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bly are the generous tendencies of the soul encouraged and strengthened by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrift? in the exprels declarations and assurances of eternal life, in the high and elevating sentiments they give us of the heavenly state, and in the amazing manifestations of the love of the Father of all, his love to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and in his willingness to communicate to us from the infinite riches of his bounty and goodness! What shall we more fay? if knowlege, if moral excellence, if God himself is the object of our felicity; these objects are infinite, and suited to Beings formed with such capacities and desires, and for an eternal duration of existence. This little world, with all that may be possessed in it, can be no great matter to Beings of such a frame and constitution. This little world, in which we are to continue but a little time, were it all our own, still it would not satisfy; we should be sensible of desires inseparable from our frame, which extend far beyond it. It is at present our convenient habitation, and greatly enriched with the goodness of our Maker ; but we all know, that to the peaceful enjoyment of life in it, and to the tranquillity of our minds, two things are absolutely needful, namely, a contentment with that portion of the good things of the world which Providence hath put into our poffeffion, though comparatively a small one ; and a willingness to leave it, and all that is in it, when the Author of nature shall give the command : what then can such a scene be to creatures of such extended defires, after an endless duration of being, and unbounded happiness in it? It is true, we see enough in this scene to demonstrate fully the goodness of the Parent of the universe; and we find ourselves in a state in which being is sweetened and rendered comfortable by many favours; but that very goodness of our common Parent, raises expectations which extend far beyond this world; and he does not justice to the goodness of God, or to his own frame, who raiseth his thoughts no higher.'
The sixth Sermon contains useful reflections on the sorrows and sufferings of good men. In the seventh, the Doctor compares youth and advanced age, and points out their several advantages and disadvantages. In the eighth, he considers the life of man, as it appears to the reflecting mind, in those parts of it which are past, and in those which are to come, and makes some very pertinent observations upon those different views of it.
In the ninth and tenth Sermons, the Doctor considers the principai reasons of the present constitution of human nature, To far as they are discoverable by us; his principal design is, to recommend industry and diligence in those labours, and in that sphere of action which our Maker hath allotted to us. In the
eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth Sermons, he treats, in a very pious and rational manner, of the sovereignty and glory of God.
The fifteenth Sermon is a very useful and judicious one. The subject of it is, the importance of laying down a certain plan for the conduct of life, and of fixed rules for the performance of its duties. After fully explaining the presept in his text, viz. to walk circumspectly, the Doctor proceeds to recommend it to his Readers by lome very just and weighty considerations.
But before we enter upon this head of Discourse, says he, I muft observe, that, perhaps, it may be alledged by some, that there is no such thing neceffary; cannot every man judge as things turn out to him upon particular occasions, without any previous rules? is there any thing easier? will not a good heart always incline to that which is right? and a little plain sense be ready to point that out to him? I answer, if there are men of such contirmed good affections, and good understanding in matters of religion, that the method now recommended can be of · no use to them, they have, indeed, nothing to do with it. But
if there are who nced helps, who are not io firmly established, or so happily guarded, in such case, I am persuaded, that this doing of things in a certain and fixed method, will be of service to them; and this will easily appear from the first argument I would offer to recommend it; which is taken from the amazing variety there is in our views and apprehensions of things. Are we not all, at least many of us, sensible that the same things, at different times, do appear in a very different light to us? Is there not too much of the uncertain and capricious in our imaginations ? Are not our fears and hopes, our delights and diversions, nay, our sense even with respect to the moral quality of some actions, apt to vary? Do we not find that things appear very different when the mind is gloomy and overwhelmed with melancholy, from what they do when it is easy and joyful? Will a man have the same sense of every thing, when in the cool morning he meditates in his closet, as he has when his (pirits are raised with wine? To apply this particularly to the prefent purpose, do not we find, that even with respect to the duties we are called to perform, and the appearances of and approaches to evil, there is a variety in our imaginations concerning things, and in our sense of them. In our most serious and retired hours, and to our most deliberate thoughts, things will appear offensive, wholly, or in a great measure, and yet, perhaps, when we get into the world, and our minds become elevated, that offence disappears, wholly, or in a great measure ; and we will then say and do things, which our more sober and deliberate thoughts would forbid as indecent, inexpedient, or,
perhaps, approaching to evil. So again, with respect to some religious exercises, the mind in its beft and most serious state, may think them very important, and apply with much diligence to the performance of them; and yet another temper and mood may come, through businefs or company, in which they will not appear to be of any fuch moment, and in which a negligent and hafty performance will fatisfy. Besides, to offer no more by way of illustration, who knows not how much the power of temptation biafles the judgment, and blinds the moral eye? who knows not how much partiality to ourselves leads us astray in judging? Now, if there is such a variety in our views and imaginations of things, if the mind is fo apt to be put out of its proper temper, and to be biaffed in judgment on particular occasions, is it not highly expedient and useful, that we should have certain rules and maxims laid down to ourselves, for the conduct of life; and that as little as may be, be left to the present imagination and hafty judgment ? Is it not our wiseft way, to form our judgments for the conduct of life, in the cooleft, most deliberate, and dispaffionate temper of our minds; and to pursue these judgments afterwards, when, especially in the hour of temptation the mind may be in danger of being biafled, of warping unhappily towards that which is wrong. Safer is it surely, to pursue a judgment deliberately formed, than a sudden motion, on which perhaps we have not opportunity to deliberate, and in which the understanding may be under the inAuence of a present unhappy prejudice.
