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come into discussion in connexion with the mode of baptism. But we would strenuously exhort those of them who have leisure for the task, to follow Dr. Halley's track with the aid of his own pages. They will, we may venture to assure them, see every main point of the controversy set in a light at once clear and powerful: much more so, doubtless, than their unassisted researches would command. We much regret that the length to which our remarks on this lecture have extended, prevent our extracting even one of the many striking passages we had marked for the purpose, and thus affording a more convincing assurance of the soundness of our recommendation.
(To be concluded.)
Thoughts on Habit and Discipline. By Joseph John Gurney. Second Edition. 12mo. pp. 318. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. THIS work relates to a subject which is not often made the topic of thoughtful consideration, or of public discourse, though it is of the greatest importance to the character and happiness of mankind. To young persons especially, whose habits are in a course of formation, appropriate instructions and admonitions are peculiarly needful; and we know of no work on the subject to which their attention, and indeed the attention of all classes, can be more safely and profitably directed, than to the one before us. It is written by a gentleman who belongs to a religious society which carefully inculcates the practice of self-control, and who has long devoted a richly-furnished purse, and a still more richly-furnished mind, to promote the physical, intellectual, and religious welfare of his fellow-men. The perusal of an essay, by the same author, "On the habitual Exercise of Love to God, considered as a Preparation for Heaven,"-a book beautifully written on a most beautiful subject,-led us to desire that the author would direct his attention to the subject of habit in general; a desire which we are happy to find realised by the present comprehensive treatise. It consists of three leading divisions. The first treats on the philosophy of the subject, and contains general remarks on the nature and operation of habit and discipline. The second relates to bad habits, which are traced to their sources and to their consequences in obtaining complete mastery over the mind and character. And the third refers to good habit, as applied to the movements and uses of the body; to art, or the useful result of the joint exercise of body and mind; to intellectual capacities and pursuits; and to religion.
These various and well-selected topics are discussed with much judgment, and in a style of language exceedingly chaste and simple, interspersed with appropriate classical quotations, and with several illustrative anecdotes. We should be glad to enable our readers to form an opinion of the work by presenting them with a series of
extracts from its pages; but as our space will not permit this, we shall merely quote some of the concluding remarks in the chapter on bad habit, and recommend all who have the means of procuring the book, to read it attentively and prayerfully. We understand that a third edition of the work, in a cheap form, is nearly ready for publication.
"It appears, then, that had mankind continued in their state of pristine innocence, the faculty of habit might have been productive, in our species, of an indefinite degree both of virtue and power; but that under the fall, it is the means by which our natural depravity is confirmed, and the bonds of Satan multiplied and strengthened in a fearful manner. The subject has been illustrated by the case of the desperate felon of the gamester and the drunkard-of the sensual and the cruel-of the warrior and conqueror-of the confirmed jester-of the murmurer against God -of the misanthrope and the liar-of him who believes too much-of him who believes too little-and finally, by a view of a bad habit universal among unregenerate men, that of ungodliness. The effect of merely human efforts in correcting bad habits, and in the pursuit of virtue, and especially the practical result of a guarded education, have been duly appreciated; but we have clearly seen that for a radical cure, for such a change of habit as will fit us for the element of heaven, Divine and saving grace is absolutely essential. And lastly, as this grace is essential, so it is sufficient; and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, considered as the instrument, is adapted to its end with a perfect precision. Its very structure imparts to us, under the Spirit of God, a matchless influence over the dispositions, the feelings, and the conduct of men. It is the best of weapons, for slaying our evil habits, for cleaving our chains asunder, and for delivering us from all our corruptions."—pp. 122, 123.
1. Life in Earnest: Six Lectures on Christian Activity and Ardour. By the Rev. James Hamilton, National Scotch Church, Regent Square. Tenth Thousand.
2. The Church in the House. By the same. 3. Remembering Zion. By the same.
4. The Dew of Hermon. By the same.
5. The Harp on the Willows. By the same. Sixtieth Thousand. 6. Farewell to Egypt. By the same. Fiftieth Thousand.
7. Thankfulness. By the same. Twelfth Thousand.
We need not tell our readers that there is something in these tracts. Books don't reach to the fiftieth and sixtieth thousand, especially on the subject of religion, even in these days, without being either very good, or very bad, or very queer. They must possess peculiarity of some sort, in degree, or kind, or both. And when we add that Mr. Hamilton is a young man, and has been but a comparatively short time in London, the immense popularity of his writings may well excite a suspicion of their bearing special characteristics.
