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of taste a sentiment unfavourable to If a bint of wonder was insinuated at their the reception of evangelical religi- reading so little, and within so very conon, is, that this is the religion of muny

fined a scope, it would be replied, that they weuk and uncultivated minds. Con- thought it enough to read the Bible; as it tracted, says Mr. Foster, in its abode; fixes with inquisitive attention on what is

it were possible for a person whose iniud the great inhabitant will, like the before him, even to read through the Bible sun through a misty sky, appear without at least ten thousand such questions with but little of its magnificence, to being started in his mind as can be answer a man requiring large views and ed only from the sources of knowledge exelevated sentiments to accompany traneous to the Bible. But he perceived and to evince in all its disciples the that this reading the Bible was no work of majesty of religion. Happily he inquisitive thought; and indeed he has finds the great subject imparted by coinmonly found that those who have no other oracles than the forms of con

wish to obtain any thing like extended in

formation, have no disposition for the real ception and language in which a

business of thinking, even in religion, and narrow and uncultivated mind declares it; but while from them he disclosure of intellectual poverty. He has

that their discourse on that subject is the receives it in its own character, he

seen them live on from year to year conis tempted to wish he could detach

tent with the same confined views, the same it from all the associations which he meagre list of topics, and the same uncouth feels it has acquired from the hum- religious language. Yet perhaps, if he ble exhibition. The author then shewed but little interest in conversing proceeds to mention various ways with them on the subject, or sometimes in which the injurious impressions seemed anxious to avoid it, this was consihave perhaps struck the mind of dered as pure aversion to religion; and such a person. We cannot follow

what had beeu uninteresting as doctrine, behim in all his observations on these

came revolting as reproot*.” (p. 120–122.)

Mr. Foster next proceeds to nopoints, but must content ourselves

tice the prejudices which may be with making a few extracts. The

excited in the mind of a person of following remarks seem to deserve

refined taste and intellectual acquire peculiar attention, although if we

ments by the vulgar religious habits were at liberty to indulge our own inclination, we should scarcely

of some Christians, by their strange know how to exclude any part of

grimaces and coarse conversation,

especially if his education had been “ The majority of Christians are inevi

in the society, and under the intably precluded from any acquirements of spection and controul of persons

, general kuowledge; but he” that is the whether parentsor any other friends, intellectual man " has inet with numbers whose religion was in a form so unwho had no inconsiderable ineans, both as attractive to taste. One extract we to money, judging by their unnecessary shall give from this part of the essay, expences, and as to leisure, judging by the because we think it calculated to quantity of time consumed in useless chat be particularly useful, at least in the or needless slumbers, to furnish their minds

way of caution, to many of our reawith various information, but who were.

ders. quite on a level in this re-pect with those

“ The religious habits of some Christian of the very humblest rank. They never

may have revolted him excessively. Every even suspected that knowledge could have any connexion with religion, or that they thing, which could even distantly remind

him of grimace, would inevitably do this; could not be as clearly and amply in pos

as, for instance, a solemn lifting up of the session of the great subject as a man whose faculties had been exercised, and whose extended acquaintance with things would *“I own,” says Mr. Foster with much suppiv an endless series of ideas illustrative

truth and propriety," that what I said of of religion. He has perhaps even heard Jesus Christ's gladly receiving one of the them make a kind of merit of their indiffer- humbler intellectual order for his disciple, &nce iv hnowledge, as if it were the proof will but ill apply to some of the characters or the result of a bigher value for religion, that I describe."

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this essay.

eyes, artificial impulses of the breath, gro- mere sake of analogy, beyond the extent tesque and regulated gestures and postures of necessary illustration.” (p. 125–127.) in religious exercises, an affected faltering Mr. Foster closes this part of his of the voice, and, I might add, abrupt re- subject with an attempt to correct, ligious exclamations in common discourse, in the supposed intellectual observthough they were even benedictions to the

er, that fastidiousness of taste which Almighty, which he has often heard so ill. repels him from Christianity on actimed as to have an irreverent and almost

count of the low and disgusting a ludicrous effect. In a mind such as I am

form wbich it is sometimes made to supposing, even an increased veneration for religion will but increase the dislike to these

assame. The passage is too long, or we habits. Nor will it be reconciled to them should with pleasure have extract. by a conviction, ever so perfect, of the ed the whole. It is full of the most sincere piety of the persons who practise important and energetic thoughts, them.

