Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

easy to apprehend the value and the importance of those publications whose leading aim is to stimulate to a more prompt regard to this essential and sanctifying habit. Of such publications a goodly number have recently issued from the press, and among them not a few of more than ordinary worth and excellence. Their character and design, however, have not been exactly alike. Some have ably argued the necessity of this communion; some, with considerable wealth and beauty of illustration, have set forth its solid advantages; some have pointed out the various impediments which lie in the way of its being fostered, and the proceedings by which those impediments may be most effectually removed ; whilst others have endeavoured, in strains of simple and fervid eloquence, to urge every quickening motive to its more constant and vigorous cultivation.

The little volume whose title stands at the head of this notice, is another valuable contribution to the number of this class of works. Too long we have delayed to introduce it to the attention of our readers; but our delay has arisen from circumstances which, however much we may regret, we were at the same time quite unable to avoid. The author is no stranger to the christian public. Already he has well and successfully laboured in the wide field of sacred literature. In his “ History of the Seven Churches of Asia,” we clearly discern the traces of sound and extensive learning wisely applied; and in his “ Life and Times of Dr. Watts,” we are presented with a full account, and with an able delineation of the character, of that great and good man. The volume now before us is, of course, of a different kind, less lofty in its aim than either of the two of which we have just spoken, but considering the immediate design it is written to accomplish, we feel that it is not less important. It is doubtless no ordinary achievement to produce a work, the thoughtful perusal of which shall at once enlarge the sphere of our knowledge, and sharpen and expand the intellectual faculties. But a more tender and a far more delightful interest belongs to the book, in reading which, the springs of spiritual feeling are deepened and purified, the love of devotional exercises increased, and a holier fervour imparted to the aspirations of the soul after the immortal blessedness of heaven. Such is the scope, and such the tendency of the little work before us. In prosecuting his purpose the author proceeds to exhibit the various circumstances which render habitual intercourse with God a binding duty,-the modes, the times, and the places in which it was divinely intended to be cultivated with the most promising success, the varied benefits it produces, and the many glorious examples by which an attention to it is enforced upon us, examples drawn from the Word of God, and from the earlier annals of the christian church. There is also much curious information in the book and many stirring quotations from the Fathers. The work is divided into nine chapters which are designated as follows: THE FIRST DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN-THE DAY OF REST-TIE WORD OF GOD-THE SANCTUARY-PRAYER-SECRET, SOCIAL, AND DOMESTIC PRAYER-TIMES, POSTURES, AND FORMS OF PRAYER-PRAISE- MORNING AND EVENING DEVOTION. Under each of these heads the reader will find many of the most important truths of the Bible beautifully illustrated, and sometimes developed with considerable ability. In by far the greater number of the author's opinions we heartily concur; and there are not a few passages which, from the elevation of their sentiment, and from the graceful and energetic language in which that sentiment is clothed, have afforded us much pleasure.

But it is now time to let the work say a word for itself. We have room only for one or two brief passages, and shall select these less as specimens of the author's general style of composition, than of his faithful dealing with professing Christians on several points of great moment. To the sincere and humble worshipper in the house of God, what can be of more pressing importance than the preparation of the heart for its hallowing services? Would that the following paragraph were fitly pondered by every Christian.

“ To derive from the sanctuary all the benefit which its services are designed and calculated to impart, a due preparation for its engagements should be carefully sought beforehand. Attendance upon it should be prefaced by employments analogous to those it places before us; we should go from secret prayer to social worship, and by the exercises of the closet endeavour to acquire that fervent and serious frame of mind, that will render public duty delightful and improving. The direction of the prophet, Prepare to meet thy God,' though it immediately alludes to his judicial visitation to Israel, yet may properly be considered as a general directive precept, enjoining us to seek a disposition of heart suitable to all our interviews with Him whose name is Holy. We studiously prepare to meet the great and exalted of the earth. In an interview with a sovereign there is much previous anxiety about the behaviour likely to conduce to our advantage : and surely not less solicitous, but far more so, should we be to obtain the approbation of Him by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice. To frequent habitually the house of prayer without previous preparation, to be late before we enter its precincts, is a contumelious mode of Creating the great God--a practical affront—a bringing him down not only to our own level, but far below it; for in human affairs it is reckoned a point of honour, a law of politeness, to keep an appointment with an inferior as well as with an equal. To lounge and gossip to the sanctuary, indifferent whether its services may have commenced or not, is a sight offensive to the devout worshipper, and cannot but be so to the Being whose presence is so carelessly entered : it is paying less deference and respect to the Creator than we are accustomed to do to the creature: it is the master coming to wait upon the servant, instead of the servant upon the master; and the Lord of the temple may well say of such, "What hast thou to do to declare my stafutes, and that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself, but I will reprove thee.'”-pp. 177, 178.

