Imágenes de páginas

lime and abstruse principles of the re- gion, where sin and sorrow, strife and ligion he came to establish, was a secon- discord shall never euter. And much dary object; to propagate a benevolent more useful and glorious would I deep spirit, and mend the human heart, was it to atter even one clumsy sentence in evidently the first. If Jesus Christ was support of that vital object, than be the any thing, he was eminently the preacher author of all the musty folios the groauof morality. The entire of that truly ing shelves of polemic divinity ever divino discourse which he delivered on bore." pp. 136, 137. : the mount, went exclusively to that - “Our first father, though boru with. end: there was nothing in it of a specu- out original sin, could not resist the lative nature; nothing that was not im- example of the first crime; we are imi. mediately designed to soften and purify tative creatures, more exactly poised in the conduct, in every relation of life. pur inclination to good and evil, than is

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they imagined by those who judge more se shall be called the children of God. verely of human nature. It is the weight,

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall the preponderance of example on one obtain mercy.' Blessed the meek, the side or the other, that invariably deterpoor in spirit, pure of heart; blessed mines the first bent of onr lives ; it is all who hunger and thirst after righte- impossible, at certain years, to resist the ousness. It is the simple, but fervent power of repeated impressions." p. 300. eulogy of every relative virtue, and every bond of blissful intercourse be- These representations - contain tween men.” pp. 130, 131.

much that is true, and much that “I know nothing essential to the be- is of the last importance:: but it lief of a Christian bnt this, belief in the will hardly be denied, that they are being, "attributes, goverument, trinity and unity, of God; that he is the author open 10 exception. At the best, of all nature, and fountain of all our they may be charged witla epnsider blessings; that his providence is uni able looseness and want of preciversal as the light; that we are responsion;, the expressions are broad sible creatures, destined for a state of and somewhat coarse ; and the felicity or misery everlasting; that sketch of essential doctrines in the righteousness of course is indispensible second extract exbibits little study to our salvation; that the Holy Spirit either of uice completeness, oresassists our infirmity; that Jesus Christ is act order, or correct perspective. our Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate and it may be said, indeed, on the other Judge; and that under the title of his infinite merits we are all pursuing the side, that the passages were not same destination and felicity,

intended as formal expositions of Every other point is, compaya- the preacher's creed, but were cur. tively, frivolous and indifferent, and sorily struck out by the casual de which-ever we embrace or reject, ac smands of his discourse, with much cording to the result of our inqniry and mare aim at immediate effect than judgment, can neither add to or dimi- at systematic accuracy. Yet, serenish our right to the game of a Chris ly, it becomes the minister of rian, or any way affect our pretensions Christianity to be always accurate :

Happy had it been for this small, bis miniatures should be as perfect but charming portion of the earth, had as his largest works: his most cacare been early taken, to direct the at- sual statements of essential doctrine tention of a natnrally open, generous, should evince a practiced vicety of and warm-hearted race, as the people of hapd; in other words, a formed this country have been justly and em habit of viewing lis subject corphatically called, not to the miserable preheusively, and a ready sensitivejealousy of matters that are the discovery of man, but to the great social du mess to the force and meaning of ties of that system, which is the revela,


149 W tion of God. non potraw.When Dean Kirwap describes 44a

-"A good and benevolent life is the belief in the sublime and abstruse sam and substance of it, and the only principles of religion" as "a seconright preparation we can make for a dary object, and appears to conhappy entrance into that blessed re- sider.the... propagation of a bene.


