Page images

never be forgotten, that it is quite they will all be tried by an unfailpossible to speak from the deepesting standard, and we will not seek conviction, and yet be unimpres- to anticipate that judgment. We sive, as it also is, to gather and to pray that their beloved and reenchain a crowded auditory with- spected authors, differing as they out affecting a single soul. We do in their mode of presenting think there is much to be learned truth, may alike be found faithfully in what has been hitherto an unex- to have delivered their own souls, plored region-the philosophy of uninfluenced either by the fear of influencing mind; and we firmly blame or the love of praise. Withbelieve that the commencement of out specially noticing, therefore, that great moral change, which any one particular discourse, we there is every reason to suppose, shall endeavour to seize upon from the predictions of scripture, what we consider distinctive feais to be produced by the preach- tures in the respective volumes uning of that cross which is foolish- der review, and point out such peness to the unrenewed heart, will culiarities as may seem to us to be preceded by new discoveries in belong to the different sections of this departnient of sacred science; the Christian church from which the art of preaching will be better they emanate. understood; new avenues to the No one can bestow even a curconscience will be discovered, sory glance upon the American those which are already known preacher, without observing that will be more widely opened up our transatlantic brethren direct and better improved; all the ap- their attention much more excluparently trifling circumstances sively than we do, to the conversion which deepen or carry off impres- of sinners, and this circumstance sion, whether connected with the alone stamps a peculiar character arrangements of divine worship, upon their discourses. The leadthe social habits of Christian fa- ing object with them seems almost milies, or the private deportment invariably to awaken.

With us, it and conversation of ministers, will is more frequently to inform. Tenbe more justly estimated; and the derness commonly characterizes an sword of the Spirit, instead of be- English preacher. Severity an ing, as it now oftentimes is, an

American one. The former linunwieldy weapon in the hands of gers in hope that he shall win men unskilful fencers, will be pointed by the sweetness of the gospel. with a more divine skill, and be The latter seeks to drive men to pressed home with unerring preci- Christ by hurling unsparingly the sion.

thunders of the law. English serThe volumes, whose titles stand mons are mostly soothing. Ameat the head of this article, bring rican ones often partake of an before us examples both of English irritating character.

Where we and American preaching, and we endeavour to affect the feelings, know of nothing which should lead they take a steady aim at the conus to doubt their being fair speci- science. Bold and direct appeal, mens of the ordinary character of accompanied by a close and conpulpit addresses in both countries. stant personal application to the It would be an ungrateful task to hearer, mark the one; calm, phienter into any comparison of the losophical discussion, and pious respective merits of these compo- reflections, distinguish the other. sitions. A day is coming when If they sometimes err in making those sad whom God has not made upon their banks. And thus the sad, we are not unfrequently in stream moves on, with a force al. danger of bribing into a profes- together unexampled in the history sion of religion those whose hearts of nations, and with a speed which have never been thoroughly sub- the world has never before witmitted to the humbling require- nessed. ments of the Gospel. We are not The American Churches are not fond of antithesis, or we might unmindful of what is going forcarry out these observations much ward. The Christian sees that farther. They are, doubtless, open there is but one thing which can to the objections which may al- blight the vision of that glorious ways be raised against general de- future which is ever floating belineations of this kind; but, allow- fore the eyes of his countrymen, ing reasonably for exceptions, we and that one thing is the absence, believe they will be found, on the or inefficient supply of the means whole, to be in accordance with of


There is but one famine truth.

that he dreads, and that is a famine It will not be difficult to trace of the word of God. Often does some of the causes, which have oc- his

eye anxiously glance over the casioned this apparent diversity map of that great western wilderboth of object and method, among ness, which he sees peopling at a those who are so closely united, rate that outstrips calculation, and not less by blood than by commu- sometimes he trembles, lest it nity of feeling, as are the Ameri- should be overrun with superstican and English Churches. Ame- tion and intidelity, those sure prerica is a young and rising country. cursors of national ruin. He is The tide of population has of late conscious that the whole Christian years been rolling westward with world looks to America as the unparalleled rapidity. Each suc- field on which is to be tried the ceeding wave bears upon its bosom most important of all experiments a fresh supply of restless spirits, in spiritual husbandry, whether a prepared to carry forward with vast tract of land can be duly untiring energy the enterprizes cultivated, and all the interests of which others have commenced. religion be triumphantly sustained, One by one the tall trees of the in the face of an overwhelming inforest bow beneath the stroke of crease of population, and without the axe, and and viliages any legislative aid ? In common rise in clusters, as if by magic, in with his countrymen he has long the woods. A few years more, maintained the affirmative. The and regions, but recently snatched hour of trial is now come. He from the sovereignty of the fowl must manifest to all men that his and the brute,

