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A little further on, after touching on the mischievous effects of partyspirit, especially in a country where there appears to exist an habitual propensity to strength of language, and display of argument, to the most uncompromising expression of feeling, and the most uncontrollable declaration of opinion, without the slightest calculation of consequences;' he notices, with marked approbation, the harmony existing between the two contending parties in the province of Munster.

It appears to us, we own, incontrovertible, that the rights of individuals can be justly restrained, only so far as is requisite for the well-being of the community; and that the Catholic claims are well founded, so far as they can be granted without danger to the state. There are those, indeed, who maintain, that in the time of William III. (not to recur to the more distant æra of Elizabeth), it might have been properly deemed a necessary precaution to abridge the civil rights of men, from whom so great dangers had recently been apprehended, and who still clung, with romantic attachment, to the exiled monarch of their faith; and that, even as long as there existed a remnant of the house of Stuart, prudence might still seem to justify the exclusion of Roman Catholics from all military command, and from the civil administration of affairs. To whatever weight such opinions may be entitled, it is indisputable, that all these causes of alarm have now, happily for our country, ceased to exist. Still there are many who imagine the proposed measure to be big with evil: it would far exceed the limits of this article, to demonstrate the futility of their apprehensions; we cannot, however, let slip this opportunity of declaring (with all due deference to the many distinguished individuals who are of a different opinion from ourselves), that we look upon the present fears of the Protestant alarmists, to be utterly devoid of any foundation in reason.

Besides the vulgar topics drawn from the power of absolution and the power of the Pope, from the fires in Smithfield, and the horrors of the Inquisition, we are everlastingly told, that if this bill is once passed, the Catholics will get into power, and then farewell to the established Church and the Protestant succession. So then, we are to believe, that if the Irish and English Catholics were but just upon the same footing with Protestants, the former would take the lead of the latter in every path that calls for the exertion of talent, or tends to the acquisition of authority!-If the measure were once put to the test of experience, we should not hesitate to predict, that not many years would elapse, before the nation would look back upon its present fears, with the same degree of shame that a man who has passed the night in a haunted chamber, feels, on the return of day, at the imaginary terrors which have disturbed his repose.

In the present state of public feeling, we cannot but rejoice at any attempt made to procure a dispassionate examination of this much-agitated question; but it is not only from the intrinsic merits of the work before us, or even from the weight it may derive from the acknowledged talents and high station of its author, that we are inclined to augur well for Catholic emancipation; but when we consider to whose interest Dr. Lawrence is indebted for the preferment he enjoys, and with what part of the ministry he is connected by the ties of gratitude and friendship, we cannot help entertaining a hope, that in this little pamphlet may be traced the first symptoms of such a change of opinion in a powerful party in the cabinet, as will soon be shewn by the adoption of a more liberal and enlightened policy.

THE

MONTHLY REVIEW.

MARCH, 1827.

ART. I. Sermons, explanatory and practical, on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, in a series of Discourses delivered at the Parish Church of St. Alphage, Greenwich. By the Rev. T. Waite, D.C.L., &c. London. Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. 1826. 8vo. PP. 576.

THE number and nature of the books which yearly issue from the English press, furnish a valuable measure, or, at least, an important symptom, of the state of society in this country. Independently of elementary works, the two most remarkable departments of modern literature for extent, and, perhaps, for character, are novels and sermons. The former prove the existence of that demand for amusing and exciting trifles, which they are so completely, and, in many cases, so innocently, calculated to gratify ;while the latter furnish, we think, a most convincing testiniony, that the desire of sound knowledge and religious instruction, has fully kept pace with the appetite for sentiment, and description, and heroic story. For notwithstanding the alarms of many good men, and the clamours, long and loud, against the frivolous tastes. of modern readers, we can see no reason to believe, that mankind have committed any worse iniquity, than the exchange of one relaxation for another, and the substitution of the tales of the author of Waverley, for cards and dice,-for the three-bottle sittings of our grandfathers, and the scandal-flavoured tea-cup which consoled their wives. On the other hand, the innumerable volumes of sermons,-to say nothing of other works, which annually "spread their grey wings, and in a moment fly," from one end of the country to the other, are ample demonstrations, that there still exists amongst us a goodly remnant of those sober and time-honoured propensities, which were gratified, in other generations, by Hooker, and Baxter, and Barrow.

This enormous mass of religious writing, the work of so many different sects, the record of so many discordant modes of feeling, erecting such opposite conclusions on such various premises, and adorned by such fantastic diversities of imagination, may all, we think, be divided into two great classes. These we would distin

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guish by the names, for want of better, of the excursive, and the technical. And first, of the excursive sermon.-In this kind of composition, Christianity being given as the basis, we often see a powerful mind delighting to build up a vast superstructure of reasoning, and speculation, and general philosophy; and wonder at the height to which he rears his pile of fancies, and feelings, and metaphysical casuistries, and moral declamation. The argument sometimes becomes a mighty edifice of enthusiasm and subtlety; and towers into airy pinnacles of thought, far elevated from the earth, and reaching high above the concerns of man.

of Scripture is the centre from which his intellect radiates to the extremities of the universe; and he stretches the wide net-work of his theology across the farthest abysses of creation. Christianity does not come to us from his hands with unmixed simplicity; but he presents to us, in a cup of gold and gems, a wine which he has drugged with the spices of the east; and for which he has ranged earth, sea, and air, to discover fresh elements of intoxication and new flavours of delight. All existence supplies him with analogies; all science teems with his illustrations;-and the world, the universe; every idea, and feeling, and aspiration of the human breast, becomes a text for his piety. He boldly enters that shadowy, internal region, which is as yet scarcely open to the human eye, and attempts to seize, amid the vast obscurity, the deepest principles of the mind, and to use them as the weapons of his warfare, and the springs of his complex mechanism.