• In the second place, by laying down to ourselves, and steadily pursuing, such rules, the business and duties of the Christian life will be more successfully performed. For the illustration of this, let us suppose that a person has deliberated with himself carefully, and judged what is fit for him to give in charity, for a certain time, be it a month or a year. In this he endeavours to judge impartially, without giving way to a narrow covetous temper, on the one hand, or to undistinguishing and indiscreet profuseness, on the other. When he has devoted such a part of his substance as he deliberately judges he can spare, will he not be better prepared to perform those charitable offices, than another who does not walk by any such rule? In the latter case, when a man has no land-mark to guide bim, a covetous temper may magnify what he gives, or has given, in his own imagination, and, on particular occasions, may too much contract his fpirit. On the other hand, if his temper is culpably generous, he may without attending to it, give what be cannot spare with justice to the world, his dependents, and himself. Surely these inconveniencies which on both hands are obvious, are best prevented by a man's conducting himself by 2
certain rule. Just so with respect to secret devotion, or that of families, with respect to reading and meditation; if a person has no stated times for these services, which you will allow me to say are very important, and walks by no rule with respect to them, but gives to them, now and then a little time, as he can moft easily spare it; he will undoubtedly find great inconveni. ences in this negligence, and himself in danger of being imposed upon by it. Men are generally apt enough to tire of these exercises ; and their imagination to represent a little time fo employed, as a great deal ; so that every little avocation will be enough to interrupt them, or to divert the mind entirely from them, for that time. According to the old observation, what a man can do at any time, he is apt to neglect altogether; so that if men have not some stated seasons for conversing with their Maker, that business will probably be entirely neglected. But though men do not negle&t it altogether, yet if they walk by no rule or measure, they are apt to be too halty in it, and not to allow tiine enough, that deliberate contemplations of the Divine Being, and solemn addresses to him, may make such impressions on the mind as are necessary to answer the declared ends of all devotion. There is a wide difference, as experience shews, between uttering hastily a few sentences in the presence of God, without preparation of mind, without care and attention, and such a composed deliberate application of the powers as will give opportunity to the noblest of all sentiments to possess the soul, and affect the heart-A wide difference between praying in some fort, and doing it in the manner that tends to fill the mind with admiration and love, with gratitude and duty, with pleasing trust and confidence! Now, if men are in danger of trifling in such services, is it not highly expédient that they should have some rule, or measure, to guide themfelves by? A man's ftate and circumstances in the world are fuch, that they allow him to spend such a portion of time in ferious meditation, and converse with his Maker, he sees he can redeem so much time from his worldly bufiness, without any loss to him, should he not then resolve on employing it, be it less or more, in these services, and regularly to apply himself to them, as the stated season returns, without suffering himself to be drawn away by any avocations but what are unavoidable? I am fully persuaded, that walking thus by rule, would be found exceeding falutary and profitable. There will be a very perceivable difference between the effect that such a stated and deliberate application of the mind to devotion, as a part of the conItant business of life will have upon it, and that of a few hafty ejaculations, with which fome, perhaps many, are apt to satisfy themselves.--I have been the more particular in this, because it should seem that nothing is a means of preserving the mind in a
good good temper, and of making religion prevalent in it, equal to frequent deliberate converse with our Creator, in stated seasons frequently returning. And I am persuaded there never was, nor will be, a case in which men so applied themselves, but that they found their account in it. So likewise in many other refpeéts, we shall find our time best improved, and our business in life best performed, if in all things, as far as it can be done without a ridiculous ftiffness, we proceed by rule.'
The sixteenth Sermon contains practical reflections on the Divine Omnipresence. In the seventeenth, the Doctor shews, that the fense of right is the standard by which we must judge of the character, and conduct, of all moral agents; even of the Supreme. In the eighteenth, he discourses from these words Jesus faith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that fent me, and to finish his work.
We have now given a short account of the contents of these two volumes, and cannot conclude this article without recommending them to the attentive perusal of such of our Readers as look upon religious subjects to be of all others the moft important. Those whose supreme ambition it is to cultivate good difpofitions, to improve in virtue, and to reach the true dignity and highest perfection of their natures, will receive great advantage from them. Few Writers appear to have thought more, or more justly, upon religious subjects, than Dr. Duchal; and tho'many surpass him in elegance and sprightliness of composition, there are none who seem to have had a stronger sense of the importance of religious truths, or who have reprelented them in a manner better adapted to impress the minds of serious and rational Christians.
For our account of a former volume of Sermons by this Author, see Review, vol. VIIl. p. 23.
An Enquiry into the Structure of the human Body, relative to its
supposed Influence on the Morals of Mankind. By Charles Col. Tignon, M. D. Professor of Anatomy at Cambridge. 8vo.
Printed at Cambridge, fold by Beecroft, and Dodley, in London.
HE good design of this ingenious and learned, though
sometimes declamatory, performance, is to discuss, and, in effect, to defeat, that excuse for, or rather justification of, our vices, which so many are willing to conclude inevitable, from their very conftitution. Or, in our Author's own words, to en: quire how far (the natural structure of the body considered) man may still be free; free from the greatest tyranny, that of