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• The volumes are intended to furnish discourses, in length, style, and subject, suited to the use of families. As this, though a more humble, is not a less important, species of Ser. mons, we shall keep it particularly in view during our critique.
The following are their titles ;
« Vol. I. Returning from a Journey, God the best of Fathers, Saturday Evening, The Eye of God always on us, The Death of Jesus, Confidence in God, Spring, The Happy Family, The Sight of Christian Friends, The Christian indeed, The final Change, Religious Things pleasant, Nearness to the Cross, The throne of Grace, Summer and Harvest, The Funeral of a Youth, Fears removed, The Profane Exchange, Nathaniel, The Characters of Sin, Acquiescence in the Will of God, The Child Jesus, The Design of our Saviour's Coming, Prayer and Watchfulness, The Tree of Life, Lacksliding reproved, Misery of contending with God, Communion with Christ inseparable from Holiness.
Vol. II. A Check to Presumption, Review of Life, Our Ignorance of Futurity, Religion more than Formality, Autumn, The Design of Affliction, The End of Christ's Exaltation, Religion makes us profitable, Cure of blind Bartimeus, Winter, Christians not of the World, Weak Grace encouraged, Martha and Mary, God abandons the Incorrigible, The Ascension of our Saviour, The Prayer of Nehemiah, Address to Youth, The UnbeJief of Thomas, Contentment with little, Our Duty to the Spirit, The Ascension of Elijah, Punishment of Adoni-Bezek, The Chearful Pilgrim, Sin ruins a Kingdom, The Saviour comforting his Disciples.”
The subjects might have been more adapted to domestic use. Returning from a Journey, Saturday Evening, the different Seasons, are well chosen; but why not intermingle discourses on rising in the morning, going to bed, taking our meals, the improvement of time, the duties of servants and children, on reading the scriptures, on prayer, especially that of the closet, on the birth of a child, on a person lying dead in the house, on the removal of a member of the family, and various other subjects, which Mr. J.'s fertile mind would easily suggest?
The discourse on Saturday Eveniny pleased us, as corresponding with the design of the volume. We were also charioca with the Happy Family, the Final Change, Nearness to the Cross, and the Characters of Sin, though we object to the title of this last; as we do also to the subject, and the title, of “ The Child Jesus," in a sermon founded on the sublime predica
unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and his name shall be called," &c.
The sermons are prefaced by an excellent address to masters of families, which thus concludes, in reference to family worship:
• Be early. Do not leave it till the family are drowsy and stupid. But here a case of conscience occurs, and such alas! as the inconsisz tencies of the present day would render too common. “ When should
those of us have family worship who attend public amusements; for in.. stance the theatre.” 'I answer, by all means, have it before you go. When you return it will be late; and you may not feel yourselves quite so well affected towards it. We have known professors who have always omitted it when they came home from the playhouse. Besides, if you have it before, you can implore the divine blessing; beseech God to be with you; and to assist you in redeeming time, in overcoming the world, in preparing for eternity.
Reader! You may imagine that the author has written this with a smile, but he has written it with shame and grief. He earnestly wishes that many would adopt family worship, but he is free to confess that there are some of whom he should be glad to hear that they had laid it aside.”
To these last words we seriously object. It is a bold stroke, and therefore suited the preacher's taste: but it is not safe, nor lawful, nor will it cut as he intended. When the prophet reproaches hypocritical Israel, for committing every flagitious crime, and coming the same day into God's sanctuary in pretence of devotion, he does not tell them' either to forsake their sins or the temple:' nor, indeed, is such an alternative ever offered to men, however inconsistent their practice with their profession. Much less can we promise
to be glad' of their taking refuge in the worst part of the dilemma. The messenger of heaven can only exhort men to abandon what is wrong. And what is that? Surely not their attention to religious observances; but the evil dispositions and practices, which they attempt to unite with the form of godliness, But Mr. J. appears to be deeply impressed with a sense of the injurious tendency of such inconsistent conduct, in exposing religion itself to reproach; he uses the same expression in the following extract, which, in other respects, is well worthy of attention,
• There are some families who are quarrelling all day, and then go to prayer in the evening--but this is not lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. It were to be wished that some persons would adopt the important duty of family worship-but it would be well for others to lay it aside: and indeed this is likely to be the case in time. Such mixtures and inconsistencies are too shocking to be long continued. If prayer does not induce people to avoid passion, and brawling and contentions, these evil tempers will make them leave off prayer, or perform it in a manner worse than the neglect of it. The apostle Peter exhorts hus. bands and wives to discharge their respective duties, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that iheir prayers be not hindered,' pp. 342. vol. ii.
