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characterize the Report of a charitable institution, especially one of a religious nature, is an entire freedom from a bigotted party spirit.— And here I may be permitted to express the satisfaction I have derived from the strict adherence to this principle visible in the Reports and other documents of some much calumniated institutions, where, on account of provocations received, something of a controversial or retaliating spirit might perhaps, from the frailty of human nature, have been occasionallyexpected."Sirs, ye are brethren," should be the motto of the conductors of all our charitable and religious institutions; and though men may law. fully differ in their opinions as to the best mode of doing good, they ought to agree in one point at least, that no good is ever effected by the indulgence of an acrimonious or vindictive spirit. It may indeed sometimes be advisable where the object of a society is not understood, or has been misrepresented, to take the opportunity of its annual Report to defend it and prove its excellence; but, in so doing, it should never be forgotten that the cause of charity is best served by a charitable spirit, and that Christians are enjoined to put away all "bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, with all malice." I have merely hinted at this topic, but do not think it necessary to dwell upon it, as the fault in question happily is not at present of a very prevalent kind.

A third essential property of a Report is, that it should be intelligible. -It is sometimes almost as difficult to collect a perfect idea of the funds, expenditure, and actual proceedings and prospects of a society from its Report, as to ascertain the state of the nation from a diffuse speech of a parliamentary orator. It would greatly conduce to the convenience of the public, if the writers of such documents would always give their facts and figures in a plain business-like manner, avoiding diffuse

statements, and maturely digesting the whole of their materials before they commit the result to paper,

Simplicity is another necessary feature of a good Report.-It is quite ridiculous to see a few plain facts tricked out in a meretricious attempt at fine writing, and enounc ed in words of sonorous but inappropriate magnitude. The style of Dr. Johnson would not be a fit model for the purpose in question, even if the reporter could copy it correctly ;-but if, as is too probable, he should completely fail in the attempt; if his ideas should prove but dwarfs and starvelings, clothed in the vestments of a giant; he would doubly offend every person of good taste and Christian simplicity by his performance. We instinctively smile at the celebrated apostrophe of the worthy gentleman who commenced his speech to his fellow-parishioners in vestry-assembled, with, "Gentlemen, the eyes of all Europe are fixed upon your deliberations;" but this is scarcely worse than some instances which I could adduce of pompous nothings, clothed sometimes for example in a tumid and bombastical style; at others, in an artificial style, abounding with inversions and classical figures; at others, in a florid and sentimental style, enlivened with scraps of oratory and poetry; and at others in a wary, ceremonious, diplomatic style, as if a "negociation" about the dimensions of a parish sewer, or the choice of a committee-room, were at least an affair of state between the governments of two mighty empires.

Surely it would cost no great effort to avoid these various kinds of affectation. I would caution reporters also against another species of cant; I mean the too frequent recurrence of what may be called the French Revolutionary style; for why cannot societies be formed as well as " organized," and subordinate societies be united to them as well as "affiliated ?" I will only add further, under this head, that it is

always in bad taste, and not quite consistent with Christian simplicity, for the sake of gracing a society, to denominate persons by high sounding titles, which are not customarily bestowed upon them, at least in this country; a fault of which I have known more than one instance in provincial institutions.

To add but one quality more, a Report should be as concise as the subject will allow.-In some of our large institutions, the quantity of fact to be narrated will not admit of a very brief Report, even where every part is closely condensed, and with no more than a necessary proportion of comment. But in smaller institutions, Reports might often be advantageously reduced to one half or one third of their length, by abstaining from the unnecessary philosophising-I will not call it prosing-which is sometimes found in these documents; by avoiding

the duplication and triplication of the same words or ideas; by pruning epithets and unmeaning phrases; by not dealing in common-places and general propositions, which would answer as well for almost any other Report as the one in hand; by omitting minor details; by giving the substance of communications, instead of the words, whereever the former will equally answer the purpose; and, lastly, by greatly abridging the portion of the Report devoted to anticipations and conjectures. A strict adherence to this system would bring most Reports into a very portable compass, and go far towards preventing the complaint now so commonly urged, that few persons comparatively can find time to read the Reports of charitable societies, interesting as they must be to every Christian mind.

A FRIEND TO SIMPLICITY.

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

Sermons on the Christian Character; with Occasional Discourses. By the Rev. C. J. HOARE, A.M. Rector of Godstone, and late Vicar of Blandford Forum. 1821. 8vo. 9s. London: Hatchard.

