« 上一頁繼續 »
and moderation; and that' the accusations brought against them, in every period of their history, relate more to the forms than to the spirit of their conduct, more to their manners than to their morals, more to their prejudices than to their principles, more, in fine, to their trifling peculiarities than to their substantial objects.' The author then observes :—
'I care not for a name; nor did they care; it required, they well knew, something more than hard names to put them down. But for the Hen, who in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, boldly stood forth in defence of the liberties of the people of England, I maintain that they were the Champions and Fathers of Modern Freedom. ■ r
'And in estimating the value of this influence, it should be remembered that the freedom of these days is a very different thing from that of ancient times. Christianity, which has left nothing untouched in the whole sphere of human improvement and welfare, has imparted a marked and decisive influence to the cause of modern liberty. It has made this liberty a nobler gift than ever entered into the conceptions of ancient heroes. Teaching men to live together as brethren, to love, every man, his neighbour as himself, and teaching nim, too, that every man is his neighbour—elevating the destiny of every human being to an equal, to an immortal grandeur, Christianity has unfolded to the world a new community of interests, new principles of equality and reciprocation, new laws of society and of government. It is not, however, till within the last two centuries that this political influence of Christianity has been developed. To the hands of the Puritans was this great cause committed; and they proved themselves not unworthy of the trust. Animated at first by the love of religious liberty, demanding toleration as the undoubted privilege of that mind which God had made free, feeling that the rights of conscience were not only rights, but duties also, they were insensibly led, and at the same time powerfully strengthened to assert the claim of political freedom. They did assert and maintain it; and in doing so, they have accomplished a work next only in importance to the introduction of Christianity itself.
'The age is not insensible to the greatness of this work, though it is forgetful of the obscure and despised band of men who began it. The world indeed is filled with enthusiasm and glorying in the cause of popular and free institutions. The period in which we live is teeming with projects and hopes; and the mighty spring of every goodly and hopeful design is the freedom of the age—is that mighty truth of the age, that men should be left freely to work out their own welfare. Through all the borders of this continent there is not a mind, I had almost said, that is not glowing with pride at what has been accomplished, or with expectation of what is to come. Never, I repeat, since the introduction of Christianity, has the intellect, the improvement, the hope of the world received such an impulse, as it has received from the cause of modern freedom. Be it, then, remembered,—be it the more remembered, because it has till now been forgotten— that the men who first suffered and fought in this cause, were the Puritans of the seventeenth century! Yes, the very men whose names have gone abroad among the nations, as a byword, and a hissing, and a thing to be laughed to scorn, are the very men who stand at the head and as patriarchs of all free communities, and who shall yet be held in reverence as the Fathers of every coming and brightening age of liberty and happiness!' pp. 16*—18.
The claims of Puritanism in America are next brought into view. The Puritans of New England are shown, 1st. against common objections, to have been an intelligent body of men; 2d. not only men of piety, but of 'piety of no ordinary strength.'
'But there is a trait of their piety, that has perhaps been less considered. I mean its disinterestedness. They sought religious freedom scarcely more for themselves, than for their posterity. They hoped to propagate pure and unshackled Christianity, though (to use a phrase of their own) 'they should be but as stepping stones' to those who came after. Their proceedings, their declarations, their writings, all exhibit this pious and noble disinterestedness.
'It may be interesting, and it is to my purpose to notice, that the first printed Sermon," which we hear of as preached in this country, was on this remarkable text—' Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth ;' (i. e. another's welfare—) in which the preacher urges them not to live for themselves alone, nor only for one another, but for their posterity. A strange topic, surely, for the wilderness and for the waste and rocky shore of Plymouth! A strange precept to be heard amidst the bustling strife for existence! Yet such was the spirit of the men, and such was the spirit of their enterprise. I have heard it said, even in this age of plenty, by those who live on this heritage of their disinterested labors,—I have heard them say, 'we must take care of ourselves—we have as much as we can do, to take care of ourselves.' So thought not our Fathers. 'And you, my loving friends and adventurers to this plantation,' said the preacher,' as your care has been first to settle religion here before either profit or popularity, so, I pray you go on to do it much more.' < I rejoice
greatly,' says he,' in your free and ready mind, to your powers,—yea, and eyond your powers, to further this work:—the memory of this action shall never die!' How prophetic was the saying! Truly 'the memory of this action shall never die!' Already is it on the tongues of millions j and millions unborn shall celebrate it to the end of time!
