Abbildungen der Seite

We agree

slavery, and, the particulars of each to slavery in its spirit and in its being disposed in parallel columns, principles: it classes men-stealers the effect could not fail to be per- among murderers of fathers and of fectly triumphant. We trust that mothers, and the most profane crisome one will prepare a tract on minals upon earth.” this principle. It might be com- with Mr. Burke, that “ Slavery prised in four octavo pages, and is a state so improper, so degradwould exhibit a concise and unan- ing, and so ruinous to the feelswerable reply to all that has been ings and capacities of human naaffirmed respecting the sanction ture, that it ought not to be sufgiven to our colonial system of sla- fered to exist. The manufactures very by the Old Testament Scrip- of the Africans by their ingenuity, tures. Such a tract could not be prove them to be equal in intellect too widely circulated; and it would to others, and they exhibit traits of carry along with it, to every cot- generosity of heart." We agree with tage into which it might enter, a Dr. Paley, that “the West-Indian complete conviction not only of the slave is placed for life in subjection impiety which has endeavoured to to a dominion and system of laws extract support to Negro slavery the most merciless and tyrannnical from the Bible, but of the immea- that ever were tolerated upon the surable distance, in point of rights, face of the earth.” We agree with comfort and happiness, present en- Mr. Fox, that “personal freedom joyment, and future prospects, which is the first right of every human separates the lot of the British pea- being. It is a right of which he sant from that of the Colonial slave. who deprived a fellow-creature, was We should then be enabled fully to absolutely criminal in so depriving appreciate the difference between him; and which he who withheld, slavery in the nineteenth century of was no less criminal in withholding. the Christian era, and slavery as it Why is this race of our fellowexisted amongst the Jews at a pe- creatures to be carried away by riod of three thousand years behind force, and subjected to the will and us in civilization, and from a thou- caprice, and tyranny and oppressand to fifteen hundred years before sion, of other human beings for the personal appearance on our their whole natural lives, and their earth of that Divine and gracious posterity for ever? It is necessary Redeemer who was “ to preach de- to abolish slavery for the credit of liverance to the captive, and the our jurisprudence, and of our chaopening of the prison to them that racters as Christians. Why should were bound.” Were indeed the that wrong be tolerated in the West contrast ever so favourable to the Indies, for which a man would be system of West-India bondage, no- hanged in England ? Make the thing would be proved by the cir- case of the slaves your own, and cumstance as to the propriety of judge of it by this Christian rule. that system under the Christian dis. Wherever Christianity has extendpensation; but the fact is wholly ed its influence, slavery has been otherwise : slavery, in the colonial abolished : it has produced this glosense of the term, did not, and rious triumph by teaching us, in the could not exist under the Jewish sight of their Maker, all mankind dispensation : it would in every age are equal. The whole country, the and among any people have been whole civilized world must rejoice a complication of cruelty and in- in the abolition, not merely as a justice which God never sanctioned; matter of humanity, but as an act and no good man, after ascertain- of justice." We agree with Bishop ing its enormity, ever approved. Horsley, that, " allowing slaves to We agree with Bishop Porteus, that be pampered with delicacies, and " the Christian religion is opposed put to rest on a bed of roses, they

[ocr errors]

