« AnteriorContinuar »
A WRITER under the signature cannot be presented to the reader of V, in the Spectator for Februa- than the following, which is taken ry and March, seems to think that from the Dictionary of Steplen Walker's Dictionary is good au- Jones, of London, author of the thority for pronunciation, but not New Biographical Dictionary, the for orthography. On this subject History of Poland, &c. This genthere is error or deception in pub- tleman published a Dictionary a few lic opinion, more extensively mis- years after Walker's appeared, evi. chievous to the language and liter- dently with a view to correct his erature of this country, than any that rors. A gentleinan who lias comhas prevailed within the memory of pared the two works by numbering man. I have therefore thought it a the dillerences of notation, and duty to seek for correct informa- what are considered errors, in a tion on the subject, and to lay it be great number of pages, and tahing fore the public. From three gen- the average as the basis of the estlemen of education, who have vis- timate, finds that Jones considers ited England, within three years es errors and rejects about seren past, and who have been particular thousand of Walker's notations of in their inquiries and observations, vowels in four classes of words onreiative to a standard of pronuncia- ly; and the whole number includtion, I have obtained the following ing unaccented vowels, not reduci. intorination.
ble to any class, amounts probably Some gentlemen in England to ten thousand. In most of these when asked whether Walker is instances of correction, Jones' notheir standard, have replied in the tation accords with the general armative, but they acknowledge usage of respectable men in Eng. they do not follow him in some part land, and gives almost precisely the of his notation. Other gentlemen pronunciation in which the children when asked the question, have ex. of this country have been instructpressly denied that Walker is their ed ever since the revolution. standard—and others speak of Wal. This statement may be relied on ker's Dictionary with pointed dis- as substantially correct. approbation. All gentlemen agree, From these facts it appears, that that the only standard of propuncia- if Walker's scheme of pronunciation tion generally admitted, is the was correct when first published, usage of respectable people, which forty years ago, which it probably is to be learned in good society. was not, yet it does not now exhiAll the American gentlemen I have bit the usage of the respectable conversed with on the subject, say part of the English nation; and the that Walker's pronunciation differs use of it in this country is certainly in many points, from the usage. corrupting the pronunciation to an Even Sheridan's chu or tshu, in such immense extent. That scheme words as nature, virtue, is now con- carried to its full extent would be a sidered as vulgar: elegant speakers greater inroad upon the genuine pu. having frittered it away, or soften- rity of our language than any which ed it down to natyur, virtyu-and a has taken place since the Norman large proportion of the stage cant in conquest. It would not only cor. Walker's notation is wholly neg- rupt the language by multiplying its lected.
anomalies, already frightfully nuPerhaps a better view of the facts merous, but would introduce a most
inconvenient and mischievous dif- liable the people of this country are ference between the language of to be imposed on by foreign writers, this country and of England. reviewers, and booksellers. I have only to add, that these
FRANKLIN. facts show most prominently how
PRESIDENT EDWARDS ON REVIVALS. and force for which his writings are
distinguished. Memorable was the THERE is a fashion in the read- occasion of this treatise. The reing, as in the other pursuits of men. vival had been in progress about Books are sought because they are eight years, and was now prevalent read; or are neglected because in every considerable section of they have ceased to be the subjects New England. It had been preceof familiar reference and remark. ded by a general and long continuThus it often happens that new and ed declension, and having commeninferior productions are bought off ced, it soon became rapid, powerby dozens to gratify a curious pub. ful, and extensive, beyond example lic, while the better treatises of a in this or almost any country. From former day, on the same subjects, lie the influence of both these causes unthought of upon the shelf. The the minds of men were not, in genmines which our fathers wrought eral, prepared duly to estimate it. are abandoned, not because they In some, it excited only wonder, have been exhausted, nor because doubt, and opposition ; while the richer ones have been opened, but zeal of others was mingled with only because the multitude are not ignorance, pride, censoriousness, seen as formerly thronging about wild extravagance, and a self-willed them. This, it is apprehended, is spirit of separatism. Not only men beginning to be the fact, in regard of sceptical views and dissolute hato some of the best treatises of our bits, but respected ministers of the immortal Edwards, and particularly gospel, and revered civil magishis “ Thoughts on the Revival in trates were arrayed on the side of New-England.” In these “times the opposition ; and opposition, of refreshing," it is no doubt a served only to embitter the zeal, primary duty of the church and par- and confirm the errors of the misticularly of her ministers to be in- guided, among its advocates. It timately acquainted with the truth was in these circumstances, that of God on a subject so unutterably President Edwards appeared beimportant, and concerning which, fore the public in the work which as all acknowledge, errors abound. has been named. The occasion Various are the publications of the demanded all the wisdom, piety day, which have this for their ob- and experience, for which he was ject; and many of them are useful; even then renowned ; and is enbut I have found scarcely a valua- riched with them all. The occable thought in them all which is not sion is past; but the “Thoughts contained in the treatise of Presi- which it produced remain ; and, dent Edwards, and which is not though too little known, they must here elucidated with the precision survive while the history of revivals
