands made by the Irish papists; we have been glad to see that the present advisers of the King do not mean to give way to them; and that the papists them, selves, convinced that the new adıninistration is inimical to their extravagant claims, have come to a resolution to suspend the wging of them for the present. Popery, however, is ever at work; and it must always be necessary to supply the unlettered Protestant with arguments to defeat its pretensions and expose its fallacies. These are abundantly set forth in the work before us; and the person in possession of it, need fear „no artifices of the papists. The book is drawn up in the form of dialogue, and ably discusses the principal points in dispute between the Catholic and Romish churches, in the following order; the claim of the church of Rome to be the catholic church, exclusively, and to have the sole power of the keys; the infallibility of the pope; tradition, and the interpretation of Scripture; praying before images, and the invocation of saints, angels, and the virgin; the use made of reliques; prayers in an unknown tongue; tratisubstantiation, the denial of the cup to the laity; auricular confession and penance; purgatory; the celebacy of the elergy, and the monastic vows; and exorcism. In the first tract the plausible arguments drawn from Scripture

3 M2


are answered, and in the second those drawn from antiquity, from the fathers, that is, pseudo-fathers.

It remains that we give a specimen or two of the way in which the work is executed. It is vigorously written, in a plain but forcible style; it abounds with many happy turns, and there is now and then a kind of chastened wit discoverable, by no means improper in a work of this sort. Dulness has no necessary connection with sound theology; and of two works equal in other respects, the wittier must be the better. The way in which Elijah jeered the prophets of Baal,never gave us any offence, We find no fault with the wit of Erasmus, nor the satire of Buchanan. The lively sallies of Bishop Jewell have ever delighted us. We check not at the point of South, nor the humour of Horne, nor the pleasantry of Sykes.

On the subject of witholding the cup from the laity, the Dean argues thus:

“ Prot. Pray then before we leave this subject, will you tell me, how the making only some (that is the priests) to drink of the cup, can possibly be the meaning of Christ's words, “ Drink ye

all of it?' Matt. xxvi, 27.

“ Pop. PRIEST. Why, it is plain the aposles were priests and not lay-men, and it was only to the apostles that Christ spake these words; and though we forbid the people to drink of this cup, yet we command the priests to do it.

“ Prot. Was it not also only to the apostles that Christ said then, 'take eat, this is my body,' ver. 26. and will it not follow by your way of arguing, that none but priests must eat of the bread, and that the people must receive neither bread nor wine: you know the apostles stood then in the place of lay-men and represented the congregation as Christ did the priest, so that St. Paul plainly applies to the people, the commands both of eating and drinking, which Christ gave at first only to his apostles; and nothing is more evident, than that all the people at Corinth did drink of the cup, some of them too largely, 1 Cor. x. 21. Ye cannot drink the cup of the lord, and the cup of devils. And chap. xi. 21. • In eating, every one taketh' before other, his own supper, and one is hungry, and another is drunken. And ver. 27, 28, 29. and chap. xii. 13.? We have all been made to drink into one spirit.' So that I wonder how you dare call the contradicting Christ's commands and the precepts and practice of the apostles, the true sense of Scripture, and why you rob the people of one half of the sacrament.

“Pop. We rob them of.nothing, because we declare we give them whole Christ, which is contained fully under either species. « PRoT. This is no more than if one who clipt off half the

king's coin should say it was still current money: the very

de claration itself supposes that our Lord instituted two species, when one was sufficient; and so to excuse yourselves of impiety you accuse him of doing things in vain: and since Christ is here set out as having suffered for sin, and so his blood separated from his body, we cannot imagine how the bread alone should be sufficient to set forth this mystery. “ Pop. There is danger lest we should spill the cup

in giving it to the people, and lest it should be profaned by the rude mouths of lay-men.