It is a noble and an useful boldness, which seeks to connect Christianity with all our innumerable sensations, and with every movement of our intellects; to unite, under all circumstances, its consolations with our sorrows, and to blend its promises with earthly hopes. It is an enterprise worthy of the most extensive learning, and the loftiest abilities, to stamp the forms, and spread the colours of religion over the whole creation, and to draw all being into its sphere, as to the great centre of moral attraction. It is by such broad and expansive views, that the truths of the gospel may most clearly be shewn: not as afterthoughts in a finished plan, not as excrescences on a complete system; but as eternal and universal manifestations of that pervading spirit, the

life and the law of all that is.

In the hands of genius, how powerful is this boundless armoury! how irresistible these varied engines! But they require to be handled with the nicest delicacy; and can only be wielded by surpassing strength. One step beyond the great boundaries of human knowledge, beyond the limits where pause alike the imagination and the reason; one hair's breadth of exaggeration in fancy, or of unsupported daring in argument, at once dissolves the connection between the spirit of the preacher, and the sympathies of the audience.

This style of preaching, or something very nearly approaching

to it, is, we think, fast spreading; and likely to spread still faster, with the advancing knowledge of the age. The more intelligence and the more general information that can be brought into the service of Christianity, the better for religion, and for mankind. But there is some danger, that incautious men may unite revealed truth to erroneous philosophy; and a peril more imminent, and more formidable, that they may still attempt to mix up theological feeling with political speculation; and pollute the one, while they misdirect the other. It is the peculiar excellence and glory of the Christian doctrine, and alone almost a sufficient proof of its divine origin, that it is fit alike for all times and countries-that no variations in the mechanism of political society, can render its precepts either inapplicable or superfluous-and that even the dreams of the wildest enthusiasts, and of the most imaginative philanthropists, have never pictured the ideal felicity of an unborn commonwealth, without framing an example of the very virtues insisted on in that gospel, which it has been their aim to undervalue and revile. By far the most deadly injuries which religion can sustain, result from the efforts of its mistaken, or pretended friends, who set up their own bigotry as the rule of government, and think that the Deity is in need of their assistance, to give the victory to truth, and add weight to revelation.

The technical sermon, if we may be pardoned for using so quaint a name, is comparatively limited in its range-easy of execution-and free from the tendency to extravagance, and to mere declamation. It rises under the pen of a man of talent, into a work of great excellence and usefulness; and there are many divines of our country, who have clothed it in a high degree of elegance and finished beauty. Their compositions, clear, simple, and practical, transfusing the spirit of Christianity into the language and modes of feeling of our own day, are intelligible to the most ignorant, and interesting to the most educated of their hearers. This is, in fact, the only kind of sermon which can be addressed with effect to an ordinary English audience. All men can understand a plain exposition of the claims, and the sanctions, of their religion; but it must be an assembly of cultivated minds before which a preacher can venture to display metaphysical research, or historical allusion, or scientific analogies, or the difficulties that encumber, and the coincidences that strengthen, the alliance of reason and faith. Even the evidences of our creed should be entered upon with great caution, before a mixed congregation; as the weak and the ignorant are often too little familiar with the nature and force of moral reasoning, to receive any impression from the best argument on the subject, beyond the idea that the truth of their religion is liable to doubt, and in need of demonstration. Many therefore of the most eminent divines of this country, have judged, we think, with great wisdom, in selecting that mode of theological composition, which imitates the

discourses of the REDEEMER, and his apostles, in its strict and intimate relation to the great thesis of their preaching-in the earnestness of its exhortations-and the perpetual recurrence to a few simple principles :-The law, and the prophets; the will of God, and the weakness of man; faith, hope, and charity. The last century and a half has produced many excellent models of that mixture of doctrinal and practical discussion-that simple and sinewy style and that judicious economy in the use of strong and lively illustration, which form the most useful kind of address, to by far the larger number of congregations.

In this class of pulpit compositions, the Sermons of Dr. Waite are worthy of an honourable station. They have, indeed, nothing of the vast and tumultuous eloquence of Chalmers they have less minute and controversial learning than Horsley-and not such finished and musical elegance as Alison, or Massillon: but they are full of good sense, and good feeling; at once spirited, candid, and pious; and instinct, as it were, with the life-blood of Christianity. As to the body of doctrine which they expound and vindicate, there are, and must be, innumerable differences of opinion, There can, however, we think, be no doubt of the fairness, the ability, and the learning, with which our author has discussed it. His style is singularly clear, correct, and idiomatic; and furnishes an admirable example of the mode in which theology may be written, so as to interest and instruct the educated, without puzzling or fatiguing the ignorant. The Church of England would be fortunate indeed, if it always had the power to obtain, or the willingness to reward, supporters so wise and so temperate; so sure to conciliate by their manners, and so powerful to convince by their earnestness, their ability and their knowledge, as the author of these sermons. We select one passage, on the depravity of human nature, as a specimen :

'Many imagine nothing to be sinful but gross and notorious vices; and indulge hatred, animosity, and corrupt inclinations, without suspecting that they are thus rendered sinners. But our Redeemer hath taught us, that the prohibitions of the divine precepts are not to be confined to outward actions, but extended to the desires and dispositions of the heart. "He that hateth his brother is a murderer," saith St. John*. We may, therefore, be very guilty in the sight of God, though considered blameless by our fellow-creatures.

Men measure the heinousness of sin by the evils it brings upon society; God estimates it by its opposition to his law-a law which regards not partial, but general good; which promotes the happiness of individuals, indeed, but embraces in its comprehensive design the interminable felicity of the universe.

"Great and many are the practical uses of this grand, this awful and important doctrine. Grand and awful may that justly be called, which

* 1 John iii. 15.

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