Page images

no other benefit resulted from the make the Bible a catechism, or a publication of the volume, it would treatise, or a didactic discourse; he be of great utility if it only assisted gave history, and prophecy, and to revive a taste for expository doctrine, and precept, in a manner preaching, of which, at present, very different to what our fallible there is a very general impatience. minds would perhaps have consiYet what style of preaching is so dered the best method of affordcalculated to build men up in true ing a revelation ; and his ministers scriptural knowledge as that which should consider that nothing which flows directly from the sacred text; he has declared is unimportant. and this not in partial fragments, But still there must, after all, be but in connected masses ? And some selection of topics ; a minister here we are quite ready to admit. would not be “ declaring to the that an honest wish for “ practical people all that he believes to be preaching" may have conduced to the truth of of God,” if he dwelt as the unhappy result of neglecting much upon the Books of Chronicles large and important portions of or the wars of Joshua, or the cereScripture. “ The Morning Watch," monial laws of the Jews, as upon in the paper before alluded to, laments the Psalms, Epistles, and Gospels. that “the leading notion in the ge- His business is to unite the two nerality of ministers is, that it should things which the Morning Watch be their first aim to convert souls ;" seems to put in opposition ; the whereas, says the Watchman, “ the aim “ to convert souls," and the aim first duty of a pastor is honestly to to declare “ all that he believes to declare to the people all that he be the truth of God." The exhibelieves to be the truth of God.” bition of the latter is the revealed Now we think that the above alleged means under the influences of the leading notion is a very good notion; Holy Spirit of effecting the former. and we doubt not that those who But this enlarged view of Divine hold it are anxious to declare all truth necessarily leads in some that they believe to be the truth of measure to the very selection which God; but we think that the practice is complained of. The preacher, of always selecting short texts, and believing that the Bible was meant never taking whole

chapters, or going for the conversion of souls," states, through whole books, may, unin- or should state, what he finds there tentionally on the part of the in its due aspect and proportion. preacher, confine his own sphere He will justly consider that many of vision, and that of his flock, to a things, the direct bearing of which few select topics, instead of going he does not himself perhaps fully through the good land in its whole appreciate, may be powerfully conlength and breadth. Having to ducive to the general end; for Infi. " choose a text,” he looks for one nite Wisdom could not err in planwhich appears to him well calcu- ning its measures. But still he has lated by the blessing of God, to ignorant, and busy, and careless suggest such subjects of meditation people to deal with ; and far from as may assist his “ aim to convert being able to go through all the souls.” He does the same next Bible with them in frequent and week, and the week after ; and thus enlarged exposition, he can only at the year's end his sermons have get their attention for perhaps thirty a considerable sameness of aspect. or forty hours in a year, if so much, The expository method prevents and this only in detached fragments; this restriction of topics: it proceeds while thousands are dying around upon the principle that God best him, whom he is glad to teach as knew how to reveal his own word; he can, with the direct aim “ to best knew the right measures and convert their souls,” even if he proportions of truth: he did not should not be able to instruct them


fully in the mysteries of the Millen- pendence, are splendid sins. But nium, and other points of dubious those offences which our author so controversy. We must also remind justly denounces ; namely, sabbathour Morning-Watch friends, that a breaking, under the four counts of minister may be conscientiously official banquetings, evening routs, declaring “all that he believes to be cabinet councils, and unnecessary the truth of God," who passes over travelling, with duelling, horsemuch that they believe. It is not racing, the theatre, licentiousness, fair to what are called the evangelical and connubial infelicity, have noclergy to suppose that they corruptly thing imposing about them: those keep back what they really conceive who practise them scarcely pretend to be scriptural, because they forbear in a religious view to defend them, to dwell upon points upon which much less to rank them as virtues. they acknowledge that they possess Nor in truth are these sins very no certain information; because spiendid, even in our author's own they will not “ speculate” where they sense of the expression ; for a porter are doubtful, and see no “practical" can break the Sabbath as well as a utility in setting up or knocking lord ; a tea-garden party can be as down hypotheses, which, whether sacrilegious as their co-sinners in a true or false, have no reference to ducal mansion ; the admirers of a the “ conversion of souls.”

