Page images

all their might. Eccles. ix. 10giving diligence that they may be found of him in peace, in that day when he shall come to take account of his servants-and to be waiting all the days of their appointed time till their change cometh.

To the Editor of the New Evangelical

WE are surrounded by Evan-
gelical Ministers of various deno-
minations. This is a pleasing fact
which demands our gratitude to
God: but it is equally true that
there are preachers, reputed ortho-
dox in a high degree, who in their
statements of divine truth, ap-
parently fall into very serious mis-
takes. Some, for instance, contend
that christians have nothing to do
with the law-that sin can do the
believer no harm-that the people
of God are not to be exhorted to
duty-that the unregenerate are not
proper objects of ministerial ad-
dress, &c.

If they aim to induce us, to work
ourselves up to conclude in the
most absolute manner, that the
righteousness of Christ is ours,
that his perfect atonement is ours,
that his conquests are ours, and
that his heaven is ours,-without
any respect to the inward dispo-
sitions of our souls, let us beware
it be too bold, Mr. Editor, to as-
of coming into their secret. Would
sume, that no man ever did or
can ascertain his interest in Christ
by any abstract contemplation of
him, in other words, by any view
of him that excludes the state of
the heart? Can Iman's election
and redemption be known by any
thing short of the work of the
Holy Spirit?

It is most cheerfully conceded that it should be the great business of christian teachers, to point their hearers to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Babes, young men and fathers stand all in equal need of constant supplies from the fulness of Christ. It is granted with the There are others who advance same cheerfulness that there is with a benevolent concern to com- not within us, one particle of that fort the people of God, by incul. which will procure either our parcating an assurance of interest in don or our justification before Christ, without internal evidence God; but I will insist, (and I am of that interest. They conceive sure Mr. Editor you will not resist that by so doing they prescribe to me,) that we must look within for their hearers a far more excellent evidence that we are pardoned, that way than that which has been we are justified, that we are preadopted in all our respectable as-destinated to the adoption of chilsemblies from time immemorial. dren. If a man comes to me They pity the weakness and bond-enquiring after salvation, righteage of our preachers and hearers ousness or strength, I direct him who cultivate a spirit of self in- at once to Him in whom all fulness quiry, however that enquiry may dwells. If that man ask me for a be founded in scripture, and com-warrant to apply with boldness at mon sense. They tell us roundly the throne of grace, I instantly that we are not to take any com-point to the scriptures. But if, fort from our sanctification." They with an air of seriousness and advise us to look to Christ, and deep concern he present me better advice it is impossible for with the all important question, them to impart to us, provided" How may I know" (as all men they mean what the scriptures are not saved) "whether I am a mean by that act; but if they in- child of God, and an heir of glory?" tend something very different, it I would reply, look to yourself: becomes us to be upon our guard. | Are you born again? What think

you of Christ! Does the Spirit of | of Christ on the cross suffering for God dwell in you? Are you walk-you as a favourite of Heaven, but ing after the Spirit, or after the must have Christ in you; dwelling flesh? Do you through the Spirit in your heart by faith. mortify the deeds of the body? Has God put his fear in your hearts? Has he written his law there? Should the man say in answer, I hope he has, I would add, "Give all diligence to make your calling and so your election sure." Remember, O man, that you must not merely need grace, for all men do that, but you must possess grace, as an earnest of future glory: you must not entertain your imagination by dreaming

If these remarks should bring into action more able pens, to check that presumptuous confidence which assumes the pious garb of "looking to Jesus," while self-examination is in a great measure proscribed as poor, low, miserable employment that takes our attention from the Saviour, a favour will be conferred upon one B. of your readers.

London, Dec. 6, 1816.

Theological Review.

ed at the ordination of Mr. John Deacon, at Leicester, April 26, 1786. by the late Mr. Dan Taylor. It is founded on the words of Paul to Titus, ch. ii. 7, 8. "In all things

