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no other benefit resulted from the publication of the volume, it would be of great utility if it only assisted to revive a taste for expository preaching, of which, at present, there is a very general impatience. Yet what style of preaching is so calculated to build men up in true scriptural knowledge as that which flows directly from the sacred text; and this not in partial fragments, but in connected masses? And here we are quite ready to admit. that an honest wish for " practical preaching" may have conduced to the unhappy result of neglecting large and important portions of Scripture. "The Morning Watch," in the paper before alluded to, laments that "the leading notion in the generality of ministers is, that it should be their first aim to convert souls;" whereas, says the Watchman, "the first duty of a pastor is honestly to declare to the people all that he believes to be the truth of God." Now we think that the above alleged leading notion is a very good notion; and we doubt not that those who hold it are anxious to declare all that they believe to be the truth of God; but we think that the practice of always selecting short texts, and never taking whole chapters, or going through whole books, may, unintentionally on the part of the preacher, confine his own sphere of vision, and that of his flock, to a few select topics, instead of going through the good land in its whole length and breadth. Having to "choose a text," he looks for one which appears to him well calculated by the blessing of God, to suggest such subjects of meditation as may assist his "aim to convert souls.' He does the same next week, and the week after; and thus at the year's end his sermons have a considerable sameness of aspect. The expository method prevents this restriction of topics: it proceeds upon the principle that God best knew how to reveal his own word; best knew the right measures and proportions of truth: he did not
make the Bible a catechism, or a treatise, or a didactic discourse; he gave history, and prophecy, and doctrine, and precept, in a manner very different to what our fallible minds would perhaps have considered the best method of affording a revelation; and his ministers should consider that nothing which he has declared is unimportant. But still there must, after all, be some selection of topics; a minister would not be "declaring to the people all that he believes to be the truth of of God," if he dwelt as much upon the Books of Chronicles or the wars of Joshua, or the ceremonial laws of the Jews, as upon the Psalms, Epistles, and Gospels. His business is to unite the two things which the Morning Watch seems to put in opposition; the aim "to convert souls," and the aim to declare" all that he believes to be the truth of God." The exhibition of the latter is the revealed means under the influences of the Holy Spirit of effecting the former. But this enlarged view of Divine truth necessarily leads in some measure to the very selection which is complained of. The preacher, believing that the Bible was meant for "the conversion of souls,” states, or should state, what he finds there in its due aspect and proportion. He will justly consider that many things, the direct bearing of which he does not himself perhaps fully appreciate, may be powerfully conducive to the general end; for Infi. nite Wisdom could not err in planning its measures. But still he has ignorant, and busy, and careless people to deal with; and far from being able to go through all the Bible with them in frequent and enlarged exposition, he can only get their attention for perhaps thirty or forty hours in a year, if so much, and this only in detached fragments; while thousands are dying around him, whom he is glad to teach as he can, with the direct aim "to convert their souls," even if he should not be able to instruct them
fully in the mysteries of the Millennium, and other points of dubious controversy. We must also remind our Morning-Watch friends, that a minister may be conscientiously declaring "all that he believes to be the truth of God," who passes over much that they believe. It is not fair to what are called the evangelical clergy to suppose that they corruptly keep back what they really conceive to be scriptural, because they forbear to dwell upon points upon which they acknowledge that they possess no certain information; because they will not" speculate" where they are doubtful, and see no "practical' utility in setting up or knocking down hypotheses, which, whether true or false, have no reference to the "conversion of souls."
Splendid Sins; a Letter to his Grace the Duke of Wellington. By LATIMER REDIVIVUS. London. 1830. 1s.
THE author says,
"In the course of this address I shall endeavour to lay before your Grace, the unchristian character, as well as the injurious tendency, of some of those habits which, from their origination and peculiar prevalence among the great and illustrious, I have denominated, in the language of an ancient father, splendid sins."
