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replete with references to character and to fact. His appeals to the conscience were singularly powerful. The sentiments were usually most appropriate to the cases he treated, and ́they seemed to fall in masses on the soul of the listenerevery word told. Sometimes he seemed to pause, as if labouring in the secret throes of another effort; then, after an interval of calm statement, or clear proof, his sentences fell again, with resistless weight, upon the understanding and the conscience.
I am not, however, to be understood as affirming that Mr. C. was always what I have described him. I am far from representing his pulpit exhibitions as faultless; or even as displaying the same unvarying excellence. From the very mode of sermonising which he adopted, his discourses very much depended upon his own state of feeling at the moment of delivery, and occasionally, his excess of brevity and emphasis, produced the very evils which he studied to avoid. These defects sometimes extended beyond individual sentences, and produced an obscurity as to his method, and the precise aim of his argument. Yet to say that he sometimes fell beneath himself, is only saying, that he was like all other preachers, variable, and like all other mortals, imperfect. That ordinarily he rose above most men in the excellence of his matter, and the depth of serious impression upon his hearers, will not be denied by his enemies, and that he sometimes failed of sustaining the full expectation of his hearers, will be conceded by his friends; and this is what candour and impartiality require me to state. Biography should not dwindle into indiscriminate eulogy. It loses some of its most important uses, if defects, as well as excellences, are not fairly stated. But whatever were the occasional defects of our friend in the construction, or the delivery of a discourse, the strain was always good-purely evangelical and useful. His views and principles were strictly orthodox, yet an admirable discretion accompanied his statements of doctrine, and a sound judgment guarded the comforts of the truth from the unhallowed usurpation of the licentious and the impenitent. He was no supralapsarian; no tacit apologist for the guilt of unbelief and impenitence, by teaching sinners, that because they will not perform spiritual duties, they may exempt their consciences from a sense of obligation; or that the duty to believe God depends upon their moral ability, or inability. He was no muzzled herald of the glad tidings, and proclaimed no truce to the impenitent sinner. That theological phar
macy, by which some men have prepared and administered a poisonous compound, consisting of Mahometan fatalism, and arbitrary grace, adapted only to lull the consciences of the unconverted, and render more profound the sleep of death, which is upon them, was no art of his. He offered not the downy pillow of "WAIT, till he gives you grace," to the armholes of a yet vigorous apostacy. He well knew how many have lived for years in sin, rebutting EVERY reproof, and every call, by saying, "we cannot give ourselves grace." He felt the example of Christ and his apostles, upon the duty of calling sinners to repentance, to be worth a thousand syllogisms devised by Antinomian ingenuity, and urged in the pride and sophistry of unsanctified reason. He esteemed it sufficient for his guidance, as a minister of the Gospel, to be authorized to preach the glad tidings, indiscriminately, to every creature: while he felt it no part of his duty to show the agreement of free agency in man, with sovereignty in God-nor, first to convince sinners that they possessed the power to obey, before he should venture to enforce their Creator's command. These, if difficulties they must be deemed, he suffered not to interfere with obvious precepts, but left for the great Arbiter of nature, and Author of grace, to explain, when he may see fit, or when human understandings are better prepared to perceive their agreement.
Our friend was peculiarly happy in most of his efforts upon these topics, of some of which it must be confessed, that they have embarrassed the understandings and the efforts of many eminent servants of Christ. Early in his ministry he had been called to canvas these questions; and he had done so with a spirit of fearless research; yet, with the coasting chart of Divine Revelation in his hand, he had tried the soundings, and touched the rocks, and knew the shoals and the sands where so many had struck, and where some had even made shipwreck of faith. But with a species of practical good sense; with a comprehensive inspection of human nature; with an implicit faith in the pilotage of revelation; he steered a steady and consistent course-maintained the sovereignty and grace of God, and hesitated not to invite, intreat, and command all men every where to repent.' Mr. C. had examined what human reason and metaphysical acuteness had effected upon these profound questions; he had thus fortified his own mind: still he treated none of these topics in the style of the ethical lecturer, but in that of the Christian teacher. He came forward to state the will
and the revelation of the Lord-not to vindicate the reason of that revelation, or to argue the right of that will. He might not be adapted to please the scholar or the philosopher, especially if their taste was turned rather to the pedantry of the schools, than to practical advantage; but he was sure to please the plain, strait forward, thinker-the man whose taste was formed rather to fact than theory-to utility rather than to ostentation. He was eminently successful on many occasions in removing difficulties connected with the doctrines of grace. Sometimes I have known him throw more light upon a difficulty by a single sentence, or by a question well put, than could be obtained by days of diligent research and reading. Without any of the pretension, and without displaying any of the apparatus, of the dialectician, he could avail himself of all his art, by a sort of natural tact, and give the very essence of a long and laboured argument with great force and simplicity, in few words.
