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with the soundness of his remarks. • Wbat was it," said I to my young The Sunday evening was subse- friends, “which led you to think quently passed (as all Sunday even- the sermon of yesterday so uninteings should be) in pursuits of a re- resting? The vicar is a good man: ligious nature, including useful and he takes pains to instruct the poor, interesting conversation. Some of and to educate their children : tell the party read books of a Scriptural me, if you can, without reserve (for tendency. If any thing striking there can be no prejudice in your occurred, we ventured for a few minds, and, if there be, it is in favour moments to break the thread of our of the preacher), why the sermon next neighbour's subject, by a ques- failed to edify you ?" The answer tion upon our own point of divinity. given was to the following effect :Having been to the house of God * We have, sir, as you well know, as friends, we continued to take the highest possible respect for our sweet counsel together; and at minister, and can have no doubt of length, after closing the day with his wish to benefit his hearers. But prayer, we betook ourselves to re- there is a sort of common-place po. pose.
verty in his preaching--a dearth of When left to myself, I reviewed, Scripture fact, and of Scripture auas is my general custom, the cir- thority—a want of materiet,' which cumstances of the past day; and creates a feeling in our minds that, could not but reflect upon the nice though he believes every word he line of distinction which separates says himself, he does not know how fair, candid, criticism, from that to persuade other men to believe. rash judgment of others which too • He that winneth souls is wise.' often disgraces the Christian cha. Now there is, in some preachers racter. My old friend was right, whom we have heard, an affectionate said I to myself, in checking the regard,--an earnest power of perhasty outpouring of opinion in these suasion,-a deep solemnity of reyoung persons; and yet it is profit. proof, which prove that the subject able to make observations upon what of each sermon has been well consiwe hear and read, provided those dered, carefully digested, and earobservations be made with humility nestly prayed over in private, before and in an affectionate spirit. How it is presented to the hearer. Our can we improve our own style, or vicar appears to offer to God that remedy our own defects, if we do which has cost him nothing." In not critically examine the writings short, my young friends seemed to of our contemporaries, and pass a consider that the best polished weafair judgment upon the doctrinal pons are generally the sharpest ;and practical matter of our modern that even the plainest truths may preachers ? For my own part, had be presented in an attractive, as well I children, I should certainly en- as an unattractive, form ;--that, in courage a careful perusal of the best preaching the Gospel, there are, so divines; and I should especially urge to speak, conductors and non-conevery young man intended for the ductors ;—that the shepherd leads ministry, not to rest satisfied until his sheep into green pastures; they he has diligently studied every thing know his voice; he goeth before which can tend to the formation of them, and they follow him;-and, in a good style of composition. His a word, that a cold delivery of comsermons will then be more likely to mon-place matter does not seem to be delivered in an impressive manner, touch the heart. Upon these sen. and with a weight of proper authority, timents of my young friends, I suited to a preacher of the Gospel would make a few practical obserof Christ. The next morning, at vations. breakfast, I resolved to revive the St. Paul himself said to the Cosubject of our previous conversation lossians, « Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy rather than the waters of the great might." Of all men living, the deep. Whether some of our mopreacher of the Gospel has the most dern authors are like the schoolneed of energy. He is to write and boy, who hurries over his exercise to preach for eternity. The greater that he may get the sooner to play; the extent and importance of the or whether our reviews, magazines, subject under review, the more di- and periodical publications, to say ligent and pains-taking should that nothing of our newspapers and even man be, who is called upon to pre- our current literature, do not lead the sent it to others. It is, in fact, the rising generation to dip the wing savour of life unto life, or of death and skim the surface of a variety of unto death ;” and who is sufficient topics, rather than to become thofor these things ?
roughly acquainted with any one In the present day, a day remark- subject, I shall leave to others to able for the wide diffusion of mis- decide. In some of our old books cellaneous knowledge, there cer- of divinity, we have a frontispiece tainly is not generally to be found with this device: Three figures are that depth of penetration, and that represented; the first sitting in a acuteness of thought, which are con- chair, the second leaning upon a spicuous in the works of many of our spear, and the third walking with a old scholars and divines. I am not spade in bis hand. Over these emabout to undervalue many very blematical figures are the words ; able preachers, and useful sermon- “ Disco, milito, operor.” The Chris. writers. “ In a great house there tian may learn a useful sugg estion are not only vessels of gold, and of from these bis elder brethren. silver, but also of wood and of As in the works of nature, whether earth.” But every man who handles in the garden or in the field, there a sacred subject should wish, ac- is abundant employment for every cording to the ability which God day, so it is in the cultivation of hath given him, to be “a vessel the mind. Youth is a season, and unto honour, sanctified and meet a most delightful season, for laying for the Master's use, and prepared up stores of valuable knowledge. unto every good work." I can see,
But if you idle away the spring, you with heartfelt pleasure, the love of lose your summer and your autumn learning spreading widely in our two crops. A young man who wastes universities. I have no doubt that his time, or misemploys it, rarely there is a larger proportion of well- ever can regain his lost opportunities. informed men, to a certain extent, In after-life, he becomes perhaps a in these kingdoms than there was preacher of the word of God. But two centuries ago. But in those how can he build without materials ? days what were the men? There The able divine should be well read were giants in those days upon the in history as well as in theology. He earth. As our modern soldier, with should be master of the events which his matchless bravery, could not passed when Hooker wrote his Polity stand under the suit of armour worn and Burnet his Histories. And I by John of Gaunt, or of Edward firmly believe, that if many of the sethe Black Prince, so neither shall we ceders from the Church of England And the intellect to compose, nor
had been morethoroughly acquainted the pen to write, the sermons of with the history of their own country, Barrow, of Taylor, of Hall, or of and of that church from which they Beveridge.
