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pose it is his antagonist who is to fall. Then, though he survive, he may be corroded with remorse to the end of his days. The spectre of his murdered brother, hurried to the eternal world, may haunt his dreams, and seem to tell him of another meeting beyond the grave. But what of all this! The challenge has been given and accepted; and the man of honour has promised with an oath, never to refuse such a call as is now made upon him. Although, therefore, when he reflects on these things, he is "exceeding sorry' that he is thus circumstanced; yet, for his oath's and honour's sake, and for their sakes who have been his chosen associates, he will not refuse to fight. He will do it, though all temporal and all eternal considerations-honour alone exceptedforbid him. Honour in one scale, and all the tenderest endearments of life, with the alternative of heaven or hell in the other-honour preponderates. He fights and falls; or he lives, to die a thousand deaths! And are these, o false honour! these the offerings that must be made at thy shrine? Thou bloody Moloch! thou fiend accursed! depart from earth to thy native hell! Precious youth of my charge-1 charge you, in the name of Christ our Saviour, have nothing to do with this sanguinary demon. No matter what are the consequences of not accepting a challenge. They weigh less, in comparison with those which follow an acceptance, than the dust of the balance against the everlasting mountains.” p. 218.
From the last sermon, On the Devout Man, we should be glad to offer several extracts. But we only venture to give a single short one. It is taken from the close of the discourse, in which the preacher is showing that devotion is not inconsistent with proper attention to the business of this life, and indeed active employment in it.
“But, with reference to the point now in discussion, facts probably will be considered as more decisive than arguments. To facts, then, the appeal is con. fidently made, that the character which has been set before you, taken in its full extent, was not only the character of Cornelius, and of other saints of whom the scripture gives us an account, but that it has often been realized in modern times-realized not only in ministers of the gospel, and in men of leisure and seclusion from the world; but in men whose professions or occupations were as little favourable to fervent and habitual devotion, as any employments can be, which are in themselves lawful: and in regard to whom it is also true, that they were as industrious, and as successful, in their several pursuits, as those who paid no regard to religion. Who, I ask, was a more eminent or occupied lawyer than Hale? Who' was a more busy or a more distinguished physician than Boerhaave? Who was more incessantly devoted to science than Boyle? Who was a more wealthy and extensive merchant than Thornton? Who was a better soldier than Gardiner? Who was ever more unfavourably situated for devotion than Meikle? Yet these were all eminently devout men. And were it proper for me to name the living as well as the dead, I could, blessed be God, point you to busy men, in whom the character in all its parts is, at this moment, exemplified. Ah! my brethren, we want nothing but a right heurt, to make it practicable, and pleasant too, to be devout, in any business or situation of life which is consistent with our Christian character. The business or situation which really precludes, or habitually interferes, with devotion, is unlawful in itself, and ought immediately to be abandoned.” p. 246.
It is storied of the famous Doctor Barrow, that King Charles II. said of him, that he was the most unfair preacher he ever heard ; that when he discussed a subject, he went so fully and minutely into every part of it, that he left nothing for any one else to say. We have sometimes heard a fault nearly allied to this ascribed to Dr. Green's sermons. It has been supposed that, in some instances, he pursues his subject rather too much into detail, and leaves too little to be supplied by the minds of his readers. Perhaps this suggestion may not be wholly groundless: the venerable president loves to be explicit; he is unwilling that any part of his subject should be misapprehended, or perverted; and he is, therefore, anxious to prevent this by fulness of explanation, and by scrupulously guarding all his positions. If this plan leaves less for his readers to imagine or supply, it is certainly the more safe course ; and, if it sometimes approach to formality, or superfluity, it has the advantage of being adapted to those classes of readers who are less capable of pursuing a train of thought only partially developed.
