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There is a very animated air and chorus wbich I have heard sung with great delight, adapted to a triumphant song on the orerthrow of the Egyptians.
“ Sound the loud timbrel o'er Egypt's dark sea,
Jehovah hath triumphed, his people are free." The following lines to the same tune, I send you, as more suitable to Christian worship. They are particularly adapted to Easter day.
Lift your loud voices in triumph on high,
And short the dominion of death and the grave;
Resplendent in glory, to live and to save.
Glory to God, in full anthems of joy;
If tears were our birthright, and death were our end;
And bade us, immortal, to Heaven ascend.
Discourses, chiefly on Devotional Subjects, by the late Rev.
Newcome Cappe. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his
From the second English edition. Boston, Wells & Lilly, 1818.
We are happy to commence our labours as reviewers, with the notice of a work, which we can cordially recommend ; in which we shall have little to censure, and a great deal to praise. The character and writings of Newcome Cappe are not very much known in this country; it is only about a year since this
was reprinted here. If we can do something to make it known as it ought to be, and promote its circulation, we shall think we have done a worthy service to the Christian cause ; for we are persuaded that the example of such a man, and an acquaintance with such sermons, must promote virtue and piety; that no Christians cannot read them without being edified and cheered.
The author himself, of whom an uncommonly interesting biography is prefixed, was born in the year 1733, and died Dec. 24, 1800. He was a man of fine powers of mind, which he cultivated with exemplary fidelity and great success. Dr. Doddridge, under whose care he pursued his theological studies, spoke of him, when quite a young man, as possessing “distinguished talents, adorned with modesty of behaviour and sweetness of temper; preserving the Christian character, and giving hopes of eminent usefulness in the mioistry." These hopes were not disappointed. He exhibited through life the same vigor of mind and excellence of character. He devoled bimself to the cause of religion ; and no one, we think, can read the story of his life without being convinced that he was wbolly guided by its influence; without feeling that there is something truly sublime in his piety and faith, and that he was a rare example of the greatness and loveliness of the Chris. tian character.
We cannot stay to enter into the particulars of his life or studies. Our business is with his sermons. It was in sermo
nizing that he appears to have excelled. He gave much of his time to the critical studies of the scriptures. But he was most at home in the pulpit, and his labours there were the most valuable. His ardent and animated feelings, his deep impressions of piety, his solemn sense of duty and responsibility, his very elevated, enlarged, and cheering views of the government of God, of the purposes of our existence and religion, and of the future world as a retributive state connected with this, rendered bin nervous and forcible in his exhibition of religious truths, and uncommonly impressive in his appeals to the conscience. We are confident, that abundant proof of all this may be found in the volume before us. The subjects of the discourses are chiefly, as expressed in the title page, of a devotional cast, regarding principally the relation of man to the Deity and a future state, and of course representing religion more in its pious and spiritual, than in its moral character ; but at the same time showing, that its moral character can never fairly be separated.
The three first sermons treat of Faith, a subject which lies at the foundation of all religion, and which is capable of being treated in a great variety of ways, according to the particular object to be accomplished. The object here is to prove, that faith is no mysterious, inexplicable principle, added to the natural powers in a religious man; but is one of the natural principles of the mind, of constant use in the affairs and intercourse of this world, in the conduct of our common business and the arrangement of all our pians, and when applied to the business of religion is peculiar only in this, that it is applied to things more important, more distant, and invisible. We cannot enter at large into his views. We can only say, that they appear to us in a high degree clear and rational, as well as consonant to the scriptures. They have this advantage too, of presenting the subject in a tangible form, so that every one may know when he has grasped it, and not enveloped in mist and shadows. The following extracts show sufficiently the spirit and complexion of the whole.
• Faith is a reasonable principle. There is nothing dark, mysterious, or unintelligible in it; nothing for which he who values himself most upon the character of reason, has any cause to be ashamed. It is not an enthusiastic principle that first gives being to dreams and visions, and then supports itself upon imaginations of its own creating. It is not a supernatural impression proceeding from the immediate agency of God, capriciously bestowed where he pleases to bestow it, and denied where he wills it to be denied. It is not an inexplicable feeling of we know not what, conceived we know not how, and cherished we know not why: it is not the persuasion of any thing, whether good or evil, concerning either ourselves or any other being, taken up without reason, and maintained upon princia ples that may not be duly specified and explained: it is not any sudden irradiation of the mind, proceeding from whatever cause; for Faith is not more the especial gift of God, than Sight; it is equally the natural and necessary result of the principles that compose the human frame.-To au eye duly formed, present any object of the visible world, and it is seen: to a mind attentive and undepraved, propose the evidence concerning any truth that respects the world invisible, concerning either distant objects, past transactions, or events yet to come, and in proportion to the strength of that evidence, it is believed. Whatever persuasion is taken up against evidenee or without it, is blind presumption, or romantic imagination, and not Faith.
