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great pains; but wisdom is better than life itself, seeing it conducts to life eternal.” (pp. 29, 30.]
He then directs the young who are desirous of obtaining this wisdom, to prayer, to the Scriptures, to the sanctuary, and to the society of the wise and pious.
We must pass over the third sermon, however worthy of notice, for our limits compel us so to do; and dwell a little on the fourth, the subject of which we consider of great importance, and one that ought to be introduced into the pulpit more frequently than it is—“ Parental dedication in baptism, a motive to personal dedication.” The text is 1 Samuel, i. 27, 28. The preacher first briefly explains the nature of baptism; states the obligations under which it lays the baptized ; then displays the advantages attending a serious regard to those obligations; and, lastly, the sad consequences of neglect. Under the head of Obligations arising out of the Ordinance of Baptism, after having recited those which devolve on the church, in connexion with which it is administered, the pastor, and the parent, he observes, addressing his young friends —
“ Is it the duty of God's ministers and people to instruct you, to pray for you, and to admonish you? It is a duty on your part to attend regularly on the means of grace; to listen attentively to the word preached; to join in the petitions presented to God; and thankfully to receive private instruction, admonition, or reproof. In short, by your baptism, you are laid under obligations to study the whole system of the Christian religion, in its doctrines, its precepts, and its institutions; that so you may make a voluntary and an enlightened choice of the service of Christ, and partake of all the privileges of the church. Now, if you despise parental instruction; if you neglect the means of grace ;
if you treat things sacred with disdain; you trample on all your solemn obligations ; you manifest your disapprobation of that act by which you were devoted to God in infancy; and you virtually declare; I want none of the blessings or privileges of the kingdom of Christ : I renounce my allegiance to him: I will not have this man to reign
What young person does not shudder at the thought of adopting such language as this? And yet such is the language of a neglect of religious instruction.” (pp. 77, 78.]
Amongst the advantages arising from a due regard to these obligations, he places preparation for a triumphant death and a happy eternity:
“ No one,” he observes, “ can be prepared for death, unless he be interested in that covenant of wbich baptism is one of the seals; unless he be a partaker of those blessings, represented by the
sprinkling or pouring of water, viz. the renewing and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, as the purchase of the Redeemer's sacrifice. But can it be supposed that those are interested in the blessings of this covenant, who disregard the seal of it? that they partake of the inward and spiritual grace, who forget the outward and visible sign? --Impossible. We are sometimes asked by those who do not approve of our practice, . Of what use is the baptism of an infant ? We answer, Much, if its design be well understood ; and if, when the child arrives at years of discretion, it shall be duly improved: but without this, neither infant nor adult baptism, whether administered by sprinkling, by affusion, or by immersion, will be of any avail. Baptism, by water, must be accompanied or followed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, otherwise it will be productive of no advantage. But when its design has been well understood, and its obligations discharged; when it has led to an act of self-dedication, this supposes an actual reception of the thing signified by baptism : and, where this is the case, there is a good preparation for death, judgment, and eternity. Be not satisfied, then, with having been baptized, but seek to become actual partakers of the benefits represented by this act; that, should you be called away in early life, your parents may have their sorrow mitigated by the pleasing reflection, that you were not taken before you had signified your cordial approbation of what they had done, by subscribing with your own hand to the Lord.
“ I trust, from what has been said respecting the advantages arising from the discharge of sacred obligations, every youthful mind is earnestly desirous of sharing in the honours, the privileges, and the advantages resulting from a personal dedication to God. May the rising desire be strengthened and rendered permanent!" (pp. 84, 85.]
We would fain extract the whole of the last head, under which the author enumerates the sad consequences of neglecting the obligations that arise out of their baptism in infancy, to the parties themselves; but we must refer our readers to the volume.
In the seventh sermon, Mr. Hooper sketches, with considerable discrimination and delicacy, the portrait of Rebekah, and, by many powerful considerations, urges a diligent imitation of it on his fair hearers. We fully agree with him when he
says“ Modern refinements have given birth to a sickly, sentimental class of young females, who are so delicate that they can scarcely venture to set a foot on the ground; who devote almost the whole of the morning of life to frivolous and vain pursuits; who consider themselves as exempt from all mean and vulgar employments, and made only to be served and admired. After spending some years in this way, a burden to themselves and to all around them, they plunge at once into the more complicated and important relations of life, wholly destitute of all the qualities which are necessary to ensure domestic bliss.” (pp. 159, 160.]
We are tempted to make another extract from this discourse. Addressing this interesting portion of his audience, our author says
" Are you exempt from actual servitude ?-Do you enjoy the advantages of a liberal education? Do you possess leisure ? Have you money at command? Think how much good you may accomplish, by a wise employment of your time and your talents. The field of benevolent exertion is very extensive. The child looks up to you to receive instruction; the naked look to you for clothing ; – the famished, for bread ;-the sick, for consolation and sympathy. Be you the Rebekahs, the Dorcases, the Tryphenas, and Tryphosas of the day. Let others expend all their time and property in mere personal decorations- let others seek to shine in the ball-room, and submit to the insipid routine of fashionable parties let others waste the prime of life, and destroy the vigour of their constitution in midnight revels. Be yours the ambition to stand high in the list of those who have given water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and instruction to the ignorant - who have visited the abodes of poverty and disease — who have relieved the anxieties of tender mothers, whose children were crying for bread, and they had none to give — who, by kind affability, and cheerful liberality, have rejoiced the heart of the widow, and made it sing for joy. Can there be on earth a sight more lovely, more enchanting, than to see an elegant, accomplished young female, administering with her own hands to the wants of the poor; entering the humble cottage, familiarly conversing with the inhabitants, soothing their sorrows, relieving their wants, and leading them to a throne of grace?