volent spirit," and the "mending by the way, it has mostly contrived of the human heart," as something to do for near six thousand years. entirely independent of such a be. How severely, then, must those have lief; when be places the preaching judged of human nature who proof inorality in a sort of opposition nounced the heart of man to be to the preaching of doctrines, or " deceitful above all things, and what be terms things of a specula- desperately wicked!" We now find tive nature; and when be founds that, instead of being desperately such representations on what seems wicked, it is only desperately imi, to us a very narrow view of the tative; and that, far from having Sermon on the Mount;-be uses been shapen in iniquity, we were language and reasoning perfectly shapen in neutrality, Can this consonant with many modern eminent mau really have held septi: creeds, according to which“ modes ments thus unscriptural? We carof faith" are points of very trivial not but believe that he has overmoment. We are a little old- stated his meaning. We are per. fashioned, however, on the subject, fectly aware that the doctrine of and must beg leave to deem that a human corruption, like all other very doubtful theology which re- . doctrines, is liable to abuse, and presents belief to be the same thing that it ought to be stated with with speculation, and teaches men judgment and with due accompanithat the love of their neighbour is ments. It must not be stated in a the first and great commandment. dry, technical, scholastic manner, The truthi we suspect to be, that separate from other co-relative inattention, or a babit of writing truths, and in disconnection from

with more regard to strength than its great practical ends. It must justness, betrayed the preacher not be stated in such a form as to on this occasion into expressions exclude the idea of a moral sense,

from which he would have care- or to destroy that of moral responfully abstained, had hé perceived sibility. But surely, where it is

their full effect. Many parts of delivered in scriptural or other bis serwons, 'aod particularly an tantamount terms, with scriptural i admirable passage cited in a former simplicity, in connection with the page, distinctly sbew, that he had general system of scriptural: doca stroug feeling for the peculiar trine, and in subservience to that doctrines of Christianity, and a practical application which Scrip. decided dislike to the practice of ture ever holds prominently in converting the pulpit into a mere view,-it is not only safe, --it is of

ehair of ethical instruction, or, to the higbest utility. It is indeed imitate his own language, of de- indispensible; for on what other grading the temple of Jesus Christ system shall provision be made for

into the portico of philosophy. the peculiarities of the Christian 1. We know not whether ihe same character, and especially for that -apology can be made for liis opi- humility which is the low and sunk

nions on the subject of human cor foundation of every virtue? To say ruprion, opinions which seem to be the truth, the difficulties inputed stated rather deliberately. Men, to the doctrine will be found to be tells us, are imitative crea resolve themselves into the old tures," more exactly poised in their puzzle of liberty and necessityisa moral inclinations than is imagined question which has provedsuth

by persons “ who judge more ciently tormenting to philosophers, severely of human nature They but by which no man, not an inSare born, we presume, pretty near- eurable metaphysician, was ever Jy neatral, and continue in that perplexed in practice for a single state till example sways them to moment. good or to evil; the latter of wbich, We will not 'dwell particularly.

[ocr errors]

on any other parts of the passages tions of the intense evil, the essen. we have quoted. Perhaps we have tial depravity," the exceeding siabeen too minute already; for the fulness," of sin; in a living recolpassages were clearly not intended lection of the great love wherewith to be rigorously correct; clearly our Master and only Saviour, Jesus not made ready against a severe Christ, hath loved us; an intimate scrutiny; and this, indeed, is the persuasion of the value of his atone. best objection, not to them, but to ment and intercession; and an en, the book. We mean, that the con. tire renunciation of all dependence sideration of evident loose writing on our own merits as entitling us and want of care, 'which perhaps to the Divine favour;- in a pro. entitles these detached portions to found and humiliating sense of the individual immunity, forms a good corruption and deceitfulness of our ground of blame as to the volume own hearts, and a filial reliaoce on in general. For then it comes to the aid of the Holy Spirit to quiekthis, that we have here convincing en our moral perception and purify expositions of the shortness of our our dark affections, to infuse into probationary term on earth, of the us all holy desires, succour us in all nearness of a state of awful retribu- holy exercises, and fortify us in all tion, of the obligation to a godly, Christian virtue. righteous, and sober life, and of Surely, when we have obtained the daty of denying ourselves that the assistance of all these feelings we may be enabled to give to him and considerations in the practice that needeth; while, at the same of our duty, all will be little enougli

