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veral works already adverted to; ly city,' or breathed the air of the a style lively, impressive, and dis-mount' of God; or had been enthrontinguished by many beauties, but ed amidst the powers and principalities
with a mixture of epigrammatic point more usual in works of fancy than in discourses from the pulpit. A single example of what we mean may be given in the following sentence.
"Crown a man to-day, and he may be a corpse to-morrow. The flowers on our brows at one moment, may be scattered over our tomb at another." p. 409. There is also something of the same preference of point to perspicuity, in the following remark, which, being one of the heads of a discourse, demanded that perspicuity should be particularly studied.
"A second cause of indecision is the too high or too low regard for the authority of human teachers." p. 10.
We will only cite one more instance, in which an important sentiment is inculcated in a manner perhaps somewhat too poetical.
"There sleeps in many a grave, by which you pass coldly or dejectedly, a brother spirit, who, when all merely worldly friendships are forgotten, or remembered only as the alliances of delusion and ruin, shall rise to claim you
at the bar of God as a friend of his bosom, as his glad associate and partner through the ages of eternity." p. 387.
We have inadvertently stumbled at the threshold, on these slight criticisms; but, on the whole, the volume, as compared with the author's lighter productions, is marked by an increasing gravity and simplicity of manner and language; suited to the greater solemnity of the occasion, and to the serious occupation of one who is striving, as he himself expresses it, to minister to the wants of a suffering world. We are happy, in this view, in presenting to our readers a very powerful and solemn appeal, grounded on Heb. xii. 22—24. "Suppose yourselves already introduced into the august assembly we have been contemplating to day. Could you, if you had seen its glories, if you had trodden the golden streets of the heaven
of heaven; or had held deep converse hath snatched away; or had rejoiced in with those happy spirits whom death the light of the Divine presence; or had surveyed the glorified body of the Redeemer seated on the Throne of his Father and dispensing the blessings of the everlasting covenant, the crowns of pure gold, and the jewels of the sanctuary;-—conld you turn from all this, and go back with the same zest to the follies and vices of life? Could you
again satisfy yourself with the lean ceremonial of a worldly life, with society withont love, with habits of intercourse which go nigh to exclude God from his own world, which crucify his Son afresh, which do despite to the Spirit of Grace,' which magnify this moment of existence into ages, and reduce eternity to a shadow? Could you abandon heaven, and all its glories, for the doubtful pleasures and certain miseries of a worldly life? Would you not exclaim, if solicited to make this world your main pursuit, This is not our home-we have here no abiding citymaker is God.' Then, my Christian we seck the city whose builder and brethren, let your life, and spirit, and such is the present conviction and reso conversation prove to the world that lution of your mind. For these things the midst of the splendid assembly are as sure as though you had stood in which the text presents to you. single day may put you in possession of these joys for ever." pp. 394–396.
The subjects of the Sermons (it has been already stated) are miscellaneous. They are evidently selected with a view to practical effect, and exhibit an able and pleasing pattern of that reciprocal dependance between doctrine and precept which appears in Scripture, and the inculcation of which is the only method of instruction calculated at once to arouse a sinner, and yet to cheer him, if he desires to repent and to turn to God, by the merciful promises of the Gospel..
sider it a defect in this volume, Some readers may perhaps conthat few of the more prominent doctrines of the Gospel are parti
cularly and formally discussed and explained; a defect, if it be such, which the promise of a second vo-" lume excites the hope of seeing speedily supplied. One important doctrine indeed is discussed at length; and we are tempted to extract the heads under which it is treated, as conveying a luminous and instructive epitome of the whole subject.
"We are to consider what progress may be made in the study and use of Scripture without the special in fluences of the Holy Spirit.
