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to have no place there : and it would have no place there, if all who profess the Gospel would practise the charity of the Gospel. But I ain afraid that such is not the case in the present day. Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra. I am advocating no compromise of principle, no trimming and equivocating for the sake of a shallow and specious conformity. Conformity, however, and peace and charity are worth greater sacrifices than what some men imagine; and he who gires the right hand of fellowship to one that differs from him in opinion is much more likely to make that difference less, than he who draws round him the narrow limits of an exclusive creed.-P. 449.
This volume contains an admirable, and (we think) perfectly conclusive sermon on the highly interesting doctrine of an intermediate state ; and two sermons on Christian education, both excellent. The professor does not hold the Oxford system perfect (as what human is ?); but it may be useful to contrast the style of a gentleman, a Christian, and a scholar, with the jargon of a Bulteel. Long may the Church reap the benefit of the learned professor's labours, before he shall enter into their reward!
ART. II.--The Sacred History of the World, as displayed in the
Creation and subsequent Events, to the Deluge. Attempted to be philosophically considered, in a Series of Lelters to a Son. Ву SHARON TURNER, F.S.A. and R.A.S.L. London: Longman and Co. 8vo. Pp. xvi. 520.
The name of Sharon Turner has, for many years, been so intimately connected with the literary history of this country, that any work coming from his pen is entitled to a more than common share of consideration, even should its intrinsic merits be of an inferior description. The present work, however, calls for no apology from us for introducing it to the notice of our readers, since we conscientiously affirm that we have derived more amusement and solid instruction from its pages than from any of the previous writings of the distinguished author. This may probably have arisen from the circumstance that “the sacred history of the world” is a subject of more engrossing interest than the mere detail of the acts and deeds of our fellow-men; at all events it is one more peculiarly adapted to our pages, and consequently of a more attractive character to persons, whose province it is to point out to the Christian world the excellencies, or warn them against the errors, of the writers of the day.
Few of our readers, we should suppose, are ignorant of Mr. Turner's “ England;" the first portion of which, containing the history of the Anglo-Saxons, was published many years ago, and at once raised the author to the highest rank in the republic of letters. Nor did the subsequent volumes, which comprise not only the political, but also
the moral, events of English history (if we may so express it) to the death of Queen Elizabeth, disappoint the expectations excited by his earlier labours. And we could not, we believe, point out a single work where so much information may be gathered respecting the religion, language, poetry, and general literature of our country. The progress of the reformation, from the century before Luther, to its establishment in Great Britain, forms a chapter which might advantageously be studied by the whole clerical world. To enter, however, into the merits of a work of such importance and extent as the History of England is here impossible; we shall, therefore, confine our observations to the subject which primarily elicited these remarks.
The want of a selected and concentrated view of such facts and reasonings on the creation, intellectual design, and Divine economy, of the world we inhabit, corresponding to our acquirements in other branches of science and philosophy, has long been experieneed. This want is now to a considerable extent supplied, and our author has, in a new and familiar manner, exhibited the Divine Mind in connexion with the production and preservation, and with the laws and agencies of visible nature; and endeavoured (in his own words) to lead the youthful inquirer to perceive the clear and universal distinction that prevails between the material and the immaterial substances in our world, both in their phenomena and in their principles.
The views unfolded by this attempt to penetrate into the arcana of nature, harmonize with those suggested by revelation, and consequently the true foundation of the sacred history of the earth that we inhabit is developed. And upon this foundation we hope Mr. Turner will rear a superstructure at once honourable to himself and advantageous to his country. The present volume promises well: but, from the preface, we have higher anticipations of those which are to succeed-as the history of mankind, subsequent to the deluge, comes down to us in a more tangible shape ; and the redemption perfected in the person of our Saviour of a higher and holier interest than all that happened before, or can come after.
The volume is addressed in a series of twenty-two letters to a beloved son, to whom Mr. Turner is anxious to supply the want be himself felt of information full and explicit upon a subject of such deep interest and importance; and each letter contains matter for contemplation and comment, far greater than our limited pages can supply. A brief analysis must therefore suffice. The creation of the earth, of course, first occupies the attention of the author; and the letters upon this point take a philosophical and correct view of the system of the universe, or rather of that portion of it subjected to our finite comprehension. In the general arrangement, the order laid down in the book of Genesis is adhered to. The local creation and gradual diffusion of plants-their fossil traces and remains in subterranean strata ; and their adaptation to the uses of the animal world, are next defined, in a style at once concise and comprehensive. Then follow the things innumerable, generated in the "great deep," from the leviathan that "takes his pastime therein," to the most minute works of the God of nature. Birds, beasts, and insects succeed. Their classifications into orders and genera—their general qualities-number-food-organs of sense-voice and feelings—with a philosophical view of the character of their mental capacities, and the phenomena at times observable in their organization, are dilated upon with a science and perspicuity at once delightful and instructive.
At length we arrive at the crowning work of creation, The formation of man—the principle and process of his being-the divine image and likeness--nature of human knowledge-man's free genc and free will. Nor are his physical construction and powers overlooked. The erect head and form the wonderful and appropriate construction of the hands and feet-and all the exquisite, but essential, peculiarities which contribute to his vast superiority above that creation over which the Almighty declared he was to have dominion; all have been studied by Mr. Turner, with the eye of a philosopher and Christian. The twenty-second and last letter concludes the volume, with a dissertation upon "The first state and residence of the human beings created - The beginning of language-The fall of man-Corruption and vices of the general population-Its universal destruction by a deluge."
