« AnteriorContinuar »
Review of New Publications.
The beneficial Influence of the Gospel. A Sermon preached before the Society in Scotland for prohagating Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands, at their Anniversary Meeting in the High Church of Edin burgh, June 14, 1804, by the Rev. WALTER BUCHANAN, A. M. one of the Ministers of Canongate, Edinburgh.
THIS is an excellent sermon.
The style of the preacher is animated and elegant, serious and impressive. His opinions are or thodox; his information various, extensive, and particular. He is not one of those, who "mount the Fostrum with a skip, and then skip down again." His sermon is long, but were it longer, it would not tire the reader. The preacher feels as he speaks, and like "a workman" pleads the cause of God; while he informs his hearers, he interests their affections; while he convinces their understanding, he persuades their hearts.
The text, which is the foundation of this discourse, is Philemon ver. 11. Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and me.
A few sentences may give some idea of the sermon. P. 33.
"As Christians multiplied in the world, the happy effects of the gospel became more and more apparent. The knowledge of their principles, and the influence of their example, were gradually diffused through the community, and produced an important alteration in the opinions and usages of the people at large. Gross idolatry with its train of attendant abominations, vanished before it : men began to entertain juster conceptions of God, and their duty: a
higher standard of morals was introduced; and crimes, which formerly from the view of men, and took refuge stalked abroad without a blush, fled in the shades of night. In every country where Christianity prevailed, it meliorated the condition, and exalted the character of man. raged the arts of peace, mitigated the calamities of war, gave protec tion and consequence to the lower ranks of society, and rescued the female sex from that degraded and servile state, to which they were subjected throughout the whole heathen world. While it taught the poor to be contented and industrious, it restrained the power of the great, checked the arrogance of the rich, and infused into the breasts of all, who felt its power, a tender sympathy for the woes of others. In the whole range of Pagan antiquity, no traces are to be found of any asylum for the indi gent or afflicted, the helpless orphan and destitute widow: but wherever the gospel extended its influence, institutions were formed, and houses were opened for the relief of almost every species of human sorrow. In fine, it has contributed more than any, nay, than all other causes, to humanize the heart and to civilize the manners of mankind.”
The moral Tendency of Man's Accountableness to God; and its influence on the happiness of society. A Sermon preached on the day of the General Election at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, May 9th, 1805. By ASAHEL HOOKER, A. M. Pastor of the Church in Goshen, Hartford. Hudson & Goodwin. AFTER a careful perusal, and re-perusal of this discourse, we hesitate not to pronounce it excellent. Notwithstanding the uncandid and injudicious suggestions of certain individuals, we are bold to say, it is truly and
uncommonly excellent. We say this without any risk of character. For in this case we already have the advantage of knowing the publick opinion. The enlightened Christian publick, as far as it has been acquainted with this discourse, has pronounced it one of the best ever delivered on such an occasion. But let all who have opportunity read and judge for themselves. We shall esteem it a happy circumstance, if those remarks which have evidently been designed to sink the value, and circumscribe the influence of this sermon, should make it more generally known. For we doubt not, the more it is known, the more it will be approved and admired. The preacher displays, to an uncommon degree, the qualifications which his office requires, and which the interesting occasion particularly called for. In every part he shows himself the dignified Christian orator. There is no appearance of lightness, grovelling sentiment, adulation, or indecision. He is full of his subject, which is very important and well chosen. His language is at once copious and energetic. We make no quotations, as it would be difficult to treat the discourse with justice, without transcribing the whole.
We add the pleasing information, that the amiable author is, with increasing reputation and influence, employed in the im, portant work of teaching stu, dents in divinity.
A Treatise on Infant Baptism, proving, from the scriptures, that infants are proper subjects of Baptism, were so considered by the Apostles, and did receive
that ordinance under their ministry. By ISAAC CLINTON, Pastor of a church in Southwick. Springfield. Henry Brewer.