Ministerial Duties stated and enforced: A Pastoral Charge, delivered to the Rev. Thomas James, at his ordination over the Independent church, assembling in City Chapel, London. BY J. A. JAMES.shewing thyself a pattern of good Birmingham: Beilby and Knotts; Sold by Conder, London, 1816. pp. 50. 8vo. 1s. 6d. sewed. THE ordination of the pastor of a Christian church, thanks to the King of Zion who still, as at the beginning, gathers the outcasts of Israel and builds up the walls of Jerusalem, is not in our day an uncommon occurrence: nor is the publication of an ordination charge by any means a novelty. So far from it, the subject may be almost said to be hackneyed; and hence we account for the fact, for such it appears to us, that very few of them possess any originality, or claim particular notice. We can deed recollect here and there an exception, but they are few in number and easily specified. It is not improbable that persons of longer standing and a more extensive acquaintance with the state of the Christian profession in our day, may add greatly to the catalogue, but we remember only three or four which appear to us entitled to distinction. The first of these is a charge deliver


works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity; sound speech that cannot be condemned, that he who is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you;" and taking it as a whole we despair of ever seeing or hearing any thing superior to it. Mr. Booth's Pastoral Cautions would probably claim the next place in our regard; at least, such is its merit, according to the testimony of Mr. James, in the publication before us, that "every minister of the gospel may read that charge with profit once a month." Note. p. 25. He has also in-pointed us to a charge delivered by Mr. Jay of Bath, at the ordination of Mr. H. F. Burder, which has un fortunately escaped our notice; but from the extract which he has produced, and what we know of the talents of its author, we can readily believe it to be very excellent. To this slender number, we rejoice to find that Mr. James has made an important addition by the publication of the charge which he lately delivered


at the ordination of his own brother, over the church formerly under the pastoral care of Mr. C. Buck. We had the pleasure of hearing this charge delivered from the pulpit, and were exceedingly struck with both the importance of the admonitions which it comprised, and the powerful and energetic manner in which they were enforced. Of the particular last mentioned, none but those who have heard Mr. James can form any just or adequate conception; but of the former, we shall now endeavour to give our readers a specimen, sufficient, we hope, to inspire them with a wish to see the whole.

The Charge, as we formerly mentioned in our brief notice of the Ordination service, is founded on 2 Cor. vi. 4. "In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God." -words, says Mr. James that " present us with a description of the nature of the pastoral office-We are the ministers of God." This he considers to imply, 1. That they are sent by God-called by him to the work of preaching the gospel to the perishing children of men -and 2. That therefore they are to labour for God; and "if for God" says the preacher, "then surely not for yourself." Now, reader, mark the felicity with which this topic is illustrated in the following passage.

"Self is an idol, which has been worshipped by far greater multitudes, than any other deity of either ancient or modern heathenism. A minister is the last man in the world who should be seen at the altar of this abomination, and yet without great care he is likely to be there the first, to linger there the longest, to bow the lowest, and to express his devotion by the costliest sacrifices. This, my brother, and not the form of creeping things or women weeping for Tammuz,' this is the abomination which Ezekiel would witness in many a christian temple; this is the image of jealousy which provoketh to jealousy,' before which the glory of Jehovah, so often in modern times, retires from between the cherubim to the threshold, from the threshold to the city, till at length the lingering symbol totally removes, and a fearful Ichabod is inscribed alike upon the pulpit and the pew.


Many serve themselves instead of God, even by the work of the ministry. Some by entering upon it merely with a view to temporal support. Ashamed to beg, unwilling to work, they crouch for piece of silver, and say, put me into the |

priest's office that I may eat a morsel of bread. They teach for hire and divine for money; and on this account are stigmatized in scripture "as greedy dogs that can never have enough, as shepherds that do not understand, looking every one vails to a most awful extent in every for his gain from his quarter.' This preestablished church in christendom, and necessarily must do, as long as human nature remains what it is, and so many pulpits are at the disposal of secular patronage. Nor is it altogether unknown amongst the body of dissenters. A man, whom indolence has led to this office, and who has converted the pulpit into the den of the hungry sloth, is one of the meanest, as he certainly is one of the guiltiest of his species. Sometimes his punishment comes in this world, and he is driven out by an indignant people, who determine no longer to starve their souls in order to pamper his body; or if like a wolf he continue to feed and fatten upon the flock, it is only for the hour of approaching destruction. Rather than that you, my brother, should occupy this place for such house; feed you at my own table; and a purpose, I would take you to my own if this would not suffice, would impoverish my wife and my babes, to support you, and then would earn for them their daily bread by the sweat of my brow. 'But I am persuaded better things of you, although 1 thus speak.””

