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CUSTOM seems to have rendered it almost neces- mistakes both on the right hand, and on the left.sary, for an Author never to appear before the Pub- It contains many of the author's views on important lic without a Preface; in which something, if not subjects, after considerable experience and observaconcerning himself, yet concerning his work, is tion. For such remarks his station has been favor. looked for, as a respect due to his readers. Yet able, and his opportunities numerous; especially Rousseau says, it is a part of the book never read, from the variety and latitude of his religious interunless by women and children. The author, how- course. This has never been confined to Christians ever, indulges a hope that this is not very extensive of his own denomination. He has not suffered prely true; since, in writing the following introductory judice so to magnisy-what his convictions might remarks, he certainly intended, as will appear from have led him to consider the mistakes or imperfectheir length, something more than a ceremonious tions of any who differ from him--as to make him conformity to example.
overlook their excellences as individuals or comThe design of this Series of Lectures was—to di- munities; or to prevent his mingling with them in versify a little the ordinary course of ministerial company, and co-operating with them in services; instruction—to excite and secure attention by a de- or to deprive him of that pleasure and profit which gree of allowable novelty and curiosity-and to he knows may be derived from those who cannot bring together various things pertaining to the same frame to pronounce exactly the Shibboleth of a spisubject;
so that they might aid each other in illus- ritual tribe. He has always preferred to study relitration and improvement, by their arrangement and gion, not in its abstractions, but in its subjects; not union,
in its speculative opinions, but in its practical prinBut why are they published? The writer is ciples; not in its distant generalities, but in its apaware what an abundance of religious works is per-propriated and particular influences. He has alpetually issuing from the press; and he would not ways endeavored to follow it out, from its too comwonder, if some should think that he has too often mon confinement in certain notions, seasons, and appeared before the public already. Yet he trusts services, into actual and ordinary life; and to esan author is not necessarily supposed to say to his teem and applaud it only in proportion as it exerts readers, “Now attend only to me." Surely many and displays itself in that “wisdom which is from publications may be serviceable for different pur- above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, poses, and in different degrees; and a writer may and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good be allowed to conclude, that the production of his fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." pen may obtain a measure of welcome and useful
This may in some measure account for the desire attention-without the vanity of supposing that it is which has given rise to the publication. For it is superior to every other, or the folly of expecting that to be presumed, that there will be some considerable it is to supersede any other. If, too, the author be a conformity between the views of a minister and the public teacher, and has met with acceptance, it is people of his charge after a voluntary, long, and pernatural to suppose that he will secure a considerable fectly affectionate connection. It is certain that number of connections more immediately his own, these Lectures would not have been completely conand who will be rather partial to the writer, for the genial with the taste of some hearers. They would sake of the preacher. Such was the case here. In in any course of religious discussion have said, two or three days after this Course of Lectures was
“We want more of doctrine, and more of Christ." finished, a large number of copies was called and Now we are far from treating these terms themsubscribed for, by those who had heard them.-- selves with contempt or disrespect. We love the Many of these applicants were persons whose opi- doctrines of the gospel; and believe that it is a good nion and desire would have had weight with any thing that the heart be established with grace. We one who knew them; while all of them had claims attach importance to evangelical truth; and have upon the preacher, as stated, or occasional parts of no notion of piety without principle, or of good fruit his audience.
