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in the discharge of that duty. This last head is not intelligible to us—the frame of the shepherds. We have read an advertisement for a porter, one that feared God, and could carry 3 cwt. But we do not recollect the frame of a Christian pastor ever becoming a subject of enquiry before. Mr. Gurney must surely mean to have written “frame of mind”, in this and other places where the expression occurs. In pages 6 and 7, we have frequent allusions to the dignity of the flock; then observing that they are not forgotten of their Heavenly Father, he says, “Do they suffer for his sake? They shall reign with him. Do they follow him in the furnace of affliction ?” Now we have never heard or read in the Scriptures, or elsewhere, of our Heavenly
Father passing through the furnace of affliction. Where Mr. G.
obtained his intelligence, it would have been kind to have informed his learned brethren. Then again follows:
“What a glorious contrast hath God put between his sheep and the goats, in these solemn words of the Prophet—“Behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, and all they that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, and leave them neither root nor branch; but to you
that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing
in his wings; and ye shall come forth and grow up as calves of the stall.’” P, 7. - - -
But behold the contrast is between stubble and calves of the stall. There is here, however, a more serious objection. The prophet speaks of the wicked being destroyed as stubble in the oven, root and branch. And is this a glorious object of contemplation to a fellow-creature, to one who ought to tremble under the consciousness of his own sins and infirmities?—Awful indeed is the thought. In page 8, occurs the following inexplicable passage —“ Hope, as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast, entereth into that (what?) within the vail, whither our sorerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” In page 11, we have the strange expression of “ involving eternal destinies;” an expression fabricated by atheists, and re-echoed by jacobins and revolutionists. The next sentence mentions the church's caution to her rulers to lay hands suddenly on no man. But the rulers unfortunately have not always the information they have a right to expect. We reprobate, in as severe terms as Mr. Gurney himself would apply, the too great facility afforded by both our universities of procuring college testimonials, which are generally the only evidence which a bishop can procure of the character and conduct of his candidates for orders. We agree with Mr. Gurney, that too strict an enquiry into the life and habits of a candidate for orders cannot be made, and we are certain that o *-- 5 ... " - - - - - W1
will agree with us in the necessity of more frequent refusals on the part of colleges to grant unfounded testimonials. There is, however, an opinion delivered with sufficient gravity, which we cannot reconcile with Mr. G.'s own practice, if at least the report of the Morning Chronicle in the beginning of November last be correct. He very truly says,
“The good shepherd knows the propensity of sheep to stray; their natural defect in sagacity to find their way back; their want of courage and strength to resist the numerous enemies to which, in a scattered state, they are exposed. It is his duty, then, to keep his eye upon them, as well as to supply them with fresh pasture and suitable food, so as to leave them no temptation to wander.” P. 15.
Now who would suppose after this that Mr. G. would introduce, under colour of a Bible Association, strange shepherds, of various denominations, within the very walls of his own Church, to lead his flock astray, and by their insufferable cant, and disgusting dissensions, to desecrate the sanctuary of God. May we not apply to himself an observation of his own, true indeed, but conveyed in language never before used on such an occasion.
“If from doctrines which include the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the pastor, by defect in practice, should at least give room for suspicion that he himself dissents, ’tis not a strange, though it is a lamentable consequence, if the flock should shortly follow his example.”
Another example of odd language occurs in p. 21. “Can the flock committed to our trust bear testimony of our praying the Church prayers.” And in p. 24, we have the still less intelligible expression of “ the world conferring its honours on
heads more pliable than those,” &c.
We believe this species of skull is not to be found in Messrs. Gall and Spurzheim's collections. From this strange expression however, it is clear in what degree of respect Mr. Gurney is disposed to hold the highest authorities in the Church.
We could select various other beauties of style in the composition before us, but we have given enough to satisfy the readers of its merits. Mr. Gurney, if we are rightly informed, usually addresses his audience extempore. If then a sermon drawn up
with care, printed, and published, and addressed to the Clergy of
the United Kingdom, exhibits such a mixture of strange incongruous expressions, what would his extemporaneous productions afford, could they be taken in short hand, and published? We are told indeed, p. 28, “not to be envious of jealous at the popularity of others, nor to be puffed up with our own.” Now
we are convinced, that no considerate mind will ever be envious or jealous of popularity so obtained. To delude the undistinguishing multitude, is an easy task; and of all modes, none is so easy, nor so common, as that of preaching extempore. With a due share of action, and of violence, the greatest absurdities will pass unnoticed, and repetitions on repetitions be received as the purest eloquence. From this specimen therefore of our author's written and composed sermons, so ostentatiously held forth for the use of the Clergy throughout the United Kingdom, we may form some conjecture what must be in all human probability his unstudied and unprepared effusions; and we hold this forth as a warning to the younger clergy, that they may not be deluded from the established and approved practice of composition, by the praise of ill-informed hearers, or the popularity bestowed by a mob.
We are not accustomed to pass a severe judgement upon any well-intentioned effort to promote the cause of true religion. But when we find in a Sermon so ostentatiously obtruded upon the public notice, little that is good in doctrine, and less that is tolerable in expression, we are bound to declare our opinion of its merits, even though it proceeds from a Minister of the Established Church.
