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and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" who have given the honour due unto him to idols. Strange it is that, although to the Christian, on whom the full light of the Gospel has clearly shone, there is but "one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism," there still should be more difference of opinion, more vaYiety of profession, and more zeal in upholding the most conflicting tenets, than are 19 be found on any other subject on which the intellectual and moral faculties of mau have ever been employed. It is neither a difficult nor a pleasing task to trace this want of unanimity to its source. Without stopping, however, to investigate the cause of the evil, the existence of which we acknowledge and lament, we are ready to admit that those who sincerely desire to keep themselves stedfast in the right way, should be aware of the errors into which they are liable to fall if they deviate from it; and this caution they cannot better obtain than from an acquaintance with the history, the origin, progress, and effects of the various heresies and modes of faith and practice which have given rise to so much contention and so much misery on earth.
To bring together into one view all the shades and degrees of Sober sentiments, and all the extravagant hallucinations and fanatical reveries which have been, from time to time, adopted as principles of religion— various as the features of their respective authors, and generally not less indicative of their personal propensities—to do this must neces-, sarily exceed the powers of the most industrious inquirer; for it implies a more intimate knowledge of the human heart than any human being can possess. Still, it is very practicable to collect a summary account of the chief religious doctrines which have been promulged, and of the ceremonies and institutions which have obtained, iu all ages of the world; and such a sum
mary cannot fail of being highly interesting, if its style be suitable to the subject, and its credibility undoubted. An authentic and ample representation of the past and present state of Religion is, unquestionably, to be framed from the writings of ancient historians and apologists, and of modern divines and controversialists; and that such a work would be extremely acceptable to the public may be argued from the great demand for the one very imperfect, and, in manyrespects, objectionable "Sketch," which has, for want of a better, been for some time in use.
Broughton's liibliolheca HUtorica-Sacra, or Dictionary of all Religions, and the more portable and very admirable work of later date, Robinson's Theological Dictionary, supply nearly all that is required by desultory readers, who have not time, or inclination, or capacity, to embrace the whole subject, or to make themselves acquainted with the original authors, from whom these compilations have been put together. But there is always a prim& facie objection to a dictionary, be it ever so good—that it is, at best, only a book of reference, and cannot be read in such a continued and systematic manner as shall leave an useful impression on the mind.— In the compact duodecimo of Alexander Ross, of which mention hps been made above, a vast stock of information relative to the motley .*' Religions," not only of Europe and Asia, but of Africa aud America, is conveniently, though somewhat awkwardly, compressed: but many, and those no trifling, blemishes are to be detected in the mass; and to Episcopalians it is no recommendation that it has a strong and unconcealed bias to Presbyterian principles. That some work of a higher character and .more comprehensive nature than Dr. Evans's " Sketch," not so quaint and more correct than Ross's, and yet not so voluminous as it must needs be, if it entered
largely into all (hat has been written on the divisions and sub-divisions of the" Religious World — that some snch work has been a desideratum, there can be no doubt.
We are happy, therefore, to have it in our power to notice a book which has already passed through one edition, and is now put forth in an altered form, free from the objections to which we have just alluded, calculated to supply the deficiency which there has been so much occasion to regret, and quite large enough to furnish as much in. formation upon points of general interest as is necessary to Iny but the studious divine, who ought never to rest contented with extracts and abridgments.
Mr. Adam has given us a very useful survey of the four great systems of Religion, Christianity, Judaism, Paganism, and Mohammedism; and of the various, or at least the chief, -modifications of each of them. We must however, find fault, in limine, with his title—" The Religious World displayed;" which,' notwithstanding the black letter, under whose reverend character it challenges respect, is really beneath the dignity of the work, and leads us to expect a frontispiece of at least eight effigies of bearded and wigged Reformers and Sectarians, if not a dozen plates in -as many compartments, each diminished from the copies of designs, exhibiting what are said to be religions ceremonies, by Dr. Hurd; the first plate of which, by the by, the said Or. Hurd has made his own, by inverting Broughton's subject, and appending an elegant descriptive verse. Barring this untasteful title, Mr. Adam's book is written in a plain, unaffected manner, and in a good spirit— either impartially, or charitably where partiality must be shown; of this the extracts which we shall submit to our readers will bear the best testimony. And, as it is important to the credit of a work of this description, that the animus
quo of the author should be ascertained, our quotations shall be taken chiefly from what are denominated the " Miscellaneous Remarks," with which he usually closes the account of each Church or Sect; as these may be supposed to convey his own unborrowed sentiments.
