Page images

We have seen one volume of devotedness to the cause of God, the original work by Dr. Gil- and the same cheerful, unreserv. BONS. After attending to that, ed acquiescence in his will. We we are ready to bestow high en- see them all thinking, speaking comiums on the abridgment, and acting as children of the and on the judgment, taste, and same Parent, disciples of the pious design and diligence of its same Master, seekers of the same author. We shall attempt to re- country, and heirs of the same commend this work to the atten- glory. tion of the Christian public' by This volume clearly shows, pointing out some of the pecul- that the most elevated condition of liar benefits, which it tends to life, the most noble birth, shining produce, and which every care- talents, and honourable connexions, ful, devout reader of it may hope furnish no safeguard against cata experience.

lamity, but rather expose to triThis book is a fit companion of als unusually severe, and to sorour retired hours. It may with rows deeper than mortals compropriety be admitted into the monly feel. Who that reads the closet, and used as an aid to pi- history of these exalted characous meditation, and an excite- ters, and surveys the cares which ment to devotion. Properly used, oppressed, the dangers which it would contribute much to the threatened, and the grief which peculiar delight and advantage of almost overwhelmed them, can religious retirement.

envy their exalted situation ? If happily displays the sameness At the same time we are here of evangelical religion. Here we taught to admire the grace of see that the diversity, which ap- God, which secures persons from pears in the external circum- the numerous temptations af stances of believers, does not al- high life, and enables them to ter the nature of religion. That persevere in well doing amid all appears the same in the day of the perils to which their piety is prosperity, and in the day of ad. exposed. versity ; the same in the palace, The volume we are now rein the prison, and on the scaffold. commending is calculated to proHere it is manifest, that true re- mote humility. That such heights ligion is the same in different of knowledge and piety were atages. The greatest diversity in tained by these excellent women; the customs and manners, and in that they were so meek and low. the civil and literary advantages ly in circumstances, which tendof different times makes no ed to nourish their pride ; so penchange in the essential features itent, where sin is commonly of true piety. It is pleasing and overlooked ; so strictly religedifying to observe in all the ious, where so many things encharacters here exhibited the couraged dissipation; to see same apprehension of God's glo- them so diligently using for God ry, and of the hateful nature of those talents and accomplishsin ; the same regard to the di- ments, which others devote to vine Redeemer ; the same hu- the world, surpassing the commility, self-loathing, and depen- mon Christian as much in selfdence on divine grace ; the same denial and heavenly mindednessy

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


as in the trials of their condition; -rect, intelligible, and adapted to all this reproves our low attain- the subject. There is an obments, and should fill us with servable sameness in many ex. emotions of humble penitence. tracts from the private diaries of

But while it humbles, it en- these worthy characters ; but the courages to pious resolution and sameness is not irksome to those, diligence. How can we despond, who love the amiable exercises or indulge in sloth, when we see of vital religion. that mora excellence is attainable, and that the most arduous duties are practicable? In the diaries of these pious women, the Familiar Letters to the Rev. Christian has the peculiar advan JOHN SHERMAN, once pastor of stage of observing their most pri a church in Manrfield, in parvate reflections, and looking into ticular reference to his late their very hearts. Thus he finds Anti-Trinitarian treastise. By that the spiritual trials, the in DANIEL Dow, pastor of a ward struggles, the awful cor church in Thompson, Connecruptions of heart, which often ticut. distress, and sometimes discour. It is very satisfactory to en, age him, have been the common lightened Christians to know, lot of the saints. He learns that that evidences multiply in fathe excellent of the earth, those your of revelation, as the sciwho have overcome the world ,ences are improved, and human and obtained a crown of glory, knowledge extended. Every have experienced the very things, traveller, who visits the rocks of which now clog his devotion, in- Tyre, the cottages of Egypt, the terrupt his joy, and overcast his plains of Babylon, or the hills of spiritual prospect. In this way Jerusalem, s trodden down of the he is led to admire the abound- Gentiles," relates those facts, ing grace of God, and is enliven- which establish the divine aued in the work of religion. thority of ancient prophecies.

