Page images
PDF
EPUB

the most criminal excesses; that it has no Scriptural ground to stand upon, either in the shape of a permission or injunction. from our blessed Lord, or his Apostles, ur as being deduced from their practice: on the contrary, that it is directly in opposition to the practice of our Lord, in opposition to the most distinct and pointed injunctions of his Apostles, in opposition to the rules and ordinances of the Church, iu opposition to the sentiments of Christians in all ages, of the Fathers in elder times, of the Presbyterians and Independents in later days. And here the opinions of Calvin and Baxter are seasonably introduced, toge.. ther with a quotation from Milton, “ the most illustrious name that ever adorned the cause of rebellion.” So little has this spirit of false liberty to say for itself. “What then is true religious liberty ? It is the being able to profess a true fuith, and to practise a right mode of worship. It is the not being obliged to profess or to practise what is false or unsound.”

" Whoever can safely believe and profess the true doctrines of the Gospel, enjoys liberty of faith : whoever can safely offer up his adorations in a manner pleasing to God, enjoys liberty of worship.''

P. 64.

The pointing out what is to be expected in a Church which allows its members the enjoyment of true religious liberty, and vindicating of the Church of England from the charge of being inimical to freedom, follow of course. But we must abstain from any farther extracts; and shall only observe shortly, that there are two remarks made by our author, in his concluding pages, which we could wish our readers, and very many who are not our readers, (but who would not be worse Christians for being so) to consider very attentively. The former is the sub. jection in which the people are held when united with the Dissenters; a subjection not only very different from that easy yoke which is so heavily complained of in the Church of England, but which (like that which obtains among the Papists) is pregnant with danger to the state, as well as to true religion. The other remark which we would recommend to the attention of our readers, is concerning the origin of this spirit of false liberty, and the course which it has run. Beginning in the low and loose divinity of Bishop Hoadley, it unsettled the minds of men, taught them to undervalue ordinances and sacraments, and to disregard the difference between right and wrong principles of religion. It lias preserved the same character amidst the changes which have taken place during the last century, always disregarding the validity of ordinances, and indifferent as to the authority of those who administer them. It now assumes an appearance similar to that fatal philanthropy and universal benevolence which a few

years

years ago wrought such wonders of devastation, and, unconcerned as to all forms and modes of faith or worship, embraces with equal cordiality the professors of the most opposite tenets, the Calvinist, Arminian, and Socinian. On this as well as on the former head we could wish to make some observations; but we have unhappily fallen into that which is the chief fault of the author before us, the being too diffuse; and must here therefore take our leave.

ART. VIII. The Proofs of the Spirit, or Considerations on

Revicalism. 4 Sermon, preached ut St. Mary's Chapel,

Penzance, by C. Val. Le Grice, M. A. Perpetual Curate : of Penzance. 8vo. pp. 36. ls. Rivingtons. NOTWITHSTANDING the enormous train of ills with which Methodism has been attended, as a system organised with the view of spreading and consolidating schism, by gathering churches out of the Established Religiou; it is an opinion, occasionally broached by persons of genuine piety, that the evil has not been unaccompanied with good in the effect which has been produced in some of the less civilized districts, at a distance from the capital. The subject, which we proceed in Jay before our readers, will, we trust, render this point problematical. By affording a satisfactory proof that the zeal of the established ministry is not abated even at the remotest extremity of the kingdom, it will sufficiently convince those who require proof of the fact, that the resiless interference by which the Methodists persist in seducing the Members of the Established Church, does not possess even a local or partial utility : it will likewise display the deplorable effects which the fanaticism of those sectaries has upon the hurrán mind, when it has its full operation, unrestrained by education, or unsubdued by reason.

The sernion, which we introduce to our readers' notice, was occasioned, as the author informs us in an advertisement prefixed to it, “by a Process, denonsinated à Revival, introduced into the town of Penzance by the people denominated Method. ists." Of the origin of this process, which takes its name from being considered a revival of religion in the district where it prevails, we are enabled to lay before the reader the following account, sketched by an eye witness, for which we can answer, that it is by no means freely drawn, or highly coloured.

'This extravagant species of fanaticism seems to have been first kindled in the mining district of Redruth, where it soon

thiet possess eveing the Meminterfe

spread spread so rapidly and generally, as to have nearly produced å suspension of the mining operations. At this place, it was no uncommon thing for men to remain in a posture of prayer for two days, without an interval of repose, or any kind of susten, ance. From Redruth, the tame spread westward to Pepzance, where it raged with unexampled fury for more than a week. The meetings of these people appear to be very similar to the camp meetings in America. Numbers suddenly fall down, slain by. the sword of the spirit. They are at once convinced of all their sins, and groan with the load of them. During these paroxysms, the unhappy creatures stun the hearers with their piercing shrieks for mercy, and disgust them with the extravagance and sensuality of their expressions. Each of them is surrounded by a group of Preachers or Comforters, who pray over them; and, by the most rapturous sentences and inordinate gesticulations, inflame. their enthusiasm, and excite the most frantic delirium, “ Ano, ther struggle,” said one,“ and the kingdom of heaven is yours." “ Another struggle, and the Saviour of the world will descend into the midst of us." "Raise your voices louder, and yet louder; he is not far off, and will soon arrive." These were the expressions to the very letter. Fourteen groupes of this description have been counted, uttering such a combination of sounds as was never heard before. At one spot, a young woman anight be seen prostrate, surrounded by females who had just received an assurance of pardon, and who were exhorting her to flee to Jesus to save her soul from the flames of hell. In another spot, a boy, of scarcely fourteen years, pouring forth the most intemperate and incoherent rhapsodies. Besides those many more groupes might be seen: some rending the air with their shrieks, others weeping and sobbing ; others again, singing and rejoicing that the Lord had just heard their cries, had pardoned their sins, and renewed them in love. After this assurance of God's pardon and mercy, all their distress had ceased, and they were calm and tranquil. At the door of the ineeting might be seen exhausted crowds, hastening for fresh air, women in fainting fits, or in hysterical convulsions; while brokeu ejaculations issued from their faultering lips, and convulsive sobs from their almost exhausted breath. One of the females, adds our informant, was so alarmingly affected that her friends insisted upon her retiring: they dragged her, by force, from the meetinghouse. But her delirium was not subdued. She burst from her friends, and fell on her knees in the midst of the street. In short, it is impossible, by any description, to convey an idea of the scene.