, time, only rapid, imperfect, and in the vicissitudes of temptation occasional notices are given of the and hindrance to which we are exother truths with which the pages posed, and in the great scenes of of inspiration are filled.

trial from which we canoot escape, To such a system of instruction in all time of our tribulation, in it may be objected, that it makes all time of our wealth, in the hour no adequate provision of motives of death, and in the day of judgand inducements for the achievement,---we shall not find ourselves 'ment of the arduous course of duty too well provided. No animating - which it recommends. The con- motive, no sacred lesson, no high viction wbich it inculcates of the and holy institution, can be spared vanity of worldly pursuits and the in thoroughly instructing the man urgent importance of religion, will of God to good works. No legitiscarcely produce its due effect, un- mate weapon will prove superfluous Jess it is combined with comprehen- in the mighty warfare that is set sive views of the general scheme of before us ; a warfare, in which the Revelation. The foundations of the authority of an Apostle has told us Christian character can be laid only that we should iake unto us the in a deep sense of the ruined con- whole armour of God, and tbat we dition of mankind in a present shall do well if, having done all, we impression of the unspeakable per- stand. fections of the Supreme Nature, of A representation of the strict that purity in comparison of which and self-denying nature of Chrislight is darkness, and that wisdomian practice, unaccompanied by before which abgelic intelligence a full view of the motives which are - becomes folly --in awful views of to form the basis of that practice, the extent and obligation of the has this evil effect; even where it daw. and commandinent of God; succeeds in producing impression, that law wbieh is perfect, convert that it tends to form a Christianity ing the sout; that conimandment at once imperfect and gloomy. which is pure, enlightening the Owing to such partial instruction, eyes; --in painfully strong convic- bow many excelleqt men have suf

fered both in their virtue and their from affirming, that his own views, happiness! Awake to the piercing respecting some points only curcall of religion, while they but im- sorily and imperfectly touched in perfectly knew its nature, they these discourses, were not strong : have bela on a joyless and sombrous indeed, we feel a humble trust that course," as if under the impulse of they were ; and it is even possible a terrible necessity. Their prac- that he might not himself be aware tice has been impaired by defect of of their strength. If we have preknowledge and poverty of motive, sumed to say that his creed, as he and they have then been driven states it, was not thoroughly acnearly to distraction by a sense of cording to the model of Scripture, the deficiency. How difficult have we have not therefore done the such persons found the yoke which less justice to his earnestness, sinis easy; how overwhelming the cerity, and zeal. And, although burden which is light! In what Scripture no where encourages men agonizing bosoms have they worn to acquiesce in imperfect doctrine, the pearl of great price ! To what yet it is a grave and momentous despairing hearts liave they clasped truth, that, where the fundamenthe hope full of immortality! The tals are right, however mixed with Gospel of Peace, with all its va- some less perfect materials, the riety of privileges, with its pro- " earnest beed” of the workman mises for this life and its preliba- may, through the Divine blessing, tions of the life to come, has been raise a superstructure incomparably to them a forbidden paradise. They more solid than many that are have looked on it as St. Jolin looked erected on a more faultless basis on the book of the seven seals in with less diligence. the Revelations, when he could · Hitherto we have observed on find no man to open it, and so deep the doctrinal effect of these serwas bis distress, that, even in iin- mons, considered in their general mediate contemplation of the bea- character of religious discourses. tific vision, and within hearing of We have yet a remark to offer on the new song, the beloved disciple them, with regard to their peculiar “ wept much.” But we are told nature, as religious exhortations to that the seals were unloosed by the labours of charity. Sermons in Lamb that was slain ; and the dark- general, indeed, are in this sense ness of a servile and ascetic faith is like charity sermons, and charity to be removed only by distinct sermons are, in this sense, like views of the blessings of redemp- them, that, in substance, all should tion, and of the ineffable character equally begin with faith and end of Him who effected it,- of Him, with charity. Yet many topics equally merciful and majestic. may be found that are more immeWhere, indeed, can we take refuge diately connected with works of from that abyss of majesty, but in beneficence, and of which addresses that mystery of mercy; or whither delivered for the promotion of such shall we fly from the terrors of works may peculiarly be expected the Lord,” but to “ the consola- to take notice. Of this number is tion in Christ ?"

