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ART. I. Discourses on the Rule of Life, with Reference to Things present and Things future. Consisting of a Charge, delivered May 16, 1823, to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of London; with supplementary additions, calcu lated to illustrate the same subject. By Joseph Holden Pott, A.M. Archdeacon of London. 8vo. pp. 222. 7s. 6d. Rivingtons. 1823.

THE Charge, which forms a principal part of this volume, commences with admitting the apparent plainness of the subject on which the author intends to treat-but its importance is equally self-evident. It is a question, as the Archdeacon truly says, which may seem to be familiar and ordinary, but it has peculiar difficulties, and requires the most exact regard to maxims and considerations of a very various kind. So entirely do we concur in this remark, that if we were to make any complaint against the present publication, we should say that the subject of it might have been more fully discussed. The several pieces of which the work consists, are well adapted to their respective purposes-but we should have been glad to see them brought together in a regular treatise. Every branch of an extensive question is noticed in some part of the collection; yet, where the expla-/ nations are at once so much wanted, and so valuable, it might have been better to throw them into an exact form, than leave them to be traced out by the diligence of the reader. Those, however, who are not unwilling to peruse the whole work with attention, and the larger class who will be satisfied with the summary contained in the Charge for the present year, cannot rise from the perusal without feeling indebted to the author for this addition to our sacred literature.

The nature and limits of a Christian's intercourse with the world, are topics upon which few men think, and fewer write, with precision. How easily scriptural injunctions upon VOL. XX. AUG. 1823.

the subject can be misunderstood, is apparent in the instance of hermits and monks. How easily and how fatally they can be neglected, is evident from the careless lives of the majority of mankind. In theory it may not be difficult to draw the boundary line between ascetic and lax principles and conduct. In practice, there are not many who can adhere to it themselves, or even instruct others to do so. The teachers, not less than the taught, are in continual danger of entertaining an undue partiality, or an undue contempt, for the world. And the only chance of introducing correct notions on the subject, is by determining, in the first place, where the medium lies; and considering, in the second, how mankind may be persuaded to observe it. On both these points, no better guide can be found among living divines, than the excellent Archdeacon of London. They are points which can never be successfully examined without piety, experience, learning, moderation, and good sense; and the light which may be thrown upon the subject by their united efforts, was never exhibited to more advantage than in the work under review.

Take, for instance, the general statement of the question which it is proposed to discuss.

"The opposite extremes, which I shall now invite you to contemplate, in order that we may form right notions of the rule of duty, and collect a just and consistent estimate of the Christian life, with reference more especially to present things and future, consist in these two chief particulars either where the Gospel maxims are so narrowed as to furnish only future prospects of advantage, whilst a false standard of perfection is set up above the line of ordinary duty-or where, on the other hand, a latitude is taken which admits of no restraints, however variable, but those only which exclude forbidden things, or which cut off palpable exBy such partial views, the whole exercise of prudence and discretion, in which the best degrees of moral excellence and human happiness consist, and which combines things present and things future in their just proportions, is destroyed; and many maxims, which should have concurrent influences and effects, are severed, to their mutual injury. Among the evils which result at any time from mispersuasion in the minds of men, they are not the least which spring from partial views. They become more difficult of cure, because, as in the several extremes which have been just stated, they have a ground of truth. What is true, then, must be carefully retained, although the misconception be exposed; for otherwise, the remedy may prove worse in its effects than the distemper." P. 4.

Take again the answer to such as contend that our com

forts and our sufferings must be the same in all cases as those of the primitive Christians.

"Will you say that such losses or privations are not stated as exceptions, but that they form the general conditions of Christ's salutary law, and the very burden of his precepts? Our Lord's own words shall give the answer. He points distinctly in such cases to a tenfold recompence; he admits the special nature of the loss; he shews how the balance is to be restored; he acknowledges the loss where the present sacrifice is needful; he states it as a loss, he calls it such, he reasons so upon it. So manifest is their mistake who place such plain exceptions for the rule itself; who render them the necessary garb and indispensible conditions of the Christian calling; or who contrive to make them so by their own overweening ardour and misguided choice. We may remark accordingly, that they who in early times neglected our Lord's wise injunctions, and courted every bitter thing, as many did, were at length restrained by wiser councils when the practice became frequent in the days of early persecution. We may turn now to the case of those who in succeeding ages have made the substance of severe and bitter things, together with the rigors and privations of fantastic schemes of life, the subject of their preference, and the fixed rule of their profession. They could only do this by voluntary, self-inflicted sufferings, which have been magnified accordingly as high points of perfection. To what a pitch extravagancies of this kind are carried to this day, the Christian world can witness. But, my Rev. Brethren, the cloyster and the cord must not seek their sanctions in the pages of the Gospel." P. 12.

Take, once more, the exposure of the absurdities of fanaticism, and the amiable apology for its votaries, which are contained in the following passages.

"There is no rule in morals I conceive more certain (though none perhaps so often overlooked) as that which teaches us, that one kind of virtue should not be suffered to occupy the place which is designed for many. We may be sure of the truth of this maxim, for the great standard of perfection in the sovereign Lord, is subject to this rule. No one of his high attributes must be taken to exclude another. The great work of our redemption has served, as we well know, to illustrate this indubitable maxim in the fullest manner. He is a poor moralist, and not better skilled in divine things, who does not know that a narrow scheme of life, cramped and chilled on all sides, either by unbidden vows, or needless scruples, will stint the growth of moral excellence, and will contract the exercise of more virtues than it breeds or cherishes. A blind submission to an overweening guide in such matters of restraint, a compliance with those humours and conceits which good men of all persuasións have been too apt to impose on others, without regarding what is fit or proper for them, a needless or perverse ad

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