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come of but little worth to me, and in many instances, of less to their families, have now become able and steady; earn more money; and their families as well as themselves, have expressed, in a language not to be misunderstood, the many comforts and the domestic happiness, which they enjoy in consequence."
Dedication at New-York.—The very neat and beautiful church, which has been during the last year erected in the city of NewYork for the accommodation of a society of Unitarian worshippers, was dedicated to the service of Almighty God, on Saturday, Jan. 20th. The solemnities of the occasion were conducted by the Rev. Professor Everett, and the regular worship of the Lord's day has since been attended by a large and attentive audience. A church was gathered in the society Jan. 30th, and the ordinances have been regularly administered. We cannot but be grateful for that favour of Providence, by which this infant society has been led so pleasantly and prosperously to the accomplishment of this design ;-a design, which two years since was unthought of, and would bave been deemed impracticable; but now is happily completed, and opens a prospect for the diffusion of christian light and charity, which cannot be contemplated without religious joy.
Nen-York Collection of Psalms and Hymns.-We regret that circumstances have prevented our taking notice, in our Review, of the collection of Hymns, lately published in New York by Henry D, Sewall, and used in the worship of the first Congregational Church of that place. We hope to do it in our next number. We must be satisfied with saying now, that we consider it as the best collection, upon the whole, of which we have any kpowledge, and think it exceedingly desirable that it should be introduced to the worship of our churches in this town and vicivity. It is quite time that Belknap's Collection, which is in most general use, should give way to a better. It was excellent for its day, but its day is past. We need in the worship of our churches a larger variety of anthors and subjects, and a more universal purity both of poetry and doctrine. Half of the psalıns and hymns, at least, are such as pever are and never can be used for the purposes of public devotion. We hope that those, who feel an interest in this most delightful part of religious service, will be led to think of the expediency of a change; and now that they have access to a book of precisely the character they could desire, will not hesitate to adopt it.
The Unitarian Miscellany.-The first numbers of a monthly publicatiou under this title, issuing at Baltimore, we have read with great satisfaction, and cordially welcome a work which gives promise of so powerful aid to the cause of religion and truth. We find in it ap account of the formation of
The Baltimore. Unitarian Society for the Distribution of Books : which we quote in part, that we mpay, if possible, by extending the knowledge of it, induce others to follow so good an exampple.
. The books distributed by the society shall be the Bible, and such other books as contain rational and consistent views of christian doctrines,
and are calculated to promote a correct faith, siocere piety, and a holy practice.
“ any person, on paying a subscription of one dollar, may become a member of the society, and be entitled to vote for officers. All subscriptions shall become due annually on the first day of January; and every member shall be considered an annual subscriber, until he gives notice to the secretary, that he wishes to withdraw himself from the society.
“ The funds of the society shall be disposed of in purchasing or printing such books as the managers shall select or approve. A catalogue of these books shall be annually printed, with their respective prices annexed, and a copy sent to each subscriber, who shall be entitled to receive snch books, as be may select out of the catalogue, to the amount of his subscription.
“ All applications for books, must be made to the librarian, either in person or by a written order, but without any expense to the society for the postage of letters, or the conveyance of books. No person cap receive books until his subscription is paid.”
The foundation of a design somewhat similar has been laid in NewYork, by the institution of a Library in the vestry-room of the first Congregational Church.
ORDINATIONS.—At Hingham, Jan. 17th, Mr. Charles Brooks was ordained to the pastoral care of the Third Church and Society. Rev. P. Whitney, of Quincy, offered the lotroductory Prayer; Rev. Dr. Ware preached ; Text, 2 Chron. xviii. 13. And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak. Rev. Dr. Kirkland made the ordaining prayer; Rev. Dr. Harris, of Dorchester, gave the charge; Rev. Mr. Francis, of Watertown, presented the fellowship of the churcbes ; Rev. N. B. Whitney, of Hingham, made the concluding prayer.-It way be worth wbile to state, that, at the election of the candidate, the Church voted, that in this matter they had no right independent of, or prior to that of the congregation, and therefore acted in union with them, and not separately. Feb. 21, Mr. Benjamin D. Wisner was ordained to the pastoral care of the Old South Church and Society in Boston. Introductory Prayer, Rev. S. E. Dwight. Sermon, Rev. Prof. Woods, of Andover; text, 1 Corinth : 11. 2. I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Ordaining prayer, Rev. Dr. Holmes, of Cambridge. Charge, Rev. Dr. Osgood, of Medford. Right hand of fellowship, kev. Mr. Huntington, of Bridgewater. Concluding prayer, Rev. J. Codman, of Dorchester.
At Ashby, Jan. 3, Mr. E. L. Bascom. Serinon by Rev. Dr. Foster, of Brighton,
At Waltham, Jan. 17, Mr. Sewall Harding, over the second Congregational Church and Society. Sermon by Rev. Mr. Ide, of Medway. The Dedication of the Meeting-House took place on the saine day.
