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· The Sermon before us fully answers to its title. It states clearly what it is to preach Christ in the best and most effectual. method ; and did it glow in the same degree as it shines, were it as impassioned in the style and manner 'as it is perspicuous and coinprehensive in the exhibition and statement of the truths it recommends, it would possess all the qualities of a perfectly good Sermon, and be itself an impressive illustration of its subject. The following extracts, we conceive, are fair specimens of the entire composition of the Discourse, and at the same time exhibit sentiments which are both interesting and weighty.
After stating that the best method of preaching Christ cru. cified, supposes a simple, lucid, and consistent statement of facts, the preacher remarks,
• The statement should be full and unequivocal. Some men, indifferent, or decidedly hostile, to the peculiarities of the gospel, demand that exclusive attention be paid to practical religion, and that doctrines be but sparingly, if at all introduced, on the prin, ciple, that the great fault of mankind lies rather in their hearts than in their understandings. There the fault does lie: but the conelusion, in their conception of the terms, is not legitimate. We admit that, in every case, there should be attention, if you please exclusive attention, to practical religion, as the end of preaching : but full and unequivocal doctrinal views of Divine truth are the great means of effecting it.* And do not the objectors act on this very principle? Do not they derive some of their most powerful motives, fromthe doctrines of Divine omniscience, the resurrection, and judgement ? In this we commend them. In this they pursue the path trodden and consecrated by inspired men. And it were no dif. ficult thing to shew, that the New Testament scarcely enforces one duty, or class of duties, without the use of an evangelical doctrine.
both This assertion, if admitted to be just, will, in a certain degree, decide the question between the evangelical clergy in the establishment, and many of their respectable opponents. From conversing with gentlemen on both sides, I have concluded, that the difference does not consist so much in doctrinal sentiments, as respecting the mode of stating them, and the space which they should occupy in public ministrations. It is, in charity, and even in justice, to be hoped, that serious men of both classes aim at the same object. But whether of the two is more likely to effect it? Does one insist on the fitness of things, the excellency of virtue, &c? so does the other. Does he address himself to the self-love of mankind, and shew that virtue and religion are conducive to personal happiness ? so does the other. Does he strongly urge the authoritative claims of God? or does he minutely describe all the branches of christian duty? so does his evangelical neighbour. So far they stand on a level. But the evangelical minister now leaves his opponent, and employs further and more powerful means of effecting his purpose." He
And that scheme of Christianity may be justly suspected, which does not give sufficient importance to the person and work of Christ, to admit this evangelical mode of enforcing the duties of morality and religion. Vow, it doctrinal views are to be used and presented in this practical form at all,, by what authority are we limited to a few doctrines? And why are others revealed with at least equal prominence and frequency? But You must avoid controverted doctrines !” Yet, are there any truths-is. even the basis of all religion the being of God uncontroverted ? We need not, indeed, present them in a controversial form-but we must present them: nor dare we dilute the bold and striking peculiarities of the gospel, to render them more palatable to the vitiated taste of mankind. The gospel, comprehending all that God has communicated, is the proper and destined instrument of enlightening, sanctifying, and saving mankind. “ Sanctify them by thy truth: thy word is truth :'' Is it not fair to presume, that God has chosen the fittest instrument for the accomplishment of this ? “ Are we wiser than He?” Can wé select or devise 'means better adapted to the attainment of these important objects?' pp. 14--17.
The folluwing remarks are just, and deserve the serious attention of a certain class of preachers and hearers. * We must VARY AND ADAPT the mode of addressing the gospel to the different intellectual and moral circumstances of our hearers. We have not different kinds of truth to communicate; but different modes of communicating it are necessary, Manner and style may yary, from a simplicity level to the capacities of a child, through all the intermediate stages, up to the highest pitch of argumentative or brilliant and impassioned eloquence. There must, as far as our powers admit, be adaptation to the different natural or acquired tastes of men. We must thus “become all things to all men.” We must, if possible, touch the feeling, rouse the sluggish, and reason the 'argumentative into conviction. See the different addresses of Paul. To the Lycaonians, Acts xiy. bold ard impassioned; to Felix, Acts xxiv. plain and pungent; to Festus, unfolds the plan of redemption ; makes a new appeal to the heart; awakens its most generous feelings; constantly presents that into which angels desire to look; and beseeches, by the mercy of God, by the blood of a Saviour! Laying aside scriptural precedent, which every man should consider authoritative what minister, truly wise, wouid not, on the most obvious principle of expediency, employ thèse, in addition to all that are ordinarily employed by those who are terwed noral, in distinction from evangelicil, preachers? The very principles of philosophy, properly understood, re. commend it. And an Appeal to facts, which every man way, and every observing man must perceive, and on which every man of common understanding can decide, will settle the question . But when will truth be substituted for declamation, and facts suprsede and destroy the force of ingenious cavilling !
Acts xxyi. ineffably polite; to the Athenians, Acts xvii. eloquent and learned; to the Jews, argumentative, from principles which they universally acknowledged. To all he was faithful. In all cases there was adaptation ; there was no abandonment of truth, but a selection of the right topic, addressed in the most proper manner.
Adaptation requires, that we place the same truths in various lights, that he who misses it in one representation may perceive it in another. Adaptation requires us to distinguish between the characters of our hearers, that we may “ give to every man his s6 portion in due season.” The broad and general distinction of saint and sinner is by no means sufficient. À medical practitioner not only distinguishes the sick from the healthy, but duly considers the different kinds of their maladies, and the various degrees and circumstances of each kind. We should not only lay down the general and decisive marks of distinction “between the precious « and the vile,” but diligently study the various characters of every species, of every class, of every individual, till, without the appearance of personality, we insulate every man from his fellow, and constrain him to hear the voice of conscience, following our descriptions with—" Thou art the man !" ? pp. 21-23.
