« PreviousContinue »
ful to the design of the writer; but that is supposed to have taken place. the judgment may be assisted in selecting We are well aware that some that which the Spirit of all truth intended to convey For how numerous soever
names of great weight support the may be the suggestions of learned men on interpretation which the writer of the one hand, and of fanciful men on the the volume before us has adopted, other, it is by no means accordant with and we do not wonder at its being that divine benignity which has caused the truths of revelation to be conveyed to adopted in such a work, seeing us in poetry and in prose; in parable and that it affords of itself a subject in precept ; in every variety of form by for a whole chapter, and a subject which it might find a ready entrance to admirably adapted to the nature to the heart, to perplex and encumber of bis production. We cannot, and distract us with more than one simple however, acquiesce in it. The and specific import to each particular phrase, “ from Shittim to Gilgal," communication. If we are perplexed, in Micah vi. 5, may, with more and encumbered, and distracted, it is in no respect owing to the testimony itself; propriety, we think, be referred the cause is to be found in our obtuseness to the Israelites than to their eneof perception and the force of those pre- mies; properly speaking, neither possessions which insensibly bias our
Balak nor Balaam could go from judgment. But why should we multiply our own difficulties by overlooking the Shittim, for they were not there, uniform simplicity of truth, and presum- though the Israelites were; and ing that the intimations of the Divine as to the idea that Balaam's “ high Spirit are vague as the chimeras of a
discourse" on the sublimities of visionary, and involved as the subtleties of a sophist!”– pp. 142–144.
sacred truth, was intended to raise
him in Balak’s estimation, in order The fifth chapter contains an to make way for the success of account of a journey to Gilgal by his intended diabolical advice Balak and Balaam; an account this appears utterly inconsistent of their couversion; and a refe- with all rational probability. rence to the pernicious counsel of The sixth chapter adverts to the the latter, which, being ultimately defection of the Israelites through acted upon, led to the sin and the influence of the Midianitish punishment of the Israelites. Of woman--their sin and punishment this journey there is no account in -the audacity of Zimri, and the the Mosaic history. The idea of zeal of Phinehas—the subsequent it is taken from the 6th chapter of slaughter of the Midianites, and Micah, from the 5th verse. The the death of Balaam. This and prophet, in this verse, refers to the the preceding chapter, though concircumstance of Balak having con- taining much that is interesting and sulted with Balaam; and the three impressive, do not appear to be following verses having the ap- written with the author's usual sucpearance of a colloquy between two persons, are supposed to re The seventh chapter concludes present the inquiry of the king the work, and consists of such of Moab and the answers of the practical reflections as the subject Aramæan apostate. For ourselves, seems naturally to suggest. It we regard the idea of this journey contains remarks on the perverto
by these two worthies, sion of great talents—the uselessas a pure fiction : we do not be- ness of a mere theoretical knowlieve it was ever made, and if it ledge of religion—the possibility had been made, the conversation, of being an unconverted teacher we imagine, would have been of
of others---covetousness-hypowidely different from that which crisy-and the frequentappearance N. S. NO. 86.
of something like retributive jus. never re-written, or revised; hence, tice in the present world.
We we have sentences of a most unhave only room for one short ex- usual length-a string of two, tract.
three, four, five epithets at a time
—and phrases both inelegant and “ At the day of judgment, every un. improper; we can hardly conceive pardoned sinner will be speechless ;' but
but that, if such the hypocrite will be especially con
passages founded. Poor infatuated wretch! Death been transcribed with a view to hath stripped off thy mask of beauty, their improvement as composition, and thou appearest morally deformed the writer would, in most instances, and loathsome. They who, on earth, have removed from his work, what beheld thee, in the splendour of thy religious profession, gaze with astonishment now attach to it as manifest imat thine unsightly figure. In vain dost perfections—what sometimes inthou call upon the mountains and rocks jure its perspicuity, at others imface of him who sitteth on the throne, pair its impression, and always and from the wrath of the Lamb;' in offend against good taste.
We vain dost thou endeavour to screen thy- can conceive of such expressions self among the multitudes of the wicked, as “ forgitive imaginations," for none is found to acknowledge thee but the son of perdition.' Even · Hell
liquious perception,” “ conceitful from beneath is moved for thee, to meet imagination,” “ soil-embosomed thee at thy coming; it stirreth up the fibres,” &c.-we can conceive of dead for thee, even all the chief' sinners these being employed in the first
of the earth. All they shall speak, and instance, when a person is only say unto thee, Art thou become' vile “ as we? Art thou become like unto us in anxious to put down his thoughts hopeless misery? How art thon fallen in any way so that they be secured from heaven, o Lucifer, son of the
La person, indeed, in the habit morning! how art thou cut down, which of good writing will seldom do didst sit upon the mount of the congre: this, still it might be done; we gation. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider cannot conceive, however, of such thee, saying, Is this the man who made phrases being written twice by any such a credible profession of the religion one, and we can only account for of Christ; who prayed at the prayer: their existence in the work before meetings; exhorted in the school room; visited for the Sick Society; filled the us, by supposing that the passages office of deacon, or class-leader; nay, in which they occur never underwho preached Christ ‘in the great con
went the purifying process of calm gregation?'”-pp. 265, 266.
