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of eminent and beloved ministers. They are read with interest. But the characters which they portray, though admired, are deemed examples to be imitated only by those who occupy, or expect to occupy, a similar sphere of labor. We have often lamented that we have no more memoirs of pious and eminently useful laymen—-memoirs which will teach laymen how to live and labor for God. Our churches do not exert a tenth, no, not a hundredth part of the religious influence which they would exert, if Christian laymen understood and practiced this lesson. There is a great amount of moral power in the church which is wasted, or rather disused, “buried in a napkin.” Our ministers are overburdened with labors. They have to perform not only the duties which were incumbent on and sufficient for their fathers and predecessors in the sacred office, but are also obliged to be the chief agents in those varying and multiplying labors of philanthrophy, literary, moral, and religious, with which this age of benevolent enterprise is illumined and blessed. Thus many are prematurely worn out or broken down, while there are multitudes of laymen fully competent, not only to take a part of this burden, but also to do many things which are now left undone, who yet do very little except by silent example. To bring out this latent and rusting energy of the church into well directed, vigorous, and effective action, is greatly to be desired. For this purpose we highly esteem such a biography as that of Harlan Page. It is worth more than ten memoirs of eminently useful ministers—not because it records a life of greater usefulness than theirs, but because it is an example for a much larger part of the church, and a part which needs more than the other, to be taught the practicability and duty of direct effort, pri
vate and public, for the upbuilding of the Redeemer's kingdom. For the same reason we value the memoir before us. It is the memoir of a strong-minded, cultivated, practical, zealous, and active Christian layman. It is well fitted to teach a multitude in the church how to be welcome and efficient assistants of their pastors, and successful soldiers in the sacramental host. In the language of the memoir,
“Accustomed to hear his father discourse upon theological science in the Pul.
it and in the social circle, Mr. Dwight É. versed in the various doctrines of Scripture and the proofs of those doctrines, and unusually competent to give instruction to others in the religious conference or the Bible class, on the great truths of the Christian system.”—p. 15.
“Early in his Christian life he was im: pressed with a deep sense of his personal responsibility as a follower of the Lord Jesus for the advancement of his kingdom. This feeling seemed to increase as he advanced in life, and may be regarded as the secret of his constant and self-denying efforts to bring others to a saving knowledge of the truth. He was not content to leave the entire responsibilit for the spiritual state of the church wit the pastor. He felt that every member of the church had a share in that responsibility, and was bound to co-operate with the pastor in plans of usefulness. Being himself “rooted and grounded' in the faith, and having some degree of fluency in speech, he often rendered great service to the cause of Christ by holding religious meetings in the outskirts of the city, and in neighboring villages. The system of church government under which he was trained is well suited to promote the usefulness of the laity, and to call out all their resources, pecuniary, intellectual and moral, in behalf of the Redeemer's kingdom. Under such a system the talents and zeal of Mr. Dwight found ample scope. He was not denied the privilege of laboring for the edification of his brethren, and the conversion of sinners, nor was he slow to improve it.”—pp. 17, 18.
We have alluded to that which constitutes the chief value of this memoir. The author has skillfully and ably delineated the character of a layman, who was in many respects a bright example of intelligent and successful Christian activity. We render him our thanks for thus contributing to the bringing out into the field of efficient labor, that vast amount of talent and piety in the church, which to a great extent lies inactive.
Of the desirableness of accomplishing this purpose, the author seems to be fully aware. He well observes, that
“The great problem to be solved by the pastors of our Congregational churches, is not—“how can we best control the laity, and restrict their influence 2'-but, ‘how can we bring every individual member of our churches to feel the deepest personal concern for their prosperity, and to do the most to promote it?” “How shall we fully employ the moral power of every man, woman and child who bears the name of Christ 2'. The moral power of individual churches and individual Christians has never yet been felt as it should be, or as it must be before the world is brought to the knowledge of Christ. Here, for example, is a church of a hundred members, in a population of a thousand souls. Is the power of such a church commonly felt to its full extent in restraining wickedness and upholding truth? If one hundred closets were daily occupied by praying souls, if one hundred bright examples of piety were daily shining in all the walks of life, would not the effects be always visible in the community around * Would not the kingdom of Christ continually gain upon the kingdom of Satan? I had almost said that scarce a tenth part of the moral power actually within the compass of our churches, the power of prayer and holy living, is ordinarily brought to bear upon an ungodly world. In o places, were all the professors of religion, to ‘shine as lights in the world, folio. forth the word of life,' there would be no spot so dark that iniquity could lurk in it unseen, or vice appear with an unblushing front. In future revivals of religion, and above all, in the work of evanelizing the world, the great problem will É. how to arouse the energies of each individual Christian, and bring out and apply the now latent power of the church.”— pp. 99, 100.
