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who were intent upon holding faith and a good conscience, regardless of human censure, and unambitious of human applause : -and who, from motives purely religious, achieved an enterprize, unparralleled in ancient or in or in modern times."
After urging his hearers to respect the characters of the fathers, to cherish their principles and institutions, and to imitate their examples; the preacher concludes his discourse with the following animated address. "Sons of the Pilgrims! look at yonder rock, on which your fathers first stepped; look at that brook of which they first drank; look at the cold ground on which they first lay; look at the hill where they first met the aboriginal prince; look at this eminence which they first fortified; look at the lots which they first enclosed; look on the earth which covers their remains; and while ye exclaim, THESE ARE THE MEMORIALS OF OUR FATHERS,' imbibe their spirit, and follow their examples, and ye shall hereafter enter into their rest, and sit down with them and with all the holy fathers in the kingdom of heaven."
Some valuable notes, illustrative of facts referred to, are added to the sermon. With these additions it forms an whole, which will convey much information to such readers as are unacquainted with the early history of New England; and to the sons of the pilgrims it must be peculiarly pleasing, as a memorial justly honourable to the eminent virtues of their fathers.
assembled for religious instruction in country villages. In three vols. By George Burder. Third American edition. Boston. E. Lincoln. 1807. Ir is a curious fact, and to the benevolent mind, highly interesting and delightful, that the zeal for foreign missions, far from damping, has greatly increased the ardour for diffusing Christian knowledge at home. The singu lar exertions which have been made in Great Britain and the United States, within the last twelve years, to send the gospel to the heathen, have been attended with a correspondent concern for the ignorant and vicious among themselves. At no preceding period, has such a variety of methods been adopted to enlighten and reclaim them.
One of the forms of this pious charity, as practised in England, is brought to view in a passage of Mr. Burder's preface; which likewise communicates an idea of the peculiar design and character of these volumes.
"The following sermons are intended, primarily, for the use of those pious and zealous persons, who, pitying the deplorable ignorance of their poor neighbours, are accustomed them: a practice, which, though but to go into country villages to instruct lately adopted, bids fair to produce the most substantial and extensive ad
vantages. A scarcity of discourses, exactly fitted for this benevolent purpose, has been justly complained of; for though there are hundreds of admirable sermons extant, yet as most of them were originally calculated to edify intelligent and well-informed congregations, and were published on account of some superior excellence in style or composition, they are ill suited to the instruction of a rustic This has in
and untaught people. duced the author to attempt a few
village sermons-very plain and short, yet on the most interesting subjects, and with frequent appeals to the conscience."
What Mr. B. attempted, he has accomplished. In the course of sixty-five short sermons, he has discussed the principal doctrines of the gospel in a very serious, solemn and convincing Truth is powerfully pressed upon the conscience and heart of the reader; while his attention is kept awake by apt quotations, and not unfrequently, by some striking anecdote. But the prominent and characteristic excellence of these sermons is, that they are plain— adapted to the comprehension of all, not excepting the most ignorant. The pious author, though a man of a cultivated mind, seems designedly to have avoided every species of ornament, and to have applied his self to unfold and enforce the truths of revelation with the greatest simplicity of thought and language.
A collection of sermons, calculated to bring down these things to the level of the lowest capacities, is as valuable as it is rare. Perhaps neither ministers nor others are sufficiently in the habit of reflecting, how ignorant, often, are the great mass of mankind, respecting some of the plainest principles of religion; nor how great familiarity of illus tration is necessary in order to their being understood. The usefulness of these sermons, however, is not limited to the less informed class of people; they may be read with advantage by all ranks.
