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disobedience.' How shall I confess my transgression before thee; what numbers can reach; what words can adequately express them! 'My iniquities have increased over my head, and my transgressions have grown up unto Heaven.' O Lord, I esteem it a wonderful mercy that I have not long since been cut off in the midst of my sins, and been sent to hell before I had an opportunity or a heart to repent. Being assured from the word of God of thy gracious and merciful nature, and of thy willingness to pardon and accept penitent believing sinners on the ground of the blood and righteousness of thine own adorable Son, who died, 'the Just for the unjust, to bring them to God,' and that 'him that cometh to him he will in no wise cast out,' I do most humbly prostrate myself at the footstool of his cross, and through him enter into thy covenant. I disclaim all right to myself from henceforth; to my soul, my body, my time, my health, my reputation, my talents, or any thing that belongs to me. I confess myself to be the property of the glorious Redeemer, as one whom I humbly hope he has redeemed by his blood to be part of the first fruits of his creatures.'
“I do most cheerfully and cordially receive bim in all his offices, as my Priest, my Prophet, and my King. I dedicate myself to him, to serve, love, and trust in him as my life and my salvation to my life's end.
" I renounce the devil and all his works, the flesh, and the world, with heartfelt regret that I should have been enslaved by them so long. I do solemnly and deliberately take thee to be my full and satisfying good, and eternal portion in and through thine adorable Son the Redeemer, and by the assistance of the blessed Spirit of all grace, the third person in the triune God, whom I take to be my Sanctifier and Comforter to the end of time, and through a happy eternity, praying that the Holy Spirit may deign to take perpetual possession of my beart and fix his abode there.
“I do most solemnly devote and give up myself to the Fatber, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, agreeably to the terms of the Gospel covenant, and in humble expectation of the blessings it ascertains to sincere believers. I call thee to witness, O God ! the truth and reality of this surrender of all I have, and all I am, to thee; and, conscious of the unspeakable deceitfulness of my heart, I humbly and earnestly implore the influence of thy Spirit to enable me to stand stedfast in this covenant, as well as an interest in the blood of thy Son, that I may be forgiven in those instances (alas ! that such an idea should be possible,) in which I may, in any degree, swerve from it. “ Done this (20) day of May, 1809, seven o'clock in the evening, Leicester.
* ROBERT HALL." pp. 79, 80.
We have now exhibited Mr. Hall in various aspects, but we must give a specimen of his familiar conversation, his “table talk,” which was distinguished by great originality and vivacity; and which, had a Boswell been at hand, might have furnished an entertaining and instructive volume. The Rev. Mr. Balmer, of Berwick-upon-Tweed, has Boswellized three or four conversations, from which we copy the following passages. They are presumed not to be above his ordinary style in unbending with any literary and religious friend, and they are not equal to many of his occasional effusions.
“ On informning him, that I had been perplexed with doubts as to the extent of the death of Christ, and expressing a wish to know his opinion, he replied, “ There, sir, my sentiments give me the advantage of you ; for on that point I entertain no doubts whatever: I believe firmly in “ general redemption ;" I often preach it, and I consider the fact that “ Cbrist died for all men" as the only basis that can support the universal offer of the Gospel.'_ But you admit the doctrine of election, which necessarily implies limitation. Do you not think that election and particular redemption are inseparably connected ?'- I believe firmly,' he rejoined, in election, but I do not think it involves particular redemption; I consider the sacrifice of Christ as a remedy, not only adapted, but intended for all, and as placing all in a salvable state; as removing all barriers to their salvation, except such as arise from their own perversity and depravity. But God foresaw or knew that none would accept the remedy, merely of themselves, and therefore, by what may be regarded as a separate arrangement, he resolved to glorify his mercy, by effectually applying salvation to a certain number of our race, through the agency of his Holy Spirit. I apprehend, then, that the limiting clause implied in election, refers not to the purchase but to the application of redemption.'"