The author says that this is the great problem to be solved by the pastors of Congregational churches. We presume however, that, though he would maintain, as he does incidentally and successfully, that the Congregational system of New England is peculiarly fitted to create in members of churches a feeling of
personal responsibility, and to call out their energies in the active discharge of that responsibility, he would yet, by no means be understood to intimate that the duty of solving this great problem belongs exclusively to the pastors of Congregational churches, or that the pastors of all the churches of Christ of whatever name, ought not to do what in them lies for this end. Christ redeems believers that they may be “his peculiar people zealous of good works”—his own instruments in carrying forward his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the earth. And it is pitiable indeed, when a Christian minister gets the idea that he has exclusive authority to teach religious truth in his congregation ; or, what amounts to the same thing, has such an idea of the peculiar propriety and orderliness of his own teaching, as leads him to suppress the well directed activity of his people. He either sadly misunderstands his duty in this respect, or what is perhaps worse, has such imperfection of spirit as interferes with his performance of it. Though the chief value of this memoir is that to which we have alluded, yet it is not its only value. Mr. Dwight was so intimately related to various movements for the promotion of religion, that much of the religious history of his times is naturally, if not necessarily, incorporated with this account of his life. A very interesting narrative is given from Mr. D.'s papers and from other sources, of the remarkable revival of religion in New Haven and generally throughout Connecticut, in the years 1820, 21, and '22—of its origin, nature and progress, and of the measures by which it was promoted, particularly those in which laymen were engaged. To the multitudes in New Haven and its vicinity, and indeed through the State, who were hopefully renewed during that gracious “refreshing from the presence
of the Lord,” this account will be especially grateful, while it will be to all, an instructive and delightful piece of religious history. It has also an important bearing on the chief design of the volume, as will appear from the following passage:
“One of the most interesting features of this revival was the missionary zeal which it awakened among the brethren of the churches, especially in New Haven. In the early stages of the work, an association comprising several of the brethren of the two Congregational churches of this city, was formed for the purpose of sustaining neighborhood meetings in the city and vicinity. An arrangement was made by this association to hold meetings for prayer and religious conference, in various parts of the city, every week; and on every Sabbath evening, in some of the .. villages. About ...' individuals pledged themselves to attend these meetings according to #. pointment. In these labors Mr. Dwight always bore a conspicuous part. He would often walk from two to sour miles in the evening, without regard to the weather, to §n such an appointment. For a long time, he, in conjunction with others, held religious meetings on Sabbath evenings in Fair Haven and Westville. This was so to the organization of Congregational churches in these villages, when the people had to come into the city, a distance of two or three miles, to worship God. . It was a great convenience to persons thus situated, to have religious o: brought to their very doors. any were induced to attend the place of prayer who seldom visited the distant sanctuary. Mr. Dwight's addresses on these occasions, are said to have well supplied the place of a sermon, and to have produced at times remarkable ef. fects. Is any one so scrupulous in regard to lay-preaching as to disapprove such labors 2 Is there not more reason to say, * Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them o' Would, es: pecially, that our Western churches had many such members to carry the Gospel into the desolate regions around them; to widen the influence of the ministry, and prepare the way for the organization of new churches whenever the increase of population may demand it. What pastor burdened with the care of a great o waste, would not rejoice in such aid 2
“These labors were remarkably fruitful. At the several stations where meetings were conducted almost exclusively by the brethren of this association, there were about one hundred hopeful conversions.