boasting has not been in vain in

the Lord. Moral influence has " Where nature sowed herself, and reaped her crops,"

been his watchword, and now he

must try the temper of a weapon are intersected by innumerable to which he has long been accusroads; the soil is cultivated ; and tomed to attach a power little barges laden with the products of short of Omnipotence. industry and commerce float along It is under the pressure

of canals, which at

once serve to thoughts like these, that American unite distant cities, and to invite a Churches and American Ministers new race of emigrants to settle are moulded and fashioned. The

snug and comfortable times when mediate and evangelical performthey lolled in lined


and ance of their obligations to God, dwelt in ceiled houses, enduring as duties which belong to the crealittle besides the imaginary dis- ture, irrespective of any decrees eases of spiritual hypochondriac- of the Creator, and exhortations of ism are fast passing away. Al- this character form a prominent ready from church to church the part of his ministrations. They ominous sound is heard. - Curse dwelt much on the absolute soveye Meroz," said the angel of the reignty of God in the disposal of Lord, “ curse ye bitterly the inha- his blessings, and on this topic he bitants thereof; because they came frequently enlarges. In short, benot to the help of the Lord, to the fore he is aware, he is treading in help of the Lord against the their steps. It is unnecessary to mighty.” No sooner has the stu- particularize the sentiments of men dent emerged from the walls of with whose works every

theolocollege than he feels he must be gian is familiar. It is sufficient to at work. He has no time to observe, that this is the school loiter. The lighter employments in which the great majority of of literature must be thrown American divines have evidently aside. Popery and infidelity fra- been trained. They have adopted ternize as readily in America as these men as their models, not less in Europe, and every day the un- from a persuasion that their mode natural league is more closely of presenting truth is in accordcementing. There is but one re- ance with the revealed will of God, medy,—the universal diffusion of than because their sentiments seem the gospel—the evangelization of to have been eminently marked the people—a multiplicity of con- out in the history of the Church versions-in a word, revivals of by his approval. religion.

Were we obliged to fix upon The promotion of revivals, or, some one particular in which the as it may be expressed less tech- American differs most widely from nically, the conversion of sinners, the British preacher, we should is then, in most cases, the one idea say it was in the handling of the which occupies the mind of a To illustrate our meaning, young New England clergy man, we will take two faithful and evanIt is obvious that his preaching gelical ministers of the Gospel, will be modified accordingly. His the one trained in the severe school attention is naturally turned to. of Edwards and Bellamy—a New wards those men whose ministry England theologian ; the other may seem to have been most educated in an English dissenting blessed to the unregenerate, and college. Both of course hold that the writings of Edwards, Bel- the preaching of Christ crucified is, lamy, Davies, and others, become, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, the in subservience to the Bible, his grand instrument of conversion; text-books. He marks their theo- but they differ as to the mode in logical peculiarities. He sees that which this glorious mystery is to they continually drew a broad and be presented to the sinner. The affecting line of demarcation be- former considers it primarily an tween their converted and uncon- instrument of conviction, and, with verted bearers, and he does the Peter, seeks to prick his hearers

He finds that they fear- to the heart, by bringing home to lessly pressed upon men the im- them the accusation of having N. S. NO. 90.

3 A



of any

crucified the Lord of Glory. The do with our mode of presenting the latter tries to win over the sinner to Gospel. If the obstacle to man's God by the offer of reconciliation. reconciliation with his Maker were The one holds that there is a pecu- some error of opinion regarding the liar adaptation in the cross of true character of God, a clear deChrist, to melt the stubbornness monstration of his wondrous love of the unrenewed heart—that it is in Christ Jesus would certainly be

a mighty principle of attraction, better adapted to remove it, than brought to bear upon a nature that the additional pressure might have remained sullen and weight of obligation ; but arising, unmoved under every other appli- as it does, from the most desperate cation.” As if“ God who knows enmity of heart, both to God and what was in man, seemed to have goodness, this display of tenderknown that in his dark and guiltyness only falls upon an unrenewed bosom there was but one solitary soul like the pale and sickly beam hold that he had over him; and of a wintry sun. It may enlighten that to reach it, he must just put the understanding, or it may lead on a look of graciousness, and tell to a speculative and inoperative us that he has no pleasure in our faith; and we do not deny that death, and manifest towards us out of this dead faith, has frethe longings of a bereaved parent, quently sprung up, under the and even humble himself to a quickening beams of the life-givsuppliant in the cause of our re- ing Spirit, a living flame never to turn, and send a Gospel of peace be put out. But we firmly believe into the world, and bid his mes- that more commonly it is greedily sengers to bear throughout all its seized upon as an opiate to a habitations, the tidings of his good- wounded conscience, and being will to the children of men.' This unaccompanied by any direct and he

