Imatges de pÓgina
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"It is, unnecessary to enter into a particular account of the trials which Mrs. D. was now called to undergo. With difficulty, and very rarely, could she attend the public means of grace; and in a great measure she was cut off from all her religious connexions. These were heavy trials. She had no companion but her Bible, no friend but her God and Saviour; no means of grace but those of a private nature : nevertheless, she has often said that before her afflictions, she talked about religious enjoy ments; now she knew what they were. Her devotions were indeed often interrupted by blasphemy and abuse, her Bible sometimes taken from her ; but nothing could separate her from the love of God, and the enjoyment of his presence. She now lived and walked by faith, in a more eminent degree than she had ever done before. She had abundant occasion for all her natural spirits, and if she had not been remarkably favoured in this respect, must have sunk under her heavy burden. What the kind endeavours of her friends could never effect was now produced by

the severity of affliction; and a degree of excellence appeared in the character of this lady which had never before been manifested. Her cheerfulness appeared truly amiable, and unmixed with the frailties to which she had been subject. As she was now forced to read more, and converse less about religion, her judgment became more solid. Her zeal was in nothing diminished; but it was tempered with prudence. By her meekness and patience she has often disarmed the rage of a brutal husband; yet she displayed fortitude in what she knew was right and consistent with the divine will: but she had already, to her cost, experienced too much the sad effects of the weakness of her own judgment to shew any thing of vain-glory, or positiveness in defending her opinions.

"This flower, which now displayed new charms, and appeared peculiarly beautiful, was not long to adorn the garden of God on earth. Severe trials, in a few years, exhausted the spirits of the once animated Miss L.; and though her mind was vigorous, and her soul in prosperity, yet her body sunk under the pressure of accumulated trials, and after a short and rough continuance here, she was removed into that state" where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary

are at rest."

THE FATHERS.

IN the sacred writings, the name of Fathers is given to the ancient elders and prophets of the Jewish church. In the christian world it is employed in allu

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The writings of Chrysostom are popular, and accommodated to the ears and affections of the uneducated multitude.

In Gregory Nazianzen there is much quickness of intellect, and a sufficient vehemence.

Tertullian is unpolished, yet keen in confuting heretics, and severe in exposing vices..

Cyprian is open, vehement, serious and pleasingly fluent.

The sentences of Ambrose are shrewd, affected, and often very obscure.

Hieronymus is apt at every kind of writing, and ardent in exciting the affections.

Augustine is happy and eloquent in unpremeditated composition, but he is rather pleasing than profound.

Prudentius breathes much of the building is called the Tower Christian eloquence.

Bernard is cheerful, and prompt in awakening the passions. [Evan. Int.

ANECDOTE.

On the top of a hill, near to Hoddom castle, there is a square tower, over the door of which are carved the figures of a dove and a serpent, and between them the word Repentance; whence

of Repentance. It is said, that Sir R. Steele, while riding near this place, saw a shepherd boy reading his Bible, and asked him "what he learned from it?" "The way to heaven," answered the boy: "And can you shew it to me?" said Sir Richard in banter. "You must go by that tower," said the shepherd; and he pointed to the Tower of Repentance. [Scott's Minstrelsy.

Review of New Publications.

Essays in a Series of Letters to a Friend on the following Subjects. 1. On a man's writing Memoirs of himself. 2. On Decision of Character. 3. On the Application of the Epithet Romantic. 4. On some of the Causes by which evangelical Religion has been rendered less acceptable to persons of cultivated Taste. By John Foster. 2 vols. in one. 12mo. First American from third London edition. Hartford. (Con.) Lincoln & Gleason.

Concluded from p. 380.

THE Essays, which we have already examined, are equally interesting to all classes of people. The subject of the fourth and last is peculiarly so to Christians and men of taste. It is an inquiry into the causes of "the aversion of men of taste to evangelical religion." It claims the attention of Christians, and, especially, of Christian ministers. Mr. F. a man of evangelical sentiments and unquestionable taste, and no ordinary judge of the operations of the human mind, thinks he discovers in Christians themselves some of the causes of this aversion. The man of mere taste will find in this essay

a happy delineation of the feelings of his own mind, and a striking view of some of those reasons, which have kept him an alien from the family of God.

The first cause suggested by Mr. F. is, "that this religion is the inhabitant of many weak and uncultivated minds. Contracted and obscure in its abode, it will of course appear, as the sun through a misty sky, with but little of its magnificence. In taking such a dwelling the religion seems to imitate what was prophesied of its Author, that when he should appear there should be "no beauty in him that he should be desired."

In his intercourse with men of this description the man of taste has probably found some zealous Christians, who were slightly acquainted with the evidences of their faith, and were ready to discourage every attempt to lay bare its foundations. He may have heard the discourse of others, whose religion involved no intellectual exercise, and strictly speaking, no subject of intellect. Separately from their feelings it has no definition, no topics, no distinct succession of views. He has found others, who made the whole of religion lie in two or three points of opinion, which they were always ready zealously to defend even before they were questioned.

