« PreviousContinue »
their portion. In this sense, then, it is, we learn from Scripture, that the Lord appoints certain sinners to this or that particular condemnation, whilft themselves are the fole cause of their own ruin : and thus we learn that he who faith unto the boisterous elements of nature, Peace, be Aill; can say also unto the spirit of rebellion in his intelligent creation, Hitherto. fbalt thou come, but no further.
REVIEW OF A PAMPHLET,
ENTITLED ANDREW DUNN. By a Friend to Primitive Christianity. Second Edition (with an Appendix) 1803.
This work is a history of the conversion of the person whose name it bears, from the errors of the Romish church, to the faith of the Gore pel : including various interesting circumstances to which that event gave birth, both with regard to himself and others. The outlines of the narrative are as follows:-Andrew Dunn, educated a Roman Catholic, becoming solicitous about the salvation of his foul, applies for instruction to the priest of his parish : but the latter being unwilling and unable to answer bis enquiries, he remains unsatisfied upon that most important subject, till he learns, by means of a New Testaa ment afterwards given him, that there is forgiveness for the guilty in Jesus Chrif? the righteousa Having thus found that peace of God which paffeth all understanding, he unremittingly endeavors to communicate the same blessedness to his family, and in process of time the Lord displays his converting power amongst them, till they are all brought to the feet of Jesus. In the course of a year a visit from the priest, who comes to enquire about Andrew's long absence from Mass, occafions a dialogue, in which the leading doctrines of the Church of Rome are discussed with so much boldness by the young convert, that the indignant priest excommunicates
him on the following Sunday. Shortly after, a Bible is given to Andrew, which adds much to his knowledge and enjoyment of what he has hitherto learned from the New Testament only; and he is now emboldened to commence family worship. This circumstance becomes the means of conversion to many of his neighbours, and in time gives rise to a stated meeting, on the Lord's day, of all them that believed. Meanwhile the priest is seized with a fatal distemper ; and Andrew witnesses his persevering disbelief of the faithful faying, which often before, and now for the last time, he declared to him. Contrasted with the priest's miserable end is the happy death of James Nowlan, Andrew's own son in the faith, which event concludes this pleafing and instructive hiftory.
The design of the work is to give the Roman Catholics of Ireland some idea of the difference between the religion of the Gospel, and that to which their spiritual guides influence them to conform. In the purfuance of this object, many of the grand errors of the Church of Rome are advanced and refuted; not by learned and elaborate arguments, but by the plain reasoning of an
illiterate man having truth on his fide, and such as can therefore be intelligible to ordinary readers.
The writer also presents us, in various parts of the narrative, with a view of the Gospel itself in its aspect to finners, as bringing nigh righteousnefs--without the deeds of the law-unto all them that believe. We would wish indeed that Andrew's meditations and prayer (page 9) had been omitted, or else some reason afligned for their appearance : for certainly the reader is led to consider both these as of a ġracious kind, and connected with his subsequent conversion. Now, though we have no doubt that natural men may be anxious about their fouls, and bestow much thought upon what they consider to be salvation, and thereupon pray unto him whom they call God: yet that a man can call upon the True God, who is still ignorant of Him, is an idea utterly inconsistent with Scripture truth, as we have stated more at large in page 46 of this volume. And at this time Andrew had not read a line in that book in which alone the name of God is revealed. We must also confess that the description of Andrew's actual conversion (page 13), seems rather applicable to an effort of the will, than to the mere belief of the Divine Teltimony. However, we are led to hope from other parts of the work, that the author did not mean to sanction two such important errors, asthat justifying faith is any thing but the belief of the Gospel,--and-that anygracious change takes in a sinner, previous to his receiving the truth. Andrew seems to have been quite free from such errors, when he declared to the bigotted, persecuting, and dying Father Dominick, who had till that moment lived in hardened impenitency, (page 67) “ that the blood of Christ cleanseth from
* all fin." This was indeed preaching the Gospel. He did not propose any work to be performed, but he testified the truth concerning Jesus to be believed.
Various effects of the Gospel, on those who receive it are justly marked by our author in the subsequent lives of Andrew and his fellow converts; as for instance,-mildnefs, p. 15, 58love of fouls, -39, 57, 60, 67—forgiveness of injuries, 48, 54, 55—thankfulness to Divine Providence, 50-dependence upon God, 55-diligence in business, 62—humility, 65-benevolence, 65, 66--triumphant hope, 69, 70. These and such like characters of the new mind are drawn in lively but faithful colours, and may furnish a useful lesson to the most experienced, as well as to the young Christian : while the pleafing incidents and dialogues in which they are brought forward, contribute much to direct the application, and strengthen the impression.
The Netes, which are numerous and full, are enlivened with appropriate and entertaining anecdotes; and contain some useful pieces of historical information, with many judicious observations ; fo that these, no less than the text, are happily calculated for instruction. In the Note annexed to page 61, the author takes more pains than seems to us requisite, to vindicate Andrew from the charge of taking upon him the office “ of the ministry." We fee no fcriptural reafon to prevent any believer from taking the lead in the devotions of any Christian meeting, if he can but pray and speak to that the church may be edified thereby. And however it may have been needful to “entreat the CANDID reader not haftily “ to judge, nor rashly to condemn” the unora dained Andrew; we are fure that the CHRISTIAN
reader will require no apology in his behalf, for intruding upon the ministerial province at his Sunday meeting. For our parts, we should as fatisfactorily have joined in the petitions, and liftened to the exhortations of our lay brother, as if he were the Rev. Andrew Dunn, A. M. or B.D. or D. D.
Upon the whole, we have been much gratified in the perusal of this pamphlet, and should rejoice to hear of its being extensively circulated through that order of people to which it is “par“ ticularly addreffed."
And while the preface informs. us, that "it has been spoken against from " the pulpit, and it has been attacked from the press; o it has been railed at as “ impudent calumny", and « ridiculed as “miserable fluf;” but notwithstanding “ all this, it keeps its ground”—we may cherish a hope that it has been, and will yet be, the means of turning some of our blinded fellow finners, from the darkness of nature and superstition, to the light and liberty of the Gospel of Christ.
WE have received an essay “ On Sovereignty," figned “ D. E.” which shall appear in our next.
We have also received a second letter from « A Friend to Truth,” which we do not think necessary to insert; as part of it contains objections to one of our critical remarks, which we think require no further answer than may be found in the remark itself; and all the rest of it concerns the subject treated of in the abovementioned effay, and is therefore, in its leading ideas, already anticipated.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.