On the approach of the Sabbath Mr. J. observes,
It is a solemn thought--and we should impress • it upon 'our minds at this season--that every sabbath, every sermon, every prayer, and every psalm,
is a step taken which brings us nearer heaven or hell-that the means of grace with which we are so frequently indulged will prove
either the savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. Yes--these are privileges which will not leave us as they find us ; if they are not food, they will prove poison ; if they do not cure, they will be sure to kill. They are talents for each of which we shall be called to give the „strictest account, and unimproved, they will sink us deeper in condemnation than Jews or heathens.'
• We should meet the sabbath with pious resolution. Here is at hand a returning season of mercy, let me embrace it. By how many will it be profaned—but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. rion many of these invaluable opportunities have I already trifled away! how many have I sinned away ; 0 let me now awake, and be serious and dili
: let me not shorten the day by rising late; let me not lose it by inattention. Let it not be a price in the hand of a fool.' pp. 25, 26, vol. i.
A discourse on having the ' form of godliness without the power has this exordium, which is not less judicious thair abrupt; it is itself a serinon.
• And what is godliness? --It is the tendency of the mind towards God; and is exercised in believing in him; loviog and fearing him; holding, communion with him; resembling his perfections; and employing ourselves in his service. It is the introduction of God into all oui concerns; our acknowledging of him in all our ways ; our doing all we do in his name, and with a reference to his authority and glory-through the mediation of the Saviour, and—by the influences of the Holy Ghost:' pp. 59, vol. ii.
Vol. II. p. 214. It is said,
“Martha rudely breaks in upon the devotion of the company; interrupts our Lord's discourse; condemns her sister as idle; and tries to involve. our Saviour in the quarrel. Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. Here we see illhumour, fretfulness, snappishness : she is troubled about many things ; and in her heat, her temper boils over, and scalds others. I pity Martha's servants. It is easy to guess how they would be found fault with, when, their mistress could go and scold in the presence of the twelve apostles, and the Son of God.'
This is rather outré. In some other passages also, in aiming to be familiar and striking, the preacher has become coarse. Not that we disapprove of his preferring utility to taste, and the edification of bis readers to his own literary fame; for in many instances we wished to have seen greater sacrifices made upoir this altar. Words derived from the learned languages are often employed, where synonymes of established use, which will always be more generally intelligible, 'would have conveyed the meaning with equal force and precision. A food- , ness also for figure sometimes destroys simplicity, without producing elegance; as when we are told, " to drop Judea, to drop Manoah and his wife.”. The following passage possesses a singularly impressive solemnity, but it is more suited
to the eloquence of the pulpit than to the instruction of the fan.ily. The conclusion is too abrupt.
• Hos. iv. 17. Let him alone, &c. God sometimes leaves his people when they are becoming high-minded, to convince them of their dependence upon him. He leaves them to their own strength to shew them their weakness ; and to their own wisdom to make them sensible of their ignorance.
• But this differs exceedingly from the abandoning of the incorrigible. The one is from love, the other is from wrath. The one is the trial of wisdom, varying its means;
the other is the decision of justice, after means have been used in vain. The one is to reform, the other is to destroy. The one is partial ; and always leaves something of God behind, which will urge us to seek after him : the other is total and final.
• This leaving of the sinner, is a withdrawing from him every thing that has a tendency to do him good.- Let him alone.