When enquiry was made into the nature and intention of this assembly; the aitswes was, that it was summoned by no human

· means

means that the most profligate and profane had not been able to resist the energies of the Spirit--that they had felt the heioousness of their sins, and been pardoned of God, and were now rejoicing in the love of Jesus. “ Their finty hearts," said one of the comforters, “ have been broken in pieces by the hammer of love."

It is not diffcult to trace the effects thus wrought on the fancies of the deluded sufferers to physical causes. This peculiar state of the piind is worked up by the acclamations of the preacher, and the shrieks of the worshippers, and is propagated from one to another by a species of aninial magnetism. Where the light of reason and education exist, the phantom cannot: be raised; and, hence the necessity of drowning the little reason that may exist by the noisy violence of their ejaculatious. With respect to the tranquillity felt after prayer, which they call a feeling of God's assurance of pardon, it may be an effect resulting from their previous state of excitement, nothing more or less than a state of natural exhaustion. It is worthy of notice, that the female sex is always most affected, and most violent in their expressions. The affection spreads like an hysteric by sympathy. One young woman was deprived of her senses for some time. Her parents had recourse to medical advice.

To check the growth of these evils the sermon of Mr. Le Grice was written, and published, at the request of his congregation. We are justified in speaking of it as most certainly not an intolerant discourse ; as the following extract will abundantly testify, which we subjoin, as a specimen of the author's manner.

“ God forbid, that the Sacred Assembly of the worshippers of His Holy Name should be made a school of controversy. My hearers for eight years will witness that I have been rigidly care. ful to avoid the least appearance of it; that I have, where an occasion offered itself, deprecated it. In so doing I obeyed the dictate of Christian charity, which believes that all may be saved ; that Salvation is not limited within the pale of any particular Church. I obeyed the dictates of prudence, for I know full well, that opposition promotes, what it aims to suppress: but charity and prudence have their bounds, and there are occasions, whep to be silent would be a dereliction of duty, and a desestion of office. From this pulpit of the Established Church, I lift my warning voice; because the danger is coming to our very doors. I have looked with complacency (who but a Pharisaical worshipper could do otherwise?) upon the various, and numerous devout fa. milies all seeking, though in different assemblies*, the same end, namely, the salvation of their souls. I have looked upon them

“ * Who could do otherwise, when we consider that our Chapel will not hold above one eighth of our population?"

with delight all uniting on the Sabbath to disengage their minds from the concerns of the world, and to enjoy, free from distractions, the Day sacred to divine love, to heavenly rest, and refreshment. But, if in our way to this house of prayer our ears are to be assailed by the shrieks of convulsive agonies; if we are to hear that Name, which we dare not utter without awe, uttered aloud and frequent, and with a sensuality of phrase, and a grossness of familiarity, which to the calm mind must seem the very worst of profanation : if the little children, whom every parent delights to make inmates of the house of God, alluring them to piety, and leading them to Christ with a promise, that he will bless them if their tender hearts are to be alarmed with sounds, which strike terror into the firmest breast, or to be shocked with a view of frantic energies, which may leave a fatal impression for ever, then will our Sabbath not be a day of rest, and pious refreshment; then will our path to the house of prayer cease to be the way of pleasantness; and the day will be a day of terror and alarm. That peace and repose, which are now so universally proclaimed, and so joyfully welcomed, will not be ours*. At such & season how sad a thought!”

Art. IX. Ode on the Victory of Waterloo. By Elizabeth,

Cobbold. Large 8vo. pp. 18. 1815. IF Mrs. Cobbold has not equalled some of the writers who have celebrated the Victory of Waterloo, she has, at least, risen far above many of them; and has produced a composition which is not quite unworthy of the glorious theme. Her poem is not deficient in elegance or spirit; and the versification is musical. Perhaps too little of the battle is described. But it is not wonderful that a female should shrink from the task of describing the horrors of a field of blood. The opening of her Ode is well contrived, and she slides easily into her subject.

“ How lately, in delusive state,

Bright Peace enthron'd in sunbeams sate,
Her snowy banner wide unfurld,
And seem'd to smile on all the world!

"* Not even at the solemn hour of midnight! Surely repose at Nature's “ own still hour" is a civil right, in which the peaceable citizen may claim the protection of the Legislature. The pious Methodist would do well to consider, that by these nocturnal meetings obloquies (such as were cast upon the early Christians) are actually renewed, and can never be satisfactorily confuted. The early Christians assembled at night to avoid persecution : no modern sect can hạye any such plea."

« PreviousContinue »