shall be traced. Especially perti- effects on the bodily frame of some nent as they were to the day in of the subjects, or by a comparison which they were written, they are of other circumstances of the work, yet in general applicable to scenes with those which history or obserof revival now, and are even more vation had connected with fanati. interesting on account of their re- cism ;or, more generally, they ference to a state of things then neglected to distinguish the good existing, than they could be in a from the bad, and rejected the work form of more abstract discussion on account of things which were
The work is divided into five merely accidental to it. In such parts :-errors in judging of the re- errors of a former day, it is not difvival-obligations on all to ac- ficult to trace the thoughts of many knowledge and promote it-par- who discredit the revivals of the ticulars in which the subjects and present time. The last especially, promoters of it have been injuri- I apprehend, is unhappily common ously blamed-what things should not only among avowed unbeliebe corrected or avoided in promo- vers, but also among serious hearting it--and what should be done ers of the gospel. They have witto promote it. It is not my design nessed the scenes of revival-they to give a more particular analysis have found the goodness of many of the work. To those who own like the morning cloud soon vanit, this would be needless, and to ishing away—they have observed others, it would be unsatisfying.- the fervor of accredited professors My wish is to recal it to the atten- of religion gradually declining into tion of Christians—and particular- spiritual indifference and worldly ly to recommend it to the careful pe- conformity ;--they have every year rusal of Christian ministers. There found new evidence of self-delusion are, however, a few particulars,con- which originated in a state of prev. cerning which, it may not be imper- alent religious excitement; and in tinent to permit it to speak directly, view of these results, the desire for through the medium of these pages, a recurrence of such an exciteto readers who have not the work at ment, if it struggle for a doubtful hand.
existence in their bosoms, has no 1. President Edwards insisted practical energy there. Would that the Scriptures be made the such persons candidly consider the standard in judging of revivals. unquestionable “ fruits of right- . Some erred, in forming their judg- eousness,” which remain; would ment a priori, without reference to they distinguish the good from the the Scriptures as their rule; and bad ; would they compare the charbecause the effects which they saw, acter of churches blessed with reor the manner in which those ef- vivals at this day, with the mingled fects appeared to be produced, or features of the church as drawn in the instruments and means em- the scriptures, under the first outployed, did not accord with their pouring of the Spirit, instead of bepreconceived opinions, they con ing "shut up in unbelief," they demned the work as a false pre- might be found " waiting for the tence, or a fanatical delusion.- promise of the Father.” Pertinent They set up a “rational scheme" to such persons is the appeal of of religion as their standard, and President Edwards, when, having so found nothing “ sober and solid” described the change in the moral in the revival ; -"nothing but flash aspect of New-England, he says, and noise,” “transports of zeal and flights of passion ;''-or their “Is it not strange that in a Christjudgment was decided merely by the ian, orthodox country, and such a land
of light as this is, there should be ma- because, in our view, it has been ny at a loss whose work this is, wheth- attended with indiscretions-while er the work of God, or the work of the it would also render us cautious, in Devil? Is it not a shame to New-Eng
circumstances of strong excitement, land, that such a work should be much doubted of here? Need we look over
lest our indiscretions should hinder the histories of all past times, to see if or dishonour what we believe to be there be not some circumstances and God's work. external appearances that attend this work, that have been formerly found “It surely cannot be wondered at, among enthusiasis ? Whether the by considerate persons,” says our auSlontanists had not great transports of thor, “that at a time when multitudes joy, and whether the French Protes- all over the land have their affections tants had not agitations of body? greatly moved, numbers should run inBlessed be God, he does not put us to to many errors and mistakes with re. the toil of such enquiries. We need spect to their duty, and cons quently not say, who shall ascend into heaven, into many acts and practices that are to bring us down something whereby imprudent and irregular. I question to judge of this work. Nor does God whether there is a man in New-Eugsend us beyond the seas, nor into past land, of the strongest reason and greatages, to obtain a rule that shall deter- est learning, but what would be put to mine and satisfy us. But we have a it, to keep master of himself, thorrule near at hand, a sacred book, that oughly to weigh his words and considGod himself has put into our hands, er all the consequences of his behav. with clear and infallible marks, suffi- iour, so as to conduct himself in all recient to resolve us, in things of this na- spects prudently, if he were so strongly ture; which book, I think, we must re- impressed with divine and eternal ject, not only in some particular passa- things, and his affections so exceedges, but in the substance of it, if we ingly moved, as has been frequent of reject such a work as has now been de- late among the common people. How scribed, as not being the work of God. little do they consider human nature, The whole tenor of the gospel proves who look upon it so insuperable a it; all the notion of religion, that the stumbling block, when such multitudes Scripture gives us, confirms it.” of all kind of capacities, natural temIt was the hope of President Ed
Le pers, education, customs, and manners
of life, are so greatly and variously afwards, that the revival in his day, fected, that imprudencies and irreguwas only the commencement of a larities of conduct should abound ; esnew and permanently happy state pecially in a state of things so uncomof the church; and that the eviden- mon, and when the degree, extent; ces of human weakness which then swiftness, and power of the operation, appeared, were designed, in the
are so very extraordinary, and so new
that there has not been time and expewisdom of God, as needful and sal.
