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“ But further; the next effect of this miraculous manifestation upon Saul, was, that he fell to the earth,' overwhelmed with a consciousness of the greatness of the Saviour who appeared to him, and of his own guilt, and vileness, and nothingness. Mark, here, the second step in a true and spiritual conversion, a lowly, bumbling, self-abasing view of your own heart, and life, and conversation; a view which throws all your thoughts of self-righteousness into the very dust; which lays you there yourself with all your virtues, and all your amiable qualifications, as one utterly poor, and blind, and naked, waiting the will of your Divine Master. My brethren! are there any feelings in your own hearts, answering to this effect of converting grace? Are you thus humbled, thus lowly, thus conscious, that you dare not so much as lift up your eyes towards heaven ; but must be content with the publican's humiliation and the publican's prayer, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner?' If you have ever possessed one saying view of the Lord Jesus Christ, this must have been, for this invariably is, the blessed effect of it.
“ The lower we lie in self-renunciation, and self-abasement before God, the more certainly, and the more highly, will God exalt us in spiritual graces, and in eternal felicity.” pp. 19–22.
Mr. Blunt proceeds in his own simple, natural, but very forcible manner, to point out other lessons to be derived from the incidents of the Apostle's conversion. We can well understand from these discourses, connected with the affectionate interest arising from the vigilant and exemplary discharge of the duties of a pastoral life, in a most important parochial sphere, the secret of that large acceptance-call it, if the phrase may be used without being absurd, extensive popularity—which has carried Mr. Blunt's former volumes on Abraham, Jacob, and St. Peter, into numerous editions; and caused them to be read with much interest and edification in hundreds and thousands of families. They are written with much single heartedness and absence of parade ; they are affectionate and spirit-stirring appeals, which cannot be read or listened to, without feeling how much the preacher has at heart the immortal interests of his hearers. It would be strange indeed, if while such matters are discussed in such a manner, churches were not overflowing, and audiences interested; and, with reverence be it said, it would be stranger still, remembering whose the word thus uttered, and the promises that it shall not return to him void, and that faith shall come by hearing, if many were not impressed with the solemn truths thus brought before them, and did not return to their homes to search the Scriptures, whether these things are so. This is a preacher's true success and best reward ; and this, we doubt not, by the blessing of God on his labours, the much respected writer of this volume largely enjoys. His former volumes are so widely circulated, and so highly valued, that the present needs not a single word of recommendation at our hands. It was from no disrespect to the author, or his publications, that his former works have not been reviewed in our pages; but because we cannot notice one in many of the volumes of sermons, now so rapidly published, and those which have recommended themselves, and have obtained wide circulation, can best spare extraneous recommendation. A very appropriate discourse, by Mr. Blunt, on the observance of the Lord's day, has just been published, at the request of the society for promoting that important object. We mention it, for the sake of urging other clergymen to adopt the course pursued by Mr. Blunt, who, after delivering this discourse upon the subject, followed it up by procuring a committee of gentlemen and tradesmen to go round the district, two and two, to prevail upon the shopkeepers to refrain from selling their wares on the Lord's day; and with such success, that in almost every instance, we are informed, the shops began to be closed on the succeeding Sunday. Efforts like these are of infinite importance, and justly endear an affectionate and faithful pastor to the people committed to his charge. Bad as are the times in many respects, never, perhaps, were such efforts more extensively, more zealously made ; never were institutions for the benefit of the sick and the
poor more multiplied, or Bible, education, tract, and visiting societies more efficient; and we doubt not that all the four clergymen whose names are now before us, as well as hundreds, and we would hope and believe thousands, of their brethren, are diligently engaged in promoting them in their parishes. These things cheer us amidst much moral desolation; and we do and must augur well for our country, our religion, and our national church, while such signs of the times are prominent, notwithstanding all the scepticism, infidelity, and blasphemy of the age.
These enormities we ful believe have been pushed into a notoriety far beyond their actual prevalence, of which we have a notable instance in the division in the house of commons, on Mr. Hume's God-rejecting proposition ; for which, after all the vapouring of the infidel party, all the outcry that fast-days and recognising the hand of God in national visitations were mere “humbug ” (Mr. Hume's own word), all the auxiliary efforts of radical and blasphemous newspapers,—there were but ten votes in the house of commons; while not only the vast mass of the members espoused the Christian side of the question, but the great body of the people proved by their conduct on the fast day that religion has even in this licentious age a hold upon the public mind, upon which infidelity had little reckoned. The irreligious party in the house of commons has been much more measured in its language since the fast day, and we believe that it has learned a lesson which it will not easily forget. Should any scoffer or Deist ever venture to talk in parliament of the English people regarding the observances of religion as priestcraft or humbug, the friend of Christianity will have in the observance of the fast day a popular argument which the objector will not feel much satisfaction in confronting.