“ Pror. This danger may be in giving it to the priests; however, you are not of St. Paul's mind, who when the cup was abused at Corinth even to excess, durst not alter Christ's institution, nor take it wholly away as you do, thereby committing a grievous sacrilege in keeping back part of that whereof God hath made you dispensers, and as much as in you lies, depriving the people of the benefits of Christ's blood."

On the text, “this is my blood,” our author reasons with great felicity of argument. “ There is a figure in this expression,” says he ;-to this the popish priest an


“ We have much the advantage of you, because we take the literal sease, which is both the more common and more easy sense, whilst you are forced to fly to tropes and figures.

“ Prot. You must consider this sacrament is a mystery, and in discoursing of mysteries, it is more common in Scripture to speak figuratively than literally; yea, what is more usual there, than to call the sign by the name of the thing signified, and the thing signified by the name of the sign ? So that the rock is said to be Christ, 1 Cor. x. 4. and Christ is said to be bread, John vi. 48, yet none are so absurd to say, the rock is substantially changed into Christ or Christ into bread : and when the church is called • the body of Christ,' Colos. i. 24. yourselves do not affirm that there is any change made of the church into Christ's filesh and blood, though there be more said of this than of the sacramental bread, viz. That we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.' Ephes. v. 30. So when Christ is called a vine, a door, a way, a branch, &c. it is very certain the expressions are figurative, and there are a thousand places in the Holy Bible which cannot be otherwise understood.

" Pop. Well, but the literal sense is not to be left, unless where the words cannot be taken otherwise than figuratively, which is not the case here.

Prot. Yes, that is the very case here; for the literal sense is impossible and full of contradictions, but the figurative is natural, plain, and easy: for if we take these words literally, Chșist's body was whole, and sitting at the table, and broken into pieces on the table at the same time, it must be entire now in Heaven, and yet all of it in ten thousand different and distant places on the earth. We must believe the substance of flesh hath none of its proper accidents, and that the accidents of bread can subsist without their proper substance: we must think that to be real flesh and blood, which we see, smell, taste, and feel to be real bread and wine: we must believe there is a mi. racle, when all our senses, which are witnesses to all other miracles, give evidence there is no miracle at all here. In short, we must contradict our reason, and deny our senses without any need, unless it is to uphold an unintelligible literal sense, when the figurative is far more plain.


“ Pop. 'Tis strange how prejudice may blind men ; surely you cannot be in earnest, when you say, a figurative speech is plainer than a speech without a figure; this only, shews how désperate your cause is, which drives you to these absurdities.

“ Prot. I will prove it is no absurdity to maintain that in this case, the figurative sense is easier: for that is the easiest sense of any words, which the mind first apprehends when we hear them. For example, if one point to an house and land, and say, THIS IS MY Estate, there the plain sense is the literal sense; but if one hold a writing sealed in his hand, and say, This Is MY ESTATE, the easiest and plainest sense then is, This IS THAT WHICH CONVÈYS MY ESTATE, AND ALL THE BENEFITS OF IT TO ME: so if Christ had pointed to himself sitting at a table, and said, “This is my body," the apostles would, and we must have taken it literally : but since he points to bread, and saith,. This is my body;' the first and most natural sense of the words is, THIS IS TII AT WHICH SIGNIFIES MY BODY, AND COMMUNICATES ALL THB BENEFITS OF MY INCARNATION AND PASSION TO YOU; and thus St. Paul expressly doth expound it, when he saitly, it is "the communion of his body and blood,' i Cor. s. 16.”



The Condition and Duties of a Tolerated Church : A Ser

mon preached in Bishop STRACII AN's Chapel, Dundee, on Sunday the 9th of February, 1806; at the Consecration of the Right Rev. DANIEL SANDFORD, D. D. to the Office of a Bishop in the Scotch Episcopal Church. By the Rev. James WALKER, A. M. late of St. John's College, Cambridge. 8vo. pp. 67. Rivingtons. E have lamented

brethren in this country, the highly inconsistent and unjustifiable conduct of those episcopal clergymen,

W , .

« PreviousContinue »