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of prophecy given by him to the Romans. With the information already furnished, any reader of common capacity will perceive the propriety of our former exposition of many of the predictions of the ancient prophets respecting the future state of the Jewish nation. So completely destitute is the New Testament of the least allusion to any literal gathering, that it is absolutely mysterious how any mind could have made any such deductions. Nay, it is not mysterious, for when any hypothesis is assumed, however unreasonable, an appeal is made to the Scriptures to support the dogma and the writer. But this has generally been after the testimony of reason has been consulted and considered decisive. We have endeavored to divest these papers of a controversial character, but we could not wholly avoid an occasional allusion to the opinion of those who have written on this perplexing question. But it is not to the opinions of men, favorable or unfavorable, that we would appeal in support of our position. We have not weighed the case of the Jews in the balances of mere human renson, nor have we considered the probability or improbability, the possibility or impossi. bility, of the literal restoration of the Jews. The question in our mind has been what we consider the only safe one, viz., " Is the doctrine Scriptural ? Can the literal return be fairly inferred from a proper interpretation of prophecy ?" We have candidly stated our opinion, formed after deliberate investigation, both of the Old and New Testa. ments. We have gone where the Bible has led us, and there, on this subject, we are content to rest, until the clear light of eternity shall confirm or confound our conceptions of that series of events which is comprised in the divine administration of all human affairs. We may, however, in a future number, bring to light several historical facts respecting the actual return of the Jews, showing the fulfilment of certain predictions, and answer several objections which may be urged against our views of the moral restoration of the people of Israel.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
REVIEW OF DICK ON COVETOUSNESS.
BY REV. WILLIAM HOSMER, OF THE GENESEE CONFERENCE.
An Essay on the Sin and the Evils of Covetousness; and the happy Effects whick
would flow from a Spirit of Christian Beneficence. Illustrated by a variety of Facts, selected from sacred and civil History, and other Documents. By THOMAS Dick, LL. D., Author of the “Christian Philosopher," &c. New York, Robin. son, Pratt, and Co., pp. 318.
CHRISTIANITY has suffered inconceivably in its general interests by the imperfect, and even anti.christian views which have obtained on the duty of beneficence. All true Christians must deprecate the least attempt to mislead the public mind, or to induce a recurrence of that spurious liberality which distinguished the patrons of the Crusades ; and which now, though in a less onerous degree, is contributing without discretion to the promotion of objects not embraced by an en. lightened religion. Perhaps the disgust which so justly followed the overaction of the English hierarchy in favor of clerical support has contributed its full share to the external arrangement of church polity in this country. But if so, we appear to have fallen into the opposite extreme. Neither our civil nor ecclesiastical laws have any explicit bearing on this subject. And as we have left the propagation of the gospel to take care of itself, unaided by coercive measures, so we have also left the collateral branches of this duty unprotected by any legal penalties. There can be no government without penal sanctions, and we might reasonably demand by what authority this anomalous pro. cedure has been introduced into church discipline. What success could be expected in the promotion of other virtues if disobedience were not regarded as a crime cognizable by church judicatories? Intemperance and profanity would dwell as much at ease among us as covetousness now does. If we could not expel liars, and drunk. ards, and profane swearers from the communion of the visible church, I think few could be found who would undertake the supervision of its morals. Nor is covetousness a sin of so subtle and abstruse a nature as to make it difficult of detection. In many instances, the parsimonious character of persons supposed to have an unimpeachable standing in Christian society has been a subject of remark by the entire circle of their acquaintance. This must be an evil of great magnitude, both to the reputation of Christianity and the character of its professors. Nor is it probable that this reproach will ever be rolled away from Zion, or her membership come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty,” until covetousness shall be treated as other forms of robbery, and those rules of excision so indispensable in other in. stances of gross immorality shall have an equally rigorous application to the service of mammon. No man ever discussed this subject with more fidelity to the statutes of the New Testament than Mr. Wesley. His various sermons and essays on the point form, if not the most valuable, at least one of the most valuable portions of his works. If he did not so definitely explain all the advantages of benevolence, nor trace to the full extent all the absurdities of avarice, it was because his manner of teaching viva voce from the pulpit necessarily excluded that particularity which is so easily attainable by those who have leisure to write a whole volume on a favorite topic. Yet in the de. tails of practical beneficence he not only has no rival, but scarcely a competitor; motives of delicacy, or, it may be, some supposed difficulty, having deterred almost every other writer from making more than a few general observations, which for practical purposes fall infinitely short of the wants of the community.