و در را

could not be happy; for a slave which ought to come home to the must be still a elave. What is hu- breast of every British-subject, will manity, but the desire of promot- have their full weight in the deliing the happiness of others? What berations of those augast assemother justice is there, than that blies which are to decide on a cause founded on the principle of doing that involves the purity of our holy to others as we would they should religion, and the credit and cando unto us? No such slavery as in sistency of our national character." the West Indies is to be found in Grecian or Roman history! so stolen, 80 transported ! Who can 1. The Evidence of Christianity, sanction it?" "Slavery is injustice, derived from its Nature and Rewhich no considerations of policy ception. By J. B. SUMNER, M. A. could extenuate; impolicy equal in Prebendary of Durham, &c. degree to its injustice." And we pp. 429. 8vo. 10s. 60 agree with the present Bishop of 2. Scripture Difficulties; twenty St. David's, in the treatise already Discourses preached before the 80 often quoted, that “whether University of Cambridge, in the all the cruelties imputed to the Year 1822, at the Hulsean Lecslave trade, and to slavery, can or ture. By C. BENSON, M. A. cannot be substantiated; whether Fellow of Magdalen College, the cruelties complained of can be and Vicar of Ledsham, Yorkmitigated or not; the very esis- shire. 8vo. pp. 420. Cambridge. tence of slavery, as long as it is 1822. Price 12s. permitted, must be a heavy re- 3. The Difficulties of Infidelity. proach to this country, and a dis- By the Rev. G. S. FABER, B. D. credit to the age which can tolerate Rector of Long Newton. 8vo. it." We agree further with his 79. London. 1824. lordship, that whatever " a Machiavellian in politics or commerce" We exhibit these works together, may urge to the contrary, “slavery under one article, as they relate to and the slave trade ought to be the same subject, and tend, in some abolished, (and happily one of them respects, to throw light upon each is abolished in this country, ] be- other. When viewed in their united cause they are inconsistent with the force, they constitute, we think, one will of God." We agree still fur- of the most important and interesting ther with his lordship, that it is defences of Christianity which the not a question to be argued merely last twenty years have produced. by statesmen and publicists, but The evidences of the divine inspithat the “natural and scriptural il. ration of our holy religion form a legality" of slavery may be judged subject, of which the importance of “ on grounds infinitely superior has been sometimes much underto all commercial considerations (as rated by pious persons, who much superior as the soul is to the have sometimes spoken, as if they body, as the interests of eternity thought that an anxious attention to are to the concerns of a day,) by these matters almost uniformly beevery one that can feel for his fel: trayed a neglect of the essentials low-creatures, and can be determin. and internals of religion ; forgetting ed by every one that can read the that, when the outworks of a forScriptures." And we will add, with tress are left unguarded, there is no his lordship, that whatever oppo longer any great security for the sition may be made by interested citadel. They have observed that persons for a time, ultimately, " we the defence of religion has been not cannot doubt that the great princi- unfrequently well conducted by ples of political justice which form writers who have been far from the basis of our constitution, and adorning its doctrine by their lives. On the other hand, they see num- once their vanity and corrupt probers retaining it in sincerity and pensities; and perhaps, they often truth, who are but little acquainted secretly, excuse themselves from t

