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Apostle supposeth it possible, that the “Gentiles not having the law, might by nature do the things contained in the law. And if the uncircumcision that is by nature keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision bę counted for circumcision?” If the Gentiles born without the covenant, (which they cannot help) by the light of nature, perform the solid duties of the law, shall they not be saved as well as the Jews? since there is no respect of persons with God? (Rom. ii. 14, 15, v. 26, 27, &c). . If these or the like reasonings make this hypothesis appear true or probable, it will give a more clear and satisfactory answer to some very considerable questions, than can be done on other principles, viz.
1. If an Indian Catechumen, should ask one of our missionaries, how it is consistent that God should so love the world, as to redeem it with the sufferings and death of his own Son, and yet should permit his country, and as he heard, many more, to remain ignorant of and unbenefited by it for long ages?" It might on these grounds be replied, that though God being master of his own favours, had been better to some other nations, in affording them sooner and more generally the full knowledge of his will and assurance of salvation, he might, and did, for all this love the Indians also. For though now he required those who might have knowledge of Christ and his laws under pain of damnation, to believe in and obey him; yet it was plain from the goodness of his nature and his own declarations, that he would for the sake of his Son have mercy on all those who had lived according to the best of their knowledge.. . 2. If a Jew should ask why it is yielded by the first preachers of Chriştianity, and the uncontradicted suffrage of Christian Divines, that such of his ancestors, who believed and acted according to the best light afforded under the legal dispensation were saved through the merits of Christ; since it doth not appear that many of them had a clear and explicit notion of such a Messiah as Jesus was, or of the necessity of such an one; and it is beyond contradiction evident that the generality rather expected a temporal deliverance by their Messiah, or such as was accompanied with great secular advantages. It might be in like manner answered, that God in goodness would save such as made the best use of the types and shadows afforded them, though now the substance of them
being manifested, life and blessedness is to be expected only through faith, in and obedience to his son Jesus. 13. If any are disconsolate at the case of an infant who through chance and negligence died mubaptized; or doubt of the salvation of such as were baptized, because they probably died without actual faith; or deny the salvability of some idiots and madmen, who seemingly are never capable of such faith; they may agreeably to what is here laid down be reminded, that a good and wise God can require nothing of any which he knows to be impose sible; and that it was a very unworthy servant who taxed his lord with being so unreasonable as to expect to reap where he had not sown. • There are some other questions of near affinity with that we have been now discussing, viz. whether all without the bounds of what we usually term the visible.church, are absolutely destitute of revelation? How far the Heathen world, since thc Gospel-dispensation is chargeable with criminal infidelity, &c. These inight well de serve a distinct consideration; but it shall only be observed here.
1. That it is most probable, that the revelation made to Adam, or some considerable remains of it continued a long time, even among the most degenerate of his race. Noah, as he had long inculcated thein on the minds of the old, so he doubtless delivered them to the renewed: world, after the flood: por could the worst of his posterity be ignorant of them, and even to corrupt them inust be a work of time. The holy line preserved them in a great measure pure, the rest could not quickly lose them; so that it is hard to say when any part of mankind was first wholly destitute of revelation : the almost universal cas. tom of sacrificing could probably have no other original. The belief of the Soul's immortality, and ofa state of future rewards and punishments hath been diffused through* all ages and nations, and are still almost every where to be traced; which are inost rationally judged to be parts of the primitive traditions. Now if we should suppose that the having a revelation communicated to them, is necessary for putting men into a salvable staté; yet why this partial one should not be salutary, to those, to whom no better wa's made, as well as the less perfect dispensation of Moses was to the Jews before Christ, no shadow of reason can be assigned. * See Bp. Bull's Sermons Vol. 1. lage 73, &c.
2. As to the great part of the world, which since the publication of the gospel, hath not been Christian; their case is most hazardous, who have had opportunities of knowing the doctrine of Christ, but made no use of thein, or bave not believed it when preached to them. And the question about the salvability of particular persons, in such circumstances cannot be resolved, without we had an exact knowledge of their neglect or unbelief; but a general answer is very obvious. A neglect in acquiring a knowledge of the Christian faith is faulty or excuseable, aceording as men had or wanted motives to think it reasonable or necessary; and the blame for all unbelief, is aggravated or extenuated proportionably, as the credibility of the teacher, or the arguments used by him were more or less sufficient, and fit to have convinced the hearers if they had judged impartially. But perhaps it would not be difficult to give a moral demonstration that a far greater proportion of them, than nine parts out of ten, have searce heard of the Christian profession, or at most can have but a very imperfect notion of it, and of the grounds on which it is founded. An huge part of mankind very long had, or still have little or no intercourse with Christians; corruption and ignorance long overspread the face of religion, vile opinions prevailed and wicked practices were indulged in the Church, and some or all of them are still lamentably prevalent in a great part of her, .wbich must needs divert many from embracing the faith, and give them strong prejudices against it: and consequently their infidelity is rather chargeable on Christians, so miserably recommending their religion.
