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commanded the applause of the unthinking and ill-judging majority, and who for “ nine days” at least, have been thought the wonders of the age, have not generally proved, either the most useful, the most eloquent, or the most celebrated. How far unthinking applause, be. stowed upon the exterior, may have prevented the developement and growth of the inner man, is well worthy of consideration.
We do not mean to intimate that voice and manner are to be despised. We are not indeed quite converts to the ancient doctrine of Demosthenes, that delivery is the first, second, and third thing in eloquence, and believe that Demosthenes would have retracted, if he had been witness to the flippant speech and unmeaning gesticulation, perhaps displayed most, and most applauded, in the most sacred of all places, in the most responsible of all professions. We always are pained, when we hear it said, that a poor sermon well delivered is better than a good one delivered badly. For we will ever aver, that thought is a nobler article than any modifications of sound and gesture; that mind, only, can acquire and hold dominion over mind; and that truth only is the “sword of the spirit.”
We are far, however, from admitting, that those men, especially those young men, have the best delivery, whose oratory receives the honours of temporary applause, and often carries its exhibitors so triumphantly to places they prove unqualified to fill. In our view, many a handsorne, applauded speaker has a poor, that is, a very unmeaning and inefficient delivery; and for the best reason in the world, that his delivery is not actuated by original, powerful, and impressive thought. Those assemblies too, who fix their admiring gaze upon the fleeting wonder of the day, and whose pride it is to be loudest in the general acclamation, show, by the bubbling vanity of their own-minds, that they have been filled only with the wind.
While, therefore, we cannot value many who are applauded as handsome orators, we do heartily approve and love our author, and esteem bisexcellent discourses, his unaffected pathos, his just sentiments, his affectionate earnestness, his efficient delivery, as above all comparison with the oratory of the many ephemerals who, within our short memory have been admired--neglected-forgotten.
With these views, we most affectionately congratulate our author on his recovery from a long and dangerous illness, and greet his return to his useful labours from the pulpit and the press. Long may he live to exemplify the advice and exhortation urged in the Sermon and address before us.
Under the third head of his discourse, which is founded on Isaiah, Ixii. 6. “I have set watchmen," &c. after having quoted the apostle's address to the elders of Ephesus, the Dr. proceeds:
Ah! brethren and fathers, partakers of the heavenly calling, can we appeal to our consciences and our final Judgc, in language of equal confidence that we have watched for the salvation of the souls committed to our trust? Are the wails of our studies witnesses to our diligence in " searching to find out acceptable words," and our importunity with the Spirit of all grace that he would afterwards give them efficacy? Are the walls of their dwellings witnesses that from year to year, we have gone around as he did, “ from house to house, reproving, and rebuking, and exhorting ?" Are the walls of our sanetuaries witnesses that from sabbath to
sabbath we liave urged upon our hearers, without discrimination of condition or cha racter, the necessity of working out their salvation," ot being" born of the Spirit," and of “ following after holiness, without which no man can see the Lord ?" With a becoming earnestness bave we addressed their fears by the terrors of approaching wrath, and made our appeal to their hopes by exhibiting the joys and glories of heaven ? Who of us have thus ualched day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, for souls, as those who expect to give an account -pp. 17, 18.
The following paragraph adds great force to these expostulations :
I can now speak with new einotions on the importance of redeeming every moment of our time in “ fulfilling our ministry by testifying the gospel of the grace of God.” In the sovereign pleasure of my Master, I have recently been visited with sore affliction, and, as the hours rolled tediously along, was led alternately to review the past and contemplate the future. How often when chastened with pain upon my bed, and tottering as to human appearance on the verge of both worlds, did I recollect opportunities of usefulness gone, gone irrecoverably! How often did my imagination bring to view this family in my charge which might have been more frequently visited and carefully instructed, that singer who might have been more faithfully forwarned of a judgment to come, and that anxious inquirer who might have been directed with greater affection to the bleeding Lamb for pardon and peace. None can conceive the fearful responsibility which rests on the conscience of the gospel minister when he is brought in apprehension to the tribunal of his Judge, and sees inmortal beings pass in review to their unalterable destiny, many of them perhaps unprepare and as they are hurried off to the abodes of despair charging their perdition to s unfaithfulness and sloth. O that I could hereafter select my text, and study my sermon, and pray for my people in the Holy Ghost, and “ watch" for their conversion, and “ long over them in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ," and preach to them, “ in season and out of season, his unsearchable riches, with the same unaffected solicitude which I felt in the prospect of rendering " an account of my stewardship."--p 19.
