« السابقةمتابعة »
others ; that knowledge which be honest men ; and surely this alone can make you wise to sal- is a most moderate and reasonavation, and guide you to avoid ble demand. Therefore, be ye the paths of destruction, you children of the light and of the day, shun it, you hate it, and choose and walk as such, and then it to remain contentedly ignorant will be a blessing to the world, in this important respect ; sup- and to yourselves, that you ever pose your parents, who have were born." been at the expense of your ed- Instructions thus faithful, deucation ; your friends, who have livered with the greatest tenderentertained such high and pleas- ness, and enforced by a life of aring expectations concerning you; dent, uniform piety, could scarcechurch and state, that look to you ly fail to make the most important for help, and depend upon you to and salutary impressions on the fill stations of importance in the minds of his youthful charge. world ; and your careful instruc- The public and official appeare tors, who observe your growing ances of President Davies were improvements with proportional marked with dignity, decorum pleasure ; suppose that after all and elegance. His performances this generous labour, and all at anniversary commencements these pleasing prospects, they reflected equal honour on himself should see you at last doomed to and the institution, and afforded everlasting darkness, for your the highest gratification to the voluntary abuse of the light you crowderi auditories, which those now enjoy ; suppose
suppose these occasions brought together. But things, and
but the cons the work of the ministry was his sequences of these suppositions chief delight. Here, emphaticare so terrible, that I am not har- ally, he was in his element. dy enough to mention them. Here he was at home. He had, And, O! shall they ever become indeed, a lively and almost overmalters of fact !
whelming sense of the magni“ Therefore, my dear youth, tude of the sacred office, and of admit the light, love it, and pur- his own insufficiency for its dissue it, though at first it should charge. This is strikingly apmake such discoveries, as may parent froin some passages in a be painful to you ; for the pain letter to his friend, Dr. Gibbons. will prove medicinal. By dis- “ It is an easy thing," says hc, covering your danger in time, to make a noise in the world, you may be able to escape it ; to flourish and harangue, to dazbut never expect to remove it by zle the crowd, and set them all the silly expedient of shutting agafe ; but deeply to imbibe the your eyes. Be impartial inquir- spirit of Christianity ; to mainers after truth, as to yourselves, tain a secret walk with God; to as well as other things, and no be holy as he is holy ; this is the longer attempt to put a cheat up- labour, this is the work. The on yourselves. Alas ! how child- difficulty of the ministerial work ish and foolish, as well as wicked scems to grow upon my hands. and ruinous, would such an im- Perhaps, once in three or four posture be! The gospel, in this months, I preach in some measparticular, only requires you to ure as I could wish : that is, I
preach as in the sight of GOD, though the best means, without and as if I were to step from the his efficacious concurrence, are pulpit to the supreme tribunal. altogether fruitless, yet he is I feel my subject. I melt into wont to bless those means that tears, or I shudder with horror, are best adapted to do good. Afwhen I denounce the terrors of ter a long course of languid and the Lord. I glow, I soar in sa- fruitless efforts, which seem to cred extacies, when the love of have been unusually disowned by Jesus is my theme; and, as Mr. my divine Master, what text shall Baxter was wont to express it, I choose out of the inexhaustible in lines more striking to me, than treasure of God's word ? In what all the fine poetry in the world, new method shall I speak up
on it? What new, untried exper"I preach as if I ne'er should preach iments shall I make ? Blessed Je
again; And as a dying man to dying men.”
sus! my heavenly Master! di
rect thy poor perplexed servant, But alas ! my spirits soon flag, who is at a loss, and knows not my devotions languish, and my what to do : direct him that has zeal cools. It is really an afflict- tried, and tried again, all the exing thought, that I serve so good pedients he could think of, but a Master with so much incon- almost in vain, and now scarcely stancy : but so it is, and my knows what it is to hope for sucsoul mourns upon that account.”
