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tians were more conversant with blishment much benefit would, unthe evidences of their holy reli- doubtedly, accrue, were her memgion; always ready to give an bers more awake to the advantages answer to every man, that asketh arising from her form of governthem a reason of the hope that is ment, and, better acquainted with in them, with meekness and fear; the arguments on which their duty then, every scribe instructed unto to maintain communion with her the kingdom of heaven, would be rests; if her children would go like unto a man that is a house- round about that Zion, tell the tow. holder, which bringeth forth, out 'ers thereof, mark well her palaces, of his treasures, things new and and consider how the place of her old, wherewith to put to silence tent might be enlarged, her cords the ignorance of foolish men. To lengthened, and her stakes made the national ecclesiastical esta- strong.
REFLECTIONS AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.
ARRIV'D at the close of the year,
In mercy I'm spared thus far;
What blessings are for me in store.
And with them my cup does o'erflow;
And mercy attends where I go.
Deserving damnation and woe,
is all that I know.
Confiding in weakness alone;
Yea mercy around me hath shone.
Temptations assailed me sore:
And mercy the conflict hath bore.
And left in the desart to stray ;
And mercy directeth my way.
What blessings are in it contained!
Its fountain can never be drain'd.
Through years that may yet be to come;
And peacefully guide, me quite home.
I'll join with the chorus above;
And I shall be perfect in love.
For mercy hath taught me all this ;
And mercy will bring me to bliss.
REVIEW OF BOOKS, For the Oracles of God, Four Ora- which our author has assumed will
tions. For Judgment to Come, not allow us to pass over his work an Argument, in nine Parts, in silence, lest we should for one By the Rev. Edward Irving, moment be supposed to counteM. A. Minister of the Cale- nance that alteration in the style donian Church, Hatton Garden. of public preaching, which he is
Hamilton. Pp. xii. and 548. avowedly endeavouring to effect. Sermons, by the late Rcv. William Many of our readers may not Richardson. Vol. II.--viii. and be aware, that Mr. Irving first
peared in public in this metropolis Sermons, chiefly designed for the about two years since; and, after
Use of Families. By John labouring in comparative silence Fawcett, A. M. Third Edition. and obscurity, publishing a farewell 2 Vols.
address to his former people, which We have seldom felt more his friends concealed as much as strongly the difficulties of our si possible, and speaking at the annituation, than while contemplating versaries of one or two religious chaa review of the volume of Mr. rities, in a way not very highly to Irving. Not that it is at all dif- advance his credit, he all at once, ficult to form a tolerably fair esti- at the commencement of the premate of the intrinsic merits of the sent year, burst forth with unusual work; which may, at once, be splendour; and attracted a degree pronounced to contain great ex- of attention and popularity, which, cellencies and great defects; not when the rank and character of his that it requires any great penetra- hearers are taken into the account, tion to determine the character of its has not, perhaps, been equalled author, who, manifestly, appears for the last half century. This nato possess great ardour of mind, turally produced a rapid circulation considerable vigour of intellect, a
of the volume before us; and as nalofty and unbending spirit, with a turally excited the attention of the fair proportion of political, philoso- public press, which for some time phical, and theological attainment; teemed with remarks and criticisms; but who, at the same time, is ex- with commendations and abuse; ceedingly deficient in judgment, until the public mind has been fairly in knowledge of the actual state of jaded with the hacknied theme. religion among ourselves, and in Still the inquiry is made by many deep acquaintance with the human of our readers, What is the chaheart; too much attached to spe- racter of the work? How far is it culative theories, and prone to in- deserving of our notice?. Are its dulge in rash and unguarded as- sentiments those on which we may sertions. But the real difficulty is, rely? May we justly adopt it as a how to draw the line between cen- model? sure and commendation, so as, on Our answer to such inquiries may the one hand, not rashly to counte- easily be inferred from the precenance that vehement outcry which ding remarks; and we now proceed has been excited against the au- to enter into somewhat more partithor, nor, on the other hand, to cular detail. induce any to copy an example Passing over the title, the style against which, in various respects, of which is altogether novel to the we must protest.