says is the “manifested good- immediate interference on the part will of God to his creatures, the of the Holy Spirit, working a band of love and the cord of a thorough change of the affections, man by which he draws them."* it

proyes only a savour of death The other, agreeing in all that is unto death." said concerning the love of God, It is allowed on all sides, that thus wondrously manifested, main- wherever the Holy Spirit enters tains that this demonstration of the heart, his first work is to congoodness, so far from “wooing vince of sin. Upon this admission, man into a reciprocally warm and our American friends argue that it confiding attachment,"only affords, is the preacher's duty to follow the in its universal rejection, a more line of the Spirit, and dealing with complete illustration of the despe- the sinner as Paul dealt with Felix, rate nature of that depravity which to press directly upon his conwill NO MORE be won by love, science those topics which are than it will be subdued by terror. most calculated to leave a very

In this particular, we are in- painful sense of his obligations, clined to think our transatlantic and to make him either cry out, friends are right. At all events it " What shall I do to be saved ?is of importance that this subject or oblige him to say, “Go thy way should be thoroughly discussed, for this season." for the settlement of it has much to To these views we are aware

that many objections have been * Dr. Chalmers.

made, and the lifting up of the

brazen serpent in the wilderness of the sinner, and pleads the right has frequently been brought for- of the Creator to be loved, not ward as indicative of another mode merely on condition that he will of presenting the Gospel. We do love the sinner, but because his not, however, see much force in character, in ALL its aspects, is this. The wounded Israelites were inexpressibly lovely, and infinitely representative of sinners deeply worthy of his regard. convinced of sin-smarting under This style of preaching it is eviits bite, and conscious of their dent will materially affect the wounds; and we do not see that phenomena of conversion. It is they at all prefigured careless by no means inconsistent with a slumberers. The Philippian jailer full recognition of Divine Sovetoo, is a case equally inapplicable. reignty to assert that the peculiar His distress of mind arose, not, as

circumstances which mark conversome would have us to believe, sion, as well as many points in the simply from terror at the earth- future character of the conv ted, quake, accompanied by a fear that are commonly decided by the inhis prisoners would escape, but fluence of the ministry under which from the workings of that Divine the change has been accomplished. Spirit, who seized upon this inci. The fine gold which comes out of dent to arrest him in a moment by the crucible is all purified alike by convictions as deep and as sudden the refiner's fire, but the outward as those which in former years had fashion of it depends on the mould smitten his prisoner to the ground into which it falls. Thus it is in on bis way to Damascus. Let a conversion. A sinner converted man be in this state of mind, crush- under a New England preacher ed under the weight of a violated is, in many respects, differently law, and there is but one sentence fashioned from one who is equally suited to his

Believe on made a

new creature in Christ the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou Jesus under the ministry of a disshalt be saved.”

senting minister in England. The The first aim, then, of an Ame- same observation holds true, with rican preacher is to produce con- regard to different denominations. victions of sin. In order to do A Churchman, a Wesleyan, an this, he is continually opening up, Independent, and a Scottish Pres. and pressing the obligations of the byterian, may be all equally born sinner, and urging him, in the most again under the same gospel, and direct terms, and by every motive yet there will be in them certain which Scripture will sanction, to important differences which may the exercise of evangelical repen- be traced most clearly and decitance without a moment's delay.- sively to the character of the He fearlessly tells him to repent, ministry, and the discipline of the to pray, to believe, to turn, to Church under the instruction of choose, to strive-in short, in the which they have been regenerated. language of Scripture, to make With these views, we consider himself a new beart; and he tells it by no means unimportant to inhim that if he is finally lost, it will quire what style of preaching is not be for committing sins which best adapted to form strong men in he could not avoid, but for refus. Christ Jesus,—what mode of treating and neglecting to do that which ment will be most likely to secure he could have done. He goes on, a healthy spiritual progeny. As demanding for God the affections there are some who never get be

« PreviousContinue »