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Let me now present to you this innumerable company under a different aspect. Let me point out to you what was their former, as well as what is their present, state. Once, these were “men of like passions with yourselves;”.." they have come out of great tribulation;" they once sighed and groaned under sufferings and sorrows as deep and grievous as those by which any of you are afflicted. Oh! what an invaluable and sure source of consolation is it, to every pious Christian suffering under the weight of worldly calamities, to direct his contemplation to this glorious host above ! Standing before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palms in their hands, methinks they say to him, “ We were once as you are ; we were assaulted by the same temptations, we were stricken by the same arrows, we drank deep of the same bitter cup, we combated with the same enemies, we felt all the sharpness and bitterness of the Christian warfare. Often were we ready to faint ; often we cried to God in an agony of grief, on the point of being swallowed up in despair. We felt all the weakness of our faith, and trembled under the infirmities of our common nature. Faint not therefore in your course. Behold the “ cloud of witnesses" surrounding you. With one voice they bid you “ lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the weak knees.” “ Be strong, fear not; your God will come ; he will come with a recompence, and save you."
Oh, my brethren in Christ ! my flock whom I long to present to Gnd meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, and prepared to join their innumerable company, let me conjure every weak and every affieted brother amongst you, to contemplate these blessed inhabitants of heaven. How changed are they from what they once were ! Praises incessantly occupy those tongues which once breathed out only complaints, and told of fears and apprehensions. Not a conplaint can you make which they have not made : not a temptation can you describe to which they were not exposed. All your weakness they felt : all your trials they endured. Some, like Lazarus, were afflicted with poverty ; some, like Job, were plunged from the height of prosperity to the lowest depth of adversity; some, like David, were harassed by severe persecutions ; some, like Lot, were vexed by the unrighteousness of those around them ; some like Eli; were cursed with unrighteous children ; some, like Peter, were shut up in prison; some, like Manasses, felt all the anguish of remorse ; some, like the Apostles and the noble army of martyrs, were stoned or sa s asunder :-yet, now, their sufferings have been long forgotten, o are remembered only to bless God, who “ counted them worthy te suffer for his name's sake.” One moment spent in heaven effaces fe ever the afflictions endured upon earth. Oh! look to them, then, and indulge the delightful hope that one day “God may wipe away all tears from your eyes,” and compensate all your sufferings. pp. 95–98.
From a very soothing and pleasing discourse on the “Cam. munion of Saints,' we cannot forbear quoting one short passage, in proof of the Author's liberality of sentiment:
Let the subject inspire affection also towards real Christians : “ Let our love be without dissimulation.". Let us shew candour to the followers of the same Master. Are we not brethren, and shall we make each other offenders for a word ? Shall those for whom Christ died be unwilling to exercise kindness to each other? Shall those, who are fellow-heirs of the same promise, live as if they were strangers here? Oh let us, for Christ's sake, overlook ou petty differences ! Let the love of Christ be the central point ir which we meet. Let it be employed to cement love between Christian brethren. Let us cultivate a sympathizing spirit. Let us abound in all the sympathies of love, in works of charity, in act of pity and kindness for each other. Thus shall we shew that ve really have fellowship with Christ: thus shall we approve ourseves to be his disciples.' Vol. I. p. 191. The conclusion of the succeeding sermon, on ou
Communion with Angels,' ought also to be extracted, on account of the powerful exhortation it comprises.
Here, upon earth, the Christian is an associate with angels by faith, by hope, by communion, by anticipation. But hereafter we, if we be indeed Christians, shall be more intimately united to them. They now rejoice in our penitence, because they see another name written in heaven. They anxiously await the hour of our death, that they may see another soul enter into glory ;-with them, so brights so glorious, so excellent, has it pleased God of his infinite mercy to fix our eternal habitation. Oh, blessed society, from which all envy, and pride, and anger, and emulation, and strife shall be for ever excluded! where there will be but one employment, one spirit, one heart, one object--the glory of our father and their Father, of our God and their God!
