ful preacher. We should be glad to present to our readers a synopsis of the sermon, but must be content to express our satisfaction at meeting with a production abounding with such bold rebukes of sin, and with the noblest Puritan sentiments, from one who was lately a Universalist. The Addresses of President Hitchcock are all admirable specimens of this species of literature. It is quite superfluous to say, that they are written in clear, chaste, manly English, and sparkle with frequent classical, and more frequent scientific allusions and illustrations. A nobleness of sentiment and Christian feeling pervade every page, while the argument is conducted with a free and unfaltering step, from the premises to the conclusion. The inaugural address is not surpassed in our opinion by any similar performance that has fallen under our notice. For many years Dr. Hitchcock has stood high in public esteem as a man of science; and his late literary efforts have exalted him to respectable eminence, as a belles-lettres scholar. The friends of Amherst College can not but be encouraged by his elevation to the Presidency of that instituion. His single name will give it reputation. Mr. Owen's edition of Homer's Odyssey is a valuable gift to students of the Greek language. The Notes are numerous, too numerous, if there is any fault—leaving few difficulties for the student himself to master. We should think it would gratify those scholars who have finished their public education, and who know Homer only through the Iliad, to renew their acquaintance by reading the Odyssey, to which this edition will be no small help. “The Poor Doubting Christian drawn to Christ,” will attract attention from all who cherish the name of the pious and eminent author with suitable veneration. A

o single copy was lately discovered by the publishers, in the library of the Connecticut Historical Society; and the work is now given by them to the public in a new edition, af. ter being out of print for more than a century. A hasty perusal convinces us that it is well adapted to its purpose. The theology which underlays it, is the same which now prevails in the Congregational churches of New England; and the advice given to doubting Christians, is, so far as we have seen, judicious and scriptural. We see not why it should fail to fill a similar place in respect to feeble believers, which “Baxter's Call” occupies in relation to the unconverted.

Dr. Baird's Sketches of Protestantism occupies a field hitherto unknown, and to most readers inaccessible. It is a field, too, in respect to which the curiosity of the American churches is likely to be aroused, and on which our intensest feelings are to be engaged. The plans and efforts of the Foreign Evangelical Society have started hundreds of questions in respect to Italy as it has been and is, while the recent movement of the Christian Alliance, will make Italy and all that concerns Italy, to be a subject in respect to which all will be eager to know whatever can be known.

The book consists of three parts; the first is a history of the various attempts which were made to stem and cast off the power of the Romish church, before and during the Reformation. The second is a history of Protestantism from the Reformation till the present day; including an account of the political changes of its ever-changing states, as they illustrate the present condition of education, religion, and freedom. The third is devoted to the history and present condition of the Waldenses.

[ocr errors]


No. XII.

OCTOBER, 1845.


THIS sermon was printed at the request and expense of the Board of Trustees of the American Seamen's Friend Society. Its style is finished and classical, like all the writings of the able and popular author. Its sentiments are poetical and many of them true. The author always discourses beautifully on man as a live animal, to be “boarded, lodged and done for”—he has much sympathy and kindness for men and all other living things—he admires their excellencies and glides as gently as possible over their imperfections. Yet such are the physical privations and hardships of the sailor, that a man may be pardoned for giving, in his case, a peculiar prominence to the question, What shall he eat, and where withal shall he be clothed 2

We intend to take the sermon of Dr. Dewey, as the text of our present discourse ; at the same time preclaiming for ourselves a Methodistic license to itinerate, and to be, like Dr. D. himself, totally unshackled by any strait-laced homiletic re


Dr. D. dwells chiefly on the ne

* The Character and Claims of Seafaring Men; a Sermon by Orville Dewey, Pastor of the Church of the Messiah, in the city of New York. New York: Charles S. Francis & Co. 1845.

Vol. III. 61

cessity of improvement in the sailor's social relations. He would have the barrier between him and society broken down—he would have the “isolation” of the sailor done away—he would make him a component part of the general mass of men, without his clanship, his peculiar church, boarding-house, hospital, dress and dialect. But he seems to be laboring under an impression, not uncommon, that this isolation is altogether compulsory, whereas, in almost all cases, it is the sailor's own choice—the effect of his peculiar occupation, habits, and character. Who ever forbade the sailor to enter the landsman’s house of worship 2 Nay, what Christian would not gladly relinquish his own pew, rather than suffer a sailor to retire from the church for want of a seat 2 The sailor needs a peculiar place of worship and a peculiar kind of preaching, because he will rarely come to our churches —he fears that he would be considered an intruder were he to venture among us. And sometimes he is poor, and can not afford to provide himself with clothing which he considers fit to appear in, among a “full-rigged,” sashionable congregation. It is very true that such a congregation would be glad to see the sailor among them in any dress —but their being glad to see him would not render him glad to come, or make him feel at home if he did come, and his feelings and wishes must be consulted—for (shall we speak or keep silence 2) the sailor is born of woman, and he, like other men, inherits a full proportion of


the amiable failings of his mother.