Respecting the author's sentiments, we hesitate not to pronounce them decidedly and pure
y evangelical. Those doctrines, which exalt God and the Redeemer, which humble human
pride and selfsufficiency, which impart balm to the bleeding heart, and consolation to the sanctified soul, are the doctrines illustrated and enforced in these At the same time, the
author is emphatical, and abundant in reprobating a mere speculative religion, and in pointing out the infallible connexion between genuine faith, and a life of holiness and virtue. In a sermon on Titus ii. 11, 12, we find such sentiments as these:
"The gospel first directs the sinner to repair by faith to Christ, and to obtain the pardon of his sins through his precious blood. This is his first business and if the sinner be enabled to believe in Jesus, his faith will work
by love, will purify his heart, and over
come his lusts. We are not, by our own power, first to reform our lives, and then, as gracious and good people, to trust in Christ for salvation; but, as soon as ever we discover our need of a Saviour, to Яy to him without delay, just as we are. And he casts out none that come to him. Be
lieving in him will give a new turn to our affections. We shall mourn for pardoned sin. We shall hate the murderers of our Lord. We shall be crucified to the world by the cross of Jesus; and the ways of godliness will no longer be a burden and a task, but our pleasant and easy service. The love of Christ will constrain us, and we shall judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that henceforth they who live should not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them. Besides, whoever believes in Jesus is really united to him in the same manner as the vine and its branches are united. All our fruitfulness in good works depends on this union. Abide in me," said our Lord; "thus shall ye bring forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing." This is the true secret of godliness, the gospel mystery of sanctification, and the only way of
The following is one of the inferences from the same subject: "It appears from what has been said, that there is no ground for the reproach often cast on the gospel of grace, that it leads to licentiousness, or that the doctrine of faith and grace is hurtful to morality and good works. It is a foul and groundless slander. Nothing is more false. Our text confutes it at once. We have shown that the gospel is properly called the grace of God; it is the gospel that bringeth salvation by grace; and this free-grace gospel teacheth us to live a holy life. What can be plainer? And let it be noted, that nothing but the gospel of grace can truly teach or produce a holy life. This was, at first, the power of God to the salvation of bigoted Jews, and beastly heathens. In every succeeding age it has had the same blessed effects. And it is the same to this day. While moral preachers labour in vain, and many of them address their heathen lectures to sleepy hearers and empty pews, we know and are sure, that the plain truths of the gospel are effectual to quicken dead
sinners, to convert notorious rebels, and to produce in numberless persons "the fruits of good living." This is its proper tendency; these its genuine fruits. And we adore the grace that renders the word powerful for these blessed purposes.
abuse the doctrines of grace for licen"If any false professors of religion tious practices, they have no countenance in so doing from the gospel, or the preachers of it. Our text will at once confront and confound such base hypocrites.
It teaches them the nature, necessity and method of attaining a holy life. Believers were "chosen in Christ, that they might be holy, and without blame before him in love." All the commands of God both in the Old and New Testament, require it. It was an eminent branch of the design of Christ in dying for his people.
It is necessary to the present peace and happiness of our souls, in this world of sin and vanity. This is the way in which God expects us to glorify him among men. in this consists our "meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light."
On the whole, we cordially recommend these volumes to the wealthy, for perusal themselves, and for distribution among the poor.
With pleasure we insert the following interesting article, copied from the subscription paper, circulated in Connecticut, for the purpose of forming a Religious Tract Society.
TO THE FRIENDS OF RELIGION AMONG the various measures, so successfully employed, within a few years past, for promoting the amendment and salvation of mankind, few, in proportion to the expense and difficulty attending them, have probably been more useful, than those which have been directed to the dispersion of cheap religious Tracts among the poor. Efforts of this nature have been extensively made in Great Britain, and in some degree in the Uni
ted States; all of which seem to have been followed by happy consequences. Most of the poor find little leisure for reading. It is evident, therefore, that small tracts are better suited to their circumstances, than any other. A man, who can command two or three hours in a week, will very easily be persuaded to peruse a work, which may be finished within that time, who yet by the size of a consid erable volume would be deterred from
reading a single page. It is also evident, that the books furnished to such persons, ought, as much as possible, to be those which will allure them to read. The reluctance to reading is always most successfully overcome by the entertaining nature of the book which is furnished. It scarcely needs to be added, that he, who has but little time for reading, ought to employ it only in the most useful books.
All these objects can, it is believed, be accomplished at the present time, and accomplished with moderate expense and little difficulty, for the poor of this country. Short, cheap, and entertaining religious tracts have been published in great numbers, of many kinds, and in a great variety of forms, suited to almost every age, situation, and character. The expense of printing, and distributing them, has been proved, both by estimates and facts, to be moderate. By facts, also, it has been amply proved, that the poor will read, if furnished with the proper books; and that the consequences of this reading are of the most salutary nature. To contribute to the reformation of this unfortunate class of mankind; to withdraw them from the vices, to which by their situation in life they are peculiarly exposed; to prevent such, as hitherto are uncontaminated, from future corruption; to recal such of them, as are stupid in sin, to seriousness and piety; and to increase the comfort, hope, and purity, of those, who are already pious, is an employ. ment, which needs no recommendation to a good man.
At the same time, important bene, fits have been communicated in Great
Britain, and may be communicated here, by selling such tracts to persons in moderate circumstances (constituting a numerous class of mankind) at the original cost, or at reduced prices, as the nature of the case shall direct. Books, it is well known, are, at the present time, much dearer than at any former period. This un. fortunate fact prevents many persons from gaining a part, at least, of that valuable instruction, which they would otherwise acquire. In ali such cases, this Society would become the useful instrument of providing, and distrib. uting, knowledge of the most important kind, with little expense to itself. The end, here gained, would be the same; and only accomplished in a different manner.
