« PreviousContinue »
SAURIN's Sermons, one hundred and sisty-eight in number, are comprised in twelve volumes. I have read them with edification and delight. Actuated by these sentiments, I doubted whether I could better employ my leisure moments, than in preparing an additional volume, to those already before the English reader.
The Three Discourses, on the Delay of Conversion, are a masterly performance, and in general, a model of pulpit eloquence. They are not less distinguished by variety and strength of argument, than by pathos and unction : and they rise in excellence as the reader proceeds. Hence, I fully concur in opinion with Dupont, and the succeeding editors, who have given the first place to these Discourses : my
sole surprise is, that they were not translated before. Whether they were reserved to ornament a future voluine, or whether the addresses to the unregenerate were deemed too severe and strong, I am unable to determine. By a cloud of arguments derived froin reason, from revelation, and from experience, our author certainly displays the full effusions of his heart, and in language unfettered by the fear of man. The regular applications in the first and second Sermons, are executed in such a style of su
perior merit, that I lament the deficiency of language to convey his sentiments with adequate effect.
On the subject of warın and animated addresses to wicked and unregenerate men, if I might be heard by those who fill the sanctuary, I would venture to say, that the general character of English Sermons, is by far too mild and calın. On reading the late Dr. Enfield's. English Preacher, and, finding on this gentleman's tablet of honour, names which constitute the glory of our national Church, I seem unwilling to believe my senses, and ready to deny, that Tillotson, Atterbury, Butler, Chandler, Coneybearé, Seed, Sherlock, Waterland, and others could have been so relaxed and unguarded, as to preach so many Sermons equally acceptable to the orthodox and to the Socinian reader. Those mild and affable recommendations of virtue and religion; those gentle dissuasives from immorality and vice, have been found, for a whole century, unproductive of effect. Hence, all judicious men must admit the propriety of meeting the awful vices of the present age, with remedies more efficient and strong.
Our increase of population, our vast extent of commerce, and the consequent influx of wealth and luxury, have, to an alarming degree, biassed the national character towards dissipation, irreligion, and vice. We see a croud of families rapidly advanced to affluence, and dashing away in the circles of gay and giddy life ;-we see profane theatres, assemblyrooms, and watering-places crowded with people devoted to pleasure, and unacquainted with the duties they owe to God ;-we see a metropolis, in which it