Nor, if he came, would he feel that the preaching is personally addressed to him. Much of the preaching to an old and permanent congregation, must necessarily be upon subjects which would be tedious and unintelligible to sailors. A studied, didactic discourse is absolutely thrown away upon a congregation of seamen. We know a man who once, when too unwell to extemporize, ventured to take a sermon which cost him a fortnight in the preparation, and after clipping out the passages which cost him the hardest labor, divesting it as far as possible of every thing which might subject it to the ruinous insinuation of being an argumentative discourse, had the rashness to preach it—and the lesson he derived from that misjudged exploit, was of far more value than all the lectures upon homiletics, and all the criticisms under which, in former times, he had patiently suffered for the sins committed in the skeleton, and for his future benefit. In truth, and in seriousness, the preacher to seamen of every denomination very soon finds that he must be a Methodist in practice, if not in doctrine. In preaching to uneducated men, the eye, the voice, and the hand are worth more than cartloads of goose-quills and paper, and days and weeks of anxious labor and study. It is vain to deny it— experience is better than theory, always and every where. It has been often said of late, that the sailor wants just such preaching as landsmen, and no other—but with all deference to those who hold that opinion, we must say that we think

the assertion has neither reason nor fact to support it. Suppose one were preaching to a congregation composed exclusively of farmers. Think you that that congregation would not be more interested and instructed by illustrations and argu. ments drawn from the business, the implements, the customs of farm. ers, than by illustrations drawn from the peculiar business of sailors 2 And would not the chap. lain in the army, if he knew any thing of human nature, and were desirous to interest and benefit his parishioners to the utmost of his power, be likely to endeavor to make himself acquainted with the peculiar occupation, the habits of thought and of life peculiar to soldiers, that he might adapt his preaching to their wants 2 And why should not the same be true of the preacher to sailors? Why is it not reasonable to believe that the man who is best acquainted with the language, the occupation, the habits and character of seamen, and who, therefore, will use a style of preaching which is the natural es: fect of his knowledge, will be the most acceptable preacher to sea. men It seems to us that the im: mense popularity and success of Father Taylor, as a preacher to seamen, can not be satisfactorily accounted for, solely from the fact that he is a man of great eloquence and zeal. The true reason of his extraordinary power is to be found in the fact that he is himself ev. ery inch a sailor. It is very true; that if a preacher were ignorant of the language and occupation of sal' lors, and should absurdly attempt to employ nautical language and in: agery in a discourse, he would be justly laughed at and despised by sailors for his affectation and ignorance, but this is no proof that the sailor does not love to be spoken to in the tongue wherein he wo bred, if not born. In fact, if his technical and peculiar dialect were used correctly, he would hardly be likely to notice it so much as if the preacher were to use the technical language of catechisms and confessions, creeds and systems, about which he knows nothing, and which would be to him preaching in an unknown tongue. But the true mode of settling this point would be to inquire of those Bethel preachers who have tried both styles of preaching—namely, the style taught in the schools and usually followed in our churches, and the style which their experience among sailors may have afterwards led them to adopt—and we will hazard the assertion, that every one who has ventured to use language and illustrations which would not be understood, or perhaps tolerated, in a landsman's congregation, will say that he has found that style of preaching most interesting to his audience, and productive of far greater good than the other. The sailor is emphatically a peculiar man, and it seems singular that a person knowing any thing of sailors, should ever have asserted that they do not need a peculiar style of preaching. Mariners need to be informed of that fact, for they themselves are entirely sceptical. We beg leave, however, to add, that we are as much opposed to an excessive spiritualizing of the language of sailors, as of the language of Scripture. We have heard of a man's begging his audience to “tack ship and stand for heaven,” and of another, who in preaching from the text, “And the rump shall he cut off close by the back-bone,” deduced the doctrine, that “sin must be totally annihilated.” It would be difficult to decide which of the two had the better taste and sounder judgment. But what is the reason of the sailor's isolation in separate boarding-houses 2 Is there any statute against his entering a mechanic's boarding-house, even a temperance

