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Somc. Observations on the Sermons of Missionaries. retreat from one kingdom to another; Testament; for in comparison of their but if God is omnipresent and omni- power to affect the mind, the eloquence potent, whither can we flee from his of Demosthenes of Cicero on other vengeance? This is not what I mean subjects is bụt unmeaning words. when I allow we may fly from Divine In one place we ineet with a shepjustice; I am sensible it is impossible herd so solicitous for the preservation to escape froin God: where then can of his flock, that he seeks the lost sheep we take refuge? where, but in Divine over hills and mountains, climbing mcrcy? If in a certain sense this may steeps and treading on thorns, and be deemed escaping from God, it is to having found it, he places it on his shelter ourselves from the terrors of our shoulders to secure it from the attacks judge under the protection of our Fa. of the wild beasts. In another we bether; to appeal from the God of terror hold a kind and tender father highly to the God of pily, from the God of insulted and offended by his son, who, vengeance to the God of mercy, after having forsaken him and spent
l'infer from all that has been said, all Iris wealth in riot and dissipation, that the principal or only end that the when forced by necessity he returns cvangelical orator ought to have in home, he is embraced and received by view, is to instil the love of God into his forgiving parent with every deinonthe hearts of his hearers. It may in stration of affection. . Who is this deed be in general proper to attain this Father but the Redeemer of the end by motives of fear. “ Timor Dii world, the Sovereign Lord of heaven initium dilectionis ejus," says the sacred and carth? who the strayed sheep, the text in Ecclesiasticus, — The fear of prodigal son? but the man who abanGod is a preparatory disposition to love dons Jerusalem for Babylon, the dehim. The greater nuinber of con- serter from the noble army of the just mentators indeed explain this to mean to the infamous squadron of the wicked. filial fear; but it may with propriety be Notwithstanding he has ontraged and extended to servile fear also, when the offended his God, let but the sinner latter conducts to love, as I have al. have recourse to his clemency; all he ready endeavoured to shew.
demands is an humble and contrite Suppose now the first object of a heart. Let him only confess, “Father missionary sermon should be to alarm I have sinned against heaven and before the auditors by a description of the in- thee, and I am no more worthy to be tenseness and eternal duration of fu- called thy son," this alone is requisite ture. punishments ; terror being once to obtain forgiveness. The Saviour of: raised in every bosom, it ought to be the world has assured us of it by the intimated that the only way to escape pen of the Evangelist (Luke xv). this fearful and boundless abyss of mi- It is plain the mercy of God must be. sery and torment, 'is an humble appli- infinite towards sinners, since nothing cation to Divine mercy to shield' us less could make him receive the crafrom Divine justice. The better to minal with caresses, who had evinced impress the minds of the congregation, his hatred by insult and disobedience. the preacher may represent on one Do earthly monarchs thus admit to hund' the awful tribunal of offended their favour a vassal who has not only Deity surrounded by the ministers of been ungrateful but rebellious? No, his avenging wrath, and on the other their cleniency is as limited as their a throne of grace on which is seated a existence is finite; the mercy of God compassionate and forgiving God, who is boundless, because his being is inopens wide his arms to embrace all who finite. will have recourse to his mercy—that By these and similar representations, benignant Being whom the greatest of the ininds of the auditors may be ele the apostolic preachers defines as the vated above the servile dread of puFather of mercies and God of all con- nishment to confidence in the Divine solation. Ob! what a spacious, what mercy; and one step is alone wanting a beautiful field is here displayed to to lead them to that height of love we the preacher on which to exert his are desirous they should attain. The zeal and eloquence. The latter indeed gradation is natural and easy; for man is superfluous : let him but use the being convinced that God is supremely energetic phrases, the appropriate si- merciful and full of loving-kindness, miles, or rather the animated images therefore infinitely amiable; that his of Holy Scripture, especially the New forbeagance is so great that even after
Some Obscrvutions on the Sermons of Missionaries.