the with its historical proofs, and who arduous task of inquiry, by the hope possess little more evidence of its that even should Christianity prove divine origin than what arises from true at last, they will not be called a witness within, bringing home to to any very severe account for their own bosoms the consolation merely doubting, in the midst of so of its hopes and promises, together much obscurity, cavil, and contena with an experimental conviction of tion. And even with many," ob, its moral and transforming influ- serves Mr. Sumner, in the preface ence. They see that the majority to his invaluable work now before of mankind have neither leisure nor us, “ who have not given themability for examining and appre- selves up to avowed scepticism, ciating that mass of testimony which and who have a sincere respect for it is the object of the learned to Christianity in the abstract, from unfold. Living also much apart the benefits which it confers (upon from the world, and its vanities, society, vague notions of uncertainthey have no adequate conception ty in its evidence, and of difficulof the deplorable prevalence of in- ties in its doctrines, float upon the fidel and sceptical opinions in a mind, and keep it in a most unproChristian country. For all these fitable state of hesitation.”. These reasons they are by no means al. are the persons whose instruction ways proper judges of the real exi- and benefit be professes to have gency of the case. Happy indeed particularly in view, in the present would it be, did the influence of treatise. But, indeed, even with our religion so generally prevail as upright and sincere believers, every to exempt Christian writers from the additional ray of light, thrown upnecessity of this contest, and leave on the evidence of religion, tends them at full leisure to direct all their to fix their sense of its impor, force against those inward “ lusts tance, to enlarge their views of which war against the soul." But, its excellency, and to increase the in an age like the present, a fre- practical influence of its precepts. quent recurrence to the evidences This will always be the case, wherof Christianity is of imperious ob- ever considerable power of intellect, ligation. That revival of learning, and a habit of close thinking, are which extended the empire and in associated with piety and right fluence of true religion, has operat- principles. Minds of this cast; ed, at the same time, to increase though most liable to be assailed the prevalence of lax and sceptical by difficulties, are also, on the other opinions. With respect to religion, hand, most open to conviction from as well as other things, it has been those arguments by which diffi, frequently found true, that “ a little culties are removed or lightened. learning is a dangerous thing." Hence it seems of theutmost impore Amongst those who are far from tance that the evidences of Christ being open enemies to the Gospel, tianity should be exhibited, under there are many conceited sciolists every possible form, and in every and pretenders to knowledge, who possible light, that may serve to rehave just enough of wit and infor- commend them to the candid in, mation to perceive the alleged diffi- quirer after truth: and for these culties attendant on revelation, and reasons we are disposed to think, neither seriousness nor diligence that no well written treatise on the sufficient to engage them in an in- subject should be accounted super, vestigation of the subject, fully fluous. Every such work will proand impartially, for themselves. bably contain, if not mucho new Doubts concerning religion flatterat matter, at least old matter under a novel form. Besides, as is current- we suppose it so invented, it would ly remarked, “ new works will be not have been received and emread when old ones are neglected;" braced. Our author expresses himand it is no contemptible achieve- self as “by no means confident that ment, if, on a subject of this para- the field into which he has been mount importance, an author can led, in pursuit of these ideas, is rouse the curiosity and attention of sufficiently unoccupied to justify this a very few only, and bring but a addition of another volume to the few cavillers seriously to put this numberless treatises already existing question to their consciences, -Is on the evidences of Christianity." the Bible a revelation from above? Mr. Sumner has not indeed taken

The works we are about to no- new ground; but he has turned the tice furnish abundance of valuable old ground to better account than information on this grand point : any who have gone before him in and they have this excellence also, the cultivation of this field of in-' that they unite pious feeling with quiry. Much undoubtedly has been close and cogent reasoning. This written, and well written, on the piety of the writers, however, does internal evidences. As to the not often make them overlook a brief work of Soame Jenyns, it is flaw in argument; nor will their meagre, and does not always prolove of cautious investigation be ceed upon satisfactory premises. found to operate to the disadvan- Lord Lyttleton's treatise is, as far tage of their piety. It is peculiarly as it goes, unanswerable ; but it emthe merit of Mr. Sumner's volume, braces only one circumstance, The that, while it proves our religion to excellence of the Christian morality be true, “it shews," at the same has been repeatedly demonstrated. time, “what that religion is." With The necessity of some Divine rethis work we shall begin, not only velation, and the advantages and on account of its great value and probabilities of the Gospel revelaimportance, but as affording a tion in particular, have been ably suitable introduction to the other illustrated by Leland. The view two.

of our religion, as a suitable remedy Mr. Sumner confines himself to for the wants, weakness, 'and corwhat has been termed the inter- ruption of human nature, and as a nal evidence of Christianity ; that promoter of the moral and religious branch of evidence which flows improvement of mankind, has been from the contents of the sacred well enforced by the late Mr. Fulvolume, from the character of the ler, in “ The Gospel its own primitive believers, and from the Witness.” Paley also has much ercircumstances under which that cellent matter bearing on the incharacter was developed. Scarcely ternal, or, as he would have termed at all insisting on those direct his- them, the auxiliary evidences, both torical proofs which have been so in his second volume and in his ably pointed out in detail by Lard- admirable Hora Paulinæ. Mr. ner, and so vigorously condensed Sumner has not servilely followed and skilfully marshalled by Paley, he in the track of these writers ; he takes what may be considered lower