As a preacher of the gospel, his success was eminent both in his own town, and in many other places. Few could altogether resist the manly wisdom and penetrating energy with which he spoke. His voice, his person, his words, his manner, his sentiments, all seemed signally made for one another; all had a character of obvious and commanding, I had almost said, irresistible strength, combined with flexibility; and sweetly harmonising into finished beauty; but it was the beauty of Herculean firmness of muscle, not that of roseate tints, or rounded limb, or glowing polish, or refined or delicate texture. Every element of his constitution, mental or corporeal, was MANLY; strength was the universal character. Body and mind were throughout masculine. There was nothing in aspect, in act, in speech, in feeling, emasculate or weak. His very meltings were masculine, and preserved the perfect consistency of self-possession and firmness. His tears rose and fell over an eye that still looked upwards, and watched for the joy that cometh in the morning.
The pre-eminent moral bias or ingredient of his character, was integrity-the pre-eminent feeling of his heart was benevolence-the pre-eminent grace of his renewed nature was faith. He always appeared to me to come the nearest to a personification of faith, of any minister I ever knew. I have known some all sanguine hope; I have seen others all melting love: but our friend was a man of unusual faith. He seemed to give a reality and a vividness to spiritual objects, which made you feel, with him, within the pre
cincts of another world. He would converse of the being and perfections, and grace of God, till you felt yourself in an element of divine light, and seemed to recognise the nearness, the close consciousness, of the Divine Spirit surrounding you. In fact, he lived and conversed daily with "him who is invisible; and thence he drew that commanding power, that happy facility of discourse, by which he placed the listener as under the immediate observance of the all-searching eye. His discourses frequently exhibited this singular property in an extraordinary degree. He seemed like an individual, who, with his companions, was climbing a stupendous eminence, but who had got considerably above them, and appeared in the attitude at once of pointing out to them the heights still above, and of inviting them to follow. Every sermon sounded 66 to arms," and roused to courage, as by the voice of the trumpet. It sweetly fostered the hopes of the timid; while, to the steadfast Christian soldier, it confidently predicted and proclaimed, "victory! victory!"
He had the singular honour of being as useful in the conversion of sinners, as in the edification of saints. I have heard him say, that he did not know that he ever preached a funeral sermon in the whole course of his ministry, which was not blessed to the conversion of one or more souls. The anecdotes already detailed, will enable the reader to form some idea of the success which attended his labours, and show how signally his instructions were adapted to convince and impress. But the cases before related, are only a few out of many which, at different times, his friends have heard him recite, but which he never committed to paper, and which cannot be gathered up from that sibylline confusion into which their very multiplicity has thrown them.
The eminent success which attended his ministry, naturally suggests an inquiry into its probable causes. Was there any discernible connexion between that success and the instrument by which it was effected? Or is it to be ascribed solely to the sovereign blessing which divine grace imparted. That the sovereignty of that grace was illustrated in every case of such success, is, I apprehend, not to be doubted; and as little is it to be questioned, that under that grace, there was a pre-eminent fitness in the instrument to accomplish the effect.
I should comprise those peculiarities of our friend, which appear to have been connected with his success as a preacher, under three particulars. First, The mode which he had adopted, in exhibiting the truths of the gospel, was
that best adapted to meet the average understanding, and the spiritual exigencies of the people. It was a studious assimilation to the didactic manner of Christ and his apostles. He rarely occupied the attention of his hearers by arguments of a philosophical cast. I intend, however, no disrespect to that high but rare class of pulpit compositions that deserve such a distinctive denomination. Though the most elaborate efforts are not the agency usually blessed for the great purposes of conversion and edification, they have their uses, and those of a very high and important class. Our friend knew as well as any man how to estimate such efforts. But he dealt in the plainer, and, for the great ends of the gospel ministry, more efficient mode of simple and scriptural discussion. This style of handling gospel themes, if less elaborate, is not less satisfactory; and, in its results, fully justifies the preference which the most successful preachers have given to it. The conclusion to which two preachers of these opposite descriptions would lead their hearers, may be the same-the great principles of both identical, but the method. of the one is more direct than that of the other. It is, moreover, better suited to the mass of mankind, who are more swayed by the instincts of their moral nature than by the coercive decisions of the judgment. If we analyse the conviction supposed to be attained in both cases, it will be found composed of a purer element, and to be in its own nature more complete, as well as more satisfactory in its results, in that case, in which faith is made to stand in the power of God, and not in the wisdom of man.
Mr. Cooke enjoyed intellectual and elaborate discourses. He knew how to prize them as auxiliaries to the revealing light of the Divine Spirit; he knew that there is a class of minds, and those always the most powerful, and the master ones in human society, with whom such efforts are often found introductory to an influence of a higher kind; and on whose account, therefore, they are of great price. But while he condemned not, and despised not the more systematic, eloquent, and logical preacher, neither did he emulate or imitate his efforts. Like David, he essayed not to go forth in the warrior's armour, not because he contemned it, but because it did not fit him; and he felt more at home with his shepherd's sling, and five smooth stones from the brook. "My chief concern,' he says, in one of his private notes, "is for suitable truth, and to convey it from my heart in a clear and impressive manner. I leave word-preachers to achieve what wonders they can, by the