Imágenes de páginas

his searching glance. He strips vice and folly of their frippery, scatters the delusions of pride and passion, and lays down the rules of Christian faith and practice with a precision, which satisfies the intellect, while it leaves the transgressor without an excuse.

« Not diffuse, not learned,” says Mr Hallam, * "not formal in argument like Barrow, with a more natural structure of sentences, a more pointed, though by no means a more fair and satisfactory turn of reasoning, with a style clear and English, and free from all pedantry, but abounding with those colloquial novelties of idiom, which, though now vulgar and offensive, the age of Charles II. affected, sparing no personal or temporary sarcasm, but, if he seems for a moment to tread on the verge of buffoonery, recovering himself by some stroke of vigorous sense and language; such was the worthy Dr South, whom the courtiers delighted to hear. His sermons want all that is called unction ; but there is a masculine spirit about them, which, combined with their peculiar characteristics, would naturally fill the churches where he might be heard.” It is this masculine spirit which gives to the pages of South an interest which never Aags, and we never turn from them without feeling, that some weakness has been overthrown, some principle placed in a clearer light, and a healthy tone of thought communicated to the mind.

His place among divines may not be with the highest, but it is not far beneath them. As a clear and original thinker, and as a master of a manly and forcible style, he is surpassed by none.

“ As a judge of men and manners,” says the writer in the Retrospective Review, “and a careful observer of human life, South deserves the highest praise. He seldom attempts the subtleties of metaphysical disquisition, in which he did not excel ; his business was with the broad realities of life. To shew that the low and contemptible things of the earth often govern the great and exalted, to teach man reasonable diffidence and modesty, to discourage unbounded hopes and expectations, to cherish noble and honourable aspirations, and to make his fellow-creatures wiser and better; to do this was the useful and honourable object of this excellent teacher. He thought, no doubt, he had said a witty thing, who called South's discourses not ·Sunday, but week-day sermons ;' his meaning was, we presume, if he had any, that they were written too much for worldly every-day affairs ; a charge, which a very numerous class of sermon-makers have no cause to fear, who write for no day at all. South's sermons are adapted to all readers and all days; they contain innumerable thoughts and reflections which are true and striking, though not always the most obvious to a common thinker; and this is an unequivocal mark of a good writer. From him we might form a collection of useful maxims, in which sentiments the most profound and just are delivered in language the most expressive and correct.

“ His faults, like his virtues, were many and great. His intolerant and persecuting spirit we have before had occasion to notice: words were the only weapons his profession allowed bim to use, but he wielded them with a terrible vigour and effect. Doubtless he would have fought with the same spirit that he wrote ; for during Monmouth's rebellion, he declared he was ready, if there should be occasion, to change his black gown for a buffcoat. To his detested enemies, the Papists and Puritans, he could shew no mercy, and allow no virtue. Milton, with him, is the blind adder, who spit venom on the king's person ;' Cromwell is Baal,' a bankrupt beggary fellow, who entered the parliamentAouse with a thread-bare, torn cloak, and greasy hat, and perhaps neither of them paid for ;' and Sir Henry Vane, that worthy knight, who was executed on Tower Hill. His crying sin was the contrivance of the covenant; and for this South could triumph over his unjust condemnation.

* Lit. of Europe, iv. 177.

“ Satire, ridicule, and invective, he poured forth in a copious and continuous stream ; but he was often carried away by the violence of the torrent, which he could neither direct nor restrain. He would always step aside to have a blow at the schismatics, to slyly insi. nuate some article of his political creed, something about prerogative, or occasionally relieve himself by a discharge from his inexhaustible fund of wit and humour. This humour often bordered on grossness and indelicacy, and his wit certainly betrayed him into expressions certainly improper, if not profane. What he could not confute by argument, he would overcome by ridicule. He well knew the value of Horace's maxim

• Ridiculum acri

Fortius et melius magnas plerumque secat res.' “ It may perhaps be objected to some of his sermons that they contain too many divisions and subdivisions, and that order leads to confusion : but all the heads of his discourse are fully examined and discussed ; and the infinite variety and fulness of the man's understanding and imagination led him often to crowd into one short sermon what a modern book-maker would diffuse over a folio.