“In the course of our conversation respecting the extent of Christ's death, Mr. Hall expatiated at considerable length on the number and variety of the Scripture expressions, in which it seems to be either explicitly asserted or necessarily implied, that it was intended not for the elect exclusively, but for mankind generally, such as the world,' all,' 'all men,' every man,' &c. He made some striking remarks on the danger of twisting such expressions from their natural and obvious import, and on the absurdity of the interpretations put on them by some of the advocates of pai cular redemption. He mentioned, especially, the absurdity of explaining the woi John iii. 16, to signify the elect world, as the text would then teach that some of 1 elect may not believe. He noticed farther, that the doctrine of general redempti was not only asserted expressly in many texts, but presupposed in others, such • Destroy not with thy meat,' &c. and · Denying the Lord that bought them;' a that it was incorporated with other parts of the Christian system, particularly with t universal offers and invitation of the Gospel."
“ With regard to the question of · Terms of Communion,' we bad repeated conve sations. On this subject he spoke with uncommon interest and animation ; ai seemed surprised at the arguments of those who were opposed to his views. I reco lect, in particular, the effect produced on him, when I stated that I had heard D Lawson, of Selkirk, declare, that he would not admit a Roman Catholic, not eve Fenelon, or Pascal, to the table of the Lord : Mr. H., who had been previous reclining on three chairs, instantly raised himself on his elbow, and spoke without in termission and with great rapidity for nearly a quarter of an hour ; expatiating on th amazing absurdity and presumption of rejecting those whom Christ receives, and c refusing to hold communion on earth with those with whom we hope to associate i heaven. During all this time his manner was exceedingly vehement, his other arn was in continual motion, and his eyes, naturally most piercing, were lighted up wit] unusual brilliancy.
“ It was interesting and amusing to observe how Mr. Hall's exquisite sensibility to literary beauty, intermingled with, and qualified the operation of his principles and leanings, both as a Christian and Dissenter. Of this, I recollect various instances ; but shall give only one. While conversing respecting Archbishop Magee, his talents, sentiments, conduct, &c:, I quoted, as a proof of his high-church principles, a remark from a charge then newly published: it was to this effect: That the Roman Catholics have a church without a religion; the Dissenters have a religion without a church; but the Establishment has both a church and a religion. Mr. Hall had not heard the remark before, and was exceedingly struck with it. "That, sir,' he exclaimed, smiling, is a beautiful saying. I have not heard so fine an observation for a long time. It is admirable, sir.' You admire it, I presume, for its point, not for its truth. H I admire it, sir, for its plausibility and cleverness. It is false, and yet it seems to contain a mass of truth. It is an excellent stone for a churchman to pelt with.”
“ Balmer. May I ask, sir, what writers you would most recommend to a young minister? H. Why, sir, I feel very incompetent to give directions on that head; I can only say that I have learned far more from John Howe, than from any other author I ever read. There is an astonishing magnificence in his conceptions. He had not the same perception of the beautiful, as of the sublime ; and hence his endless subdivisions.' B. That was the fault of his age. H. In part, sir; but he has more of it than many of the writers of that period, than Barrow, for example, who was somewhat earlier. There was, I think, an innate inaptitude in Howe's mind for discerning minute graces and proprieties, and hence his sentences are often long and cumbersome. Still he was unquestionably the greatest of the Puritan divines.'
" After adverting to several of Howe's works, Mr. H. said, in reference to his • Blessedness of the Righteous :' “ Perhaps, Baxter's · Saint's Rest' is fitted to make a deeper impression on the majority of readers. Baxter enforces a particular idea with extraordinary clearness, force, and earnestness. His appeals to the conscience are irresistible. Howe, again, is distinguished by calmness, self-possession, majesty, and comprehensiveness; and for my own part, I decidedly prefer him to Baxter. I admire, exceedingly, his . Living Temple,' his sermon on the Redeemer's Tears,' &c.; but, in my opinion, the best thing he ever wrote, is bis defence of the sincerity of the Gospel offer. I refer to the treatise, called, the • Reconciliableness of God's Prescience of the Sins of Men, with his Counsels, Exhortations, and whatever other Means he used to prevent them' This I regard as the most profound, the most philosophical, and the most valuable of all Howe's writings."
“B. • Do you think highly of Dr. Owen?' H. •No, sir, by no means. Have you read much of Owen, sir; do you admire him?' B. • I have read his Preliminary Exercitations to his great work on the Hebrews; his exposition of particular verses here and there; his book on church government, and some of his smaller treatises. I do not greatly admire him, nor have I learned much from him.' H. • You astonish me, sir, by your patience. You have accomplished a Herculean undertaking in reading Owen's Preliminary Exercitations. To me he is intolerably heavy and prolix.'”
