Imatges de pÓgina
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"follow thofe commendations with fongs, called Nania; which is the name "the Grecians give to mournful fongs." These Nania were the fame with the Nuga of Plautus,

Hæc funt non nuge, non enim mortualia.

Both which may be understood of those songs which were fung in praise of the dead, at the time of their interment; for the word Nuge is an Hebrew word, it is used in Zeph. iii. 18. I will gather them that are forrowful, which Jerom not understanding, imagined it was the Latin word Nuge and accordingly rendered it fo; whereas it comes from which fignifies to be forrowful, and here intends forrowful perfons; and in Plautus, mournful fongs.. Now because a great many weak and foolish things were faid in those songs, as there are in many of our elegies, and funeral odes; the words Nuge and Nania are frequently used for filly and trifling things."

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So likewife among the Grecians, "Funeral dirges were called Taxsus, whence σε τηλιμίζειν is expounded in Hefychius by θρηνειν, to mourn; and τηλεμισριαι is "another name for mourning women; hence alfo Ta Taμd fignifies empty "and worthless things, and rangexpolapos, is proverbially applied to infipid "and fenfelefs compofitions.

Much the fame cuftom obtained among the Jews, which it is highly probable, they received from fome of the neighouring nations, for they were a people always fond of following the ceremonious practices of the heathens ; they had their app, or mourning women, which were the fame with the Præfice of the Romans, and the spa of the Grecians, juft now mentioned,. who by their dishevelled hair, naked breasts, and mournful voice, moved upon the affections, and produced tears from others, as well as fet forth the praises of the dead in their fongs or funeral odes, being hired by the relations of the deceased for these purposes. Maimonides" fays, That the heirs of the deceased were obliged to give them a reward. The manner in which they performed their doleful ditties was this ", First one spoke, and then all the rest answered. Of these mourning women, and what they were to do, we read in Jer. ix. 17-22. where the Lord by the prophet, not as approving, but deriding the practice, fays, Confider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come, &c.

Befides these mourning women, they also made use of minstrels and pipes, of these we read in Matt. ix. 23. Pipes and fuch like inftruments of music,

Potter's Antiq.

• Afinaria.
" Hilchot Ebel, c. 12. f. 1.
* Moed Katon, c. 3, 9. R. David Kimchi lib. Shorash. rad. 11p.

were

were used by them at their * funerals, as well as at their marriages; and according to their Rabbins', even the poorest man in Ifrael, when his wife died, never had lefs than two pipes, and one mourning woman.

The Chriftians indeed, instead of thefe Pagan and Jewish customs, have subftituted the practice of finging of pfalms before the corps, at the burial of the dead; a practice which prevailed very early, and has been approved of and established by Emperors, Popes, Fathers, and Councils, and is continued in many places, to this day; and I cannot but be of opinion, that these last rites and ceremonies among the heathens, have given birth to our elegiac Verses and Odes facred to the memory of the dead. Whether David's Elogium on Saul and Jonathan, and the anniversary celebration of the cafe of Jepthab's daughter by the daughters of lfrael beforementioned, together with the lamentations of Jeremiah, and those of the finging men and finging women on the death of Jofiah, give any countenance to these kind of performances, I shail not determine.

But leaving thefe enquires, I fhall now, Sir, prefent you with my thoughts on those two Funeral Difcourfes, which have been the occafion of this effay. I fhall begin with Mr Harrison's fermon, not only because it was first preached and published to the world, but because another discourse, prepared on the same subject, and for the fame purpose, was obliged to give way to it; on which account, one might reasonably have expected, that this would have been a very valuable and excellent performance, if not an extraordinary one; that it would have been filled with folid divinity, judicious thoughts, strong reasoning, and good learning; when, on the contrary, I am bold to fay, there is neither law nor gofpel, good learning, nor good fenfe in it; nothing but rant and a mere jingle of words: There appears no more divinity in the fermon, than there does humanity in his conduct; it is an empty, jejune, trifling work. "The apostle Paul, he says, had a fine imagination, as well as "a folid judgment." Indeed he had, and, I fuppofe, he means, that they both appear particularly in the text, the fubject of this difcourfe; and fo they do, but it will be exceeding difficult to obferve any thing like either throughout the whole difcourfe upon it. One would have thought, that a man infifting on fo fruitful a text, could not have failed of expreffing himself as fully and largely, both on the nature of the grace and doctrine of faith, had he understood either, as the bounds of a fingle difcourfe would admit of.

* Bava Metzia. c. 6. fe&t. 1. Shabbat. c. 23. fe&t. 4.

y Cetubot. c. 4. fe&t. 4.

a Sermon, p. 8.

z Vid Roma fubterranea, tom. 1. 1, 1. c. 19.
Which is a Tim. iv. 7, 8.

But

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But here is no notice taken, either of the apoftle's faith, or any others, but a ftudious concern appears, throughout the whole, even to avoid those descriptions of the people of God, which are taken from their faith: instead of which we have the fincerely good, the fincere followers of the Lamb, fincere professors, the good man, the virtuous man, &c. But I had almost forgot that this fermon was calculated for the polite part of the town, to whom those founds, believers, converted perfons, regenerate ones, &c. are as difagreeable, as the characters expreffed by them are unfuitable. He tells us, that by the faith, which the apostle fays he had kept, "It is natural in this place to understand the doc"trine of the Gospel." It would have been well if he had thought fit to have given us fome account of it, and not to have run out in those wild excurfions another way, which are foreign from his text, and the doctrine of the gospel; for he is not contented filently to pass over the great doctrines of faith, but throws out his indigefted crudities to the fhame and reproach of them, nay, in direct oppofition to them, fome inftances of which I will juft obferve to you. I will give you his entire paragraphs, that I may not in the least injure him, or curtail his fenfe.