THOSE works of science or research which afford unquestionable marks of superior genius or attainments require no apology for their publication: it would be difficult indeed to assign a reason why they should be withheld from the world. Com positions, however, not thus distinguished may seem to require some apology; and for none of them does it appear to us that a more satisfac tory one can be urged than for those which are written for the instruction of our general population in the obvious duties of eligion, and therefore with a studied exclusion of literary effort. It is to be con

sidered also that sermons, which, at the time of their first appearance, acquired, not only by the excellence of their doctrine but the beauties of their style, a deserved popularity. after a while grow out of date, and cease to attract the attention of the ordinary reader. Though even regarded as standard compositions, yet they at length are transferred from the parlour to the library, and become little more than books of reference to those who compose, or sources of unacknowledged plagiarism to those who copy, their pulpit discourses. The fastidiousness of many modern readers would lead them to turn away from the new too antiquated pages of Barrow, South, or Tillotson; their Sunday hours must be beguiled by publicatious more recent or attractive; and there must be something beyond the intrinsic merit of the work

itself to fix their attention to the comparatively uninviting subject of divinity. It must be the production of some friend of the family, or it must be a new year's present, or must afford the greatest measure of entertainment consistent with the gravity of the subject. In short, it is almost as true of sermons as of novels, that each generation will read those chiefly which are the product of their own times.

This incessant demand for old truths in a new garb is a sufficient reason for the large supply of modern sermons: and their multiplication forms, in our minds, no fair objection to them, provided they exhibit a luminous and consistent view of revealed religion; since every fresh publication may be attended with claims to attention, peculiar to itself, and these may ope rate advantageously to the dissemination of Divine knowledge, and gain admittance for its hortatory and awakening appeals into circles which they might otherwise never have reached.

The call, however, for the publication of sermons is often peculiarly strong when a clergyman is removed from a parish in which he has long and successfully discharged his pas toral duties. The circumstances which lead to his removal are generally such as to separate him for life from his former flock. His departure is in fact, with respect to them, a sort of ecclesiastical death; and what better legacy can he leave them than a durable record of those instructions which he orally delivered for their comfort and instruction? By such a benefaction, though removed to a distance, he remains, as it were, present with them; and, when taken at last from every scene of earthly labour, he will continue to bear a dying, as he had done a living, testimony to the power of that religion which was able to save himself and those who heard him. If his instructions have been scriptural, they will furnish also to his bereaved flock a standard of

judgment and conduct, to preserve them from errors in opinion, and laxity in practice; they will afford to his successor a specimen of sound doctrine and faithful exhortation, by which he may be insensibly. quickened, when disposed either to sink into the coldness of a formal worship and speculative creed, or to be unduly excited by the fervours of an indiscreet zeal, and a too glowing imagination.

This call the author of these sermons has sermons has fully and promptly obeyed; and the Christian world may be considered as gainers by that act of painful separation, which, in depriving his immediate parishioners of his personal labours, has invested him with the office of an instructor to the public at large, We may lay it down as a principle, that whenever a work written on a particular occasion, for a definite and limited purpose, rises above that purpose into general interest and usefulness, it has acquired for its author the highest meed of praise. And such we should say is the case with this specimen of parochial instruction: we have no doubt it will survive its immediate object, and become a standing exhibition of that Christian character of which it gives as well the outline and broader features as the nicer and more discriminating shades. It is a portrait in which, while due attention is paid to the general effect, it will be found that the individual parts are well adjusted.

How far this public record of the character of the late Vicar of Blandford's instructions may be useful to his former parishioners, we may judge in some measure by the preface to the work, which is more immediately addressed to them. The author does not waste his time in exciting emotion for its own sake, in dilating upon the pleasures of past intercourse, or the pains of recent separation; in descanting upon the failures, or successes, which may have attended his best efforts. Like the cause

which he advocates, be leaves bis statements to produce, without adventitious aid, their proper effect upon his hearers. He is more anxious for their profit, than for a mere gratifying expression of his own sympathy, and the relief of his own burdened feelings. He therefore leaves with them as his parting words the following digest of the Christian Religion, which for clearness, precision, and strength, well deserves quotation.

"If we imagine Christianity to be a mere set of moral precepts, a law to be observed, and a proportionate reward to be obtained at last, we virtually reestablish a law of works; by which it is expressly declared, as the very foundation of Christianity, that no flesh can be justified.' If, on the other hand, we regard it as a mere exemption from the law of works, on a supposed plea of faith; or a hope of pardon, on the condition of sincere, instead of perfect, obe dience: then we each become the judge of our own sincerity; we indulge a hope of pardon on most uncertain grounds; we may still love the sin we partially forsake, and loathe the righteousness we partially practise; and, in truth, render the Gospel of Christ the means of encouragement in a negligent and worldly practice. Against both these errors it has been my object, as I believe it to be the end of true Christianity, to guard

you.

to offer precepts of righteousness, by which they should not be directed to their original purity. The law of Christianity is, at once, a law of faith, and a law of holiness;-of faith, by remitting the merits of another, even of our Lord us, for our justification before God, to and Saviour Jesus Christ ;-and of holiness, by exhibiting to us a perfect transcript, both by precept and example, of the holiness we have lost. It does more than merely exhibit to us such a transcript. It directs us to effectual methods, by which we are enabled again to aspire after its resemblance. Weak, it offers us the means of spiritual strength; and dead as we may be represented to be in trespasses and sins, it furnishes the means of life and peace, through the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit.