- Ministers !-- Let him alone. He has complained of your fidelity. He has called you the troublers of Israel. Disturb him no more.
• Saints ! Let him alone. Withdraw your intercourse, and drop your reproofs.
• Thou all quickening word! Let him alone. Rise not up in his remembrance. Place before him no promises to invite, or threatenings to alarm.
• Conscience, thou internal monitor! Let him alone. Before the com. mission of sin-never warn: and after the commission of sin-never condemn. Let him enjoy his crimes. Never mention a judgment to come. Never let him hear that the end of these things is death. Never try to confound those false reasonings, by which he would reconcile his creed to his practice.
• Providence! Let him alone. Ye afflictions say nothing to him of the vanity of the world. Let all his schemes be completely successful. Let his grounds bring forth plentifully. Let him have more than heart can wish.
- Does the judge order a man to be whipped, who is going to be hanged ?-Does the father correct the child that he has determined to disinherit ?-Is the tree pruned and manured after it is ordered to be cut down, and the axe is even at the root.?' vol. ii, pp. 231, 233.
Yet we must also confess that we feel an objection to the degree in which the dramatic form prevails in these discourses: it renders them picturesque, but destroys the chaste, serious air, which to onr taste is the principal charm in 'religious addresses. Were we to characterize some of these sermons by a single word, we should call them pretty. Yet every one must perceive that Mr. J. is himself serious, devotional, full of his subject, anxious to impart his own feelings, to produce a scriptural faith, and a holy consistency of conduct. Indeed his very faults are of a pobler order, which only talents and industry could commit; and in some of his excellences, we scarcely hesitate to say, he is inimitable. He has the fearless tidelity of a prophet, daring to say any thing the occasion requires, most happily tempered with the benevolence and gen
tleness of the beloved disciple. He appeals to the scriptures as his only system. His indignant opposition to that depra. vity, which converts the grace of the gospel into encouragement to licentiousness, demands our highest praise; but we have earnestly wished for a more frequent, and sometimes a more correct, statement of those doctrines, which he labours to guard from abuse. The master of a family, who wishes to explain to his children and servants the most common terms in religion, would not find adequate assistance from these volumes; nor would he be furnished with appropriate addresses to each, according to their respective stations, duties, and dangers. Upon the whole, we must pronounce Mr. J's. labours highly respectable; but as we cannot say' onine tulit punctum,' the department of family sermons is yet open to farther attempts.
Art. VIII. The Iliad of Homer.: Translated into Blank Verse ; with
Notes : By P. Williams, D. D. Archdeacon of Merioneth, Chaplain to the Bishop of Bangor, and Rector of Llanbedrog, Caernarvonshire.
Foolscap Svo. pp. 94. Price Ss. Lackington, 1806. WE have not been accustomed to think a new translation of
Homer into blank verse at all necessary to the literature of this country; and certainly were not among those judges who decreed, says Dr. W." that Mr. Cowper has by no means succeeded as a translator of Homer—that his sentence, though copious, is often inverted and abrupt; his phrase too harsh and colloquial, bordering at times on what is even vulgar ; and that both his metre and language savour too much of the style and manner used two hundred years ago.” Neither did we feel any disposition to censure of the structure of his sentence, or the flow and cadence of his verse." Nevertheless it must be admitted, that Cowper has occasionally introduced phrases not warranted by the original, omitted others of little moment, overlooked some niceties of the Greek language, and misinterpreted the meaning of several trivial words and phrases. How far these defects made it desirable that Dr. W. should compose a new version, will be shortly ascertained. His pretensions are modest ; be hopes that his translation " will answer the end of those who desire to know, with
precision, what Homer has said ; and yet that the style will not be found bald, nor the verse tame or uncouth.” His endeavour has been to avoid the ascititious finery of Pope on the one hand; and, on the other, the “ robes antique" of Cowper; but, in their stead, to represent the Noble Bard in a characteristic English dress.
It must be expected of Dr. W., after the ample disapprobation