and deserves to be carefully stu. " In the conversation of illiterate Chris- died by every one who is disposed tians, he has perhaps frequently heard the to neglect or contemn the Gospel. most unfortunate metaphors and similies

The two next letters of this essay employed to explain or enforce evangelical sentiment, and probably if he twenty another of the causes in question ;

are devoted to the consideration of times recollected that sentiment or subject, which the author thinks is the pecuor if he met with it from some other quaro liarity of language adopted in the dister, the repulsive figure was sure to recur to his imagination. If he has heard so many

courses and books of the teachers of of these, that each Christian topic is asso- evangelical religion, as well as in the ciated with its appropriate image, you can letters and religious conversation of tasily conceive that a lively impression of Christians. The assemblage of the the pure spirit of the subject itself is re- best writers in the language, he ob, quisite to preclude the disgust, and banish serves, havecreated and fixed a grand the associations. Here I might observe, it standard of general phraseology. Dewere desirable that some one would suggest viations from this standard he consito Christian teachers the propriety of not ders to be, first, by a mean or vulgar amplifying the less dignified class of those diction, which is below it; or secondmetaphors which it may be very proper to introduce, and which perhaps are employ- ly, by a barbarous diction which is ed, in a short and ra; id way, in the Bible, put of it, or foreign to it; or thirdly, I shall notice only that common one, in by a diction which though foreign io which the benefits and pleasures of religion it, is not to be termed barbarous, beare represented under the image of food. cause it is elevated entirely above I do not recollect that, in The New Testa- the authority of the standard by ment at least, this metaphor is ever drawn a super-human force or majesty of mo a very great length. But from the fa. thought, or a super-human commucility of the process, it is not strange that nication of truth. Mr. Foster first it has been amplified, both in books and attends to the phraseology of evandiscourses, into the most extended descrip

gelical divinest as coming under tions; and the dining-room has been exhausted of images, and the language ran

the second of these deviations. şacked for substantives and adjectives*, to + This unfortunate epithet bas been diversify the entertainment. The metaphor, made the subject of so much discussion, in its simple unexpanded form, may often that one is almost tired of hearing it men. serve as an apposite illustration, without tioned. The following note, however, of lessening the subject; but will it be no de- Mr. Foster is so sensible and apposite, gradation of spiritual ideas thus extensively that to prevent, if possible, the sneers and and systematically to transmute them, I cavils of opponents, we subjoin it as a good might even say cook them, into sensual explanation of the term. ones? No analogy between great things Evangelical Divines, I concur with the opiand mean ones ought to be pursued, for the nion of those who deem a considerable, and,

in an intellectual and literary view, a highly Dainties, love-feasts ; sweet, rich, fat, respectable class of the writers who have savoury (the king of this whole tribe of ad- professedly taught Christianity to be not jeetives), delicious, and a great many more. eyangelical. They might rather be denoa

" When I say Poster, “ of one part of the sacred writminated moral and philosophical divines, ings be imitated and another avoided ? treating very ably on the generalities of No man would think of narrating a fact religion, and on the Christian morals, but even of the Scripture history in the biblical not placing the economy of redemption ex- forms of narrative expression. Why then dctly in that light in which the New Testa- should not the truths of a more doctrinal ment appeurs to me to place it.

I suppose,” says he, “it will be in- radical change necessary in their style." stantly allowed, that the mode of expres- “ It would be striking to observe how a sion of the greater number of evangelical diction which appears most perfectly pagan, divines and professors, is widely different providedit be of a strong and dignified chafrom the standard of general language, not racter, would become christianized by a only by the vecessary adoption of a few very slight change, if the real presence of peculiar terms, but by a continued and a Christian spirit, as well as the denominasystematic cast of phraseology; insomuch ting terms of a Christian subject, were in. that in reading or hearing five or six sen- troduced.” (p. 150–152) tences of an evangelical discourse, you as- The author then gives several very certain the school by the mere turn of ex- weighty reasons to justify the wish pression, independently of any attention to

that such language had been much the quality of the ideas. If, in order to

more generally employed. Amongst try what those ideas would

in a

appear these are the two following, which different form of words, you attempted to

are peculiarly important, viz. that reduce a paragraph to the language em

hypocrisy would find a much greater ployed by intellectual men in speaking or writing well on general subjects, you would difficulty, as far as speech is cone

cerned in find it must be absolutely a version.” (p.

supporting its imposture, 141, 145.)

if a more general language were Perhaps my description of this employed in religion: and that if manner, continues Mr. Foster, ex

this alteration of language were aggerates; but that there is a great adopted, some of the sincere disciSystematical difference between it ples of evangelical religion would and the true classical diction, is much more distinctly feel the nemost palpably obvious, and I cannot cessity of a clear intellectual hold on help regarding it as an unfortunate the principles of their profession. circumstance.