IN the 1st. section, the author states the point in controversy. "On the one side it is maintained, that the infants of believers have a right to visible membership in the church, and are pro. per subjects of the seal of the covenant. On the other side the Baptists not only deny this doctrine, but endeavour to maintain, that baptism, when administered to the children of believers, is not valid. On this account they deny us communion at the Lord's table; and in this respect make no difference between us and heathen."
In the second and third sec tions, he proves from various passages both in the Old and New Testament, "That the covenant, which God made with Abraham, was the covenant of grace, and that the gospel dispensation is the fulfilment of the mercy covenanted to Abraham; and consequently that the same persons, who were subjects of the seal when the covenant was first instituted, are subjects of the seal now, and that the same qualifications, which were once sufficient, are sufficient still. That as the infants of bèlievers were then the subjects of the ancient seal, which was circumcision; such are now subjects of baptism, the present seal."
In the fourth section he shews, that "the character of people in covenant, and of people out of covenant, is described in the same manner and by the same terms, both under the Abrahamic and under the Christian dispen
sation; and consequently, that under both dispensations, the church is the same. And that as the same character is given to the children of believers, as to believers themselves, both have an equal right to the seal of, and to a standing in the covenant of God."
In the fifth section, he adduces "evidences of the fact, that infants were baptized by the apostles." These evidences are stated in a clear, and applied in a forcible manner.
And as the Baptists generally demand some plain example, or express precept for the applica, tion of the seal of the covenant to infants under the gospel dispensation, the author, in his sixth section, meets them on their own ground. He there shews, that "the children of believing Jews were circumcised under the ministry of the apostles and by the direction of the Holy Ghost; that circumcision among the Christian Jews, was, by the apostles, considered in the same light, and as having the same validity as baptism among the believing Gentiles, and as applicable to subjects of the same de scription. And consequently, that we have the explicit example of the apostles, and the express direction of the Holy Ghost to apply to infants the existing seal of the covenant of grace."
In some following sections he farther elucidates and applies this argument, by shewing, that circumcision was no part of the ceremonial law, and was never considered as such by the apostles; but as a seal of the covenant of grace; and that they als ways disallowed it, when the Ju
daizing teachers contended for it as a Mosaic rite, binding men to keep the ceremonial law, which law was done away in Christ.
The author has treated his subject with great candour, per. spicuity and judgment. He has brought up to view some argu ments, which we have never seen in other writers on the subject. And by his critical and judicious remarks, he has cast new light on several passages of scripture.
We recommend his treatise to the attentive perusal of those who wish for information on a subject so much controverted at the present day.
THE text is chosen from Haggai ii. 6, 7. I will shake the hear ens and the earth, the sea and the dry land: I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come. The plan proposed is, to inquire, 1. Why Jesus Christ is called the desire of all nations. 2. To consider the mighty preparations, which were made, in the course of Divine Providence, for revealing Christ to the world; and then to conclude with some inferences and ad dresses. This plan is closely
adhered to, and ably executed. The illustrations are clear and perspicuous; the proofs cogent and convincing; and the whole subject is treated with a serious ness, becoming the character of a Christian minister, and the solemnity of the occasion. There is no study of musical periods; no search after rhetorical ornaments; no attempt at the excitement of the passions. Truth is directly addressed to the understanding and the conscience. The following passages furnish a specimen of the intelligence of the preacher; of his theological knowledge; and of his neat and handsome style of composition.
"However wonderful the Mosaic economy, it was altogether subser. vient to the revelation of Jesus Christ. It made nothing perfect, but was designed for the bringing in of a better hope. Many of its rites were design ed to create and preserve, in the minds of the Jews, an abhorrence of the surrounding idolatry, and, at the same time, to excite expectation of a mere spiritual kingdom. Their sacrifices were typical of Christ's atonement; and their sprinklings and ablutions were significant of spiritual cleansing. Their prophets foretold Christ, and their church preserved the prophecies, which they delivered. Even their captivities were made subservient to the Christian dispensation. When the ten tribes, for their apostacy, were carried captive into Assyria, and placed in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes, (2 Kings xvii. 6.) they doubtless communicated to their conquerors some knowledge of the Mosaic religion, and some general account of those prophecies, which had, at that time, been delivered concerning Christ. The same was done by the remaining tribes, when they were removed to Babylon. The same was done by those Jews, who, in later ages, but at different periods, were carried captive to Alexandria, to Lybia and
Cyrene. In this manner, the shaking of nations made way for the coming of the Son of Man."
