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Most of our infidels have a fmattering of literature, but none of them are profoundly learned. They prove by their own example, that, "A little learning is a dangerous thing." Ignorance makes them infidels. Some of them, invited by a learned drefs, might be induced carefully to confider a feries of hiftorical facts, judicioufly felected and arranged, from the volumes of antiquity, who would defpife a chain of theological arguments. Many may feel the force of a fact from Sanchoniathon or Julian, who would not be moved by the most conclufive fyllogifm, or the plaineft affertion of Mofes or Jefus Chrift. I am perfuaded the more the paths of ancient history, and the mythology of the heathen are explored, the more numerous, clear, and convincing will appear the evidences in fupport of revelation. Our faith depends much on hiftorical knowledge.
We are indebted to an obliging gentleman, for the following Extract of a Letter from the Rev.
Sermons by WILLIAM JAY, &c. (Continued from page 28.) THE religious fentiments of this refpectable and popular writer, and his manner of fermonizing, further appear in the following ex
Sir HENRY MONCRFIEF WELLWOOD of Edinburgh, written foon after the death of that eminent and far famed divine, the Rev. Dr. JOHN ERSKINE.
In illuftrating the connection between patience and the chriftian character, in his fermon on Rev. xiv. 12, he fays,
Review of New Publications.
It HIGHLY becomes saints to cULTIVATE patience. "The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price." It ennobles the possessor. Some have obtained honour
“Dr. ERSKINE had been condeath, by debility and decayed fined, almost a year before his
health. But his mind was perfectly entire, and as active as ever. He continued to profecute his private ftudies, and even exerted himself in whatever he thought could extend his usefulness, to the His very last day of his life. death finally was unexpected by his family, and was entirely unaccompanied with pain, or struggle. He died, as he had lived, full of faith and of the Holy Ghoft. As a man of letters; as a minister of Chrift; as a man of fuperior talents, and of steady and unremitted affiduity in employing them advantageoufly, for the glory of God, and the best interests of men, he was certainly the most eminent man I have ever known, and was
probably the most distinguished minifter that this country has ever produced."
by doing mischief. It has been said by a modern prelate, "one murder makes a villain, a thousand a hero." The christian conqueror draws his glory, not from the sufferings of others, but from his own. And nothing renders his character more impressive and useful; it recommends his religion; it carries along with it a peculiar conviction. When a christian has met with an affliction, that has led him from the duties of his calling, deprived him of opportu nities of exertion, and confined him to the house of grief; little has he supposed, that he was approaching the most useful period of his life. But this has often been the case; and he has render, ed more service to religion by suffering
than by doing. O, what a theatre of usefulness is even a "bed of languishing!" "We are a spectacle to angels," as well as "to the world, and to men." The sufferer lies open to their inspection; and the view of him, enduring, sustained,glorying in tribulation,draws forth fresh acclamations of praise to that God, whose grace can produce such wonderful effects: "Here is ne patience of the saints." But all his fellow creatures are not excluded; there is generally a circle of relations, friends, neighbours, who are witnesses of the scene. I appeal to your feelings. When you have seen a christian suffering in character, with all the composure and majesty of submission; when you have heard him softly saying, "though mourn, I do not murmur; why should a living man complain ?"" it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good;""his ways are judgment;" "he hath done all things well;" "I see a little of his perfection, and adore the rest." Have you not turned aside, and exclaimed, What an efficacy, what an excellency in the religion of Jesus!"Here is the patience of the saints!" p. 34, 35, 36.
As a motive to patience under provocation, he cites examples most worthy of imitation.
What provocations had Joseph received from his brethren! but he scarcely mentions the crime,so eager is he to announce the pardon: "and he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt: now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life." Hear David: "they rewarded me evil for good, to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick my clothing was sackloth: I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into my own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother!" View Stephen, dying under a shower of stones: he more than pardons, he prays; he is more concerned for his enemies, than for himself; in praying for himself, he stood; in praying for his enemies, he kneeled; he kneeled and said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." A greater than Joseph, a greater than David, a greater than Stephen, is here.