The work before us emanates from a source entitling it to a very careful consideration from the religious public. Dr. Dick has ac. quired great celebrity in this country by his numerous and elegant writings on natural science and education. This is the first of his ethical essays in which he has treated of particular duties with the definiteness desirable in a practical treatise. His Philosophy of Religion is a great work, and decidedly one of the most liseful and able systems of moral philosophy which has appeared in modern times. Judging from this work what the writer would accomplish in an essay on covetousness, we have every thing to hope. But it will be recol. lected that only a small portion of his works is on theological subjects, and that he is perhaps the most ardent admirer and devoted follower of literature and science who adorns the present age. This being the case, we might have looked for something frigid and erratic --for soine of that fanciful theorizing which is so common to men of genius when discussing subjects not intimately connected with their favorite studies. Nothing, however, of this kind appears, and the same elegant diction and copious thought which made his former works so popular are equally characteristic of this. To give the reader an outline of the author's plan, I shall present the following brief summary which concludes the introduction :
“In the illustration of this subject the following plan may be adopted
"1. I shall describe the disposition or propensity designated by covetousness,' as it has operated and still operates in Christian and civil society.
“ II. Demonstrate its absurdity and irrationality.
“ III. Show its inconsistency with Christian principle, and the general tenor of the word of God.
“IV. Illustrate some of the evils which flow from the indulgence of covetousness.
“V. Investigate the principles by which Christians should be directed in the application of their wealth.
“ VI. Illustrate some of the benefits which would result to Christians and general society, were covetousness undermined, and an opposite principle universally cultivated.
“ VII. State some of the means to be used, in order to counteract the influence of covetousness, and to promote a spirit of Scriptural liberality among Christians.
66 VIII. Offer a few solemn considerations to different classes of individuals in relation to this subject.” P. 18.
Covetousness claims pre-eminence among the attributes of fallen nature, and its true character is most impressively exhibited in the first chapter of this essay. Some brief extracts will serve to give the reader an idea of the course of the author, but will by no means present the strength of the argument:
“ It is not, therefore, in the simple desire of worldly good that covetousness consists, but in an inordinate desire of sensitive objects and enjoyments a desire which is inconsistent with the rational nature of man, and with our duty to our Creator and to our fellowmen.
Covetousness assumes a variety of forms, and manifests itself in many different modes :-1. It appears in its most degrading form in hoarding money and acquiring houses and lands, for the mere pur. pose of accumulation, when there is no intention of enjoying such wealth, or bringing it forth for the good of society. This is the characteristic of the man who is denominated miser-a word which originally signifies wretched, or miserable, as all such persons neces. sarily are. 2. It appears under the pretence of making provision for children--a pretence which is generally nothing more than a cloak to cover the principle of avarice which is fixed in the mind. 3. It operates most frequently for the purpose of gratifying sensual propen. sities-displaying elegance in dress and furniture, and giving scope
to a spirit of pride and ambition. In these, and many other ways, this vile affection manifests itselt, robbing inan of the true glory of his nature, degrading him in soine respects below. the level of the brutes, undermining every principle of religion, counteracting human happi. ness, preventing the renovation of the world, and reducing the soul to the level of a groveling idolater who worships and serves the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.' This inordinate desire of wealth has been productive of more mischief and misery in the world than almost any other unhallowed affection of the human heart. It has been the malignant source of almost all the evils which have been introduced into the social state, and of all the sorrows and sufferings to which the inhabitants of the earth in every age have been subjected.
• This vile affection may be considered as the first display which was made in our world of sin, or rebellion against God.