Mr. Foster nest proceeds to con: “It appears to me,” he adds," that Chris

sider the objection which may be tian doctrine should be given, if it can, in urged against his views respecting that unco'oured neutral vehicle ofexpression religious language, that the diction which is adapted indifferently to common which he has been describing has serious subjects, and may therefore be call,

grown out of that of the Bible, esed the language of generality, and which

pecially of the New Testament, should become peculiar on any one subject

which it will, perhaps, be also as. only just so far as that subject has indispen

serted, that Christian instructors will sable peculiar terms. That in such a vehicle

do wisely to imitate. This objection Christian truth can be discriminatively con

is treated with much acuteness and veyed, is proved by a very few perfect examples of living and dead writers, and

judgment by our author. In opby many partial ones. It might be proved position to it he observes, that the also by the practicability of making such a

diction which he is censuring does version as I was just now supposing, of any not produce the solemn impression discourse or treatise where the peculiarity of Scriptural language, and is there. of phrase prevails. Evangelical sentiment fore not the proper model for Chrismight be very specifically presented in tian instructors; and that its meanwhat should be substantially the diction of ing is not so exactly and promptly Addison or Pope. And if even Shaftesbury,

comprehended, as if the ideas were Bolingbroke, and Hume, could have be. coine Christians by some mighty and sud perspicuously expressed in the lan. den efficacy of conviction, and had deter- guage employed on general sub mined to write thenceforth in the spirit of jects. the Apostles, they would have found no “Why should the diction,” says Mr.

kind be taught from the Bible in the lan..

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guage that most belongs to our men al ha- any others. Indeed it has been one bits?-1t the oracles of inspiracion be object of the labours of the Christian cited continuity, both as authority and il. Observer, an object, however, the listrat el, war that shall make the prosecution of which has given no is internalke si to the venerable book from small offence to some well meaning nicht is takin; but let 0'r part of reii- persons, to correct the religious taste, ponen laulage be simply ours, and let those in those very particulars which Eines d'ain their characteristic form of have given occasion to the animadkapes on wiwitated and unique to the versions of Mr. F. We niay be supend o: time.” (p. 168, 169.)

posed therefore to view with pleasure Mr. Foster admiis, that there are the accession of so potent an auximany single terms of the biblical liary; and we do very cordially redictón, especially of that of the turn him our thanks for his aid in this Nese Testament, which seem ne- important work. But there are exs cessarily employed in the language tremes to be avoided in this case, as of religion, and are almost peculiar in every other. Mr. F. has very ably to it; such as grace, sanctification, exposed that which is most common covenant, salvation, and some others. amongst evangelical preachers; but But he contends, that this theologi- he is, perhaps, in danger of recomcal peculiarity does not belong to mending the other. Scriptura! the original words, and that some of terms ought not to be too frequently the terms of the English New Tes- and indiscriminately used, but nei. tament which have now acquired a ther ought they to be fistidiously pre-eminence in the diction of di- and systematically avoided. Some sines, were adopted by the first of them have, unquestionably, a petranslators as simply common words, culiar and forcible meaning which though from their disuse in other no others can so well express; and subjects, they now seem to be ex- which if altogether discarded, there clusively appropriated to evangeli- is reason to fear, that with the lana cal religion. With respect to some guage, many of the most important of these terms, Mr. Foster allows, subjects in theology would be either that they could not easily hase fois entirely forgotten, or so greatly al. lowed the alteration of general lan- tered and obscured, as to lose much guage: but he thinks, that many of of their genuine force and effect, Them might have been advanta- It is also to be feared, that were geously exchanged for others of the diction recommended by Mr. sufficiently parallel meaning, Foster 10 ke adopted in its utmost

“ As for instance,” be observes, “piety extent, the doctrinal terms of the might have been substituted for godliness, Scriptures would become gradually improvement for edification, desire for unintelligible if not disgusting to lust, justice for righteousness, affliction persons of literary taste, from the for tribulation, sensual for carnal, happi- total disuse of it in thcological writness for blessedness. Even the term salvation might oftener have been exchanged style itself was unhappily confessed

ings or discourses; as the Scripture for deliverance, behaviour for conversation, and grace for favour or kindness. to be by the celebrated Dr. ConThe sacredness which some good men seem

vers Middleton, from his exclusive to feel in a peculiar class of terms is ima- familiarity with the classical writers. ginary, since the peculiarity itself is in a It is evident, therefore, that most of great degree modern and adventitious.” the terms in question ought to be (p. 171, 172.)