"Let us suppose that mankind had become only a little too ignorant and vicious, and that in order to be set right they needed nothing but some clearer instructions in morality, and as to the consequences of virtue and amendment of life makes atonement vice; let us suppose, likewise, that for past sin, and one cannot possibly account for the astonishing manner, in which the religion of Jesus was introduced. If we suppose him to be only a good and great philosopher, somewhat more wise and virtuous than Socrates, and divinely commissioned, as was Moses or Isaiah; such an instructer would indeed be an im
portant blessing; but certainly his
character would by no means corres
pond with the reasonable expectation of those, who had read the prophecies, and were acquainted with those events, which were preparatory to his coming. On such a supposition, there would be, in the divine economy, an evident want of analogy and proportion. That four thousand years should have been expended in prepa ration; that divine promises should have been made, time after time; that a series of prophets should have been raised up; that God should have essayed, as Moses saith, to go and take a nation out from the midst of another nation, by temptations, signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, and by great terrours; that this nation should have been hedged round and fenced in, so to speak, in distinction from all other people, with evident regard to the Christian dispensation; that other nations, even the most distant, should have been shaken or quieted, as was most conducive to the great design; that these mighty preparations should have taken place for no other object than to bring in a system of morality, the principal design of which was to correct the aberrations of a world, moderately well disposed already, is a supposition, which cannot, without extreme difficulty, be reconciled with the perfections of him, who hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence."
Extracts from the Journal of JOHN SERGEANT, Missionary to the Stockbridge Indians from the Society in Scotland, from the first of July, 1803, to the first of January, 1804. JULY 1, 1803. Agreeably to ap pointment, four of the Onondago chiefs came to see me, and introduced conversation in the following manner.
"Father, There is reason of thankfulness that the great, good Spirit has preserved us, that we are able to meet together at this time.
"We will improve this opportunity to let you know further concerning
"We have agreed to obey the voice of the great, good Spirit, in forever forsaking the wicked practice of excessive drinking, which we and our ancestors have followed, and also all other wicked practices. We see your house of worship, where you meet once in a while, particularly one day in a week, to worship God.
"We think it right that all should go into that house to hear the word of the great, good Spirit. We believe that all who go there to please him must go with their spirits; if they do not thus, they cannot please
strongly favoured the doctrines of the prophet, but took no offence when I explained to them the necessity of appearing before the great God or Spirit in the name of the Saviour he had appointed.
I shewed them a great Bible given to the Stockbridge tribe of Indians in the year 1745, by Dr. Ascough of London; and by help of the many plates it contained I was enabled to give them a short history of the whole Bible, shewed them also the map of the land of Canaan, the travel of the children of Israel through the wilderness, to all which they gave strict attention, and appeared to be well pleased.
Aug. 4. A general Council of the tribe was called. Capt. Hendrick then repeated to the people the substance of their proceedings among ten tribes of the western Indians; particularly at a general Council held the beginning of June last, on the river Maumee. Their report gave universal satisfaction to the tribe.
There were nine of them in number. All had enjoyed perfect health, and were remarkably successful in all their proceedings with the western tribes. One of their speeches, and the answer, I will here note down.
Extract from the Journals of the In
dians, being the Sixth Speech deliv ered the Delaware nation, residing at Waupekummekuhk, or White river, on the 15th of April, 1803. "Grandfather, again listen to the voice of your grandchildren, the Mahkakunnuk.
"I have observed to you in my other speech, that there was and is two great Spirits; the one is holy and good, and the other is bad. Like wise there is and has been two sorts of white people, who follow two dif ferent paths; the one believes the great and good Spirit, and the other the evil spirit. And I will now tell you further, that the one loves the Indians in general, and the other has no compassion on them. The one has been endeavouring to civilize and christianize them, and the other haş