• There is one reflection with which I beg to close these observations. How awful is the thought, that every person who now hears me, is united either to the Devils or to the Angels! To the eye
of sense, we seem to be all mingled together in one body; but, if the veil, which conceals the invisible world, were removed, we should discover a distinction as clear as will appear when the angels shall separate the wicked and the righteous. God and Satan' divide the world. Each has his angels subordinate to him. The “god of this world,” emphatically and awfully so styled, on account of the num. ber of subjects he at present possesses, "rules in the children of disobedience” by his evil spirits; while God sends his “ angels to minister to them that are the heirs of salvation.” And, according to the success of the good and evil angels, in moulding their respective charges to their own nature and character, the objects of their respective superintendance will rejoice with angels, or suffer with devils for ever. Thou, therefore, who openest thy mouth in blasphemy and cursing against God; thou who endeavourest to subvert the government of God, and to loosen the grasp which the obligations of his truth have upon the mind; thou who tramplest upon his laws; thou who slightest the ordinances of his grace, the worship of God, and the word of God ;-is it not evident to whom thou art united ? Art thou not doing the work of devils ? Art thou not already associated with them? Art thou not "treasuring up for thyself" wrath against the day of wrath ?" Oh, let me conjure you to pause, to consider, to repent! Even for you there is hope. Behold the glorious company of angels. They desire to receive you: hey stretch forth their hands to you. In their holy zeal to reclain the wicked and to enlarge their blessed society, they carry the everlasting Gospel to all nations. Will you renounce them, to have felowship with devils ? Oh, turn to God, that you may be added 6 this innumerable company! And you who, through Jesus Christ, ire thus united to and associated with angels, see that you do the vork of angels. Be conformed to them in your tempers and views. Live like them here, as the best, the only preparation for an eternal residence and communion with them hereafter. In the contemplation of this glorious prospect, who shall not adopt the exclamation of the Psalmist? “Bless the Lord, ye his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his host; ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul.”' Vol. I. pp. 206–209.
The exordium of the sermon on "The gradual Progress of Evil,' indicates fine taste, exquisite feeling, and philosophic views of men and things, as well as deep piety : it is, however, - too long to be given here. But from the excellent sermon on Indecision in Religion,' we must take one characteristic passage.
• Remember also, that you must be consistent. Your conduct must be good, as well as your profession bold. Do not parley with any sin. Do not love the things of the world, while
you renounce the men of the world. Endeavour not merely to keep within the verge of salvation, but advance into the midst of the Church of Christ. A lukewarm temporising spirit has been your bane. To combine a little, and only a little, religion with much of the world, has been your fault. Thus you have done the work of the Lord deceitfully. Now be honest and sincere in his service.' Vol. I. p. 290.
The only remaining extract for which we have room, is from an impressive sermon On the Nature and Value of hu
• Alas ! how short-sighted is man! How blind to points of the first importance! How eagerly are all his thoughts, his hopes, and fears, engaged in forming plans and contriving schemes for the enjoyment of to-morrow, or of the next year, or of the next fifty years! It matters not which we take, they are all expressions of the same meaning; they are all equally as a moment of time with respect to eternity. But, alas ! what folly is it that with such care about the body which is dying, the world which is perishing before our eyes,
time which is perpetually disappearing, we should so little care about that eternal state in which we are to live for ever, when this dream is over! When we shall have existed ten thousand another world, where will be all the cares and fears and enjoyments of this? In what light then shall we look upon the things which now transport us with joy, or overwhelm us with grief? What trifles will they all appear! And now they appear comparatively trifles to the mind which duly contemplates and realizes eternity.