went out, but for whose doctrine Io the present day, we are a race and discipline martyrs shed their of spioners rather than of miners, blood, they would have acted a very and we for the most part spin our different part. At least they would thread too finely. Our books re- have hesitated before they ventured semble the flow of a partial irrigation, to set up their own opinions, in op
position to the dying judgment of borated; let many of our modern Cranmer, Latimer, Hooker, and publications have a little more pains Ridley. I am willing to think, that bestowed upon them; and they will had they been taught in a better make a more lasting impression upschool, they would rather have done on the mind. There are but few as the people did in the days of authors, indeed, who, with Dr. JohnEzra and Nehemiah ; they would son, could write a paper on procrasall have brought something useful tination, whilst the printer's meswherewith to build up the temple. senger stood waiting at the door. “ This is that church,” says the We do not indeed expect such writer of the preface to Clarendon's sermons as those of Isaac Barrow, History of the Rebellion (speaking with every argument supported and of the Church of England), « which corroborated by marginal quotadesires to have her doctrines under- tions in Greek and Latin. Nor stood as well as obeyed; and which shall we find a second Beveridge, depends upon the infallibility of to render his texts in the Syriac Scripture for her guide, but never and Chaldee. To these heights we could be drawn to allow it to any do not aspire. But still, we should mortal men, whether in a single avoid that weak, flimsy, unsupported person or a greater number.” dictatorial style, which obtains with
The ministers of such a church some, and those popular, preachers should be men of piety and learning. of the present day. It is too bold How is it with men embarked in a step to offer just such divinity as other professions? What would is sometimes produced before polite become of the fanciful or the idle congregations in the metropolis. If lawyer ; of the man who should op- these sermons were to be subjected pose his own opinion to facts and to a sort of spiritual excise, and were precedents; or should put his own to be guaged and measured by the gloss upon established Acts of Par- standard of Divine truth, I appreliament? If such persons were suf- hend that the strength of the comfered to have weight, life, and pro- modity would add but little to the perty, and reputation would be at revenues of sacred literature. a tremendous risk. At the English As ministers of the Gospel, we bar the best informed man, and the have solid foundation to build most eloquent man, will have the upon.
Let us not raise the supermost practice.
structure with “hay and stubble,” We might easily apply these ob- but with “gold, silver, and precious servations to the divine. Ever re- stones; for every man's work shall membering that he must not rest be made manifest.” If we live in satisfied merely with human learn- an age of new inventions in every ing, he must humbly seek that wis- art and science, still let us rememdom which cometh from God only. ber that there is nothing new in “Paul may plant and Apollos may Christianity. The man who can water, but God only can give the best copy the old masters will be increase.” Diligence in the work the most useful. Let us follow the of the ministry will go hand in hand Apostles and Evangelists, as they with the influence of the Holy Spirit followed Christ. it is allowed on of God. This influence will prevent all hands, that “the old music, the and follow us, and make us con- old colouring, the old drapery, and tinually to be given to such things the old gold,” are more valuable as are pleasing to God. The work- than the new; and that, because man will not be ashamed, because there is more strength, and vitality, he will find himself a worker toge- and richness, and durability to be ther with God.
found in them. It is thus with diLet the sermons of our best vinity. Let the style be modernized, preachers be more carefully ela- but not too much softened to catch
the ear; lest the whole effect of the mated them, a portion of their decomposition be enfeebled and ren- votional power into our modern dered nugatory. Let a little of the writers and preachers; and we shall vivacity of the French school, in its then have more workmen who “need best days, be added to our own old not to be ashamed, rightly dividing English sterling worth. Let the the word of truth.” We shall have tenderness of the Royal Prophet, in here and there an Apollos, and a his penitential Psalms, be blended Boanerges, with many a son of with the more rigorous declarations consolation. We shall have more of judgment in the Prophecies of good old-fashioned theology issuing Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Let St. Paul, from the press, and more Scriptural and St. Peter, and St. John infuse, doctrine from the pulpit.