one which, to our surprise, we do Yet the terrors of the Lord per- not find treated by Dean Kirwan. suade men; and it may be hoped He no where urges the mercy disthat, in many instances, the ear- played in the redemption of the nest and affecting exhortations of world, as an argument for the rulDean Kirwan may have produced tivation of mutual goodwill and a the happiest effects on his bearers, mereiful spirit among om kind. In by inspiring tbem with a salutary one or two' instances there occurs alarm, and leading them to serious what might be thought an ineulental consideration, We are also far. glance at the pointyment distant implication of it; but, certainly, it ed, forgiving one another, even as no where stands out in perceptible God for Christ's sake hath forgiven and strong relief.

you." It would be easy to multiThis omission is surely matter of ply examples of a more or less regret. Stricily speaking, the topic direct use of the urgument; parti. referred to may be regarded as the cularly with reference to that imcapital principle of all charity, and portant branch of charity, the fortherefore ought perbaps to be the giveness of injuries. On that subprominent object in all charity ser. ject, the parable of the two sermons. Those who will not allow it vants in St. Matthew's Gospel, is this distinction, cannot at least deny probably the finest and most strikits value and importance as one ing piece of instructiou ever deliground of persuasion among others, vered. and as inferior in power and effect These authorities sufficiently to none that is conceivable. We establish the value of the argument; kaow not, indeed, any persuasive nor can it be necessary to examine equally powerful. It seems to us in what its force consists --why he that the preacher of benevolence that is alive to a sense of the Divine draws his keenest weapon from his bounty as displayed in the mystery armoury when he beseeches re- ef redemption, should therefore be deemed man by the mercies of a the more bountiful to his fellow redeeming God.

ereatures; or what connection, ne. The Scriptures supply several cessary or natural, subsists between instances of this mode of appeal. the receiving of benefits from on « This is my commandment, that high and the dispensing of benefits on ye love one another, as I have earth. Yet it might not be difficult loved you: Greater love hath no to shew that this effect, peculiar mau than this, that a man lay as it is, bears some analogy to the down his life for his friends.”- genuine operations of the human • Herein is love, not that we loved wiod in other cases. On those God, but that be loved us, and whose hearts are not greatly desent his Son to be the propitiation praved or hardened, the usual effect for our sins : Beloved, if God so of a deliverance even from worldly loved us, we ought also to love one calamity is, we believe, rarber to another."-" Hereby perceive we call forth the kind and generous the love of God, because he laid affections. Joy loves to see itself down his life for us; and we ought reflected and multiplied; the agreeto lay down our lives for the bre- able sensations are mostly of a social thren: but whoso hath this world's nature : the mind, plaeed at ease good, and seeth his brother have with respect to itself, has leisure to need, and shutteth up his bowels extend abroad that tenderness of of compassion from him, hoir feeling which it has learned in its dwelleth the love of God in him?" own adversity. Although long

L“ See that ye abound in this prosperity, therefore, too often grace also (the contributiou to the shuts up and steels the bosom, unnecessities of the saints); for ye expected prosperity after misfor know the grace of our Lord Jesus tune, at least where it has not been Christ, that, though he was rich, obtained by guilty means, has a yet for your sakes he became poor, contrary tendency. And, if this is that ye through his poverty might the purely natural effect of the rebe rich.” - “ Walk in love, as moval of evils merely earthly, shall Christ also hath loved us, and he who contemplates the deliver bath given himself for us, an offer- ance of the human race, by a miracle ing and a sacrifice to God, for a of mercy, from utter condemnation; sweet-smelling savour."_" Be ye feel no expansion of heart towards kind one to another, tender-leart- bis brethren, no outflow of affection,

« AnteriorContinuar »