"Christianity, viewed in this light, admits indeed of no reliance upon our selves, either for the attainment of pardon, or for the practice of righteousness. But yet it must be considered as leaving no ground for fear to the truly penitent and awakened sinner; whilst it offers no encouragement to those who seek the gratification of their evil inclinations. To every alarm of the humbled and awakened conscience, it replies by representing the fulness of the atoning Sacrifice for sin: but to every rising inclination to indulge sinful desires, or sinful practices, it replies, by pointing to the purity of the Divine law, and the The wilful fulness of Divine grace. sinner finds no refuge whatsoever in the code of pure Christianity. The selfdeceiver is driven from every strong hold; the careless roused from every lalling consideration; and no security is offered to any, but in a submission to the humbling and purifying doctrines of the Cross of Christ." pp. xi-xiv.

"Christianity, we must consider, is intended to furnish an adequate remedy for the existing disorder of human na'ture. That disorder consists in a departure from our original righteousness; an inclination, of our own nature, to evil; and, by consequence, an exposure to the wrath and displeasure of God. Of the general utility of the The remedy for this must be, to restore work we shall now endeavour to us by other means than our own merits, to the favour of God which we have for enable our readers to judge for feited; and, at the same time, to lead us themselves by a view of its conback to the very paths of righteousness tents, which we believe will justify which we have forsaken. Every thing our honest recommendation of it to short of this must be regarded as inap- general attention, as being no less plicable, or inadequate to our need; adapted to the instruction of the and, therefore, not as the language of public at large than to that of the true Christianity. To the guilty it were inapplicable to propound a law, by obe- persons originally addressed. dience to which they should procure their own justification before God: and to the depraved, it were also inadequate CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 244.

The plan on which Mr. Hoare has proceeded differs from that of many of his predecessors in the 2 G

same department of theology. His object is not so much to describe the basis, commencement, and growth of the Christian character, as to exhibit that character in its maturity; built indeed on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, and deriving thence all its stability and support, but called forth into the actual operations of private, social, and civil life. Mr. Walker, of Truro, when advocating the same cause in his "Christian," published in the year 1755, following the more common plan, traced the character of the true believer, from what may be termed its first beginnings, through the successive stages of conviction of sin and danger, up to faith in Christ, and reconciliation with God; and thence to the renovation of his corrupt nature by the Holy Spirit, and his advance in every Christian and virtuous attainment. dridge, in his Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, and many other authors have followed a somewhat similar plan.

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Now each of these two methods has its respective conveniences and defects. If to begin with the statement of our lost condition by nature, and to conduct the sinner through the regular stages of conviction and conversion, carry with it to the mind something more directly awakening and awful; it yet labours under the disadvantage of seeming to prescribe to all men, notwithstanding the variety in their circumstances and dispositions, the same train of thought and feeling in their return to God. On the other hand, if the picture of the Christian character, in its pre-eminent features, and with its attendant graces, be less arbitrary and systematic in itself, and less revolting to the worldly mind; if its appeal be less to our fears, and more to the imitative part of our nature, it must be allowed that it is also less forcible in its remonstrances, and less decisive in the sentence which it

In these and

pronounces upon "a world lying. in wickedness." other varieties however, in the mode of appeal, which may be found among the advocates of the same holy cause, we cannot but trace the goodness of God, who would have his religion, in this respect, accommodate itself to the almost infinitely varying cases and characters of men. In this light, indeed, we have been disposed to view the variety of representations which our Lord gives of his kingdom. In these especially, and in the whole volume of Inspiration, there is argument for the reasoning mind; persuasion for the docile; illustrations to arrest the imagination; and, for those who have a taste for the beautiful, such a picture of perfect virtue as could not fail, if the heart of man were not debased in its perceptions by sin, to delight and instruct them. Here, in short, in greater or less degrees, are reproof, correction, and establishment in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect; and that all may be left without excuse in their neglect or rejection of Divine truth.

Mr. Hoare's volume consists of eight sermons on the Christian Character; and six occasional sermons on some of the principal seasons to which the church, with each revolving year, directs the attention of her members. As the chief object of the work is the exhibition of the Christian character, we shall attach ourselves principally to the dis courses upon that subject. The topics of this series are as follow:Sermon I. The Christian Name.II. The Christian in his Closet.III. The Christian in his Family.IV. The Christian in his Church.V. VI. & VII. The Christian in the World.-VIII. The Christian in Death.

The first discourse has evidently exercised the Author's ingenuity. He states bypothetically, the three different ways by which Christians may have received the name they

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