Imatges de pàgina


nance they close up the volume. See how untouched and unblessed by it they go forth to their daily busi

Most of us recommend it to our children as a treasure of incalculable value. Mark the inconsistency of too many in this particular also. What discerning eye of childhood does not perceive it? In respect to other things, pleasure, wealth, fame, these little ones see their parents acting with a zeal in some degree proportionate to their acknowledged estimate of the worth of these objects. But here, touching the oracles of God, which the same parents profess to regard as pointing to the true satisfactions, the true riches, the true honors, their children are allowed to witness a timid hesitation, a chilling reluctance, a strange indifference. Brethren, let it be so no more.

Sucb inconsistency is disgraceful. It is worse. Ourselves are injured, our friends saddened, and the cause of truth, of Christ, and of God, prejudiced by it.

Take, finally, the views we cherish of the great law of retribution. We think them scriptural and rational; and we believe they afford the strongest dissuasives from sin, and the most powerful inducements to holiness. While we reject every thing like the doctrine of arbitrary, vindictive dispensations of reward and punishment, under the divine government, we hold that there is a connexion between vice and misery, and between virtue and happiness, as natural and indissoluble as that which belongs to any class of causes and effects. In other words, the bad man does or will suffer, in proportion to his badness, and the good man does or will enjoy, in proportion to his goodness, as certainly and as accordantly with the established prin

ciples of Nature and Providence, as a living seed, put into the warm, moist earth, does or will vegetate. Nor is this law, as we believe, restricted in its operation exclusively either to the present or to the future world. It belongs to both. The dissolution of the body may modify some of its results, but will not essentially alter the character of them. We hold that this life and the next is one continuous state of existence, so that all which is strictly ourself here, will be ourself there. Death we regard only, at it were, a sort of dark passage way from the one to the other, through which the soul is but a moment in going, carrying with it all its habits of thought and feeling ; all its capacities, tastes, and preferences ; all, in a word, of virtue and heaven, or of vice and aell, it commenced in this introductory state of its being. What views can be more just, or more influential than these? Do we act consistently with them, brethren? Then, why is it that we deem any thing of so much value as intelligence and holiness ? It is certainly time that we awake to a better sense of our duty and our interest. What ! is it a fact, supported alike by reason and revelation, and have we not the least doubt of it, that misery is bound to vice, and happiness to virtue, by ties that neither time nor death will sever ; that there is a law of righteous retribution whose operation nothing can long counteract ; that as we sow we shall certainly, sooner or later, reap ; that we must enter on the future life with the same intellectual and moral qualities with which we leave the present ; and that our condition there will correspond at any given period, with the character we possess at that period ; is all this true, and do we believe it? What manner of persons then, ought we to be ? What purity, what intelligence, what holiness, what efforts for every virtue and every grace that can ennoble and adorn our nature, should not distinguish us?




MESSRS EDITORS : It has occurred to me that your readers might not be displeased with a slight description of the appearance and manner of the celebrated Robert Hall, of England, as they presented themselves to the observation of a stranger, who enjoyed a single opportunity of hearing him preach. It is somewhat less than two years, that, being in Bristol on the Lord's day, I visited Broadmead chapel in the morning. It is not without some excitement of mind, that one approaches the moment which is to bring before him one of the remarkable men of the world ; and perhaps, judging at any rate from my own experience, this is never so much the case as when that individual is a powerful orator, the reputation of whose eloquence has spread far and wide, and of whose intellectual preeminence we have ourselves known something. We find our heart beating with a feeling, almost as anxious, as that of the speaker himself under the excitement of his preparation for an important occasion. So it was with me when I found myself in Robert Hall's chapel, waiting the address of him whose name and works had long been familiar to me, and whom I knew from universal consent to be, in many respects, the first preacher of the tiines.

I was unfortunately placed at too great a distance for distinct vision, especially as the chapel is rather obscure, and the morning was cloudy and dark. The chapel had been sometime filled without the appearance of a minister, when at length a poor little body from a seat near the pulpit, rose and read a hymn. This was sung ; and not until the singing had reached the middle of the final stanza, was there any symptom of an approaching preacher. Then there appeared slowly advancing through a side aisle, the large figure of an apparently tall inan, with a bald, grey head, who with a cautious and heavy movement ascended the desk. Whether this was Mr Hall or not, I could not tell. I am fond of being left to uncertainty on such occasions, that I may determine from the performances themselves, whether the expected individual is before me; and in this instance I had no clear idea of the preacher's person by which to guide my judgment. The great want of vivacity in his whole appearance made me entirely at a loss how to decide.

He began the service with reading a chapter from the New Testament. His voice was low, weak, and thick ; he was obliged to clear it with a frequent exertion of his throat, and he seemed with difficulty to render it audible to the whole assembly. His manner was extremely quiet, and without the slightest attempt to give effect by reading well. Then followed the prayer, which was in no respect striking, nor particularly interesting. It was so far from possessing the

strong and rich flow of devotional sentiment which I had expected from Robert Hall, that I at one moment determined in my mind that it could not be he. But before he had concluded, I became satisfied that it could be no one else ; because, without anything particularly original, or remarkable, there was an equal flow of the most simple, correct, and pure language, such as I thought it quite improbable that any other person in that chapel could command ; together with sentiment, which was better than if it had been striking—appropriate to the place and occasion, and designed in the simplest sincerity to express and lead the devotions of the assembly. Let me say, that he prayed as all truly devout and really great men do-as if he was insensible that any one could hear him but God, and with no thought to turn neat phrases, or make a 'fine' prayer. Why will not little men learn from such examples ? When will they be persuaded, that any thing but simplicity and godly sincerity in the manner of public devotion, is as little and contemptible in the view of good taste, as it is offensive to the mind of true piety ?

His sermon was from the text, Lead us not into temptation. It was, of course not a written sermon, for he never preaches from such preparation. It was a plain unpretending talk, without any attempt to quit the most obvious topics, or to adorn them with any flights of rhetoric or fancy ; without anything to stir the mind forcibly, or to create any excitement of feeling. He merely spoke right on—pouring out an uninterrupted stream of rapid and well selected words, with such completeness in the whole composition, that I am sure if it could have been taken down word for

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