Persuaded of the reality and inportance of these truths, a number of gentlemen in this city have embarked in the design of purchasing, and circulating among the poor, small, unexpensive religious tracts. For so benevolent a purpose they feel themselves warranted to solicit the aid of all, who are friends to religion, and to the poor. The scheme, by which they have proposed to regulate their conduct in this business, will be seen in the plan below. Such gentlemen, as approve of this design, are request. ed to subscribe their names, with the sums annexed, which they choose to contribute; and, when they design the contribution to be annual, to specify that circumstance.
A PLAN FOR THE FORMATION OF A RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY.
1. The name shall be The Connecticut Religious Tract Society.
2. The sole object of the Society shall be the promotion of evangelical religion; and nothing shall be published in the tracts, which shall give any just cause of offence to any particular denomination of Christians.
3. The Society will endeavour to compass this object, by distributing these tracts to the poor gratis, and by selling them at the discretion of their committee, at the first cost and charges, or at reduced prices, to other persons, who shall be disposed to purchase.
4. Every subscriber who shall en. gage to pay annually a sum not less than one dollar, shall be a member so long as the amount of his subscription shall be paid.
5. Every subscriber to the amount of a sum not less than ten dollars shall be a member for life.
6. Every subscriber shall be entitled to three fourths of the amount of his subscription, in tracts at the first cost, and charges.
7. Any person subscribing a sum not sufficient to constitute him a member, shall be entitled to the same proportion of tracts.
8. If any subscriber within the city of New Haven, shall not call for his tracts within ten days after notice of their being published shall have been given in some news-paper, his share shall be considered as relinquished to the disposal of the Society.
9. If any subscriber without the city of New Haven shall not call in like manner within three months after such notice, his share shall be considered as relinquished as before mentioned.
10. No member shall be entitled to any tracts till after the payment of his annual, or other subscription.
11. The officers shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, to be chosen by ballot, and of committees.
12. There shall be an annual meeting on the last Wednesday of October, holden at New Haven, at which the officers shall be appointed, and any other business shall be done that may be thought proper.
13. The President, or in his absence, the Vice President may call a special meeting, and not less than seven shall at any time constitute a quorum ; but a less number shall have power to adjourn.
14. A committee shall be chosen from the members throughout the State, whose duty it shall be to solicit subscriptions, to assist in the distribution of tracts, to be agents for the Society, in the collection and remittance of subscription monies, and to transact such other business, as the Society shall deem expedient.
15. A special Committee shall be appointed to select matter for publi cation, and to superintend the printing of the Tracts.
16. Every member shall be at lib. erty to withdraw from the Society, on giving written notice of his intention to the Secretary.
17. No tax shall be laid upon the Society.
18. The accounts of the Society shall be audited, and the proceedings of the Society published, annually.
19. The Constitution of the Society may be amended at any annual meeting.
After several meetings of a number of gentlemen friendly to a Religious Tract Society, the foregoing articles
were adopted, and all the gentlemen present at the last meeting subscribed in such a manner as to become members according to the Constitution. They then proceeded to the choice of officers to serve the Society till the first annual meeting. The following persons were chosen to the offices affixed to their respective names :
Rev. TIM. DWIGHT, D. D. Pres.
The following persons were chosen a committee to solicit subscriptions in this city; viz. Isaac Mills, Esq. Stephen Twining, Esq. Rev. Samuel Merwin, Mr. Hezekiah Belden, and Jeremiah Evarts, Esq.
The choice of a Vice President and committees was deferred to a future meeting.
Published by direction of the Society.
JEREMIAH EVARTS, Secretary. New Haven, Sept. 7, 1807.
It is expected that those who subscribe to pay annually will remit the amount of their first subscription to the Treasurer, at, or before, the annual meeting in October next, and that future annual payments will be remitted to the Treasurer, at the annual meetings when they shall become due. Those to whom subscription papers may be entrusted are desired to forward them to the Secretary, at, or before, the annual meeting in October next.
HANCOCK FEMALE TRACT SOCIETY.
FOR the gratification and encour agement of the friends of Zion, the following sketch is communicated.
In the county of Hancock, District of Maine, a small society has been in operation for three years past, denominated, the Hancock Female Tract Society; its object is to procure relig. ious books and tracts to be distributed among the poor and destitute in the district; for this purpose each member contributes one cent a week. Its officers are a Directress, General Treasurer, and Secretary, and a committee of three, chosen from among the gentlemen of the Hancock Association. At each annual meeting of