« AnteriorContinuar »
veral works already adverted to; ly city,' or breathed the air of the a style lively, impressive, and dis- mondt' of God; or had been enthrontinguished by many beauties, but ed amidst the powers and principalities with a mixture of epigrammatic of heaven; or bad held deep converse point more usual in works of with those happy spirits whom death fancy than in discourses from the the light of the Divine presence; or
hath snatched away ; or had rejoiced in pulpit. A single example of what had snrveyed the glorified body of the we mean may be given in the fol. Redeemer seated on the Throne of his lowing sentence.
Father and dispensing the blessings of “ Crown a man to-day, and he may the everlasting covenant, the crowns of be a corpse to-morrow. The flowers on pure gold, and the jewels of the sancour brows at one moment, may be scat. tuary ;-conld you turn from all this, tered over our tomb at another." p. 409. and go back with the same zest to the
follies and vices of life? Could you There is also something of the again satisfy yourself with the lean cesame preference of point to pere removial of a worldly life, with society spicuity, in the following remark, withont love, with liabits of intercourse which, being one of the heads of a which go nigh to exclude God from his discourse, demanded that perspi-, own world, which crucify his Son cuity should be particularly studied. afresh, which do despite to the Spi“ A second cause of indecision is the
rit of Grace,' which magnify this mo.
ment of existence into ages, and reduce too high or too low regard for the authority of hunian teachers.” p. 10.
eternity to a shadow ? Could you aban
don heaven, and all its glories, for the We will only cite one more in- doubtful pleasures and certain miseries stance, in which an important sen- of a worldly life? Would you not ex. timent is inculcated in a manner claim, if solicited to make this world perhaps somewhat 100 poetical. your main pursuit, • This is not our “ There sleeps in many a grave, by
home-we have here no abiding citywhich you pass coldly or dejectedly, maker is God. Then, my Christian
we seek the city whose builder and a brother spirit
, who, when all merely brethren, let your life, and spirit, and worldly friendships are forgotten, or remembered only as the alliances of de. such is the present conviction and reso.
conversation prove to the world that lusion and ruin, shall rise to claim you lution of yonr mind. For these things at the bar of God as a friend of his bo. som, as his glad associate and partner the midst of the splendid assembly
are as sure as though you bad stood in through the ages of eternity.” p. 387.
which the text presents to yoll.
А We have inadvertently stumbled single day may pat you in possession of at the threshold, on these slight these joys for ever.” pp. 394—396. criticisms; but, on the whole, the volume, as compared with the au
The subjects of the Sermons (it thor's lighter productions, is mark- has been already stated) are mised by an increasing gravity and cellaneous. They are evidently sesimplicity of manner and language ; lected with a view to practical efsuited to the greater solemnity of fect, and exhibit an able and pleasthe occasion, and to the serious ing pattern of that reciprocal deoccupation of one who is striving, pendance between doctrine and preas he himself expresses it, 19 mi- cept which appears in Scripture, nister to the wants of a suffering and the inculcation of which is the world. We are happy, in this view, only method of instruction calcu. in presenting to our readers a
Jated at once to arouse a sinner, very powerful and solemn appeal, and yet to cheer bim, if he desires grounded on Heb. xii. 22-24. to repent and to turn to God, by the
merciful promises of the Gospel. Suppose yourselves already introduced into the august assembly we have sider it a defect in this volume,
Some readers may perhaps conbeen contemplating to day. Could you, if you had seen its glories, if you had trod that few of the more prominent den the golden streets of the heaven. doctrines of the Gospel are parti
cularly and formally discussed and of its reasonings, the power of its laps explained ; a defect, if it be such, gnage, and the splendour of its ima. which the promise of a second vo
gery." p. 43. lume excites the hope of seeing
• Once more : such an individual may speedily supplied. One important play the contents of the Sacred Volume
proceed clearly and strikingly to disdoctrine indeed is discussed at to others. p. 44. Jengib; and we are tempted to ex- • But I come now, secondly, to ina tract the beads under which it is quire what is that knowledge and use treated, as conveying a luminous of Scripture of which the Holy Ghost and instructive epitome of the must be considered as the exclusive whole subject.