Let it not be forgotten, then, at least by us, the immediate descendants of these men, for the sake of our gratitude and our virtue too, let it not be forgotten, that when the weary pilgrim traversed this bleak coast, his step was lightened, and his heart was cheered, by the thoughts of a virtuous posterity,—that when our fathers touched this land, they would fain have consecrated it as a holy land,—that when they entered it, they lifted up their eyes towards heaven and said—" let this be the land of refuge for the oppressed and persecuted, the land of knowledge, and O! let it be the land of piety.' Let the descendants of the pilgrims know, that if their Fathers wept, it was not for themselves alone—if they toiled, they toiled,—or as one of them nobly said, they 'spent their time, and labors, and endeavours, for the benefit of them who should come after;' that if they prayed, they prayed not for themselves alone, but for their posterity.' pp. 21—23.
What remains of the sermon contains many fine passages, relating to the sufferings, the noble constancy, and cheering anticipations of the early settlers of New England. The circumstances of their history are brought into touching and beautiful contrasts with our own, and the obligations we are under to them and their memory, are enforced with much emphasis and power. The usual addresses of the day, with which the performance ends, we regard as uncommonly happy. But it is in
By Robert Cuahman, 1621.
the first part of the sermon, it seems to us, that the author shows his greatest strength, both of thought and of language. It is a piece, which, if generally read, cannot but exert the best influences upon society, and we regret that it is not offered for sale.
14. Elements of History, Ancient and Modem, with historical Charts. By J. E. Worcester. 12mo. pp. 374, Boston, Cummings, Hilliard, & Co. 1826. An Historical Atlas, containing the following Charts. I. Chart of General History, Ecclesiastical History. II. Ancient Chronology. III. Modern Chronology. IV. European Sovereigns. V. Chronological, Genealogical, and Historical Chart of England. VI. Chronological, Genealogical, and Historical Chart of France. VII. Chart of American History. VIII. Chart of Biography. IX. Chart of Mythology. By J. E. Worcester. Boston, Cummings, Hilliard, &Co. 1826.
This History and Atlas make a valuable addition to the books of elementary instruction. The history is written in a style of great simplicity and purity; and the charts, which are constructed on the author's own plan, must be found to facilitate the acquisition of historical, biographical, and chronological knowledge among young students, more than any work of the kind, which is not too expensive for common use. They are valuable, too, for reference, if not for study, to those who have passed the period of pupilage, and who can here readily find many facts and dates, which they have forgotten, or have never known. The history is more elementary than any with which we are acquainted, and therefore, considering, too, the author's well known judgment and fidelity, cannot fail to get into extensive use. Of the charts, which may be used by themselves or with any general history, we cannot give a better account, than that which is given in the author's own words :—
'The charts which accompany this volume, have been formed with much labor and research, and all or them are constructed upon plans more or less novel. The Chart of History, the first in the series, is similar in its plan to one published many years since by Dr Priestley, and resembles still more an improved Chart of History by Mr Bailey. To Dr Priestley the public are also indebted for a valuable Chart of Biography, to which one of these bears a resemblance, though the plan is materially different.
'The outlines of history may be acquired with incomparably greater facility by the use of charts, than by the perusal of volumes, independently of such aid; and what is of great importance, the information thus obtained, will be so impressed on the mind as to be much more durable, than if acquired by any other method. By means of them, one may easily trace the rise, progress, revolutions, decline, and fall of states and empires; see what states have been contemporary, and what have existed at different periods; take comprehensive views of the whole ground of history, and comparative views of the particular parts; mark the succession of the different dynasties, and sovereigns in the different kingdoms and empires ; learn the leading events of the several reigns, and of different ages, and observe the periods when the most illustrious persons have flourished' Preface, p. iv.
