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heart never yields but from sympathy; and its sympathy is never awakened, till, by that undescribable animation which the genuine earnestness of sincerity imparts to the tone and the gesture of the rudest orator, to the unfinished period of the simplest composition, it is convinced that what is asserted to be true, is, by the speaker bimself, believed to be real, and felt to be important.
We have no hesitation in passing the encomium of simplicity thus defined, of animated piety, of correctness both of sentiment and of expression, on these Discourses by Mr. Kidd. They convey a very pleasing idea of the Author, as a faithful and affectionate pastor; and are well calculated to protract to a late day the period of his usefulness. It will be remembered, that it is particularly for the object for which they are designed, that we speak of them; and we do not scruple to recommend them as some of the best Sermons we have seen, in respect to the choice of subjects, to length, and to practical character. As to doctrinal sentiments, they are moderate and explicit; maintaining at once the dictates and the tone of Scripture: and what will perhaps best convey an idea of their peculiar merit, they are such as will be found interesting as well as intelligible, in audiences of the description for which they are intended; and they are the more valuable as being faithfully illustrative of the passages of Scripture, which are selected for the subjects.
The following extract from the first Sermon, The Way to Life,' from Isaiah liii. 3. will convey an idea of the general style in which they are written.
'3. The advantage promised in the text is a great advantage. * Your soul shall live." We all have some idea what life is, and we know how highly it is valued. What will not a man do, or even endure, for the sake of natural life? But here is the life of the soul : “ Hear, and your soul shall live!" This advantage must be of peculiar magnitude, as the soul is unspeakably more excellent than the body; and as eternity is of infinitely higher moment, than the fleeting shadow of time. The life of the soul! What does it denote? What does it include? Doubtless its pardon and acceptance in the sight of God; its union with Christ by a new and living faith ; and especially, its acquaintance experimentally with the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit. A man whose soul lives is “ a new creature ;": he is “born again from above ;" he is “ begotten again with the word of truth, unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Once he was blind, now he sees; once he was lost, now he is found ; once he was dead in sins, now he is alive, and lives lo God, and this life is evidenced, and ought to be much more so, by walking “ in newness of life :” by maintaining holiness “ in all manper of conversation.”
• The commencement of the life of the soul is in regeneration, in its first conversion to God; and its progress, is in its spiritual im
provement; its growth in grace; the increasing strength and vigour of its faith, hope, and love; its more settled peace, and ahounding consolation “ Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance, In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted."'* And the completion of this life is in Heaven : “ Hear, and your souls shall live,” after tl is frail body is dead and mouldered in the dust; after this earth, and all that is in it, are burnt up.“ Your soul shall live,' when death itself is dead : in that blessed state where there is no more sorrow, nor crying, neither is there any more pain; for the former things are passed away.'t> Your soul shall live,” among the “pirits of the just made perfect; in the society of holy angels : in the iminediate presence of God himself“ shall live," in a state of perpetual rearness to the Fountain of Life and Happiness ; in a state of intimate communion with him, of entire conformity to him, of the full and eternal enjoyment of him! But finally,
' 4. It is a sure advantage. This deserves to be distinctly noticed. Here is no peradventure in the case; no perhaps it may be so. The fact is clear and certain as the truth of God can make it. and your soul shall live !” Who is he that hath made this declaration; that hath “ given to us this exceeding great and precious promise ?” It is “ God that cannot lie” It is " Jehovah that changeth not.”. To change, or to deceive, is as impossible as that he should cease to exist He“ cannot deny himself !” Rest assured, therefore, that what he hath spoken he will accomplish ; what he hath promised, he will bring to pass ? The Saints have enemies, who oppose their happiness, who would gladly destroy their peace, and even extinguish their better life ; all their efforts, however, are fruitless, and their , dark designs shall prove abortive! “ because I live;" says the Saviour to his disciples, “ Ye shall live also." # pp. 11-14.
The reflections in the conclusion of the second Sermon, on the subject of the Excommunicated Man, mentioned in the 9th chapter of Jolin, may be given as a specimen of what is usually styled the application, of these Discourses
. 1. Men may suffer for the sake of Christ. . 2. They who suffer for the sake of Christ, shall lose nothing by it.
3. To act hone tly, according to the light we have, is the way to be favoured with greater illumination.
• 4. The radical importance of faith in Jesus Christ is here taught in the question, “ Dost thou believe on the Son of God ?”
5. When we are most in earnest in our enquiries after Christ, then he is nearest to us." Who is he, Lord ?”
• 6. The more we know of Christ, the greater honour we shall render to him. Yes, we shall exclaim, with this man, “ Lord I be. Jieve;" we shall fall down and “ worship him.” Brethren, give him the homage of your hearts, the glory which is due unto his Name!
* Ps. Ixxxix. 15, 16. + Rev. xxi, 4. John xiv. 19.
Is it not enjoined, " that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father ?" + Honour the Son, therefore, as a Saviour, by submitting to be saved by him. Honour him as a teacher, by sitting at his feet, and learning his words. Honour him as a Sovereign, by yielding subjection to his government, and willing obedience to his laws. The better you know him, the more scriptural and steady will be your faith ; the more easy and pleasant your practical compliance with his will. Honour him, not only by acts of worship; but by proving yourselves decidedly his disciples; by following him fully and by serving him faithfully ; remembering this word which he hath said — Where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”I p.33-34.
The fourth Sermon is a very ingenious and interesting exposition of the narrative in the book of Daniel of the three Hebrew youths who were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the golden image. We shall give, as our last specimen, the fourth particular, in which the Author remarks the Steady Resolution,' which in combination with the Dignified Composure,' “ Decided Piety,' and · Believing Confidence,' those noble confessors exhibited in that fiery trial.