« « Pray, sir,' I said, do you admire Macknight as a commentator?' Yes, sir, he replied, I do, very much; I think it would be exceedingly difficult indeed to come after him in expounding the Apostolic Epistles. I admit, at the same time, that he bas grievous deficiencies : there is a lamentable want of spirituality and elevation about him. He never sets his foot in the other world if he can get a hole to step into in this; and he never gives a passage a meaning which would render it applicable · and useful in all ages, if he can find in it any local or temporary allusion. He makes
fearful havoc, sir, of the text on which you preached to-day. His exposition of it is inimitably absurd.' The text referred to was Ephesians i. 8. Wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence; and the wisdom and prudence' are explained by Macknight, not of the wisdom of God, as displayed in the scheme of redemption, but of the wisdom and prudence granted to the Apostles to enable them to discharge their office.
“ Mr. Hall repeatedly referred to Dr. - " (query, Chalmers ?) " and always in high admiration of his general character. The following are some remarks, respecting that extraordinary individual. • Pray, sir, did you ever know any man who had that singular faculty of repetition possessed by Dr. - ? Why, sir, he often reiterates the same thing ten or twelve times in the course of a few pages. Even Burke himself had not so much of that peculiarity. His mind resembles that optical instrument lately invented: what do you call it?' B. You mean, I presume, the kaleidoscope.' H. "Yes, sir, it is just as if thrown into a kaleidoscope. Every turn presents the object in a new and a beautiful form; but the object presented is still the same. Have you not been struck, sir, with the degree in which Dr. – possesses this faculty ? Do you not think, sir,' I replied, that he has either far too much of this faculty, or that he indulges it to a faulty excess ?' H. "Yes, sir, certainly: bis mind seems to move on hinges, not on wbeels. There is incessant motion, but no progress. When he was at Leicester, he preached a most admirable sermon, on the necessity of immediate repentance; but there were only two ideas in it, and on these bis mind revolved as on a pivot.'” pp. 118-122.
The following are specimens of table talk communicated by other friends. “ On the return of the Bourbons to France, in 1814, a gentleman called upon Mr. Hall, in the expectation that he would express himself in terms of the utmost delight on account of that signal event. Mr. Hall said, “ I am sorry for it, sir. The cause of knowledge, science, freedom, and pure religion, on the Continent, will be thrown back half a century; the intrigues of the Jesuits will be revived; and Popery will be resumed in France with all its mummery, but with no power, except the power of persecution.' This opinion was expressed about six weeks before the issuing of the Pope's bull for the revival of the order of Jesuits in Europe, 7th August, 1814.
" A few years afterwards, Mr. Hall, on an allusion being made to the battle of Waterloo, remarked, “I have scarcely thought of the unfulfilled prophecies, since that event. It overturned all the interpretations which had been previously advanced by those who had been thought sound theologians, and gave new energy to the Pope and the Jesuits, both of whom seemed rapidly coming to nothing, as the predictions seemed to teach. That battle, and its results, seemed to me to put back the clock of the world six degrees.”” p. 124.
“ On being asked if he had read the Life of Bishop Watson, then (in 1818) recently published, he replied that he had, and regretted it, as it had lowered his estimate of the bishop's character. Being asked, why? he expressed his reluctance to enlarge upon the subject; but added, Poor man, I pity him! He married public virtue in his early days, but seemed for ever afterwards to be quarrelling with his wife.'
“ He did not like Dr. Gill as an author. When Mr. Christmas Evans was in Bristol, he was talking to Mr. Hall about the Welch language, which he said was very copious and expressive. · How I wish, Mr. Hall, that Dr. Gill's works had been written in Welch.' "I wish they had, sir; I wish they had, with all my heart, for then I should never have read them. They are a continent of mud, sir.