Finally, these memoirs show Improvements made in the an. us, how tranquil, how victorious cient languages have also the the death of those who live piously, same happy effects. and die in the Lord, and so im- Men of unscriptựral opinions press our minds with the desira- observing these things, endeay, bleness, as well as the solemnity our to pervert the same means of the time, when the believer to support their peculiar tenets, will rest from his labour, and re- and favourite speculations. Their ceive the endless rewards of re- Lexicons, Hebrew and Greek, deeming grace.

have new meanings ; their Bi. This is a brief display of the bles must be tortured with new advantages, which the serious, translations, and forced to teach devout reader may derive from new doctrines. That the Uni, the memoirs of these eminently tarian may quote Scripture with pious women. Such are the tolerable consistency, some pasleading considerations, which re- sages must be altered, some en: commend the volume to public larged ; others must be shorten, notice. The style is easy, cor- ed, and others entirely erased


from the book of God. By adding him of his Deism in early life, and blotting they greatly sup- of his change to orthodoxy, and port their system.

of his change again to UnitariAmong these divines, it seems, anism., Mr. Sherman was ambitious to 'Letter 4th, “ To Mr. Sher shine ; he, therefore, wrote a man, concerning his mode of ec. volume. To this the pamphlet pounding the Scriptures." This before us is a reply.

letter is replete with pertinent The first letter is “ to Mr. Sher, matter. The substance of it man, concerning his authorship,” follows. It is, indeed, a "Jumiliar" letter, “Being desirous of raising a stateThe close is serious. "But let Iv building, you began by laying at it be remembered,” says Mr. the foundation a preposition. How. Dow, “ that to us it is infinite, ever, the preposition not being fit for lv important that we ly important, that we so live,

live your purpose, in its present state,

you found it necessary to square it speak, and act, as that we may, with a new translation. You indeed eventually, have praise of God. admit, that the preposition is someThough it was not at all incum times rendered, as our honest translabent upon you, while you deem:

tors have rendered it. But as this ed truth so unessential, to write

meaning was not to your liking, you

chose to give it another rendering, such a book as you did ; yet I which you considered as' optional. feel it incumbent upon me, 'who The great task then was, to make all believe truth to be of everlasting the rest of the Bible conform to it,

the rest of the Bible conf consequence, to make a few

that you might prophesy according to

this proportion of faith. But the plain, friendly remarks upon current of the Scriptures ran opposite, your performance."

and now, what must be done? Why, The second letter is “to Mirmany passages must be re-translated, Sherman, concerning his advanta, many others must be considered as ges for biblical criticism."

interpolations, and the rest explained, •

as being so figurative as to mean erIn this, he certainly does not

ery thing, any thing, or nothing, till. it forget his title page, “ familiar can be made to appear, that the docletters," &c. “As to the He trine of the Trinity, and the proper brew," he says. 16 vou acknow deity of Christ, is not contained in the edge that you know little or

Bible. And if, after all, neither re

translating, nor expunging, nor turn. nothing about it yourself, and ing plain language into metaphor, will from what little attention I have do the business, as much as you ab. paid to the language, I believe, hor interpolations, and would wish if Sir, in this instance, you told me

la me possible to detect them, a few interthe truth.” “ As to the Syriac,

polationς πεποιηκοτουτο at least must

rial be inserted to make the matter out. Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, &c. I 'But according to this mode of proceedpresume you will readily own, ing, where is the analogy of faith ac· that your knowledge is absolutely cording to which we may prophesy? nothing. How then came you,

Where are the spiritual things, which Sir, by all this learned criticism ?

we are to compare together? Where

is that sure word according to which vv ny dig you not wait till you we must speak or have no lightinus. was [were] 'competent to the If the Scriptures be so corrupt as that task you undertook ?”

they may not be depended on, and Letter 3d, “ To Mr. Sherman,

they certainly are, if the foundation

principle be corrupted, we have concerning the trammels of his ed

nothing left to guide us, unless it le ucation." In this, he reminds our own fancies, or your pre-conceiv.

ed sentiments. And in that case we“ abridged his lengthy quotamay as well adopt the former as the tions." This weakens the certainlatter. But the word of the Lord is

ty and confidence of the reader. settled in heaven.”

Letter 5th, « To Mr. Sher. The following are a few speman, concerning his Rabbins," cimens from a large number. Letter 6th, “ To Mr. Sher

St. John.

“In the beginning was the Word, man, concerning the fruits of his

and the Word was with God, and the doctrines." This letter demands

Word was God.” the very serious attention of

Mr. Sherman. Unitarian ministers. We wish - The word was not really God, them to inform us, why God but only a divine property. There is blesses orthodox preaching by some mistake also in saying the his own energizing Spirit, while word was with God. The Stoicks they always dwell in a dry land;"

knew better than this.” p. 16. 19. why they have so few living

St. Paul. Epistles to recommend them.