We add to these extracts the following striking remark on unity :
The unity of the church does not consist in the attachment of all its members to the same visible communion. It rather consists in the recognition of each other as brethren and sisters in the same spiritual tamily; in cherishing reciprocal affec. tion; in esteeming others better than ourselves; in interchanging offices of kindness; in ministering to the temporal and spiritual comfort of each other, and walking together, as opportunity Oilers, in all commanuments and ordinances of Jehovah. Two professors may appertain to different sections of the visible church, and yet by loring one another, by forbearing with the imperfections of each other, by mingling occasionally in the esercises of divine worship, private and public, must be considered in the most emphatic sense, as “ keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace ;" and two professors may be connected with the same visible communion, and yet be alienated in heait, be sundered iv their interests and aims, be defaming each other, and thus be chargeable with rending the mystical body of Christ. The bond of union to the former protessors is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus the HEAD, who dwells in his living members, of all countries and ages, enlightening and sanctifying, and supporting them, and is lasting as eternity; to the latter, the only bond of union is the ecclesiastical pale which encloses them, and may be dissolved by the accident of an hour.----pp. 21, 22.
We shall now quote a ses passages on the same subject, drawn from other quarters, not merely to show a kind and friendly disposition in the representatives of four ifferent denominations, but to show how many are making the discovery of a mystery, which for many ages had not been made known--and indeed was as great a mystery as was, in still earlier ages, the predicted union of the Gentiles with the Jews. Time brought to light in the days of the Apostles a mystery hidden for ages--and the Gentiles became the children of
Abraham by love and faith--without circumcision-without sacrifice —withoufferings--as unexpectedly as gloriously. So now, each denomination has had the mystery of Christian Union concealed from its prejudiced eye; each has expected, eventually, to embosom in her pale all the rest : but now each begins to apprehend that mysterious union in which men agree to differ.
The Rev. William Ward, of the Serampore Baptist Mission, in one or nis “ Farewell Letters," addressed to a distinguished member of the Methodist Church in England, says :
I am more than ever anxio's, my dear sir, to know no man after his sect, to know no man as an independent, an episcopalian, a presbyterian, a methodist, or a baptist. I would say of every one who wears the image of Christ, and who contributes to the improvement of the spiritual desert which surrounds him, and of no one else, the “ same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” What a sad thing, sir, that while our Lord Jesus Christ loves his people because they bear his image, the cause of our attachment should be, that they belong to us. I am told that some episcopalians have offered the following apology for not engaging in foreign missions : It is unnecessary for us to spend our strength in this work ; all must come to us at last. I hear another say, I pray for the success of those who are ordained by “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” A methodist is too apt to conclude, that almost all the energy of piety in the world is in his connexion. Another sect finds every body of prosessing christians so corrupt, that they cannot give aid to any of them. The baptist as the walks through a town, points to the churches and chapels, and says to his end, “ All these are to be. come baptist meeting-houses : Jesus Christ and his apostles were all baptists." Now, we see at present the kingdom of Christ given to none of these exclusively ; and all will be disappointed; and yet not one atom of truth will be lost; not one atom of error will be spared. The world is not to be conquered by our favourite sentiments, but by the spirit or mind of Jesus Christ in us : “ the kingdom is to be giv. en to the saints of the Most High."-pp.169, 170.