but from a good iree-This is our creed: “By grace The author can truly say that he yielded to pub- are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourlish, with a reluctance which only an ascertained selves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any earnestness could have overcome. Yet he is now man should boast. For we are his workmanship, glad, especially with regard to his own audience, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which that the importunity was expressed, and has been God hath before ordained that we should walk in complied with. For nearly thirty-five years he has them." Yet, we cannot be ignorant that the combeen laboring to serve his present charge, in the plaint we have supposed, is too often the whining unity of the Spirit, and in the bond of peace, and he and seditious jargon of a party; and the very last hopes he may add, in righteousness of life: and party in the world we should ever consult with rethough he commenced his connection young, yet gard to preaching. These desperate adherents to such a period strikes far into the brevity of human something not easily fixed and definable in sentilife, and calls upon him to think, and feel, and act, ment, but always accompanied with a spirit as well with increasing seriousness and diligence, knowing known and invariable in its operation, as any of the that the night cometh, wherein no man can work; laws of nature; are, in spiritual things, what some and to be concerned that after his decease, his peo- discontented zealots are in political; and as the latple may be able to have the things he has spoken ter render the cause of rational liberty suspicious always in remembrance. The work, therefore, as and despicable, so the former disserve and disgrace a brief epitome of his preaching, will serve as a kind the cause of evangelical religion- They are gospel of ministerial legacy to be perused, particularly by radicals. They are not always even moral: they the younger members of his church and congrega- are never amiable. They neither pursue nor think tion, when the clods of the valley will be sweet about upon the things that are lovely, and of good report. him; and by which, though dead, he may yet speak They set at nought all sacred relations, proprieties, -perhaps, in some cases, to more purpose than while and decencies; while many of them abandon family living. The work may tend to correct some pious worship, and leave their children without any ai.
tempts to bring them into the way everlasting, not ing is commendable; but they view the desideratum knowing but they may be some of those against in too confined an import. They think it, if not whom God “has sworn to have indignation for improper, yet needless, for a minister to inculcate ever," and not daring to go before him, or to be pro- many things which he must feel to be binding upon fane enough to take the work out of his hands.- him. "Oh!" say they, "the grace of God will Self-willed are they; self-confident; presumptuous; teach people all this." The grace of God will incensorious; condemnatory of all that are not initia- cline and enable us to do all this: but it is the Bible ted into their temper and exclusions. With regard that teaches. This contains all our religious inforto their ministers, they are not learners, but judges ; mation; and we only want to be led into all truth. and often make a man an offender for a word. In The sacred writers never left these things to be hearing, all is fastidiousness. Appetite has given taught by the grace of God, without instruction.place to lusting. They go to the house of God, not They never intrusted them to inference. They parfor wholesome food, but for something to elevate ticularized and enforced them. There is not one and intoxicate. The preacher is nothing, unless he of Paul's Epistles, a large proportion of which might can make them drink and forget their duty, and re- not have been spared as impertinent, upon this plea: member their danger no more. Their religion is for as surely as the former parts lay the foundation entirely an impersonal thing, any further than as doctrinally, the latter, labor to build us up on our it consists in belief and delusion. They look for all most holy faith. But these would restrain a public in Christ, not as the only source from which it can teacher from the extensiveness of the gospel itself. be received unto us--this is truth—but as the only They would oblige him to hold forth Christianity residence in which it is to remain, while they them- only in the first rudiments, not in the advanced selves continue the same. They are complete in science. They would confine him to a kind of abhim-not as to the all sufficiency provided in him stract inculcation of a small class of principles; for their actual and entire recovery; but without which principles are indeed unspeakably important, their being new creatures. They look after nothing yet lose much of their importance, by being accomin themselves and nothing in themselves should be panied with certain alliances, and developments, looked for as the ground of their acceptance with