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vernors of a free people, and not the haughty airs of a French tyrant, insulting his slaves, that attach and inflame the hearts of mankind. The history of this illustrious christian queen is not written in blood, and therefore it is always read with tears of grateful joy.
Her royal highness was so well satisfied of Mr. Saurin's merit, that soon after her arrival in England she ordered Dr. Boulter, who was preceptor to Prince Frederick, the father of his present majesty, to write to Saurin, to draw up a treatise on the education of princes. Saurin immediately obeyed the order, and prefixed a dedication to the young princes. The book was never printed: but as it obtained the approbation of the Princess of Wales, who was an incomparable judge, we may conclude that it was excellent in its kind. This was followed by a handsome present from the princess to the author.
His most considerable work was intitled, Discourses, historical, critical and moral, on the most memorable events of the old and new testament. This work was undertaken by the desire of a Dutch merchant, who expended an immense sum in the engraving of a multitude of copper-plates, which adorn the work. It consists of six folio volumes. Mr. Saurin died before the third was finished: but Mr. Roques finished the third, and added a fourth on the old testament; and Mr. de Beausobre subjoined two on the new testament. The whole is replete with very extensive learning, and well worth the careful perusal of students in divinity. The first of these was translated into English by Chamberlayne, soon after its publication in French.
Our author's dissertation on the expedience of sometimes disguising the truth, raised a furious clamor against him. He does not decide the
question but he seems to take the affirmative. This produced a paper war, and his antagonists unjustly censured his morals. The mildness of his disposition rendered him a desirable opponent, for though he was sure to conquer, yet he subdued his adversary so handsomely, that the captive was the better for his defeat. But others did not controvert with so much temper. Some wrote against him, others for him. At length the synod decided the dispute in his favor.
He published a small, but valuable piece on the state of christianity in France. It treats of many important points of religion, in controversy between catholics and protestants. There is also a small catechism of his publishing, which I think worth the attention of such as educate children in the first principles of religion.
There are twelve volumes of his sermons. Some are dedicated to his Majesty George II. and the king was pleased to allow him a handsome pension. Some to her Majesty Queen Caroline, while she was Princess of Wales. One to Count Wassanaer, a Dutch nobleman. Two were dedicated to her Majesty, after his decease, by his son. Professor Dumont, and Mr. Husson, to whom Mr. Saurin left his manuscripts, published the rest, and one volume is dedicated to the Countess Dowager of Albemarle. The English seem therefore to have a right to the labors of this great man.
Mr. Saurin died at the Hague on Dec. 30th, 1730, aged 52, most sincerely regretted by all his acquaintances, as well as by his church, who lost in him a truly primitive christian minister, who spent his life in watching over his flock, as one who knew he must give an account.
In regard to this translation, it was first undertaken by the desire of a small circle of private
friends, for our mutual edification. If I have suffered my private opinion to be prevailed over by others to print this translation, it is not because I think myself able to give language to Saurin; but because I humbly hope that the sentiments of the author may be conveyed to the reader by it. His sentiments, I think, are, in general, those of the holy scripture, and his manner of treating them well adapted to impress them on the heart. I have endeavored not to disguise his meaning, though I have not been able to adopt his style, for which defect, though I print them by private subscription, for the use of my friends, on whose candor I depend, yet I do not offer to publish them to the world for the language of Mr. Saurin. I should have been glad to have pleased every subscriber, by inserting those sermons, which were most agreeable to him, had I known which they were: but as this was impossible, I have followed my own judgment, or perhaps exposed my want of it. The first volume aims to secure the doctrine of a God, against the attacks of atheists. In the second we mean to plead for the holy scriptures against deists. In the third, we intend to take those sermons, which treat of the doctrines of christianity, as we humbly conceive that the new testament is something more than a system of moral philosophy. And the last volume we dedicate to moral subjects, because, we think christianity a holy religion, productive of moral obedience in all its true disciples. To this edition a fifth volume is added on miscellaneous subjects. May the God of all grace bless the reading of them to the weakening of the dominion of sin, and to the advancement of the kingdom of our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ !
The Perfection of Christian Knowledge.
Heb. v. 12, 13, 14.—vi. 1, 2, 3.
For when for the time you ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of age have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION,not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do if God permit.
HAVE put two subjects together which are
this discourse. The last part of the text is a consequence of the first. In the first, St. Paul reproves some christians for their little knowledge; in the last, he exhorts them to encrease it: and the connection of both will appear, if you attend to the subject under his consideration. The epistle to the Hebrews, which may be considered as the apostle's principal work, treats of the most difficult points of divinity and morality. In particular, this is the idea that must be formed of Melchisedec's priest
hood, as a prefiguration of Jesus Christ's. This mysterious subject the Apostle had begun to discuss, but he had not proceeded far in it before he found himself at a stand, by recollecting the character of those to whom he was writing. He describes them, in the text, as men who were grown old in the profession of christianity indeed, but who knew nothing more of it than its first principles; and he endeavors to animate them with the laudable ambition of penetrating the noblest parts of that excellent system of religion, which Jesus Christ had published, and which his apostles had explained in all its beauty, and in all its extent.
This general notion of St. Paul's design, in the words of my text, is the best comment on his meaning, and the best explication we can give, of his
By the first principles of the oracles of God, to which the Hebrews confined themselves, the apostle means the rudiments of that science of which God is the object; that is, christian divinity and morality; and these rudiments are here also called the principles of Christ*, that is, the first principles of that doctrine which Jesus Christ taught. These are compared to milk, which is given to children incapable of digesting strong meat; and they are opposed to the profound knowledge of those who have been habituated by long exercise to study and meditation, or, as the apostle expresseth it, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
In this class St. Paul places, first, repentance from dead works, and faith towards God. These were the first truths, which the heralds of the gospel
* της αρχής του χρισου λόγος.