It is of no small moment to have a clear view of the precise character and relative value of the different services of the sanctuary. Preaching and hearing no doubt hold a pre-eminently interesting place among them, and from age to age, have been blest to the refreshment and the sanctification of those that love Christ. But there is one service which, in too many instances, is lamentably undervalued, and as the natural consequence, most criminally neglected, we mean THE PRAYER-MEETING. In the sentiment of the author on this subject, contained in the following short passage, we cordially concur, and would express our fervent hope that it may be practically attended to by our churches.

“ If there is one institution more important than another to the spiritual prosperity of any community, it is the social meeting for prayer and praise, the neglect of which is one of the crying sins of the church in the present day. Those assemblies which are not of a strictly devotional character, are attended hy numerous and eager hearers; while those which are held for the most important of all engagements, that of seeking the presence and favour of God, can only command a scanty sprinkling of visitants. Never will Zion put on her • beautiful garments,' and Jerusalem become a praise,' until services of devotion are preferred by her inhabitants to their chief joy,' and to her courts they fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows.'”-p. 240.

One more passage must finish our quotations. When our Lord was about to separate from his disciples, with infinite wisdom and tenderness he prayed to his Father, not that He should take them out of the world, but He would keep them from the evil of it. The believer is still surrounded with dangerous influences from the world, and one main safeguard against their fatal effect is, beyond all doubt, fervent prayer,-prayer in the closet, and in the family. On the tendency and delightful influence of domestic worship, the author thus writes :

“ In the world, we meet with influences hostile to the wisdom which is pure, peaceable, and gentle;' we have tendencies within us prone to give them a friendly greeting, and to prevent the formation of a renewed fellowship with the beggarly elements' around us, the controlling and sanctifying power of Divine grace must be sought, in humble and in fervent prayer. Hold thou me up,' says one, and I shall be safe : be thou my arm every morning. If thus we go forth into the scenes of active life, in the strength of the Lord of hosts, we shall be kept from many an error which otherwise in our heedlessness we should commit, and be saved from many a pang of grief; our character will be preserved from receiving unsightly blemishes in an association with the objects of time and sense; we shall ' walk through the fire and not be burned'- live in an evil world without contracting its evils. The secret of our peace and safety lies in that aphorism of the Apostle's — our sufficiency is of God.' A practical recognition of the sentiment will lead us to prepare, in the commencing day, to discharge its duties, and to meet its dangers - to put on in the closet heavenly armour for every encounter with the foe- and sedulously to seek that grace which will teach us to suffer losses with submission- to bear crosses with meekness, and enable us, whether we live' through the day, to live unto the Lord, or whether we die' during its continuance, 'to die unto the Lord.'”-pp. 382, 383.

In closing our notice of this little production, there are one or two remarks we beg to commend to the candid and serious consideration of our learned and gifted friend. And, first, we think the quotations from the Fathers are rather too numerous and too long. Their frequency and extent have appeared to us very much to im. pair their force and point. Our friend, we should imagine, reads the Fathers with great fondness and admiration, and we are rather inclined to think that this circumstance is not without a somewhat hurtful influence upon his own style. Of that style we have, in the next place, a word to say. Mr. Milner, perhaps, writes with considerable quickness and facility, at least this is our impression from perusing his works. Hence there is not unfrequently a diffuseness a certain tone of lofty but rather rambling declamation-a dash of the dialect of poetry-and often a want of care in rigidly examining what has been penned. As examples of these peculiarities

we may cite such expressions as the following, “ The now care-free brow and rapture-beaming countenance.” Again, “ The sublime simplicity, the holy ignorance, the adorable ingeniousness which invests childhood,” &c. p. 6. On p. 17, there is the phrase, “ Heaven's breath smells soft and wooingly.” At p. 303 there occurs the following expression, “ And by corresponding our dispositions of mind to the grateful sentiments expressed,” &c. in which the participle "corresponding” is employed in an active sense. Has our author any warrant for this? We think not. Here we cease to urge further objections. In spite of these and a few more faults, we can warmly recommend the book as one which will not fail to repay a thoughtful reading. By the younger students of our col. leges we think it might be perused and digested with no small degree of advantage. May its learned and devout anthor be long spared to consecrate his talents and his attainments to the benefit of the church, and to the service and glory of his Master, who is in heaven.

THE EDITOR'S TABLE. Detached Pieces; including Critiques on various Publications, Historical Sketches, Biographical Notices, Correspondence, &c. By Adam Clarke, LL.D. F.A.S. &c. Vol. II. being the 11th volume of his Miscellaneous Works. London: Tegg and Son, 12mo.

An Address from a Sick Chamber. London: W. Crofts. 32mo.

The Person and Work of Christ, being a concise but comprehensive View of the Subject. London: Davis and Porter, Chelsea. 18mo.

Self Communion. By the Rev. J. Morison, D.D. London: Ward and Co. 32mo.

Heaven. A Manual for the Heirs of Ileaven. London : Hamilton and Co. Small 8vo.