cess." The same humble and self-dif- Respecting Mr. Davies' apfident spirit breathes in the fol- pearance in the pulpit, an emilowing paragraph, which we find nent minister,* who intimately at the beginning of one of his knew him, has given the follows discourses : “ To preside in the ing testimony: “ His manner of solemnities of public worship, to delivery, as to pronunciation, direct your thoughts, and choose gesture, and modulation of voice, for you the subjects of your med- seemed to be a perfect model of itation in those sacred hours the most moving and striking orwhich you spend in the house of atory. Whenever he ascended God, & upon the right improve the sacred desk, he seemed to ment of which your everlasting have not only the attention, but happiness so much depends--this all the various passions of his auis a province of the most tre- ditory, entirely at his command. mendous importance that can be And as his personal appearance devolved on a mortal : and every was august and venerable, yet man of the sacred character, benevolent and mild, so he could who knows what he is about, speak with the most commande must tremble at the thought, and ing authority, or melting tenderbe often anxiously perplexed ness, according to the variation what subject he shall choose, of his subject. With what mawhat he shall say upon it, and in jesty and grandeur, with whai enwhat manner he shall deliver his' ergy and striking solemnity, with message. His success in a great what powerful and almost irremeasure depends upon his sistible eloquence would he illuschoice ; for though the blessed Spirit is the proper agent, and • Rev. Mr. Bostwick, of New-York. Vol. II. No. 7.
trate the truths, and inculcate more of his auditory. That this the duties of Christianity! Mount should have been the case, will Sinai seemed to thunder from his not probably appear surprising to lips, when he denounced the those who attentively peruse the tremendous curses of the law, volumes of his printed discoursand sounded the dreadful alarm es, and reflect that the selection to guilty, secure, impenitent sin- was made, after his death, from ners. The solemn scenes of the such as he ordinarily preached. last judgment seemed to rise in The world is in possession of a view, when he arraigned, tried, great variety of excellent and inand convicted self-deceivers and valuable sermons. Yet, if aptiformal hypocrites. And how tude to accomplish the great ends did the balm of Gilead distil from for which sermons are needed, his lips; when he exhibited a be considered as the standard of bleeding, dying Saviour to sinful merit, few extant are superior to mortals, as a sovereign remedy those of President Davies. for the wounded heart, and an- Their chief and prominent guished conscience ! In a word, excellence is doubtless this : whatever subject he undertook, that they abound in clear, forçipersuasive eloquence dwelt upon ble and affecting delineations of his tongue; and his audience the distinguishing doctrines of was all attention. He spoke as the gospel. The utter depravion the borders of eternity, and ty and impotence of man ; the as viewing the glories and ter- sovereignly free grace of Jehorors of the unseen world ; and vah ; the divinity of Christ; the conveyed the most grand and af- atonement in his blood ; justififecting ideas of these important cation through his righteousrealities."
ness ; regeneration and sanctifiThough to some, this descrip- cation by the Holy Spirit; these tion may seem like the partial, were his favourite themes. On undistinguishing panegyric of a these he never ceased to insist friend, there is much reason to and expatiate. He viewed these rely on its truth and accuracy. doctrines as constituting the There are those still living, who essence of the Christian scheme; repeatedly heard Mr. Davies' the grand support of vital and preach, and who speak of his practical religion. He considerpublic performances as combin-ed their intelligent and cordial ing a solemnity, a pathos and an- reception as of the highest imimation truly wonderful, such as portance ; and viewed every atseemed directly to result from a tempt to subvert and explain lively sense of a present Deity, them away, as equally hostile to together with a most tender, fer- the truth of God, and the best vent benevolence to the souls of interests of men. On these men. The effects were in some points, he was uniformly explimeasure answerable. It is said, cit, decided, and strenuous. that he seldom preached, without Still he defended the truth, producing some visible emotions and even repelled those errors, in great numbers present ; and which he viewed most dangerseldom, without some saving ous, in the spirit of love and impressions being left on one or meekness. None could be more
distant from pressing unhallow- upon the bruised reed, and upon ed human passion into the ser- the spiritually whole and sick, vice of God. In his sermons, abound with discriminating rewe find none of those asperities marks on character, and with by which religion has too often consolations for the weakest, the been dishonoured.
most dejected and trembling bepears in an attitude and aspect, liever. not only majestic, but graceful It is no small recommendaand attractise.