“Cultivating such amiable and excellent qualities, whilst at home with your parents or guardians, you will be preparing for the season when Providence may open the
your removal, and for your advancement; when you may be called to enter the honourable state of marriage: and although we shall part from you with regret, and shall miss you in the various walks of usefulness; yet, like the friends of Rebekah, we will pronounce upon you a parting benediction we will follow you with our best wishes, and fervent prayers -- we shall augur every thing great and good respecting you - we shall rejoice in the anticipation of seeing you at the head of a numerous family; the life, the soul, the ornament of the domestic circle: and our joy, and our expectations, will be increased, if you are about to be united to those who, like Isaac are distinguished not so much by their wealth, as by their filial piety and devotedness to God.” (pp. 164–166.]
We had marked several other passages as particularly worthy of notice in the remaining discourses, and especially
in the eighth, entitled “Young Men warned against the prevailing Dangers of the present Day;" but our limits forbid their insertion. We must, however, indulge in one; it is at the close of the sermon:
6. Mark the sinful course, the miserable end, and the awful destiny of the thoughtless young sinner. He gradually burst the barriers of a good education; – he entered, with hesitating step, the haunts of folly and vice; - he blushed, and retreated a step or two; he advanced, and grew
familiar; he became enamoured; - he adopted the manners, and echoed the conversation of his gay and witty companions : it is true, the oath at first faultered on his tongue, and his lips quivered as it passed; but he soon assumed a bolder and a firmer tone;-flattered and applauded, he advanced ;
- he went to the haunts of dissipation ; — plunged into an extravagant mode of life; - acquired habits of indulgence, ruinous to his constitution, as well as his substance; - in his extremity he is driven to adopt dishonourable means of supplying the cravings of appetite, which, the more they are indulged, the louder are their demands: and if, at this stage of his sinful course, he is not permitted to do some deed, by which he forfeits his life to the laws of his country, and becomes the victim of an inglorious death, it will probably be owing to the restraints of Providence. But if permitted to go on still further, he soon falls a prey to disease: at length, enfeebled in body, and in mind, by his excesses, in the midst of his days he is confined to the chamber, and to the bed of sickness; where, forsaken by his former gay companions, he is left a prey to bitter remorse, and to the upbraidings of an accusing conscience; - he views with horror his approaching doom ; - at length, death strikes the blow; he dies ;- his guilty spirit is summoned before God; — he is doomed to everlasting death and despair; – he plunges into the gulf of endless perdition, and is lost for ever and ever!” (pp. 205, 206.]
Alas! alas! the correctness of this description is attested by many a dismal fact! Our hearts have recently bled at the report, in the public journals, of the last moments of an interesting young man, executed for forgery - a crime to which he was impelled by his dissipated and expensive habits; and while reading the passage in Mr. Hooper's sermon, which we have just quoted, his last words seemed sounding in our ears: " Let ministers of the Gospel do their duty, let them instruct and caution, and be more active and zealous, than they are; and, perhaps, it will prove a great preventative to crime.” Referring to this unhappy case, along with many others, we cannot but exclaim, Oh! when will our criminal code become less sanguinary, and the merciful spirit of Britain breathe in the pages of her statute book !
The Outlaw of Taurus, a Poem; to which are added, Scenes
from Sophocles. By Thomas Dale, of Bene't College, Cambridge, Author of “ The Widow of the City of Nain.” London, 1820. J. M. Richardson. pp. 120.
WERE we to judge of the religion of our country from the general contents of the innumerable volumes of poetry which have deluged it, from the age of Charles the second to the present day; from the loose and profane sonnetteers of the seventeenth, to the more reserved, but equally criminal ones of the nineteenth century, we should naturally conclude, that “the glad tidings of salvation" had never resounded through these realms; that the “son of righteousness” had not arisen
upon them with healing on his wings ;” that Venus and Bacchus were the objects of our devotion and the teachers of our religion; that the names of Jesus and St. Paul were unknown, or their commands despised; that those emanations of divine light, which enabled a Cicero to "look through nature up to nature's God," and to anticipate another and a better world, were entirely withdrawn from mankind; and that drunkenness and adultery, that war and murder, and in short every crime that can degrade human nature below the level of the brute, were viewed with complacency, if not absolutely fostered and encouraged ; that all our hopes, all our thoughts, all our affections were confined to the present life; that we had no respect for a God-no hope, or fear, of an hereafter.
We do not mean to assert that such is the case without exception; or that the poets who have enlisted themselves on the side of virtue and religion have either been so few, or so deficient in talent, as to be unworthy of particular notice. The sublimity of Milton, the fervour of Watts, the chasteness and sensibility of Cowper, and more lately the beauties of Montgomery, Milman, and Dale (the author of the work before us), abundantly prove the contrary; for whilst the majority have bowed at the shrine, and worshipped at the altar, of Lust - whilst Meyaan ń Apteuis has been the rallying cry of the multitude -- a few have been found, who, in spite of the insults and opprobrium they have received, have consecrated their talents to the noblest, the purest purposes. Whilst “ Don Juan" garnishes and adorns with the trappings of apparent innocence the foulest crimes, “ The Fall of Jerusalem” describes, in “ thoughts that breathe and words that burn,” the happiness of the Christian. Whilst Moore and his imitators, on the one hand, degrade themselves, and prostitute their talents by their licentiousness;