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And the first faulty paragraph I fhall take notice of, we have, page 17, which is as follows, "Though the apostle had defcribed his own conduct, "which had fomething peculiar to his public ftation, though he had been « viewing a crown, the luftre of which was to bear a proportion to his attainments and labours; yet he intimated, that in fome things, there was an agreement between his cafe, and that of Chriftians in general, both as to "service and reward." In what is here faid, I am very much mistaken, if he has not obfcured the luftre of the grace of God, the righteousness of Christ, the purchase of the Redeemer's blood, and the crown of life itself, as well as put too great a luftre upon the attainments and labours of a creature; for what proportion can there be between the crown of life, and the best performances of men? There is a proportion between fin and death, but none between eternal life and works of righteousness which we have done : The wages, the just wages of fin is death, but eternal life is the gift of God, through Jefus Christ our Lord. The whole of our falvation, from first to laft, is wholly owing to the grace of God, exclufive of, and in contradiftinction from any fort of works whatever, performed by mortals. The choice of persons to this crown, is an inftance of special and distinguishing grace, for which reafon it is called an election of grace; upon the mentioning of which, the apostle VOL. III. 4 K

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argues

argues after this nervous manner, if it be of grace, then is it no more of works, otherwife grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more of grace, otherwife work is no more work. And in another place: we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Chrift Fefus. The pardon of our fins is according to the riches of his grace, fo is our regeneration, and final perfeverance; and the finishing of the whole work of falvation, will be attended with the fhouts of angels and faints ", crying, Grace, grace, unto it for it is not by works of righteousness which we have done; but according to his mercy, he bath faved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The grace of God is a bright and sparkling jewel in this crown of righteousness, the glory of which will appear in it to all eternity, with an amazing and foul-ravishing luftre; and therefore to say, that the luftre of this crown is to bear a proportion to the attainments and labours of men, without taking any notice of the grace of God, which shines fo refplendently in it, is to obfcure the luftre of this grace.

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Again, The luftre of this crown, is to bear a proportion to the righteousness of Chrift, from whence it takes his name. It is this which gives a perfon an undoubted right and title to it, being justified by his grace, we are made beirs according to the hope of eternal life. Without this there will be no admiffion into God's kingdom and glory, let a man's labours and attainments be what they will, for if he is deftitute of this he is an unrighteous perfon, and the unrighteous fball not inherit the kingdom of God'. Thofe who are found without this wedding garment, though they may have prophefied in Chrift's name, and in his name have caft out devils, and done many wonderful works; yet the judge will fay to them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity; and will give orders" to bind them band and foot, and caft them into outer darkness, where will be weeping and gnashing of teeth; wherefore, to fay, that the luftre of the crown of righteousness is to bear a proportion to the attainments and labours of a creature, without taking any manner of notice of the righteousness of Christ, which is our only title to this crown, between both which, there is the most just and adequate proportion, is to obfcure the luftre of this righteousness.

Again, The luftre of this crown is to bear a proportion to the purchase of Chrift's blood, and not to the attainments and labours of men; for if righeoufnefs, life and happiness, come by the law, and men's obedience to it, then Chrift

• Rom. xi. 5, 6. Tit. iii. 5.

» Matt. xxii. 11-13.

Rom. iii. 24.

* Tit. iii. 7.

8 Eph. i. 7.
11 Cor. vi. 9.
* Gal. ii. 21.

A Zech. iv. 7.
m Matt. vii. 22, 23.

Chrift is dead in vain. Mr Richardson, in his fermon, has well obferved, that one reason why this crown is called a crown of righteousness is," be"cause Chrift has purchased it; and thus God, as a juft and righteous God, "confers it. There is no degree of happiness, adds he, to be enjoyed in a "future world, but what Chrift has paid a valuable price for, therefore hea"ven is called, The purchased possession." Now between this valuable price of Chrift's blood, and the luftre of the crown of righteoufnefs, there is a just proportion; but none between that and the attainments and labours of men; to say then, that the luftre of this crown is to bear a proportion to these, without taking any notice of the purchase of Chrift's blood, is to obfcure the luftre and glory of it. Befides, fuch a way of speaking muft obfcure the luftre of the crown itself; for what luftre can their be in that crown which only bears a proportion to the attainments and labours of men, when their best righteousness is as filthy rags, and they themselves are as an unclean thing? But to fay, that it bears a proportion to the riches of God's grace, to the royal robe of Chrift's righteoufnefs, to the invaluable purchase of his blood, is to fpread, to increase, and fet off in the best manner, the luftre of this crown. Moreover, fuch an expreffion as this, puts too great a luftre upon the attainments and labours of a creature, though thofe attainments and labours may be never fo great and confiderable: indeed the apostle Paul's were of this kind; yet I am fatisfied, he never entertained fuch an opinion of them as to imagine, that the luftre of the crown of righteousness he was viewing, was to be proportioned to them. When he compared himself with the other apoftles of Chrift, he fays, I am the leaft of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apofile, because I perfecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God' I am what I am, and his grace which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain ; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet observe how he corrects himfelf; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. And when he was obliged to make mention of his own attainments and labours, in the vindication of himself, against the infults and reproaches of falfe apoftles; yet how often does he call himself a Fool for it, and his just defence a speaking foolifbly in this confidence of boafting? He was very well apprized, that though he knew nothing by himfelf, yet he was not hereby justified; that his right and title to the crown of life did not lie in those things. He accounted that all his attainments and labours, whether before or after converfion, were but lofs

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Page 13. This is the fermon which was obliged to give way to Mr Harrison's ingenious one, Eph. i. 14. d: Ifa. Ixiv. 6. • 1 Cor. xv. 9, to.

2 Cor. xi. 16, 17, 21, 23.

1 Cor, iv. 4.

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