Paddington Omnibus can compete with the most zealous coronetted Sunday traveller, in neglecting their

own devotions, and disturbing those Splendid Sins; a Letter to his Grace of others; so again, those who the Duke of Wellington. By LA- cannot race horses may race don

RedivivUS. London. kies; the “ boards” of a fair, can 1830. Is.

be as wicked as those of Drury or

the Italian Opera; the “connubial The author says,

infelicity” of selling a wife at " In the course of this address I shall Smithfield, may vie with the "splenendeavour to lay before your Grace, the did ” atrocities which lead to Docunchristian character, as well as the in- tors' Commons and the House of jurious tendency, of some of those habits Lords; in short, the only unrivalled which, from their origination and peculiar prevalence among the great and illustrious, article even of worldly splendour I have denominated, in the language of an in sin in the above catalogue, is ancient father, ' splendid sins.'

that of “duelling,” which the humThe title is a misnomer ; for by bler ranks of men have not yet “ splendid sins” divines do not aspired to copy. But abating this mean the sins of splendid persons, splended act of coolly shooting a which are just as selfish and debasing friend with a bullet, instead of as those of their neighbours, but forgiving him like a vulgar Christian, sins which, from assuming the as- or knocking him down like a vulgar pect of virtues, appear splendid, clown, the higher ranks have no suwhile in reality they are but vices premacy in sin ; a point of some in disguise. The prayer of the importance to be remembered, lest formalist, the austerities of the re- the vantage ground even of a “ bad ligious self-tormentor, the sacrifice eminence," should confirm them of the devotee, the pharisaic bank- in their vices, in order to shew, note or alms-house, humility when that, though they are wicked, they it makes men proud of being humble, at least are not plebeian. There zeal for the service of God, when are again those who rather than it whispers to itself, How well I not be splendid at all, would be serve him! nay, the spiritual graces willing to be splendid as sinners ; of the Christian himself, when per- but if such hope to win a cheap way verted to the purposes of self-de- to distinction by copying our author's The pre


catalogue of “ splendid sins," we woods, the fields were roamed over protest against their claim, and in search of objects to talk upon, pledge ourselves to find equally but often with much inconvenience meritorious candidates in every and no great benefit. haunt of vulgar profligacy.

The « Lessons on Objects" now But though we admit not the before us will instruct teachers epithet as a distinction, we fully how to do, upon system, what a admit it as involving responsibility; sensible well-informed mother, so and in this view our author most far as her knowledge extends, does justly urges the duty of the higher almost by instinct. We have often ranks of society to break off these witnessed with admiration the petheir besetting sins, both for the culiar skill with which a female insake of their own souls and the structor will teach a child to think souls of their neighbours. The not only on material objects, but public are always ready to attach on religious truths apparently far an idea of splendour to the acts of beyond the tender years of her splendid persons; and most fear. pupil. But to do this rightly she must ful is the account which those will first think herself, and also acquire have to render, whose powerful in- such general information as will fluence and example, instead of enable her to ask and to answer leading their contrymen in the ways questions, and such books as this of God, help to strengthen them in will help her to do so. those of Satan. We heartily thank vailing defect of female teachers is Latimer Redivivus for his honest, not so much want of tact as want earnest, and well-timed

of knowledge ; while the reverse is strance with such persons, and trust often the case with learned and that, by the Divine blessing, “his scientific men. We have seen an labour will not be in vain in the intelligent boy blunder for half an Lord."

hour on some simple point, with a well-read tutor, till a judicious

mother has quietly elucidated the Lessons on Objects, as given in a whole mystery by one well-timed

Pestalozzian School at Cheam. question; and this with such in. 38. 6d. London. 1830.

