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clergy is the most important. It could now no longer be said, that the history of dissenters was that of religion. Whitefield and Wesley, with the original band of church methodists, were followed by others, who adopted their principles, and imbibed their spirit, but adhered more firmly to the church of England, which, from this time, has presented, like the church described by Solomon, “ the appearance of two armies.” The evangelical clergy, as the new party was afterwards called, could but ill accord with those who placed the marks of a true churchman, not in a vital belief of the doctrines, but in conformity to the rites of the establishment; nor was it without colour of reason, that they were reproached as intruders, who came to disturb the peace (though it was the peace of the grave) which had now reigned for near a century in the church, But, entrenched deeply in articles and homilies, and inspired with the zeal of recent belief, they withstood all the attacks of their enemies, and gained constant accessions to their numbers. To thirty-four of these clergymen, Mr. Wesley addressed, about the end of George the second's reign, a proposal for union. Many who were hostile to establishments in general, as well as to the particular constitution and forms of the church of England, now rejoiced to find the Gospel faithfully preached in pulpits, from which it had been banished since the expulsion of the nonconformists.
Together with a new spirit among the clergy, a novel species of philosophy, intimately connected with theology, was introduced from a quarter whence it was least expected ; and though contemptuously rejected by some, welcomed by others with enthusi. astic ardour. The author of this theologico-philosophy
was John Hutchinson, who was born in 1670. After serving the duke of Somerset, as land steward and surveyor, he procured from him a sinecure place in the king's mews, which enabled him to devote his life to study. In his travels, he investigated the different strata of the earth, and formed that extensive and noble collection of fossils presented by Dr. Woodward to the university of Cambridge, and obtained, it is said, in a clandestine manner from its owner. He published his discoveries in such a style, as could not have failed to obstruct the reception and celebrity of more popular sentiments”.
n After conquering the resistance of repulsive tempers and fatiguing language, we find his system maintains, that the source of wisdom has given, in the Hebrew Scriptures, all true philosophy as well as theology; that it is, therefore, necessary to examine into the radical idea of the words he has employed; that, in order to this, we must discard the vowel points, which are a inodern, if not a diabolical device, to conceal, rather than convey, the contents of the Bible; that when the Mosaic history is understood, it confutes all other systems of the universe, not excepting the Newtonian, with its doctrines of gravity, attraction, and repulsion; that the world is a ma, chine of limited extent, of which the sun is the main-spring, at the centre, the most dense state of air forming a wall at the extremity, and all the planets revolving upon mechanical principles; that the deluge was an exhibition of the Creator's power to reduce the earth to its first principles, and form it again; that the visible creation was intended to be an image of the Creator, his attribụtes and relations towards his creatures; that the heavens, or celestial fluid, composed of fire, light, and air, are designed to teach the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit; that the Deity imparted a knowledge of all these mysa teries to the first parents of the human race, who were placed, not in the paradise of Epicurus, but in a kind of observatory, or school of philosophy; that, after the fall, visible representations of the Trinity in unity were given in the cherubim, on the east of Eden, placed in a tabernacle, similar to that of Moses, where our fallen parents worshipped, being taught the rite of sacrificing, circumcision, and other symbolic ceremonies; that, from thence, a revelation may be
The association of ideas would lead us to commence our account of eminent men, during this period, with the name of sir Isaac Newton, whose philosophy the system of Hutchinson was designed to oppose, and who, on many accounts, may claim precedence among “ the 'men of name.” Without stepping out of our department to characterise his philosophy, or attempt the hopeless task of adding to his praise; we shall only record his humble acknowledgments of the divine Author, whose works
said to have been given to the whole human race, without which, man could know nothing of God or religion ; that the idolatry of the heathen was only an apostacy from the true philosophy, by worshipping the works, instead of learning from them the author of Dature; that to recover the true philosophico-theology, the Mosaic economy was given, representing in its tabernacle and utensils, the structure of the universe, as well as pre-figuring a Saviour, who shculd be the Creator tabernacling among his own works, to make expiation for sin by a sacrifice of which all nations have retained the aboriginal tradition; that the temple of Solomon was a figure of Christ's humanity, as the Saviour himself declared, in which, as a temple, dwelt all the fulness of the godhe:d bodily, while it was also a grand monument to the creative honours of the Deity; and finally, that the figurative language of Scripture is not mere allusion or embellishment, but an application of the material world to its true design of teaching spiritual and divine doctrine. If this sketch of Hutchinsonianism, hasty and compendious as it is, be thought disproportionably protracted, let it be remembered that the system has founded a school in religion and philosophy, has been warmly espoused by bishops and their clergy, taught by the most distinguished scholars, and cherished by some of the most devout believers in Revelation, as an antidote to what they deem the atheistic tendency of the Newtonian philosophy. It has, indeed, been rendered ridiculous by some injudicious friends, among whom may be rapked Mr. Romaine ; but the pious manner of bishop Horne will insinuate its principles into the breasts of the devout, the erudition of Parkhurst recommend it to the studious, and the cultivated taste of Mr. Jones may procure it admirers among the lovers of elegaut learning. he so successfully explored; his diligence in studying and elucidating the volume of revelation, which, by his publications, he recommended to the world; and the purity of his moral character, without which professions of faith are but hypocritical, and transcen. dant genius only rises to a level with fallen spirits. If, in other countries, infidels exult in the leaders of science as their own; in ours, Christians may not only point to a Milton at the head of modern poets, and a Locke among metaphysicians, but may boast of a Newton, the first of mathematicians and philosophers, who acknowledged the existence of the Deity, and received the holy Scriptures as the revelation of his infinite mind.
Woolaston, the author of " the Religion of Nature delineated," should stand next in the list. His subject, it is true, is, of all others, most equivocal; bụt his mind, of the first order, combining simplicity and original force, with profound knowledge of the learning of others, has reared a system of natural religion, not indeed without the aid of Revelation, which has now blended its beams with those of reason, but without any discoverable obligation to that paramount source of information. The delineation of the religion of nature was one of the most important publications of its day, in the department of moral and metaphysical discussion, and ranks among the few books which supply the elements, and excite the habit of thinking, while they inspire equal admiration of the author and esteem for the man. “ The Religion of Jesus delineated,” by Reynolds, with less mental vigour or learned lore, contains many valuable passages, and is an excellent companion to the former,
Lord chancellor King was another of the distin. guished writers of this age, who, though not of the clerical profession, enriched the church with theological productions. When a very young man he published an “ Enquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity, and Worship of the primitive Church," valued equally for its frank simplicity and its copious learning, and which is said, with great probability, to contain the principles which prevented him from entering the church of England. It certainly has convinced many, that the essential principles of the independents prevailed in the Christian church during the three first centuries. His critical history of the apostles' creed is worthy to be studied as a supplement to bishop Pearson's admirable exposition of that ancient summary.
Among distinguished churchmen, archbishop Tennison deserves a place, only on account of his mild. ness of character and elevation of rank: Burnet, bishop of Sarum, again occurs to our notice; because he died after the accession of George the first; but : he has become already so familiar to our readers, that we have only now to give an estimate of his character as a divine. As far as zeal for pure morals, serious. ness in the discharge of pastoral and episcopal duties, and catholic liberality towards dissenters, dèserve praise, it is his due ; but he who looks for an accurate perception of revealed truth, a precision in the mode instruction which leaves no room for misapprehension, and a fidelity which spurns at accommodation to the times, as essential to constitute a faithful minister of Jesus Christ, will not concede that title to Dr. Burnet. His “ Exposition of the Thirty-nine A.ticles of the Church of England,” which were designed to prevent - diversities of opinions,” labours to prove that men