“ His sermons, to be properly appreciated, ought to be carefully studied; and we may venture to say that the labour will not be unprofitable: they bear the unequivocal stamp, which a peculiar turn of mind and a great genius cannot fail to impress. The copious and energetic language of South might serve to invigorate the well-turned and rounded sentences of many a modern scribbler, which fall softly on the ear, but have not strength to penetrate farther. The man of business and active life, who has occasion to state to others what he knows himself, might be supplied from this storehouse with all the neces. sary stock of words and all the clearness of expression; and, if inclination prompted, or circumstances required, he might from the same magazine arm himself with the weapons of ridicule, sarcasm, invective, and abuse. It is no pedantry to say that we observe considerable resemblance between the style of South and the manner of a great Athenian orator; and it is not surprising that there should be a similarity between two men of ardent temperament, who on all subjects thought clearly and expressed themselves forcibly; both were men of strong common sense, who were deeply interested in the business in which they were engaged; both waged a long and continued warfare with enemies whom they hated, and both had, to support them, the command of a mighty and powerful language."

[blocks in formation]

" Her ways are ways of pleasantness.”—Prov. iii. 17. “ But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will

I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Some objections against this truth removed, and - MATTHEW, x. 33. the duty of repentance represented under a mixture of sweetness. The excellencies of the pleasure of The occasion of those words inquired into, and wisdom enumerated :

their explication, by being compared with other 1. As it is the pleasure of the mind in reference, parallel scriptures, and some observations deduced 1. To speculation, on the account of the greatness from them. The explication of them by shewing, and newness of the objects ; 2. To practice.

I. How many ways Christ and his truths may be II. As it never satiates and wearies. The com denied : 1. By a heretical judgment ; 2. By oral parison of other pleasures with it ; such as that of expressions ; 3. By our actions. What denial is an epicure, that of ambition, that of friendship and intended by these words. conversation.

II. The causes inducing men to deny Christ in III. As it is in nobody's power, but only in his his truths: 1. The seeming absurdity of many truths ; that has it, which property and perpetuity is not to 2. Their unprofitableness ; 3. Their apparent danger. be found in worldly enjoyments.

III. How far a man may consult his safety in A consequence drawn against the absurd austeri time of persecution, without denying Christ ; 1. By ties of the Romish profession. A short description withdrawing his person ; 2. By concealing his judgof the religious pleasure.

ment. When those ways of securing ourselves are not lawful.

IV. What is meant by Christ's denial of us, with

reference, 1. To the action itself ; 2. To its circumSERMON II. – Page 9.


V. How many uses may be drawn from the words : 1. An exhortation chiefly to persons in authority, to defend Christ in his truth, and in his members;

2. An information, to shew us the danger as well “ So God created man in his own image, in the as baseness of denying Christ.

image of God created he him.” — GENESIS, i. 27. The several false opinions of the heathen philo

SERMON IV. - Page 25. sophers concerning the original of the world. The image of God in man considered :

I. Wherein it does not consist, adequately and formally; not in power and dominion, as the So “ After this thing king Jeroboam returned not from cinians erroneously assert.

his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the II. Wherein it does consist: 1. In the universal people priests of the high places : whosoever would rectitude of all the faculties of the soul, namely, of he consecrated him, and he became one of the his understanding, both speculative and practical. priests of the high places. And this thing became Of his will, concerning the freedom of it. Of his sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, passions, love, hatred, anger, joy, sorrow, hope, fear. and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.” 2. In those characters of majesty that God imprinted 1 Kings, xiii. 33, 34. upon his body.