“ In the first place, it is by the Holy “ We are to consider what pro. Spirit we are led to make a personal gress may be made in the study and application of the holy Scripture to use of Scripture without the special in our own case. The individuals whom Anences of the Holy Spirit.
we have been hitherto contemplating, * 1. In the first place, then, it is obvious may become, as we have seen, in a that, without such special influence of measure acquainted with the contents the Spirit of God, it is possible to ar. of the Scriptures. But, then, they five at a bare belief in the trath of know them rather for others than them, Scripture. It has been affirmed, by one selves. The truths of that Gospel, which of the most distinguish judicial cha. is the power of God uoto salvation in racters of tbis country, that the evi: them that believe,' instead of entering dence for the truth of the Gospel was their minds, lie uselessly on the surface, stronger to his niiná than that for any Nothing but the power of the Holy fact ever bronght for judgment into a Spirit can carry the holy seed to its pros court of justice. But if this be true, no per destination in the soul, Paul may special iufluepce 'can be pecessary to plant, Apollos may waier, but God. enable us to perceive the strength of giveth the increase.' Nothing can be this evidence. Men of keen faculties more appalling than the deadness of the por other pursuits, do not forfeit them on conscience, till the Spirit of the Lord approaching the word of God. And, thus quicken it into sensibility and accordingly, the mere truth of Scrip- life-nothing more delightful than its ture has been admitted by thousands tenderness when tbis change is wroughte whose lives bave sufficiently indicated Then it is, that, with the jailor, the man tle absence of all spiritual ipduence on thius visited of God exclaims, What their hearts. "Believest thou the pro- must I do to be saved ? Then it is, that, phets ?" said Paul to Agrippa ; and be with the disciples, be asks, ' Is it si adds, I know that thou believest,' al. Am I the guilty man described in the though the babits of Agrippa at the mo. Gospel, and for wboin the Great Shepment plainly proclaimed tbe absence of herd lived and died? Then it is, that, all sanctifyiog inflacnce on the mind. however iudifferent before, he exclaims And, in liko manoer, it is said, avev of with Job; when admitted to personal those miserable spirits who are fartliest intercourse with God, I have heard of removed from all spiritual influence, thee by the hearing of the ear; but that they believe, and tremble.' now mine eye seeth thee, and I abhor
“ 2. Again : it is possible for an indi- myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' vidual, without the special influence of "2. It is the Spirit of God alone who the Holy Spirit, to become acquainted endears the promises of Scripture to the with the contents of the Sacred Vo. beart." pp. 47, 48. lume.—The saine faculties which enable " In the third place : It is the Holy bim to collect tbe contents of any other Spirit alone who brings the word of book, do not forsake him in the exami. God effectually to bear upon the temper pation of this.” pp. 42, 43.
and conduct. It is possible, as we have In the third place, it is possible, stated, without any special influence of without the special influence of the the Holy Spirit, to admit the truth of Holy Spirit, to feel the highest admira. Scripture. But without His aid, we cantion for parts of the Sacred Volume.- not obey the Scripture. It is the lan. The examiner of Scripture, especially guage of God himself, “I will put my if a man of fine taste, may be charmed Spirit within thee, and cause thee to with its literary beauties, with the force obey my statntes.'• Walk iu the Spirit,
pp. 49, 50.
and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the tion of any principle whatever. Indivi. fesh.' Man, till brought under this new duals notorious for the absence of piely dominion, is always represented as a and for an addiction to gross immorali: captive of Satan—the world as bis pri- ties, have been thus gifted. Whole nason-and his lusts and appetites as the tions have been discovered, remarkable ebains of his terrible bondage. But it at once for the absence of religion and is said, ' where the Spirit of the Lord is, the gentleness of their demeanour.” pp. there is liberty. As soon as this new 59, 60. influence is felt on the soul, our chains “ In the third place, great benevo: begin to drop from us, Like the Apostle, lence or kindness may exist in the inind in the dungeon, we find that some pow. without the sanctifying influence of the erful band is at work for our deliver, Holy Spirit. In some cases, it will at ance, Some augry temper is gradually once be admitted that this feeling of quieted, some lust is quenched, some kindness and tenderness is merely inpassion is bridled, Our powers are stinctive, and therefore independent of gradually enlarged; uutil at length, all principle; as, for example, in the loosened from the bands which held us
case of a parent to a child. In other so long and so disgracefully, ve' walk cases, it is little more than enlarged abroad in all the glorious liberty of the self-love-a love of others for our own children of God.'
sake. And this is certain, that it is “ With a reference to the influence of frequently found in minds wholly des. the Holy Spirit on the character and titute of the love of God and of our graconduct," (p. 41.)