stinctive delicacy that the most

jealous preceptor could not feel This little work is intended to offended, The streams of learning instruct teachers in the art of asking had before regurgitated, as rapidly pertinent questions, so as to accus- as they were poured out, from tom children to examine the proper. the narrow neck of the cruise that ties of the objects around them. To was to receive them ; but the maeffect this purpose Pestalozzi began ternal instructor knew better how with engravings. Here is a picture to accommodate the supply to the of a ladder, said one of his masters demand. to bis pupils : let us talk about it. Of that eminently amiable, inBut there is a real ladder in the telligent, and useful philanthropist court yard, replied one of the boys; Pestalozzi and his system, with its why not talk about that? The excellencies and its defects, 50 picture, it was rejoined, is here, much has been said in our pages and will save us the trouble of go- that we shall not trespass on our ing out. Soon after, a picture of a readers further at present than to window was held up. But we have remark, that the basis and general a real window in the room, said the details of his plan are excellent, boy, and need not now go into the and that this publication will be court-yard. The boy is right, said found of great service in reducing Pestalozzi privately to the master; them to practice in family and and from ihat time the house, the school education. We have never Christ. Observ. No. 340.

2 K

felt satisfied, in reference either to “ Christian Minister,” will in these Yverdun or Hofwyl, that the be- manuals find much important innevolent conductors had learned struction condensed into a small what is the highest end and purpose space, and conveyed in the true of human life, or had attained to spirit of the Gospel; but to the that most important of all objects younger clergy especially, and can. of education, to bring up children didates for holy orders, their value in “ the nurture and admonition of will be great indeed. If to these the Lord ;" but their systems adrnit two recent publications we add a of grafting upon them any specific third, which we have already strongly course of religious instruction which recommended, the abridgement of the Christian preceptor may feel to Baxter's Reformed Pastor, with a be requisite: and we should regret preliminary Essay by the Rev. D. that those who have at heart the Wilson, we know not in what quarter welfare, temporal and eternal, of the the theological student could exrising generation, should not avail pend a guinea to greater personal themselves of what is really valuable and professional profit. in the ideas and plans of Pestalozzi, Mr. Bridges' work, as he states Fellenberg, or even Mr. Robert in his preface, has grown out of Owen, on account of the recoil several excellent papers inserted in which every religious mind must the Christian Observer for 1828, feel from any system of education pp. 136 and 209; and 1829, pp. 71 which does not take as its basis and 142; which will serve as ample that “man's chief end is to glorify extracts, by anticipation, to shew God, and to enjoy him for ever." our readers the character of the

whole volume, which comprises the most important topics requisite to

a treatise on the pastoral care, The Christian MINISTRY, with wrought out with great piety and

an Inquiry into the Causes of its In- sound judgment, and adapted to the efficiency, and with an especial special circumstances of the present Reference to the Ministry of times, and therefore including some the Establishment. By the Rev. subjects not treated of by earlier CHARLES BRIDGES B.A. Vicar writers. From such a multitude of of Old Newton, Suffolk. Second topics, we are at a loss to select Edition. I vol. 12mo. 8s. Ed. one or two extracts as a sample, 1829.

in addition to the papers already TheChristian Student,designed inserted in our pages. We open

to assist Christians in general in cursorily at the chapter on “the acquiring religious Knowledge, treatment of cases in the pastoral with Lists of Books. By the Rev. work,” which will serve to shew the E. BICKERSTETH. 1 vol. 12mo. amplitude of our author's argument. Second Edition. 98. 6d. 1829. Among these cases he instances

the ignorant and careless, the selfThese two books issue from the righteous, the false professor, nasame press, at the same time, in tural and spiritual convictions, the the same garb; each has speedily young Christian, the backslider, the reached a second edition; and well inestablished Christian, and the do they deserve to keep company confirmed and consistent Christian, together and to circulate widely respecting the treatment of all of for the benefit of the world, for which he suggests many valuable they breathe the same spirit, are directions. We quote one of the constructed upon the same scrip- cases as a specimen :tural principles, and conduce to

" THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS. the same momentous ends. The

“ The young ruler exemplifies our “ Christian Student," and the Lord's treatment of this case. Conviction

