« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
which gives any semblance to the application; but his very short possession of that country, takes away the momentary likeness, and notwithstanding all the ingenuity of Mr. C. we do not think that this "disastrous expedition "" at all corresponds to the glorious events which are mentioned by Daniel.
Still less is "Napoleon proved to be the king from his end." (p. 43.) "He shall come to his end, and none shall help him." These are expressions which by no means point out the end of Buonaparte; an end so remarkable, that if he had been designated by the prophecy, we can hardly think that his exile would not have been alluded to. And yet Mr. Cooper is resolved to make up for this deficiency by the solemnity of his reflections. Like other wilful and infidel conquerors who had preceded him, he was in his defeat and degradation to read a moral lessen to mankind; whilst in this very act he should yet subserve the particular and specific purpose, which according to the view here taken of this vision, he was ordained to fulfill." P. 46.
Writers who have a favourite hypothesis to support, find the strongest proofs where other men behold nothing but vague imaginations. Thus Mr. C. interprets the expression, "the king of the south pushed at him," to mean the "Peninsular war," by which Napoleon was "pushed" from the shores of the Atlantic, p. 50. And in like manner king of the north," he tells us, intimates "England," though we suppose that the Emperor of all the Russias, would think that he had as a good a title to the claim. short, strong assertions and weak testimonies, go to make up the whole of this whimsical interpretation, which we regard as little better" than trifling with the word of God, as though it were a book of riddles.", The style in which these uncertainties are proposed, is far too positive and dogmatical. Napoleon is always "proved" to be king; the correspondences are said to be" precise and circumstantial,” and the subject is thus summed up by its propounder.
"Such, then, are the arguments on which the interpretation here proposed is founded. In all these particulars predicted respecting the king who should do according to his will, as they relate to the time of his appearance, to his character, to his exploits, and to his end. Napoleon appears to have exhibited so full a correspondence, so clear and striking a resemblance, as seems to justify the conclusion, that he was in fact the very identical individual, whom it was the design of the Holy Spirit in this remarkable vision to designate; but respecting whom the book was to be sealed, and the designation to be unperceived, till he should have fulfilled the office assigned to him, and have come to his end' in the manner predicted." P. 55.
But we must still more loudly protest against the spirit of many observations in this work, in which it is more than hinted, that they who differ from these prophetical interpretations, are amongst those who hearing will not hear, and seeing will not perceive, p. 132. Nor can we approve of his denouncing all the continental thrones as "tottering at their basis," p. 28; nor of the revolutionary sentiments at p. 200, by which the people are encouraged to rebel against their rulers, as though they were fighting "the battles of the Lord." See ch. xix. Whatever may be our opinions respecting the conduct of foreign potentates, we consider that language like the following, should find no place in such a work as that before us.
"Witness, in support of these conclusions, the principles of despotism so openly avowed, so unblushingly recorded, and so practically developed in the unjustifiable invasions of Naples and Spain. Witness the systematic opposition, in most of the Papal countries, and especially in the dominions of Austria, to the free circulation of the word of God. Witness the revival, by Papal authority, of the order of Jesuits, the most experienced and indefatigable emissaries of the church of Rome; their restoration to all their former privileges; and the renewed and recognised acceptance of their services by the Holy See. Witness the Papal bulls, repeatedly issued against the principle and the objects of Bible Societies, and conveying their animadversions in language little differing from that of profaneness and blasphemy. Witness the revived sufferings and difficulties of the Vaudois churches, struggling anew in the vallies of Piedmont, with Roman Catholic oppression and tyranny. Witness in every town of Italy the idolatries and abominations of Popery universally practised, and exclusively supported, to the extinction of pure religion and worship. Witness the intolerance and bigotry of Spain and Portugal; who, in their new modelled conceptions and codes of liberty, and of the rights of man, could find no place for religious freedom, nor could grant to any others, than to Papists, the right of serving God according to their conscience. Witness in France the restless and unceasing endeavours of the court to revive the spirit of Popery, and to re-establish the follies and pageantries of the Roman Catholic church. Witness in that country (as in every other country of the beast) the allowed habitual desecration of the Lord's day, and the profane application of it to purposes far less congenial with its instituted design than even worldly labour and secular occupations. Witness in that country the continuance of the licensed abominations of the Palais Royal, and the moral degradation of the capital. Witness in that country the monstrous iniquity of the slave trade, revived and pursued with renovated vigour, under circumstances of very aggravated guilt, in the face of a direct recognition of its enormity, in a defiance of national engagements, in a violation of national honour. Other testimonies of a similar kind might be adduced, and observation will abundantly supply them. But these are sufficient for the purpose of supporting the conclusions
before us. Let us only bear in mind the additional weight which these testimonies derive from the consideration of the time in which these things are doing, and of the situation of the parties who are doing them. It is in the nineteenth century of the Christian era: it is when the full blaze of pure Christianity is illuminating the mists of Papal darkness, and even in some places, notwithstanding every precaution to the contrary, is penetrating the dense and obscure mass, and pouring its light and heat into the very centre of it ;-it is at such a time that these things are perpetrated by those very nations and governments which have recently experienced, in the most signal manner, the severity and the goodness of the Lord; which having for a season been visited with some of the heaviest dispensations of his providence, were suddenly, by his interposition, delivered from the calamity of war, and blessed with returning tranquillity and peace; but which, now, forgetful alike of their mercies and their judgments, are "thus requiting the Lord, a foolish people and unwise." In the contemplation of these things are we not warranted, are we not compelled to conclude, that these nations and governments are rapidly filling up the measure of their sin, and at this moment are but little short of that dimension of guilt, which, when once attained, will expose them, without delay or remedy, to all those unprecedented judgments, which the word of truth so awfully predicts?" P. 213.