and careful transcription, one of In parting with "Balaam,” the best checks upon the absurwhile cordially thank the dities of genius, and one of the author for the pleasure we have most efficient means of improving derived from it, and recomiend it the taste and style of a young to our readers as unquestionably writer. In several places, too, worthy their regard, we feel it right are paragraphs which are loose to acknowledge that it might have and declamatory, and some which been much improved by a little are low, in the sense of familiar;
labour bestowed upon its all which we deem unbecoming composition. There are marks of the dignity of the subject, and haste and carelessness about it, which annoy and vex us, because which we regret to have observed. the writer is so obviously capable Many pages
have the appearance of better things. We beg to asof being the first rough draught of sure bim, that had we thought less the writer's thoughts, put down in highly of his talents, we should the ardour of the moment, and have spared ourselves the trouble
of making these observations. He throughout the land, with the inknows much; and, if he likes, he struments of torture and death in can write well. He is in danger, its most fearful forms, the followers however, of suffering hasty com
of Christ are forced, in a manner, position to escape him, and of by their very circumstances, to aiming too little at purity and look well to their principles, and simplicity of style. Style and to seek refuge from their calamimanner, we know well enough, ties in habits of close communion are subordinate to thought, but they with the Hearer of prayer. But in are not therefore insignificant. He times of external prosperity and who professes to despise them (we the prevailing profession of reliare now making general remarks gion, such as those which have without any allusion to the author fallen on us, there is obviously of “ Balaam”)–he who professes great danger in that conscientious to despise them, betrays unwar- regard to the more private means rantable confidence in his own of grace, without which piety must conceptions, a great ignorance of soon degenerate into meagre forms human nature; he shows a want and barren speculations. The danof respect for himself, for his ger to which we are adverting is reader, and, what he little suspects much increased by that active and perhaps, for the cause of truth; energetic spirit which has gone forth for, by not doing his best to serve amongst the British Churches, and it, he may limit the sphere of his which is happily expressing itself agency and diminish the sum of in self-denying and zealous efforts his usefulness-nay, in some cases, for the general diffusion of the he may even injure what he pro- truth, both at home and in foreign fesses to advocate.
lands. The puritans and others of
our pious ancestors were, in some Communion with God, or a Guide to the respects, placed by Divine Pro
Devotional. By Robert Philip, of Ma- vidence in circumstances more faberly Chupel. pp. 208. Westley and
vourable to the cultivation of perDavis.
sonal religion than those which The Devotional Friend, consisting of Ori
enter into the condition of pastors ginal Meditations, Hymns and Prayers, arranged for Family Worship. By the and people in the present age. author of the Morning Repast. pp. 290. Having to endure severe suffering Hamilton, Adams, and Co.
from without, and having few diThe Doctrine of the New Testament on
rect claims on their time and enerPrayer. By Isaac Crewdson, 18mo. pp. 184. Hamilton and Co.
gies, with regard to the more ge
neral interests of religion, they We may venture to assert, without were much employed in the careful fear of contradiction from the more study of Divine truth, and in the serious and reflecting portion of discharge of those unobtrusive, yet the Christian community, that, in all-important duties which belong the present day, it is peculiarly to the oratory or the domestic alnecessary to call the attention of tar. They daily " walked with the professed friends of religion to God;" they drew fresh and copithe vast importance of cherishing ous supplies of Divine influence the spirit and maintaining the prac- from the fountain of all good; they tice of devotion in the more pri- were wont to ascend into the sevate walks and relations of life. rene and higher regions of devoWhen the demon of persecution tion, and when they came down rears its head and stalks forth again into the world, there beained
around them a moral glory, which regions of Christian philanthropy. marked them palpably out as men The period in which we live is of God, and revealed the frequency pre-eminently an enterprising age. and closeness of their communion The splendour and magnificence with Heaven; and this habit of of the objects which are before the solitary devotion was, no doubt, religious public are apt to dazzle instrumentally, the chief cause of the mind, and have, alas ! already the piety which shone forth so exerted a bewildering influence conspicuously in their lives, and over a considerable section of the shed a sacred and immortal lustre professing world, and paralyzed over their invaluable productions. the powers of some who might