[ocr errors]



was wanted, and the Law was the medium demands of his holy and inflexible Judge? employed. Ignorance of the Law is the Wbat if the handwriting should then be root of self-deception. An acquaintance upon the wall,' against him and with its spirituality unveils the hidden contrary to him?' Let sin, the law, the world of guilt and defilement, brings down Saviour, be exhibited before him, fuily, self-complacency, and lays the sinner constantly, and connectedly ; let the pride, prostrate before the Cross. In another guilt, ingratitude, and ruin of unbelief, bo case, he made the necessity of an entire faithfully and affectionately applied to his change of heart the instrument of con- conscience; let him know that the subviction. He denounced the enmity or stitution of any form of doctrine.or course hypocrisy of this spirit as the wilful re- of duties, in the place of a simple reliance jection of his Gospel, and as making a on Christ, turns life itself into death, and

stumbling stone and rock of offence of hinders not only the law, but even the the foundation laid for the trust, glory, Gospel from saving him. Who knoweth and salvation of his people. The Epistles but thus he may be bumbled, enlightened, to the Romans and Galatians exhibit this and accepted, in the renunciation of his principle intrenched in a system of ex- own hopes, and the reception of the Goternal religion, without faith, love, con- spel of Christ ?" Bridges, pp. 459–461. trition, separation from the world, or spiritual desires; or in a dependance on Mr. Bickersteth's treatise, to the mercy of God, even in the rejection of

which we

now turn, is intended the ordained means of the communication of mercy, of which the man has no other not merely for clerical students, but notion, than as a help to supply deficiencies for persons of all classes who wish to upon the condition of future amendment. obtain as competent a knowledge of

“What makes the case of the self-justi- divinity as their circumstances may ciary so affecting, is that we have no Gospel message to deliver to him: our

allow. Religion is every man's busiMaster 'came not to call the righteous, ness: theological science is so only so but sinners to repentance.' The righteous far as it is necessary to religion. Mr. need him not, seek him not, and have no Bickersteth, however, provides not interest in him. Our commission is to only for this necessary minimum; sinners; and judging from this man's own account of himself—of the goodness of his but for those additional portions of heart-the correctness of his conduct attainment which an intelligent and the multitude and excellency of his Christian will feel it his privilege to meritorious actions we should conceive him not to belong to that • lost’ race,

aspire after, that he may grow in whom the Son of man came' expressly the “ knowledge” as well as the and erclusively to save.' Indeed, his spi- grace" of his Saviour. Nay, bę. ritual ignorance presents a difficulty, at yond even this, divinity merely as the outset, in dealing with him. We

a sublime and infinitely interesting have with all simplicity and plainness laid before him the fallacy of his expectations, science, claims a large share of en. we have judged him out of his own mouth lightened regard; and unlike secular

- nay, we have even compelled him to professional studies, which are usually judge and to condemn himself. Yet the

confined to particular orders of men, next conversation brings with it the mor. tification of finding him as far as ever

it is a pursuit in which a layman may removed even from the comprehension feel as much pleasure as a divine, of the Gospel. The same dependence and perhaps make as large, or larger, upon his own performances is expressed, advances. To a person thus disas if no attempt had been made to undeceive him, and no confession extorted posed, and who wishes at the same of the weakness of his foundation. time that his knowledge should be

“ To pursue the self-justiciary into all correct as well as enlarged, scripbis . refuges of lies,' and to sweep them tural rather than a digest of human task? When disturbed in his first refuge vagaries, and, above all

, subservient of his own righteousness, he flies to re- to the momentous end of “working pentance. Half distrusting this security, out his own salvation with fear and he strengthens it by the merits of his trembling,” Mr. Bickersteth offers sincerity for perfection, or by the recol most valuable aid. lection of his best endeavours as a warrant

Our author is no friend to selffor his hope in the mercy of God. But satisfied ignorance, sheltering its place him on his death-bed : is he sure unlearned idleness under the prethat his works are not deficient in weight? that he has attained the precise measure,

text of spiritual attainment. 'He commensurate with the full and equitable shews that theological study is of

« PreviousContinue »