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religion. Our pulpit discourses have been polished down into the form of ethical truism; and the bold and manly short and common-place essays on some eloquence of our fathers, so full of unction, and so full of faithfulness, and deriving its strength from the doctrines of the Gospel, which it so constantly embodied, has, I fear, in many instances, given place to a strain of preaching, which awakens no auxiety, and which produces no interest. And is it any wonder that a people who are but imperfectly acquainted with the elements of Christian doctrines, should like to have it so? Or what more woe

literary defect to which we have now adverted in the work before us, is more than supplied by the spirit of warm affection, of deep serious ness, and impassioned earnestness, which pervade its pages, and which can hardly fail to interest and to please the reflecting and serious reader. As specimens of Dr. Dewar's manner we must content ourselves with two passages, which we select on account of the important remarks which they convey. The first passage is from the section, entitled, "Catechetical In- ful proof of the growing decline of true


"I long to see the inhabitants of Scotland to be again that which the inhabitants of Scotland once were. Our forefathers made it their business not only to instruct their families, on the evening of the Sabbath, but to instruct themselves: to obtain by reading, and meditation, and prayer, clearer and more impressive views of Christian truth; to acquire accurate knowledge of the grounds of their faith, and the nature of its doctrines and its designs; and to reach the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Hence it was that they had deep as well as just views of doctrine and of duty; and that in place of being children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, they spake the truth in love, and grew up unto Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ. They read the Bible diligently, and the books of practical divinity which might enable them more fully to understand it. They did not rest in the notion that they were already Christians ; but studied to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of their Lord and Saviour, and used every means for attaining the end of their faith, even the salvation of their soulsThere were, in their personal and family religion, not the feebleness and the fickleness of childhood, but the vigorous effort, and the sound understanding, characteristic of perfect men in Christ


"I need not say that their descendants, generally speaking, with all their zeal for public usefulness, do not in this respect imitate their example. There is a flimsiness and a superficiality in almost all that they do connected with

religion in our land than that patrons of churches, during more than the last half century, have been so regardless of the voice of a people, not yet become thoroughly indifferent to the great truths which they were taught by their fathers to regard as divine, and which they were anxious that their ministers should teach? Is it not in the land that Knox and Melville, and the other great and good men of our church, succeeded in reforming and in evangelizing, that those who have walked in their footsteps, and who have so conscientionsly held forth the great doctrines which rendered their ministry a blessing to so many generations, have been systematically opposed and discountenanced, and represented as wild and fanatical in their notions? And the religion of the times, so alarmingly prevalent, and so boldly directed in hostile array against constituted authorities, is but the fruit of that system of indifference to the spiritual wants of the people, and of that substitution of cold and heartless speculation, in room of the doctrines of the word of God, which were at one time, and with certain classes, so much in vogue. I shall never cease to avow what in my conscience I most firmly believe, that it is by the faithful preaching of these doctrines alone, as they are contained in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of our church, that the interests of true morality, as well as of enlightened and steady loyalty, are promoted." &c pp. 126-129.

Our author then proceeds to point out the importance of attention to the different parts of family religion, and particularly the duty of catechising children and servants.

He offers some very important remarks on "Sabbath Schools," with the view of guarding ministers and heads of families against the abuse of these institutions. Without lowering their value, or questioning their utility, he states that they, are designed, properly speaking, as substitutes for the want of family instruction; that in no case should they be made an apology for the neglect of this; and that whatever tends to weaken the authority of parents, or to encourage them in the neglect of a divinely commanded duty, should be strictly watched and guarded against as dangerous to the best interests of practical godliness. Were every parent able and willing to do his duty, Sunday schools would be useless, and might even be, hurtful; and it is only because parents do not or cannot fulfil their proper duties, that these helps become necessary. But in this light they are truly valuable, and deserve far greater countenance and patronage than they have ever yet received from the Christian community.

In the sections on the "Duties of Masters and Servants," we could have wished that our author had noticed a very prevalent but most pernicious custom, particularly in large towns, both in England and Scotland, of servants claiming, and masters and mistresses allowing them the Sunday to themselves; in other words, to be spent in idle ness, worldly conversation, and amusement; in place of being devoted to the public and private exercises of Divine worship, except so much as is exempted for works of necessity and mercy. We have reason to believe that this habit or custom prevails to a great extent in Glasgow and its vicinity, the scene of our author's pastoral la bours; and we might adduce many flagrant and affecting illustrations of its demoralizing and unchristianizing tendency. Christian masters and mistresses should remember that the Sabbath is not theirs to

give; and servants should be reminded of the high command of Him with whom there is no respect of persons-" Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." If ever religion shall flourish in Scotland or elsewhere, one of the principal means must assuredly be an exemplary attention to that infinitely important, but every where much neglected, duty of keeping holy the Sabbath-day.

Our next quotation shall be from the section entitled, "Address to those who now are, or who intend becoming, Students of Divinity."