But to return to our topic; what, we would ask, is there in the style of preaching of which these volumes are among many specimens, that distinguishes it from that which some persons are accustomed to call “ the good old orthodox style,” but which we should stamp by far different epithets? for though it may be as old as the days of queen Anne, or even Charles the Second, it is certainly not as old as the Reformation ; and as to its goodness and orthodoxy, these must be decided by scriptural comparison, and not by names, numbers, or human authorities. We would say then, at once-and we submit our assertion to the candid consideration of the supposed inquirer or objector—that the style of preaching currently called evangelical deals more with the souls of men than with merely outward morals; that it gets at the latter through the former, and, by the blessing of God, most powerfully and effectively so; but still this object is not the whole, it is but one effect or consequence : its leading topics are the fall of man, and the atonement of Christ; the exceeding sinfulness of sin ; the need of pardon; the way of pardon ; repentance, grace, faith, regeneration, adoption, justification, holiness, love, joy, peace in believing, the affections, the consolations, and the duties of the believer, time and eternity, the world and God, heaven and hell. Compare the list of topics in any ofthese volumes, or, we would rather say, compare the topics in our homilies or the writings of our oldest and best Protestant divines, with a hundred volumes we could name, from the first consonant in the alphabet, Blair, Blackall, and Balguy, to the last, Zouch and Zachary Pearce, ranging in a series of "much approved writers” from the days of William the Third those of William the Fourth, and do we not instantly perceive a striking difference? It is not a matter of Calvinism or Arminianism, in any proper sense of those terms, or of any particular school or habit of thinking. The theologians to whom we refer, differ among themselves in a variety of points; but amidst all their minor differences there is essential unity, so much so that take up half a dozen volumes of this character, and as many of the mere “ virtuous-conduct" school, and the veriest tyro in divinity could explain, the most unlettered Christian can feel, the difference. There has been, indeed, of late years, a sort of “
waverers ;” men who admit as scriptural certain doctrines, which it was once accounted quite orthodox to resist, but who in practice do not make them strikingly prominent; and who, without being heterodox, are not in effect endeavouring to bring their hearers to Christ, are not leading them into a practical acquaintance with the real character of the Gospel—do not, in one word, preach—what lies at the root of all efficient, all ** saving" preaching-conversion; in other words, repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and renewal of heart by the Holy Ghost. They admit these things; they allude to them; but their discourses are not practically and prominently formed upon them.
Are we, then, pleading for party; for rival schools; for names of applause or reproach? Far from it; our object is just the contrary; our wish is to send ourselves, our readers, and the candid inquirer whom we have been addressing, to the word of God. If, after reading over the above extracts and titles, it is found that the subjects discussed in them, and the leading sentiments on those subjects, with whatever imperfections, whatever mistakes, whatever minor varieties of opinion or habits of thought and writing, are in the main consonant to Scripture, must not a scheme of preaching which omits, sets aside, or softens down, these principles, be defective in the most important features of a scriptural address ? preposterous to select the discourses of any score, or hundred, or thousand, individuals, as specimens of what Christian preaching ought to be; the standard is far higher : to the word of God is our only appeal; but when the fact is obvious that serious differences of preaching do exist, and that all cannot be right, it is an inquiry of infinite moment both to ministers and their flocks, What is truth? What, as regards man, is the great object of the Christian revelation ? Is it reformation of manners, or is it conversion of heart? Is it morality, or is it spirituality? Is it the pardon of sin, the transformation of man into the image of God, the mystery of the Cross, and the salvation of the soul, or is it something less specific? Why are we not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ? Is it for those subordinate reasons which certain divines seem to urge as its chief claims, such as its moral tendency and beneficial spirit; or is it that " it is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe?” Let us answer these questions honestly and in the sight of God, and we shall obtain a clue which, by his guidance, will lead us to the very spirit and intent of the Gospel.
LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
"The Apostolicity of Trinitarianism." By the Rev. G. S. Faber. 2 vols. ll. 6s. “The Psalms translated into English Verse." By the Rev. E. G. Marsh. 12s. Sermons on the Decalogue and Fast-day. By the Rev. E. G. Marsh. 6s. Ministerial Devotedness. A Sermon preached at the Consecration_of_the Right Rev. Daniel Wilson. By the Rev. W. Dealtry, D.D.
Submission to the will of God. A Sermon by the Rev. T. T. Haverfield.
Remarks on the Principles adopted by Bishop Lowth for correcting the Hebrew text. By the Rev. J. Rogers.
“ The Scripture Garden Walk." 10s. 6d. “ The Best Match.” By the Rev. E. Pierce. 1672, republished by the Religious Tract Society. Is. 6d.
ANNIVERSARIES OF RELIGI. in the usual course, and therefore need
OUS AND CHARITABLE SO- not be anticipated.
The Church Missionary Society is
flourishing in the best sense, but needs We have reason, upon the whole, to be increased funds ; its resources having conwell satisfied with the aspect of the late siderably declined, while the claims on it annual meetings of our religious and cha- are daily increasing, and the providence of ritable societies. The immense extent of God is opening important channels for its the great room at Exeter Hall may have operations. given an appearance of desolation to some The Bible Society, notwithstanding all meetings which would have seemed crowd- the ominous forebodings of last year, has ed at Freemasons' Tavern ; besides which increased in its funds, (with the excepit is much to be regretted that the ball tion of legacies, which no Society covets itself is ill contrived for seeing, hearing, in place of living friends ;) but what is and speaking, so that much of the interest far better, it is now proceeding in peace, of many excellent addresses is lost. We after its late perils, and its most valued mention these defects, because it is not friends, of the few who quitted or seemed too late to remedy them, by a new arrange- about to quit it, are returning with renewed ment of the seats upon more scientific affection to its bosom after their temporay principles.
disruption. The diminution of contidence There may, however, be other causes in our religious Societies, which ensued in which have given an alleged “ tameness," some quarters in consequence of the charges so we believe runs the phrase, to some of urged against the Bible Society, may have these meetings. There is certainly a want been one of the causes of the alleged reof sufficient variety in the speakers and laxed attendance at some of our religious the speeches; and it is lamentable to see meetings; the spell seemed broken; tender by how comparatively small a number of spirits were distressed; and Christian persons those great institutions are active- feeling revolted from scenes of agitation ly supported, which ought to rank among and controversy, where all should be union their zealous friends the great mass of our and peace. But the spell has now been nobility, prelacy, clergy, and gentry; but restored; the meeting of the Bible Sotill a more enlarged anxiety is felt for the ciety was not only overflowing as to numwelfare of immortal souls, till, in short, bers, but remarkable for brotherly union men are more anxious for their own salva- and mutual rejoicing in the great work in tion and that of others, we cannot expect which its members are engaged. We do that a Bible, Missionary, or Education not enlarge on the subject, as our readers Society, should thus revel in magnificent will find the speeches appended to our patronage. It is well, however, if it have Number. That of the Rev. G. Noel would the blessing of God, and the exertions of especially deserve to be pointed out for its many attached friends; a few in the higher, manliness, simplicity, and Christian spirit, many in the middle, and some in the hum- in retracing his steps in regard to this Soblest ranks of life.
ciety, did we not think it better to forget We may attribute also something of the whole matter, and begin anew in unity the alleged “tameness” to the absence of of spirit as if nothing had occurred; or that wildness which on some occasions has such things only as have cemented in fresh of late been displayed. It is not in the bonds of unity the great body of the faithhuman mind to keep up long together a ful seryants of Christ of all persuasions powerfully sustained interest; and the for the circulation of his holy word. stimulus, at some former meetings, of con- The Naval and Military Bible Society troversy, debate, and excitement, may has not prospered under its new regulation, therefore bave left a re-action, a languor, either in an increase of friends or funds; which was felt in comparison with fore- but as it was conscientiously formed, we going scenes of warmer agitation. But have no wish to interfere with those who if this only mean that our Societies have take that view of the matter, provided returned to their proper sphere, and that they will cease from censuring those of politics and controversy have been banish- their brethren who conscientiously differ ed from them, we rejoice to accept this from them in opinion. spirit of peace and love as much wiser, The Anti-slavery Society was thronged, safer, and more Christian, than those sti- as might be expected at this crisis of that mulating discussions to which we allude. great question, by an overtlowing and ani.