Before we let Mr. Adam speak for himself, we have a word or two to say for ourselves. As we cannot be persuaded to accede to t\iz flattering opinion of Dr. Priestley, that "if we lake in every thing relating to doctrine, discipline, and method of worship, there is no sect or denomination among us that is not nearer to the standard of the Gospel than the Established Church." Humbly venturing to differ with this great authority, we feel an honest pride in the conviction, that whenever our Church is fairly placed under comparison with all other churches, true or pretended, or with . the heresies, in the better sense of the word, by which she is surrounded, she will stand forth to the judgment of the unprejudiced observer a remarkable, if not a singular, example of the happy effects of primitive simplicity combined with a sacred dignity, of temperate conduct in the work of reformation, and of close adherence to whatever was intrinsically good, or obviously expedient in the doctrines and rites of the much corrupted Church of Rome, notwithstanding the difficulties of the times in which the Reformation was accomplished, and the subsequent opposition which our ecclesiastical constitution has endured. Nothing, we sincerely believe, can contribute more to the stability and credit of the Established Church, than that she should be rigidly scrutinized as to her tenets and ordinances; if the same scrutiny be carried with equal strictness into the real state of the faith and practice by which those who differ from us are distinguished.— If, indeed, she cannot abide this trial, if she cannot bear the test of
comparison, she is not what we suppose her. It has happened hitherto, that the works on the various denominations of Religionists have been written by those who were, ou principle, opposed to the Church of England; we may, therefore, without imputing auy unfair misrepresentation to others, be glad to see a publication, which certainly has much higher pretensions to public favour than its precursors, executed by a member of the Establishment, with moderation, judgment, and a seeming conviction of the serious nature of his undertaking. We by no means, however, regard the chapter on the Church of England as Mr. Adam's chtf d'aeuvre. He is evidently crippled by his anxiety to preserve a Burnet-like neutrality between those members of it who differ from each other upon some vital questions. In order to effect this he is obliged to evade the mention of some characteristic doctrines; and frequently to have recourse to the hacknied quotations from Bishop Horsier, relative to the comprehensive nature of our Articles—quotations which certainly have often, in their insulated form, been made to speak a very different language from that which their Right Reverend Author would have acknowledged, had he been alive to see the use that has been made of his dicta and supposed opinions. It, perhaps, would not be becoming, and certainly it is not necessary, that in such a work as this the writer should, on all occasions, obtrude his own sentiments; still less that he should misrepresent or warp those of others: but there can be no good reason why, when a fit opportunity does occur, that should not be done explicitly which is done in part; (Vol.1, p. 121.) why the author should not freely state what he believes to be the meaning of the Church on all her articles of faith. Confidence will always be reposed in the representation of a writer who tells us une
quivocally what he holds himself to be the truth, even though we may dissent from his way of thinking.
But it u> time to let Mr. Adam himself be heard, and we will take his first paragraph as a favourable specimen.
"Christianity, which it one of the four grand systems of religion, and the only tine religion, is so called from its Divine Author, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world. At its first commencement, those who embraced it were known among themselves by the names of disciples, believers, elect, saints, and brethren; but about the year it, when the disciples came to be joined by the nncireumcised at Antioch, and so coulu" no longer be distinguished as any particular class of Jews, they were there called Christians. This name, though it seems to have been first given to them by the world, was yet well received among themselves, being of the same import with the phrase «i Xpt<rr«, ' those that are Christ's.' " Vol. I. p. 3.