Mr. James proceeds to remark that others serve themselves in the ministry by entering it chiefly with a view to literary leisure and scientific pursuits and not a few make the ministerial office tributary to the acquisition of mere popular applause.

"Vox populi is their directory and their aim. To commend themselves, is the secret, but powerful spring of all they do. "Self is with them in the study directing their reading-selecting their texts-arranging their thoughts-forming their images, and all with a view to shine in public. Thus prepared, they ascend the pulpit with the same object as that which conducts the actor to the stage, to secure the applause of approving spectators; there every tone is modulated, every emphasis laid, every attitude regulated to please, rather than to profit; to recommend themselves, and not Jesus Christ. The service ended, this bosom idol returns with them to their own abode, renders them restless and uneasy to know how they have succeeded, and puts them upon the meanest acts to draw forth the opinion of their hearers. If admired, they receive their reward, if not the first prize is lost. It is nothing in abatement of the sin, that all this while, evangelical sentiments are dispensed. Orthodoxy is the most direct

road to popularity. Christ may be the text, when self is the sermon: and dreadful as it seems, it is to be feared, that not a few have elevated the cross, only to suspend upon the sacred tree their own honours, and have employed all the glories of redemption, merely to emblazon their own name. My dear brother, when carried to this height, it is the direst, deepest tragedy, that was ever performed by man, since it ends in the actual and eternal death of the performer, who forgets as he snuffs the gale of popular applause, that the vapours of damnation float upon the breeze.

"But you are a minister, that is; a servant of God, and as such are to sum up all your life and labours in that one subJime and comprehensive direction, 'What soever you do, do all to the glory of God.' From this hour, till your tongue be ticulate and your heart be cold, your business, your pleasure, your aim must be to serve God in the ministry of the gospel, by seeking his glory in the salvation of immortal souls. Whatever other men do, this is your duty. Without retiring to the gloom and indolence of monastic seclusion, you have in the best sense of

fore you are accountable for its exercise to him from whom it is derived." The illustration of this proposition brings him to the second part of his subject, which was to shew how the duties of the office should be discharged so as to approve himself the minister of God.

of God by faithfully preaching his word. "First. Approve yourself the minister This is to be a great part of the business of your future life. I trust you will ever keep the pulpit sacred to the purpose for which it is erected. Preach there the word of God. It is neither the chair of philosophy nor of literature, and therefore time borrow from the sciences, or to whatever illustrations you may at any whatever use you may apply the aids of inar-learning in the way of legitimate criticism, never act there the pedant. It is not should never be enveloped in the mists of the rostrum for political declamation, and politics. It is not the arena of controversy where the preacher is to display therefore however necessary you may his adroitness in attack and defence, and sometimes find it to guard the truth from the whole artillery of just reasoning upon the assaults of its adversaries, or to direct the strong holds of error, I trust the chanot, in the strict sense of the term, be racter of your public ministrations will polemical. It is not intended to be a stall, where the petty manufacturer of tinsel eloquence and rhetorical flowers, shall display to a gaping crowd his gaudy wares: and therefore whenever you employ the words that burn and the thoughts that glow,' I hope it will not be with a view to play the orator, but more.deeply fully to alarm the conscience. Nor is the to impress the heart, and more powerpulpit merely the seat of the moralist, cold and heartless ethics,-but it is the where Epictetus and Seneca deliver their oracle of heaven, appointed to deliver in full and faithful response the will and purposes of God concerning the salvation and the duty of the human race."

term, taken the veil to God. Before that altar on which the Son of God offered up himself a sacrifice for sin, you have taken the vow of separation from the world. You profess to have relinquished the career of commerce, fame, wealth, and every other road through which the human spirit marches to the gratification of an earthly ambition; and to be so filled with a desire to glorify God in the salvation of souls, that you could stand upon the mount which the Saviour occupied when under satanic temptation, and refuse all the kingdoms of the world, rather than give up the object which now fills your heart and occupies your hands. To the accomplishment of this you are to bring all the talents you possess, all the solicitude you can feel, all the influence you can command, and all the time you are destined to live; for you are not your own, but the minister of God."

The reader, we are persuaded, will agree with us, that there is an astonishing power of conception and of language in all this; and, accompanied as it was in the delivery by the eloquent and pathetic strains of the preacher, the impression which it produced, upon ourselves at least, was indescribable; but we must not indulge in comment. Mr. James ceeds to remind the young minister that, 3. The text implies also that he is responsible to God. "Your presidency over the church," says he, "is neither sovereign nor legislative, but administrative only, and there

preaching, he cautions him to take Adverting to the matter of his care that it is truly and faithfully the word of God that he does preach.