English ear, and is such as is only Difficult, however, as the duty pardonable in a foreigner, or a may be, it is one we are obviously schoolboy translating Latin, and called
upon to perform. The tone which at the same time gives a very
ambiguous idea of the work to which ment, they speak to that man from a disit is prefixed, we naturally turn to tance, and at disadvantage. It is but a the Preface; and as the author has parley; it is no conference, nor treats, nor here clearly developed the light in harmonious communication. To this end,
they must discover new vebicles for conwhich he regards the labours of reying the truth, as it is in Jesus, into the others, and the end proposed by minds of the people; poetical, historical, his own publication, we shall in- scientific, political, and sentimental re
hicles. In all these regions some of the sert the whole.
population are domesticated with all their It hath appeared to the author of this affections; who are as dear in God's sight book, from more than ten years meditation as are others; and why they should not upon the subject, that the chief obstacle to
be come at, why means should not be taken the progress of divine truth over the minds
to come at them, can any good reason be of men, is the want of its being properly assigned? They prepare men for teaching presented to them. In this Christian gipsies, for teaching bargemen, for teachcountry there are, perhaps, nine-tenths of ing miners; men who understand their every class who know nothing at all about ways of conceiving and estimating truth; the applications and advantages of the single why not train ourselves for teaching imatruths of revelation, or of revelation taken ginative wen, and political men, and legal as a whole: and what they do not know, men, and medical men? and, baring got they cannot be expected to reverence or the key to their several chambers of delaobey. This ignorance, in both the bighersion and resistance, why not enter into and and the lower orders, of religion, as a debate the matter with their souls? Then discerner of the thoughts and intentions of they shall be left without excuse; meanthe heart, is not so much due to the want while, I think, we ministers are without of inquisitiveness on their part, as to the want of a sedulous and skilful ministry on Moved by these feelings, I have set the the part of those to wbom it is entrusted.
example of two new methods of handling This sentiment may seem to convey a religious truth - the Oration, and the Arreflection upon the clerical order; but it gument ; the one intended to be after the is not meant to reflect upon them so manner of the ancient oration; the best much, as to turn their attention to the
vehicle for addressing the minds of men subject. They must be conscious, that wbich the world hath seen; far beyond the reading is the food of thought, and thought Sermon, of wbich the very name bath the cause of action; and, therefore, in learned to inspire drowsiness and tedium: wbat proportion the reading of the people the other, after the manner of the anis impregnated with religious truth, in that cient Apologies, with this difference, that proportion will the conduct of a people be it is pleaded not before any judicial bar, guided into religious ways. We must, but before the tribunal of human thought therefore, lay our band upon the press as and feeling. The former are but specimens; well as the pulpit, and season its effusions
the latter, tbough most imperfect, is inwith an admixture of derout feeling and tended to be complete. The Orations are pious thought. But, whereas men read placed first in the volume, because the for entertainment and direction in their
Oracles of God, which they exalt, are the several studies and pursuits, it becomes foundation of the Argument, which brings needful that we make ourselves adept in to reason and common feeling one of the these, and into the body of them all infuse revelations wbich they contain. the balm of salvation, that when the people For criticism I bare given most pledtiful consult for the present life, they may be occasion ; and I deprecate it not; for it is admonished, stealthily and skilfully invaded the free agitation of questions that brings with admonition of the life to come. So
the truth to light. It has, also, been my that, until the servants and ministers of lot to bave a good deal of it where I could the living God do pass the limits of pulpit not meet it; and if I get a good deal more, theology and pulpit exhortation, and take I shall not grumble; for a book is the weapons in their hand, gathered out of property of the public, to do with it what every region in which the life of man, or they like. The author's care of it is finishhis faculties, are interested, they sball ed when he hath giren it birth. The never havo religion triumph and domineer people are responsible for the rest. I have in a country, as beseemeth her high ori- besought the guidance of the Almighty ginal, her native majesty, and ber eternity and his blessing very often ; and bave noof freely-bestowed well-being.
