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worship of God? Do we consider the law of God as spiritual, requiring truth in the inward part; and extending to our temper, as well as to our outward visible practice When we wander from God, are we filled with pain and shame, and do we find that we cannot be happy till our souls are restored, and we return to the paths of righteousness? Are we conscious that we need the continual attention of our good Shepherd, to keep our minds from being bewildered with error, our wills from disobedience and rebellion, our affections from being inordinately fixed on some inferior good, if not on some forbidden object; or to prevent us from degenerating into self-righteousness, sloth, or worldly-mindedness, “Do we long for further progress in the good ways of God; to know, love, serve, and glorify him better; desiring to walk on as pilgrims, till we arrive at a state of absolute perfection ? Are we conscious that what our gracious Lord has done for us is all of his sovereign mercy? He hath wrought it for his name's sake, and not for our righteousness' sake. All our salvation flows from the riches of his grace. Do we earnestly wish to honour God's name, and to live to the praise of the glory of his grace? “Oh let us admire and adore the Lord our Shepherd, and acknowledge our obligations to his matchless goodness, as displayed both in our first conversion and in all our subsequent experience. May they who are still wandering away from God, have their feet directed into the way of peace; be led into the ways of righteousness, and find them ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace!” 1. The Pelican Island, and other Poems. By JAMEs Montgomery. Foolscap 8vo. pp. xii. 264. London : Longman and Co. Price 8s. 2. The Christian Poet; or Selections in Verse, on Sacred Subjects. By JAMES Montgomer Y. With an Introductory Essay. 12mo. pp. 440. Price 6s. 24mo. Price 4s. Glasgow : Collins. 3. Poems, by William Cowper, Esq., of the Inner Temple. With an Introductory Essay, by JAMEs Montgomery. 12mo. pp. 494. Price 6s. 24mo. Price 4s. Glasgow: Collins.
We are happy to see that Mr. Montgomery continues to be so diligently, and, we doubt not, usefully employed. When talents like his are consecrated to the best purposes, it would be a great loss to the world that they should long be suffered to lie dormant. For our Parts, we so much admire Mr. M.'s compo
sitions, both in prose and verse, that the appearance of a new volume, written or edited by him, is always hailed with joy, and we hasten to possess ourselves of the treasure.
Nevertheless, we have not been so much gratified with “ The Pelican Island” as with some of Mr. M.'s former productions. It is written in blank verse, which, in our opinion, is not well suited to his poetical powers. We could have wished, too, that he had chosen some other subject, better adapted to general usefulness; for though the poem contains many exquisitely wrought descriptions, and its tendency is uniformly good, yet there is less scope for the manifestation of that fervent spirit of evangelical piety for which Mr. M. is so happily distinguished, than in his other works. We are sorry that we cannot justify these remarks by an analysis of the poem, which would require more space than we can conveniently spare: our readers must therefore be referred to the volume itself, and they may be assured that the perusal will confirm all their previous feelings of esteem and admiration of its author.
From the minor pieces contained in the volume, we select the following, which we regard as one of Mr. M.'s happiest efforts: —
“A Theme for a Poet. The arrow that shall lay me low, Was shot from Death's unerring bow, The moment of my breath; And every footstep I proceed, It tracks me with increasing speed ; I turn—it meets me—Death Has given such impulse to that dart, st points for ever at my heart.
And soon of me it must be said,
Let Southey sing of war's alarms,
And millions sacrificed to fate, To make one little mortal great.
Let Scott, in wilder strains, delight
Let Byron, with untrembling hand,
Let Wordsworth weave, in mystic rhyme,
Let Campbell's sweeter numbers flow
Transcendent Masters of the lyre'
I sing the men who left their home,
Strong in the great Redeemer's name,
O Thou, who wast in Bethlehem born,
Thou, whom I love, but cannot see,
“The Christian Poet” is a selection of extracts, nearly four hundred in number, from our best authors, chronologically arranged, from Chaucer to Bishop Heber. We have given some specimens at p. 463 of the present Number. The pieces are well chosen, frequently from scarce publications, and writers little known by modern readers. Biographical and critical notices are occasionally interspersed, and in the “Introductory Essay” Mr. M. examines, and very successfully combats, Dr. Johnson's philippic against religious poetry. We doubt not that this volume will obtain, as it deserves, an extensive circulation.