The Reports of various Societies cer- mated'assemblage of friends to the ahotainly were not deficient in interesting and lition of slavery. One of the topics of important information; the leading por- the speeches, was the disastrous appointtions of which will come before our readers ment of the House-of-Lords' Committee, Christ. OBSERV. No. 366.
which elicited such expressions of public our readers. We saw in it the germ of sentiment, as must prevent any influence mighty benefits; and though, on comwhich the report of a committee so form- municating the subject to a variety of pered, and for such purposes, can have upon sons, it met with little but ridicule, we the nation. But a much more powerful determined to do all in our power to gain topic was the blood-thirsty persecution a hearing for the question. So greatly of the missionaries, which excited a most have Temperance Societies increased, and intense feeling thoughout the assembly. so powerful has been their efficacy, that in
The Hibernian Society is stated not to the United States they bid fair to banish have been well attended, in consequence from the land the curse of ardent spirits ; of its hostility to the government plan of and even in Great Britain they have education ; and an allusion to that topic already effected much, and are rapidly adwhich occurred in the Report, was struck vancing. We strongly urge our readers, out by the committee, in consequence of especially clergymen, to make themselves having excited some disapprobation in the masters of the question. meeting. We mention it as indicative of The friends of the Society for prothe signs of the times. We said at the moting Christian Knowledge have adopted first introduction of the notice of the in
a plan for circulating, by means of a tended plan of education, that the ques- committee, cheap publications, religious, tion ought to be kept totally apart from moral, scientific, and generally interesting; politics, and placed wholly upon a religi- so as to counteract the baneful effects of ous basis; but instead of this, it was made many of the popular publications, and to a party weapon to annoy Government. supply the religious defects of others. Orange and Cumberland clubs, newspa- We shall revert to the subject when the pers, and speakers, mixed up the question plan is fully digested. It is a most imof scriptural education, and not mutilat- portant measure. ing the word of God, with vehement at- The anniversary sermon for the oldest tacks upon parliamentary reform, “the of our religious societies—that for the atrocious ministers, and their atrocious Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign bill:" and though the Hibernian Society Parts—was preached this year in May did not interfere with the political ques- instead of February, and transferred from tion, it has, we fear, suffered from the the morning to the afternoon service ; but supposed identification. But we trust that still with a very scanty attendance, except the friends of scriptural education will not of persons connected with the ecclesithus be turned aside from their object. astical and civic procession. The Bishop
Among the newer Societies, (we have of Rochester, who preached on the occanot professed to go through one quarter of sion, is stated to have expressed himself the list,) we are glad to notice that for in a manner which forbids the hope of the Observance of the Lord's-day, at any speedy effort on the part of the Sowhich the Bishop of Calcutta, one of the ciety to emancipate its slaves. His lordfounders and warmest friends of the So- ship augurs danger ; but, whatever he may ciety, presided. His lordship's presence have to say to that question as a senator was bailed with much sympathy and many legislating for 800,000 persons (though prayers at various public meetings; and even there we would meet him), it is we trust that in this new but important totally another question in the case of a institution he bas laid the foundation of an religious society with about 300. Danger edifice, wbich, by the blessing of God, from liberating 300 slaves ! Let his lordwill be of most essential importance to ship refute if he can what has been printed the best interests of religion, and of his and proved on this subject. Let him also native land.
disprove the truth of the Government The District Visiting Society is another declaration, That no ill effect has folimportant institution, which we hope to lowed the liberation of the crown slaves. make better known to our readers. We re- Let him reply to the following recent joice to learn that it is extending its effects statement, which happens to have fallen widely in various parts of the kingdom. into our hands at this very moment. The
The British and Foreign Temperance South-African Advertiser, a paper conSociety was crowded to excess; and its ducted with eminent talent and integrity, cause was powerfully pleaded by various says; “ Three thousand Prize Negroes speakers, and among then several prelates, have received their freedom—400 in one the Bishop of London taking the chair on day; but not the least difficulty or disthe occasion. We purpose returning again order occurred : servants found masters and again to the object of this Society, masters bired servants; all gained which, though in its infancy, is one of the homes, and at night scarcely an idler most important in the British dominions. was to be seen. In the last month, 150 The first account we believe which reach- were liberated under precisely similar ed this country of the formation of a circumstances, and with the same result. Temperance Society in America was sent These facts are within our own obserto us in the spring of 1826 ; and we took vation; and to state that sudden and the earliest opportunity of laying it before abrupt emancipation would create dis