Those who have perused the foregoing extracts, will have had a fair specimen of Dr. Green's manner of writing. His style is neat, simple, vigorous, and remarkably perspicuous. Perhaps the pains taken to be precise and clear, may be, in some cases, almost excessive. We think, indeed, that there is hardly any fault more justly imputable to the style of these discourses than an occasional multiplication of words beyond what is necessary
for either strength or clearness; nay, in some cases, to the evident diminution of both : epithets, qualifying clauses, or additional circumstances, are sometimes inserted, manifestly with a view to the attainment of philosophical accuracy; when the greater part of them might have been spared, without any danger of mistaking the author's meaning. This, however, is only saying that the Reverend President was more intent on conveying in its fulness a vigorous solemn thought, than in balancing and polishing sentences. In truth, perhaps, it may be maintained, that a solid and powerful mind, is more apt to afford aliment for verbal critics, than one of far less strength, and less richness of furniture, who is chiefly intent on the refinements and beauties of language.
After offering these remarks on the general character of the Discourses before us, we cannot forbear to advert to one characteristic of them, which we think peculiar and striking. It is, that we have not noticed in the whole volume a single feature of sectarism or bigotry; we have not noticed a single expression, or turn of thought, unless it may be in some of the facts stated, that would enable any one to decide to what religious denomination the author belonged. It is well known that the College of New Jersey was founded by Presbyterians, and that it has ever been under the control of a Board of Trustees, a great majority of whom belonged to that church. Most people would expect, in these circumstances, the peculiarities of that denomination to be frequently brought forward, and sometimes at least zealously urged. But we see nothing in these discourses which might not have been delivered entirely to the satisfaction and edification of any audience who believed in the great principles of the Protestant reformation; and, from what we can learn, they correspond exactly, in this respect, with the discourses delivered every Sabbath in the chapel of that college. We think this a real honour to the institution ; if not a peculiar honour, it is certainly not a very common one, under circumstances in any considerable degree similar. We very much doubt whether a more striking instance of exemption from all just charge of " catering for a sect,” can be produced from all the annals of academical preaching, than is to be found in the present volume.
The “ Notes” subjoined to these Discourses, are all of them valuable, and some of them eminently so. Indeed a part of them will, no doubt, be regarded by many readers as more interesting than the preceding portion of the volume. The “ Historical Sketch of the College, from its origin to the Accession of President Witherspoon,” which occupies 124 closely printed pages, will, we are persuaded, be highly pleasing to all those who take an interest in literary institutions, and especially to the alumni of the college. We sincerely hope the reverend author will find leisure and strength to continue it up to the close of President Smith's administration, as he intimates in one of the notes, and that the next edition of these Discourses, which we shall be gratified to see speedily called for, will contain the “ History" complete. Perhaps, however, a still better plan would be, to complete and publish the “ History of the College” in a detached form. If what is to come should prove as voluninous as what has been given, (and we should calculate that it must necessarily be more so,) the whole would undoubtedly make an octavo volume, in suitable type of the ordinary size. In this case, we would respectfully suggest to the venerable author, whether he might not, in the next edition of the Discourses, to the profit, and very much to the gratification of his readers, fill up the space now occupied by the “ Historical Sketch, with three or four additional sermons, out of that ample store of excellent ones which he possesses, and with which he has so frequently from the pulpit delighted and instructed his hearers.
A Synopsis of Didactic Theology. By the Rev. Ezra Stiles Ely,
D. D. Pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church in the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia: published by J. Crissy, 177 Chesnut street, opposite the State House.--pp. 308.
(Continued from page 345.) In explaining the first commandment, our author shows how it requires the conceptions, the apprehensions, the memory, the Vol. II.-Presb. Mag.
judgment, reason, emotions, and every faculty of the soul to be rightly exercised.
It is to be regretted that in a Christian country it is necessary, in explaining the second commandment, to observe:
“ If any persons really worship the relics of saints, the saints themselves, the Virgin Mary, the sacramental bread and wine, carved images, or other representations of Christ, or any other visible or tangible form, of which they may conceive, they are as truly chargeable with idolatry, as the pagans who adore wood, gold, stone, clay, serpents, rivers, crocodiles, and twenty thousand divinities.
“Praying to the Virgin Mary, and to any of the spirits of departed saints, is idolatrous worship, and supposes them to be possessed of the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, which belong to Jehovah alone. Deut. iv. 23, 24. • Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”—P. 193.