"Before any one should devote himself, or be devoted by another, to this work, he should be sure that he has a deep sense of religion on his heart; that he has a tender conscience, effectually convinced of the evil of sin, and the necessity of holiness; that he feels powerfully the worth of a Saviour's sacrifice, and the divine excellency of his knowledge; and that he regards it as his highest honour to be the humble instrument of opening the blind eyes, and of turning men from darkness unto light, and from the power of satan unto God. These essential qualifications of personal religion he should possess before he resolves on devoting himself to the arduous work of saving souls. Should he proceed without them, he will probably become the enemy of

those who have a serious concern for

their salvation; he will, perhaps, represent them, even in his preaching, as selfconceited hypocrites, as wild and fanatical; his state of heart will disincline him, and perhaps his ignorance will disable him, from declaring to the people the whole counsel of God; and thus, from his own want of religion, he will be careless about his work, and deepen the sleep of spiritual death on the souls under his ministrations and around him.

“When you are satisfied as to your personal religion, see that your views of the doctrines of the Saviour be sound. It is not to be expected that these views should, in the first instance, be either deep or comprehensive. But it is of essential importance, that in so far as they go, they should be scriptural. It is the duty of all the disciples of Christ to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of their Lord and Saviour; but no one should devote himself to the work of

the Christian miuistry, whose views of the elements at least of the doctrine of Christ are not correct. Study these elements much, as they are contained

in the Catechism, and the other spiritual and practical books which, while they explain them, enforce them with sacred unction on the heart. Be well grounded in these, before entering much on the study of human sciences; and keep them constantly in view while acquiring a knowledge of these sciences; and thus you will be likely to derive from learning, all the good it can afford, without being corrupted or perverted by it from the simplicity that is in Christ." pp. 253, 254. ·

We have not space for remarks upon, or citations from, other parts of the volume, except to add, that the " prayers for individuals and families," twenty-eight in number, are truly scriptural. Some of those for family worship are rather long ; and, by a new arrangement, the number might, out of the same materials, be considerably increased. The work is characterised by correct judgment, and Christian sentiments, and it would delight us to find this work, or something like it-for instance, Mr. Bickersteth's invaluable Treatise on Prayer-on the tables of every family in the land. We do not indeed suppose that individuals or families are, generally speaking, ignorant that prayer is a duty; but they often need both incitements to its discharge, and helps for discharging it. And even this is not all; for as Mr. Bickersteth remarks, in the justly popular work above-mentioned, "The grace of prayer is a Divine gift of far more importance than the mere knowledge of the various parts of this duty, or the ability to perform it before man." The object of Dr. Dewar, as well as of Mr. Bickersteth, (whose work we have the rather introduced on the present occasion, as its rapid sale rendered a formal review of it on its publication superfluous,) is to induce individuals to pray with the heart and with the understanding also; a duty necessary at all times, but

which never required to be more strongly pressed than in the present day, when, to adopt again the words of Mr. Bickersteth, "men are so apt to gain knowledge without corresponding feelings; and are tempted to make a profession of religion, and to talk about it, while, it is to be feared the more retired, and all-important duties of devout prayer, meditation, self-examination, and reading the Scriptures, are neglected."

We shall only add, that though Dr. Dewar's work is generally free from a controversial spirit, there is here and there a remark which some of his readers will think might have been spared; as, for instance, at page 260, where he alludes to the use of the term priest, &c. under the Christian dispensation. In the Church of England such words no more convey superstitious notions, than the names of the days of the week or of the months, which the Society of Friends so strongly reprobate. The word priest is, in truth, only a corruption or curtailment of the word presbyter; as bishop is of ETIKOTOS; but, were it otherwise, we might say with Hooker: "The fathers of the church call usually the ministry of the Gospel priesthood, in regard to that which the Gospel hath proportionable [corresponding] to ancient sacrifices; namely, the communion of the blessed body and blood of Christ, although it hath properly now no sacrifice. As for the people, when they hear the name, it draweth no more their minds to any cogitation of sacrifice, than the name of a senator or alderman causeth them to think upon old age, or to imagine that every one so termed must needs be ancient, because years were respected in the first nomination of both. Wherefore, to pass by the name, let them use what dialect they will, whether we call it a priesthood, a presbytership, or a ministry, it skilleth [matters} not; although in truth the word presbyter doth seem more fit." Eccles. Pol. Book V.

Sermons. By the Rev. J. W. CUNNINGHAM, A. M. Vicar of Harrow; Domestic Chaplain to the Right Hon. Lord Northwick; and late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. London: Hatchard and Son, and T. Cadell. 1822. pp. xvi. and 433.