"Faith is as much the effect of evidence, as sight is the effect of sensible impression; nor is the one more absolutely dependent on its cause, or more closely connected with it, than the other. It is a law of our nature, that in such and such circumstances, we shall see ; and it is as much a law of our nature, that in such and such circumstances, we shall believe. If we will be judging of such visible things as are beyond the sphere of clear and distinct vision, no man would call these presumptuous fancies, however strongly we might be attached to them, sight; and in like manner, if we would be judging of things invisible, to which the light of evidence does not reach, no man should call these visions of imagination, Faith: they are both of them the reveries of a capricious or disordered inind; a partial frenzy, which only requires to be extended to a greater multitude of objects, to render the perversion of our understandings both manifest and deplorable. What sight is in the natural world, with
respect to things visible and present, Faith is in the spiritual world, with respect to things absent and invisible: to believe, on sufficient evidence, is as natural as to perceive: and in thus believing, there is nothing more unreasonable, ipes. plicable, or indefensible, than in seeing with our open eyes the prospect that presents itself before us.
• Faith then is a principle no more peculiar to religion in general, than It is peculiar to the Christian religion in particular. Even those, who most affect to treat it with ridicule and conteinpt in the disciples of Christ, are themselves obliged, and they are satisfied with the obligation, to act upon it every day and every hour of their lives : it is the very principle which, in the ordinary affairs of life, regulates and governs by far the greater part of their thoughts, their affections, and their conduct.” pp. 94, 95.
After soune examples of this, he goes on as follows: “Almost all the affairs of life are transacted upon the evidence of testimony and under the influence of Faith; and yet mankind, in all the reproaches they have thrown one upon another, never thought that upon this account they could upbraid, or be upbraided. Even the most licentious ridiculer of this principle never drearned that he was chargeable with weakness and absurdity for the influence that he allowed it to have over bim, and would have joined as heartily in exposing hiin who totally disowned it in the affairs of this world, as him who abounded in it, in respect to the concerns of another.
"It is in matters of religion only that Faith is so weak, ridiculous, and absurd : for there, instead of gratifying our irregular inclinations, it reproves them; it calls away the attention of mankind from this present world; it would moderate their attachment to it, and their expectation from it, and would engage them in the pursuit of the iovisible and future Nero Series-pol. T.
things of another world; things in themselves indeed more important, but bot so well suited to the taste of the ambitious, the sensual, or the carnal mind. But does the dislike of them destroy their reality? Does it anni. hilate the evidence of these things? Is it the less certain that they are, or that they will be, because the men of this world are less willing to believe them? Does the reasonableness of Faith diminish, as the impor. tance of its objects rises ? Is it reasonable to act upon it in respect of this present life, and not in respect of that which is to come? Is it right that we should be guided and governed by it in regard to tlie transitory trifles of this present state, and right also that we should disclaim and resist it, in regard to the infinitely more important interests of that wbich is unchangable and interesting ?
If there be a world invisible; if there be a future state into which we are, ere long, to be removed.-if the powers of that world invisible be favourably or unfavourably disposed towards os according to our conduct in the present.--and moreover, if our condition in that future state, will depend upon the preparation we make for it in this, what is the evidence that should determine us to regard these things ? The evidence of sense is excluded by the very nature of the objects; if this were to be obtained, they could not then be invisible and future; the evidence of testimony is all ihe evidence we can obtain of such objects, and having this, is it right to treat them as cbimeras ? to forget, to overlook, or to despise them, as the unsubstantial fictions of a wild imagination ?-We could only treat them thus, if we were conscious that they were the dreams of our own fancy, and that we had no evidence at all concerning them. If it be un. justifiable to give no attention to those things, which if they have a being, are most deeply interesting to us, and of the existence of which we have all the evidence that the nature of them will adnit, then, our faith in these things can be no matter of reproach to us; it is a just and reasona. ble principle.-Will it bear a doubt who acts the wiser part, he, who resisting the evidence of an iprisible and future world divests himself of all concern about it, or he, who yielding to the evidence of its reality, attends to it, expects it, and forms his life upon the expectation.
"Can it be reasonable to distrust that principle in regard to the invisible and future things of the eternal world, which we rely upon, which we act upon, in regard to the iuvisible and future things of the present? What is · there that should make a difference? If the testimony in the one case be as credible as the testimony in the other, the Faith is in both circumstances alike reasonable, and he who yields it in the one, and withholds it in the other, who, either in word or deed, in the one case countenances and approves, and in the other, vilifies and depreciates it, has no cause to value himself upon the reasonableness of his character, his own mouth accuseth bim, and by his own conduct he is condemned.” pp. 99—101.
Having thus spoken of it as a natural and reasonable, the third discourse is occupied in showing it to be a desirable and important principle. We quote from the concluding paragraphs.
“When we carry forward our thoughts unto futurity, we are compelled to believe, that there is a day, not very distant, which shall be marked by our funerals, when our bodies shall be sealed up in the grave. Should we anticipate that day with greater pleasure, if we believed that the pains and weaknesses which usually lead thither, would be our last sensations ! If we believed, that when once the dust to which we were going bad received us, we should koow and be known no more for ever? Could we