« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
BY J. C. PRINCE, AUTHOR OF "HOURS WITII THE MUSES," &c.
Suggested by “The Independents Asserting Liberty of Conscience in the Westminster
Assembly of Divines, 1744," a historical picture by J. R. Herbert, A.R.A.
“Freedom of conscience!" glorious theme for pencil, pen, or tongue!
Shall human law prescribe my creed, and tell me when to kneel?
Oh, no! religion needeth not compulsion or parade,
No need of arch and storied pane, of fixed and formal prayer,
Terth is violated, in relation to God, when we conceal from those we are bound to instruct, the grandeur and immensity of his works, and the displays of divine intelligence and skill which are exhibited in his visible operations ; when we exhibit a diminutive view of the extent and glory of his kingdom ; when we give an inaccurate and distorted representation of the laws of nature, and of the order and economy of the universe ; when we misrepresent the facts which exist in the system of nature, and which occur in the history of providence ; when we call in question the truth of that revelation which he has confirmed by signs and miracles, and by the accomplishment of numerous predictions ; when we misrepresent its facts, its doctrines, and its moral requisitions ; when wo transform its historical narrations into a species of parable and allegories ; when we distort its literal meaning by vague and injudicious « spiritualizing" comments; When we fix our attention solely on its doctrine, and neglect to investigate its moral precepts ; and when we confine our views to a few points in the system of revelation, and neglect to contemplato its whole range, in all its aspects and bearings. In fine, the clouds which now obscure many of the sublime objects of religion, and the realities of a future world, would be dispelled, were falsehood and prejudice unknown, and truth beheld in its native light; and religion, purified from every mixture of error and delusion, would appear in its own heavenly radiance, and attract the love and admiration of men.-Dick.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
First Steps to Anatomy. By James L. DRUMMOND, M.D. Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in the Royal Belfast Institution.
Van Voorst, Paternoster Row. Pp. 228. 12mo. An elementary treatise on Anatomy_if the subject were so discussed as to be intelligible or useful, merely to students of that science, and if the book were capable of teaching nothing but Anatomy itselfwould not be a fit topic for review in a religious magazine ; but when we find a work in which the strictest scientific accuracy is combined with the most luminous simplicity of style in which broad and comprehensive views are united with a treatment of details, which is equally careful and interesting—in which the progress of thought is 50 natural, and the matters treated of, are so important, that few, who have once lifted the volume, can prevail upon themselves to lay it down until it has been completely perused; and when this work is capable of being rendered in every page, and almost every line, subsidiary to the confirmation of the grand truths of Natural Theology, on which all true religion rests, we should not feel ourselves justified in dismissing it without a passing notice. Such is the little work now before us. We have never perused an introduction to any
science so interesting and attractive. It is calculated to engage the attention and to enlighten the mind, not of the professional student alone, but also of the general reader.
We have intimated that this work may be of use in confirming the great truths of natural religion. It is not, however, a Treatise on Natural Theology. Were it so, it would lose much of its value in our eyes. Laboured disquisitions and ponderous accumulations of proofs on a matter so simple as the being and attributes of God, we regard with an invincible aversion. When, for instance, we cast our eyes on the formidable array of goodly octavos composing the Bridgewater Treatises, we feel something of a sinking of the heart within
What! we involuntarily exclaim, does it require all this enormous mass of chemistry, physics, metaphysics, physiology, meteorology, geology, entomology, to prove that there is a God, and that he is good? If so, alas for the faith and hope of nine hundred and ninetynine out of every thousand of mankind! The very sight of such a library of books, on such a plain subject, would do more to weaken our confidence in the existence and providence of God, than all the arguments which the books contain could do to strengthen it-did we not remember that the works were written "to order”—each for its own solid thousand pounds—and that, therefore, however able and learned, they come under the general description of ordinary “bookseller's work," which, when well paid for, is sure to be done, as a thing of course, whether it bo needful or superfluous, useful or injurious.