Whether, or to what extent the otherwise have proved instruspirit of fervent prayer in the pri- ments of distinguished usefulness vacies of personal and domestic in service of God and man. The life has declined amongst profes- number and variety, too, of those sing Christians, generally, of the institutions which are happily set present age, are points which we on foot with a view to the diffudo not pretend to determine. It sion of religious knowledge draw comes no more within our province largely on the energies and time than it does within our inclination, of those who support them. And to take the chair of the judge or in the management of the affairs censor in reference to these and of these societies there is almost other such particulars; and as little unavoidably much of bustledo we feel disposed to indulge that much that may tend to produce morbid and peevish temper which the mechanical habit or commergives utterance only to doleful cial spirit, to disturb the balance sounds of complaint, and fixes its which should ever be maintained attention so steadfastly on what is between claims of a public and objectionable, as to overlook or private nature, to dissipate the underrate what is encouraging and spirit, and foster that morbid love commendable in the existing state of excitement which destroys all of the religious world. But we relish for sober instruction, and will not conceal our apprehension indisposes its unhappy victim for that the devotion of the closet and a due regard to the duties of doof the domestic altar has not ad- mestic and personal piety. vanced with the nineteenth cen Persuaded, however, as we are, tury, and that instances of exalted that all moral greatness must have sanctity are of rarer occurrence its foundations laid in the retreats than amongst our pious ancestors of solitude, and that prayer is the in many preceding periods. In vital element of the Christian life, fact, the peculiar danger to which we are happy to observe the inChristians of the present day are crease of publications intended to exposed, is, as it seems to us, assist the devotions of religious that of merging the private claims professsors. of this description of religion in those which are of are the three volumes before us. a more general and imposing cha- We feel no difliculty in recomracter-of suffering in their per- mending them as useful manuals sonal character from the circum- of devotion, and the price at which stance of having their feelings so they are sold, places them within frequently called forth by ex the reach of those whose circumtraneous appeals, and their sym- stances might not allow them to pathies scattered over the wide purchase volumes of a larger size.
The first is from the pen of a cussed in a manner which reflects gentleman already known as the credit on the understanding and author of a small and valuable devotional feelings of the respectwork, entitled “ The Guide to the ed author. We have observed, Perplexed.” The object of Mr. indeed, an occasional wandering Philip is not to remove those from the precise point under consceptical objections to the efficacy sideration, and it may, perhaps,
prayer, which are founded on be thought that the style is somethe speculations of false philo- times rather too loose and colsophy, and which are alike per- loquial for the productions of the nicious and irrational, being op- press. But these are imperfections posed to the uniform experience which do not substantially affect of the faithful and the authorita- the merits of the work, and we have tive testimony of revelation. He no doubt that it will be read with addresses himself rather to those much pleasure and profit by those who feel the importance of the persons particularly for duty, and yet struggle with diffi- whose benefit it was written by culties of another description. the worthy author. But we shall His chief purpose is briefly stated furnish our readers with a few exin a short preface to his work. tracts from its
give them the opportunity of “ He has seen, with some surprise and judging for themselves. In the much sorrow that not a few of the devo first chapter the following juditional seem to forget that the PROMISES of God to the prayerful are, when ap
cious remarks occur, suggested by plied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, the a comparative view of the ad real answers to all prayer for spiritual vantages of communion with God, blessings. The connection between fer
under the Jewish and Christian vent prayer and saving faith, also, is not, he thinks, so familiar to the prayerful, as
dispensations. it ought to be. And, as mistakes on these and on similar points cannot but inter “ It will assist us still farther, in formrupt communion with God, the Authoring a just judgment of our own hearts and ventures to suggest the following simple habits, if we review some of the instances hints, “ to all that, in every place, call upon
of special access to God, which have the name of Jesus Christ.»
been vouchsafed' at sundry times and in
divers manner, to the fathers.' Under In pursuance of his general ob- the Law, the high priest had access, auject, the author treats on the fol- pually, to the mercy-seat, in the holy of
holies; and when within the vail, God lowing topics
communed with him from between the “ Access to God- the promises of God
cherubim. He could say with certainty, to the prayerful, the real answers to
as he entered with blood and incense, ' I prayer-The affinity of fervent prayer
will hear what God, the Lord, will speak ; and saving faith – Prayer proof of the for he will speak peace to his people.? Now, work and witness of the Holy Spirit - blood of atonement, and such a welcome
with such an introduction as the typical The actual presence and help of the Spirit in prayer-Walking in the light, awaiting him, what should we have essential to fellowship with God-A de- thought and said of the high priest if he votional spirit essential to the enjoyment holies, or had not gone up to the
had neglected to go into the holy of of the promises-Devotional preparation for the sanctuary-The influence of mercy-seat, or had come out before
he heard what God, the Lord, would prayer upon peace of mind, under the trials of life - The Saviour's devotional speak? Had any priest been guilty of habits-Communion with God in afflic
this neglect, all hearts would have been tion-Sacramental communion with God
shocked at his impiety, and all voices and the Lamb."
united in condemning him. We should have expected to hear that, like the
offerers of strange fire,' he was sudThese various subjects are dis- denly and signally consumed by penal