OBITUARY. Died in West-Springfield, on the last day of the last year, the Rev. JoSEP8 LATHROP, D.D. senior Pastor of the First Church in that place, in the 90th year of his age, and the 65th of his ministry.
This great and good man was a descendant in the fourth generation from the Rev. John Lathrop, formerly a minister of Barnstable, in England, who in the year 1834 came over, and settled in the ministry at Barnstable, ia this state. The subject of this sketch was born at Norwicb, in Connecticut, Oct. 31, 1731. He was an only son, and was deprived of his father at about the age of two years. At the age of eight years he was removed to Bolton, " (Con.) where his mother formed a second marriage, and where
he continued till the year 1750, when he entered Yale College. While au nnder-graduate, he was distinguished, it is said, for the versatility of his genius, and the diligence with which he pursued his studies. In 1754 be received his first degree ; soon after which he was engaged, as a grammar sehool inaster in Springfield, and at the same time cominenced the study of theology in the family and under the direction of Rev. Mr. Breck of that place. lo Jan. 1756, he received approbation, as a candidate for the ministry, and on the 25th day of the following August he was ordained in West-Springfield, where with few interruptions from ill-bealth, or any other cause, he continued to supply the pulpit for 62 years,-after which, a partial bereavement of sight induced him to relinquish the office of preaching, though he generally attended public worship, and occasionally officiated in prayer till a short time before his death. This blindness, which was so great as to render him incapable of reading, was attributed to a paralytic affection, which impaired the vigour of his health, and in some measure the vivacity of his mind.
Beside many occasional sermons, Dr. Lathrop published at different per riods in his life six volumes, containing in the whole 175 serinons. The first volume was published in 1793, the second in 1796, the third in 1801, the fourth in 1806, the fifth in 1807, and the sixth ju 1812. All these volumes have passed a second edition. It is needless to add that they have been well received.
In the character of Dr. Lathrop were combined in a remarkable degree the various qualities, which command at once our love and veneration. The native powers of his mind were probably far above the common lot of humanity ; and hy regular discipline and persevering exertion they were brought to a state of improvement, that is rarely surpassed. His apprebension was quick, his discernment clear, his invention fruitful, his imagination Jively, his memory tenacious, and his judgment of course reinarkably correct. He was characterised by the habits of observation and reflection ; habits, which seem to have been early formed, and were continued through life, and which are of unspeakable importance in forming a useful or a great
Hence every thing was instructive to himself, and in his preaching and conversation was rendered so to others. He copied with peculiar felicity one of the most distinguishing traits in the preaching of Him, " who spake as never man spake," that of interesting his hearers iu moral and religious subjects by allusions to surrounding scenes and passing events.
Dr. Lathrop, as appears from his journal, had serious impressions of the importance of religiou about the age of fourteen; though from remaining scruples he delayed a public profession till about the close of bis collegiate life. Of the sincerity of his religious profession no one acquainted with his subsequent life could entertain any reasonable doubt. He drank deeply into the spirit of the gospel. In all his greatness he was meek, wild, and unassuming. It seemed to be no self-denial in bim to refrain from every thing in air or conversation, that would remind others of his superiority to them. He united most happily the sincerity of the Christian with the courtesy of the gentleman, and the gravity of age with the vivacity of youth.
In the character of Dr. Lathrop, as a Man, as a Christian, and as a Mioister, firmness and candour, zeal and moderation appeared in delightful harmony. He claimed the right of thinking and acting for himself, and that right he as readily conceded to his brethren. He was decidedly opposed to the intolerant and separating spirit of the times, and freely admitted all ministers of a regular standing and good character into his pulpit, though widely differing from bim in religious speculations. His sentiments on this subject may be found in many of his sermons, but particularly in one, which he delivered in Boston, May, 1812, on the text, saw one casting out devils, &c." where among many excellent remarks, we find the following : “There are some, who lay too great' weight on
certain peculiarities, which discriminate one sect from another, and denounce as hypocrites, fools and blind, all who cannot adopt the same. This illiberal spirit is often more injurious to true religion, than the errors which it reprobates. There are errors of opinion, which are inconsistent with religion ; and we usually see their effects in a licentious and inmoral Jife. Against these we should contend earnestly. But, errors which have no tendency to corrupt the heart, and vitiate the manners, and which do not appear to have this effect, ought to be treated with tenderness and candour.
