too apt to make on the time of their pastor, must, in justice, bear much of the responsibility. Young ministers in particular are apt to fall into this snare. Desirous not to give offence, they yield to the intreaties of injudicious friends, resolving to be more industrious for the future; in the mean time, those habits are forming which increase the difficulty of carrying their resolutions into practice. Unaccustomed to rigorous study, the growing poverty of their thoughts soon appears in all their religious services; and those very friends whose cruel kindness has tended to deprive them of their spiritual and intellectual strength, are the first to complain of their superficiality. Could our advice weigh with our junior brethren, for the case is hopeless in regard to those who are advanced in life, we would earnestly exhort them to spend much of their time in the study, to persevere with undeviating consistency in refusing, unless it be in cases of infrequent occurrence, invitations to convivial parties, and on all occasions to let it appear in the pulpit, by their clear and judicious illustrations, and the warmth of their devotion, that the time spent in private was not spent in vain.

We are not even prepared to admit, without much qualification, the plea that is so frequently urged by indolent and superficial preachers, in extenuation of their conduct. For however they may profess to entertain a low opinion of the judgement of the multitude, we can assure them that they are as capable of understanding a well studied discourse, conveyed with correctness, plainness, and feeling, as a loose rhapsodical harangue; and that the one species of composition is much more likely to do them good than the other. It was one of the incidental benefits which the pulpit, in the days of our fathers, conferred on the people, that it improved their taste by gradually elevating their views to a higher standard than that to which of themselves they would naturally have conformed; but it has been reserved for our age to maintain that the Christian ministry is inadequate to such an end, and that the style of expression must be lowered to correspond to the whimsical taste of the multitude. It is only by recollecting the extensive influence of this maxim, that we can account for that rodomontade mode of preaching with which some congregations are amused, and which, we regret to say, is countenanced by some individuals who possess too much good sense not to perceive, if they would only reflect on the subject, its absurd and actually irreligious tendency. + These remarks may serve to introduce to the notice of our readers, with more interest, the excellent Sermons before us. The Author, now a veteran in the service of his Master, has, during the course of nearly forty years, “ studied to shew « himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth ngt

peadorned and duties, and w

< to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If a man whose ministry has been singularly blessed, whose habits of devotion and of self-denial would have done honour to the Apostolic age, whose literature and extensive biblical acquirements might have adorned a university, whose undeviating devotedness to the studies and duties connected with the sacred office, has never been surpassed, and who is withal so modest in his claims and unassuming in his manners, as to esteem others better than himself;---if such a man ought to be honoured and even venerated for his work sake, the Author of these Sermons is fully entitled to our hearty commendations.

Nor do we feel less disposed to give Mr. Bonar these commendations, simply as the Author of the Discourses before us, irrespective of his other claims to our approbation. While their chief design is obviously to promote personal religion, that design is conducted with much judgement, ability, and piety. He successfully enables his serious reader to behold more clearly the beauty and loveliness of that religion on which his hopes and his happiness depend.

With regard to the occasion of their publication, we are told in the preface,

• That it was so far from the intention of their Author, to submit them to the view of the public, that in the earlier part of his ministry, and vigour of his life, he was afraid that such an intention, if indulged, might lead him to neglecl what he owed to the spiritual circumstances of some part of his congregation For some years past, however, it has pleased God to render him unfit for those private pastoral duties which he found pleasant to himself, and, he trusts, not useless to his people. Under the increasing infirmities of age, and of bodily weakness, he will not deny that he felt much satisfaction in revising, and preparing for publication, sone of those Discourses which he had delivered to the different parishes in which he had laboured, as a memorial of the truths which he had maintained, and which he had found fully sufficient to impart strong consolation to his own mind, under the severest trials of life.''

The subject of the first two Discourses is— The Love of God to Man: a subject which our Author treats with much warmth of energy, and beauty of illustration. It has enkindled some of his finest feelings, and has brought into action the glowing devotion of bis heart. In addressing Believers, le says,

• Review and recollect his past dealings, and you will perceive that Divine love has regulated the whole." How often has he multiplied his blessings, when you deserved and dreaded his wrath! How often have unexpected comforts gladdened your hearts, when you were foreboding days of darkness! How often has he turned your fears into joys, your wants into plenty, and your trials into victory!

Praise him for the past, and trust him for the future. If God is

love, and if you have taken him for your God, and have submitted to his grace and government, you may safely confide in him, whatever may be your affliction. He knows when to withhold, and when to bestow ; and he who gives his people grace and glory, will not withhold any real or necessary good.

"He may visit with afflictions, both uncommon and unexpected ; but what can you fear from the hand of infinite love? That gentle hand will not press too sore upon you; it will not afflict you too severely. It way administer medicine for your health ; it may even correct you for your undutifulness; but still it is the hand of a loving Father; and while it chastens for your profit, it at the same time wards off those fiery darts of Satan, which would prove too agonising for your frail spirits, and also heals the painful wounds which sin has made. Though, therefore, in the despondency'of your spirits, you sometimes say that your trials are severe, yet if this God, this faithful unchanging God, is your God, and you his real obedient people, you will sooner or later perceive so much love in these trials, that you would not, for a world, have wanted one ingredient in the bitterest of them. “ Why art thou then cast down, O my 6 soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God; “ for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." pp. 19–21.