Such is a faint outline of “The Sacred History of the World ;" but the marrow within is not to be thus lightly dismissed. In the present æra of danger and desolation, of infidel speculation, and thaumaturgical idealities, when the poison of scepticism is mistaken for the bread of life, and the idle traditions of enthusiastic men for the very word of God, we cannot allow such sterling pages to enter the world of letters without our “imprimatur.” To the disciples of David Hume, and those shallow philosophers who represent * "a miracle as the violation of the laws of nature,” we recommend the following clear and uncontrovertible arguments, laid down by our author upon this point.
Avoid, therefore, all absurd prejudices theoretically against miracles. They are inseparable from existence. Creation was a miracle. Its subsistence is not less so." The true idea of a miracle is, that it is an act of Divine power-an event which the material laws of nature without the greater law of the Divine agency could not effect. To describe a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature, is an incorrect and an inapplicable definition; for all the laws of nature are in continual violation and counteraction by each other. Fire burns, but
* Hume's Essay on Miracles.
water extinguishes it. Water is fluid, but cold converts it into a solid, and heat into air. It is the established course of nature, that all its laws should be thus violating each other. It is by such a violation that we roll yearly round the sun. This is the result of the attractive line continually violating the law of that propulsive force which every planet has received. These two laws are in a constant struggle, each violating the other; neither prevailing; and, therefore, the result of their increasing conflict and counteraction is that forced compromise, ever resisted by each but maintained by their very resistance, which appears in our circuitous orbit. We now go round the sun by no willing movement: instead of flying off from it, as one law urges us to do; and instead of falling into it, to which the other is always drawing us—this mutual violation of each other's law compels our planet into that elliptical circuit which is the artificial product of this appointed contest.-Pp. 70, 71.
We heartily wish that certain miracle-mongers would read the entire letter from which the above is extracted, as it is calculated to remove many erroneous opinions, and to confirm those which are sound. The very nature of a miracle is so little understood, perhaps from being so little studied, that a few observations, a little sterling ore dug from the mine before us may not be unprofitable. What, then, is a miracle? It is the exerted will and agency of that Deity, who is an unexcludable, and ever-permeating, and intrinsic portion, as it were, of all nature; in other words, of all the works of his hands ; these works He superintends, governing by his natural laws in the usual course of things, but by the special operation of a miracle, whenever he deems it proper to do so. And we beg all “who profess and call themselves Christians," as well as those unfortunate beings who prefer darkness to light, to remember that He alone is the judge of the necessity or expediency of such an interference; but whatever he chooses to do for the benefit of his creatures, there is nothing to prevent him from accomplishing. He has no controller nor superior; nor does he take counsel from us as to the time, the manner, or the fitness of his interposition. When therefore, as every page of the inspired volume proclaims, the manifestation of His superior power, or the production of effects to which the common laws of the universe are inadequate, became expedient, then what is specially needed specially ensues. The Divine agency forthwith acts and produces visible effects beyond the power of natural causes to occasion; and thus evidences its own operation.
By following this argument a little further, the palpable and gross absurdities enacted in the Scotch Church, under the sanction of Mr. Irving, and pronounced by him and other misguided persons to be manifestations of the re-appearance upon earth of the Holy Spirit, may be brought to an unerring test. It requires no great depth of thought, no extensive application to the history of the providence of God, to feel convinced that he would never interfere in the course of this world, without adequate reason, and for the benefit of his creatures. Mr. Irving's pretended inspiration will not bear either test. At
least, our poor understanding can discover neither the truth of the reasons alleged by his disciples, nor the benefits likely to be deduced by the christian world at large, through the instrumentality of a man pronounced by his own church to be guilty " flagrantis delicti," against the discipline he had sworn to observe; and, in other respects, manifesting unequivocal signs of a powerful but perverted intellect.
The object of our author throughout the volume, as he himself expresses it, is to provide a "knowledge that will assist us to appreciate the Creator's ends and operations in the course of nature which he has established, and in the direction and application of his providential economy to ourselves, as well as to our inferior fellow-creatures." “Let all things be done to the glory of God" appears, indeed, to be his motto, and forcibly recalls to our mind the lines appended by the "judicious and industrious Master Isaacson " (as Fuller calls him) to his work upon Chronology, published two hundred years ago.
In thee did I begin, by thee go on,
To thee, O Lord, be the conclusion ;
And when, at last my soul, I do commend
As every page bears testimony to the truth and sincerity with which the express design is fulfilled, we are at no loss for confirmatory extracts ; the difficulty is to select the best where all are good. "The lily of the valley;" " the sparrow that falleth not without His knowledge;" “the heavens declaring the glory of God;" “the firmanent shewing his handy work;" have found "speech and language through Mr. Turner; and we hope “ their voices" will be effectually “ heard” to the "maintenance of true religion and virtue.”
What heart, for example, will not sympathize with the best of feelings called forth by a minute inquiry into the mysteries of the vegetable world?
What an exhilarating feeling is this! For who is this Being, that so condescends ? Who thus reveals himself to us with features, and feelings, and qualities so gracious and so amiable? Nothing less than uncontrollable and irresistible Omnipotence! Nothing could be more terrible—nothing more dreadful to us and to all seritient nature, than a being of his absolute, unlimited, and almighty potentiality, if he were not as good and gracious as he is infinitely powerful. Nor would even general or abstract goodness avail us. Each human individual is so petty an object, compared with such stupendous majesty, that it cannot but be, at all times, a subject of infinite importance, whether the Lord of such multitudes of beings will be-is-or means to be-benign and kind to us? He answers this awful question to us all by his vegetable creations. Would a tyrant have produced them? Could they have arisen if he had been indifferent towards us, if we had not been the objects of his kindest forethought and most elaborate care? No! His benevolent philanthropy comes to us with an expressive voice, and in a personal visitation, in every sweet flower and pleasing foliage around VOL. XIV. NO. VIII.