cious Redeemer.” p. 61. “ It is intended to examine,
“ In the fourth place, a man may be “I, What useful or attractive quali, the ardent lover of bis, country, or of lies a man may possess by nature. the publie good, without the sanctify
“ II. What are the qualities which the influence of the Holy Spirit.-I name Spirit of God alove can impart to him.” this quality on account of the high value
“ In the first place, then, he may, attached to it in society. But surely without the special inflaence of the Holy nothing can be more obvious than that Spirit be au honest man.-He may wish a man may thus live for the glory of his to rob no man of his earthly rights. He country; may sacrifice his life on the may scorn and detest a lie. He may, altar of her liberties ; may, at the foot if poor, refuse to eke out his scanty pite of the throne, gloriously assert the riglıts tance by depredation upon the proper of the people against a tyrant, or disty of others. He may, if a tradesman, charge the less popular, and therefore hold false weights, and measures, and more difficult, duty of maintaining the the thousand shifts and evasions too rights of a sovereign against a deluded common in the traffic of the world, in and murmuring people ;-he may do all utter abborrence He may thus act this, and yet be without genuine reli. and feel, and yet be a stranger to the gion.” pp. 62, 63. sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, “ In the fifth place, a man way posFor be inay possess all these qualities in sess much merely formal religion, with. common with the heathen who never
out the sauctifying' influences of the beard of the true God; or with the mub Holy Spirit.-Many of the Jews, for intitudes who, baviug heard of Him, nego stance, thns sacrificed the substance of lect or despise Him. He may have all religion to its mere forms, the spirito these qualities without the smallest to the letter. The profligate Herod sense of his own sinfulness, and of bis even heard John gladly,' and was wil. need of a Saviour : or the slightest value ling to do many things, although not for the word of God, for his eburch, bis to make the great sacrifice which God Sabbath, or his sacraments-without af. required. And such characters are by fering a single supplication for mercy, or no means rare in society. Sometimes a single tribute of praise and gratitude their religion is purely mechanical; the to the God and Saviour of a guilty result of early custom, or exainple, or world.
accident. Sometimes it is nothing bet“ In the next place, a man may be ter than the homage of hypocrisy to the mild and gentle iu his temper, without world around them. Sometimes, espethe sanctifying influence of the Holy cially what may be called public and Spirit. Nothing indeed can be more congregational religion, is mere sympaobvious, than that such a temper may thy with the feelings and affections of prevail in the mau, without the opera, others, attachment to a particular mi
nister, the love of excitement, the taste “ In bringing these observations to a for eloquence, or fine reasoning, or pro- close ... let me guard you against any found speculation.” pp. 63, 64.
such abuse of the subject we have been “ We are to consider, secondly, for considering, as to conceive that because what qualities we must be indebted to certain moral or benevolent dispositions the Spirit of God alone.
and practices are not necessarily the “ In the first place, those very quali- fruits of the Spirit ; therefore a man ties which may exist independently of under the influence of the Holy Spirit the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of may want these qualities.--Consider, God will, without it, be defective in my Christian brethren, amongst a multheir motive and character.
titude of other passages, the language “ Take, for example, one of the most of the text; the fruit of the Spirit is valuable of those qualities we have in all goodness, and righteousness, and already named, as sometimes discover truth.' Wherever, therefore, the Holy ing itself in the character of a mere Ghost is in possession of the heart, as man of the world; I mean benevolence, infallibly as the effect will follow the or a disposition of kindness to others.
cause, will these dispositions, and tbe To what does it amount in the bosom acts which flow from them, display of such an individual? It has no right themselves in the temper and life." principle, no pare motive, no fixed rule, p. 72. no adequate object. It is liable to bend “ In the last place, let me add, that to interest, to be wearied by use or the proper use of the preceding obserdisappointment, and to be warped or vations is evidently this, to set your extingnished by passion. It regards selves to the task of earnest and devout the bodies but neglects the souls of our supplication to God for the sanctifying suffering fellow-creatures. It supplies influence of his Spirit on your own soals, sonte of their wants, but is little occu- and that of all in whom you are inter. pied with the cure of those moral evils ested." p. 73. which are the grand source of their
But though, except in the ex. misery. It labours perhaps to nourish the perishing tenement of clay, in which ample just quoted, there is in the immortal spirit dwells, and blindly this publication little formal disleaves that very spirit under the infu- cussion of specific doctrines, the ence of that ignorance and those unsanc- reader will find every distinguishtified lusts and passions which sbut men ing truth of the Gospel recognized ont from the kingdom of God, and pre- in its place, and generally stated pare them for the society of the devil with ability, precision, and effect. and his angels." pp. 65, 66.