“Who being the brightness of his

glory, and the express image of his Why their flocks" are like the person, and upholding all things by mountains of Gilboa, on which the word of his power.” was no rain nor dew.”

Mr. Sherman. • Letter 7th, " To Mr, Sher. « Christ upholds nothing, for he is man, concerning his catholicism.” nothing but a creature, who is him. This deserves a serious perusal.

self upheld by the power of God.

Whatever power Christ has, is a del. Letter 8th," To Mr. Sherman,

egated power.” p. 33. concerning his present mode of de

St. Paul. fending the gospel."

“But unto the Son, he saith, thy Letter 9th, “ To Mr. Sherman, throne, oh God, is forever and ever." concerning Bible corruptions."

Mr. Sherman. This is useful, and shows a faith, “Christ should not be called God ful attention to the subject. in such a way as this. I had rather Letter 10th, “To Mr. Shere

say, God supports him forever.” p. 35. man, concerning mysteries," These letters we think calcuabounds with good sense, level ļated to do good, especially in to every capacity.

the circle for which they were Letter 11th, “7. Mr. Sher

particularly designed. The style man, concerning the Trinity,is generally correct, easy, and contains much important truth. perspicuous. Considering the

Letters 12, 13, and 14, re- customary freedoms of neighspect the person, offices, and bours, and how much Mr. Shercharacter of Christ, and present man had provoked disrespect by various evidences of his divinity. shifting and changing his senti.

Letter 15th, “ 70 Mr, Sher- ments once and again, had these man, concerning his exposition of letters not been intended for farticular passages." This is publication, little in them could really the most useful, and in be thought exceptionable ; but some respects the best part of when they are considered as the book. In one column are written for the public eye, to in: passages of Scripture ; in the struct serious, inquiring minds other Mr. Sherman's exposition. on one of the most profound, and But Mr. Dow has not quoted most essential doctrines of the Mr. Sherman, verbatim, but gospel, they are evidently defcient in dignity, in seriousness, commending an immediate and and urbanity. They are too universal attention to this shel. « familiar."


ter,” and by modestly delineating the character and worth of the departed youth.

The tenderness and sympathy The way of God vindicated, in a excited by the circumstances of sermon preached Lord's Day, this discourse disarm criticism, Sept. 16, 1804, after the inter- and were it even less perfect men! of his only child, JONA- would compel us“ to weep with THAN HOMER, A. B. who died them that weep." A serious and of a consumption, Scpt. 7, 1804, rational piety, a lieart deeply af, aged 21. By JONATHAN llo- fected with the government, and MER, Pastor of the first Church goodness of God, as well as delin Newton.

icate, parental affection, bleeding

with secret anguish, are agreea: The text selected for the af- bly exhibited in this sermon. fecting and melancholy occasion The style is plain and modest, is in Psalm xviii. ver. 30. “A but sufficiently elevated for the for God, his way is perfect.” mournful and distressing occa. The preacher first invites our sion. As in most works of ge

" attention to the way of God in nius, its uniformity leaves us in · his providential government.". doubt, which part to select as a He secondly “ attempts to illus- specimen of its merits.

trate the perfection of this way An appendix is attached to the i cven when it clashes with our sermon, containing notices of the private views and interests.” death of young Mr. Homer from This he does by showing that various publications in poetry the way of God " is the way of and prose, with some extracts rectitude,” “ the way of wis- and compositions of his own, dom,” and “the way of good- which further illustrate his ami. ness.” He finally improves the able character. This compila, subject by observing that, “our tion is not only calculated to do knowledge of the general princi- good by making the most seriples and motives of the divine ous impressions on the minds of government is an inestimable youth, but is a natural expression privilege to beings like ourselves, of the parents' grief and affecperpetually exposed to the pierc- tion, and tends to sooth and coning shafts of adversity,” by “re- sole their wounded hearts,

Religious Intelligence.

State of Religion in Suabia, Bavaria, and Hungary. We are enabled, by the favour of controversies are laid aside ; practi. a Catholic (ecclesiastic) correspon- cal religion is enforced ; good mordent in Germany, to report, that the als and useful instructions are inculstate of religion in the Catholic parts cated, instead of the mere frigid of that empire manifests unequivocal forms of worship. The clergy are symptoms of improvement. The old enjoined by a solemn proclamation,

« PreviousContinue »