"1. In the first place, then, it is obvious that, without such special influence of the Spirit of God, it is possible to ar rive at a bare belief in the truth of Scripture. It has been affirmed, by one of the most distinguished judicial cha racters of this country, that the evi dence for the truth of the Gospel was stronger to his mind than that for any fact ever brought for judgment into a court of justice. But if this be true, no special influence can be necessary to enable us to perceive the strength of this evidence. Men of keen faculties
other pursuits, do not forfeit them on approaching the word of God. And, accordingly, the mere truth of Scripture has been admitted by thousands whose lives have sufficiently indicated fle absence of all spiritual influence on their hearts.Believest thou the prophets?" said Paul to Agrippa; and he adds, 'I know that thou believest,' although the habits of Agrippa at the mo. ment plainly proclaimed the absence of all sanctifying influence on the mind, And, in like manner, it is said, even of those miserable spirits who are farthest removed from all spiritual influence, that they believe, and tremble.'
2. Again: it is possible for an individual, without the special influence of the Holy Spirit, to become acquainted with the contents of the Sacred VoJume. The same faculties which enable him to collect the contents of any other book, do not forsake him in the examination of this." pp. 42, 43.
"In the third place, it is possible, without the special influence of the Holy Spirit, to feel the highest admiration for parts of the Sacred Volume. The examiner of Scripture, especially if a man of fine taste, may be charmed with its literary beauties, with the force
"In the first place, it is by the Holy Spirit we are led to make a personal application of the holy Scripture to our own case. The individuals whom we have heen hitherto contemplating, may become, as we have seen, in a measure acquainted with the contents of the Scriptures. But, then, they know them rather for others than them, selves. The truths of that Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation in them that believe,' instead of entering their minds, lie uselessly on the surface. Nothing but the power of the Holy Spirit can carry the holy seed to its pro per destination in the soul. Paul may plant, Apollos may water, but God giveth the increase.' Nothing can be more appalling than the deadness of the conscience, till the Spirit of the Lord thus quicken it into sensibility and life-nothing more delightful than its tenderness when this change is wrought, Then it is, that, with the jailor, the man thus visited of God exclaims, What must I do to be saved? Then it is, that, with the disciples, he asks,' Is it I? Am I the guilty man described in the Gospel, and for whoin the Great Shepherd lived and died? Then it is, that, however indifferent before, he exclaims with Job; when admitted to personal intercourse with God, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee, and I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.'
"2. It is the Spirit of God alone who endears the promises of Scripture to the heart." pp. 47, 48.
"In the third place: It is the Holy Spirit alone who brings the word of God effectually to bear upon the temper and conduct. It is possible, as we have stated, without any special influence of the Holy Spirit, to admit the truth of Scripture. But without His aid, we cannot obey the Scripture. It is the language of God himself, I will put my Spirit within thee, and cause thee to obey my statutes." Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.' Man, till brought under this new dominion, is always represented as a captive of Satan-the world as bis prison and his lusts and appetites as the chains of his terrible bondage. But it is said,' where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. As soon as this new influence is felt on the soul, our chains begin to drop from us, Like the Apostle, in the dungeon, we find that some pow. erful hand is at work for our deliverance, Some augry temper is gradually quieted, some lust is quenched, some passion is bridled. Our powers are gradually enlarged; until at length, loosened from the bands which held us so long and so disgracefully, we walk abroad in all the glorious liberty of the children of God.'" pp. 49, 50,
"With a reference to the influence of the Holy Spirit on the character and conduct," (p. 41.)
"It is intended to examine, "I. What useful or attractive qualities a man may possess by nature.
"II. What are the qualities which the Spirit of God alone can impart to him.” "In the first place, then, he may, without the special influence of the Holy Spirit be an honest man.— -He may wish to rob no man of his earthly rights. He may scorn and detest a lie. He may, if poor, refuse to eke out his scanty pittance by depredation upon the proper ty of others. He may, if a tradesman, hold false weights, and measures, and the thousand shifts and evasions too common in the traffic of the world, in utter abhorrence. He may thus act and feel, and yet be a stranger to the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit. For he inay possess all these qualities in common with the heathen who never heard of the true God; or with the mul, titudes who, having heard of Him, neg lect or despise Him. He may have all these qualities without the smallest sense of his own sinfulness, and of his need of a Saviour; or the slightest value for the word of God, for his church, bis Sabbath, or his sacraments—without of fering a single supplication for mercy, or a single tribute of praise and gratitude to the God and Saviour of a guilty world.