The world is to be conquered neither by argument, nor by popular talents, but by Christ (the Christ on Calvary) in us—by the energy of piety, of christian philanthropy, that pities, that weeps, that plunges into the thickest danger for the rescue of the sinking. Does any sect wish to engšoss to itself the work of renovating the world, the only way is to engross all the vital godliness in the world; and then it will succeed: the Saviour “ seeketh such to serve him."
An English independent, the Rev. William Jay, of Bath, who is well known in this country as the author of some excellent sermons, and a volume of prayers-in his remarks on the parrative of the Rev. John. Clark, observes :
“ As the subjects of divine grace, under all the denominations that distinguish us, we belong to one family ; and are, therefore, much more intimately related, than the votaries of any party can be united. If I am a real Christian, whether an episcopalian, a dissenter, or a methodist, I am your brother in the highest sense God himself can affix to the term : hence you are not at liberty to determine how you shall feel and behave towards me : you are bound to love me; and without this love, your religion is a dream.
-If God has promised unity amongoolis own followers, we have reason to believe thawit has been accomplished. But we see men equally led by the spirit of God, and devoted to his will, differing trom each other on numberless subjects. So it always has been. And so it always will be. Religion is not injured by it: nor has the Scripture spoken in vain. It never intended any thing more than unity with variety; an accordance in great things, and difference in little ones. If communities or individuals pursue an uniformity of opinions, ceremonies, discipline, forms and modes of worship, they are first secking that which is impossible : for the attempt has been fairly made, and has proved useless; men may as well be
constrained or persuaded into an uniformity of stature-of complexion-of temper. And secondly, they are seeking after that which would be unprofilable. The advantage lies in the present state of things. The cultivation of such dispositions, and the practice of such duties, as the exercise of humility, forbearance, self-denial, candour, and brotherly love implies, are far more valuable and useful than a dull, stagnant conformity of notions or usages.-It is awfully possible for persons to be very strenuous about the “ mint, anise, and cummin," while they neglect“ weightier matters of the law;” and to contend for the forms of godliness, wbile they are destitute of its power.-pp. 29.'31.
We shall now add but one more extract on Christian unity, and that shall be the opinion of a minister of the Episcopal Church, the excellent John Newton. In the remarks above alluded to, Mr. Jay quotes Mr. Newton as follows:
The true unity of spirit, is derived from the things in which those who are tăuynt and born of God agree, and should not be affected by those in which they differ. The church of Christ, collectively considered, is an army; they serve under ore Prince, have one common interest, and are opposed by the same enemies, this army is kept up, and the place of those who are daily removed to the church triumphant, supplied entirely by those who are rescued and won from the power of the adversary, which is chiefly effected by the Gospel ministry. This consideration should remind ministers that it is highly improper (I might use a stronger expression) to waste much of their time and talents, which ought to be employed against the common, in opposing those who, though they cannot exactly agree with them in e Ver point, are perfectly agreed, and ready to concur with them, in promotie principal design. When
ministers of acknowledged piety and respectable abilities, very busy in defending or confuting the smaller differences which already too much separate those who ought to be of one heart and of one mind, though, while they are fallible, they cannot be exactly of one judgment; I give them credit for their good intention, but I cannot help lamenting the misapplication of their zeal, which, if directed into another channel, would probably make them much more successful in converting souls. Let us sound an alarm in the enemy's camp, but not in our own!