Our first parents commenced their apostacy from their Maker by coveting the fruit of the tree of knowledge,' which he had expressly interdicted under the highest penalty. Though they were surrounded by the munificence of the Deity, though they were permitted to eat of every other tree in the garden of Eden, and possessed every thing that was pleasant to the
eye and delicious to the taste-yet they dared to put forth their hands to the forbidden fruit, from the covetous propensity of enjoying what was not their own, and the ambitious desire of being like the gods, and knowing good and evil.' This covetous and ambitious act brought death into the world and all our wo,' and was the prelude and forerunner of all those devastations and miseries which avarice and ambition have entailed on the inhabitants of the world We have reason to believe that this woful propensity, in conjunction with am, bition, with which it is inseparably connected, in one shape or another, was the principal cause of the wickedness which abounded in the world before the food, and of the overwhelming flood which swept away its inhabitants. For we are told, that the earth was filled with violence,' ---plainly intimating that wars and devastations were everywhere carried on-that a system of rapine and plunder universally prevailed; that the strong and powerful forcibly seized the possessions of the weak; that the poor and needy were robbed and oppressed; that cities were demolished, fields and vineyards laid waste, and the ploughshare of destruction driven through every land. The whole history of the world from that period may be considered as little else than a revolt. ing detail of the operations of covetousness and ambition, and of the direful effects they have produced on the destinies of mankind.” Pp. 21, 22.
After having laid the foundation thus broad and strong, that “ the love of money is the root of all evil,” he lays hold on every principal fact in postdiluvian history as proof of his position. Sixty pages of glowing description are occupied in detailing the horrors of this one vice. We shall now present the reader with an instance intended to illustrate the effects of avarice, as displayed in a voluntary abridg. ment of personal comfort. There are several other cases given, of equal interest to the reader.
“ Numerous examples of this kind might be brought forward; but I shall adduce only the following well-anthenticated instance, in relation Vol. XI.-April, 1840.
to John Elwes, Esq., who was for some time a member of parliament for Berkshire. The father of this gentleman was a brewer, of eminence, but his mother, though she was left near £100,000 by her husband, literally starved herseli' to death.
“ About the age of forty Mr. Elwes succeeded to the property of his uncle, which amounted to no less than £250,000. Yet this wretched man, notwithstanding his immense wealth, denied himself of almost every comfort, in order to increase his store. He would walk home in the rain, in London, rather than pay a shilling for a coach ; he would sit in wet clothes sooner than have a fire to dry them; he would eat his provisions in the last stage of putrefaction, sooner than have a fresh joint from the butcher's; and he wore a wig for a certain time, which his biographer saw him pick up out of a rut in a lane where they were riding, which had all the appearance of the cast-off wig of some beggar. When setting out on a journey his first care was to put two or three eggs, boiled hard, into his great coat pocket, or any scraps of bread which he found; then, mounting his horse, his next attention was to get out of London into that road where turnpikes were the fewest ; then, stopping under any hedge whose grass presented stuff for his horse, and a little water for himself, he would sit down to refresh himself and his horse together, without ever once' stopping on the road at any house.
“ Two of his residences he chiefly visited were, Marcham, in Suf. folk, and another in Berkshire. Marcham was the place he most frequently visited as he advanced in life; for this reason, that the journey into Suffolk cost him only two pence half-penny, while that into Berkshire amounted to four pence. ''To save fire he would walk about the remains of an old green-house, or sit with a servant in the kitchen. During the harvest he would go into the fields to glean the corn on the grounds of his own tenants, and they used to leave a little more than common to please the old gentleman, who was as eager after it as any pauper in the parish. In the advance of the season, his morning employment was to pick up any stray chips, bones, or other things, to carry to the fire in his pocket; and he was one day surprised by a neighboring gentlemen, in the act of pulling down, with some difficulty, a crow's nest, for this purpose. On the gentleman wondering how he would give himself this trouble, O! sir,' he re. plied, “it is really a shame that these creatures should do so. Do but see what waste they make--they don't care how extravagant they are.'
“ As he approached to the close of life his avaricious disposition increased, and his penurious habits became still more inveterate. He used still to ride about the country on one of his mares, but he rode her on the soft turf, adjoining the road, to save the expense of shoes, as he observed, the turf is very pleasant for a horse's foot.' When any gentleman called to pay him a visit, and the stable boy was profuse enough to put a little hay before the horse, old Elwes would slily steal back into the stable, and take the hay very carefully away. He would continue to eat grain in the last state of putrefaction, and meat that walked about his plate, rather than have new things killed before the old provision was finished—a species of provisions not altogether unsuitable to so degraded a mind. During this period, he one day dined upon the remaining part of a moorhen, which had been brought