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pearances of a selfish gratitude ! irretrievably lost, by mistaking the sinking of nature after an excessive stimulation, for that peace
of mind which the world can not give ! A man of that considerate, discriminating intellect which Mr. Jenkins possessed, could not but fear the consequences of the torrent of popular feeling which is sometimes set in motion by rhapsodical preachers. He endeavored to raise landmarks, by which the true and safe channel may be ascertained exactly. In his Sermons on the Character of the Unrenewed, the Results and Uses of the Fact of lluman Depravity, the Repentance of Judas, and a Characteristic of true Faith, we discover many passages of sterling worth, in their application to the genuineness of conversions. We make a few extracts.
“* The change" from sin to lioliness " does not consist in the mere substitution of one set of motives and creeds for another. If it did, there would be nothing marvellous in the achievement of such a change. Nothing is more easy than to change the apeculative views of men. A proud man of the world can readily be made a spiritually proud professor of religion. A man of naturally violent temper can easily be converted into a fiery and rash zealot of some religious party. The gay triflers that move in the world of fashion can, without any ditficulty, and with scarcely any change, be made the busy retailers of religious gossip—the busy actors in the world of religious romance and dissipation. And such conversions, it is much to be feared, are remarkably numerous in this age of religious profession, of religious talk, and of religions controversy. But ah! this is not religion ;--this is not to be born of God ;-this is not to be a new creature in Jesus Christ. To make the car. nal mind to love God, to love his law though it condemn him, to love his holy socereignty, to love his methods of saving mercy,--to bring such a mind to loathe itseli, to hate sin, to tread the world under foot, to pant after God, to aspire after nothing but the mind that was in Christ ;- with man this is verily impossible ;—and yet, nothing short of this is regeneration."
The following remarks indicate the same cautious spirit, and are peculiarly valuable to those who are engaged in a religious Revivai.
“ The spiritual beliecer will not be precipitate in forming and expressing his opinion of the religious character of others.”—-"le knows, that to become a child of God involves an exceedingly great alteration in the inherent bias and relish of the mind; and that to fail to become such is a greater calamity than the loss of existence. Knowing this, and loving and desiring the salvation of the souls of his fellow sinners, with trembling caution will he let the influence of his opinion go to excite or confirm a hope in the breast of one of his fellow immortals. He will think of the tremendous responsibleness attached to the influence of such an opinion. It is not the cherishing of an innocent persuasion in his own bosom. It may be the sending of a soul to the judgement without being pardoned and renewed. It may be fixing the seal of perdition upon an immortal mind. It may be giving one a hope which will speedily terminate in everlasting despair. However reluctant therefore he may be to protract the anguish of a sinner, oppressed and burdened with a consciousness of guilt; unwilling as he may well be to destroy the hope of one who has truly submitted to the terms of salvation through Christ, he would rather do this,-oh! he would rather send every broken-hearted 'sinner who is liable to be directed by his decision all the way through life in hopeless sorrow, than be the occasion of encouraging one in a hope that must prove ruinous,
pp. 236, 237.
The volume of Mr. Jenkins, we think, exhibits a happy specimen of the proper use of the imagination in popular sermons.
His taste being delicate and correct, bis reason being steady and sound, the fancy could not but be chastened. In his Discourse “ On Spring,” and in that preached on occasion of the memorable avalanche at the White Hills, in August, 1826, we see that his imaginative powers were active, and yet by severe discipline sobered. There are in these, and indeed in all his sermons, an occasional nervousness of style, a felicitous mode of quotation from the Scriptures, a pungency of appeal, and a train of original judicious remark, which commend them alike to the “man of feeling” and “ to the man of thought," and invite, as few sermons do, to repeated perusals.
We are much pleased with the brevity of our Author's discourses. Dr. Pope, speaking of Barrow his intimate personal friend, says, “I can find no fault to allege against his character but this, he is a little too long in his sermons.” Brevity is indeed the “ soul of pulpit-eloquence,” as well as of “wit.” Very few hearers will attend diligently to a protracted theological discussion ; and the few who do attend, are so exhausted at its close that their sensibilities will not be successfully touched by the final appeal. Much greater impression would be produced, if the introduction and argument of a discourse were accurately adapted to the simple object of making the soul impressible; of uncasing it so that it may be penetrated by the sword of the Spirit. But unless the preparatory parts are brief, the soul will doubly shield itself against the direct contact with truth; and when the sword smites, it smites not the heart itself, but the steel that covers it. Nor should the application of a discourse be protracted. Men are jealous of prolonged appeals to their sensitive nature, and suspect the preacher of a design to display, ostentatiously, the power which he has obtained over them. Besides, " tears dry fast," and he who speaks a passion into existence by a few words, will kill the sanie passion by a few more. After the attention is aroused and obstacles are removed, then let the subject of discourse be applied to the heart, and produce its own eliect. This is the mode of our author. No aitempts does he make to influence the feelings by interjections and exclamations; nor does he beg from his hearers a good eflect of his discourse by those conmon, pitiful expressions, “Oh do feel this subject !" "Be persuaded to feel it !" If a preacher's subject, when applied to the heart, does not elicit the appropriate feelings, they will not be elicited by his simple petition ; and if they are not called forth by a brief appeal, they will seldom be by a long one. The blow
must be struck at the precise time; and if it have no effect on the iron when just taken from the fire, will it have any effect on the cooled and hardened metal ? It is in consequence of the brevity of our author's discourses, that they leave their reader desirous of reading more ; and instead of fatiguing him with repetitions, are constantly alluring him froin one topic to another until he has finished the volume. Unless we mistake the character of Christians in ordinary life, they will feel a fresh interest at the conclusion of almost every discourse, and their pleasure in the perusal of the volume will, from beginning to end, regularly increase.