The great majority of Christians are precluded by their condition in life from any acquisition of general knowledge. Many of these are, of course, subjects of extreme intellectual poverty. He may often have seen them live on for a number of years, content with the same confined views, the same meagre list of topics, and the same uncouth language; and have observed as complacent a sense of sufficiency in their little sphere, as if it comprised every thing which it is possible for any mind to see in the Christian religion. The attachment of some Christians to modes of worship may have excited his surprise, and their religious habits, his disgust.

"Every thing," says Mr. F. "which could, even distantly, remind him of grimace, would inevitably do this; as for instance, a solemn lifting up of the eyes; artificial impulses of the breath: grotesque and regulated gestures, and postures, in religious exercises; an affected faltering of the voice; and I might add abrupt relig

ious exclamations in common discourse, though they were even benedictions to the Almighty, which he has often heard so ill-timed, as to have an irreverent and almost a ludicrous effect."

That the man of taste should allow these considerations to influence his conduct, in a case of such importance, is wholly reprehensible, and a solemn lecture is read to him by our author at the close of the second letter. Perhaps the littleness, with which their religion is in- · vested by unlettered Christians, cannot fail to excite, at the time, pain and disgust. But he ought always to recollect, that it is wholly adventitious. If he does, it will need no great exercise of modesty to persuade him to be cautious, how he thinks that to be little, which Milton and Pascal felt to be great.

The unfortunate metaphors and similes with which he has heard evangelical sentiments explained and enforced by ignorant Christians, and not unfrequently by the ministers of religion, have disgusted him with the sentiments themselves. The recurrence of the one is always accompanied by a recollection of the other.

"Among these," says Mr. F. "I shall notice only that common one in which the benefits and pleasures of religion are represented under the image of food. I do not recollect that in the New Testament, at least, this metaphor is ever drawn to a great length. But from the facility of the process it is not strange, that it has been amplified both in books and discourses into the most extend. ed description; and the dining-room has been exhausted of images, and the language ransacked for substantives and adjectives, to stimulate the spiritual palate. The metaphor is

combined with so many terms in our language, that it will sometimes unavoidably occur, and when employed in the simplest and shortest form, it may, by transiently suggesting the analogy, assist the thought without lessening the subject. But it is degrading to spiritual ideas to be extensively and systematically transmuted, I might even say cooked, into sensual ones. It will take some time for a man to recover any great degree of solemnity in thinking on the delights or the supports of religion, after he has seen them reduced into

all the forms of eating and drinking. When the mind has been taught to descend to a low manner of consider: ing divine truth, it will easily descend to the lowest. There is no such violent tendency to abstraction and sublimity in the minds of the generality of readers and hearers, as to render it necessary to take any great pains for the purpose of retaining their ideas in some small degree of alliance with matter."

Another cause of this aversion to evangelical religion is the peculiarity of language in the discourses and books of its teachers; a peculiarity offensive to that classical standard of phraseology, which our our best writers have so distinctly settled, and which every man of taste always realizes, if he is not able to define it. This peculiarity is chiefly owing to the use of a barbarous diction, wholly foreign from the standard itself; much so, that were an enlightened foreigner, after having become familiar with the writings of Dryden and Addison, to hear a discourse formed in this manner, he would instinctively exclaim, "In what remote corner, placed beyond the authority of criticism and the circulation of literature, where a most dignified language stagnates into barbarism, did this man study his religion and acquire his phrases? or by what

SO

inconceivable perversion of taste and of labour has he framed for the sentiments of his religion, a vehicle so uncongenial with the eloquence of his country, and so adapted to dissociate them from all connexion with that eloquence."

Mr. F. distinguishes this diction into three parts.

The first is a peculiar mode of using various common words, partly by expressing ideas in such single words, as do not properly belong to them; as walk and conversation, instead of conduct, actions, and deportment; flesh, instead, sometimes, of body, sometimes of natural inclination; and partly by using such combinations of words as make uncouth phrases; as a sense of divine things, instead of an impression of religious subjects. The second is the use of a class of words peculiar in themselves; but which, at the same time, are not different in their meaning from others in general use. The words godliness, tribulation, lusts, carnal; might certainly give place to piety, affliction or distress, passions, sensual. The word blessedness might often, but not always, give place to happiness. Edification we think should hardly be made to give way to instruction or improvement. In the scriptural sense of the word they would be sorry substitutes.

The third distinction of the theological dialect is the use of words, which are properly technical, such as sanctification, grace, covenant, salvation. Although the reasons urged by Mr. F. for the disuse of these and similar words have weight, still we are unwilling to give

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