and applications. Yea, they would not willingly God, or as self-derived or self-sustained : but they allow him to do more than constantly iterate from look after nothing in themselves even as the effect Sabbath to Sabbath, a few well-known and favored of divine agency and communication-forgetful of sentiments, in a manner the most undeviating, and the inspired prayer, "Create in me a clean heart, in phraseology the most hacknied. They prefer a O God, and renew'a right spirit within me:" re scheme of divinity drawn up by some fallible felgardless of the assertion, “ It is God that worketh low-creature, to the Scripture at large, which, like in you to will and to do of his good pleasure:” sub- God's other works, no one can perfecily systematize; verting the promise, “ Then will I sprinkle clean but in which, as in Nature, we have, instead of mewater upon you, and ye shall be clean: and from chanism, infinite freshness, and richness, and varieall your filthiness and from all your idols will I ty, and irregularity; that is, order beyond our reach. cleanse you; a new heart also will I give unto you, They are sure, if not to oppose, yet not to aid; if and a new spirit also will I put within you; and I not to stigmatize, yet not to countenance and apwill put my Spirit within you, and cause you to pland, any attempt the preacher shall make to exwalk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judg- iend the views of his hearers; to improve their unments and do them." Their state is not a condition derstandings; to lead them through the whole land to be submitted to any process of trial-as those ene- of Revelation in the length and breadth thereof; in mies to Christian comfort would have it, who ad- a word, to do any thing that would follow up the monish persons to examine themselves whether they recommendation of the Apostle, “ Leaving thereare in the faith; and to prove their ownselves; and fore the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us to give all diligence to make their calling and elec- go on unto perfection." tion sure. Their peace requires that all this should, Here the Lecturer is unspeakably happy in being without hesitation, be taken for granted ; while every able to say to the people he addresses, Ye have thing is to be cried down as unbelief that would dare not so learned Christ.”. He, therefore, felt no emto lead them to question, for an instant, their secu- barrassment in the study or in the delivery of these rity, or to keep them from being at ease in Zion.-discourses. He had only to consult his own conThe sinner is not only guilty, but diseased--but victions, and was not necessitated to think of the they are concerned only to remove the sentence of likings or dislikings of a sickly fancy, a perverted condemnation, while the disorder is left. They ab- orthodoxy, a party spirit, or an anathematizing solve, but not heal : they justify, but not renovate. bigotry. "Neither would he ever consent 10 officiate The king's daughter is all glorions within, while in any congregation where he could not stand fast her clothing is of wrought gold-with them the in the liberiy wherewith Christ has made him free. righteousness of Christ is a fine robe to cover a fil. This freedom he thinks a preacher cannot too highthy body. All their sin, past, present, and future, ly value and assert in the discharge of his work-A is so completely done away, that it were folly to feel freedom from the fear of man that bringeth a snare anguish on the account of it. Their miscarriages -inducing and enabling him to say, as he rises from are not theirs; but those of sin that dwelleth in his knees to enter the pulpit, them. Their imperfections are regretless, because unavoidable—no man can keep alive his own soul.
"Careless, myself a dying man,
Of dying men's esteem ; Now we are willing to concede that all those from whom we occasionally hear complaints, do not go
Happy, o God, if thou approve,
Though all beside condemn." into these lengths; and we are persuaded that were these worthier individuals perfectly informed con
A freedom (whatever advantages they may afford cerning the men we have very truly but inadequate him by their collectiveness and arrangemenis) from ly sketched, they would exclaim, My soul, come the fetterings and exclusiveness of human systems not thou into their secret; and mine honor, to their of theology—a freedom from the least sense of any system' be not thou unised." Yet they sometimes obligation requiring him, in the interpretation and murmur, as if in sympathy with them; and borrow improvement of any passage of Scripture before him, their language, unconscious whose technicality it is; to force its natural and obviovs meaning into any and are in danger that their good should be evil frame of Arminian, or Calvinistic theory or authorispoken of. To be strenuous for evangellcal preach-ty--A freedom also from spiritual favoritism, and
which might lead him, from partiality, to shun to and even prevent their being noticed-unless by the declare all the counsel of God, as well as from little and perverse-minded, who only sit to discover timidity.
