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himself on the Scriptures, delivered him from its inju. rious tendency.
Many, indeed, will not allow that he was a calvinist, he had so little of the peculiarities of that sect. For ourselves, however, we are willing to take him as a moderate, or softened disciple of that school; for it rejoices us to find, that there is strength enough in the great principles of Christ, however mixed or corrupted, to overcome the mixture and corruptions, and form the christian character, in spite of those doctrines, which seem to oppose
it. The example of such a man is an invaluable legacy to the church. It revives a feeling, which many are strenuously endeavouring to root out of the world, that the disciples of Jesús' are indeed brethren, and have common interests and sympathies. Such men form, if we may so say, the few remaining links of that charity, which the apostles describe as a perfect bond of union.
The memoir of his own life, which was found after his death, and is now prefixed to a volume of his posthumous sermons, is a very scanty document, and has no connected interest. It could not be expected, indeed, that the life of a retired clergyman should have much incident to amuse. But it is very valuable as giving what appears to be a faithful portrait of his character, as a judicious and prudent pastor. Several anecdotes he relates of himself, and of his mode of treating those who came to him for counsel, or to entrap him, which are excellent, as guides to men in similar situations, and evince a remarkable share of practical wisdom. Of these we should be glad to quote several, but must be satisfied with two, and we select those which are among the most important and pointed. The first is introduced in the Memoir by this, among other remarks; "We ought
always to place religion, where the Scripture has placed it, in holiness of heart and life; and to regard devotional duties as instrumental to this end. We are never to place the essence of religion in things, which are but the means of it."
"A serious man from a neighbouring parish took occasion to inform me, that there was a great revival of religion in his vicinity. I expressed my satisfaction at the intelligence; but asked him, wherein the happy revival discovered itself? Whether the people appeared to be more humble, more condescending, more meek and peaceable, more kind and charitable, better united in their social relations, more virtuous in their manners? He could not answer particularly with respect to these things; but said, 'People were much engaged in attending religious meetings; they had private lectures as often as any transient preacher could be obtained; and they had conferences very frequently almost every evening. I observed to him, that attendance on the word preached was highly important, and a hopeful indication; but asked him, how it was on the Lord's day; (for I knew they had been shamefully negligent of that duty.) Why-no- said he, 'we don't go to meeting on the sabbath. What, I inquired, do you neglect God's institutions to observe your own? The prophet marks this as a token of the decay of religion amongst the Jews. He answered, We do not like our parish minister very well.' I observed to him, that if they had a minister, who did not preach the Gospel, this was a reason why he should leave the pulpit; not why they should leave the meeting-house; and they ought to take regular measures for his removal, and the introduction of a better man. “0, said be, 'I don't pretend, but that he preaches the
Gospel; but there are some subjects, on which he does not preach. Perhaps he preaches on them, when you are absent. He continued, 'I don't like his manner of preaching. He is not so fervent, so engaged, as I wish; he uses his notes too much, &c.' Friend, said I, you well remember, that Paul, Apollos and Cephas all preached in Corinth. They preached the same Gospel; but they had different modes of speaking. And among their hearers, one said, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos; and a third, I am of Cephas. Now on this occasion, Paul told them, they were carnal. Apply this to yourself. On the authority of Paul, I tell you, you are carnal.
He answered, 'I do not see, but that it is so.'"
The following anecdote bears the same characteris: tics as the above.
"My steady aim in preaching has been to promote real religion in temper and practice, and to state and apply the doctrines of the gospel in a manner best adapted to this end. Keeping this in view, I have avoided unprofitable controversy. I have been careful not to awaken disputes, which were quietly asleep, and not to waste my own and my hearers' time by reproving imaginary faults, or indifferent customs. Among these I have reckoned the fashion of dress. I was once requested to preach against prevailing fashions. A remote inhabitant of the parish, apparently in a serious frame, called upon me one day, and pressed the necessity of bearing my testimony against this dangerous evil. I observed to him, that as my people were generally farmers in middling circumstances, I did not think they took a lead in fashions;—if they followed them, it was at an humble distance, and rather to avoid singularity, than to encourage extravagance;-that as long as people were in the habit of wearing clothes, they must have sone fashion or other, and a fashion, that answered the ends of dress, and exceeded not the ability of the wearer, I considered as ionocent, and not deserving reproof. To this he agreed; but said, what grieved him was to see people set their hearts so much on fashions. I conceded that as modes of dress were trifles compared with our eternal concerns, to set our hearts
them must be a great sin. But I advised him to consider, that to set our hearts against such trifles was the same sin, as to set our hearts upon them; and as his fashion was different from those of his neighbours, just in proportion as he set his heart against theirs, he set his heart upon his own. He was therefore doubly guilty of the very sin he imputed to others; and I desired him to correct his own fault, which he could not but know, and to hope, that his neighbours were less faulty than himself, and less faulty than he had uncharitably supposed them to be. I could not but reflect how easily men deceive themselves, beholding the mote in their brother's eye, and considering not the beam in their own.”
Dr. Lathrop's character must rest finally on his sermons, which have had a great popularity and wide circulation, and are written in a direct and forcible style of simplicity, calculated to render them extensively useful. We think the present volume inferiour to those which have preceded it, and not likely to add to his reputation. It contains much good matter, but the sermons want unity and point, and are many of them rather miscellaneous observations than connected dis
We can conceive of their having been highly interesting in the delivery, but are less calculated, we apprehend, than his former sermons to attract, edify, and impress in the closet. No man was ever more faithful and diligent in the study and composition of his sermons, and it may be doubted, if
any one has exceeded the extent of his labours-in this department of his ministerial duties. "He has left behind him,"
the Rev. Mr. Sprague, "about five thousand manuscript sermons, a noble monument of his piety, talents, and industry."* He was settled in the ministry, and performed the stated services of his office, during a period of sixty-two years.
Jeremy Taylor on the Authority of Reason.
Right reason is so far from being an exile from the inquiries of religion, that it is the great insurance of many propositions of faith; and we have seen the faith of men strangely alter, but the reason of man can never alter; every rational truth supposing its principles, being eternal and unchangeable. All that is to be done here, is to see that you argue well, that your deduction be evident, that your reason be right; for scripture is to our understandings, as the grace of God to our wills; that instructs our reason, and this helps our wills; and we may as well choose the things of God, without our wills, and delight in them without love, as understand the scriptures, or make use of them without reason.
(Sermon on a Minister's Duty. Although every man is bound to follow his guide, unless he believes his guide to mislead hims; yet when he sees reason against his guide, it is best to follow his
* Sermon preached at the Interment of the Rev. Joseph Lathrop, D. D. p. 23.