Mr. Montgomery has also favoured us with a valuable “Introductory Essay” to Cowper's Poems, which abounds with elegantly-written and judicious criticism on the productions of that amiable and gifted author. We cannot withhold from our readers the following remarks on the malady by which the life of the Poet was embittered:—
“With regard to his malady, there scareely needs any other proof that it was not occasioned by his religion than this, that the error on which he stumbled was in direct contradiction to his creed. He believed that he had been predestinated to life, yet, under this delusion, imagined that God, who could not lie, repent, or change, had, in his sole instance, and in one muoment, reversed his own decree, which had been in force from all etermity. At the same time, by a perversion of the purest principle of Christian obedience, he was so submitted to the will of God, that, to have saved himself from the very destruction which he dreaded, he would not avail bin
sels of any of the means of grace, (even presuming they might have been efficacious,) because he believed that they were forbidden to him. Yet, in spite of the self-evident impossibility of his faith affecting a sound mind with such hallucination; though a mind previously diseased might as readily fall into that as any other;-in spite of chronology, his first aberration of reason having taken place before he had ‘tasted the good word of God;’—in spite of geography, that calamity having befallen him in London, where he had no acquaintance with persons holding the reprobated doctrines of election and sovereign grace;— and, in spite of the fact, utterly undeniable that, till his spirit was revived by the success of his poetry, the only effectual consolations which he knew, after that first access of insanity, were the consolations of the Gospel at St. Alban's, at Huntingdon, and at Olney ; – in spite of all these unanswerable confutations of the ignorant and malignant falsehood, the enemies of Christian truth persevere in repeating, “that too much religion made poor Cowper mad.” If they be sincere, they are themselves under the ‘strong delusion to believe a lie;’ and it will be well, if it prove not, on their part, a wilful one—it will be well if they have not reached that last perversity of human reason, to believe a lie of its own invention.” p. xi.
Review. — Finch's Summary View of Christian Principles. 471
We are informed that an edition of the “Pilgrim's Progress” will shortly be published, with an Introductory Essay from Mr. Montgomery's pen. It will give us great pleasure to announce it to our readers as soon as it appears. A better qualified critic on Bunyan than Mr. M. can hardly be expected, or even desired.
was a hasty composition, written at a time when his views on several points of great importance were extremely vague and unsettled, and contained some positions which, in the course of his inquiries during the next year, he saw much reason to disap. prove and regret. When he had brought his inquiries to what his own judgment deemed a scriptural and satisfactory conclusion, he was anxious to furnish his friends with an unreserved declaration of the result, and as far as possible, to rectify past errors, by publishing a revised edition of the former sermon, together with a series of Discourses on the Person of Christ, which he prepared for that purpose. But, upon mature deliberation, having seen cause to reproach himself with undue precipitancy in the former case, he thought it most prudent to suspend the execution of his design till time and experience had given to his opinions, on most points of controverted theology, such maturity and firmness as to preclude in future the probability of any material change. Every year since that period has served to confirm the truth, and evince the import. ance, of the views now submitted to the consideration of his friends and the public. From a candid perusal of the most approved writers of all persuasions, as far as time and circumstances would permit ; from all that he has seen and read of the christian world, under all its diversity of sects and opiuions; from a scrupulous attention to the holy scriptures, in all his ministerial instructions, as the only standard of christian verity; and from the results of his own experience as a christian, he feels the strongest persuasion that the principles defined and illustrated in the following pages, comprise the substance of divine truth, and the glory of the christian revelation. He has witnessed their efficacy in others, and felt something of it in his own mind, both as an incentive to duty, and a source of consolation and encouragement. While life remains, therefore, and he has strength to discharge the ministerial functions, it will be his chief concern, and his greatest pleasure, to be the means of diffusing their salutary influence. And in the prospect of death and eternity, when the supports of religion will be most needed, he hopes to find in the truths now recommended to others, a preservative from fear, and a ground of unfailing confidence.”
The work is divided into fifteen chapters, in which the following subjects are discussed:—The right of judging for ourselves—The authority of the Holy Scriptures—The revealed character of God—The Person and Offices of Christ . —The arrangements of Divine Provi
dence—Our present State and final Destination—The depravity of human nature—The Scripture Doctrine of the Atonement—The terms of Salvation announced in the Gospel—The nature and necessity of Divine influence—The Doctrine of Justification by Faith— The perpetuity of the Moral Law — The final perseverance of the true Christian—The holy tendency of revealed truth—The future triumphs of the Gospel. In illustrating these important topics, Mr. Finch has written in a manner well adapted to instruct and convince his readers. His style is neat and perspicuous, his method is lucid, his appeals to Scripture are frequent and appropriate, and there is an air of seriousness pervading the whole, which becomes the dignity of sacred themes. There are neither cold speculations nor profound criticisms to be found in this volume ; it contains what is far more valuable, a clear and instructive statement of the leading doctrines of the Christian system, evidently the result of diligent and devout inquiry. We do not, indeed, affirm, that we agree with the author in every particular; but we can cordially recommend his book to our friends in general, and especially to thinking youth, as a comprehensive, luminous, and useful “Summary of Christian principles.” We were particularly pleased with the chapters “On the right of judging for ourselves,” and on “the person and offices of Christ.” From the former we select the following extract:— “There cannot then, be a more absurd motion, or a greater perversion of the right of judging for ourselves, than the supposed innocence of mental error. To infer that, because errors of judgment in morality and religion from their very nature, lie beyond the reach of all human tribunals, no culpability can be attached to them in the sight of God, is an inference so repugnant to common sense, and to all just ideas of the divine government, that one might wonder how it could for a moment be entertained by any man having the common use of his faculties, or making the slightest pretensions to religion. The very circumstance which renders the mind's undisclosed operations sacred from human control, brings
them within the control of the divine government, as the sphere of its own peculiar and exclusive influence. And if we may indulge imagination without regard to human authority, since no man may call us into judgment for our private thoughts, there is the more necessity for us in this respect to recognize the divine inspection, that when inferior motives cease to affect us, the superior ones of religion may be all in all. Where indeed can God erect the standard of his authority, so as to indicate the spirituality of his influence, but in the secret chambers of the soul? Unless religion be established with supreme authority in the conscience and the heart, all exterior expressions of it, however imposing in the view of our fellow men, are, in the eye of God, nothing but the vain assumptions of hypocrisy. We must therefore resign to him, as his own province, the entire government of the mind, remembering that the reveries of imagination, the decisions of the judgment, the whispers of conscience, the most subtle operations of prejudice and error, the most secret and undisclosed thoughts, are no less visible to his eye, and responsible to his tribunal, than the strongest passions, and most public transactions.