“Our Saviour here instructs the ministers of his religion to maintain a conciliating candour toward one another, and toward all who profess to be bis friends. His immediate disciples he was now training up to be public teachers. While he gradually opened to them the scheme of his religion, he inculcated upon them humility, gentleness and prudence, as necessary to success in the work, in which they were to be employed. The man in our story, not being so fully instructed in the doctrines of Christ, as they were, had pot light to follow them in every step, but still he was a friend to Christ. If they wished him to follow them, they should have invited him into their coinpany by a winning and attractive charity ; not have kept him at a distance by a repulsive pride and intolerance. We may think a brother has imbibed certain errors, unfavourable to religion. What shall we do? Shall we separate him from our company, and deny him all brotherly and ministerial intercourse ? No; this will disgust him. This will excite in him, a prejudice against us. This will place bim at a greater distance from us. Every map loves society, especially the society of those who are in the same prosession. If he cannot enjoy it in one place, he will seek it in another; and perhaps he will mingle with some who will confirm him in bis errors. By our friendly intercourse and united labours, we may be fellow-helpers to the truth; but by reciprocal criminations and reproaches, we shall weaken the common cause, and give advantage to the common adversary."
lo sermon 6th, vol. iii. we find the following passage : “ IC becayse we imagine ourselves more pure, more wise, or more sound in faith, than our brethren, we exclude them from our charity, bid them stand by themselves, and warn them not to come near us ip acts of holy communion, our temper is utterly unlike that of the blessed above."
In religious speculations Dr. Lathrop has been supposed a Trinitarian, and what has generally been called a Moderate Calvinist. In the first sermon of his first volume, he argues that Christ was not a creature, from the fact of bis having been employed in creating the world; and in several places in the 3d volume be may be thought to adınit and even to vindicate some of the most exceptionable doctrines of the Calvinistic Creed, and among others those of Election and total depravity. But it is apparent from inany other passages, that he did not even in speculation carry these points to the greatest extreme. Commenting on the parable of the tares, sermon 7th, vol. iv. be observes of the servants of the proprietor, “ They ask, as was natural, whence came the tares ? They never once suspected, that their master sowed them, as some servants have since suspected," In another place, vol. iii. sermon 3d, he says, • Whatever doubts we may have concerning our own election, we may make it sure, by adding to our faith the virtues and works of the gospel." Again, sermon 7th, it is said, "Let no one imagine, that the prayers, the reformations and endeavours of awakened sinners, are abomination to God; for he who hath wrought them to these things is God, who hath given them the convincing and awakening influences of his spirit.” And again, sermon 10th, “It is often asked whether the unregenerate can do any thing of themselves, which has a tendency to their conversion! But the answer is, They who enjoy the gospel are not left to themselves. If you suppose a man under the power of vicious inclinations, and at the same time destitute of all means
of religious knowledge, and without any influence from the spirit of God, you then have the idea of a sinner properly left to bimself. But this is pot your case. You have the gospel in your hands, and it is daily proclaimed in your hearing. There is an agency of the divine Spirit attending it; and you have been, and, we hope, still are in some degree the subjects of this agency. With these advantages, there is something which you may do."
But whatever Dr. Lathrop might believe in regard to the doctrines, named above, he did not consider them as the grand essentials of the gospel. He did not adopt them, as the controlling principles of interpreting the scriptures. Far from this; in his exposition of the text-"Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved;" (Vol. ii. sermon 49,) he gives substantially the same view of the faith, required in regard to this point, which Mr. Locke in his Reasonableness of Christianity has given. In enumerating the most efficacious doctrines of the gospel, (serinon 27th, vol. ii.) he does not mention one of those, which are peculiarly Calvinistic. In all the volumes of his sermons, excepting the third, these doctrines are almost entirely omitted, and most of the sermons in the third, in wbicb he professedly gives the whole Christian system, relate chiefly to the spirit and practice of religion. It is remarkable ton, that his half century sermon, as also those of his sixtieth anoiversary, which might be considered, as solemn valedictories to his people, were wholly of a practical nature.
Dr Lathrop was decidedly opposed to that exclusion of reason from religions inquiries, which has been a source of numberless errors.
“ Reason and revelation," says he, sermon 31, vol ii. • choose to walk hand in hand ; and nothing can be inore unkind than to set them at variance.”
The principles of religion are not indeed to be settled by human authority. But the pame of such a man, as Dr Lathrop, will have influence ; and hence it becomes a matter of importance, that this part of his character should be rightly understood.
Dr. Lathrop's sermons are perhaps the richest treasure of the kind, this country has yet produced. It cannot be supposed, that 175 sermons from the same pen should all be of the bighest order. Many of them however will hear an honourable comparison with the best English compositions, and will probably be transmitted to the latest posterity, in which the language is known. They abound in important and original thoughts ; are almost always instructive, and often impressive. In point of method and style, with few exceptions, they are among the best models that can be proposed for imitation. Their style is distinguished for simplicity, perspicuity and neatness ; and they well deserve a place every considerable library, public or private.
Dr. Lathrop was remarkable for his habits of industry, as appears from the fact : that while he was respectable for the extent of reading he left in manuscript about FIVE THOUSAND sermons. This industry is worthy of admiration, though to a person of less genius than be, the particular diode, in which it was exerted, could not be recommended.
To a late period in life he retained his native vigour of hody and mind. For many years he waited with cheerful expectation the dissolution of nature, hoping for the mercy of God through Jesus Christ unto eternal lite. "Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord; for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”
We have on hand a great number of communications of very various merit, to some of which we shall give place, but of none is it necessary to speak particularly.
END OF NO. 1. VOL. III.