" John Wesley having been mentioned, he said, " The most extraordinary thing about him was, that while he set all in motion, he was himself perfectly calm and phlegmatic: he was the quiescence of turbulence.' * “ He spoke of Whitfield as presenting a contrast in the mediocrity of his writings to the wonderful power of his preaching : of the latter there could be no doubt, however; but it was of a kind not to be represented in writing; it is impossible to paint eloquence."" p. 125.
From Cambridge Mr. Hall removed to Leicester; where, after recovering his health, he presided over a large and increasing congregation till the year 1826; when, in consequence of the death of Dr. Ryland, of Bristol (the son of his old preceptor at Northampton), he was induced to return to the scene of his early labours, where he remained till he was taken to a better world. During these years, his own religious advance. ment of character became conspicuous in the increasingly spiritual character of his discourses. In reference to these we need add nothing to the valuable specimens which appeared in our volume for 1831; to which our readers may turn back, as well as to various other papers in that volume, including our Review of several discourses published on occasion of his death, for such other memorials as are requisite to fill up the present brief sketch. It would be quite unnecessary for us, after these recent notices, to follow Dr. Gregory where he goes over the same ground; more especially as the outline we have just given will doubtless incite not a few of our readers to repair to Dr. Gregory's own interesting narrative ; where they will find, as well as in Mr. Foster's sketch of Mr. Hall's character as a preacher, much to instruct and gratify them. Of the volumes themselves, to which the memoir is subsidiary, we need say nothing ; unless, as before remarked, we should devote a future paper to the subject. It is enough to say, that they are the collected works of Robert Hall; the impress of that powerful, elegant, and devout mind which for so many years stood at the highest elevation of intellectual fame, and gave force to the most sacred strains of piety, clothed in the richest garb of more than classical eloquence. The majority of our readers are, doubtless, well acquainted with the more popular of Mr. Hall's publications; but in these volumes they will find treasures which few of them have yet surveyed; including memoirs, reviews, prefaces, letters, detached pamphlets, and above all, sermons; most of these last snatched from oblivion, and given to the world, by his admiring hearers.
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
WITHIN a few hours of the time from country, that God would be pleased to which we are writing, the first Reformed prosper its consultations to the glory of Parliament--so in name, may it prove so his name, the good of his church, and the in reality-will meet for the considera. safety, honour, and welfare of our sotion of some of the most important ques. vereign and bis dominions. tions which ever came under the delibera Among the subjects which must speedition of a legislative assembly. We are ly come before the notice of the great about to be governed, we may say (for council of the realm, we will only at whatever may be the popular complaints present refer to a few which more peof the power of the Crown or the Lords, culiarly call for the attentive consideration it is demonstrable that, so far from being of the religious part of the community, inordinate, it has become utterly unable more especially the clergy, and members to withstand for any long time, the viola- of the Established Church. Every Christions of the third order of the realm ; so tian patriot is indeed interested in all that that the prerogative both of legislation concerns the welfare of his beloved counand execution, has virtually merged into try, in every part of its arrangements, the fiat of the House of Commons, and domestic and foreign ; nor even in a rethat unto the fiat of the people,)- ligious view, will be of necessity conwe are therefore, we say, about to be sider all secular questions as beneath his governed by a representative body chosen notice ; for besides their general bearing by a far larger proportion of the public upon the national prosperity, they, in than ever had a voice before in select- almost every instance, involve consideraing the national representatives. If the tions of high moral and religious importmass of the electors have acted as be- ance. The regulation of courts of law come Christians and Britons, all will and justice, the extension or diminution be well; but knowing how much of a of parliamentary suffrage, voting by name wrong spirit has gone abroad in various or by ballot, the corn laws, free trade, quarters; what theories of spoliation and the Bank and East-India Company's subversion are extant; and how readily Charter, and other points of approaching even some well-meaning men are seduced discussion, though more immediately seby specious declaimers, it is not without cular questions, might all be easily shewn anxiety that any Christian can look to to be connected with matters which no this first great experiment of the results Christian of enlarged mind can look at of the new system of legislative suffrage. with indifference, even in regard to their Never was the crisis more solemn; and ultimate moral and spiritual bearings *. never did an assembly meet within the walls of St. Stephen's chapel, which more . An illustration of this occurs in the emphatically needed the prayers of every Report of the House-of-Commons Comfriend of religion, every lover of his mittee, on the question of the renewal of But our present remarks shall be con- subversion, that we desired reformation;" fined to points more directly within the and this not for the sake of upholding range of a religious publication, and re- “ secular interests," but in order that, by specting which it is very important that the Divine blessing, “ the glory of God Christian men should come to an early and the salvation of men might be inand decided understanding.