The Witnessing Church, a Sermon by the Rev. John Harris, delivered in London and Manchester. London : Thomas Ward and Co. 8vo.

The Cottage Preacher, or Plain Sermons for Plain People. By S. Henderson. London : Ward and Co. 12mo.

Covetousness brought to the Bar of Scripture, or a brief Inquiry into the Nature and Evil of that Sin. By James Glassford, Esq. London : Nisbet and Co. 8vo.

National Bereavement Improved. A Sermon occasioned by the Death of His Most Gracious Majesty King William the Fourth. By the Rev. C. Stovel. London: Jackson and Walford. 8vo.

The Scripture Doctrine of the Lord's Day briefly stated, in Reply to some Remarks made by J. A. Roebuck, Esq. &c. London: Hamilton and Co. 8vo.

Dissent Vindicated. A Discourse delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. Julius Mark, at Chelmsford, May 15th, 1837. By John Ely, Minister of Salem Chapel, Leeds. London: Fisher, Son, and Co.

Marriage. A Sermon preached at Horton Lane Chapel, Bradford, on Sunday, July 2d, 1837 ; being the Sunday after the coming into force of the New Act for Marriages in England. With an Appendix containing Directions, &c. By Jonathan Glyde. London : Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 12mo.

What? And who says it?' An Exposition of the Statement that the Established Church “ Destroys more Souls than it Saves." By the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, the Bishop of Calcutta, the Rev. Messrs. S. C. Wilks, Henry Budd, Charles Bridges, and Henry Melville; the Editors of the Record and the Christian Observer, and others. Édited by John Search. 8vo. • An Appendix to the Errors of Irvingism exposed; or Modern Popery. By Benjamin Shillingford. London: Palmer and Son. 12mo.

TRANSACTIONS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES,

AT HOME AND ABROAD.

NORTH OF IRELAND CONGREGATIONAL ASSOCIATION. On Wednesday and Thursday, July 4th and 5th, the Quarterly Meetings of the Northern Congregational Association were held in Belfast. On Wednesday evening a sermon was preached, by previous appointment, on the “ Responsibility of the Church of Christ." "The Rev. Gentleman, Mr. Brown, of Carrickfergus, selected as his text, Philippians ii. 16, “ Holding forth the word of life;" from which he deduced the responsibility of (1) Christians, (2) of Churches, and (3) of associated Churches using the most strenuous efforts for the extension of the Gospel in the world. The Rev. W. Fordyce and the Rev. John M'Assie, of Newry, concluded the devotional services. During the day the ministers, and other friends, met for the transaction of missionary business. At this meeting the cheering intelligence was communicated, that during the last six months, three new Independent Churches had been formed in the North, and that several stations were opened for missionary labour.

The most important business arranged at this meeting was the adoption of a plan for the regular education of such candidates for the ministry as prefer to pursue their studies in Belfast. It was arranged that such persons shall go through the regular academic course in the Royal College of Belfast, and pursue their theological studies under the direction of a person chosen by the Association. This matter was satisfactorily arranged; the Rev. James Carlile, of Belfast, was unanimously appointed to superintend these studies, and several students, some of whom have passed through several classes of the academic course, were received as students under the superintendence of this Association. On Thursday morning a public prayer meeting was held in the Meeting House, Donegall Street, when the Rev. John M'Clenahan, late a student of Trinity College, and now an Independent Minister, the Rev. E. Brown, and Rev. J. Carlile, of Belfast, with other brethren, conducted the devotional services. The Rev. Mr. Fordyce, late of Tralee and now of Carrickfergus, was appointed to preach at the next meeting in October, on the “ Unity of the Church of Christ." - Newry Telegraph.

NORTH RIDING ASSOCIATION, YORKSHIRE. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 6th and 7th of June, the Spring Meeting of the North Riding Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches was held at Whitby. It was favoured on this occasion by the presence of the Rev. Dr. Matheson, of Durham, who preached the Association Sermon, on Tuesday evening, in Silver Street Chapel. On the Wednesday the ministers and delegates from the various congregations met for the dispatch of business, which occupied them throughout the day; and in the evening, a public meeting, in connection with the Home Missionary Society, was held in Silver Street Chapel, James Dunlop, Esq. of Malton, in the Chair. It was addressed at considerable length, and with great interest, by Dr. Matheson, and in shorter speeches by the Rev. Messrs. Young, A. M., and Blackburn, of Whitby ; Kidd, of Scarborough; Longley, of Lofthouse; Hague, of Guisbro'; Wallace, of York; Gatley, of Malton; and Croft, of Pickering. Among other important business transacted at this meeting, it was resolved to begin a Theological Institution, under the tuition and care of the Rev. G. Croft, of Pickering, (who has kindly promised his services gratuitously), for the preparation of promising young men of known piety, for flome Missionary labour. The general prosperity of the eight Home Missionary stations in this Riding, under the care of this Association, but in connection with the Parent Society in London, the VOL. I. X.s.

3 Z

« ElőzőTovább »