R. P. B. by the aid of that Spirit which ani
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The History of the Church of Christ, the more useful since it takes the particularly in its Lutheran mind off from controversy and mere Branch, from the Diet of Augs. argument, and directs it to the unburg, A. D. 1530, to the Death of answerable test of experience. It Luther, A. D. 1546; intended as teaches by facts; it brings before a Continuation of the Church His- us the noble army of martyrs and tory, brought down to the Com- reformers, not in the miserable dismencement of that Period, by the guise with which a corrupt theology Rev. Joseph Milner, M.A. Vicar invests them, but in their own native of Holy Trinity, Hull, and the simplicity, speaking their own sentiVery Rev. Isaac Milner, D.D. ments in their own language, and F. R. S. Dean of Carlisle. By confessing the pure doctrines of the John Scott, M. A. Vicar of Gospel of Christ, at the risk of every North Ferriby, and Minister of thing dear to them, before an apoSt. Mary's, Hull, &c. London: state world. Such a history cannot Seeley. 1826.
but convince a candid reader that
the whole fabric of the Reformation Tuis is, in many respects, a very was reared on the doctrines of the important volume. It is well writ- fall of man and the entire corrupten; and the subject is full of in- tion of his nature; and of his recovery struction, and could scarcely have by the one meritorious sacrifice of been brought before the notice of the death of Christ, and by the sancthe public at a more seasonable țifying operations of the Holy Ghost period. Inquiries after the real -doctrines which it has been our doctrines of the Reformation are endeavour to vindicate in this misnow eagerly made; a revival of cellany, during more than a quarter primitive Christianity is rapidly ad- of a century. At the same time, advancing, especially in our own the volume before us exhibits the church; and all eyes are intent on truly Christian moderation which the effects of this revival, in the distinguished the chief reformers, purifying of the general body of and which led them, while contendnominal Christians, and in the mul- ing for great and acknowledged tiplication of means for the conver- truths, to avoid doubtful and less sion of the world. At such a junc- important matters, to guard jealously ture, a work like the present deserves against enthusiasm and excess, and a peculiar share of regard; and it is to unite discretion and meekness with an undaunted boldness in the cessful continuation of the Milners' cause of Christ. We consider, Church History, and which, in comtherefore, a simple narrative, like mon fairness, should be considered that of our author, to be more likely by those who take up the present to advance the interests of vital volume. Christianity amongst us, in its mighty The continuation of a great liteprinciples and stupendous revelation rary work is often much more arof mercy, and to guard these inter- duous than the original enterprise. ests from the intermixtures of human The plan of another is to be adopted; folly, than a thousand volumes of the freedom of choice, the delight controversy
of discovery, the parental feeling The present publication, we have towards one's own project, are all before stated, is happily timed; wanting; and with them much of and of its wide circulation we can that warmth and naturalness of entertain no doubt. The preceding sentiment and manner on which the volumes by the venerable Milners success of a difficult historical work have long been, not only in almost so greatly depends. every considerable library, but To come to the case before us, among the few select volumes of the subject treated of in the present the theological student and private volume cannot, upon the whole, be Christian; and in proportion to the considered so interesting as that length of time which has elapsed which occupied the preceding vosince the appearance of the last lumes. The novelty is gone byvolume (seventeen years), and the Luther is already known and appreacknowledged difficulty of finding ciated — the most intensely moany competent pen to continue the mentous part of the struggle is history, is likely to be the favour over—his character is developed, with which the important produc- examined, vindicated, admired, betion before us will be received and loved. The volumes comprising welcomed.
the history of the infant Reforma. It will be our purpose, in the fol- tion came upon the public as with lowing pages, after a few prelimi- electrical force.
Little comparanary observations, to furnish such tively had been known in this specimens of the work as may con- country of the elevated character vey to our readers a just impression and various excellencies of the great of that portion of the history of the Saxon reformer; Hume, and RoReformation which it embraces. bertson, and Mosheim, having misWe shall then advert to the man- taken, or misrepresented, or conner in which Mr. Scott has per- cealed the most vital parts of the formed his task; and, lastly, pro
narrative. But the Milners seized ceed to such practical deductions, his true image--they delineated with regard to the duty of Chris- him with affectionate minuteness. tians in the present day, as may They gave his portrait faithfully naturally flow from the whole sub- and exquisitely. Now, no continuaject. Our readers must forgive us tion can revive this first interest, or if we are drawn into some length carry on the story with any thing on such an occasion, notwithstand- like the same charm of originality. ing that we have lately given con- Besides, the period embraced in siderable attention to some works the volume before us sinks a little, on kindred subjects, particularly and must sink, from that high tone Soames's History of the Reforma- of purely spiritual and evangelical tion in our own country.
matter which marked the annals of Our preliminary remarks will the first infancy of the Reformation. merely be designed to remind our The thirteen years recorded by readers of some of the difficulties the Milners almost exhausted the which lay in the way of a suc- private annals of Luther, and left