Again, at this day Chistian Princes, and Stales are deplorably waiting in taking proper measures for the instruction even of their own vassals and subjects, and Christians of all ranks not only express no concern for the conversion of neighbouring Heathen, but render their religion odious to them, by their cruelty, avarice, lust or perfidiousness. And where attempts have been made for propagating our religion, it hath frequently been by such, who having departed from the simplicity and purity of the gospel, have confounded it with fables, and debased it with the alloys of error and superstition. All which considered, the Heathen who are nearest to, and have most conversation with us, may be looked upon by God, as under equal disad rantages with tbose who never heard of the name of Christ : and though there be a heavy guilt
And nice, wis Moth i Redeemine
the the reasonurselves, to kthough the
in their Infidelity, it must devolve fron the infidel, on the Christian.
And now upon the whole, is it not more honourable to the justice, wisdom, and goodness of the supreme Judge of the world? Doth it not set a more extensive value on the merits of our dear Redeemer? Is it not more consonant to the reason of mankind in general, and to justice and charity in ourselves, to hope well of those whose endeavours were laudable, though they are, through the iniquity of lime, place or other circumstances, less happy than ourselves as to divine assistances; and to leave them, whom we have juster reasons' to despair of, unjudged to the pleasure of their Creator? which, if an error will ever be venial, as being shadowed by the beautiful veil of humanity, good nature and charity.
TT is not the intention of the compiler of the anecdotes,
memoirs, and observations, which are to be occasionally published under this title, to coufine himself to any particular method, or order of time. The fields are wide and greatly divided, and therefore in his excursions he shall glean without ceremony, whatever may appear deserving of notice, although the same may have been frequently before related. He thinks it proper however, to premise, that though his TITLE appears very general it is his intention as far' as he well can, to bound his enquiries to the borders of the Isis and the Cam. Much undoubtedly might be gathered with advantage on the other side of the Tweed, and rich stores of curious matter be imported from the banks of the LIFFY, but he has not the means of relating much from his own knowlege, with respect to the seats of learning in those parts, and therefore he trusts to be excused for not verging, beyond his proper province. “All that he can pretend to, is a sincere wish to communicate a little occasional amusement, from the variety of liis own reading; and if any person, better informed, shall so far approve of his design as to favour him with communications for the ACA- ; DEMIANA, the same shall be duly acknowleged.
1. ANTHONY Wood. It certainly is but a proper tribute of respect to this honest and industrious pioneer in antiquarian and biographical literature, to open the present miscellany with a mention of his name. Would that every seat of learning had buț possessed such an “honest chronicler!" Then would the annals of literature have not presented so many melancholy chasins; then would the Temple of Fame have exhibited a pantheon richly ornamented with becoming monuments and finished statues, instead of being, as it now is, a vast charnel-house scattered over with dry bones, without names or dates.
Poor Anthony had prodigious industry, but undoubt: edly he had no literary taste. And well is it perhaps, that he had not, for few, I ween, of those who court the world's applause, or aspire to be accounted as men of brilliant minds, would have stooped so low as he did. This indefatigable coinpiler was more eager to write accurately than with elegance; it was his constant aim to rescue the forgotten dead from the prison-house of oblivion, and by relating the memoirs of them and their works to make the living respect those by whom they had been instructed or entertained.
Anthony, for as he was himself rather incourteous, we shall treat him with equal freedom, had none of the fine feelings of modern critics and biographers, who .chuse to represent their heroes not as they were, but as they would have them;-on the contrary he set down what he found and what he knew, the consequence of which was that he was grossly abused and maligned both in his life-time and after his death. Whigs and Puritans; Latitudinarian Divines and Sceptics, conspired together, as with one accord, to fasten their talons upon poor Anthony's reputation. Yet after all, the men who have been the most severe upon his memory, cannot but acknowlege themselves deeply indebted to his labours. His ac. curacy is as much to be admired as his unwearied industry, Where so much depended upon the reports of others, it is surprizing that the errors have not been more abundant. But the errors in this stupendous monument of patient research are comparatively few and trivial, while the information conveyed therein is rich and entertaining.
On the prejudices of this biographical antiquary, something, it is expedient, to observe; but a little, perhaps,
V’ol. IX. Churchm. Mag. Aug. 1805. T