The title is a misnomer; for by "splendid sins" divines do not mean the sins of splendid persons, which are just as selfish and debasing as those of their neighbours, but sins which, from assuming the aspect of virtues, appear splendid, while in reality they are but vices in disguise. The prayer of the formalist, the austerities of the religious self tormentor, the sacrifice of the devotee, the pharisaic banknote or alms-house, humility when it makes men proud of being humble, zeal for the service of God, when it whispers to itself, How well I serve him! nay, the spiritual graces of the Christian himself, when perverted to the purposes of self-de
pendence, are splendid sins. But those offences which our author so justly denounces; namely, sabbathbreaking, under the four counts of official banquetings, evening routs, cabinet councils, and unnecessary travelling, with duelling, horseracing, the theatre, licentiousness, and connubial infelicity, have nothing imposing about them: those who practise them scarcely pretend in a religious view to defend them, much less to rank them as virtues.
Nor in truth are these sins very splendid, even in our author's own sense of the expression; for a porter can break the Sabbath as well as a
lord; a tea-garden party can be as sacrilegious as their co-sinners in a ducal mansion; the admirers of a Paddington Omnibus can compete with the most zealous coronetted Sunday traveller, in neglecting their own devotions, and disturbing those of others; so again, those who cannot race horses may race donkies; the "boards" of a fair, can be as wicked as those of Drury or the Italian Opera; the "connubial infelicity" of selling a wife at Smithfield, may vie with the "splen
did" atrocities which lead to Doctors' Commons and the House of Lords; in short, the only unrivalled article even of worldly splendour in sin in the above catalogue, is that of "duelling," which the humbler ranks of men have not yet aspired to copy. But abating this splended act of coolly shooting a friend with a bullet, instead of forgiving him like a vulgar Christian, or knocking him down like a vulgar clown, the higher ranks have no supremacy in sin; a point of some importance to be remembered, lest the vantage ground even of a “bad eminence," should confirm them in their vices, in order to shew, that, though they are wicked, they at least are not plebeian. There are again those who rather than not be splendid at all, would be willing to be splendid as sinners; but if such hope to win a cheap way to distinction by copying our author's
catalogue of "splendid sins," we protest against their claim, and pledge ourselves to find equally meritorious candidates in every haunt of vulgar profligacy.
But though we admit not the epithet as a distinction, we fully admit it as involving responsibility; and in this view our author most justly urges the duty of the higher ranks of society to break off these their besetting sins, both for the sake of their own souls and the souls of their neighbours. The public are always ready to attach an idea of splendour to the acts of splendid persons; and most fearful is the account which those will have to render, whose powerful influence and example, instead of leading their contrymen in the ways of God, help to strengthen them in those of Satan. We heartily thank Latimer Redivivus for his honest, earnest, and well-timed remonstrance with such persons, and trust that, by the Divine blessing, "his labour will not be in vain in the Lord."
Lessons on Objects, as given in a Pestalozzian School at Cheam. 3s. 6d. London. 1830.
THIS little work is intended to instruct teachers in the art of asking pertinent questions, so as to accustom children to examine the properties of the objects around them. To effect this purpose Pestalozzi began with engravings. Here is a picture of a ladder, said one of his masters to his pupils: let us talk about it. But there is a real ladder in the court yard, replied one of the boys; why not talk about that? The picture, it was rejoined, is here, and will save us the trouble of going out. Soon after, a picture of a window was held up. But we have a real window in the room, said the boy, and need not now go into the court-yard. The boy is right, said Pestalozzi privately to the master; and from that time the house, the CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 340.
woods, the fields were roamed over in search of objects to talk upon, but often with much inconvenience and no great benefit.