• Eternity! Awful word; at the sound of which we awake as out of sleep! Eternity! Before its view, how do the councils of princes, the plots of ambition, the revolutions of states, and the fates of empires, shrink into nothing ! Ye immortal souls, whom I address upon the most important subject, ponder, I pray you, upon that eternal state to which you are swiftly carried by the flood of time! You see your fellow-creatures around you dying ; you take a hasty glance at the shifting scenes around you, the harmony and end of which you see not; you ask, Why was man made in vain ; why does he come into life only to be dissolved again? Alas! you mistake; you see man going out at the gate of death, but you see not the extent of country behind. All the busy tribes of men whose memorial has long perished here; these all are living in another state, whose happiness and misery, objects and attainments, are upon a scale infinitely greater than all the things of this transitory life. And is it so, indeed, that your happiness in that state depends upon
your life here? Who, then, can speak in terms of sufficient emphasis i of the value of this life? Awake thou that sleepest ! Awake thou
that dreamest of days and years; awake to contemplate ages ! Thou that lookest at a family, a sect, a tribe, survey assembled worlds ! Thou that art oppressed with the pains and aches and weakness of a vile body, behold a spiritual body pure and free from infirmity ! Thou that buryest all thy hopes in the earth upon which thy foot treadeth, see what a state of immortality and glory remains after this earth is burned up, and the elements have been dissolved with fervent heat! Oh, look to that state; let all your hopes center in attaining a happiness which only then begins to exist, when all the schemes of worldly greatness and worldly bliss are extinguished, to live no more! pp. 330-332
We had marked many other passages for quotation, both in the first and second volumes ; some of them, in our opinion, far superior to any that we have extracted. But the preceding specimens will, we are persuaded, be regarded by every reader of taste and piety, as fully confirming our sentiments respecting the value of these compositions.
We could wish any person who is so fascinated with mere style, as unduly to appreciate the sentiment which it conveys, to compare the second, third, and last, of the preceding quotations, with the passages which were extracted from “Alison's Sermons," at pages 58 and 59 of our present volume. He will then learn the difference between a Christian divine wlose heart Vol. III, N. S.
is deeply imbued with right principles, and an elegant, philosophic, sentimentalist. Each writer evinces a refined taste, as accurate judgement, a warm and benevolent heart ;
-each abounds in pathetic touches which reach the soul :—but whil one approaches it through the imagination, the other approaches it through the medium of the conscience. So again, if one courts retirement and seclusion from the busy world, or invites his bearers thither, it is that, by tracing the various associations suggested by surrounding objects, by analysing the emotions thus excited, by speculating upon the benignity of the Great Author of all, the sum of enjoyment may be augmented, and, perchance, a species of factitious devotion created : wbile, if the other either seeks or recommends retirement, it is that, by means of self-examination, of devout meditation, and fervent prayer, the soul may escape from terrestrial illusions to hesvenly realities, may explore the mysteries of redemption, may commune with angels, may catch a glimpse of the glory which surrounds,'the Throne of the Eternal,' may be refreshed by the stream which runs at its feet,--and returu from such seclusion with a countenance beaming and a heart burning with love to God and man.
Persuaded that Mr. Venn's Sermons are admirably calculated, under the Divine blessing, to produce genuine benevolence and true piety, we cordially recommend
them to general perusal. They are of a suitable length to be read in families; and whether employed in the domestic circle, or in the closet, they can scarcely fail, we think, of making those who hear them, or those who read them, wiser and better.
Art. V. Part of the Introductory Lecture for the Year 1815, eshi
biting some of Mr. Hunter's Opinions respecting Diseases. Delivered before the Royal College of Surgeons, in London. By John Abernethy, F. R. S. Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the
College. Svo. pp. 37. Price 2s. Longman and Co., 1815. AN opportunity has but recently been afforded us of expressing
ourselves in favourable terms respecting the talents and Jabours of Mr. Abernethy. To dissent, indeed, from this opinion of his character, were to dissent from all who are able to discern merit and appreciate intellectual worth. In the pamphlet now before us, which is a continuation of his former discourses, our ingenious physiologist appears in a point of view particularly interesting; and seems sedulously to aim at diverting towards another object that credit the public are ready to award to himself. The merits of Mr. Hunter, and the value of bis discoveries, continue to be the favourite theme of Mr. Abernethy's pen : hut we cannot help suspecting, that as far as an