and remark any minute impropriety-adders to May the author be permitied to plead for a free- every thing else in the charmer, charm he never so dom of another kind -An exemption from a wish wisely. to gratify the few, at the expense of the profit of There is also some difference between the heat of many : an exemption from fastidiousness of compo- delivery and the coolness of review; between the sition and address: an exemption from such a prim- leisure and discrimination of readers and hearers. ness of diction, as admits of the introduction of no More freedom therefore will be permitted in preachanecdote, however chaste, and shuts out the seizure ing than in publishing; and what the press may forof all hints suggested by present feelings and occur- bid, the pulpit may tolerate. Yea, the pulpit may rences: an exemption from the too serious appre- require it, especially for the sake of a large part of bension of little faults in seeking to secure great the congregation. For these, though they have not impressions. Here, to the intimidation and check the advantage of culture, yet have souls as well as ing of the preacher, how often is he told of the dig- others, and their moral wants must be attended to. nity of the pulpit-as if there was any worthy, or Now a preacher need not grovel down to the lowest real dignity in a case like this, separate from utility! level of the vulgar; yea, he should always take his What is the highest, and should be the most admired aim a little above them; in order to raise and imdignity in the preacher--but an apparent forget- prove their taste: but he must not soar out of their fulness of every claim, but his object; and such an sight and reach. Yet he may be tempted to this by absorbing solicitude for the attainment of it, as the presence of others. But let him remember, that leaves him unable to notice inferior things? With those who are more educated and refined, ought, not out such an impression, no man can do a great work only to endure, but to commend his accommodation; gracefully; for if in the execution he is observed to yea, and they will commend, instead of censuring be alive and attentive to any littleness, it will revolt him, if they are really concerned for the welfare of the beholder, instead of pleasing him. An officer their brethren less privileged than themselves. If in the midst of action, will be all occupied in urging they are benevolent and pious, as well as intelligent, and completing the conflict--what should we think they will always be more pleased with a discourse of him if he turned aside after a butterfly, or show- suited to general comprehension and improvement, ed himself at liberty to mind and adjust his ring, or than with a preparation, which, in other circumhis dress? Let a preacher be as correct as possible; stances, they might relish as an intellectual treat for but let him think of founding his consequence upon themselves. To which we may add, that there is something above minuteness and finesse. Let him not so great a difference here as some mistaken and never imagine that his influence, or dignity, will elaborate orators imagine. Genuine simplicity ever be impaired by his feeling and displaying a no- knows a mode, which while it extends to the poor ble elevation ; an indifference to every thing else- and unlearned, will equally please their superiors. while the love of Christ bears him away, and he is Forlost, in endeavoring to save a soul from death, and
So it is when the mind is endued to hide a multitude of sins. There is nothing with
With a well-judging taste from above; which a preacher should be less satisfied than a
Then, whether embellished or rude, tame correctness, or his producing something that
'Tis nature alone that we love. will bear criticism, but which is as devoid of excellence as it is free from defect. He that winneth " The achievements of art may amuse, souls is wise. What is every other praise of an in May even our wonder excite; strument, if it does not answer its end? What is
But groves, hills, and valleys diffuse every other commendation of a preacher, if he be
A lasting, a sacred delight. useless ? unimpressive ? uninteresting? What is it, that nothing is complained of, if nothing is ap In one of his charges, Archbishop Usher says to plauded? What is it, that nothing offends, if no-his clergy, “How much learning and wisdom, my thing strikes? What is the harangue that dies in brethren, are necessary to make these things plain!" the hearing, and leaves nothing for the hearers to Could he have said any thing more fine and judicarry away, to think of in solitude, and to speak of cious than this? Here is the proper direction and in company? What but a fault is the smoothness exertion of a minister's talents, whether natural or of address, that prevents every excitement that acquired. They are not to unfit him for any part would rend by terror, or melt by tenderness? A of his office which they may easily do, at the stisermon may resemble a French Drama that ob- mulation of vanity or pride; but to qualify and aid serves inviolably all the unities, and challenges se him the better to perform it. It is to be feared that verity as a finished piece; but excites no sentiment, some do not employ their abilities to make things and produces no effect. But give us rather the plain—if they do, we can but lament their deploraShakspeare, who, with blemishes which a less ble want of success. But it would seem as if their shrewd observer than Voltaire may detect, actually aim was to dazzle, rather than