house, if he choose 2 Do decent and respectable mechanics refuse to eat at the same table with decent and respectable sailors 2 Not that Dr. Dewey or we ever heard of. Doubtless the carpenter, the painter and the tailor would be really glad to become acquainted with the son of the ocean, who has seen, and can spin tough yarns about, the “gates of Hercules, the stormy Baltic, or the dark heaving ocean where they strike the harpoon in the frozen latitudes of the north.” But the sailor, like all other men, prefers the society of his own class, and does not desire to associate or board with mechanics, or doctors, or lawyers, or ministers, men whom he does not know, and who do not know him. When he comes on shore he steers instinctively toward the house which he sees surmounted with a flag-staff, or ornamented with a painted ship, or a full-length portrait of Jack himself, because there, and there alone, he can feel at home. The sailor's dress, too, is a matter of his own choice. What edict ever required the sailor to wear a tarpaulin hat, with a fathom of ribbon streaming in the wind 2 Who has commanded him to wear a blue jacket and a pair of duck trowsers, very tight about the hips, and shaped from the knees downward, like a pair of inverted tunnels 2 There is no law to regulate this matter except his own opinion of propriety, convenience and good taste. He subscribeth not for the New York Mirror—he studieth not the plates of fashions—he inquireth not concerning the modes de Paris. In his speech, too, he describes every thing in the heavens above and in the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth, by nautical imagery and diction, simply because he knows no other language. It is the effect of constant intercourse with one sort of men, conversing together in one dialect. Nor can we believe that the isolation, of which Dr. Dewey complains. (though he admits that he thinks it better for the present,) is at all to be deplored. The sailor's peculiarities are the principal causes of our peculiar sympathy with and affection for him, as well as the causes of his isolation. To us landsmen, who have so long been subjected to the laws of fashion, the sailor's independent peculiarities are always charming. They are sources of admiration as well as amusement. We admire his naturalness of manmer—his frankness—the freshness, the unhackneyedness of his nature —his generosity, not with regard to mere dollars and cents alone, but that generosity of soul which manifests itself in devotion to shipmates, friends and country, in magnanimity, in real kindness to all men— his courage—his energy—his fullgrown heart, the genuine product of the large, deep ocean, uncramped, undisturbed by the petty, knavish arts and trickeries of the shore. Take away the sailor's peculiarities and you make him a mere salted landsman. Blend the sailors into the general mass, and they would Jose their virtues by acquiring the vices of the shore, and men who appeal to the charity of landsmen in behalf of the sons of Neptune, would lose their main resource. If the sailor were one of us, we should do no more for him than we do for calkers and ship-builders and riggers—but now, isolated and peculiar as he is, he has the sympathy of all classes and occupations, and the very dullest sermon on the subject of sailors is listened to with interest, among Christians of all denominations, as we happen to know both by happy experience and observation. We like to see a band of sailors together, whether at sea or on shore, in church or boarding-house. We confess an unavoidable pity for the ludicrous weakness of that mate of a ship who, when once invited to attend a Bethel, replied, that “when


he went to church, he could go where other folks went”—as if a seamen's Bethel were a sort of cage for those wild beasts which could not safely be suffered to roam abroad at their own free will. We confess, also, that we admire the trim, neat dress of the sailor, a style handed down from time immemorial, better far, for him, than any of the ephemeral fashions of the shore, and we lament the affectation, or vanity or shame, which, of late, has led some of the steadier and better sailors to endeavor to hide their profession when on shore, in a full suit of regular, shore-going, snip-made “longtogs.” Nay, we doubt if the sabulous sea-god would own as his children, some that we have seen within a few months disguised in landsman's clothes, “from truck to keelson”—even in silk hat, vest, the unwonted suspenders, and straps —yes, lest we should be disbelieved, we repeat it—straps / / and those, too, “bent on” to the pantaloons, and “belayed” under the boots of an “old salt,” whose every step scattered fragrance like a traveling tar-kiln | The peculiarities of the sailor are a chief cause of the pleasure derived from preaching to him. When you once tell the sailor that you intend and desire his good, no heart is so open to your efforts as his. He knows how to value kindness—for it is a very great rarity to him. His heart, too, is not like the hearts of many landsmen, overgrown with a time. gathered crust of callous stupidity. Discourses which would seem commonplace and threadbare to many, have on him a powerful effect, often melting him to tears. It is true that the seamen's preacher is sometimes led, by observing the surprising sensibility of sailors, both to overrate his own eloquence and the sailor's goodness, and he has to learn by sad experience, that it is much easier for men of strong passions to weep, than to feel that godly sorrow

« 上一頁繼續 »