« AnteriorContinuar »
of his way.
ting several passages of scripture saints of the most high God, whom on this subject, he observes, having spurned, ridiculed, and mocked
in the days of their humiliation, he will Do you wish to know what is in
then behold with amazement, united cluded in these fearful denunciations ? with their Lord, covered with his glory, It is not in my power completely to
and seated upon his throne. How will unfold them. All that is contained in he be astonished to see them encomthat fearfully comprehensive, but com
passed with so much majesty and load. monly abused word hell; the wrath
ed with so much nonor! How will he of God; remorse of conscience, and How will he curse his folly in treating
cast down his eyes in their presence ! eternal despair, are the chief ingredi- them with so much ridicule and forments in this cup of torment. How angry is God with such persons now, and ing such an inadequate idea of their how heavily will he inflict his wrath principles and character ! hereafter! I cannot conceive of one
And then who shall tell the secrets character, with whom Jehovah will be
of his prison, or conceive of what the so awfully severe as the scoffer ; his
scorner shall endure in the dark world is the loftiest height of vice, and his of hell! There will be no saint near will be the lowest depth of punish- him there, on whom to utter the effu. ment. God's patience in bearing with sions of his ridicule ; no piety shall such impious creatures is wonderful ;
there offend his eyes ; far as heaven is and his justice in punishing them will from hell shall these be removed out be in proportion. Oh let me be any
He has only to wait a litthing in the day of judgment, rather tle longer, till he has reached the dethan the scoffer. He will be no mock stiny on which his crime is impelling er there. No. I see him hanging down him, and he will inhabit a world, where his head like a bulrush ; the haughti- will trouble him no longer. Will he
the hated, persecuted form of piety ness of his spirit is all gone : trembling with consternation and dismay, assuage his own agonies, or divert the there he stands the object of divine companions of his misery with merry scorn and indignation. His wit, his jokes upon the saints? Not one flash irony, his mimicry, avail him nothing of wit will for a moment relieve the there. He cannot play the buffoon
darkness of eternal night ; not one salamidst the fearful solemnities of the ly of humor resist the oppression of last judgment. Oh no : the poor
etemal despair. Hell will no longer trembling creature finds it a far differ. be a subject of merriment when its torent thing to see God, than to speak of ments are really felt : the burning him. He is now at the bar of the lake, when the soul is plunged in its Judge of the whole earth, waiting his fiery billows, will be found something eternal destiny with certain and dread- else and worse than a mere scene of ful presages of what it will be. He is diversion for a wretched imagination no longer surrounded with a circle of to sport in : and devils, when the spirit applauding auditors who laugh at his is subjected to their tyranny as torwit ; he no longer hears the inspiring mentors, will be no longer regarded, as chorus of folly : no, no; he is before
the mere images of appalling recreathe tribunal of the God whom he has
tion. In the bottomless pit the scorn. insulted : : on one side he sees the men
er shall learn, if he learn not before, looking on him with horror, whose that there is truth in the bible, and reruin he accelerated by his scoffs ; and ality in religion. Yes, the recollection on the other, the holy objects on whom of those jests and those witticisms, his scorn was vented. Aye, and how those drolleries and those anecdotes, is he confounded at the latter. Every intended to make piety appear ridicuthing on that day will combine to fill lous, and the saints to appear contemphim with consternation ; yet, methinks tible, will fill him with torture a thouneither the voice of the archangel, nor
sand times more intolerable, than the the trump of God, nor the dissolution venom of serpents and the stings of of the elements, nor the face of the scorpions.-pp. 39–43. Judge himself, from which the heavens will flee away, will be so dismay
In concluding the representation ing and terrible as the sight of the above, which finishes his sermon as
· By way
far as to the application, there is a religion, or any of its opinions or most sublime and affecting accom- practices in the face either of ridmodation of the words which our icule or rage.” Another is “ The Saviour uttered in his last moments. cultivation of the disposition, and He is addressing the scorner : practice of all the duties of a holy
life." The fourth is “ Not sufBeware, thou art playing a des- fering ridicule to intrude itself into perate game; thy soul is the stake,
matters of controversy betwixt ihy loss is certain, and hell will be the Christians themselves.” The last is consequence. The objects of thy attack are open to conviction, but are in
“ A caution as to indulging the vulnerable to scorn. They have no
most distant approach to this impiprejudice which fortifies them against ous and injurious practice in our argument; but against the shafts of social intercourse, our habitual conridicule they are armed at every point, versation, and our remarks upon and calmly and silently leaving you to each other.” The last named rule exhaust your quiver of its last and he illustrates by the following apweakest arrow, will abandon your propriate and well timed remarks. harmless and imbecile weapons to publish your defeat, and then amidst the consciousness of innocence and victo
Let us cherish to the uttermost ry, content themselves with saying, that awe which warns us how we "Father, forgive them, for they know touch a holy thing. The name of not what they do.-p. 43.