* The association met at the house of one of their number every Saturday evening, when the brethren reported their labors for the past week, and made their appointments for the next. For this meeting Mr. Dwight's house was always open, and such was the interest felt in it, that a spacious parlor was generally crowded. ere originated the plan of visiting sister churches by lay-delegates. The members of the association went out two by two, by invitation, to visit almost all the churches in this section of the State, and even extended their visits to churches sixty or seventy miles distant. Mr. Dwight made many of these visits in person; and when he could not go himself, he would manifest his engagedness in the cause, by assuming the sole care of business at home, in order to enable his partner, Mr. T. Dwight Williams, (whose name is still fragrant in the memory of the pious,) to engage in these more delightful labors abroad. His horse and carriage were always at the service of the brethren in their missionary tours, and were in such constant employment that the animal became extensively known as ‘the missionary horse.’ “These visits to neighboring churches were greatly blessed in the promotion of revivals of religion. At least twenty five out of thirty one congregations in New Haven county, which were visited by the brethren of this association, were soon af. ter favored with an outpouring of the Spirit, and between fifteen hundred and two thousand souls, in this single county, were hopefully converted to Christ. The General Association of Connecticut state in their Report in June, 1822, that more than three thousand had been added to the Congregational churches in the State during the year which then closed. We have already seen that five thousand were o in the preceding year.”—pp. 31– 3.
Theology in Yale College, is called the “Dicight professorship.” From the fact that Dr. Dwight was president of Yale College, and from his distinguished reputation as a theologan, it is doubtless generally inferred and believed, that the name of that professorship was given in honor of him. That honor however belongs to his eldest son, the subject of this memoir. We extract the following passage, as an illustration of an important feature of Christian character which may well be imitated inits nature and mode of expression, and because it contains a piece of isory respecting a beloved and ventrated literary institution, which will * Interesting to our readers.
“From the time of his conversion, he towed it to be his intention to make conobutions to benevolent objects a matter of principle. He laid aside yearly the tnure profits of one branch of his busimes for benevolent uses; having more Forticularly in mind the raising of a fund in the benefit of Yale College. This orumstance being known to some of the sends of the College, by whom the deson of establishing a Theological deonment was entertained, they applied to m for aid in that enterprise, and received flum him a very liberal donation for the *pose of founding a professorship of botic Theology. “The chief design of the founders of File College was to make it a school for the preparation of young men for the Christian ministry. #. #... of Di"inity in the College is ‘bound by the outes of his office, not only to act as *or of the church, and religious teachof the undergraduates, but likewise to *nish such students in Theology as may * been reared in the College, or ma *e to resort to it from abroad, wit *stance in the studies preparatory to * ministry. There has, therefore, al*ys been maintained in the College, a orily Theological School. The Rev. ofessors Daggett and Wales, and the * President Dwight in his capacity of ofessor of Divinity, have each'successso given instruction to students in Tology, and prepared many for the ministerial office, who have been distinFished for their usefulness in the church* . So long as the only other method of toning a Theological education was that **udying with pastors, a considerable *mber of young men, principally gradu* of the College, annually placed
Wol. III. 20
themselves under the instruction of the Professor of Divinity. Several hundreds of the Alumni who entered the ministry, were thus qualified for their work. But about thirty years ago, the system of Theological education in this country experienced an entire change. ‘The labor of instruction in the several branches of Biblical criticism, systematic Theology, and the composition and delivery of sermons, was found too great for any one man to sustain. Institutions exclusively Theological were therefore established. The duties which formerly devolved upon a single individual were distributed among three or four Professors, each selected with reference to his qualifications for a particular department, and confined to the discharge of its appropriate duties. A much greater extent and perfection were thus given to a course of Theological education than could possibly be attained by the exertions of the most highly gifted individual. It was not surprising, therefore, that the department of Theological instruction in Yale College, (destitute of these advantages), should be for some years in a languishing state. Indeed, the whole influence of the College was cordially anted for the advancement of other #. institutions which needed its aid, though it was foreseen that the measures which were taken to promote their interests would diminish