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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.
· 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 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 proves 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
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
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
yond the character of babes in and national peculiarities; and Christ, so there are others who, others again have ascribed the apthrough the ignorance or negli- parent absence of extreme distress gence of their spiritual nurses, are or lively joy in English converts, all their days ricketty children.— to that habit of concealment which We trust we shall not be misunder- is induced by a refined and highly stood. We are serious, on a seri- artiticial state of society. We ous subject, and if we use familiar should rather look for an explaillustrations it is only because nation in some of those characteothers do not occur equally ex ristics which we have pointed out, pressive. We deeply feel that we as distinguishing the Christian have yet much to learn in the di- ministry of the respective counvine art of nourishing and bringing tries, and as a natural consequence up the young and sickly of the in the different treatment which an flock.
awakened sinner would experience In the accounts which have from his spiritual advisers. In the reached us of American revivals, one case his wounded conscience nothing has excited more surprise would be unsparingly cauterized, than the depth of sorrow which in order that, if healed, it might be the subjects of them seem to ex
whit. In the other, perience. Under sermons which tenderness would throw aside the have been read from the manu- knife, and apply a balsam, and the script, without a single gesticula- wound, however mollified by sweet tion, the hardy sons of the forest ointment, is consequently in conhave cried out aloud in distress; tinual danger of opening and and hundreds and thousands, un- bleeding afresh. In many cases der the pressure of emotions like
we fear the readiness with which these, have found all the claims first convictions of sin have been of appetite forgotten, and sleep accounted proof of a saving work banished from a couch wet with the of God, and been treated accordtears of unfeigned sorrow. But ingly, has led to false and imagithis is not all. A few days have nary conversions. The sinner, elapsed, and perhaps at midnight, soothed by promises which do not perhaps in the solitude of the belong to him, has been bribed woods, or it may be in the house into a speculative faith, which for of God, the whole scene has a time has quieted his fears, and changed; the clouds have rolled given him peace. But, after a away; the cheering beams of the while, conscience has again lifted Sun of Righteousness have shot up her voice, and then nothing into the soul, and the heart, which will satisfy him but a continual but yesterday was fit to break with opiate. Every sermon which presses anguish, now, unable to restrain obligation irritates, until at length its joy, bursts forth into singing. the lap of Antinomian heresy is
It has often been asked, why the only place in which he can emotions of this powerful kind slumber in peace. We can never should so rarely be found among be too particular in pressing the ourselves, and various solutions of necessity of distinct convictions, the difficulty have been offered. leading to a loathing and habitual Some have resolved the matter al- turning away from sin. It is genetogether into Divine sovereignty; rally taken for granted, that a sinothers have associated these pow. ner's distress arises from erroneous erful awakenings with certain local conceptions of the Gospel. But
this is not the fact. His despair and the prayers which disarmed is commonly occasioned, not by criticism,” are all absent. Besides, an opinion that Christ is uvable or these discourses were not written unwilling to save him, but from a for the press. There is, however, fear, certainly well founded, that enough to show us, that had it Christ will not save him without been Dr. Payson's concern to proentire submission, unfeigned re duce great sermons, few could pentance, and a new heart. In have surpassed him; and there is the absence of any evidence that still more to demonstrate that the this great change has taken place, one object he had in view was to to comfort him with promises save the souls of those that heard which belong only to the believer, him. is to oppose the spirit of God. We could find in these sermons
But it is not in the treatment of many illustrations of the remarks the unconverted merely, that this which we have thought it right to severity of character is visible. It make on what a sermon should be; isequally prominent in exhortations but we need not make such a seto the believer. It gives a tone to lection. Those who may think it Christian society, and most of all worth their while carefully to anait distinguishes the minister him- lyse the volume, will discover self, whether in or out of the pul- them; and we can assure them, pit. The firm pressed lip, the se. that time thus spent will not be pulchral tone, the air of deep so wasted. lemnity which belong to the severe Once again would we most New England preacher, are as earnestly urge upon our beloved unlike the benignant smiles, and young friends who are so soon to fluent utterance of an English dis- supply the vacant places of living senter, as are the stern and lean ministers, the importance of sephysiognomies of our puritan fore- riously investigating all the cirfathers, to the complacent and cumstances which tend to promote good - humoured
countenances or to impede ministerial efficiency. which adorn a modern magazine. They will perhaps allow us io
But we must check ourselves. suggest, in a spirit, we trust, of We set out with the intent of ex Christian love, some things which hibiting what we considered dis we have long considered hindrances tinctive features in the two national to the usefulness of
young preachpreachers which lie before us—but And first, we have observed we have wandered, we scarcely a prevailing confusion of idea as know whither—good Dr. Payson to what ought to be denominated must bring us back again. means of grace; what the precise
It will be impossible to do more use of the word is to the unregethan briefly notice his valuable nerate ; and what exertions an discourses. We can quite suppose unconverted man can make for his that they will disappoint the high- own salvation. The want of clear wrought expectations of those who and distinct conceptions on these have had the privilege of listening points has led to a generalizing to the living voice of the preacher; mode of address; and hence, for the indescribable solemnity vague appeals to the sinner to bewhich attended their delivery,“the lieve on Christ; or, (what is still unaffected earnestness, the glow- more common) loose dissertations ing intensity of feeling, the pecu- and reflections on various texts, liarity of expression and utterance, without sufficient point or object,