God should never be uttered but with
reverence. Religion should never be Ilis application is in the old introduced but with respect. A light fashioned inanner.
and frivolous manner of speaking on improvement” he says" 1. Let
sacred subjects is very criminal; how
much more that profane practice of no man think the worse of religion, adapting the inspired language of Scripor of any of its doctrines, because ture, to the ordinary occurrences of life.
are so bold as to despise A Mahornetan never picks up by chance them."
a fragment of the koran, without “ 2. I shall lay down some means
marks of reverent respect, and yet of securing ourselves and our reli- some professing Christians employ the
words of the Holy Ghost, to season a gion against the attacks of the
jest, or give a smartness to a repartee. scorner."
If there be any truth in religion, it is - 3. If however it be impossible the most solemn thing in the world ; to ward off the attacks of scorn, and and as such let it be treated, especially to avert the scoffs of the profane, by those who profess to know its nathen bear them with unruffled meek- ture, and submit to its claims. ness."
Under the second head of the T'he discourse, as a foreign proapplication relative to the means of duction, may deserve a critical resecurity, there are several particu- mark or two ; but we cannot stop lars. As his rules are marked by long for this purpose. It is markmuch good sense, they may be ed by earnestness and sincerity, and here mentioned. One which he is bold, severe, and perhaps pointlays down is “An enlightened and ed, in reference to the sort of peoenlarged acquaintance with the ev- ple with whom the preacher was idences of the truth of revealed re- dealing. He may never have read ligion, and of those particular doc- a New England sermon ; and yet trines, duties, and practices, wisich his production differs not so much we believe it contains.” • Another from a New England sermon, that ig "The feeling of that courage and we should be greatly disinclined to decision which enable us unblush- own it. Still there is a certain ingly to avow our attachments to something—a sort of manner and
tone about it, not easily to be de- and entire equality, are connected scribed, which internally demon- with many offences on this substrates it to be the pulpit effort of ject, notwithstanding the generally a foreigner. Compared with the healthy tone of public morals and common run of sermons among us, religion. Both in private circles, it is perhaps less compact, less and in the periodicals of the day, formed and modelled by rules of much that is highly objectionable ou art, more loose, and even more this ground, is said and written. verbose ; but it excels in sprightli- There is one subject we would ness, in originality, in copiousness particularly bring into view, in reof illustration, in variety of matter. gard to which the scoffers of the We are oot certain that it does not times have vented their malice, and contain too much matter for one in regard to which they will be pesermon, or even for two. The va- culiarly apt to offend. That subject rious rules under the second infer- pertains to revivals of religion. As ence, duly explained and enforced, these have been, and are still fremight alone suffice for one sermon. quent, and are doubtless connected It is wise, so far as depth of im- with some abuses, it will be natural pression is concerned, not to in- for the enemies of piety, to make clude too much discussion, or to go this a sort of watch-word or rallying over too wide a field in a single ser- point. And already, indeed, has mon. It is wise, whatever may be the stream of sarcasm and invectire the subject, not to say too much begun to pour through the land. upon it, and to stop when it becomes The pretext of these attacks—these necessary to repeat what has been scoffs and sneers and bitter aspersaid before.
sions, is furnished by the abuses In regard to the dreadful sin, on which
grow out of revivals of reliwhich the author has so seasonably gion ; and truly none should counanimadverted, we have a few tenance so dreadful an evil. The thoughts further to suggest of our ministers of the gospel, as some have
It is perhaps needless to re- already done, should raise the warnmark, that its immediate and abund. ing voice, and guard their hearers ant source is the depravity of the against the devices of satan in corheart ; and that in its more matur- rupting revivals. It is their duty, ed stages, it evinces a hardened in and the duty of all good men and difference to religion, and a fearful citizens, to expose an abuse of so flagitiousness of principle, if not of eminent a mercy as a genuine revipractica. It is perhaps needless to val of religion. But then an occasay also, that when carried to a cer. sion is afforded on the part of enetain extreme extent, it nearly or mies, in connexion with so unhapquite ensures the damnation of py a perversion of heaven's best those who are addicted to it. As blessing, to denounce the whole committed among us, it demands system, and to calumniate its supthe serious consideration of the porters. An occasion is afforded ministers of religion. Pungently for them, we fear, to speak even and awfully should it be reproved against the blessed Being--the holy and as often as occasions render Agent, who, we believe, is employed this measure necessary. Unhappi- in producing all pure religious exly the occasions are too frequent, citement. If the friends of the and probably increasing in the land. sysiem are not sufficiently vigilant, The depravity of sinners, and our and the tendency to abuse an irregugrowing imitation of foreign practi- larity is not seasonably checked, the ces, aided by our free institutions Christian community among us, and free press, our tolerant habits will, to all human appearance be
thrown back at length, to that state lithographic sermons, are very little in of religious apathy, which preceded vogue, we trust, in this country. Nev. the era of these remarkable effu- ertheless, since an enterprizing pubsions of the Spirit upon our church- lisher has presumed the fact to be othes. We would not excite unrea- erwise, and upon the strength of this sonable alarm, but we are constrain- presumption has ventured to reprint ed to say, that Christians have per- five English octodecimos of skeletons, haps been too confident, that a glo- a desperate enterprise we hope, –and rious career--that many days of brightness were immediately before since, especially, a worthy correspondthem, without anticipating the pos