enlighten; to sursucceeds; arrests; inspires; and enchants. We prise, rather than inform; to raise admiration at need not plead for coarseness or faults. A speaker their difficult composition, rather than with the may be animated, yet decorous and orderly too; but Apostles to use great plainness of speech. Even in popular addresses, if either fails, it is far better their claim to originality often regards only the to sacrifice correctness to impression, than effect a mode of representation. The ideas which they wish nicety of endeavor. Let the squeamishly hyper- to pass off as new, when examined, are found only critical remember that he is laboring to little pur- commonplace sentiments. The well is not really pose while consuming his time and attention in sub-deep; but you cannot see to the bottom, because of ile accuracies, and polished dulness. And let the their contrivance to make the water muddy. They man who is in earnest about his work, never yield are not really tall; and so they strain on tiptoe. to an under anxiety resulting from the possibility They have not a native beauty that always appears of a trifling mistake ; and which, as Gray says of to most advantage without finery; and so they penary, would repress his noble rage and chill the would make up the deficiency by excess, and comgenial current of his soul. Let him feel his subject, plexity, and cumbersomeness of ornament. He who and follow his ardor, recollecting that great excel- cannot rise in the simple grandeur of a morning lences or impressions will redeem small failures: sun, can excite notice by the gaudy brilliancy of
manufactured fireworks; and flame and sparkle, and they are even capable of appreciating what is down, as well as up. To notice in some respects a truly superior in preaching, if it be properly prestyle that has been constructed (for it could hardly sented and illustrated. The fault is always much have been involuntary) so inverted, involved, ob- more with the preacher than with them. He does scure, difficult-half blank verse; might seem to be not adapt himself to those he professes to teach; he going out of the author's province. He leaves, does not make them his aim; he does not study therefore, others to remark, that this style, though it them; he does not throw himself into their modes may be extolled by the lower orders of professional and habits of thinking and feeling; he has nothing men, and half-educated artisans, and exciteable simple and natural in his official being. They unyouth, with a smattering of science and a bad taste; derstand and relish the Pilgrim's Progress; and the it will never obtain the approbation of the really ju- history of Joseph; and the parable of the lost sheep, dicious and discerning. He leaves others to re- and of the prodigal son. They are easily informed mark, that it is disdained by scholars, and at war and impressed by the sayings of our Lord, and the with classical purity. Lord Kaimes tells us, that in language of the Scriptures. But nothing is to be every language, clearness of expression and simpli- done in them withoui excitement; and they are adcity of thought are the first marks of elegance. Mil- dressed without emotion. Their very understandton observes, that nothing accords with true genius ings must be approached through their imaginations but what appears easy and natural when once it is and passions; and they are lectured as if they had produced. Agreeably to which, Addison says, that none. They are never to be starved into a surrenthe secret of fine writing is, for the sentiments to be der; and they are circumvallated and trenched at natural, without being obvious; and contends, that distance. They are only to be taken by an aswhat produces surprise without being simple, will sault; and they are slowly and formally besieged, never yield lasting pleasure to the mind. Hume, in They want familiar and seasonable imagery; and his Essay on Refinement and Simplicity in Style, to show the preacher's learning, they are furnished comes soon to this conclusion: that it is better to err with allusions taken from the arts and sciences.-in the excess of simplicity, than in the excess of re- They want striking sentences, and the words of the finement; the former extreme being more beautiful wise, which are as goads and as nails; and they and less dangerous than the latter. He observes, have long and tame paragraphs. They only want that the works read again and again with so much truths to be brought home to their consciences, for pleasure, all lean more to the one side than to the they admit them already; and they are argued and other-that it is increasingly needful to be guarded reasoned into confusion, or doubt. They want preagainst the extreme of refinement when learning has cedents; and are furnished with precepts. They made much progress, and good writers appear in want instances; and are deadened by discussions. every species of composition; as men will then be The want facts; and are burdened with reflections. the more tempted to endeavor to please by strange The Bible adapts itself to the state of our nature; ness and novelty, and so fill their writings with af- and knowing how little all are, and how little luany fectation and conceits-and that simplicity may be can be affected with abstract representations of virlost, not only in subtlety, but in effort and straining;/tues and duties, it blends religion with history and and nature and ease be buried under an artificial biography; so that while we read the rule, we may load of laborious diffusion.