tion of the sermons of Mr. DaEven in his most pungent and vies, that, while intelligible to awakening addresses to the un- the meanest capacities, they are converted, the spirit of benevo- calculated to gratify persons of lence and compassion is obvious the greatest knowledge and rely predominant. Perhaps there finement. They abound with are no sermons, which depict, in striking thoughts, with the beaumore striking and awful colours, ties and elegancies of expresthe guilt, the wretchedness and sion, and with the richest imdanger of the impenitent. Yet, agery. Some fastidious critics who does not see, that a tender, may perhaps object to his style, trembling concern for their best as Horid and ornamented in the interests prompts and pervades extreme. But it should be rethe whole? And where is the membered that nature made him sinner, who can refrain from a poet ; and that a brilliant imtaking the preacher's part agination, operating on a warm against himself?
heart, familiarized him to forms These sermons contain fre- of expression, which, in others, quent descriptions of the nature might seem unnatural and afand evidences of real religion. fected. On the whole, it may They exhibit it as commencing be properly remarked, that his in repentance and faith, as con- style, though rich and entertinued by a course of mortifica, taining, is rather a dangerous tion and self-denial, and as man- model for imitation.
Young ifesting itself by substantial fruits preachers, by following it too of holiness and virtue. So lu- closely, might be betrayed into a minous and striking are these manner ill suited to their gedelineations, and so accurately nius. Let them study to resemdo they distinguish genuine re: ble President Davies in his pieligion, both from its opposites ty, his zeal, his fidelity in exand counterfeits, that it seems ploring and communicating scarcely possible that any one truth ; but let them not be too should attentively peruse them, emulous of soaring upon the and yet remain ignorant of his wing of his vigorous and excurreal state. His discourses upon sive imagination. she poor and contrite in spirit,
ON THE IMPRECATIONS IN THE SCRIPTURES.
When a passage, in the orig- apostle hath said, Bless them that inal language of the Scripture, curse you. may be fairly translated two 2. To imprecate wrath against ways, it will hardly be denied, enemies does not appear to cointhat we ought to adopt that trans- cide with other parts of David's lation, which is attended with conduct. In Psal. xxxv. 12, &c. fewest difficulties.
the psalmist is represented as The writer of these remarks being very deeply atilicted, when pretends to no critical knowledge his enemies were in distress. of the Hebrew language, but be- Christ, o the cross, prayed, not lieves it to be generally conced- that his enemies might be deed, as it is by bishop Horne and stroyed, but forgiven. Stephen, Mr. Scott, that those passages in in the agonies of death, preferred Psalms, 69, 109, and 137, a similar request. which are rendered, by our trans- The language of imprecation lators, as imprecations of tem- and cursing does not seem to poral and spiritual judgments, on have been common to saints. the writer's enemies, are capable Jeremiah did, indeed, use it in of being translated, as if they the 20th chapter of his prophecy. were a prediction.
His words, at that time, as well The latter supposition is at- as those of Moses on a particular tended with no very important occasion, give humiliating proof difficulties. The greatest diffi- of the power of corruption, even culty, which presents itself, is, in God's children. They are that the psalmist should be sup- not to be imitated. posed certainly to know the des- But you imagine, perhaps, that tiny of his enemies. Once sup- benevolence may lead a man to pose him possessed of this knowl- imprecate present and eternal edge, and it is easy enough to misery on his enemies, en supconceive that he should commu- position that his enemies are the nicate it to others.
enemies of God. The difficulties attending the The crucifiers of Christ were opinion, that the psalmist prayer enemies to God by wicked works; for various temporal disasters to so were the murderers of Stedescend on his enemies and their phen, yet both were the objects connexions in this world, and for of intercession, and not of impretheir everlasting damnation, in cation. Those enemies of David, the world to come, are neither for whom great tenderness is few nor trifling.
expressed in the 35th psalm, 1. To pray for the destruction must have been of a similar of enemies appears not to savour character to those others, of of an evangelical temper. The whom he speaks in psalm 109. apostle's direction is, Bless, and Nay, there is an important sense curse not. A greater than the in which all unrenewed persons