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prietor, and thinks, like Vespasian, that the money is not at all affected by the medium through which it passes. In his domestic expenses, he is rigid even to parsimony. He allows a very small sum to his cook, of the expenditure of which he exacts a minute account, and is very angry if this trifling sum is exceeded on any occasion; and it is said, that this was one cause of his disagreement with the late empress, whose free and careless bounty he never could restrain.' — Vol. 11. pp. 250–252.
We shall not continue our extracts. Those which we have already made will enable our readers to judge of the merits of the work we have been examining. If we should copy all the passages which we have read with pleasure, they would comprise a very large portion of the two vol
Art. III. Christ and Christianity: Sermons on the Mission,
Character, and Doctrine of Jesus of Nazareth. By
These are beautiful volumes, beautiful in conception and in execution ;- not faultless, of course, but with so much rich thought and energetic expression, so many happy illustrations of the times of the Saviour, and so many bright glimpses of high and stirring truth, that we avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity to recommend them to our readers. With the name and character of the author they are already familiar. His occasional sermons and tracts, and especially his Course of Lectures, on the Corruption, Revival, and Future Influence of Genuine Christianity,' have made him well known as a strong thinker and eloquent writer. The anniversary meetings of religious associations in Great Britain, have presented him to us as a glowing speaker on those occasions of excitement and benevolence. And those who from amongst ourselves have visited the father-land, have told us of the interest with which they have gone up to the chapel in Finsbury Square, and how they have seen there the crowded congregation hanging on his words and mastered by the power of his eloquence.
The leading idea of the work, which runs through it as a thread, is that of interpreting the Christian System by the character of its Author. His aim has been, Mr. Fox tells us,
“to display the spirit of the Gospel as illustrated by, and identified with, the character and ministry of its Founder." This he has done, not in a professed series of discourses, written in connexion with this design, and with the purpose of publication; but by a selection from the sermons which he had casually prepared in the course of his ministry. Such a selection cannot of course present any thing like a systematic and thorough treatment of the subject, in its due order and just proportions. For its complete exposition in the most satisfactory way, the form of a digested treatise might have been more advisable. But it is pleasant to see how the preacher discusses such topics in his ordinary ministry; and in the local associations which pertain to a sermon, the day, the temple, the congregation, and the voice and action of the speaker, we have sources of interest which a mere book does not possess. The latter may have greater condensation, a more exact method, and less repetition; but it wants the vivacity and zest which are imparted to the former by a connexion with living men and active scenes. Perhaps in the great majority of instances, sermons do not actually possess this advantage over other forms of composition; for they are written too hastily and carelessly; they contain too few ideas; and especially they do not carry the air of actual addresses and exhortations which have been really made to an assembly; they are too merely dry didactic discussions, with which it is difficult to associate the idea of rhetorical enunciation. They are at once too empty in point of thought, and too coolly careful in point of language. There has been too little of the study, we may perhaps say, of the attempt, to unite in the pulpit the exactness of the dissertation with the form and freedom of the harangue; so that we have, on the one hand, well-considered and well-written papers fit only for the closet of the scholar, and, on the other, random declamations destitute of careful thought and profitable argument, fit only to stir the senses and blindly excite the passions. Some preachers are always philosophically and logically correct, and never offend a delicate taste, but never stir an affection of the heart; while others spend their hour in exclamatory and miscellaneous remarks, without method or purpose, yet contrive to touch some springs of feeling, and rivet attention to some important truths. Now it certainly is not impossible to unite the regular discussion of a subject with the animation of a rhetorical address; as is proved by many illustrious examples in the pulpit as well as in the various walks of secular eloquence, and among others by that of the author before us. He has industriously studied, and with no small success, to unite these two qualities. Some of his sermons are perhaps rather more miscellaneous in their contents than is often well; but he cannot be accused of the sin of dryness; in his most careful discussion, he never forgets that he is addressing a promiscuous audience; and he consequently adopts a style of expression and of illustration suited to attract the ear, and excite and sustain the attention. If some should think that in doing this he occasionally treads on the border of the declamatory style, let them remember that he writes as a speaker, with a view to men of every capacity and taste; and that they ought to be satisfied, while passages of the most graceful and chaste composition remain to delight the fastidious, that paragraphs of a more venturesome and sounding description should be left for those who are charmed with the showy and magnificent. For ourselves, we must say that we think the declamatory preferable to the soporific; and we would rather that the declamation were a little too gorgeous, than that it should not effectually break the slumbers of the congregation.