The Lessons on Objects" now before us will instruct teachers how to do, upon system, what a sensible well-informed mother, so far as her knowledge extends, does almost by instinct. We have often witnessed with admiration the peculiar skill with which a female instructor will teach a child to think not only on material objects, but on religious truths apparently far beyond the tender years of her pupil. But to do this rightly she must first think herself, and also acquire such general information as will enable her to ask and to answer questions, and such books as this will help her to do so. The prevailing defect of female teachers is not so much want of tact as want of knowledge; while the reverse is often the case with learned and scientific men. We have seen an intelligent boy blunder for half an hour on some simple point, with a well-read tutor, till a judicious mother has quietly elucidated the whole mystery by one well-timed question; and this with such instinctive delicacy that the most jealous preceptor could not feel offended. The streams of learning had before regurgitated, as rapidly as they were poured out, from the narrow neck of the cruise that was to receive them; but the maternal instructor knew better how to accommodate the supply to the demand.
Of that eminently amiable, intelligent, and useful philanthropist Pestalozzi and his system, with its excellencies and its defects, so much has been said in our pages that we shall not trespass on our readers further at present than to remark, that the basis and general details of his plan are excellent, and that this publication will be found of great service in reducing them to practice in family and school education. We have never 2 K
felt satisfied, in reference either to Yverdun or Hofwyl, that the benevolent conductors had learned what is the highest end and purpose of human life, or had attained to that most important of all objects of education, to bring up children in" the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" but their systems admit of grafting upon them any specific course of religious instruction which the Christian preceptor may feel to be requisite: and we should regret that those who have at heart the welfare, temporal and eternal, of the rising generation, should not avail themselves of what is really valuable in the ideas and plans of Pestalozzi, Fellenberg, or even Mr. Robert Owen, on account of the recoil which every religious mind must feel from any system of education which does not take as its basis that "man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY, with an Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency, and with an especial Reference to the Ministry of the Establishment. By the Rev. CHARLES BRIDGES B.A. Vicar of Old Newton, Suffolk. Second Edition. 1 vol. 12mo. 8s. 6d. 1829.
THE CHRISTIAN STUDENT,designed to assist Christians in general in acquiring religious Knowledge, with Lists of Books. By the Rev. E. BICKERSTETH. 1 vol. 12mo. Second Edition. 9s. 6d. 1829.
THESE two books issue from the same press, at the same time, in the same garb; each has speedily reached a second edition; and well do they deserve to keep company together and to circulate widely for the benefit of the world, for they breathe the same spirit, are constructed upon the same scriptural principles, and conduce to the same momentous ends. The "Christian Student," and the
"Christian Minister," will in these manuals find much important instruction condensed into a small space, and conveyed in the true spirit of the Gospel; but to the younger clergy especially, and candidates for holy orders, their value will be great indeed. If to these two recent publications we add a third, which we have already strongly recommended, the abridgement of Baxter's Reformed Pastor, with a preliminary Essay by the Rev. D. Wilson, we know not in what quarter the theological student could expend a guinea to greater personal and professional profit.