"In the next place, a man may be mild and gentle in his temper, without the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit. Nothing indeed can be more obvious, than that such a temper may prevail in the man, without the opera
tion of any principle whatever. Indivi. duals notorious for the absence of piety and for an addiction to gross immorali ties, have been thus gifted. Whole nations have been discovered, remarkable at once for the absence of religion and the gentleness of their demeanour." pp. 59, 60.
"In the third place, great benevo lence or kindness may exist in the mind without the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit.-In some cases, it will at once be admitted that this feeling of kindness and tenderness is merely instinctive, and therefore independent of all principle; as, for example, in the case of a parent to a child. In other cases, it is little more than enlarged self-love-a love of others for our own sake. And this is certain, that it is frequently found in minds wholly des titute of the love of God and of our gracious Redeemer." p. 61.
"In the fourth place, a man may be the ardent lover of his country, or of the public good, without the sanctifyinfluence of the Holy Spirit.-I name this quality on account of the high value attached to it in society. But surely nothing can be more obvious than that a man may thus live for the glory of his country; may sacrifice his life on the altar of her liberties; may, at the foot of the throne, gloriously assert the rights of the people against a tyrant, or dis. charge the less popular, and therefore more difficult, duty of maintaining the rights of a sovereign against a deluded and murmuring people ;-he may do all this, and yet be without genuine reli gion." pp. 62, 63.
"In the fifth place, a man may possess much merely formal religion, without the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit,-Many of the Jews, for instance, thus sacrificed the substance of religion to its mere forms, the 'spirit' to the letter. The profligate Herod even heard John gladly,' and was willing to do many things,' although not to make the great sacrifice which God required, And such characters are by no means rare in society. Sometimes their religion is purely mechanical; the result of early custom, or example, or accident. Sometimes it is nothing better than the homage of hypocrisy to the world around them. Sometimes, especially what may be called public and congregational religion, is mere sympathy with the feelings and affections of others, attachment to a particular mi
nister, the love of excitement, the taste for eloquence, or fine reasoning, or profound speculation." pp. 63, 64.
"We are to consider, secondly, for what qualities we must be indebted to the Spirit of God alone.
"In the first place, those very qualities which may exist independently of the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God will, without it, be defective in their motive and character.
"Take, for example, one of the most valuable of those qualities we have already named, as sometimes discovering itself in the character of a mere man of the world; I mean benevolence, or a disposition of kindness to others. To what does it amount in the bosom of such an individual? It has no right principle, no pure motive, no fixed rule, no adequate object. It is liable to bend to interest, to be wearied by use or disappointment, and to be warped or extinguished by passion. It regards the bodies but neglects the souls of our suffering fellow-creatures. It supplies some of their wants, but is little occupied with the cure of those moral evils which are the grand source of their misery. It labours perhaps to nourish the perishing tenement of clay, in which the immortal spirit dwells, and blindly leaves that very spirit under the influence of that ignorance and those unsanetified lusts and passions which shut men out from the kingdom of God, and prepare them for the society of the devil and his angels." pp. 65, 66.
"But, secondly, some qualities can have no existence in the mind except by the saving influence of the Holy Spirit."" There exists not, in the soul unvisited by the Holy Spirit, any really spiritual and heavenly affections, any desire to turn to God-the God of holiness and purity; to seek after Him who is the Father, the Governor, the Saviour, the Sanctifier, the Judge of the world. It is the exclusive office of the Holy Spirit first to kindle these desires in the soul; and, when kindled, to lead us on to a course of action corresponding with them. Without this sacred influence, we have neither the will nor the power to turn to God, and to yield ourselves to his service. In the language of our church, we have no power to
do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God, by Christ, preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will." p. 68.
"In bringing these observations to a close... let me guard you against any such abuse of the subject we have been considering, as to conceive that because certain moral or benevolent dispositions and practices are not necessarily the fruits of the Spirit; therefore a man under the influence of the Holy Spirit may want these qualities.-Consider, my Christian brethren, amongst a multitude of other passages, the language of the text; the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth.' Wherever, therefore, the Holy Ghost is in possession of the heart, as infallibly as the effect will follow the cause, will these dispositions, and the acts which flow from them, display themselves in the temper and life.” p. 72.