He endured every kind of insult; but "when he was reviled, he reviled not again when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Go to the foot of the cross, and behold him suffering for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps." Every thing conspired to render the provocation heinous; the nature of the offence, the meanness and obligations of the offenders, the righteousness of his cause, the grandeur of his person: all these seemed to call for vengeance. The creatures were eager to punish. Peter drew his sword. The sun resolved to shine on such criminals no longer. The rocks asked leave to crush them. The earth trembles under the sinful load. The very dead cannot remain in their graves. He suffers them all to testify their sympathy, but forbids their revenge; and lest the Judge of all should pour forth HIS fury he instantly cries, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." "Here is the patience of" a God. p. 38, 39. In his fourth fermon from Ezekiel xi. 19, 20, our author ine religion, in a clear and imunfolds the nature of genupreflive manner," in four effen
tial articles-I. Its Author. II. The difpofition it produces. III. The obedience it demands. The bleffednefs it enfures." This is IV. an excellent difcourse, and can hardly be read without profit. Under the third head, he illuftrates the two following particulars—" 1. Principle mult precede practice. On the first of these articles he has 2. Practice must follow principle." the following just remarks ;
Observe the order in which these things are arranged. "I will give them within you and I will take the stony one heart, and I will put a new spirit heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ar dinances, and do them." Thus principle precedes practice, and prepares for it. And here I admire the plan of the gospel; to make the fruit good, it makes the tree so; to cleanse the stream, it purifies the fountain; it renews the na
ture, and the life becomes holy of course. What is the religion of too many? They are like machines impelled by force; they are influenced only by external considerations. Their hearts are not engaged. Hence in every religious exercise they perform a task. They would love God much better, if he would excuse them from the hateful obligation. They put off these duties as long as possible, resort to them with reluctance, adjust the measure with a niggardly grudge, and are glad of any excuse for neglect. While labouring at the drudgery, they entertain hard thoughts of the cruel Taskmaster, who can impose such severities upon them, and sigh inwardly "when will the sabbath be over?" When shall we unbend from these spiritual restraints, and feel ourselves at liberty in the world? Can this be religion is there any thing in this, suitable to the nature of God," who is a Spirit?" or to the demands of God, who cries, "My son, give me thine heart;" "serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with singing?" Behold a man hungry, he needs no argument to induce him to eat. See that mother, she needs no motive to determine her to cherish her darling babe; nature impels. The obedience of the christian is natural, and hence it is pleasant and invariable; "he runs and is not weary, he walks and is not faint." p. 79, 80.
The conclufion of this discourse is peculiarly impreffive.
Thus a christian who has nothing, possesses all things. Creatures may abandon him, but his God will never leave nor forsake him. Friends may die, but the Lord liveth, His "heart and his flesh may fail, but God is the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever." "The heavens may pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth and the works that are therein may be burned up"-he stands upon the ashes of a universe, and exclaims, I have lost nothing! p. 87, 88.
We add but one more quotation from his fermon on Job xxix. 18, on the disappointments of life. Recommending frequent and realizing views of the world's uncertainty, and of approaching death, he fays; Accustom yourselves therefore to re
flections so useful, and learn to "die daily." Say, while walking over your fields, The hour is coming when I shall behold you no more; when you go over your mansion, "If I wait, the grave is my house;" as you estimate your property, "I cannot tell who shall gath er it." This apparel which I now lay aside and resume, I shall soon lay aside for ever; and this bed, in which I now enjoy the sleep of nature, will by and by feel me chilling it with the damps of death. And surely it requires contrivance and difficulty to keep off reflec tions so reasonable and salutary. Every thing is forcing the consideration upon you; every thing is saying, "The time is short." We enter the city, and see man going to his long home, and the mourners going about the streets. We enter the sanctuary, and miss those with whom we once took sweet counsel, and went to the house of God in company; their places know them no more for ever. We enter our own dwellings, and painful recollection is awakened by the seats they once filled, by books they once read and have left folded down with their own hands; we walk from room to room, and sigh, "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness." We examine ourselves, and find that our strength is not the strength of stones, nor are our bones brass? we are crushed before the moth; at our best estate we are altogether vanity. Andis it for such beings to live as if they were never to die! O Lord, "so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” p. 424, 423, 426.
It is hoped that the fpecimens, which have been exhibited, will induce many to peruse this valua ble volume. The fermons are in no common degree entertaining, edifying, and impreffive. A fpir it of evangelical piety pervades and fanctifies them. The characteristick traits of this writer are uncommon fprightliness, and ease of manner, fometimes, perhaps, bordering on affectation.