707 repeated provocations he is ready to against itself. Experience confirms this forgive the returning penitent; that opinion. The very, reverend Father even whilst in the actual commission M. Fr. Bentio Angerich, in an account of sin he requires no satisfaction frout which he published of the life and virthe offender, nothing but what is ne. wes of our celebrated legate of Monteessary for his own sake to ensure his serrate, Fr. Joseph de San Benito, eternal felicity; how can he resist such chap. x. relates that this monk enjoyed powerful motives to love his God, and throughout the principality of Catalonia prostrate before him say from his heart, the reputation of a most enlightened ** Most merciful and heavenly Father, understanding, not only amongst the I have sinned against the like a most ignorant but amongst learned men, and vile and ungrateful creature, therefore was frequently consulted when any I am not worthy to be called thy son, doubts were entertained in spiritual but to be treated as a vile and rebellious affairs. An apostolic minister belongslare."
ing to the fraternity of Escernalbon, Thus the path is clearly marked out complained to him of the very liule by which the missionary may lead men good his sermons effected, soliciting his from servile to filial fear: and it like. advice and instructious how he might wise appears that both servile and filial render them inore useful; to this refeat verifies that sentence of Scripture, guest the holy man made the following " Timor Dei initium dilectionis ejus." reply, (I quote the exact words of the The consciousness of deserving punish- writer) “ that he should endeavour to ment shews us the recessity of imploring inculcate the infinite mercy of God mercy; and as this attribute of the more than he had hitherto done, and Supreme Being is perfectly amiable, that he would assuredly reap that harthe transition to love is natural and vest of souls he desired." The writer easy. It may indeed be proper, and it thus proceeds: “the event justified is frequently' requisite, to impress the the advice; the missionary adopted the sinner with the hazard he incurs of counsel of his brother, and returned eternal perdition and the dread of ever- after some years to Montserrate, have Jasting torment; but he ought not to ing.converted innumerable souls, and be left under the dominion of terror, raising many to a steadfast and chearful both because love is a more noble prin- hope that were before in imminent ciple of action, inore suited to human danger of despair, by reading to them nature, and more efficacious to direct the short compendious treatise in verse. him in the road of virtue, and because at the end of San Benito's works." unqualified terror overwhelms the soul The account concludes thus : “ Fr. and weakens our inclinations to obe- Joseph had a special grace by his discence; for fear though it may restrain courses and writings to infuse hope a inan from the commission of sin, into the heart and inspire it with con, wants the sweetness that incites to good tidence in the Divine inercy." works: it may dcter us from evil, but The proper and distinctive character it will not render us virtuous. The of mind in this admirable ecclesiastic, business of the preacher is to recall was a profoundly rooted persuasion of sinners to God; but he who represents the mercy and clemency of the Supreme the Almighty arined with verigeance, Being. This formed the prominent is more likely to drive the criminal to feature of all his discourses and condespair than to reclaim him.
versations: by inspiring others with the It is easy to perceive that a conversion same sentiments, he accomplished the effected by love will not bhly be sincere most extraordinary conversions of sinbut permanent. God when considered ners who were reputed absolutely inas a master supremely merciful and corrigible. The method he pursued benignant, is an attractive object, a was to introduce his opinions casually magnet that with gentle force draws by way of conversation, as M. Angerich towards it the wills of men, and gives was assured by the monks of his conthem an admirable disposition to perse- vent, who had witnessed many of the vere in their resolutions of not relapsing cases. The chapter ends thus: “This into sin; for before the heart can be holy father was so intimately convinced torn froin so lovely an object, it must of the necessity of impressing sinners suffer great violerice from the repeated with the hopes of pardon through the assaults of some most impetuous pas- infinite mercy of God, ihat lie used to sion, or it must exert złe strongest force say to a spiritual direcior, who free 708
An Answer to the Question, What is Blasphemy? quently requested his opinion on par- doctrine would be highly injurious to ticular cases, that he should always the Deity, and derogatory from his treat his penitents with mildness, and most essential attributes as well as encourage
them to confide in the mercy most pernicious in its consequences of their Creator. To those who con- to the salutary purposes of true relifessed relapses into sin, the only re- gion. For this reason, when the Ismedy he ought to give them to relieve raclites, at Mount Horeb, meaning their misery, should be to advise them to worship the true God, erected the whenever they fell into the same fault golden calf as a fit emblem of the 10 confess it anew, with a firm reliance object of their religious adoration, it on the mercy and forgiveness of their will not I presume be denied, that heavenly Father, not doubting but by they were guilty of the most blasphemous so doing they would ultimately reform; idolatry; and, when exulting in the which proved to be the fact: by degrees restoration of that mode of religious they became exemplary in their lives worship, in behalf of which they had and manners."