retained, and brought forward by In the general view of this point our divines upon every appropriate we fully agree with Mr. Foster; occasion ; though their general style though as to several of the single may and ought to be such as a man terms which he has mentioned, we of taste and judgment may be able do not think that they could often to approve. be exchanged with advantage for This letter closes with some severe but just strictures on the great body As a specimen of Mr. Foster's exe. of evangelical authors,

Here we

cution of this part of his work, we again hail him as a valuable and add the following observations on powerful ally.

the last of these writers : The next letter proceeds from the The eloquence of Lucan's moral he. consideration of the causes which

roes does not consist in images of triumphs are associated immediately with the and conquests, but in reflections on virtue, object, and by misrepresenting it, sentiments expressed in his own name have

sufferings, destiny, and death; and the render it less acceptable to refined often a melancholy tinge which renders taste, to those which operate by per- them irresistibly fascinating. He might verting the very principles of this

seein to have felt a presage, while musing taste itself, so as to make it dis

on the last of the Romans, that their poet like the religion of Christ, even if was soon to follow them. The reader bepresented in its own full and genu- coines devoted both to the poet and to these ine characters, cleared of all these illustrious men ; but, under the influence of associations, Mr. Foster remarks this devotion, he adopts all their sentiments, chiefly on one of these causes,

and exults in the syinpathy; forgetting, or

unwilling, to reflect, whether this state of “ I fear,” says he, “ it is incontroverti.

feeling is concordant with the religion of ble that far the greatest part of what is termed Polite Literature, by familiarity and martyrs. The most seducing of Lu

Christ, and with the spirit of the apostles with which taste is refined, and the moral sentiments are in a great measure formed, pensive sublimity, are those concerning

can's sentiments, to a mind enamoured of is fatally hostile to the religion of Christ; death. I remember the very principle partly, by introducing insensibly a certain which I would wish to inculcate, that is, the order of opinions unconsonant, or at least not identical, with the principles of that -necessity that a believer of the gospel

should preserve the Christian style of feels religion; and still more, by training the feelings to a habit alien from its spirit. ing predominant in his mind, and clear of

every incongruous mixture, struck me with And in this assertion, I do not refer to

great force amidst the fascination and en. writers obviously irreligious, who have la

thusiasm with which I read many tim boured and intended to seduce the passions

over, the memorable account of Vulteius, into vice, or the judgment into the rejection of divine truth; but to the general as

the speech by which he inspired his gallant semblage of those elegant and ingenious band with a passion for death, and the re

flections on death with which the poet authors who are read and admired by the Christian world, held essential to a liberal

closes the episode. I said to myself with a

sensation of conscience What are these education and to the progressive accomplishment of the mind in subsequent life, these the just ideas of death? Are they

sentiments with which I am burning? Are and regarded as so far co-incident, at least, such as were taught by our Lord ? Is this with Christianity, as not to injure the views

the spirit with which St. Paul approached and temper of spirits advancing, with the New Testament for their chief instructor his last hour? And I felt a painful collision and guide, into another world.” (p. 133, between this reflection and the passion in184.)

spired by the poet. I perceived with the Though it is modern literature which I felt was no less than a real adop

clearest certainty that the kind of interest which the author has more particu- tion, for the time, of the very same sentilarly in view, he takes occasion pre- menis by which he was animated.” (p. 203 viously to review the spirit and ten. —205.) dency of the ancient biographers “ And why,” asks our author, “ do ! and poets, in order to shew the in- deem the admiration of this noble display jurious influence of their writings of moral excellence, i. e. in the heathien with reference to the spirit and dé worthies, pernicious to these reflective (resign of Christianity. This part of flecting] minds in relation to the religion of his subject is executed in a very in- Christ? For the simplest possible reason;

because the principles of that excellence genious and masterly mannerindeed.

are not identical with the principles of this Homer, Virgil, and Lucan are made religion" The man of taste“ has felt the to pass under a severe scrutiny in a animation which pervaded his soul in mumoral and religious point of view, sing on the virtues, the sentiments, and

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