thing to beseech of men, but that they To this the ministers of religion should would look to themselves, and have mercy bear their attention to be called; for until
their own souls, they thus acquire the pass-word, which is to oonvey them into every man's encamp
This preface has called forth
severe censures from almost every it true, that the ministers of requarter; nor are those censures by ligion are, as our author intimates, any means unfounded. To us it without excuse? and must they appears, that the chief obstacle materially alter their conduct, in to the progress of divine truth, is order that religion may triumph not the want of its being properly and domineer in a country as bepresented; but the depravity of cometh her high original ? The the human heart. This is the con- point is so important, that it, undemnation, that light is come into questionably, deserves our most the world, and men loved dark- serious consideration. ness rather than light, because The inquiry, indeed, would be their deeds were evil; for every very materially facilitated, had our one that doeth evil hateth the light. . author clearly defined the persons Accordingly, when he, who spake of whom he speaks, under the ge
man spake, and who neral term--the servants and mitaught his hearers with authority, nisters of the living God: but yet, and not as the scribes, exhibited as he numbers himself amongst his divine lessons in the most at- such persons, we cannot suppose tractive form, he was at once seen he adverts to those whose docand hated of those whom he ad- trinal or practical sentiments madressed. So far from the igno- terially differ from his own; and rance of religion being not due to we must, therefore, consider him the want of inquisitiveness on the as speaking of the more serious part of any in this country, we part of the clergy. hesitate not to affirm, that the ig- The inquiry would be still furnorance of every man, who has a ther facilitated, did we exactly Bible in his possession, and ability know what the author means, by to read that Bible, is entirely owing passing the limits of pulpit theto his want of inquisitiveness. It ology and pulpit exhortation; by is not that religion is abstruse, not training ourselves for teaching imathat the attainment of an adequate ginative men, and political men, knowledge of it is difficult; but it and legal men, and medical men, is because men have no heart to it; &c. If the author only means, because they like not to retain that the ministers of religion should God in their knowledge; because endeavour to adapt their discourses they desire to continue at peace in to the particular classes of persons sin, that they remain in ignorance. whom they address; that they • This sentiment,' says
should labour to understand and author, “ may şeem to convey a remove the peculiar obstacles and reflection upon the clerical order; temptations which are met with by but it is not meant to reflect upon persons of different professions, them.” Whatever Mr. I.'s inten- and should endeavour to adopt artions might be, it is quite obvious guments and illustrations from the that the passage
does convey such various store-houses of science and a reflection; and the whole reason- philosophy, by which to explain, iling of the subsequent paragraph, lustrate, and enforce scriptural and of various passages in the body truth, we perfectly coincide with of the work, abundantly confirm his views; but this is nothing new; this idea. Nor do we see why the this has been enforced again and author should bring forwards his again; this has been the practice two new methods of handling reli- of eminent theologians and preachgious truth, had not the plan gene- ers in every age; and this can, rally pursued by the clergy been, therefore, by no means be justly to say the least, defective. characterized as passing the limits
But is this really the case? Is of pulpit theology and pulpit ex
hortation. The writer, however, society. It is the excellence of evidently means more than this; Cecil, of Paley, and of Milner, and we must, therefore, remind that they speak on the most abhim, and all who may be disposed struse subjects in language intelto adopt his statements, that the ligible to all; in language so inScriptures expressly point out, as telligible, that you never think of the grand means of promoting the the terms which are used, but are advancement of true religion, the solely occupied with the ideas they preaching of the cross.
convey. The attempt, indeed, to ihe peculiar characteristic of the discover new vehicles for conveyApostle's preaching; to this, un- ing the truth, as it is in Jesus, der the divine blessing, he espe- into the minds of the people; pocially looked for usefulness; and etical, historical, scientific, polithis very doctrine, which was, be tical, and sentimental vehicles, has it remembered, to the Jews a stum- been repeatedly made. Some of bling block, and to the Greeks fool- the Fathers tried the experiment; ishness, is declared to have been they, in consequence, introduced to them, which were called both a philosophical and platonized Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power Christianity; a religion, called of God and the wisdom of God. Christian, devoid of every thing
Nothing, indeed, can be con- peculiar to Christianity: a barren, ceived more contradictory in terms speculative, inefficient system. The than the account given by St. Paul experiment was tried again amongst of his own preaching at Corinth, ourselves, as Bishop Burnet menand the plan recommended by Mr. tions. The effect was, a mere system Irving. “ And I, brethren, when of ethics; a cold, chilling, heartless, I came to you, came not with ex- religion, from which, through divine cellency of speech, or of wisdom, mercy, we are now in some meadeclaring unto you the testimony sure recovering. We cannot, thereof God, for I determined to know fore, but seriously deprecate the nothing among you save Jesus system which our author here reChrist, and him crucified. And I conimends; and are not backward
you in weakness, and in to confess, that new views and new fear, and in much trembling; and modes of propagating religious my speech, and my preaching, was truth, are ever contemplated by us not with enticing words of man's with considerable suspicion and apwisdom, but in demonstration of prehension. the Spirit and of power: that your
We must here also protest against faith should not stand in the wis- those sweeping censures with which dom of men but in the power of even the serious parts of the clergy God,” Now, if St. Paul was, as are not unfrequently assailed in the pious and admirable Cecil con- the present day, and which Mr. jectures, raised up peculiarly to Irving's pages clearly countenance;
be an example to others, in la- censures which are at once impoli• bouring to discover the wisest way tic and unjust. No doubt, instances s of exhibiting the Gospel,' we are may be adduced where indolence, no longer justified in following our erroneous views as to the promises own reasonings, but are bound to of divine assistance, and multiplied observe his declarations, and copy and pressing engagements, either his example, with only such va- singly or unitedly, divert the atriations as the differing circum- tention of a minister from that stances of the times, &c. may re- course of diligent study and prequire; nor can 'we ever be justified paration which are necessary to in adopting a style of speech unin- render him efficient. The indistelligible to the lower classes of pensable necessity, also, of provid