see the exemplification; and be reproved, excited, But while the preacher leaves others to speak up- and encouraged, while we are informed. It is not on this subject as a literary question, it cannot be a series of logical definitions, like dead bodies well improper for him to notice it in another and far laid out and dressed-all is life and motion. It gives more important connection; and to deprecate the us actions rather than words. We view the fruits adoption of such a style in divinity, and to warn his of righteousness growing on the tree. We have, younger brethren against every approach and ten- not the pilgrimage, but the pilgrim; and go along dency towards it. For how perfecily is it unlike the with him from the city of destruction to the shining language of inspiration! What an entire contrast city. We are not spectators only; we are his comdoes it form with the simplicity there is in Christ panions; we are interested in all he meets with; we Jesus! And how useless must such hard and unin- weep when he weeps, and rejoice when he rejoices. telligible diction be to ordinary minds! And who It is not Christianity that is set before us, but the are the mass in almost every audience? They, who Christian; and we attend him following his Saare often comparativelv ueglected, if not despised, viour, denying himself, taking up his cross, resistthere. Leighton, and Waits, and a thousand other ing temptation, struggling with unwearied patience names, whose works praise them in the gate, and through a thousand difficulties, braving with fortiare now useful to all might have been so written as tude every danger, and emerging out into glory, to be useless to many. Had our Saviour felt the honor, and immortality. By nothing can the attenlow ambition of some, he might easily have been be- tion of children be so effectúally caught as by facts yond the comprehension and the attraction of the and narratives; and “men are but children of a multitude. In him were hid all the treasures of larger growth." What is the greater part of the wisdom and knowledge. He spake as never man Old Testament but history? There is scarcely a spake. But was it a proof against his manner, or Psalm, but refers to some fact in the experience of the highest recommendation of it, that the common the composer:
What are the prophets, but histopeople heard him gladly; and that all bare him wit- rians by anticipation ? Many of them siate various ness, and wondered at the gracious words which past, and cotemporary events. The book of Jonah proceeded out of his mouth? The author would has only one prediction in it; but it describes in a not for the world be in the condition of that preach- most vivid and interesting manner, the actual and er whose attendants do not, cannot say, “ Here the wonderful occurrences that befell the bearer him. poor have the gospel preached unto them.” They self. How pleasing and striking are the short and not only need it, and should excite our compassion simple annals of Ruth! What is the book of Job by their temporal privations and sufferings, as well but the matchless dramatic story of a good man in as by their spiritual condition; but they are capable his affiuence, his adversity, and his deliverance ?of understanding, and receiving, and admiring it
. In the book of Genesis, we are present at the creaLearning is not necessary here. The doctrines of tion, the destruction, and the re-peopling of the the gospel are not the result of research, but testi- world; we live, we travel, we worship with the pamony. There are funds of good sense and good | triarchs; we stand round their dying beds. It is feeling in the common people, as well as in others; I needless to add, that the remainder of the Penta
teuch, with the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, of illustration and confirmation, and some with anKings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, other: and he whose mind was wandering or heedare all of the narrative kind, including general and less at first, may haply be seized afterward. For individual sketches of the most wonderful people on precept must be upon precept, line upon line; here earth. But what is the gospel itself, according to a little, and there a litle. And the preacher will Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John ? Is it any thing often see by the look and manner of a hearer that like our treatises and bodies of divinity? It is the what he failed to accomplish by a first stroke, has history of the Son of God: While the Acts are a been done by a second. portion of the history of the Apostles: and the Epis The author is perhaps furnishing materials with iles are evermore enlivened with characters, inci- which to condemn himself. And let him be condents, and allusions. Is this the work of God ? demned, as far as he deviates from these rules. He Does he know perfectly what is in man, and neces- is fully persuaded of their goodness and truth. He sary to him? Has he herein abounded towards us can only say, it has long been his endeavor to conin all wisdom and prudence? Is it not, then, sur- form to them. Upon the same principles he has actprising that religious instructers should not think it ed with regard to a few other things, in which, if necessary or desirable to resemble him? And can he has erred, he has erred from design. any thing be more unlike this inspired, and attrac Such is the large use he has made of Scripture tive, and irresistible, and impressive mode, than the language. If holy men spake as they were moved structure of many of the discourses that are deliver- by the Holy Ghost, we should prefer the words the ed in our public assemblies? Hence, they awaken Holy Ghosi useth. They are surely, on their own so little attention; and yield so little pleasure; and subjects, the most definite and significant. They are take no firm hol on the mind and feelings, espe- also well known: and it is a great advantage in adcially of the young and the common people dressing hearers that we are not perplexed with "And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds."