It is a great mistake to suppose, that by mixing up the discussion of natural religion, formally and expressly, with the contents of every chapter, and almost with the detail of every fact, in a Treatise upon Natural History, by lugging in the Deity, as it were, head and shoulders, upon every occasion, the faith of the readerin the fundamental principle of religion is likely to be confirmed. On the contrary, his suspicion is excited, his taste is disgusted, and his hostility is aroused. No more effectual method could be taken for inspiring a thorough dislike, both for the study of nature and the science of Natural Theology
We know not whether Dr. Drummond has had any design in the composition of this little work to make it subsidiary to the important investigation at which we have glanced; but whether he had this end in view or not, we hesitate not to say, that he has taken the best way to accomplish it: that way is to let nature speak for herself. In examining the curious and complicated structure of animal bodies, let the form and materials of the different parts be pointed out—let their uses be described—let the manner in which they fulfil these uses be explained—let the analogous contrivances employed in other cases for effecting the same object, under different circumstances, be reviewed; and, depend upon it, if the argument built upon these facts, in support of the existence, wisdom, and personality of God, be good for anything, the conclusion will present itself spontaneously to the mind, or rather will force itself
it. What is wanted, therefore, is not a Treatise on Natural Religion, but a judicious, popular, and interesting survey of nature ; and for such a work in this valuable
department of science, we are indebted to the author of the book before us.
It appears to us, that this book might, with great propriety, be put into the hands of young persons blessed with an inquiring mind and a generous thirst for knowledge; and that it could even be introduced with advantage into seminaries for general education, both collegiate and elementary
PRESENTATION TO DR. DRUMMOND OP rate amongst its pastors the Rev. HIS PORTRAIT.
Thomas Emlyn, the worthy confessor On Friday, the 30th January, the and undaunted proclaimer, in perilous subscribers to the portrait of the Rev. times, of the faith then obscured, Dr. Drummond assembled in the which had once been delivered to the Meeting-house, Great Strand-street, Saints; the Rev. John Abernethy, the at three o'clock. The chair was taken author of the justly-admired discourses by J. Moody, Esq. barrister-at-law. on the Divine Attributes ; the Rev.
Dr. FERGUSON then read the fol- James Duchal, D.D. the strenuous lowing
supporter of rational and practical
Christianity; the Rev. S. Bruce, and “Rev. and Dear Sir,--Having been his son, the learned divine, acute reaselected by a number of your sincere soner, and elegant scholar, the Rev. and respectful friends and admirers, Wm. Bruce, B.D.; the pious, benein Dublin and elsewhere, to request volent, and eloquent Dr. Moody, you to sit for your portrait, we are worthy successor of Abernethy and now deputed by them to request your Duchal ; the venerated and accomacceptance of it, on behalf of your plished Dr. Thomas Plunket ; and family and descendants. The testi- your late co-pastor, the beloved and monial can be of no value to yourself, revered Dr. Armstrong. And, in the save as a record of our gratitude and same period, the congregation of Euslove; but to those who will have the tace-street, with which your congreproud and honourable boast of tracing gation is connected with such ties of through you their lineage, it will be sympathy and kindred feeling, can prized as a rich inheritance, as por- enumerate amongst its departed pastraying and handing down to them tors no less distinguished ministers of the lineaments of the form and coun- Christ. We need only refer to the tenance of one who ranks high amongst Rev. Nathaniel Weld, the Rev. Isaac the true aristocracy-the aristocracy Weld, D.D. the Rev. Samuel Thomas, of mind-and has nobly and success- the Rev. Philip Taylor, and the Rev. fully exerted his genius and abilities John Leland, D.D. one of the ablest in the cause of humanity, and for the defenders of the truths of Christianity, maintenance and establishment of in opposition to Deistical writers. the best and dearest rights and pri- “Nor would we overlook the remarkvileges of mankind.
able men and admirable Protestant “Few of our Christian brethren of Dissenters of the previous century, other denominations
none of them, the fathers amongst us, under God, in proportion to our relative numbers of our freedom from spiritual bondage,
can refer to a succession of Chris- including the Provost of the Univertian pastors more highly gifted, or șity, and seven senior and junior felmore richly endowed with the graces, lows of Dublin College, and several virtues, and acquirements, that be- dignitaries of the Established Church, come the followers of their Master, who nobly resigned their preferments, than the religious societies to which emoluments, and dignities, in asserwe have the happiness to belong. tion of the true Protestant principle Within little more than a century, which has always distinguished your the congregation, of which you are congregation, the all-sufficiency of the now one of the ministers, can enume- Holy Scriptures as the sole rule of