He is remarkably happy in the felection of his fubjects, and of his texts for their illuftration, as well as in his manner of introducing,
opening, and dividing them, in which he has followed, in fome degree, the French divines. His ftyle is plain and intelligible, and animated with chafte and striking figures. He makes free use of fcripture language, but introduces it with peculiar pertinence and force. His arrangement is natural. A good degree of unity is preferved in his difcourfes, while they contain a fufficient variety For theological correctness, he is not, in all inftances, remarkable. Some paffages are liable to a conftruction, which was undoubtedly far from his meaning, and fome might think warrant inferences, which his evangelical heart would totally difavow.
confirm the doubtful respecting what may be accomplished, reprove the idle, encourage, the diligent, and present examples for all. When we see an industrious and good man, like the pine amid surrounding shrubs, rising above his associates, we feel a strong impulse to make him our model. Sir W. Jones was an excellent man, and his life is written in an agreeable and instructive manner. The narrative is continued in. chronological order from his birth to his death: but perhaps a few sketches of the man may be more useful and entertaining, than a verbal criticism of the work.
Sir William Jones was born in 1746. When he was but three years old, he lost his father; his education of course devolved on his mother, which she superintended with discretion and success. To the innumerable questions of his childhood, her constant answer was read and you will know. A lesson, to the observance of which, he ascribed all his attainments.
In his sixth year he learned the rudiments of Latin; when he was twelve, he began the study of Greek and Hebrew, translated several epistles of Ovid, all the Pastorals of Virgil, and wrote a tragedy, which was acted by his school fellows. When seventeen, he was sent to the University of Oxford, where he soon shone, as a star of the first magnitude. In 1767, he visited the continent with his pupil Lord Spencer, and in 1770, we again find him, to use his own words, "flying over Europe." This year he was admitted into the temple. In 1774, he was called to the bar. He suspended his oriental studies, which had been a favourite employ.
cedent reasoning, and by evidence in part highly probable, and in part certain." Again he says, "The connection of the Mosaic his
ment; devoted his strong powers to the study of law, and soon commanded an extensive practice.
In 1783, he was appointed a judge of the supreme court of judicature at Fort William, in Bengal, when the honour of knighthood was conferred upon him. The same year he married Anna Maria Shipley, a daughter of the bishop of St. Asaph. He continued in the office of judge, with great ability and integrity, till his decease in 1794.
His diligence could be exceeded by nothing, but the greatness of his genius. He sometimes continued his studies through the night; when a lad he took but a small part in the amusements of his school fellows. His learning was answerably various and extensive. We will mention only his acquisition of languages. He had critically studied eight languages beside his own, the Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, Arabick, Persian, Turkish, Italian, and French. Eight he had studied less perfect ly, but understood them with the help of a dictionary, the Spanish, Portuguese, German, Runick, Hebrew, Bengali, Hindi, and Turkish. Twelve other languages he had studied less perfectly, the Tibetian, Pali, Phalaoi, Deri, Russian, Syriack, Ethiopick, Coptick, Welsh, Swedish, Dutch, Chinese.
But his religion was the excellence of his character; he was a Chriftian. Speaking of the prophecies of scripture, he says,
The unstrained application of them to events, long subsequent to their publication, is a solid ground of belief, that they were genuine compositions, and consequently inspired." Again, speaking of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, he says, "We see the truth of them confirmed by ante
tory with that of the gospel, by a chain of sublime predictions, unquestionably ancient, and apparently fulfilled, must induce us to think the Hebrew narrative more than human in its origin." Accordingly in a memorandum, written during his voyage to India, among the objects, he assigned himself to accomplish in Asia, was " to print and publish the gospel of St. Luke in Arabick ;" another was to examine the traditions concerning the deluge."
Nor did the religion of Sir W. Jones exhaust itself in a general profession of assent to the gospel, without embracing its peculiar and appropriate doctrines. He believed the doctrine of the Trinity. He believed the divinity of Jesus Christ. He says, "That nothing can be more evident, than that the Indian Triad are infinitely removed from the holiness and sublimity of the christian doctrine of the Trinity." Again, "I, who cannot help believing the divinity of the Messiah, am obliged of course to believe the sanctity of the venerable books, [the prophets] to which that person refers, as genuine." His biographer says, " It would be injustice to his memory to pass over, without particular notice, the sensible and dignified rebuke, with which he repelled the rude attack of Musselman bigotry on the divinity of our Saviour. Neither was his religion merely cold speculation; it warmed his heart and produced a devout, a prayerful life. Several of the prayers, which he wrote for himself, are recorded in these memoirs of his life. From his private memoranda it appears,