the prosperity of the school at New Haven. In giving this aid, however, it was never contemplated to abandon, the course of Theological education which had been so long sustained. On the contrary, the late President Dwight, who took so active a part in favor of the Andover Institution, maintained to the day of death, and bequeathed to his successors the duty of extending the department of Theological instruction in correspondence with its enlargement in other institutions.' “In the year 1822, the question came definitely before the officers of College, and the Christian public, ‘Shall the department of Theological instruction be now abandoned, and Yale College become merely a school of philosophy, -or shall an effort be made to extend this department, and to place it on a respectable and permanent foundation?’, Fifteen young men, Alumni of the College, then made application to the Faculty to be received as a Theological class, for the ensuing year. It was felt that the rejection of so many Theological students, under the circumstances, would be a final abandonment of the object. The Faculty, feeling the importance of sustaining this department of instruction in a manner consistent with the dignity of the College and the interests of the church, and being especially desirous of retaining, as
far as possible, the religious character of an institution of learning, founded for pious ends, determined to recommend to the Corporation to establish the Theological department upon an enlarged and permanent basis. . But the question now arose, ‘Where shall the funds requisite for this important object, and without which the Corporation will not sanction it, be obtained?" The prospect of raising $20,000 for the support of a Professor of systematic Theology, appeared at first view quite discouraging. But just at this crisis, Mr. Dwight came forward and subscribed five thousand dollars toward this fund. He also pledged himself privately to make up any deficiency to the extent of $5,000 more, if the remaining $15,000 could not be obtained in season to secure the action of the Corporation at their next meeting. The sum was secured, however, and a Professorship of systematic Theology was endowed under the name of the Dwight Professorship. The Rev. N. W. #. D. D., then pastor of the first church in New Haven, was elected to the office, which he still holds, and entered upon his duties immediately. Had it not been for the timely encouragement given by Mr. Dwight, though there might have been an imperfect arrangement made for the instruction of Theological students by the distribution of the several branches of Theological learning among the Professors of Divinity, Rhetoric and Languages, in the College, the department probably could not have been placed on its present foundation, at least for many years after. It was Mr. Dwight's intention to have doubled his original subscription; but the investment which he had made with this end in view, proved unfortunate, and the embarrassment conse
uent upon this reverse, prevented him }. contributing afterwards to benevolent objects on so large a scale as he had at first projected.”
The sermon delivered at Mr. Dwight's funeral, which is appended to the memoir, as well as the memoir itself, is written in a style clear, direct, and felicitous.
Notes, critical, illustrative and practical, on the book of Job: with a new Translation, and an Introductory Dissertation. By ALBERT BARNEs. New York: Leavitt, Trow and Company. 1844.
- Two volumes, 12mo, pp. cxxvi, 311, 312, 72.
THIS work appears to have been
intended especially for those public religious teachers who can not procure, or have not leisure to consult many of the more learned commentaries; and also for the private use of intelligent Christians, who wish to understand and to profit by this portion of Scripture. And hence it is so drawn up as to hold a middle rank between the profoundly learned commentaries, which aim to cast new light on the obscure poem, and those more popular works which avoid all difficult questions, and direct attention only, or chiefly, to what is plain and obvious to common readers. It is, moreover—as might be expected from the opportunities and avocations of the writer —rather a compilation than an original work. Yet the worthy compiler manifestly had before him a good collection of the best and most elaborate expositions of the book of Job; and he was able in general, to comprehend and appreciate the arguments of those learned commentators, and to judge for himself which interpretations were best supported.
The Introductory Dissertation is full of interest. It covers 126 pages; and is divided into nine parts, embracing as many points of inquiry. In the first part, (pp. 3–10,) Mr. B. maintains that the narrative parts of the book recount no fiction, but give us a true history of a real man, who suffered and had discussions with his friends substantially as this book describes. Secondly, that the man Job resided in some part of Arabia Deserta, bordering upon Idumea, and situated between Palestine and the Euphrates, (pp. 11—15.) Thirdly, that he lived somewhere between the age of Terah, the father of Abraham, and the times of Jacob, or about 1800 years before the Christian era, and about 600 years after the deluge, (pp. 16–19.) Fourthly, that the book was, very probably composed by Job himself, during the 140 years that he lived after his severe trials, (pp. 19–38.)