As the Sermon is within the reach of almost all our readers, we shall not inultiply extracts, but refer them to the discourse itself, and particularly to its closing pages. Art. X. Resolutions and Statements relative to the Persecution of the
French Protestants. Extracted from the Proceedings of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the three Denominations, in and about the Cities of London and Westminster. 8vo. pp. 28. price
6d. Longman and Co 1816. : W E alluded to this publication in our last Number,
V. but we deein it advisable to place it more distinctly before our readers as the accredited report of a Committee of the whole body of Dissenting Ministers in London, whose character is staked on the genuineness and authenticity of the details which it contains. These details are not derived from doubtful or anonymous sources, although, for obvious reasons, the names of the individuals referred to are withheld, but they are extracted from the correspondence which the Committee have found the means of maintaining with their suffering Protes ant brethren in France.
This subject has been involved in so much mistake and misrepresentation, owing to the political shape which it has lately assumed, that it may be necessary to state in as few words as possible, for the information of some of our readers, the plain matter of fact as it respects the proceedings of this Committee, in reference to the object in question : an object, as they conceived, not of a political, but of a religious pature; which claimed their attention as men, on the simple ground of hu
nisters ation haverom the Generaof the
manity, but which appealed to them more emphatically as the Ministers of the Gospel of peace..
On receiving the first authentic intelligence with respect to the apprehensions and the actual sufferings of Protestants in the South of France, the Dissenting Ministers of London delegated some of their general body to lay before his Majesty's Government the inforination they had received, and to acquaint the Minister with the steps which they intended to take in consequence. The deputation were received by his Majesty's Ministers with that respectful attention which the present Administration have uniformly manifested in the case of official communications from the General Body of Dissenters : and no objection was made on the part of the Government to the collections which the Committee stated it to be their intention to recommend to the congregations of their several denominations throughout the kingdom, on behalf of the Protestants in the South of France.
In the Resolutions which the General Body subsequently adopted, no opinion was expressed as to the degree of responsibility attaching to the rulers of France from the impunity with which the enormities in the South of the kingdom had been committed. There was a guarded avoidance of all political sentiment, as being inappropriate to the simply religious character of their object and proceedings.
It is no small benefit which must be considered as having already resulted from their exertions, that the very pains which have been taken to disprove the necessity of such interference, forms a standing concession as to the impolicy, and wickedness of countenancing in future, all such nefarious aggressions: while the English Government seems now to be still more strongly pledged to watch with jealousy the attempts of the ultra-royalist faction to infringe upon the provisions of the French charter with regard to religious toleration. What they have been in part the means of eliciting, has already served to let us more into the knowledge of what is transacting in France, than we otherwise might have gained. Spontaneous declarations of gratitude without the incentive of obligation, and professions of attachment without the plea of occasion, are more than suspicious: they betray the operation of latent motives either of fear or of interest; and when they are contradicted by the private assurances of the same individuals, there needs no key to unravel the cipher.
The fact is, that many of the published Letters purporting to be addressed by the Protestant Clergy of France to the Dissenting Ministers of London, have never been received by the Committee; nor is there reason to suppose that they were intended for any other purpose, than that of satisfying the suspicions of the police by whom it was known they
would be intercepted : a regard to personal safety has induced many estimable men to resort to this expedient, and the venerable M. Marron, President of the Protestant Consistory of Paris, has addressed a letter to an individual of the Committee of Dissenting Ministers, which forms a most impressive comment on his published letter.
The Dissenting Ministers have acted strictly in character, by declining to satisfy curiosity or appease incredulity, at the expense of betraying the confidence and endangering the persons, and perhaps lives, of those in whose behalf they feel themselves under the strongest obligations to take an active interest. It is not to be supposed that they would invite the contributions of their congregations towards a chimerical object, or one which they had not secured the means of effecting, by a prudent distribution of the funds with which they are and may be entrusted. Ştill less is it to be supposed, that they would lend their united influence to the advancement of the views of any political faction.
It is extremely difficult to obtain any competent information which may enable us to form a just estimate of the internal state of France. The prospect is, however, at present sufficiently gloomy. There are three means of government, which form at the same time the elements of social cohesion ; religion, law, and public opinion. Which of these can have any beneficial operation in a country, where religion is made to consist in pageants, or in intolerance, where the Charter is decried in proof of loyalty, and where opinion is regulated by the police ?
As to religion, -all we can do for France is to endeavour to secure its toleration, and surely this is the first duty of a Protestant country. We cannot give the name of religion to the mummeries of the Romish Church : they cannot humanize a nation. It is utterly revolting to the feelings, to observe the im. becile complacency with which some of our journalists detail the pious orgies of Superstition, and reiterate the phrases of beatification in reference to the holy martyr king, Louis the virtuous,' One would imagine that in the infatuated passion for legitimacy in government, it were actually deemed by some a matter of satisfaction, that we had re-established the legitimate religion of France. Are we indeed retrograding to the days of Divine right, and are we Protestants to learn anew the lesson of Christianity in the dialect of Rome? What a dereliction of principle, to bestow the terın of piety on the miserable delusions of a bigotexi aud ignorant priesthood! Is it to be wondered at, that persons capable of this folly should be base enough to lend themselves to the propagation of falsehood and calumny, in reference to the Protestants of France, and the Dissenters of England