The consideration of the irreparable loss sustained Jeroboam's history and practice. Some observain the fall of our rst parents, and of the excellency tions from it. An explication of the words high of Christian religion, designed by God to repair the places, and consecration. The sense of the words breaches of our humanity.

drawn into two propositions :



I. The means to strengthen or to ruin the civil but only probable ; neither evident, nor certain, nor
power, is either to establish or destroy the right wor probable, but false and fallacious.
ship of God. Of which proposition the truth is III. That the Jewish unbelief proceeded from
proved by all records of divine and profane history; | the pravity of the will influencing the understanding
and the reason is drawn from the judicial proceeding to a disbelief of Christianity, the last being prepos-
of God; and from the dependence of the principles sessed with other notions, and the first being wholly
of government upon religion. From which may be governed by covetousness and ambition.
inferred, 1. The pestilential design of disjoining the IV. That a well-disposed mind, with a readiness to
civil and ecclesiastical interest; 2. The danger of obey the will of God, is the best means to enlighten
any thing that may make even the true religion sus the understanding to a belief of Christianity, upon
pected to be false.

the account both of God's goodness, and of a natural

II. The way to destroy religion is to embase the efficiency, arising from a right disposition of the will,

dispensers of it ; which is done, 1. By divesting which will engage the understanding in the search of

them of all temporal privileges and advantages ; 2. the truth through diligence and impartiality.

By admitting unworthy persons to this function. From which particulars may be learned, 1. The

By which means, Ist, Ministers are brought under true cause of atheism and scepticism ; 2. The most

contempt ; 2dly, Men of fit parts and abilities are effectual means of becoming good Christians.

discouraged from undertaking the ministry.

A brief recapitulation of the whole.

SERMON VII. - P. 51.

SERMON V. - Page 36.




“ God hath loved the gates of Sion more than all the

“ These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with dwellings of Jacob.” – Psalm lxxxvii. 2.

all authority. Let no man despise thee.” — Titus,

ü. 15.

All comparisons import, in the superior part of

them, difference and pre-eminence, and so from the
Titus supposed to be a bishop in all this epistle. comparison of this text arise these propositions :

The duties of which place are,

1. That God bears a different respect to conse-

1. To teach, either immediately by himself, or crated places, from what he bears to all others;

mediately by the subordinate ministration of others. which difference he shews, 1. By the interposals of

II. To rule, by an exaction of duty from persons his providence for the erecting and preserving of
under him ; by a protection of the persons under them; 2. By his punishments upon the violators of
the discharge of their duty; and by animadversion them ; 3. Not upon the account of any inherent
upon such as neglect it.

sanctity in the things themselves, but because he
And the means better to execute those duties, is has the sole property of them, by appropriating
not to be despised, in the handling of which pre them to his peculiar use, and by deed of gift made
scription these things may be observed : 1. The ill by surrender on man's part, and by acceptance on
effects that contempt has upon government ; 2. The his.
causes upon which church-rulers are frequently II. That God prefers the worship paid to bim in
despised. And they are either, Groundless, - such such places above that in all others, because, 1. Such
as their very profession itself, loss of their former places are naturally apt to excite a greater devo-
grandeur and privilege ;or, Just,—such as ignorance, tion ; 2. In them our worship is a more direct ser-
viciousness, fearfulness, and a proneness to despise vice and homage to him,
others. The character of a clergyman.

From all which we are taught to have these three
ingredients in our devotion, - desire, reverence,

and confidence.





An account of the Jewish aud Christian economy. God's providence has its influence upon all things,
The gospel must meet with a rightly disposed will, even the most fortuitous, such as the casting of lots ;
before it can gain the assent of the understanding, which things, implying in themselves somewhat
which will appear from the following considerations : future and somewhat contingent, are,

I. What Christ's doctrine is, with relation to I. In reference to men, out of the reach of their

matters of belief, and to matters of practice.

knowledge and of their


II. That men's unbelief of that doctrine was II. In reference to God, comprehended by a cer-
from no defect in the arguments, whose strength tain knowledge, and governed by as certain a provi.
was sufficient, from the completion of all the predic dence, and by him directed to both certain and
tions, and the authority of miracles ; and whose great ends, in reference, 1. To societies, or united
insufficiency (if there could ha been any) was not bodies of men ; 2. To particular persons, whether
the cause of the unbelief of the Jews, who assented public, as princes ; or private, touching their lives,
to things less evident, — neither evident nor certain, I health, reputation, friendships, employments.


Therefore we ought to rely on divine Providence;
and be neither too confident in prosperity, nor too

despond in adversity, but carry a conscience clear
towards God, who is the sole and absolute disposer
of all things.