Our limits oblige us to close this article without any remarks on the address to the Theological Students, but we shall select one or two passages :
1st. Endeavour hereafter to maintain those habits of application to reading and reflection, which I bope you have successfully formed. All the acquirements which you haveh itherto made, in your course of study, whether literary or theological, should be considered as constituting merely the foundation ; the superstructure you must be gradually rearing up, from year to year, during the whole period of your lives. The minister of religion ought to consider himself a student of theology while he continues upon earth; otherwise the little fund which he has accumulated in his preparations for public service will soon be exhausted, and instead of “ making his profiting manifest to all," as the apostle admonishes, bis barrenness will soon become obvious to all, to his own reproach, and the degradation of his office, and the injury of that cause which he is expected to advance. No countries have been more distinguished for the production of profound and profitable divines than Holland and Scotland; and in no countries have the clergy been, perhaps, equally distinguished for perseverance in the prosecntion of their studies through out life. It was the maxim more especially of the former,
“ Ut gulta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed sæpe calendo,
Sic homo fit doctus, non vi, sed sæpe legendo."--pp. 31. 32: With whatever solicitude and success you may aim at the improvement of your understandings, by reading, and reflection, and conversation, let poi the improvement of your hearts be neglected. The love of Jesus," shed abroad through the soul by the Holy Ghost," correcting your motives, regulating your desires, sanctifying your aims, and animatating to unwearied diligence in the performance of
every duty, may be pronounced the radical qualification of the minister of the cross. This is the vivifying principle which will diffuse life, and warmth, and energy througb all your administrations, both private and public. You will generally find that it is easy to prepare your discourses in the closet, easy to pray for your people, or with them, easy to announce among them, from sabbath to sabbath, the message of salvation, easy to“ exhort them from house to house," easy to catechise, easy to visit the afflicted and disconsolate,“ pouring in the oil and wine," when like the prophet you are “ strong through the Spirit Jehovah,” giving expansion to all your gifts and graces. It is only when religion languishes into your own souls that you will feel tempted to look on the duties of your vocation and exclaim,“ behold, what a weariness are they :" flesh and blood cannot endure application thus intense and unremitting. I am bold to assert that to an ungodly man, or even to a godly man who, through the influence of the cares, or pleasures, or pursuits of this world, has “lost his first love," ministerial service is the most insupportable drudgery; but to him, who is imbibing from day to day the spirit of that Jesus “who went about doing good,” it is an employment easy, and beyond comparis po the most delightful.-pp. 30. 31.
When employed in preparing your sermons for the congregation, instead of secretly consulting what sentiments and manner will most probably amuse their fancies, and gratify their curiosity, and secure their applause, be rather expostulating with the Lord, the sanctifier, for such truths as he will render effectual for their conversion and salvation. When you are summoned by the Lord God of gods, to give an account of your stewardship, it will be a miserable consolation to recoñect, that you had been esteemed as accomplished scholars or polished orators; that you had enjoyed the smiles of the gay and the fashionable part of the world, if you are rejected by the Judge as unprofitable servants, and the blood of your hearers is through eternity crying for vengeance upon your heads. I charge you, therefore, as you regard your own eternal peace or the peace of souls committed to your care, not“ to preach yourselves," by an añectation of elegance of diction, or false refinement of sentiment, which, while they may dazzle with their external glare, are not calculated either to convince or convert or edify: but rather“ preach Christ Jesus the Lord,” by a solemn exhibition of dim in his Person, and undertaking, and offices, and salvation.-pp. 34, 35.
UNITED STATES.-STATE OF Religion, Within the bounds of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church ; and of the General Asso. ciations of Connecticut and Massachusetts, and the General Convention of Vermont, during the last year. The General Assembly in sending to the churches the annual narrative of the state of religion within their bounds, wish them grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
We have much reason to offer our thanksgivings to the Great Head of the Church for the many tokens of his love, with which he has visited that portion of it, which is in our land, during the past year. He has given many convincing proofs, that he has been present with the assemblies of his people to bless them, by bestowing upon them the sanctifying influences of his Holy Spirit. Him we acknowledge and adore as our Redeemer and head, as the foundation of our hopes and the source of all grace, and we ascribe glory and dominion to Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
But while there are many reasons for thankfulness and rejoicing, there is much also to be deplored.
It is with deep sorrow that the Assembly have heard numerous