Mr. Bridges' work, as he states in his preface, has grown out of several excellent papers inserted in the Christian Observer for 1828, pp. 136 and 209; and 1829, pp. 71 and 142; which will serve as ample extracts, by anticipation, to shew our readers the character of the whole volume, which comprises the most important topics requisite to a treatise on the pastoral care, wrought out with great piety and sound judgment, and adapted to the special circumstances of the present times, and therefore including some subjects not treated of by earlier writers. From such a multitude of topics, we are at a loss to select one or two extracts as a sample, in addition to the papers already inserted in our pages. We open cursorily at the chapter on "the treatment of cases in the pastoral work," which will serve to shew the amplitude of our author's argument. Among these cases he instances the ignorant and careless, the selfrighteous, the false professor, natural and spiritual convictions, the young Christian, the backslider, the unestablished Christian, and the confirmed and consistent Christian, respecting the treatment of all of which he suggests many valuable directions. We quote one of the cases as a specimen :
66 THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS. "The young ruler exemplifies our Lord's treatment of this case. Conviction
was wanted, and the Law was the medium employed. Ignorance of the Law is the root of self-deception. An acquaintance with its spirituality unveils the hidden world of guilt and defilement, brings down self-complacency, and lays the sinner prostrate before the Cross. In another case, he made the necessity of an entire change of heart the instrument of conviction. He denounced the enmity or hypocrisy of this spirit as the wilful rejection of his Gospel, and as making a stumbling stone and rock of offence' of the foundation laid for the trust, glory, and salvation of his people. The Epistles to the Romans and Galatians exhibit this principle intrenched in a system of external religion, without faith, love, contrition, separation from the world, or spiritual desires; or in a dependance on the mercy of God, even in the rejection of the ordained means of the communication
of mercy, of which the man has no other notion, than as a help to supply deficiencies upon the condition of future amendment. "What makes the case of the self-justiciary so affecting, is that we have no Gospel message to deliver to him: our Master came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' The righteous need him not, seek him not, and have no interest in him. Our commission is to
sinners; and judging from this man's own account of himself-of the goodness of his heart-the correctness of his conduct and the multitude and excellency of his
meritorious actions-we should conceive
him not to belong to that lost race, whom the Son of man came' expressly and exclusively to save.' Indeed, his spiritual ignorance presents a difficulty, at the outset, in dealing with him. We have with all simplicity and plainness laid before him the fallacy of his expectations, we have judged him out of his own mouth -nay, we have even compelled him to judge and to condemn himself. Yet the next conversation brings with it the mortification of finding him as far as ever removed even from the comprehension of the Gospel. The same dependence upon his own performances is expressed, as if no attempt had been made to undeceive him, and no confession extorted of the weakness of his foundation.
"To pursue the self-justiciary into all his refuges of lies,' and to sweep them away before his face, is a most laborious task. When disturbed in his first refuge of his own righteousness, he flies to repentance. Half distrusting this security, he strengthens it by the merits of his Saviour, by the delusive substitution of sincerity for perfection, or by the recollection of his best endeavours as a warrant for his hope in the mercy of God. But place him on his death-bed: is he sure that his works are not deficient in weight? that he has attained the precise measure, commensurate with the full and equitable
demands of his holy and inflexible Judge? What if the handwriting should then be seen upon the wall,'' against him and contrary to him?' Let sin, the law, the Saviour, be exhibited before him, fully, constantly, and connectedly; let the pride, guilt, ingratitude, and ruin of unbelief, be faithfully and affectionately applied to his conscience; let him know that the substitution of any form of doctrine, or course of duties, in the place of a simple reliance on Christ, turns life itself into death, and hinders not only the law, but even the Gospel from saving him. Who knoweth but thus he may be humbled, enlightened, and accepted, in the renunciation of his own hopes, and the reception of the Gospel of Christ?" Bridges, pp. 459–461.
Mr. Bickersteth's treatise, to which we now turn, is intended not merely for clerical students, but for persons of all classes who wish to obtain as competent a knowledge of divinity as their circumstances may allow. Religion is every man's business: theological science is so only so far as it is necessary to religion. Mr. Bickersteth, however, provides not only for this necessary minimum ; but for those additional portions of attainment which an intelligent Christian will feel it his privilege to aspire after, that he may grow in the " knowledge" as well as the "grace" of his Saviour. Nay, beyond even this, divinity merely as a sublime and infinitely interesting science, claims a large share of enlightened regard; and unlike secular professional studies, which are usually confined to particular orders of men, it is a pursuit in which a layman may feel as much pleasure as a divine, and perhaps make as large, or larger, advances. To a person thus disposed, and who wishes at the same time that his knowledge should be correct as well as enlarged, scriptural rather than a digest of human vagaries, and, above all, subservient to the momentous end of "working out his own salvation with fear and trembling," Mr. Bickersteth offers most valuable aid.
Our author is no friend to selfsatisfied ignorance, sheltering its unlearned idleness under the pretext of spiritual attainment. He shews that theological study is of