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wick appears to us particularly happy. It is cordial, judicious, and concise. No Christian minister could wish to receive a kinder welcome to the post of duty, or to be cheered on his entrance upon his labour of love with words of fairer promise.
* We welcome you affectionately amongst us,” says Mr. S.; " we each of us seek to be your personal friend, to interchange with you the offices of kindness and co-operation, to maintain with you an intercourse, manly, frank, candid, and charitable.”
The observations which follow are conceived in the same spirit with this introduction. A few very valuable practical hints are thrown out as to the qualifications which the society, in whose name he spoke, might, in his opihion, fairly wish and look for in their minister; but the tone is throughout that of frank and manly friendship, not of dictation ; and the first wish of the young pastor when he heard this address, must, we think, have been, that his congregation might ever continue to feel and speak and act towards him in the spirit of their worthy representative; and that he might himself never prove undeserving of such a friendship as that which had been thus proffered io bim, a friendship which should combine honesty and frankness with charity and candour. In a few words of Mr. Swanwick's we find a forcible and sufficient defence of the religious service in which he was engaged.
“We are no favourers of aught that would narrow the road to heaven, or would imperle it with obstacles of human invention. But it is possible, we think, to be superstitiously afraid of superstition ;'—and we would not rejeet the unexceptionable means to a good end, because these means may be becasionally associated with objectionable practices. . . . . Therefore, Sir, as we hope that you are to aid us in fashioning the youthful mind to the reception of the highest and purest motives, and the conduct of our children to practical virtue; and that your instructions will tend to guard all against the inroads of that selfishness which active engagements in the world are too apt to generate, and to strengthen all in whatever is praiseworthy and of good report—we do not think it either unnatural or unwise to commence our ronnexion with you by listening to adınonitions and joining in a service calculated simply to impress upon our minds the vital importance of the objects we are pursuing, and the means most likely to ensure their attainment.”
The reply of the Rev. R. B. Aspland appears to be that of an ingenuous young man, entering with zeal and alacrity on the duties of his new situation, and animated by a strong desire to discharge them well. We are particularly pleased with the modesty and candour which appear in the following reference, if we mistake not, to a truly wise and friendly suggestion
the preceding address. “ I shall never be backward in stating and defending, on all proper occasions, what we believe to be the peculiar doctrines of the gospel." In noticing the opinions of others, I trust that I shall always exhibit a calm and candid spirit. I am too great a lover of independence of mind and freedom of inquiry to be angry with those who have thought and searched for themselves, however widely their conclusions may differ from my own. Should, however, the excitement of a public address or the ardour of youth ever tempt your minister to pass beyond the boundaries of moderation and charity, some friendly voice will, I trust, warn him back and admonish him of his danger, It is my wish to live in peace with all men, and to be able to hail every fellowchristian, be his peculiarities what they may, as a friend and a brother.”
This is exactly as it should be, as modest and charitable as it is spirited and manly. In the concluding sentence of his reply, the young minister
expresses his virtuous resolution to devote himself to the important duties of the Christian ministry, which he concisely yet comprehensively represents as consisting in
“ The study and faithful exposition of the Scriptures, the maintenance of pure religion, the visiting of the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and the keeping of himself unspotted from the world.”
The Sermon follows, by the Rev. William Shepherd, of Gateacre, -an excellent discourse from Luke viii. 18: “ Take heed how hear.” After a short introduction, in which Mr. S. distinguishes between the preachers of the gospel, considered in their personal character, and as heralds of the Divine will; and observes that it is not to themselves, but to the pure doctrine which they preach, and which is addressed to them no less than to their hearers, that men are required to give heed, he proceeds to inquire, “ What dispositions of mind are necessary on the part of hearers, to render the gospel itself effectual to salvation." Those which he enumerates are humility, meekness, an earnest desire of knowledge, candour and impartiality, attention, serious recollection, and a sincere intention to practise what we hear. On each of these heads many judicious and some striking and pointed observations are made. We must content ourselves with a few
extracts. “Let us not,” says Mr. S., treating of the earnest desire of knowledge as a needful qualification of the Christian hearer, “mistake a mere desire to hear our own opinions asserted, for a desire to know the truth. It is extremely flattering to the imagination, and soothing to the passions, to hear our senti. ments boldly maintained and warmly commended. But, after all, this may be rather the result of partiality to our own opinions than the effect of a generous regard to truth. To hear our sentiments proved for reason and confirmed by Scripture, cannot fail to give us pleasure, as it confirms us in our persuasion that we are right. But our improvement does not depend so much upon our being confirmed in what we believe to be right, as in our being convinced where we are in the wrong, and in our being taught something which we did not know. And this desire of knowledge, to be of the greatest possible benefit, must extend to all truths of real importance to conduct."
May we be permitted to add, that these excellent remarks will admit of a much more extensive application than the great majority of hearers and readers may probably suppose.