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We have had the sincere gratification of introducing Mr. Cunningham to our readers on several former occasions. Not only has he appeared before the public as the avowed author of a valuable Essay on Christianity in India, of a Reply to the Thoughts of Dr. Maltby on the Danger of circulating the Scriptures, and of some seasonable Cautions to Continental Travellers, but also as the anonymous writer of three very interesting publications, which, though founded in fable, were intended, and are calculated, to convey and to recommend important religious truths to those who might not feel disposed to receive them under a severer garb. In our review of "A world without Souls," (a work of which it is but justice to the author to remark, that in the later editions he has "rubbed off" some improprie ties in the first, and added many useful and excellent passages,) we had occasion to observe, that the assumption of the mask of fiction was, in his case, the reverse of what it might be in some other instances, a proof that he preferred usefulness to display. Of the manper in which the story of " the Velvet. Cushion" is detailed-though we are by no means extravagant admirers of this style of writingwe spoke in terms of warm commendation. In reviewing" Sancho, the Proverbialist," while we declared our belief that the first part of it especially might be highly useful in suggesting some valuable hints on the conduct of education, we yet added the expression of our final hope, that a pen, which, in its lighter mood and occasional CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 252.

exercise, was capable of appealing so powerfully to the understanding and the feelings of the reader, might soon be wielded more seriously,on some occasion whichshould be no less worthy of its powers than of that holy faith which it appeared evidently well qualified to defend and enforce. This hope has not been disappointed; and we are now happy in again presenting Mr. Cunningham to our readers, in his still more appropriate character as a Christian minister, and the avowed author of a volume of sermons. We were prepared to think highly of his merits in this department of sacred literature, from the perusal of several occasional discourses from his pen, particularly one of great value, on the Trials and Encouragements of the Christian Missionary, preached before theChurch Missionary Society, and printed at their request. As a writer of instructive fiction, he interested us: but a minister of the Gospel never appears to so much advantage in any borrowed character, as in his own; or is qualified to do so much good to socie ty, as when he stands forth in the performance of his proper and acknowledged office, as an accredited ambassador for Christ,"


steward of the mysteries of God." There may indeed occasionally be some advantage in concealing the professional garb and wand of the physician, or in laying aside for a time the solemn countenance which might alarm the tender nerves of an inexperienced patient. It is perhaps on this principle that the unprofessional services of laymen and of females, in the cause of religion, have often been productive of such very extensive benefits. And it is perhaps in consequence of this, that clergymen have been induced, in some instances,to write anonymously, or to make use of playful expedients, or fictitious narrative, in the hope of thus arresting the attention of those who would have recoiled from the perusal of a direct pastoral address. Mr. Cunningham, among 5 К

others, adopted this expedient; and if we were not backward in offer ing our commendation to his motives and achievements on these lighter occasions, it will readily be inferred that it is with no slight satisfaction that we hail him now vested in his own robes, and assuming the station and character which he is so well qualified to occupy and adorn. The advantages of concealment are occasional, temporary, perhaps equivocal; and the good effected by it relates only or chiefly to those who are not already enlisted in the ranks of genuine Christianity. And even these benefits may be in a great degree counterbalanced by the want of that confidence which the presence and countenance of a leader bestow upon his friends. The influence of an anonymous writer is - that of an individual; whereasthe authority of an experienced minister, who comes forward in his proper character, is that of a chief, and carries with it a weight proportioned both to his personal respectability, and to the experience he has already had, or is believed to have had, in the Christian warfare. When he unfurls his standard, or rather the standard of the common Captain of our salvation, we naturally call to mind his circle of friends, connexions, and parishioners-or, as we may say, his clansmen-who are accustomed to march under it, and are ready to support their leader, in union with the general church militant, in the combat with the prince of darkness. And hence, among other reasons, we are disposed to congratulate our readers on the increasing number of parochial sermons which issue from the press. In every such volume, the author stands forward as the leader of a small band; and we are thus enabled to see, as it were successively developed before us, some of the scattered forces of the army of our Redeemer, each in its appointed station, and ready to add is weight in the general cause. For every zealous clergyman may be

presumed to be supported by some individuals, who have been won by his exhortations, and who exemplify in their lives the influence of the doctrines which he inculcates. In this view the publication of the same truths, by different clergyraises before the eye of Faith a men, has a multiplied effect, and cloud of witnesses in defence of the Gospel.

The volume before us consists of twenty-three sermons on miscellaneous subjects, having no other very close tie of connexion, than that they were delivered by a faithful pastor, from the same pulpit, to his flock during the course of two years. The author remarks, that

"He has been led to this undertaking partly by perceiving the general thirst by an ardent désire, before he is called for this species of publication-partly to his great account, to bequeath to his family, his parish, and his friends, some slight memorial of his interest in their temporal and spiritual welfare; and some less fugitive record, than a mere address from the pulpit, of the principles in which he has found, through the great mercy of God, his own consolation and joy.

for some time entertained of endeavour"Perhaps, however, the wish he had ing to prepare a volume of Sermons for the press might not have been realised, if he had not felt the importance, dur. ing a season of comparative retirement, of labouring to withdraw the mind from mournful contemplations by occupying it with useful pursuits. And he hopes the facts of his own history on the to be pardoned for so far obtruding he has never felt his trials so little as attention of others, as to state, that when thus striving to minister to the wants of a suffering world-as when, having nothing but a mite' to offer, he has been endeavouring to cast that mite into the treasury' of God.”— pp. iii, iv.

Perhaps in this last sentence, though written simply to account for the circumstance of publishing a volume of sermons-a circumstance now too common to require much explanation--the reader may trace something of the characteristic style of the author of the se

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