Now, not to keep our readers long from the secret, it must be known that Mr. Hamilton's preaching is "preaching in earnest," and his writing is "writing in earnest." This is his great charm. He is orthodox-he has clear views of theology; but this "availeth not" of
itself. He not only speaks because he believes, but he speaks as if he believed. The things of God are realities with him. He sees them,
feels them, loves and fears them. They are not cold abstractions, but instinct with life and intelligence. They are not splendid fancies, but mighty forces. He has got at them by the aid of spiritual faith, rather than a literal creed. He understands them in their moral nature, and home applications, as well as their logical evidences and proprieties; knows their place in providence as well as in theology,— in men's bosoms and bodies, as well as in their books. And what he has freely received he freely gives. He talks like a man with men. There is a largeness and a liberality about his style that wonderfully please people. And there is a practicalness and infallibility of common sense about his matter, that must greatly profit them. We say nothing against the old divines-far be that from us; they are the armouries and magazines whence we obtain many of our most effectual materials for carrying on the warfare of truth and righteousness; yet we can hardly imagine a greater contrast than that of reading one, or a half of one, of their sermons, and then reading one or two of Mr. Hamilton's. His is the gay review-only with the force and the impression of the fight. One word describes it all-he treats religion as he would treat any other subject of human interest. He does not put his thoughts on the bed of a theological Procrustes— he does not stiffen them by a theological mesmerism. His is not the standing water, but the running stream. He has nature as well as grace. He does not forget that the men he addresses in the sanctuary, live in a world and not a waste, are surrounded by innumerable symbols of things, have passions without end that unite them with their fellows, and that all these facts may be powerfully used in the illustration and enforcement of the truth of the Gospel. He knows that the mind is one which plies its powers in the secular pursuit or the religious investigation, and that the heart is one which beats responsive to the kind appeals of human love, and delights itself in the Father of mercies. He believes that godliness is "understanding," that faith is reason, that morality is common sense, and therefore can draw exemplifications without end, from the daily doings and daily doctrines of men, of the folly and inconsistency of sin, and the "wisdom of the just." He does not think the commonness of scenes or objects a reason for not referring to it in illustration of his thoughts, but deems things familiar the most fitting for that purpose. He speaks like a man who lives in a world, and not in a church; who studies living men, not dead ones; and who keeps his eyes and ears open to the sights and the sounds that are about him. You cannot mistake his meaning, the instance is so apt. You cannot deny his doctrine, the proof is from your own business and habits. You cannot resist the application, the putting is so pointed.
"(2.) Punctuality. A singular mischance has occurred to some of our friends. At the instant when he ushered them on existence, God gave them a work to do, and he also gave them a competency of time; so much time, that if they began at the right moment, and wrought with sufficient vigour, their time and their work would end together. But a good many years ago, a strange misfortune befel them. A fragment of their allotted time was lost. They cannot tell what became of it, but sure enough it has dropped out of existence; for just like two measuring-lines laid alongside, the one an inch shorter than the other, their work and their time run parallel, but the work is always ten minutes in advance of the time. They are not irregular. They are never too soon. Their letters are posted the very minute after the mail is shut; they arrive at the wharf just in time to see the steam-boat off; they come in sight of the terminus precisely as the station-gates are closing. They do not break any engagement, nor neglect any duty, but they systematically go about it too late, and usually too late by about the same fatal interval. How can they retrieve the lost fragment, so essential to character and comfort? Perhaps by a device like this:-Suppose that on some auspicious morning, they contrived to rise a quarter of an hour before their usual time, and were ready for their morning worship fifteen minutes sooner than they have been for the last ten years, or, what will equally answer the end, suppose that for once they merged their morning meal altogether, and went straight out to the engagements of the day; suppose that they arrived at the class-room, or the work-shop, or the place of business, fifteen minutes before their natural time, or that they forced themselves to the appointed rendezvous on the week-day, or to the sanctuary on the Sabbath-day, a quarter of an hour before their instinctive time of going, all would yet be well. This system carried out would bring the world and themselves to synchronise; they and the marching hours would come to keep step again, and moving on in harmony, they would escape the jolting fatigue and awkwardness they used to feel, when old father Time put the right foot foremost and they advanced the left; their reputation would be retrieved, and friends who at present fret, would begin to smile; their fortunes would be made, their satisfaction in their work would be doubled, and their influence over others and their power for usefulness would be unspeakably augmented.