What the author regards as the “ But, secondly, some qualities can peculiar doctrines of Christianity, have no existence in the mind except are enumerated by him in one senby the saving influence of the Holy Spirit.”-“ There exists not, in the soul
tence, unvisited by the Holy Spirit, any really
“ The records of eternal truth, as far spiritual and beavenly affections, any as the grand fundamentals of religion desire to turn to God—the God of holi- are concerned,--for example, the being ness and pnrity; to seek after Him who of a God, the Divinity and Atonement is the Father, the Governor, the Saviour, of Christ, the sacred infoence of the the Sanctifier, the Judge of the worki. Holy Spirit, the fall of man by his own It is the exclusive office of the Holy misconduct, bis justification by faith in Spirit first to kindle these desires in Christ, bis conversiou by the Holy the soul; and, when kindled, to lead us Ghost, the absolute necessity of good on to a course of action corresponding works and amiable tempers,-leave no with them. Without this sacred influ. room for rational doubt or disputation." ence, we have neither the will nor the pp. 364, 365. power to turn to God, and to yield onr- But some of these truths are ocselves to bis service. In the language casionally introduced with greater of our church,' we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable
prominence. Witness the correct to God, without the grace of God, by delineation of human corruption, Christ, preventing us, that we may
which follows. have a good will, and working with us “ As to the qualities of benevolence, when we bave that good will.'” p. 68. or justice, or gratitude, of which the
relics are still discernible in the mind : entrance of the collection. One in what small quantities do they gene. of the subjects discussed in it, rally exist even in the most favoured which might perhaps be advanvatnres! and in how many, not at all! tageously spared with a view to And then, as to spiritual qualities, how the general effect, is a question, absolutely extinct are they in the unconverted mind! Where do we find in parenthetically agitated, concern
the natural man' the faith, the zealing the possibility of coming 10 a the self-devotion, the holy obedience decision in maiters of religion. which we owe to a God and Saviour? Of the causes that are very justAnd should not the want of these qua- ly assigned for the unhappy inlities, and the display of their opposites decision which so generally pretowards the Father and Saviour of the vails, the following is perhaps a world, be deemed the strongest evi- more natural, and therefore a more dences of corruption? Would you not luminous order, than that which the admit a man to be corrupt who, though auibor has adopted. First, neglect he bad many pleasant and attractive qualities, was guilty of the crime of of the holy Scriptures ; secondly, the blackest ingratitude and rebellion neglect of prayer ; thirdly, atagainst a kind and tender Father? And tachment to the principles and is not be therefore to be considered as babits of the world; fourthly, depraved, be his powers of pleasing blind deference to the judgment and attraction what they may, wlio in- of our contemporaries; fifthly dissults or even neglects the tender Father regard of the examples and authoriof the universe, and the bleeding Saviour
ty of those who have gone before of a guilty world?" pp. 265, 266.
us. Of these causes, the first three The following is a rapid sketch will probably be found universally of that defective theology which, applicable, wherever there is an inwe trust, is gradually giving way decision, while the remaining two to a sounder view of Christian are incidental and subsidiary, and truth.
prevail more or less according to
ine difference of character, dispo“ In many cases, even the great fun sition, or temperanient of mind. damental priuciples of the Gospel,—the
Five of the sermons are on as fall and corruption of human nature, the Divinity and atonement of Christ, the many of the 'apocalyptic epistles. agency of the Holy Spirit, justification They contain very powerful and by faith in the Redeemer, the conver. impressive statements, but are not siou and renewal of the heart by a
intended to rewove the difficulties Divive influence, salvation by the free with which the sacred text is there and unmerited grace of God, a complete charged. Indeed, allıhe author's adsurrender of our will, taste, and affec. dresses are uniformly selected, not tions to the holy law of God,- -are called with a critical but with a spiritual in question, and a lean and spiritless and practical view. They evidently morality put in their place?" p. 103.
speak the beart and mind of the There are also statements in this writer, and are testimonies, doubt. 'volume, addressed very forcibly to less, not only of his own convictions, the consciences of ihose unde- but of his personal experience, especided Christians who now abound cially under those trials which often in society. The first sermon in overwhelm the spirit of a worldly the series is addressed to persons man, while the true Christian takes of this character; and though we comfort and rises under their presare doubtful whether the author sure, encouraging bimself in the may not have overlooked some of Lord his God. the topics that are the best cal- The miscellaneous character of culated to correct the evil which is this volume prevents our attemptthere so ably exposed, we yet re- ing to give an analysis of its con. gard it as a highly useful discourse, tents; and the general sobriely and and judiciously placed at the very scriptural complexion of its state