• 4. Steady Resolution, at all events to obey God rather than man. Mark what they say, “ But if not,” though it should not please the Almighty to interpose by miracle for our deliverance; though he should suffer us to fall into thy hand, and to fall by it—“ be it known unto .thee O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Here we see the strength of religious principle, and how powerfully it operated! These three young men are called “children;" || were they not rather champions? They rank high among the worthies of the kingdom of God!
• A variety of considerations might have shaken their constancy, and led them to a compliance. They might have reasoned thus• We are not required to abjure our God, or expressly to declare our approbation of an idol, but only to bow down before it ; and can we not do this with a secret reserve of mind ? We are not called to a constant course of idolatry, but only to one single act; it can be done at once, and the danger is over. They might have pleaded
We are strangers and captives here, not at our own disposal ; is not the man who requires this act answerable for its guilt? Besides, is he not our benefactor ? Do we not lie under many obligations to him?
They might have thought-Did not most of our countrymen practise idolatry ; not once only, but frequently, and with far less temptation than we have ; why should we be more scrupulous than they?' And might they not have thought— By this easy compliance, we shall secure our future usefulness; our lives will be spared, our places will be kept our credit at court preserved, and thus we shall be able to do much good to the church for many years to come?
+ John v. 23. [Ch. xii. 26.
Ch. i. 1.
much might have been said on the side of yielding ; but alf was silenced by a simple regard to the revealed will of God." Thou shalt not bow down to any images, nor serve them."'* Indeed when we consider the situation of these persons ; how they were circumstanced; without any to countenance or encourage them; the whole Empire against them, and the fiery furnace before them; we shall allow, as one observes, “ that this instance of heroic constancy in a good cause, was scarcely ever equalled, and was never exceeded by any mere man, since the beginning of the world.”
· Let me advert here to the disposition of many professors of religion, in the present day. Could not you have got over this difficulty without hazarding your life? Would you not have temporized a little ? Would you not have yielded, and then, by some expedient, have settled matters with your conscience? Yes, some of you have settled much more difficult points. You have complied with the world on very slight temptation. You hwe run into sin without the least excuse, except the vile propensity of a depraved heart. Am I not speaking the truth? --And have not you, in all this, contrived to preserve a kind of rest? Have not you found a variety of opiates, which for a season, have kept all quiet within ? You have whispered to yourself, “ I shall have peace, though I walk, . in the imagination of my heart.”+ Let sin be viewed in its own de-. formity'; let the heart be known in its real deceitfulness; and we shall all discover the abundant cause we have for humiliation and shame. Thank God, there is grace sufficient for the most guilty ; there is a remedy provided suited to the deepest disease of the soul; there is a glorious deliverer whose ability to save is more than equal to our largest wants. pp. 96-98.
' These Discourses are twenty-six in number : many of them are upon subjects taken from the historical parts of Scripture; and the selection has evidently been made with a view to an interesting variety."
We are very happy to have just received the intimation, that Mr. Kidd has a second volume of Discourses in the press. We hope that it will have the advantage of a London press, as the external appearance of the first volume, is by no means calculated to aid in promoting its circulation.
Art. VII. Lara, a Tale.-Jacqueline, a Tale. Foolscap 8vo. pp. 128.
Price 78. 6d. London, Murray, 1814.
WE have, in the first of these poems, a sequel to “ The
Corsair.” Whether Lord Byron thought that the narrative demanded a sequel, or that the character, a favourite production, probably, of its Author's, seemed to require further development, - whether he thought that it would subserve a moral purpose, to exhibit, in their progressive tendency and ulti
* Exod. xx. 5. + Deut. xxix, 19.
mate result, the gloomy passions of such a being as Conrad, or whether his Lordship wrote 'Lara' simply to form a companion poem to his friend Rogers's Jacqueline, we are not curious to inquire. Whatever was the cause of its being written, the reader will not regret that any circumstance should have operated as an inducement sufliciently strong, to change his Lordship's determination not to appear again before the public in the poetical character; nor will he discern, we think, any reason for even the slight concealment of his name.
It will be unnecessary, in this place, to repeat the opinion of the merits and tendency of Lord Byron's poems, which we expressed at length in our review of “ The Corsair.” (See the Number for April, in our last Volume. In the character of
) Lara, a moral picture of still darker features, and of instruction still more forcible, is presented. Unless it be conceived that the very contemplation of such portraits tends to awaken in our minds a dangerous degree of sympathy, by which, for the time, we are made in feeling too closely to resemble the being we survey, we cannot see on what ground their moral tendency can be disputed. The interest produced by Lara,' however, will be found to be of a much less dubious nature than that which Conrad excited, partaking in a greater degree of pity mingled with deprecation and horror, and involving less of admiration, than the former poem. The character is made to approximate nearer to that state of fixed and consummate hardness, the result of deepened habit, which forbids all hope of change, and leaves tò fondness no endearing trait to fasten upon. It might have been doubted, whether such a character could have been rendered interesting as a subject of poetry; and we are inclined to believe that, in itself, unrelieved by other objects, it would not have appeared appropriate or interesting. The secret of our sympathy with Conrad, is bis love of Medora.
• He was a villain,--aye, reproaches shower On him, but not the passion or its power, Which only shewed, all other virtues
gone, Not guilt itself could quench this loveliest one." In like manner, the interest of Lara is, we think, almost entirely derived from the romantic passion of his page-of Gulnare. Nothing can be finer than the contrast which is presented by the love of Medora, and that of Gulnare : it is brought out and sustained by the poet with singular fidelity and delicacy, and gives to each poem a distinctly separate character. Love, in its most pathetic form, is the prominent feature, the stronglyworking charm of both. In the one, it is the sunbeam which, thrown across the dark and stormy character of Conrad, lights up its clouds and shadows with the glory of moral beauty ;-in