« AnteriorContinuar »
Art. VIII. Sermons on evangelical and practical Subjects; designed
chiefly for the use of Families. By Samuel Lowell. 8vo. pp.
396. 75. 6d. Boards. Ogle, &c. 1801. Of all the classes of publications, volumes of sermons are
perhaps multiplied with the greatest facility. Every well. educated clergyman, who disdains to be dependant on the labours of others, can furnish from his manuscript stores a selection of discourses for general perusal; and if there were a p!ucity of books explanatory of scripture, and conducive to the practice of Christian morality, we should exhort dirines to preach from the press as well as from the pulpit: but, since the public are in possession of so many excellent sermons, there can be no good reason for swelling the already enormous list, unless the new compositions possess solne prominent merit cither in the élucidation of religious subjects, or in the elegance and force of theit language. A serious, pious, and practical tendency is in general the attribute of all sermons; and when they are preached in the ordinary discharge of clerical duty, to Christian congregations, little else is necessary: but something more is requisite when they are exhibited to a fastidious public, and challenge the investigation of scrutinizing criticism,
It does not appear to us that Mr. Lowell has been sufficiently aware of the distinction here stated. With a disposition to do good, he has attempted a range too extensive for his powers. His discourses may have been acceptable as harangues, but they have not the properties which, in compositions that are to be perused, are essential to command high approbation. A tameness of method is observable, which produces repetition rather than promotes enlargement of thought: explanation is obiruded where it is not required: sentences and parts of sentences
unite aukwardly together; and sometimes, when we are pre. pared for a profound observation, we are disappointed by a dull
truism. The whole of the sermon on the Sower will illustrate the first of these remarks :--the observation that in the land of Judes, as in most other countries, there were foot roads through the corn-fields,' is an exemplification of the second :
in the subsequent sentence, the reader will perceive what we , mean by the third ; "the glorious peculiarities of the cross, can
alone convert the lion into the lamb; and while we speak of
a religious family, we contemplate a social band, who feel the r authority and rejoice in the consolations of the Gospel ;' (p.5.)
and the justice of the fourth is apparent in the following ; He who is a stranger to the wisdiin which is from above feels him. self surrounded with a thousand perplexities, which must ne. cessarily involve him in anxiety.'
With respect to the doctrine of these sermons, Mr. L. makes it essential to a religious man to believe in the depravity of nature ; though, in the very next page, he deems it unreasonable to suppose a depth of depravity which must defeat the good effect of pious instruction. In the seventh sermon, he observes that · Every theological scheme, from which the doctrine of the * Atonement is excluded, raises a supposed superstructure without a foundation, leaves a thousand interesting questions unanswered,-and abandons the serious enquirer to as many anxieties and fears. By the Atonement, the preacher means • Jesus Christ bearing the penalty of the law, in the place of his people. We do not design to combat this doctrine: but we must observe that Mr. L. should not have contented himself with merely informing his readers that the Hebrew word, Atoneînent, signifies covering. The word employed by the apostle in his text (Rom. v. 11.) mataarfynug should have been a translated Reconciliation, and bears no reference whatever to ! covering, but to "a change (as Taylor remarks) whereby a person becomes another, or different from what he was before *.”
The following paragraph, if it has any meaning, represents our Saviour as suffering less from the malice of the Jews and from the cruelty of the Romans, than from the hand of his Heavenly Father: "Perhaps it is scarcely possible to conceive of more excruciating tortures being inflicted upon the body, than those which are produced by crucifixion. But, I apprethend, they formed a comparatively inconsiderable part of that which divine wrath inflicted, when it pleased the Lord to bruise him. We transcribe this passage for Mr. Li's re-consideration. It is said that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself," - not himself unto the world.
In the sermon on the Passover, we are reminded that, among the Jews, 'the Lamb for the Passover was to be set apart four days prior to its being slain ;' and as our Lord entered the city (of Jerusalem) four days prior to his crucifixion,' we are · told that his sufferings took place in correspondence with typical intimations. We know not that the circumstance of Christ's entry into Jerusalem bears any resemblance to the shutting up or setting apart of the Pascal Lamb.-It is afterward remarked ; • The sprinkling (of the door-posts in the
* Doddridge's note on this passage may be subjoined: “ The word καταλλαγη here has so apparent a reference το καταλλαγημεν and mataarayeytes in the preceding verse, that it is surprising it should have been rendered by so different a word in our version ; especially as it is so improper to speak of our receiving an atonement.” Dr. D. translates the word, with Taylor, reconciliation.
