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Southey ; though we hardly think that either of those gentlemen would have written such stuff as
• D--n them! said Peter,-he thrust back his chair,
With wrathful eye, and then took snuff again.'--p.240. And the second, which is called Carmen Judiciale, imputes to that amiable man a tone of angry and impatient egotism, of which we certainly find no example in his works : as decidedly the best part of the latter poem, we will present our readers, for their amusement, with the following Curse (imitated from that of Kehama) upon our brethren of the North, for their supposed injustice to the bard,--a curse which there are those, perhaps, who would not be unwilling, mutatis mutandis, to denounce against ourselves.
The Eurse. . May heaven and earth,
To scorn and deride thee, And hell underneath,
The cloud shall not cover, Unite to unsting thee
The cave shall not hide thee;
The scorching of wrath
And misrule, as for wine,
The printers shall harass, And royalty shine! The devils shall dun thee, And thou shalt remain, The trade shall despise thee,
While the Laureate doth reign,
With a fire in thy heart,
And visit thee never,
The volume concludes with three supposed specimens of Mr. . Wilson's poetry, which, like many of the former, are liable to the objection of leaving the reader in doubt whether the author is in jest or earnesi. We do not profess to be intimately acquainted with Mr. Wilson's peculiarities, but we can hardly believe that he will consider the following address to the Moon as a disparaging imitation of his style.
Come forth, sweet spirit! from thy cloudy care,
Spread a still rapture o'er th' encircling earth,
Hail, soft-brow'd sovereign of the sea and sky!
Perturb’d yet beautiful!'--p. 268. Upon the whole, then, we hope the author of this little volutie will be satisfied with the judgment we pass upon him-as we are sure he ought to be—that his talents, as a parodist, are much inferior to those which he could bring to original poetry, and that his work would be, with a few trifling exceptions, read with more satisfaction and applause if it professed a serious and original character. He is like a painter, who should say, 'Come, I'Il sketch you a laughable caricature,' and who should end with producing a grave and tolerable portrait of the person whom he professes to ridicule.
Art. X.--1. Two Tracts intended to convey Correct Notions of
Regeneration and Conversion, according to the sense of Holy Scripture and of the Church of England. By Richard Mant, M. A. Chaplain to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Rector of St. Botolph's, Biskopsgate; and late Fellow of
Oriel College. 2. An Inquiry into the Effect of Baptism, according to the sense
of Holy Scripture and of the Church of England ; in answer to the Reverend Dr. Mant's two Tradts on Regeneration and Conversion. By the Rev. John Scott, M. A. Vicar of North Ferriby, and Lecturer in the Holy Trinity Church, Full. Lon.
don: Baldwin. 1815. 8vo. pp. 270. 3. Baptism a Seal of the Christian Covenant ; or, Remarks on
Dr. Mant's Tract on Regeneration. By Thomas J. Biddulph, A. M. Minister of St. James's, Bristol, and of Durston, So. mersetshire; and Chaplain to the Right Hon. the Dowager Lady Bagot; and late of Queen's College, Oxford. London:
Hatchard. 8vo. pp. 255. 4. The Doctrine of the Church of England upon the Efficacy of
Baptism vindicated from Misrepresentation. By Richard Laurence, LL.D. Regius Professor of Hebrew and Capon of
VOL. XV. NO. X.XY.
Christ Church, &c. Oxford: at the University Press. 870
WE E intend to offer to such of our readers as may be inclined to
take up a grave question of theology, with the seriousness it deserves, a few remarks upon the subject
discussed in these several publications. Togo into the detail of the publications themselves, with the accuracy of official criticism, is no part of our purpose, since that would be a work of intricate pursuit, more likely to hinder than assist the elucidation of the doctrine which we are desirous of presenting in the most plain and perspicuous form. In a case of common controversial learning, this conciseness and reserve might pass for a desertion of our trust, or a want of respect to the authors who had endeavoured to instruct us. But in the present instance, for reasons which press strongly upon our mind, we feel an extreme unwillingness to entertain any discussion, not necessary to the material doctrine in question; and wish to decline the irritation as well as the labour of every syllable which can be spared; not without some doubt whether our more perfect wisdom might not be an entire silence
it. Under this forbearance, however, we wish openly to disavow the officious service of labouring for an accommodation in opinion, between persons who may have their reasons for avoiding all approaches to it. Because, first, we cannot pretend to the authority which ought to go along with the assumption of such an office: and next, not being willing to concede any part of our own belief, we could adopt no principle of accommodation between others,except the firm and temperate statement of our opinions; which could be conciliatory only just so far as the grounds of them are convincing: and lastly, we are well aware that nothing is less welcome to persons strongly engaged in a debate, than the neutrality of a peacemaker, who is likely with many to provoke the anger he would disa arm, by his suspected censure of it. And therefore, as we have no special call, in our pages, to this offensive and ungracious modera tion, we request that we may not incur the prejudice and evil report of it, with any description of men. In short, we address ourselves to the doctrine solely; being as far from seeking to silence the argument of any man by the assumption of a character, as we should rejoice to persuade by our own fair and legitimate deductions. Our hopes, however, do not look so high. We promise ourselves no converts to our scheme of exposition, plain and old as it is, from among those who may have previously taken a part against it. But we shall be contented with stating, what appears to us, the substance of serious truth, for the use of those who may wish to enjoy it in quiet, without engaging in a conflict for it.