“ What truth of real importance to conduct,” many of these will be inclined to inquire, “am I ignorant of ? Even where I am not guided by it in my practice, is not my knowledge of the truth sufficiently clear ?" We reply, that wherever the theory and practice are widely at variance, we should feel strongly disposed to answer in the negative. It is, in our opinion, a deficiency of knowledge that very frequently, if not generally, makes practice so defective as it is. Multitudes transgress in opposition to a loose, general knowledge of their duty and interest, who neither would nor could do so if that knowledge were more accurate, intimate and extensive. They take only a hasty and partial view of the nature and tendency of their actions. Perhaps they know them to be evil, but they know not why or to what extent they are so ; they have by no means contemplated them in all their bearings and consequences; they have not maturely considered how they will affect them in their various relations to their fellow-creatures and to God; they call them evil, in short, but they know not half the evil that is in them, or, if they did, their conduct would, of necessity, be affected by their knowledge. It is a very false and pernicious, though prevalent, idea, that on practical subjects there is no knowledge to be given or gained. Constant accessions of the most valuable
and important knowledge of this kind may be made by every man, who under the influence of that “ earnest desire" of it which Mr. S. recommends, keeps his ears and his understanding open to receive it. In speaking of attention as a requisite quality in a wise hearer, the preacher observes, that “ attention is a habit which must be acquired as other mental habits are formed, by frequent exercise, and by a strict discipline of the mind. A mere desire of knowledge,” he adds, “ can no more instantly form a habit of attention, than a desire of wealth can produce a habit of industry.” This remark is perfectly just ; at the same time we may observe, that as Attention, when analyzed, seems to be nothing more than perception fixed, as it were, and enlivened by desire, to strengthen the desire of knowledge by every means in our power, to impress more deeply upon our own minds the conviction of its importance, will be the very best means of forming the habit of attention. The desire of wealth, it is true, cannot instantly produce a habit of industry, while there are other desires, such as those of pleasure, ease, &c., which counteract its influence; but, should it be nourished by any means or circumstances into such strength as to overcome all these, the habit of industry will infallibly be formed. So likewise we have only to cultivate and cherish our desire to work out our salvation, and a growing attention to the means of doing so will be the certain consequence.
We recommend to the attention of our readers the following excellent passage on serious recollection, as a requisite qualification of the wise bearer :
" When we are once well convinced of the truth, it is not of the first import to recollect all the arguments by which it has been proved. The most enlightened intellect is a storehouse of the general results of the process of ratiocination. But as it distracts the attention too much to be seeking for objections when we should attend to an argument, recollection may be very useful to prerent our being misled. Recollection is the proper introductory process for re-examining the proof of a doctrine, or if we be perfectly convinced, yet many truths are themselves highly deserving of being remembered that we may be prepared for their defence if they be impugned, or for the discovery of the conclusions which may be fairly deduced from them. But especially if they be truths which ought to influence the conduct, it is of the greatest importance to reflect on them, to endeavour to revive the good impressions which they have made, and to bring them home to our business and bosoms at a time when, unobserved by human eye, we may freely pursue a train of thought, and indulge impressions, which the presence of others has a tendency to restrain."
We cannot close our remarks on this truly valuable Sermon, the whole of which we earnestly recommend to the reader's perusal, without noticing what appears to us the very happy comparison of the momentary compunctions of the thoroughly hardened and impenitent hearer of the word, the mental and bodily contortions, by which he sometimes excites, in the mind of the spectator, a delusive hope that the principle of moral life is not yet dead within him,—to “ the convulsions caused by the application to a lifeless subject of the mysterious fluid, on the subsiding of which the limbs relapse into the inertness of death.”
Mr. Shepherd's Sermon is followed by the Charge, delivered by the Rev. Robert Aspland, of Hackney, to his son. It is difficult to conceive a father
See Lectures on the Philosophy of Mind, by one of the most acute, discriminating and amiable of philosophers, the late Dr. Thomas Brown, Vol. II. Lect.