"Preach the whole counsel of God. Elucidate its histories-explain its prophecies-develope its doctrines—inculcate its precepts-denounce its threatenpro-vitations-enforce its institutions. What ings-unfold its promises-repeat its inharmony of subjects is before you! If a sublimity! What a variety! What a you are straightened it must be in yourself, not in your themes. As a steward of the mysteries of the kingdom you have access to infinite and exhaustless stores. If your

people are starved by the penury, or wearied by the sameness of your preaching, it cannot be for want of variety or opulence in the treasures of revelation, but for want of industry and fidelity in yourself. Do not then confine yourself and your people in some little nook or corner of revealed truth, and write upon all the rest, terra incognita. Explore for them and with them the whole world of inspiration. Such is the boundless extent of this sacred territory, that without wishing or waiting for farther revelations, we shall never reach the end of those already given. By the aid of biblical criticism-diligent reading-accurate collation-deep penetration, the christian student will be continually disclosing to his people new regions and fresh treasures in God's most precious word. Mines of wealth will open at his feet, and prospects of ineffable beauty will expand upon his eye."

Much excellent advice then follows

fourteenth revoked the edict of Nantz, whereby the public exercise of the Protestant religion was prohibited throughout France, all the ministers of that persuasion were commanded to embrace the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion, or to depart out of the country within a given period on pain of being sent to the gallies! While on the other hand, lures and temptations to violate their consciences and sacrifice truth on the unhallowed altar of worldly ease and prosperity, were liberally supplied.

respecting the manner of his preach-
ing-the spirit with which he should
preside over the church-his behavi-
our while engaged in visiting his
flock-and the Charge closes with
most important admonitions regarded
ing his general conduct, spirit, and
habits in the prosecution of the whole
of his ministerial duties; but having,
we hope, already said enough to
excite the attention of our readers to
this admirable charge, we must forego
the gratification of a more particular
account of it. Mr. James has our
unfeigned thanks for the high treat it
has afforded us. May he long be
spared as a blessing to the church of
God-to instruct us by his writings,
and to exemplify in his own conduct
the important things which he delivers
whether from the pulpit or the press.

These were the times that tried mens souls"-and those who stood firm in their allegiance to the cause of God and truth, deserve well of posterity. Superville was of this number. He was one of about six hundred ministers who preferred exile with a good conscience to it were recompensed by the treasures apostacy from his principles though of Egypt. At an early period of his ministry he was called to the pastoral charge of a numerous and respectable church at Loudun, which he acceptin the year 1683, but, two years afterwards, the flourishing and proshe presided, attracted the notice and perous state of the church over which inflamed the envy of the higher powers who bent all their efforts to accomplish its ruin. watch the conduct of the young Spies were set to pastor, whose prudence for some time disappointed their wishes, and they could find no matter of accusation. He was at length, however, accused of preaching a seditious sermon, and a Lettre de Cachet was issued, citing him to Paris, there to answer for his conduct. This was prior to the revocation of the Edict of Nantz-but during the three months that he was detained at Paris, Versailles and Fontainbleau, dancing attendance upon the court, this sanguinary measure was carried into effect-"the edict was signed on the eighth of October 1685, and registered on the 22nd of December follow

Sermons Translated from the French of Daniel De Superville formerly pastor of the French Protestant church at Rotterdam; with Memoirs of his Life. BY JOHN ALLEN. London: Burton and Briggs, 8vo. 420 pages 9s. boards, 1816. MONSIEUR SUPERVILLE, the authoring." Superville retired to Rotterof these Sermons lived at a period of extraordinary difficulty to the church of Christ. He was cotemporary with Claude and with Saurin, possessed with them a congenial spirit, had adopted similar theclogical tenets, and was scarcely inferior to either of them in learning and. lents. In their days, Louis the

dam, where he continued to exercise his ministerial functions, till, at the advanced age of seventy one, his constitution bending under the pressure of age and infirmities, after languishing a few weeks, he died in peace June 9th 1728.

"The character of Superville was held in universal esteem, and well merited all

« PreviousContinue »