Controversy, when it is carried on in the sound and manly spirit of investigation, is so favourable to the advancement, or the more firm establishment of our knowledge, that we shall never presume to check or decry it. While it is so conducted, Religion is only more securely rooted, by its friendly violence. Indolent and implicit knowledge is roused by it, to a more honest discipline ; and error flies before it. If some degree of animation, inspired perhaps more by the ardour of conflict in discussion, than by the exact unprejudiced concern for the subject, should insinuate itself, we still should regard that accident as a venial one, which may render the advocates, on either side, more alert, and quicken their research without perverting their principles of judgment. The more severe and jealous accuracy which we must be contented often to take from personal feelings, may, in the end, produce that best of all results, a more certain and a better reasoned apprehension of the truth. In this light our infirmities may serve us better than our duties. They may give us a vigour of research, which those more tardy motives might fail to supply: for we never hail the progress of truth so much as when we hope ourselves to share her triumphs.
The tendency which controversy has, however, at the same time, to overstep these limits, and at once to destroy charity, and perplex the truth, is a topic which we do not mean now to enlarge upon. Without adverting to so great an evil, it must be confessed, that while even the more moderate warfare lasts, the truth itself is not unfrequently a sufferer: we do not mean from the mistakes or injudiciousness of the parties, which is too palpable a thing to be noticed, but from the temper of the public mind, as affected by the existing controversy. The direction of thought, at such a moment, is all turned towards the field of warfare, and not to the valuable interest to be decided upon it. It is intent upon the pro. ceedings of the debate more than the doctrine at issue. It becomes controversial by habit, a temper most adverse to the love and improvement of that very treasure of doctrine, for the sake of which all are so hotly engaged, as no ground is less cultivated than that which is the scene of the present and active hostilities. Nor in it uncommon to see many, who, having ranged themselves on the one side or the other, with a very imperfect knowledge of the rea. sons and merits of the case, make up in feeling what they want in information, and studiously aggravate the state of suspicion and unfriendliness in order to meet the need of being zealous opponents in a public and important cause.
We intend no allusion whatever to any supposed vehemence or strong language, in any single writer or person, who may have engaged in the present controversy; which vehemence, however,
might be excusable in any one, under the apprehension that an important article of doctrine was in danger. But, penetrated by a sense of the inconveniences which we have described, as attaching to all the most legitimate controversy, when it becomes earnest and general, we shall endeavour, as far as possible, to avoid the adding of one voice more to the debate. Without denying ourselves altogether the use of the argumentative form, we shall not be contentious, wishing to follow as nearly as we can that apostolic sentiment, åandevew év åróan.
Our proposed plan will be, first, to state precisely the doctrine of our church, on the subject of Baptismal Regeneration; next to endeavour to ascertain the style and language proper to be used, in respect of that topic, in the course of popular and practical instruction. This order is the natural and obvious one; viz. that sound theological opinion should precede and direct the form of Christian piety.
Our position is, that according to the doctrine of our church, baptismal regeneration is also spiritual regeneration, to all who, in mature age, receive baptism rightly: and in respect of infants, that baptismal regeneration is also spiritual regeneration, simply.
Now in order to obtain truly the sense in which our church understands and teaches the efficacy of baptism, at either age, it will be right to look, in the first place, to the office of baptism itself, as to the most sure and positive rule of her doctrine on that head; because in administering the rite, the church also professedly expounds it. The exposition given in such a place is direct and conclusive ; the subject is fully in view; the judgment upon it is a solemn one, designed to express the value of the rite to the minds of those who receive it, if they be capable of understanding it; to those who minister in it, that they may be aware of the nature of their function, and to those who are present as witnesses of the sacrament. No occasion can be imagined more needful for the doctrine to be explained, than when the benefit of the sacrament is to be applied; and to the explanation afforded under such circumstances, we are bound therefore, as fair inquirers, to attend with peculiar respect.
With regard to adults, the service of baptism framed by our church shows, unequivocally, that in her sense, baptism is neither on one hand a kind of charm, nor on the other a mere ineffectual or external rite, but a certain medium of the grace of regeneration to the worthy receiver. It is not a charm to convert, by a ceremonial power, human nature from a fallen to a restored state ; to infuse grace by a material miracle ; or to call down from heaven a supernatural blessing upon prevarication; or to adopt into the