Speaking, in his "general view*' of Christianity, of the precepts of the Gospel, it is said, with much truth and energy,
"As to the exercise of self-government, Christianity is manifestly designed to correct, to reform, and to improve human nature. It teaches us not only to regulate the outward actions, but the inward affections and dispositions of the soul: to labour after real purity of heart, simplicity, and godly sincerity, as that, without which no outward appearance can be pleasing in the sight of God, whom it describes as of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. It strikes at the root of all our corruption* and disorders, by obliging ns to correct that inordinate self-love which causes us to centre all our views in our own pleasures, or glory, or interest, and by instructing and enabling us to mortify and subdue our sensual appetites and passions. It is designed to assert the dominion of the rational and moral powers, over the inferior part of our nature, or of the spirit over the flesh, which alone can lay a just foundation for that moral liberty, and that tranquillity of mind, which it is the design of all true philosophy, and all true religion, to procure and establish.
"In short, it includes a morality, not only superior to the deductions of human reason, but enforced on new principles and motives, and strengthened by fresh considerations, derived from the highest source, and directed to the noblest and." Vol. I. p. S2.
The chapter on " Arians" is thus well concluded,
"According to Trinitarian?, it is hard to Bay which of the two is the most unreasonable and unscriptnral:—Socinianmn, which never considers Christ as any thing but a mere man ; or Arianism, which never looks upon him as any thing but a supposititious God, .' a deified creature, a risible and inferior Jehovah,' (H.Taylor.) Between these two, in their opinion, lies the true Christian faith ; which, as it allows Ckritt to be perfect God aiidperfeet man, ie never offended, or put to ittthifte, by any thing that the Scripture may have said about him, in either capacity. And the doctrine of his divinity, they insist, rests on the evidence of prophecy and miracles, Christ's testimony of himself, and the belief of Ma Apostles." Vol. I. p. 69.
The remarks on Sociuian Unitarians are not less pertinent throughoat, than the following portion of them.
"If wc have too often seen professing Christians disputing de lana coprina— about nothing; here we behold them contending pro aris etfocis—for-every thing: for Trinitarians cannot help regarding the opinions now considered, to be fundamentally subversive of what appears to them to be the peculiarities of the Christian system, so that there can be no compromise between tlia two parties." Vol.1, p. 95.
In the chapter on "Arminians" the following observations occur, which may, in conjunction with some others scattered through the volumes, justify a doubt in the mind of his readers, whether Mr. A. has derived bis ideas of the Church of England from those whom we deem the best masters.
"Ever since the days of Archbishop Laud—i. e. from the time of King Charles the First—by far the greater part of the clergy of the Establishment in England have taken this side of the question, and the term Arminian is applied by many as descriptive of the doctrines of the Church of England. As far as it indicates the rejection of the CalvinUtic hypothesis of predestination, reprobation, and particular redemption, oy the generality of the mem
bers of that Church, it is doubtless applied with justice. But if it is used for imputing to the Church of England any approach towards the fundamental errors, into which niany eminent Arminians on the continent have fallen since the Synod of Dort, it is by no means applicable; for their theological system underwent a considerable change soon after that period, and embraced many persons whose opinions respecting the person of Chirst, the necessity of the aid of Divine grace, and Other fundamental doctrines of Christianity appear to have fallen far below the standard of the Gospel. So comprehensive is it said to have become, that Christians of all sects and denominations, whatever their sentiments and opinions may be. Papists excepted, may be found, according to it, into one religious body, and live together in brotherly love and concord. Many who do not belong to the Church of England, and not a few of tliose who are within her pale, both clergy and laity, seem|to believe, and warmly contend, on the other hand, that her doctrinal articles and confessional are strictly Cal-> vinistic: and on this subject, the dispute perhaps never ran higher than it has done of late years." Vol. I. p. 141.
The history, constitution, and ceremonies of the Church of Rome occupy a considerable space; and the subject is wound up with this expressive sentence;
"I once more congratulate myself that my duty does not oblige me to close this article with any further remarks on the subject of this scheme of religion, or to express my real and candid opinion respecting it; since at every view I take of it, its hay and stubble are almost the first things that present themselves to the eye of my mind. Vol. I. p. 335.