Between truth and error, there exists an essential differeuce, whether men perceive that difference or not. The mistakes we commit in confounding light with darkness, and good with evil, cannot alter the nature of things, or render truth and error indifferent. If rectitude be agreeable to the divine mind, because of its consistency with his purity and justice, truth must be equally so, because of its agreement with his veracity and knowledge. And is sin be offensive in the sight of the God of holiness, error cannot be pleasing to the eye of the God of truth. Truth is intrinsically good, and error intrinsically evil, independently of the circumstances which may give them a factitious importance, or the events by which their good or evil qualities are developed.” pp. 29–31.
Circumspection and Perseverance essential to success in the Christian Ministry: a Charge delirered to the Rer. T. G. Stamper, at his Ordination to the Pastoral Office over the Church and congregation at the Independent Chapel, Urbridge, April 4th 1827. By J. HUNT, Chelmsford, pp. 40. London: Westhey and Davis.
As long as the edification of the Christian church shall be considered desirable, will the value of the gospel ministry be powerfully felt, and the qualifica
tions suited to a right discharge of its duties be suitably estimated. To enforce the latter and show, the necessity of the former," is the object of Mr. Hunt's address on the present occasion; and in our opinion he has discharged his office with no ordinary ability. He appears to feel a deep interest, in the situation and future career of his young brother in the ministry, who, it seems was trained up for the office under the same tutor, the late Dr. Bogue, though not at the same time; and while thus fulfilling a task, which had he lived, would have fallen on that venerated servant of God to perform, he has caught something of his spirit, and with all fitting solemnity has urged the pupil to tread in the steps of his justly respected tutor. The admonition of Paul to Timothy, in the 1st epistle chap. iv. ver. 16, he has chosen for the basis of his address; and from these words he proposes to consider 1. the objects which should engage the Christian minister's unremitting and devout attention; 2. the perseverance which is to develope his Christian and ministerial character; and 3. the success which will crown his faithful and unwearied solicitude. This outline is well filled up, and the lights
and shades of a christian minister's character touched with a masterly hand, and afford, we would trust, no unfaithful picture of the manner in which the preacher discharges the pastoral office among his own flock.
We have not, for a long time past, read a charge, which breathes more of the spirit of the true minister of Christ, or more powerfully illustrates and enforces his various and important duties.
Acquaintance with God. By the Rev. JAMEs SherMAN, Minister of Castle Street Chapel, Reading. pp. 179. Nisbet.
By accident, this excellent little work escaped our attention, at the time when it ought to have been introduced to our readers. Though we sincerely regret this involuntary omission, yet our late notice enables us to announce, that a second edition has appeared, and we have no doubt but that, with pious persons, this work will be a favourite companion. We read it ourselves with peculiar pleasure ; and very cordially unite in those expressions of commendation it has so extensively received.
1. A General Index to Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible, and the Fragments, by the late Charles Taylor. 4to. Price 5s. boards. This Index, which comprises a scientific analysis of contents, an alphabetical list of subjects, and a methodical arrangement of texts, illustrated and explained, forms a valuable appendage to the important work to which it belongs. To ministers and students, especially, it will give great facilities in consulting it, and we anticipate for it an extensive sale.
2. Oriental Observations and occasional Criticisms, illustrating several hundred Passages of Scripture. By John Calloway, late Missionary in Ceylon. 12mo, Price 3s.
4. Orme's (Rev. Wm.) Defence of Missions in the Sandwich and other Islands, in reply to the Article on Missions in a late Number of the Quarterly Review, 8vo. Price 3s.
In the Press, &c.
Mr. Palmer, of Paternoster-row, has in preparation for publication, an uniform Edition of the Works of the English and Scottish Reformers, under the careful revision of the Rev. Thomas Russell, A.M. Editor of Dr. Owen's Works. The first volume it is intended to publish early in December.
The Rev. John Morison, of Chelsea, is preparing for publication, in two large volumes, 8vo. an Exposition of the Book of Psalms, Explanatory, Critical, and Devotional, intended chiefly to aid private Christians in the enlightened perusal of Compositions, in which the national history of the Jews and the personal experience of David are often blended with the spirit of prophecy. It is intended to publish the work in six parts, containing about twenty-five Psalms each. The first Part will be ready for delivery by the 1st of December.