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ORDINATIon discourses seldora fail to interest the hearers for whose particular benefit they are intended. The occasion naturally leads them to recur to past scenes, to recollect past instruce tions, and to view with anxiety and hope their opening prospects. There is indeed a combination of circumstances favourable to both the eloquence of the speaker and the feelings of the auditory. The sermon, however, which is the subject of our present remarks, independently of time, place, and incident, is an excellent performance. It is judicious and appropriate a rich in sentiment ; brilliant in remark; serious and evangelical. Yet it is not faultless. The learning of its author is sometimes unnecessarily displayed. Its method is not, as it ought to be, so lucid, as to be plainly perceived by the careful hearer without the aid of either promise or recapitulation. Its transitions are not easy ; its wit is obnoxious to misapprehension, and therefore may possibly exasperate ; and some of its similies are so confus. ed and so trite, as to serve neither for illustration nor embellishment; for then only, when sparingly an aptly used, are rhetorical figures “ like apples of gold in baskets of silver.”
The sermon is founded on Luke x. 18. After some general remarks, explanatory of the text, Dr. E. traces the progress of christianity in the world. He then ably describes the duty of its preach. ers, and indicates the various means by which their mission may be most successfully accomplished. With pointed satire and with holy zeal he combats the sneers and doubtings of the unbe. liever on the one hand ; and on the other he forcibly descants upbn the injuries, which pure christianity sustains from the false fervours of ignorant and fanatical exhorters, who mar the beauty of religion, who clothe that angel of peace in a demon's dress, and under the pretence of piety seek only a support in their idleness, and a cloak for those disorders of which they are the occasion. After exposing these opposite evils, and showing them to be extremely injurious to the progress of undefiled religion, he concludes with the usual addresses to the candidate and the church. To the first he is affectionate, to the last respectful. The charge by Rev. Dr. Lathrop is paternal and instructive ; and the right hand of fellowship by Rev. Dr. Kirkland contains hints on the exercise and display of christian charity, on which christians of every name would do well to meditate.
ART. 8. .4 discourse, delivered at ShringJield, Oct. 30, 1805. On occasion
of the completion and oftening of the great bridge over Connecti
cut river, between the towns of
Shringfield and West-Shringfield. By Josefth Lathroft, D. D. fiastor of the church in West-Shringfield. 2d edition. Springfield, (Mas.) H. Brewer, fift. 16.
The first object of this discourse is to exhibit the wisdom and benevolence of God in adapting the earth to the habitance of men. The author then shows it to have been the design of the Deity, notwithstanding what is done for us, that we should do something for ourselves. He lastly very happily uses the occasion for suggesting several reflexions of immense $mportance. He refreshes the
mind with proofs of God's existence. He displays the nature and duties of civil society. He shows the superiority of civilized to savage life. He remarks upon the necessity of subordination, labour, and union in a community, and of a firm and steady government to the prosperity of a people. He speaks of the advantages of divine revelation, and closes with a striking summary of the a priori arguments in favour of a future state.
for. Lathrop is a writer who is always filled with his subject, and who gives to every subject he touches a high degree of interest. His style is simple, perspicuous, and forcible. He communicates much matter in an easy manner, and performs more than he promises. We regret that so good a sermon, as the one we have des. cribed, should not be impressed on better paper and with a better type, and that its punctuation and orthography should be sadly inperfect.
progress of the discourse. The connexion of the text is well illustrated and applied ; the observations follow from it without labour or constraint.
Though the Female Asylum has been generally approved, still there are some benevolent and judicious men, who have been doubtful of its ultimate tendency, and have therefore been less unreserved in their commendations, than our author. We do not say that he has been immoderate in its praise ; but we suggest to his consideration, whether he has not expressed himself with too little caution, when he compares to the avarice and envy of Judas the motives of those persons “who may persist in condemning the design of this institution ?” The friends of the Asylum, however, have found in the preacher an eloquent advocate, and, but for the exceptions just mentioned, an enemy might almost be made a convert.
The word “reciprocity” is hardly admissible, and the phrase “empyrean heavens” is rather above the heads of common audiences.
We extract the following specimen of the writer's style and manner.
THE chief entertainment of an ordination sermon is to be found in the addresses at the close. The preceding matter resembles the half hour, which is spent in the drawing room before dinner : it is irksome ; but a good-natured and civil man, if he does not attend to it with delight, will endure it with patience, sensible that a half hour, “ though it may be tedious, cannot be long,” and that the feast, which is to follow, will compensate him for his mental fatigue. Mr. Porter is an entertainer who deserves our thanks ; for whilst he has interested and pleased us in the conclusion of his discourse, he is neither long nor dull in the introductory part. His text is, “Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is truth ;” and the two divisions of his subject are, “1. It is by means of truth, that God sanctifies mankind. 2. The word of God is the truth, by which this important purpose is effected.” The three extracts which follow
are favourable specimens of his mannel".
I will not assert, that the knowledge of the truth and the practice of righteousness are inseparably connected; and much less, that the latter is always in exact proportion to the former. But it is a fact, which I believe will not be denied, that they have been associated in a manner, which could not have been the result of accident. A history of the progress and state of religious knowledge, in the various ages and countries of the world, would be found a valuable index of their state of moral improvement.
To search the scriptures, in order to acquaint ourselves with their meaning, is our or. duty. When we engage in this employment, we must take with us our reason and conscience. These are essential to our understanding the written word of God. Without their light and aid, we cannot proceed a step in interpreting the sacred scriptures; but shall be led into errour and absurdity, by the first metaphor, or figurative expression that occurs.
The successor of a Mayhew and a Howard ought not to content himself with low attainments in knowledge and goodness. This fleck slave been accustomed to substantial food, and must not be fed with chaff. They will require knowledge and understanding ; or in other words, doctrines and precepts, founded on plain scripture and eommon sense.
The charge, by Professor Ware, is such as we should expect from the decent and correct mind of its author. It is destitute of ornament, and contains little novelty. But as ornament would be misplaced in an authoritative exhortation, and novelty could not be obtained, without deviating from the model which St. Paul has given, these circumstances, we think, entitle it, not to censure, but praise. In the following passage, Mr. Ware, without insisting on any doubtful qualifications, points out, in concise terms, the endowments, which a candidate for ordination ought to possess. We give it as a specimen, not only of his styler