creasingly promoted :" in a word, that The first that presents itself to our church reform should be solely with a minds is the overwhelming topic of regard to religious efficiency. In reviewchurch reform, on which we have already ing therefore Dr. Dealtry's Charge, on written so much that we fear we might “ The Church and its Endowments," and repel many of our readers if we again in extracting some passages from a tract dilated upon it in a manner proportioned which had been recently published by the to its importance. We need only recapi. Society for promoting Christian Knowtulate what we have often urged in detail, ledge, on the scriptural sanction and pracespecially in our last volume; comprising tical value of a national religious estaour views under two heads : first, what a blishment, we endeavoured to guard proposed church reform ought to be ; and, against those systematic attacks which we secondly, what it ought not to be. foresaw were coming upon the church,
We will take the negative side first; not merely on account of what required for we lament to say that a spirit has amendment, but on account of what is gone abroad which threatens not the in itself excellent and scriptural. amendment of the church, but its extinc It is highly important, then, that the tion; and that this unholy flame has been friends of religion in the Established fanned by some of wbom we had hoped Church should keep distinctly in view better things, but who have suffered their what the projected changes ought not to radical politics to pervert their better be, as well as what they ought to be. judgment in matters of far higher than They ought not to be such as would mere political importance. If our readers subvert the Church of England as a will refer back to our Number for this national establishment, under the notion very month of last year, they will find us that church establishments are unscripstating (see p. 103), that as we had been tural; which is the special ground of sketching a plan of " cathedral reform," objection now urged by the Dissenters wbicb we considered “ample, practicable, of almost every denomination. We can and efficient, yet not one of spoliation, only repeat, what we have so often said, or revolution,” and as we were about to that though we believe it to be the duty propose " a very extensive system of of the friends of the Church to act honestly church reform in general,” to which we and boldly as regards Reform, advocating trusted the same epithets would be ap no abuse, and endeavouring to supply propriate, we were most anxious, “ consi every defect; yet that all their proceeddering the revolutionary spirit of the pre ings, whether by petitions to the Legissent times," “ to lay a solid basis for im. lature or otherwise, should recognize this provement, by shewing the security of the fundamental point, of the value and scripfoundation on which the whole structure tural sanction of a church establisbment, reposes." We added, that it was “pre- and the manifold blessings which, by the cisely because we felt intensely the im- mercy of God, we enjoy under our own. portance, necessity, and scriptural sanc And if on all former occasions we so tion of an established church, that we thought and so wrote, much more do we wished to see its breaches repaired :” it feel the necessity of so writing at the was“ because we dreaded and deprecated present moment ; for we lament to state
that, during the last year, the spirit of the East-India Company's Charter, where many, even of the better portion of the subject of the pilgrim tax in India is the Dissenting communions, has greatly touched upon. The committee refrain changed in regard to our venerated Church. from giving any opinion upon the question, We say it more in grief than in anger, on account of its being under the consi- grief, on account of our common Chrisderation of the proper authorities ; but tianity,—that, among too many of those even their silence is condemnatory, and Dissenters who adhere in the main to the much more so are the facts to which they same code of doctrine as their brethren of allude ; so that we cannot doubt that if the Establishment, there has been evinced the religious or let us say only the moral, of late a spirit of sectarianism, of bitterthe patriotic-members of the House of ness, of political partizanship-not to say Commons will keep their eye on the mat- of contemptuous triumph—which augurs ter, this foul blot will be speedily effaced, no spiritual good, either to them or to the and British coffers no longer be polluted friends of the Church; unless, indeed, it with the blood-stained exactions of the lead the latter to greater watchfulness over most cruel and licentious idolatry. Those their own spirit, that they do not imitate who understand little about a commercial so bad an example. Look at the conduct charter, may feel much, and do much for of some Dissenters, of Evangelical name, the abolition of the horrid rites of Jag- in regard to the late elections : see how gernaut.
strenuously they have exerted themselves