Equally humiliating, yet equally pertinent, is the following remark:
“If men think to please God by abstinence from all animal food, and by celibacy, when his providence does not require these things; by shutting themselves up in convents; by adding cream, oil, and spittle to water used in bap. tism; by offering up the host as a sacrifice ; by burning tapers for other purposes than that of giving light; by binding wafers to the dying; by confessing secret sins to their fellow men; by giving and receiving absolution from men; or by doing any other thing as an act of religious worship, which God has not required in his word, they err, not knowing the scriptures, and violate the second article in the decalogue.”—P. 196.
Probably not a few of our readers will feel themselves reproved, when they peruse the following extract from Dr. Ely's exposition of the third commandment:
“We are forbidden to take God's name in vain, by praying inconsiderately, insincerely, without meaning what we say, without solemnity, submission, and love; or for such things as God has forbidden us to desire. Those persons who cry, 'God bless you,' "God bless me,' •Good Lord,''O Lord,' 'Lord have mercy,' in common conversation, and do not intend seriously to pray, take God's name in vain. The same is true, in a degree, of those serious persons, who in prayer use some of the names of God to rest upon, and keep up the sound of their voice, until they can think of something else to offer. We should never cry out, O Lord, unless we design solemnly to address God, and present either adoration, confession, petition, or thanksgiving.
“Imprecations of evil against our fellow men, and all denunciation of curses, excepting such as God has authorized, are also violations of this sacred precept.
“ To utter or countenance the mock prayers, vows and oaths of the stage is a horrible violation of this command."-P. 198.
The author of this Synopsis was born and educated in New England, and of course accustomed to the prevailing practice of observing the Sabbath from the evening of Saturday to that of the Lord's day. But he has freed himself from the prejudice of those who imagine that practice required by divine authority. On this subject, in explaining the fourth commandment, he makes these just remarks :
“ But the Bible has in no place required other nations to reckon their days in the same manner; or in any particular way. It is simply demanded of them to keep the first day in every week as a Sabbath.
“It must be manifest, let the Sabbath day be commenced when it may, whether at sunset, midnight, or sunrise, that there must be the difference of twelve hours between every different set of antipodes; for when it is midnight to us, it must be noon-day to those who inhabit the same meridian on the opposite hemisphere; and when the sun rises here it sets there; so that it would be impossible for all the people of the globe to observe the Sabbath on the same hours, according to any established diurnal measurement.”—P. 210.
Of the correctness of the practice prevailing in the Presbyterian church in regard to the time appropriated in obedience to this commandment, we apprehend our readers, who have attentively weighed the arguments, so candidly and ably urged in two preceding numbers, by M. H., are fully satisfied.*
In explaining the sixth commandment, Dr. E. assigns as the reason why abstinence from the use of the blood of animals was enjoined, that it was intended “ to teach mankind a due regard to human life.” p. 234. This may be admitted as one reason of the prohibition ; but the principal reason was, we believe, the appropriation of animal blood to the purpose of making an atonement, and its consequent reference to the blood of our Saviour shed for the remission of sins.
We fully accord with the author, in his sentiments in regard to the obligation imposed on human society to put the murderer to death. It is false humanity to suffer such a high offender to escape a punishment enjoined, as we believe, on civil government by the authority of the Supreme Lawgiver of heaven and earth. Opposition to his wise appointment, in this case, can never promote the interests of mankind. There may be in such
* It has been asked, why in the account of the creation the evening precedes the morning, in that phrase so often repeated, “ And the evening and the morning were the first day;" if the day did not begin with the evening. We offer the following answer.
As the night is distinguished from the day, it is manifest, that by the term day is not meant the space of four-and-twenty hours, but only that portion of them which is not occupied by night. It follows, therefore, that the circumstance of the evening preceding in arrangement the morning, cannot be founded on the fact that the day begins with the evening; because it certainly commences with the morning.
The production of the first day was light; and as light was instantaneously brought into existence, it clearly appears that the first day began with light, or in the morning,
No portion of the works of the six days, it is conceived, was done at night ; all, we presume, was accomplished, in every part of the world, during the con. tinuance of light; and yet, as the earth is spherical, the accomplishment of each day's labour, over the whole world, occupied, we may believe, the space of twenty-four hours. Every where then the work began with the light and terminated with the light; and as it ended in all places with the evening, it was natural, in expressing the space of time, to begin at the close, to place the evening first, and say, “ And the evening and the morning were the hrst day," &c.