Passover) was to be performed with a bunch of hyrsop; which i may, perhaps, be considered as an emblem of that faith, bị which the blood of sprinkling becomes the security of the soul.' Mr. Lowell should also have informed us of what the door posts were an cnblem,
The author is more happy in moral exhortation than in the province of scripture exposition. We shall adduce a short passage from the discourse on the Snares of Afluence, as no unfair nor unfavourable specimen :
- We are hereby reminded, that riches are no evidence of the divine favor. Men of opulence frequently look down upon the poor and needy with an insolent scorn, which is not only contrary to christianity, but an outrage against all the feelings of humanity. Assuming an air of importance, they sumetimes speak and act, as if the world were made for their exclusive enjoyment, and as though they were the only favourites of Heaven. It cannot, however, be doubted, but that riches are sometimes given in a way of judicial punishment. An insensible security is one of the most awful judg. ments ever inflicted in the present life, and is often occasioned by great possessions. Wealth has that stupifying influence, which blinds the minds of the wicked, and they see not the dreadful precipices by which they are surrounded. The Almighty appears to connive at their sin, but this delay will add terror to the stroke of his justice, because they hated knowlege, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord. Therefore, if riches increase, set not your heart upon them, but open your eyes to the dangers which thicken all around. Remember you have a soul-that you will shortly leave this world—and that ; in that decisive day, “ your silver and gold shall not be able to deliver you." Be watchful against those temptations, by which persons of affluence are so frequently ensnared. Guard against the demon of pride. Yield not to the ensnaring devices of an ungodly world. Suspect your own heart. Use the bounties of Providence with moderation. Let your wealth be well employed, by supplying with liberality the wants of your dependants - by contributing, in an ex. emplary manner, to the support of the cause of Christ and by opening your heart and han:l to the poor and needy. Remember that no temporal wealth can compensate for the want of spiritual riches Did you possess millions, being destitute of the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit, you would finally sink beneath the pressure of everlasting infamy. Worldly prosperity, and irreligion, are not, however, necessarily connected. If, with the distinguishing bounties of providence, God bestow the richer blessings of his grace, be sensible of your obligations. Live to his praise-- be zealous for his glory-and exert yourself for the happiness of your fellow-men. “ Deliver the poor wben they cry, and the fatherless, and him that hath none to help him. Let the blessing of him that is ready to perish come upon you ; and cause the widow's heart to sing for joy."
The volume consists of sixteen sermons, on the following subjects : Religion the source of Domestic Happiness :-Ato
tachment to Public Worship:- The Sower :-The effect pro. duced upon Agrippa by the Defence of Paul:-Repentance and Pardon:The Candour of the Bereans an example to Christians :- The Atonement:- The Sympathy of Jesus : - The Power of Conscience:- The Character of Jacob:The Passover :- The Penitent Malefactor :-The Snares of Affueñice :-Resignation :-The Triumph of Piety over Adversity :- A Dissuasive from Procrastination.
If we cannot compliment Mr. Lowell on having greatly im. proved the eloquence of the pulpit, we may congratulate him on the am.ple encouragement which he appears to have received; and, from the ardour of his friends, we conclude that he is both a popular preacher and an amiable man.
Art. IX. Synoptic Tables of Chemistry, intended to serve as a
Summary of the Lectures delivered on that Science, in the public
1 measure be regarded as the Synopsis of the System of Chemical Knowlege, since published by the same author, and also translated by Mr. Nicholson ; and an account of which, we shall at a future time present to our readers. The plan of arrangement, which M. Fourcroy has here adopted, was formed in consequence of the obviously defective method hitherto followed by the gererality of chemists ; according to which, the different substances have been classed under the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. Although this might be a convenient and proper mode, as far as Natural History is alone concerned, it is by no means adapted to the purposes of chemistry, which requires a classification founded on the chemical properties rather than on the external characters of Natural Bodies.
- This original notion, (s3vs M. Fourcroy,) according to which I at first divided bodies chemically into eight classes, led me to a second which is not less important in the progress of the science, because it is singularly favourable to its study. 1 inferred that having, in
this great outline, followed the order of composition, to establish the · first distinctions between these natural bodies; and having classed
them from the greatest simplicity to the utmost complication in their : composition, I might, in each of the eight classes thus presented to · view, adopt as the basis of ulterior distinctions to be established bie. "tween them, chemical properties, which, while they removed every • arbitrary process in their respective disposition, should be, at the
same time, calculated to present an accurate series of their relations . and habitudes, with a connected line of characters calculated to give
a clear notion of their history. From this labour it has resulted, after a great number of trials and various attempts, that the chemical attractions mutually exerted by bodies may be employed as characters for their relative arrangement; and by this disposition alone, or the order thus introduced, they may serve to trace, in a manner no less exact than precise, the whole of their chemical pro. perties.'
Table 1, contains general matters concerning the science ; such as an exposition of the order of arrangement, with a view of the means, history, and divisions of chemistry, as well as the principles of its application to medicine.
In Table 2, we find the first class of simple or undecomposed substances; some being arranged according to their mass and abundance, as light, caloric, oxygen, and azote : while the others follow the order of their attraction for oxygen, viz. hydrogen, carbon, sulphur, diamond, and the metals. 2dly, these bodies, when combined with oxygen, or in the state of oxides and acids, are afterward arranged according to their attraction for the above substance, and according to the diffi. culty which attends the decomposition of them.
Table 3, like the former, comprehends two different objects; the first of which is an exposition of the salifiable bases, namely the earths and alkalis ; the former being arranged in proportion as their earthy characters gradually become alkaline, and the latter being placed according to their comparative strength, beginning with those which are considered as the most powerful. Barytes and strontites, although hitherto called earths, are classed with the alkalis, in consequence of their marked alkaline properties, and of the great force of at. traction which they exert.-In 'the 2d division of this third Fable, as well as in Tables 4 and 5, the salts properly so called are considered. This part, the author thinks, very evidently demonstrates the superior advantages of his new mode of classification; for the salts (of which there are now known upwards of one hundred species, though, thirty years since, not more than twenty could be enumerated,) are arranged in such a manner, that the division of them into genera and species, their classification, and their respective disposition, include the whole of their most useful properties: which disposition, being united with their methodical nomenclature, presents a view of the principal part of their chemical history.
Tables 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, comprehend the metals. In table 6, the general metallic properties are stated; and in the four others, we find the twenty-one metallic substances successively arranged, beginning with the acidifiable metals, and ending with those of difficult oxidation, viz. silver, gold, and platina. Rev. MARCH, 1802.'
- M. Four