ART. IX. A Sermon prepared for the Day of Public Thanksgiving, July 7th, 1814, on the Restoration of Peace with
#. and her Allies. By the Rev. H. Davis, A.M. late of Merton College, and Curate of South-Newington, Oron, 8vo. 16 pp. Rusher, Banbury; Gale and Co., London,
GRATITUDE is never out of season. The sermon, which we now announce, we intended to bring forward on its first appearance; but it was accidentally mislaid and buried in a heap of papers on our table, from which it has but recently emerged. It is however by no means obsolete, after the glorious events which have since taken place, but is rather, indeed, doubly and again seasonable; demanding our attention, as it does, both by its intrinsic merit, and by the following modest advertisement prefixed to it:
“The reader is respectfully informed, that although this sermon was written expressly for the Day of Public Thanksgiving, it was not delivered from the pulpit ; a discourse in a plainer and less elevated style being deemed more proper for the author's usual . . * *** . . . audience.
audience. There are, however, some ideas in it which he would wish to excite in the minds of others, and if he should succeed in exciting them in a single instance, he will have attained his end.” ..
We will not suppose, that many may not be found in the exemplary class of country clergymen, who would freely take equal pains with the meritorious curate of South-Newington; but few, probably, would deem it necessary; since the sermon before us, which, in its present shape, might be heard with advantage by a well-educated audience, would also, we are persuaded, with some occasional alterations in the words and style, meet the understanding and forcibly arrest the attention of plain unlettered hearers. Perhaps, indeed, something like this was what was actually done by the author; if not, we have no doubt, that, considering well the circumstances of his immediate congregation, he delivered from the pulpit a doctrine equally sound, apposite, and important, and clothed in language still more easy to be understood. The text is “Samuel's exhortation to the Israelites,” I Sam xii. 24, which was chosen, ,
“Because, as the Almighty had done great things for the Jewish mation, in many signal instances, to which the prophet here refers; so, I conceive (the author says) to the same divine mercy and goodness we of this country have been most deeply indebted, in many perilous conjunctures, during the late contest, now brought so happily to a close.”
Disclaiming however the motion of “an exact parallel and agreement between the two cases,” he observes, “ the Israelites, it is well known, were at that time under the immediate direction of God himself, who often appeared visibly in their behalf.” But though the miraculous interposition of heaven is not to be expected, now that the superior light and “benefits of Christianity have been extended” to the world; yet
“The Almighty Framer of the Universe still superintends and invisibly presides over it, and especially exerts an unseen influence on the fate of nations. Hence we may still be assured, that his secret aid will be exerted in the defence of a righteous cause and an upright people; whilst another, which is sunk in impiety and profligacy, He will always be able, by the instrumentality of their enemies, to abase.”
From these introductory remarks, he proceeds
. “To consider some of the great things that have been done for us of this country, during the late protracted struggle, which, (he thinks) may not improperly be collected and classed under the - following
following articles: 1. Security at home. 2. Victory abroad. 3. The result of both—ultimate success.”
On the first head it is observed, that
. “As there are certain critical periods in the progress of life, when distempers threaten the health and safety of the man; so is a nation liable at certain conjunctures to difficulties and dangers, which, like the shock of an acute disease, it has necessarily to struggle with and overcome. A crisis of this sort had evidently approached the country to which we belong, at the commencement of the French Revolution ; when an unusual ferment was produced in the minds of men, by wild and extravagant theories with regard to government, and the rights of subjects, as well as by a strong propensity to irreligious tenets; which, conjunctively, seemed to threaten all ancient establishments, sacred and civil, with destruction. These” permicious principles, “scattered far and wide,-involved the most opulent and flourishing kingdoms of Europe in desolation and misery. But happily for us of this envied land, the same powerful voice, which says to the proud waves, “Hitherto shall ye come, and no farther,’ averted the impending mischief; and—we enjoyed a calm. “In adverting to the subordinate means, whereby this salutary work was effected, it must not be forgotten, that some of the ablest writers, that ever graced the annals of this kingdom, employed themselves in the vindication of our common Christianity, at this trying juncture, as well as in defence of our ancient form of government, and long revered constitution : nor were their matchless pens wielded in vain. Several necessary laws were enacted likewise by the legislature, in order to restrain the impetuous turbulence of the multitude; and the wisest and best of all ranks and classes pressed forward with zeal and unanimity in the maintenance of public order, and for preserving, on the old and approved foundations, the several rights and liberties of the community.—And, to crown the whole, all the energies of a most potent and wealthy state were put in motion and directed by a master-hand *, seemingly raised up for the very purpose; who, for brightness of talents, force of eloquence, incorruptible integrity, and the most ardent patriotism, never was, and probably never will be, excelled, in any age, or country. Such were some of the advantages, under which we entered into the tremendous conflict;-and “Secondly, Victory abroad was the natural consequence of these exertions. Wherever the brave soldier and mariner appeared, every great quality, requisite for counsel in the commander, or for execution in the inferior agent, instantly displayed itself, and was called forth by the impulse of the moment into the fullest exercise. Whether our flag was unfurled in the Mediterranean, or in the farthest East; whether our intrepid seamen fought under the pesti
. . .” The Right Hon. William Pitt. ‘... lential,