acquired an habitual prejudice in the For my own part I consider the land of Egypt, they loudly proclaimed conduct of this monk highly calculated that four-footed image to be a just to ensure the salvation of souls. To representation of the Almighty Being sear God is good, but to love him is whose miraculous interposition had still better; and what means can inore so lately delivered them from their effectually contribute to this end, than Egyptian bondage; whether we judge to impress men with the clearest idea their conduct by the dictates of reason, possible of his unbounded mercy. or by the law of Moses, they were
Goodness is the genuine object of most certainly guilty of speaking blaslove: the conceptions which we form phemously against God. Let us suppose of the infinite mercy of God raises in then, for a moment, that the means our minds the most lively and sensible of forming the molten image had image of his infinite goodness. I have failed them, but that they had asserted before shewn that fear and love are not that the God who broughi them up out incompatible with each other; that of the land of Egypt, had theretofore froin servile fear we may rise to filial taken the bovine nature upon himn in love. I have also proposed the inethod the belly of a cow, been made an ox, 1o be pursued in conducting the sinner and had appeared in Egypt, and, froin one to the other, adhering in this though then in heaven, still continued method to a proper and literal explica. incarnate in the body of that animal; tion of the sentence, “ T'imor Dei ini. and, that even without the use of any tium dilectionis ejus," comprehending in visible symbol, they had instituted a it even servile dread. But enough of form of divine worship, adapted to the missions. May hearen preserve you name and properties of the fabulous many years.
God, Apis ;-surely, in this case,
both the worship and the language of In Ansicer to the Question, What is the Israelites would have been, at Blasphemy?
least, equally blasphemous as in the (This paper has been in print be- other. fore: we copy it from a prinied sheet There may be some, perhaps, who communicated by a Correspondent. will readily allow the charge of Wes
ED.) phemy in so monstrous and disgusting o speak blasphemously, as far as I an instance, as is here supposed, but pression, can only signify, to speak in any degree, blasphemous against ibishonourably of God; to speak in "Almighty God, to teach, that, in derogation of his Divine nature and another place and period, he became attributes. Now, since both reason incarnate in the body of an animal of and revelation teach us, that the only a more excellent nature and superior true God is IMMUTABLE, INCORPO- rank. But, certainly, whatsoever difREAL, and OMNIPRESENT, should ference there inay be in the nature of -any doctrine, on the contrary, assert finile beings, when coinpared with -that the Divine nature hath under- each other, there is absolutely none 'gone a change, and assumed a cor. at all when we consider them with thweat form, which must be local, I respect to the infinite and eternal think there can be no doubt but such Creator of the universe; and const
th Arswer to the Question, What is Blasphemy?
quently, both the blasphemy of the ex. obvious dictates of his understanding pression, and the impossibility of the 'respecting this first and most imporfact, must be exactly the same, whie- tant article of theology. For the legisther we affirm the Almighty to be lative power having in consequence of incarnale, by having been made one this boldest and most unreasonable of the lowest, or one of the highest petitio principii that ever was heard of, order, of those creatures, which his proceeded to assert, that a particilar gwa power and goodness hath called crcated being, an carthly animal was into existence.
the one true God and the proper object If then it should be found, that the of Divine worship; if any reflecting Emperor Constantine, and almost all conscientious Christian was led to those who have succeeded him in the question the truth and piety of that possession of either the whole or any orthodox persuasion, he was immedi. part of the civil power of Europe, have ately, with the most uncharitable and abused their temporal authority to the opprobrious language, accused of de purpose of propagating, and enforcing nying the divinity of the legal and only upon their subjects, the doctrine of God; and the bigoted zeal of some,
the incarnation of the infinite' un- and the inalicious rancour of others, changeable Deity, with all the gross recurred eagerly to the inhuman edicts
absurdities and in pieties that veces, and avenging arm of the civil magis. sarily flow from such a source, shall trate to condemn and punish, as a we not be forced to acknowledge, that blasphemer, the man who only meant they have indeed opened their mouths in to avoid the guilt of so heinous a sin, Clasphemy, against God, to blaspheme his and no longer dared to join his voice name and his tabernacle? Shall we in uttering blasphemy against ihe infinot also both see and admire the sin- nite majesty and incommunicable gular propriety of the prophetic lan- attributes of that awful Being, whom guage, in fixing this charge of llas, an inspired teacher of Christianity phemy upon the temporal rulers and assures us, no man ever hath seen not not the ecclesiastics, when we consider, that these are of necessity under Having mentioned the impossibility the dominion of the forner; ihat the of the Incarnation of God, as well as impiety or innocence of such a doc- the blasphemy of such a doctrine, lest trine is a question of common sense, I should appear to speak rashly, and not, of theological science; that even to revile long established opinions if any Scripwres could be procured without sufficient grounds, I beg you wherein it was expressly warranted, to consider, that the Deity is, in his the doctrine. itself would afford much very nature, omnipresent; that his bestronger reasons for rejecting such a coming incarnate, in a particular body, Scripture, than the best authenticated evidently implies his being more immeScripture could do for admitting so diately present with that body, than blasphemous a doctrine; and that no- with any other: whereas, the very thing less than that powerful influence meaning of omnipresence is, that he upon the strongest passions of the is equally present, equally close conhuman mind, which must needs be nected, as far as such a being can the effect of the rigid pains and penal- properly be said to be connected, with ries on one hand, and the alluring all the bodies in the universe. You rewards and emoluments on the other, will be pleased to recollect, likewise, annexed by the laws of the state to. that God is immutable, another attrithe rejection and adınission of this bute absolutely incousistent with his particular tenet, could have induced Incarnation. To evince this, let us mankind so far to abandon their own only attend to the commonly received sense of right and wrong, to give up opinion of man, as a being comevery rational and becoming idea of pounded of two natures, the one spithe eternal Deity, and to submit pa- ritual, the other carnal. Allowing tiently, nay, to adhere with obstinacy, this idea to be just, and that, at the to so gross and impious a delusion? dissolution of this composition by
But as things were long circum- death, man exists simply in & spi. stanced in every state of Christendoin, ritual state, it is certain that the altera. it was, in a very high degree, dange- tion made by death in the inode of sous for any man to venture to see with his own eyes, and avow the most
+ 1 Tim. vì.16.