In the chapter on the Church of England, after a brief notice of its rise and progress, and its distinguishing tenets, and a somewhat larger description of its worship, rites and ceremonies, government and discipline, its commendation is summed up in these words;
"Whence it must appear, that the United Church of England and Ireland is the true mean between superstition and fanaticism. Her doctrine is entirely built upon the Prophets and Apostles, and therefore evangelical; her government is truly apostolical; her Liturgy is an extract from the best primitive forms; lier ceremonies are few, and such as tend only to decency and true devotion *; and her sacred adirices, whilst they are divested of the gandy decorations and puerile ornaments of Popery, are furnished with those appendages which give dignity to public worship, and distinguish the functions of its ministers from ordinary occupations." Vol. I. p. 413.
Of the deeply interesting circumstances of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, this very just and eulogistic sentiment is inserted;
•' Thus does there still exist in Scotland a church as well constituted, and perhaps as near the primitive pattern, as any at this day in the world; a chnich scriptural in her doctrine, apostolical in her government, primitive and pions in her worship, and decent in her ceremonies ;—a church that has the Scriptures of truth, the ancient mud orthodox Creeds, together with the two sacraments administered after the decency and solemnity of the purest times; a church where religion is supported by no authority hut her own, and has no interests but her own to support;—a church, in short, that is redeemed from superstition and idolatry, defended from vanity and enthusiasm, and governed by men who, though not distinguished by titles and honours, and riches, yet possess all the essentials of their order, and have Divine authority for the exercise of their sacred ministry, as much as any other bishop either in England or Ireland. For as an ancient father remarks, 'wherever there is a' regular and orthodox • bishop, whether at Rome or F.ngubinm, at Constantinople or Rhegium, at Alexandria or Tanis,' and it may be added, in F.ngland or Scotland, 'ejusdem merili, ejusdem tsl et sacerdotii t :'—he is a bishop to all intents and purposes, as far as the existence, the spiritual wants, and the due government of the church are concerned." Vol. I. p. 440.
We are not sure that the arrangement of the subject which Mr. Adam has adopted, is so natural or correct as that of Ross, who begins with Judaism and endfiwith Christianity. The display of "the religious world," commences with
• See an able defence of those rites, ceremonies, and offices of the Church to which the Poritans objected, in the third book of Hooker's " Eccles. Polity." t S. Hieron. ad Evagrium.
Christianity, and its doctrinal distinctions with respect to the object of Divine worship, the extent of blessings derived through thegospel, and church government. Next follow the grand divisious of the Christian world into the Greek and Eastern Churches—the church of Rome and Protestantism; under which latter. head an account is given of no less than thirty-six churches and sects. Part II. after a general view of the rise and progress of the Jewish, religion, and Mosaic polity, describes the existing sects, of which there are now nominally only four. Part. III. embraces ancient and modern Heathenism. In this, we think, a short sketch of the mythological scheme of the Greeks and Romans, with a brief illustration of its alliance with the history and ordinances of true religion, might be most, beneficially introduced, for the use, especially of younger students in the classics. Part. VI. consists of a general view and enumeration of the independent sects of Mohammedism. And an Appendix contains an account of the anomalous and anti-religious tenets of Materialism, Necessitarianism, Deism, and Atheism.
It cannot be expected of us to give even a rapid outline of Ibe eighty-six distinctions by which the " religious world" is unhappily divided*. For an able survey of a wide and rugged field ;' for a commodious digest of many, and some bulky volumes, properly authenticated in most instances, by references to the original works; for a book, in short, much wanted, and upon the whole well executed, we beg to offer our thanks to Mr. Adam; and though we suspect that we differ from him iu some few, and those not immaterial points, yet we shall be glad to see his labours well requited by a general circulation of his book, the faults we have detected being rather of a negative than of a positive nature. If however, he would render it still more