We might mention some faults in the rhetorical and perhaps in the theological character of these sermons; but there is so much more to applaud than to condemn, that criticism is quite disarmed. Those who best knew their lamented author, most deeply feel, that in losing him, the church lost qualities of which she had none to spare, --important at all times, but peculiarly so, at these in which we live. In the midst of much innovation, we needed his steadfastness in the faith ; in the midst of much enthusiasm, we needed his deliberation and prudence ; in the midst of much that is visionary and delusive, we needed his perspicacity, his discrimination, his faithfulness in reproof. An independent thinker like him, one who stood on a stable foundation, at an equal remove from inoperative Orthodoxy on the one hand, and feverish excitement on the other, when he fell, must have fallen like a pillar in the temple of our God. And he has fallen; a great man in Israel. He has been removed from the pulpit, that he may speak to us from the grave. “Even so, Father! for so it seemed good in thy sight.” He, and Payson, and Rice, and Cornelius, being dead, yet speak. “ Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” “Whoso heareth, let him understand."
OF THE MORAL LAW AND OF LIBERTY.
A friend has sent us the following Article, translated from the “ Fragmens Philosophiques” of Professor Cousin. We are not certain that we understand all the speculations of the learned Professor, or that we should entirely coincide with them if we did understand them. Our readers will be interested to learn something of his manner, and he throws out some important truths, especially in his concluding maxims.
The moral Law is addressed to the free will alone. The moral world is that of liberty. In the free determination, in the act deliberated and willed, is the spiritual world. Now we do not exist but by the continual action of the will and of liberty. The spiritual world is then already, in respect to us, upon this earth. We live in the bosom of two worlds,—on the borders of two empires, of which we are the mysterious union. To enter Heaven, it is not necessary to pass through the darkness of the tomb. Heaven is already in the heart of the free, good man; et coelum et virtus, says Lucan. I am a citizen of the invisible kingdom of active and free intelligences. But what is that determination of my will, which discloses to my apprehension this invisible world? Enquire of consciousness. Analyse your own acts and feelings in the discharge of duty, and Heaven will reveal itself to you in your own heart
. It is not by reasonings that we acquire the conriction of a spiritual world; it is by a free act of virtue, which is always accompanied by an act of faith in moral beauty, and a revelation to the inner sense, of God and of Heaven.
The sensible world acts upon me, and becomes the occasion of my volition. My volition, in its turn, occasions a change in the sensible world. This is ordinary human life; in which the will · manifests itself only in consequence of changes in the outward and sensible world, and, by such changes, the results of its own actings. But resolve that your will shall find the reason of its actings in itself alone, and you are already issuing from slavery; your life has begun to purify and elevate itself. Take one step farther; resolve that the will shall contain itself within itself; that it shall act without outward manifestation; that its free determinations shall not go beyond the inner sanctuary; resolve not to demonstrate your volition by sensible effects; and you are at once free from the enslavement of the senses, of the material world; your life is altogether spiritual; you have attained the source of irue activity; you are already invested with the holy, the pure, the divine; you have an inwari perception of the divine life, which
unfolds itself in your own. Thus to extricate one's self from every sensible condition; to will without regard to the consequence of our volition, independently of all antecedent and of all consequent; to fold back one's determinations upon themselves; this is true liberty, the beginning of eternity. Men may speak of liberty, of holiness, of purity; but he uses words without meaning, who is not himself set free. Christianity tells us, no man can attain the consciousness of eternal life, but by renouncing the world, and all its ends. Then faith in the Eternal takes up its abode within us. In the beautiful metaphor of the Gospel, we must die, and be born again, to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Philosophy gives us the same view of the soul. How can that man, whose will is bound by the world of sense, believe in holinėss and another life? Men believe an eternity or disbelieve it, through prejudice. The reform of philosophy must be preceded by the reform of the life. The light of intellect is but darkness, without the light of virtue.
The indefinite and etcrnal will reveals itself to us in our conscience, in the supreme command, lire righteously; and the hu man, individual will coincides and blends with the infinite will, in freely obeying its injunction. God has brought himself down to man, in the law of duty; man elevates himself to God, by inward submission to this law. Here is the great mystery of eternity disclosing itself to humanity, and of humanity clothed upon' with eternity. Man is wholly within this mystery. Morality then is the source of all truth, and the true light dwells in the darkness of the free, voluntary active energy.
Here is a law of conscience indisputable, and at the same time simple and indivisible: Do good, without regard to consequences, i. e. will the good. Since this command has no earthly, visible, material object, applicable to the needs of this life, and the sensible world; it follows that it has no end, no purpose, or an end, a purpose invisible, which has relation to a world other than ours, where the exterior results of our volitions are of no account, and our volitions themselves are all in all.
If there is no invisible world, where account is made of all our good volitions, what end does virtue answer in this world ?
1. Is it necessary to the mechanism of the Universe, 2. Is its end the civilization of the world ?
3. Is it the amelioration of the condition of man, in respect of local and physical conveniences ?
4. Is it the peace of the world?
5. In fine, is it the highest moral developement of the human mce, as a condition of its highest general perfection, and greatest happiness?
For all these purposes, there was no need of virtue. God might have made us machines, without liberty. He would then have witnessed as fair a spectacle as now, had he desired our happiness