"In the last place, let me add, that the proper use of the preceding observations is evidently this, to set your selves to the task of earnest and devout supplication to God for the sanctifying influence of his Spirit on your own souls, and that of all in whom you are interested." p. 73.
But though, except in the example just quoted, there is in this publication little formal discussion of specific doctrines, the reader will find every distinguishing truth of the Gospel recognized in its place, and generally stated with ability, precision, and effect. What the author regards as the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, are enumerated by him in one sen
"The records of eternal truth, as far as the grand fundamentals of religion are concerned,-for example, the being of a God, the Divinity and Atonement of Christ, the sacred influence of the Holy Spirit, the fall of man by his own misconduct, his justification by faith in Christ, his conversion by the Holy Ghost, the absolute necessity of good works and amiable tempers,-leave no room for rational doubt or disputation.” pp. 364, 365.
But some of these truths are occasionally introduced with greater prominence. Witness the correct delineation of human corruption, which follows.
"As to the qualities of benevolence, or justice, or gratitude, of which the
relics are still discernible in the mind: in what small quantities do they gene rally exist even in the most favoured Datures! and in how many, not at all! And then, as to spiritual qualities, how absolutely extinct are they in the unconverted mind! Where do we find in the natural man' the faith, the zeal the self-devotion, the holy obedience which we owe to a God and Saviour? And should not the want of these qualities, and the display of their opposites towards the Father and Saviour of the world, be deemed the strongest evidences of corruption? Would you not admit a man to be corrupt who, though he had many pleasant and attractive qualities, was guilty of the crime of the blackest ingratitude and rebellion against a kind and tender Father? And
is not he therefore to be considered as
depraved, be his powers of pleasing and attraction what they may, who insults or even neglects the tender Father of the universe, and the bleeding Saviour of a guilty world?" pp. 265, 266.
The following is a rapid sketch of that defective theology which, we trust, is gradually giving way to a sounder view of Christian truth.
"In many cases, even the great fundamental principles of the Gospel,—the fall and corruption of human nature, the Divinity and atonement of Christ, the agency of the Holy Spirit, justification by faith in the Redeemer, the conversion and renewal of the heart by a Divine influence, salvation by the free and unmerited grace of God, a complete surrender of our will, taste, and affections to the holy law of God,-are called in question, and a lean and spiritless morality put in their place?" p. 103.
There are also statements in this volume, addressed very forcibly to the consciences of those undecided Christians who now abound in society. The first sermon in the series is addressed to persons of this character; and though we are doubtful whether the author may not have overlooked some of the topics that are the best calculated to correct the evil which is there so ably exposed, we yet regard it as a highly useful discourse, and judiciously placed at the very
entrance of the collection. One of the subjects discussed in it, which might perhaps be advanthe general effect, is a question, tageously spared with a view to parenthetically agitated, concerning the possibility of coming to a decision in matters of religion. Of the causes that are very justly assigned for the unhappy indecision which so generally prevails, the following is perhaps a more natural, and therefore a more author has adopted. First, neglect luminous order, than that which the of the holy Scriptures; secondly, neglect of prayer; thirdly, attachment to the principles and habits of the world; fourthly, blind deference to the judgment of our contemporaries; fifthly disregard of the examples and authority of those who have gone before us. Of these causes, the first three will probably be found universally applicable, wherever there is an indecision, while the remaining two are incidental and subsidiary, and prevail more or less according to the difference of character, disposition, or temperament of mind.
Five of the sermons are on as many of the apocalyptic epistles. They contain very powerful and impressive statements, but are not intended to remove the difficulties with which the sacred text is there charged. Indeed, all the author's addresses are uniformly selected, not with a critical but with a spiritual and practical view. They evidently speak the heart and mind of the writer, and are testimonies, doubtless, not only of his own convictions, but of his personal experience, especially under those trials which often overwhelm the spirit of a worldly man, while the true Christian takes comfort and rises under their pressure, encouraging himself in the Lord his God.
The miscellaneous character of this volume prevents our attempting to give an analysis of its contents; and the general sobriety and scriptural complexion of its state