The subjects of the remaining sermons of this valume are, The Trials of Job, and his Consolations under them; Resignation; Trust in God; Self-dedication to God; The living Temple ; Heaven prepared for the Righteous; The Everlasting Covenant; The strong Consolation ; The Christian Journey; The Ascension of Christ; Christ's Unchangeableness. These several subjects are treated in a truly devotional and practical manner; and that man must be far advanced in faith and in knowledge, who is incapable of deriving from the varied illustrations of this volume, a fuller impression of the Divine loveliness of true religion, and of the happiness essentially connected with its experience. Our last extracts shall be from the Sermon on the Living Temple.

* If you beheld a large and stately building rising into view, where formerly there was nothing but rubbish and ruins; if you were informed that this building is highly important and necessary; that it had been planned by much deliberation and wisdom, and that no small expense was laid out in preparing materials for the work ; you would naturally conclude, that since it is now begun, and daily advancing, that it will in due time be completed, provided the builder has skill, wisdom, power, and means, sufficient for finishing it.

Apply all this to the subject before us. The infinitely wise God our Saviour, who possesses all power in heaven and earth, has formed the grand design of recovering sinners from their apostacy, and of preparing them for heaven. He has, through the influence of his grace, begun to operate in the hearts of his chosen in the world, so that the outlines of their future perfections already appear:

12 and will he, after all this, withhold such farther degrees of grace, i as are necessary to bring this good work to perfection? This would

be inconsistent with his compassion and power. He has redeemed his people by his blood, and declares that he will keep what is committed to him ; that having begun in them a good work, he will carry it forward- to the day of Christ. He has pledged himself, by his engagements to his people in the covenant of grace; and these engagements he will fulfil by his dispensations and ordinances,

with the co-operating influences of the Holy Spirit.--He carries i his people forward to perfection, by the powerful energy and gracious

influences of his Holy Spirit, working them to will and to do of his good pleasure, sealing them to the day of redemption, leading them into all truth, and sanctifying them more and more, until, by gradual advances in holiness, they are fitted for the enjoyment of heaven. When fully prepared, he releases them from all the incumbrances of mortality, crowns them with immortal glory, and puts on the last stone with shoutings of grace unto it. Then, with increasing and everlasting joy, shall the universal song of triumph ascend to him who loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and redeemed them to God out of every kindred, and brought them out of great tribulation, and conducted them to the land of uprightness, whence the Lord shall be the Light of the Temple and where the glory of the Lord will lighten it for ever and ever. pp. 220_224.

We particularly recommend these Discourses to young ministers, as excellent models for their imitation. From them they will learn, that in order to be plain it is not necessary to be low or vulgar, nor to be common place in order to be understood; and that it is quite possible to convey to an ordinary audience, the result of much study, with simplicity, with taste, and with the warmth of the most elevated devotion.'

We know that the Reviewer of a book has nothing to do with the life of its Author; nevertheless, it may be allowed us to remark, in concluding this article, that the living ensample of devotion and excellency which the life and conduct of Mr. Bonar have exhibited during the forty years that he has been invested with the sacred office, will considerably enhance the value and effect of these Sermons in the estimation of all who are acquainted with his character. The Church of Scotland will lose one of its ablest ministers and most distinguished ornaments, when this servant of Christ shall be called into the joy of his Lord.

Art. VIII. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton ; with Illustrative Anecdotes

of many of her most particular Friends and distinguished Con. temporaries Second Edition, post 8vo. pp. 352. Price 108. 6d. Colburn, 1815 i THE Author of this work commences it with remarking,

I that 'The maxim,“ nothing should be said of the dead, 66 but what is good,” though it has become proverbial by the • frequency of repetition, and the benevolence it seems to in

culcate, is too often made an excuse for error, and an apology • for depravity. But whatever may be the nature or the ex6 tent of the rule, it never could have been intended to ope

rate as an act of indemnity, to cover in oblivion the deeds o of those who have endeavoured to loosen the foundations o of morality by their principles, or to render vice attractive by their example.

The custom which prevailed among some of the ancients, of decreeing their departed great to undergo a regular trial, and proportioning their funeral honours to the praiseworthy actions of their lives, was more favourable to the excitement of laudable ambition, and the practice of sound morality, than the consideration of certain tender-hearted persons, who warmly object against the very idea of sitting in judgement on the memory of the departed, but who can yet very readily assist in murering the reputation of the living. The fact is, that we are willing to acknowledge agreeable qualities which no longer stand in the way of our own claims upon admiration ; and we can with much good nature, throw a veil of oblivion over faults, the exposure of which would not in any degree serve to promote our interest, even by the inplied contrast of our own virtues. . But whence does this tenderness towards the fame of the dead take its rise? Is it from a solemn reverence for the awiul tribunal to whose judgement their frailties are then committed? or from a fine and indefinable feeling that would not seem to take advantage of the absence of the departed? Or is it from that indifference to virtue, abstractedly considered, wbicii repders vice a subject of reprobation only so far as the interests of those within its reach may be affected by its influence? Even on this paltry and sordid consideration, the volume before us might safely assert its claim to notice, though its own merits would afford it a more solid and advantageous foundation. The interests of the living are in many instances closely connected with the just censure of the dead. There are persons who have dazzled the world by the splendour of

their attainments, but who have wrung, by ingratitude and neg·lect, the hearts with which their own ought to have beat in

stani with eles posuinterest, everyoness towards reverene then conot

« 前へ次へ »