"(3.) Method. A man has got twenty or thirty letters and packets to carry to their several destinations, but instead of arranging them beforehand, and putting all addressed to the same locality in a separate parcel, he crams the whole into his promiscuous bag and trudges off to the West End, for he knows that he has got a letter directed thither; that letter he delivers, and hies away to the City, when lo! the same handful which brings out the invoice for Cheapside, contains a brief for the Temple, and a parliamentary petition, which should have been left, had he noticed it earlier, at Belgrave Square; accordingly he retraces his steps and repairs the omission, and then performs a transit from Paddington to Bethnal Green, till in two days he overtakes the work of one, and travels fifty miles to accomplish as much as a man of method would have managed in fifteen. The man who has thoroughly mastered that lesson, 'A place for everything, and everything in its own place,' will save a world of time. He loses no leisure seeking for the unanswered letter or the lost receipt; he does not need to travel the same road twice; and hence it is that some of the busiest men have the least of a busy look. Instead of slamming doors and ringing alarm-bells, and knocking over chairs and children in their headlong hurry, they move about deliberately, for they have made their calculations, and know what time they can count upon."-Life in Earnest, pp. 32-36.
Our readers will see at once what we mean, from this extract. And they will see that Mr. Hamilton has not only the will to put things in a graphic way, but the power also. Indeed, the predominant faculty of his mind seems to be imagination. He is not a profound thinker, he is not a subtle reasoner—or at least, his productions do not reveal that he is. But he has great keenness of observation, vigour of thought, and power of painting. Not one of his ideas "wants her mate." He has not to go in quest of fitting illustrations, but they crowd upon him in such variety that he has nothing to do but to choose the best, and leave the others, which would make the treasures of many men, as not worthy. Indeed, if we were to instance a defect, it would be the excess of his excellence in this respect. He has passages of exquisite beauty, and marvellous life, but sometimes his fancy runs wild, he loses himself in the creations of his own mind, the rapidity of his pace unduly excites his spirits, his thoughts take fire and stand a chance at least of being damaged. With all our admiration of reality and vivacity in a preacher, with all our dislike of the dull common-places and frigid scholastic phraseology that have done so much to disgust the intelligent and to injure the foolish, we yet remember that the pulpit is not the platform, and a sermon is not a speech. "That awful place, the pulpit," as the lamented Spencer used to call it, requires a restraint upon the fancy and the wit; and however necessary it may be to keep men awake and to make men understand and feel, these things do not demand a forgetfulness of the solemnity that invests all the facts and truths of our common salvation. We are far from saying that Mr. Hamilton is irreverent, or that he has not the greatest sense of the momentous character and consequences of the Christian ministry. A man of his intense vivacity and keen humour, is not to be judged of by the rules we should apply to men who are not able to detect a ludicrous association of ideas, or to enjoy it if they could detect it. We do not mistake wit for wickedness, or think that all that is serious is sacred. But it does strike us that occasionally Mr. Hamilton does not sufficiently keep in check the buoyancy and elasticity of his mind, and that sometimes he excites a smile by the form, when he should extort a tear by the power, of his representations. For instance, however we may admire the cleverness of the following picture, we do not exactly perceive its appropriateness in a sermon.
"Others there are, who, if you find them at their post, you will find them dozing at it. They are a sort of perpetual somnambulists, walking through their sleep, moving in a constant mystery, looking for their faculties, and forgetting what they are looking for, not able to find their work, and when they have found their work, not able to find their hands; doing everything dreamily, and therefore everything confusedly and incompletely; their work a dream, their sleep a dream, not repose, not refreshment, but a slumbrous vision of rest, a dreamy query concerning sleep; too late for everything, taking their passage when the ship has sailed, insuring their