terms and phrases; but have those at hand which
they understand.- What a difficulty do we feel in General declamations and reflections do liule in dealing with those who are ignorant not only of the a popular audience. The preacher must enter into doctrine, but the letter, of the Scripture. It is pro detail, and do much by circumstances. Nothing can bable that a very judicious critic and eloquent 'Dipenetrate, but what is pointed. Every indictment vine* would censure the author as in an extreme must particularize and specify. The eye may take here; yet he seems to allow it to be an error on the in a large prospect; but we are affected by inspec- safer side; and thinks that a great and original tion. We must not stand long with our people on writer has condemned the copious use of Scripture the brow of the hill, showing them a wide and in- language with too much severity. We avail ourdistinct expansion, but take them by the hand, and selves of his striking remarks in his review of Mr. lead them down to certain spots and objects. We Foster's Essays. “To say nothing of the inimitable are to be characteristic-not only with regard to beauties of the Bible, considered in a literary view, persons, though this is of great importance, but also which are universally acknowledged; it is the with regard to vice and virtue, faults and excellen- book which every devout man is accustomed to conces. To what purpose is it to admonish servants sult as the oracle of God; it is the companion of his to be good? The question is, in what is their good- best moments, and the vehicle of his strongest conDess to appear? Therefore, says the Apostle, “Ex- solation. Intimately associated in his mind with hort servants to be obedient to their own masters, every thing dear and valuable, its diction more powand to please them well in all things; not answering erfully excites devotional feelings than any other; again; not purloining, but showing all good fideli- and when temperately and soberly used, imparts an ly, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Sa- unction to a religious discourse which nothing else viour in all things." Does Solomon only condemn can supply. Besides, is there not room to appredrun kenness? What is there in the wretched crime; hend that a studied avoidance of the Scripture in its excitement, progress, evil, danger, misery, phraseology, and a care to express all that it is supthat he does not strike ? “Who hath wo? who posed to contain in the forms of classical diction, hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath bab-might ultimately lead to the neglect of the Scripbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath tures themselves, and a habit of substituting flashy redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, and superficial declamation, in the room of the savthey that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou ing truths of the gospel ? Such an apprehension is upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his co- but too much verified by the most celebrated serlor in the cup, when it moveth itself aright: at the mons of the French; and still more by some modern last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an ad- compositions in our own language, which usurp that der. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and title. For devotional impression, we can conceive thy heart shall utter perverse things: yea, thou shalt that a very considerable tincture of the language of be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or Scripture, or at least such a coloring as shall discoas he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have ver an intimate acquaintance with those inimitable stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they models, will generally succeed best." have beaten me, and I felt it not; when shall (1 If it be allowed from all these considerations, that awake? I will seek it yet again.”
the language of the Bible has such claims, will i. A preacher must also indulge in a certain degree not follow that the frequent use of it, will 'tend to of diffusiveness. He who passes rapidly from one bring the preacher's own language into some degree thing to another is not likely to impress, or indeed of keeping with it? Surely that style is best for reeven to inform the majority of his audience. To | ligious instruction which most easily and congeniaffect them, he must commonly dwell upon the ally incorporates the composition of the Bible with thought a little; and sometimes more than a little; | it. This is not the case with some modes of writeven with an enlargedness that may seem needless; | ing and speaking. But if there be unsuitableness, and with a repetition in other words and exemplifi- and difficulty, and discordancy, in the junction; cations, that may go for tautology, with persons of which is to blame? and which requires to be alterqnicker apprehensiveness. Hints will please the ed in order to their readier coalescence ? the lanscholar, and set his own mind pleasingly in motion; guage of Scripture, or our own ? Knox has affirmand he can instantly add from his own stores. But that writer or speaker will ever be so nder, many have nothing but what they receive. Besides, some are more struck with one species or instance i
. Mr. Hall.