710 Dri Benson on the Sacrifice of Socrates to Æsculapius. his existence, is the greatest change raded his bowels, i. e. to say whea such a compound being can undergo. he found himself upon the point of It is evident, therefore, that were a expiring (and they were the last purely spiritual being, such as the words) that he spake to Crito: “I soul of inan is usually presumed to be, owe a cock to Æsculapius, which I when separated from the body, to be desire you would pay. Do not negcome compounded with a carnal na lect it.” q. d. “I am just upon the ture like our own, he would suffer a point of being cured of all the disorder change exactly equivalent to that which and pains attending this mortal frame, man is said to suffer at his death. and of entering upon a better life, a And since the difference between the state of perfect health and happiness; nature of God and that of the most and I desire you would thus publicly perfect created being, is infinitely signify my belief and persuasion to the great; to assert that he who has ex- whole city of Athens, in that way isted from all eternity in a spiritual, which they are all acquainted with, incorporeal, uncompounded state, bath and will understand." Thus have i at length 'adopted another mode of given the most favourable interpretaexištenice, and is become compounded tion that I have met with to the last with the inaterial, animal body, is to words of that truly great man, whose assert, that the only unchangeable memory and character I esteem and being in the universe hath undergone reverence, though formerly that order a change infinitely greater than any of from Socrates to his friend, when his own mutable creatures can un- dying, to offer a cock to Æsculapias, dergo.
used to appear to me ridiculous and a
desire unbecoming so wise and good a Dr. Benson on Socrates' Sacrifice of a man as Socrates.
Nereington Green, ON
Nov. 2, 1816.
intended to invite the assistance the conduct of Socrates just before his of your philological readers in searchdeath, in ordering a cock to be sacri- ing into the incanings and origins of ficed to Æsculapius, which, to say our words. Some of them are probathe least, appear lo be ingenious and bly in possession of old English and may not be generally known. On Saxon books and manuscripts (or these accounts, I have thought that have access to them) which the wriperhaps they might be worthy of a ter of this has not been able to proplace in your useful Miscellany. cure: and if they will occasionally I am, your's, &c. send to the Repository curious or sine
gular passages, accompanied by etySOCRATES, according to Plato in mological criticisin and comment, 'I his Phædo, ordered a cock to be sacri- shall deem it a privilege, lo contribute ficed to Æsculapius. Some think a share, in the same manner, to the that was in ridicule. Others think it common stock of philological knowwas without any regard to Æscula- ledge. It may perhaps be ineful to pius, whether serious or ridiculous. etymological students, to inforın them, Perhaps the critics have not done that after much search, and being long justice to Socrates upon this article. convinced to the contrary, I am now It might possibly then be at Athens of opinion, that nearly the whole (if a well known custom to offer a cock not the whole) of our language may to Asculapius the God of medicine, be traced to Rome and Greece. It is upon a person's recovering from some of the more importance that this be threatening indisposition, and con- well considered, because the ingenious sequently to have offered a cock to though paradoxical doctrines of Horne Æsculapius, and to have been re- Tooke respecting a Northem origin, stored io health from a dangerous have given modern philologers a false disease, were expressions of the same I cannot enter into proof of import, by putting the sign for the my opinion in this communication thing signified. Plato in the person of (for the evidence is commensurate with Phædn, informs us, that when So- the wide extent of lexicography); but crates had found the poison had in. I think it demonstrable by every right