There is also in our opinion, far too much said about "the beast," and the "scarlet beast," as applied to the Papal power; but the application of the principles of “infidelity, despotism and popery," with "frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet," p. 92, is so ludicrous, that we think no one can read it without a smile upon his visage.
Nor can we be brought to pardon this kind of theology, on account of its predicting such glorious fortune to our own country. The fleets of England, it seems, are to convey the Jews back to the promised land, and we presume that Lord Gambier is to be appointed commander-in-chief. Michael, is now, we are told, actually "standing up for the Jews;" but we are afraid that the success of the Jewish Society does not give much evidence in favour of the assertion. The Bible Society, and the Missionary Societies, are bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the throne of every Papal prince will be subverted. We protest against this grotesque mixture of politics and prophecy. It is as absurd, though happily not so mischievous as Pastorini. The manner in which the state of England is commented on, p. 179, puts us in mind of the wildest reveries of Brothers and Johanna Southcot, and is calculated, we are persuaded, only to feed the delusions of zealots, or to make sport for unbelievers. Wesley and Whitfield, are alluded to as the great regenerators of the clergy. And Mr. Cooper's associates and friends are
employed in consolidating the work. We conjure him not to turn his Bible into a subject for wit and drollery; to re member that "the beginning and the end of all things," cannot be descried from the lattice of his rectory; that it is one thing to beat up for recruits to a party, and another to unite for the Christian church; and though he is neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, we shall thank him for another volume of " Practical and Familiar Sermons for Parochial and Domestic Instruction."
ART. III. A respectful Address to the Most Reverend the Archbishops, and the Right Reverend the Bishops, of the United Church of England and Ireland, respecting the necessity of Morning and Afternoon Service, on Sunday, in every Parish Church in His Majesty's Dominions; with a few Thoughts concerning the Residence of the Clergy. By a Churchman. Rivingtons. 8vo. pp. 32. 1825.
THE principal object of this pamphlet is good, and if the writer had confined himself within the bounds prescribed in his title page, and strengthened his argument by a detailed examination of facts, he would have been entitled to our best thanks. Unfortunately he prefers saying a little about every thing, to saying enough upon a single subject; and the consequence is, that when we look for information respecting afternoon service, he hurries off to discuss public patronage, and to find fault with the accumulation of dignities upon few favoured individuals. The abuses under these heads are over stated; and no acknowledgment is made of the great improvement which has been introduced of late years. We could wish, therefore, that the subject had been entirely passed over, or reserved for a separate and more equitable consideration. At present it only serves to distract the attention both of the writer and reader, from a very important practical question.
We shall state it in the words of the author:
"The opinion of the writer, founded on extensive observation, and very mature reflection, is, that separation is promoted, the reputation of the church injured, aud the influence of her ministers diminished, by the custom of divine service being performed, 'on Sunday, once only, in many parts of the kingdom.
"This custom, however the motives, on which it rests, may appear, in any particular case, to justify it, will excite suspicions of general indolence or neglect, injurious to the character of the clergy, and hurtful to the church.
"But, let not the clergy be condemned by any friend of the church, and of the cause, in which they have the honour to be engaged, by unqualified reference of the custom of single service, to indolence or neglect. The custom will be found to have arisen, often, neither from indolence, nor neglect; but from an idea that, when two churches are so situated as to suit, equally, or nearly equally, the population of two adjoining parishes, an alternation of service, once in each church, morning and afternoon, answers the purposes of two services in both. It may, too, be added, that, in some cases, where the population of both parishes is so small, as not to afford two full congregations, in both churches, on both parts of the day, and when the distance of the majority of inhabitants from each church is nearly the same, the advantages of a full congregation, animating devotion, have been considered as more than counterbalancing the omission of divine service, on one part of the day, in each church.
They who are acquainted with country situations, will admit that this may, sometimes, be the fact; but the cases are, comparatively, very few, where both morning and afternoon service, in each church, would not be of great public advantage, in the comfort afforded to some pious persons, residing near to the church, whether it be their own parish church or not, whose age or infirmities, or other circumstances, may prevent their attending at a greater distance. Morning and afternoon service, would, also, assist arrangement for some portion of the family to attend church, certainly, once a day. When local or other impediments, exist against such arrangement, (and where single duty, only, is performed, impediments, often, will exist,) habits of neglect are either formed, as to attendance on any public service, or the greater facilities afforded by places of worship, not in connection with the establishment, detach persons from the church, who might, otherwise, have continued among her most valuable members.
"In addition to these inconveniences, public scandal has arisen to the church from the hurry with which the service is, sometimes, necessarily, performed, when the clergyman is engaged in the care of more churches than one; and from his inability, often, when distantly engaged, to attend to pressing calls to sick persons, which calls may be, particularly, expected on the Lord's day, when the sick and their friends are most at leisure to profit from the solemn
S There are parishes, in some parts of the kingdom, so situated, that, if we carry not our ideas beyond them, very little or no additional benefit could be expected from two services; parishes, in which two services having been tried, advantages so trifling have been experienced, that, after trial, single duty only has been performed in them. Sometimes, too, a clergyman's sphere of usefulness may have been enlarged, by his accepting, or joining in, the care of a neighbouring parish. Still, a good and reflecting person will dismiss particular consideration; and the positive benefit that would result to the community from two services being, universally, introduced, would amply compensate the conscientious clergyman for application, however comparatively unprofitable, of a generally salutury rule, to his own particular case. Uninfluenced by private or peculiar considerations, he would, most willingly, co-operate with it.