, has always the air of being a thinker but not less important ground, by for himself; and while he has taken inferring the truth of our religion a profound and comprehensive view from its nature, its reception, and of this branch of the evidences for its effects. His object is to shew, Christianity, and pressed his arguthat the Gospel could not have been ment with great force and variety, invented by the men who were its he has, at the same time, urged it first preachers, and under the cir- with constant reference to the moral cumstances which attended its first and practical uses of which it is promulgation ; and that, even could susceptible: and this constitutes, in

truth, the great charm and value of block in the way of a reception of his work.

the Gospel history. We cannot pretend to follow him The second chapter enforces the closely through the several stages truth of Christianity from its systeof his progress; particularly as we matic opposition to the opinions have engaged to comprehend, under prevailing among the Jews, at the this article, some observations on period of its promulgation. Speaktwo other works, which also we ing of the three principal sects adeem highly seasonable and im- mong the Jews, the Pharisees, the portant. Indeed, we rather wish to Sadducees, and the Essenes, Mr. afford our readers such glimpses of Sumner says: the value and excellence of these

“ These are the several opinions which volumes as may excite them both to existed in Judea, at the time when the purchase and peruse them. With Gospel was first preached. But I do not regard to works of real utility, this find that those who introduced that reliseems the proper province and duty gion belonged to any of these sects: they of a reviewer. We are occasionally betray no attachment to any of their poadmirers of the essays which cer

culiar doctrines; they rather oppose them tain of our critical brethren are in all; not, indeed, systematically, like the the habit of giving us, under the partizans of a different faction, but wher

ever their tenets are contradictory to en name of reviews, where perhaps a lightened reason, or inconsistent with the dozen authors are linked together, general good of mankind. If not actually only to shew what a convenient biassed towards any sect, we might exchain they form for holding up to pect, as a matter of precaution, that they notice the opinions of the misnamed would seek the countenance and support “ reviewer." But, in the present of some who were in possession of public

favour; instance, we should deem it a gross

would try to engage on their side

some of those who were opulent, or disrespect towards such authors as those whose works we are about to But the plan which they pursue is direct

powerful, or respected in their nation. notice, were we to treat them in ly opposite to all this. Their religious this unceremonious manner; and precepts are levelled against the self-inwe are sure that, should we prove dulgence of the rich ; against the pride successful in explaining and recom- and hypocrisy of the Pharisees ; against mending their sentiments, we shall the immoral and degrading principles of be conferring a greater benefit on the Sadducees'; against the unsocial and our readers than if we were merely levelling tenets of the Essenes. to make them a pretext for enlarg set at work against the system which they

“ In all human appearance, this was to ing upon our own.

At the same

were introducing a counteracting influence time, we shall not surrender our

which must at once be fatal to its progress. right, as critics, to demur and ob- Unknown and unprotected men, entering ject, whenever we may deem it ne- upon a new and hazardous enterprise, becessary or expedient.

gin by arming against themselves all the The first chapter of Mr. Sumner's learning, power, wealth, and influence exvolume contains the proofs of our isting in their country.” pp. 22-24. ,. .. Saviour's existence, and of the period when the first propagation of viour's prophecy concerning the de

The following remarks on our Sathe Gospel took place. This chap- struction of Jerusalem are judicious ter, excellent as it is, we may pass -and forcible. over. The question whether such a

The threatened destruction of Jeruperson as Jesus ever existed may

salem struck at the root of all the national puzzle such determined sceptics, or rather (as Mr. Faber has shewn prejudices

. The Jews confidently relied

upon Divine protection. The idea of being them to be) such credulous unbe- deserted by that care, and of seeing their lievers, as Volney, but can never, we city in the hands of foreigners, was not think, prove a frequent stumbling. more shocking to their pride than con



« ZurückWeiter »