We do not think that Mr Worcester has exaggerated the benefits of his plan, or that he claims for it a greater degree of novelty than it really possesses.
15. The Way to be Saved. A Sermon delivered at the South Church in Andover, March 19, 1826. By Justin Edwards, pp. 16. Andover, Flagg and Gould, 1826.
This is a plain and impressive sermon on a most interesting subject. It gave us great pleasure in the perusal; for it contains much less of what is offensive or objectionable than most sermons from Calvinists on the same topic. With but little qualification, it may be safely recommended to any class of Christians. The author's definition of salvation is a good one. 'To be saved,' he says, 'is to be delivered from a course of eternal sinning and eternal suffering. It is to be changed into the perfect image of God, and raised to a state of eternal holiness, and bliss, in heaven.' Many Christians, we fear, look upon salvation as consisting wholly in deliverance from punishment; a view of it, which has been confirmed by the false notions of atonement so often inculcated. Too much pains cannot be taken to eradicate this error, and to illustrate the great truth that Christ came to save men from their sins. It would have been well, if the impressive writer of this discourse had gone more at large into this part of his subject. But after giving his definition of salvation, he proceeds to answer the question, 'What must I do to be saved?' The answer is, 'Believe in Christ.' But what is it to believe in Christ ?'It is to place such confidence in Christ as to feel that what he said is true, and to treat it as true. It is that confidence in him which will lead you to act, as if what he said is true.' Now this is what we call a rational faith, let who will profess it.
The writer next mentions the particulars, which this confidence in Christ requires us to do, and illustrates them. It requires, 'that we break off the practice of all known, outward sins'— 'the practice of secret sins'—' that we commence and continue in the practice of all known duties'—' the practice of secret prayer'—' of consulting the Bible daily, feeling that it is the voice of God speaking to us, and for the purpose of learning his will that we may do it'—' that we regard not ourselves more than God in the performance of duty'—' and that we I
Edwards' Sermon on the Way to be Saved. 255
should not trust for what we need in order to perform duty, and to be accepted in it, rather to ourselves, than to Jesus Christ.' Again we say, that with the exception of a part of the last sentence, this is what we call rational preaching. We should make it read thus; 'that we should not trust for what we need, in order to perform duty and to be accepted in it, to our unassisted strength, or to our own merit, but to the grace and mercy of God, as made known to us by Jesus Christ.' The author, in the sentence above, evidently receded from that definition of trust, or faith in Christ, which he set out with. Such a trust in Christ as he has defined, is doubtless necessary to the salvation of those who have heard of him. But for spiritual assistance, and for mercy to pardon our sins upon repentance, we put our trust in the Lord Jehovah, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised to give his holy spirit to them that ask him, and that whosoever turneth from his sins shall find mercy. We trust in Christ for the certainty that these promises have been made; for the certainty that they will be fulfilled, we trust in the veracity and mercy of God.
The author insists much and often upon our putting our trust in Christ alone. He probably does not mean by this to forbid trust in Jehovah, in whom is everlasting strength, but only trust in our own merit. Now we think it as absurd as he can, to suppose any human merit can be great enough to deserve the eternal happiness of heaven. We think the reward infinitely disproportioned to the service. If there were no future life, we say that every man receives more happiness in this world than his goodness merits. The eternal happiness of the good is entirely owing to the grace of God; it is a gift to those who comply with the conditions annexed to it. Now, whilst I trust in the promise of God alone, that eternal happiness will be the reward of the good, what am I to trust to,'that I shall be a partaker in this happiness? What can I trust in but my character, the testimony of my conscience, that I have fulfilled the conditions on which the promise is made? Who more willing to ascribe the rewards of heaven to grace than St Paul? But to what did he trust that the promise of heaven applied to Aim ?' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me in that day.'
We think a great deal of practical evil has resulted from the free use of such phrases as trusting in Christ for salvation, em