ent has looked at these skeletons and sible intervention of a very different sent us his reflections over them, we state of things--the withdrawment have concluded to give them a place of these high and heavenly influen- in our Review,-writing, however, ces. Who knows what reverses this prefatory paragraph as a sort of are necessary in order to impart to disclaimer of any imputation on the the friends of Christ deeper humili- clerical fraternity which, in the minds ty—a more impressive sense of de- of some, such a book, or such a notice pendence,--and to put to the test of it, might seem to carry with it. We the genuineness of that faith, which believe-we are sure—that these “ laso many of late have professed. If
bor-saving" volumes will meet with we are not mistaken, there are no doubtful indications of gathering
no prevalent demand in this country, hostility to the best of causes, and however welcome they may be to a that not merely under the decent certain description of clergymen in the disguises hitherto adopted, but in land of pulpit skeletons. We say direct, decided, and open attacks. labor-saving volumes, for such they If we do not miss our reluctant cal- profess to be, though the fact is doubtculations, judging from the exis- less otherwise. For a borrower of tence of certain papers in our land, thoughts is like a borrower of tools : the battle even with infidelity, is to both spend much time abroad which be fought over again, and spiritual might be much more economically, in dangers of no ordinary magnitude, the long run, as well as much more are to thicken around the church of
pleasantly and effectively occupied at God, for a time. We may say at
home.] the least, that it is the part of wisdom, to be on our guard against these foes, and to gird ourselves with general acceptance from the
This work, it
" has met manfully to the contest, should it
religious world,” and has passed through four editions in England. Its general design, as stated in the
preface to the fourth London ediHannam's Pulpit Assistant ; con- tion, “is to suggest ideas to those
laining three hundred Outlines, preachers whose situation renders or Skeletons of Sermons : chief: it impracticable for them to peruse ly extracted from various au
those works, from which a great thors. With an Essay on the part of them are extracted ; being composition of a Sermon, com- fully persuaded that if read with plete in three volumes. First prayer and meditation, they will be American from the 4th London a service to themselves and a blessEdition.
ing to others.”—It is also said they
are principally designed to promote [Pulpit assistants, and script and the usefulness of young ministers. .
We doubt noi the design of the In the first place; Composing sercompiler of these volumes was moas from other men's plans,or using good. The authors from whom he a book of Skeletons leads to indobas chiefly taken these skeletons lence. We have alreadyhinted at this. are of a high character, and the But a minister who is conscientious sentiments contained in them are in the discharge of his duties, may evangelical, many of them are be injured by this practice. Let us taken from old authors, and are look for a moment at the situation rather outlines of treatises, than of a minister, who is settled over an plans of sermons : of course they extensive congregation. He will are too prolix, and contain quité necessarily be subjected to many too many subdivisions. But we calls from strangers and from his seriously question whether they own society-visits to the sick and will not prove a detriment rather the afflicted, and parochial visits than an
“ assistance to the pulpit." will occupy no inconsiderable porMinisters like other men are dat- tion of his time. While visiting, urally indolent; as they have a he will feel, from the pleasure and weekly task to perform, they are the benefit of it, that he could prof. disposed to defer it as long as itably spend bis whole time in that possiblo. If by any unusal pross- important part of a minister's duty. ure of business, or unexpected The sabbath approaches. Two interruption, they are straitened sermons are to be prepared : befor time to prepare for the sabe fore he is aware of it, half of the bath, it is peculiarly grateful to week has elapsed. find a text and an i outline of a sufficient time, to compose two sermon” made to their hands. sermons hastily, with only enough This so much relieves their minds to write one sermon well, he befrom distressing anxiety, that they gins his task-calls, and interrupwill be extremely apt to neglect tions occur to embarrass and perevery opportunity to be furnished
plex him—he resorts to his “ Pul. for the duties of the sanctuary. pit Assistant” and gets through They will fail to pick up the little with his two sermons. Now it is scraps
of time" that lie scattered easier to visit than to study-and it through the week, and a habit of is easier to write a sermon from a procrastination, if not of indolence full skeleton than to arrange a will be formed. What has proved method and fill it out, from original very convenient under peculiar reflection. The ease and readiness circumstances, will be likely to with which we contract babits be resorted to under ordinary are proverbial. The practice of circumstances. We have very
deferring to the latter part of the serious objections against a cler- week the necessary preparation for gyman's owning such a work as the sabbath is a fruitful source of Hannam's Pulpit Assistant, or Sim- evil to ministers, who, like others, con's Skeletons, for, if he own them too often suffer themselves to behe will use them. We believe many come the sport of circumstances, a preacher has been almost ruined and who accomplish only as much by these works.-We will state as they are obliged to. These some of the evils that arise from
courses combined operate to the a use of other men's plans in com- prejudice of good habits, and inposing sermons. In our own coun- duce many good ministers to resort try preaching other men's sermons to pulpit assistants,' when they has ever been, and we trust, ever ought to be thrown upon their own will be, regarded dishonorable to resources. the clerical profession, and injuri- Secondly; The use of published ous to the interests of religion. Skeletons destroys originality, and