“ And the children of Israel remembered not the

Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the

hands of all their enemies on every side : neither

shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal,

namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with which he had shewed unto Israel.” – JUDGES,

Ciod.” — 1 Cor. ii. 19.

viii. 34, 35.

Worldly wisdom, in Scripture, is taken sometimes The history of Gideon, and the Israelites' beha-

for philosophy, sometimes, as here, for policy, which, viour towards him, are the subject and occasion of

1. Governs its actions generally by these rules, these words, which treat of their ingratitude both

1. By a constant dissimulation, not a bare conceal towards God and man. This vice, in this latter

ment of one's mind, but a man's positive professing sense, is described, by shewing,

what he is not, and resolves not to be ; 2. By sub I. What gratitude is, what are its parts, what

mitting conscience and religion to one's interest; grounds it hath in the law of nature, of God's word,

3. By making one's self the sole end of all actions ;

of man.

4. By having no respect to friendship, gratitude, or II. The nature and baseness of ingratitude.

sense of honour. Which rules and principles are, III. That ingratitude proceeds from a proneness

II. Foolish and absurd in reference to God, to do ill turns with a complacency upon the sight of
because in the pursuit of them man pitches, 1. Upon any mischief befalling another, and from an utter
an end unproportionable to the measure of his dura- | insensibility of all kindnesses.
tion, or to the vastness of his desires ; 2. Upon means IV. That it is always attended with many other
in themselves insufficient for, and frequently con ill qualities, as, pride, hard-heartedness, and false-
trary to, the attaining of such ends, which is proved hood.
to happen in the four foregoing rules of the worldly V. Consequences drawn from the premises, -

1. Never to enter into a league of friendship with
Therefore we ought to be sincere, and commit our an ungrateful person ; 2. Because he cannot be
persons and concerns to the wise and good provi- altered by any acts of kindness; and, 3. He has no
dence of God.

true sense of religion. Exhortation to gratitude as
a debt to God.

SERMON X.-P. 76.

SERMON XII. – Page 93.



« For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted “ Lying lips are abomination to the Lord.” — Prov.

according to that a man hath, and not according

xü. 22.

to that he hath not.” — 2 Cor. viii. 12.

The universality of lying described. This vice
Men are apt to abuse the world and themselves in farther prosecuted, by shewing, -
some general principles of action; and particularly I. The nature of it, wherein it consists, and the
in this, That God accepts the will for the deed. The unlawfulness of all sorts of lies, whether pernicious,
delusion of which is laid open in these words, ex officious, or jocose.
pressing, that where there is no power, God accepts II. The effects of it, all sins that came into the
the will ; but implying, that where there is, he does world, all miseries that befall mankind, an utter
not. So there is nothing of so fatal an import as the dissolution of all society, an indisposition to the im-
plea of a good intention, and of a good will, for God pressions of religion.
requires the obedience of the whole man, and never UI. The punishments of it, the loss of all
accepts the will but as such.

credit, the hatred of all whom the liar has or would
Thence we may understand how far it holds good, have deceived, and an eternal separation from God.

that God accepts the will for the deed, - a rule, Ist, All which particulars briefly summed up.

whose ground is founded upon that eternal truth,

that God requires of man nothing impossible ; and

consequently, 2d, Whose bounds are determined by

SERMON XIII.- Page 103.

what power man naturally hath ; but, 3d, Whose

misapplication consists in these, (1.) Tha: men often

mistake for an act of the will what really is not so,

as, a bare approbation, wishing, mere inclination ; “ He that walketh uprightly walketh surely." -

(2.) That men mistake for impossibilities things

Prov. x. 9.

which are not truly so, as, in duties of very great

labour, danger, cost, in conquering an inveterate The life of man is, in Scripture, expressed by


walking ; which, to do surely, great caution must be

Therefore there is not a weightier case of con taken not to lay down false principles, or mistake in

science, than to know how far God accepts the will, consequences from right ones; but to walk uprightly,
and when men truly will a thing, and have really no under the notion of an infinite mind governing the

world, and an expectation of another state hereafter,

« AnteriorContinuar »