As regards the subject of the volumes, it is one full of interest; and of so wide extent that it allows the introduction of every variety of style, from that of the most naked reasoning to that of the most ornamented description or most pathetic appeal. It is Christ and Christianity'; - whatever in the former may elucidate the character and purposes
of the latter, may here have place. The preacher goes on the idea, that if we could know what Christianity is, we must understand and feel what Christ was. • He was the Christian revelation’; and it is by the study and development of his character, that we are to unfold the true principles and character of his system. From the excellent proportions of that holy and beautiful model, we are to learn the excellencies of his religion; and we shall thus ascertain what is truth concerning the doctrines he taught and the precepts he delivered, with far greater certainty than by merely examining them through the laws of philological interpretation, and reasoning from abstract principles. This thought is applied in various ways, and sometimes with great power and felicity. Many of the discourses are on topics which are only remotely and indirectly connected with this main thought; such as the Doctrine of Providence, Social Duty, Christian Liberty, the Coming of the Son of Man; but they are still so treated as to help the accomplishment of the general purpose.
We shall not pretend to give an analysis of the contents of these volumes, or to discuss any of the numerous important questions which they suggest to us. We esteem it fairer to our author to give such extracts as will enable our readers to ascertain for themselves the mode in which he speculates on points of importance, as well as the style in which he treats the ordinary topics of the pulpit.
His general mode of viewing the Christian system may be seen in the third sermon, entitled, Christianity Defined.' He inquires whether, rightly considered, it be a system of doctrine or discipline at all; and whether it be not rather a fact, or a series of facts; from which, indeed, certain doctrines may be deduced, and to extend the moral influence of which certain discipline may perhaps be usefully exercised; but which is, in itself, distinct from both.' In illustration of this idea, he quotes the address of Peter to Cornelius — the first announcement of the gospel to a heathen which, he says, may fairly be taken as a compendium of Christianity, an abridged gospel'; and then proceeds thus :
Now omitting what, in this discourse, is merely confirmatory or introductory, as the baptism of John, and the witnessing of Apostles and Prophets; and an expression which belongs to the philosophy, or perhaps only the phraseology of the day, the ascription of disease to the devil; of what does it consist ? Simply of a statement of facts. It affirms the mission, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. These, then, are Christianity.
' Has Christianity, then, no doctrines ? Yes; whatever doctrines are borne out by these facts. Has Christianity no morals? Yes; whatever habits these facts influence men to the formation of; whatever actions these facts show to be connected with his happiness. Still these are the branches, and the facts the stem ; these are the produce of Christianity; those are Christianity itself. That this view has the testimony not only of Peter but of the sacred writers generally is an assertion which I would rest on two circumstances, which may be verified by an inspection of the Acts and Epistles. 1. That the admission of these facts constituted a believer, a Christian; as is evident by referring to the recorded conversions generally: VOL. XI.
N. S. VOL. VI. NO. II.
And 2, that whenever even the Apostles went beyond these, they reasoned the matter; if with the Jews, from the Old Testament; if with heathens, from nature; if with believers, from these admitted facts. Each may be illustrated in Paul. In the synagogue at Antioch he appealed to the Hebrew prophets. On Mars' Hill at Athens he argued from the majesty of the creature to that of the Creator. Writing to the Christians of Corinth he inferred the resurrection of man from the resurrection of Christ. The general practice, then, as well as the particular instance, conducts us to the conclusion that Christianity consists of facts from which theological truths are to be elicited by the exercise of human reason.'
Vol. 1. pp. 36,
37. He recurs to the same topic in a subsequent discourse. Among the advantages which result from this mode of viewing Christianity, he states the following.
'It simplifies the arguments for Christianity against the Deist. It is astonishing how much has been written by both parties in this controversy, which is completely beside the mark; how much has been laboriously proved or disproved which mattered nothing, whether true or false, to the great question at issue. That question is really a bare historical fact; did Jesus of Nazareth rise from the dead? He who disproves that fact, destroys Christianity; and he who has proved that fact, has proved Christianity. When Deists object to the way in which Jewish warriors used their victories, or Jewish prophets communicated their instructions; when they assail the apostleship of this man or the authority of that book; when they detect exploded philosophy in Moses, or inconsequential argument in Paul; when they labor to show a proverb not wise, or a precept not practicable; when they argue that Joshua was not merciful, and David not pure, and the Jews not refined, and the insane not possessed ; and when they call this disproving Christianity, they are as trifling as the divines who, with infinite zeal and toil, meet them on all these points, and call that establishing Christianity. Were the Deists completely triumphant on every one of these points (which is very far indeed from being the case), still Christianity would not be demolished, would not be shaken, would not be touched. It would stand like a castle on a rock; and all that the combatants had ascertained would be, whether certain plants at its base were weeds or flowers. What can be more absurd than such arguments as these : tho Trinity is not a rational doctrine, therefore Christ did not rise from the dead; or, Jewish doctors were wrong as to the cause of insanity, therefore Christ did