placed in a situation more interesting, or more likely to try his feelings to the utmost. The minister of Christ, his own duties and responsibilities pressing upon his recollection, giving solemn charge to a brother minister, and that minister bis own son, could not but have spoken from and to the heart. Mr. Aspland's “ standing in the church, his known devotedness to the cause of truth, and his intimate connexion” with the young man whom he was addressing, must, as Mr. Swanwick justly observed, have given to his admonitions an especial authority and a peculiar grace.” The words upon which Mr. A. grounds his admonitions, are those of St. Paul, in his First Epistle to Tiniothy, chap. vi. vers. 13–16: “I give thee charge in the sight of God,” &c. In the commencement of his Address, Mr. A. dwells at considerable length on the obligation under which the object of his paternal counsels lay, to acknowledge Christ as his sole Master in religion; to look to him continually as the only authority in matters of faith, and the only rule in matters of practice; to assert not only for himself, but for others, the most unbounded liberty of conscience; to act, in short, such a part as might justly be expected from
“ A Hebrew of Hebrews, a Protestant with regard to Protestants, who had never been brought under spiritual bondage to any man or any church, who from a child had been taught to make the Scriptures the only rule of his faith, and who, while some of his progenitors on both sides purchased their freedom with a great price, was free-born.”—“ Various are the grounds," says the preacher in this part of his Charge, on which Protestant Dissenters justify their secession, with so much inconvenience, and in some cases with so many sacrifices, from the National Church. Some choose to stand in their nonconformity on this principle, and some on that. I can enter into the sense and spirit of that Dissent which consists in conscientious objection to the imposition of ceremonies, in themselves indifferent, which are not of Divine ordination ; for the same authority which is competent to decree one rite or ceremony may decree rites and ceremonies without end, and overwhelm religion with pomps and vanities: I admire that withdrawment from a religious establishment by the secular power which is occasioned and justified by some supposed error of doctrine, or some false worship in that establishment; because quiet submission to errors in faith and practice is in some cases the same as assent to them and approbation of them, and yet the errors may be, from their very nature or from their tendency to growth and multiplication, subversive of the simplicity of Christ, and fatal to the design of his religion, pure and undefiled before God, even the Father : but I applaud most of all that religious non-conforinity which, without regard to this ceremony however grievous, or that error however obnoxious, meditates simply the escape from intellectual thraldom, and the attainment of that spiritual liberty in which the mind shall be prepared for every truth that may beam upon it from the source of light, and the church collectively, consisting of many free minds in a state of union, shall be capable of pursuing any reformation which may appear to be pointed out by the finger of God, whether seen in the Scriptures or in the book of God's Providence, which is another volume of Scripture, opened gradually, and, as it is opened, expounded, by time.”.
To the sentiments contained in this spirited passage we give our cordial assent. We agree with the writer in thinking that no enlightened and consistent friend of Truth, no one who fully understands and feels all that his fealty to truih requires of him, will consent to become a member of any political church-establishment, however liberal, or to subscribe his name to any confession of faith imposed by man, however simple and scriptural he may deem it. In a subsequent passage, after enjoining it upon his son “ 10 form with deliberation, to express with diffidence, to defend with temper,
and to urge upon others with candour," those conscientious opinions, the honest and fearless avowal of which he had previously recommended, Mr. A. makes the following excellent remarks:
"Moderation, as a real, unquestionable virtue, refers not to doctrines, but to the spirit in which they are held and professed, and to the language in which they are explained and enforced. It is humility in thinking, and good taste, courtesy and charity in the expression of what is thought. Even in controversy the bounds of moderation need not be exceeded; though controversial preaching is apt, without great caution, to betray a minister, and a young minister particularly, into intemperance. Polemical divinity in general is often a useful and sometimes a necessary course of study and labour, but it is a thorny path, and of those that have pursued it most prudently and most successfully, few are there that have not felt at the close of the strife that they have received some wounds during its progress. A Christian minister, worthy of the name, is always a defender of the faith;' never an accuser of the brethren.' And if in all cases moderation, in its general scriptural sense, be a virtue, much more is it a virtue becoming young men and young ministers. In the ardour of feelings, purely constitutional, some of these are apt to use strong and extravagant language, and even to mistake this for a mark of what is called geniis, when, after all, it is the sign of nothing but the existence of an untamed imagination and the want of self-controul.”
The passage immediately following this contains also excellent counsel to young ministers, at the same time that it kindly bespeaks for them the candour of their hearers. The Charge concludes with a number of detached Counsels, concisely and simply yet strikingly expressed, and evidently flowing warm from the paternal heart. All of these we could willingly extract, did our limits allow. We regard them, indeed, as constituting the most valuable part of Mr. Aspland's Address, and if we could have wished for any thing different, it would have been that this most impressive and useful portion of the Charge, to which the preacher's long and active experience would doubtless bave enabled him to make many valuable additions, had been extended, even though it might have obliged him to omit some of the less peculiarly appropriate, though in itself excellent, matter which precedes.
We have been led to notice these Services so much at length by the interest which the subject has excited in our minds, and likewise by the strong wish, which we confess we feel, to induce our readers to think favourbly of the revival, in an improved form, of a custom, in our opinion, likely to be attended by the most beneficial effects.
ART. II.-An Erposure of the Hamiltonian System of teaching Languages,
in a Letter addressed to the Author of an Article recommending that System, in No. 87 of the Edinburgh Review. By J. Jones, LL.D. M.R.S. L.* London, 1826.
ROGER ASCHAM, many years ago, expressed the result of his experience to be unfavourable to the success of short cuts to the acquirement of the learned languages,—to the plan of getting in at the window, as he expressed it, instead of following the usual mode of entering and ascending into the
• We deeply lament that since this article was composed this learned writer has been removed by death from the scene of his active and useful labours.