rience enough to give birth to rules for utary admonitions to his servants, people's conduct, and so unusual, in in the continuance and progress of times past, that the writings of divines his work. This hope is found to do not afford rules to direct us in such have been not entirely vain. The a state of things.” irregularities of that day have undoubtedly served to promote the 2. President Edwards urged the wise conduct and happy results of importance of a clear elucidation revivals since-yet probably human and a bold and pungent application weakness can never be entirely of evangelical doctrine in revivals separated from God's most gracious of religion. There is a growing operations. Were this duly con- apprehension, in some of the ensidered, it would render us slow to lightened friends of evangelical rediscredit the genuineness of a revi. ligion, that there is a defect of solid val, or the piety of those who have instruction in some of the revivals instrumentally promoted it, merely of the present day. The doctrina? VoL, I.-No. VI.
preaching under which revivals has been the germ, the essence, the twenty years ago were so happily pervading principle, of their sin, reconducted, and by which they have mains in full strength to urge them l'esulted in substantial fruit, it is onward, when the first transports of said, is now scarcely to be endured. false affection are over, in a course Something more heart-stirring is of more decent, perhaps, but more demanded. How extensively there dangerous, because less suspected, is cause for this complaint I am by apostasy from God. When sinners no means competent to decide. — are born again, it is “ with the word That there may be a religious ex- of truth.” IIoly feeling is never citement prevalent among a peo- an unaccountable effect without the ple, without a distinct and deep mind's perceiving an adequate obimpression in their minds, of those ject. Its foundation is enlightened doctrines which are most essen- principle. Not only the general tial to the system of evangelical character, but the particular shape truth cannot be doubted. Let their and form, in every feature and line attention be frequently summoned of God's image is received from the to glowing descriptions of a state of impression of God's word. It is religious excitement in their vicin- the letter of recommendation, writity ; let them be made to regard ten by the Spirit of the living God, this as the most important of bles- and by the instrumentality of the sings ; let strong appeals be made messengers of his truth, upon the to their hopes and fears concerning fleshly table of the heart. Whether their experience of it; when indi- the truth be ministered clearly, viduals receive the impression let powerfully, and in its native symevery advantage be taken of human metry and connexion, or partially, sympathies to extend the feeling ; feebly, and incoherently, such will when the alarm is spread let the be “the image and superscription;" conditions of acceptance with God or if the mass be only melted and be announced in the most general agitated with no impression of truth, and undefined terms, and be urged but only of sectarian prejudices, by every motive that can be brought airy visions, or doctrines of men in to bear upon the selfishness of the hostility to the government of God, heart, and at the same time let such also will be the character of those truths concerning the charac- the man. ter and government of God, and the There is, however, a kind of nature of evangelical obedience to preaching called doctrinal, which which the selfishness of the heart is though evangelical truth be the repugnant, be kept out of sight or subject, is little calculated to pro. slightly considered, and it is natural mote a revival. It is clear, and to suppose that, if some are truly correct, and learned ; but it wants converted, the greater part, though application, and warmth, and life. excited, interested, and in some re- If philosophical speculation ; or spects changed, are yet not renew- curious disquisition; or elaborate ed in knowledge after the image of discussion of acknowleged truths ; God. Their fears have been awa- or mere discussion of any kind, be kened; their consciences have been meant by doctrinal preaching, there burdened ; a peaceful transition at is no congregation in a season of the knowledge of a compassionate spiritual revival that would welDeliverer has been felt; a flow of come it. Both their consciences gratitude and joy has succeeded, and their condition at such a time and a hope of salvation has been most solemnly demand that the conceived, while that same selfish- preaching be plain, pungent and ness which, from the dawn of life, affectionate-that the doctrines of