And, among prose writers, Hume wrote his History over three times, before he sent it to the press. The immortal work of Gibbon was the labor of seven years. Dr. Blair is said to have given a week to his shortest sermon. Butler was thirty years in composing his Analogy.

But we forbear farther criticisms of this sort. An extract or two from the several volumes must be permitted to enrich our pages, before we close this article. The following burst of sublimity is not excelled in any language.


"First Cause! The Good! Almighty! Thou!
The Dread, Mysterious, Alone!

The rightful King, the wondrous Now!
The Past, the Future, the Unknown.

Thou art!-O Thou! the formless years
Of an eternity are thine;

Thy Essence, One, Triune, appears,—
All time, all space, with Thee combine.
Though terrors shroud, O Thou! thy way,
Though thunders dwell beneath thy feet,
Thy glory beams, with kindly ray,
Around the blessed mercy seat.

Help me, O Thou!-'tis Thou alone,
Canst touch my lips with living fire;
Though frail, I would approach thy throne;
Though dust, would reach an angel's lyre.

Yet help me, Sovereign! and control

Thy subject's wish and thought to Thee!
And oh, accept the contrite soul,-

The offering dear to Deity."

As a specimen of Mr. T.'s manner of turning every thing to some account, as a poet, and of the lovely religious air which often clothes his articles, the spontaneous effect of his piety of heart, we add the following:

[blocks in formation]

And with their many-voiced perfumes
Tell where to-day I've strayed.

And so the soul that seeks delight
In interview with God,

And hath his garden of sweet spice,
Myrrh, aloes, cassia, trod ;—

Will find, wherever he may go,

That fragrance with him stay;

And heaven still lingering on his steps,—
More odorous than May."

We will intrude upon the patience of our readers only one more extract. It is marked by so elevated and evangelical a spirit, is so simple and natural in its structure and thought, and presents so fine an example of the tact and piquancy of the author's manner, that we should scarcely do him justice, were we to omit it, unless some kindred specimen, of which, in his four volumes we could find many more, were to stand in its place. It has reference to the Rev. Samuel H. Stearns, late pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, a young man of great promise, who went to Europe in pursuit of health; but died at Paris, and his remains were brought home for interment in Mount Auburn.

"Room in Mount Auburn!-for the traveller room!
Who comes from pilgrimage to seek a tomb.
Where throng the wise, the gifted, holy dead,
The greatly wept for, he should lay his head.

And the same spotless robe that winter throws
On these, should wrap him in a kind repose.

The same sweet warblings when the small birds grieve,
The same fair flowers that early May will weave,
Shall be for him,-none nobler, purer, rest

Until the resurrection of the blest.

Room! Room! for him, who, seeking distant Seine,
Discovered rivers fringed with heavenly green;
Who went for life and gained it,-yielding breath,
Life, everlasting Life, he found in death."




1. The Great Awakening. A History of the Revival of Religion in the time of Edwards and Whitefield. By JOSEPH TRACY. Boston. Tappan and Dennet. 1842. pp. 433, large 12mo.

We expected to have been able to give, in the present number of the Review, an extended article on this valuable work. In the absence of such an article, we must content ourselves with the brief notice which our limits will permit. The period and the phase of the ecclesiastical history of New England here presented to us, is the most interesting that could be portrayed. It is second in value and importance to no other, unless it be to the history of the events which led to the founding of the New England colonies, and their early progress in religion and literature. The aspect of religious affairs was wholly changed by the events narrated. A more rigid test of church-membership was introduced, and more evangelical views concerning the nature of spiritual religion were propagated and entertained, as a result of the wonderful work of grace which then prevailed. The influence of that revival has never been wholly extinguished. We trust it never will be. We hail with pleasure this attempt to restore the traces of it which, in the interval, have partially faded. Mr. Tracy found abundant materials for his work. Among these Mr. Prince's "Christian History" was the chief. Besides this, were Whitefield's own account of his life, his journals and letters, Edwards's "Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in New England in 1740," and about one hundred pamphlets, published during the revival, or soon after. The work furnishes a very full account of the life, labors, and successes of Whitefield, the character and influence of Davenport, the peculiar characteristics of the revival, the means of its promotion, the style of preaching which was most useful, and the influences which, in any instances, retarded or corrupted the work. By means of notes and journals, written at the time of the excitement, the reader is made, as much as possible, to live, as it were, in the period to which the history alludes. The book is enriched by portraits of Whitefield, Gilbert Tennent, and Sewall. We are glad to learn that within three months from its appearance, it has reached a second edition. As a companion to Sprague's excellent "Lectures on Revivals," we regard it as a very important addition to our ministerial libraries. It needs to be read, especially by young and inexperienced ministers, with such an associate; lest the errors of the last century should be revived in this, and with far more disastrous consequences. The revival of which we here have an account, makes it evident that, while in some things the character of the age was stamped upon the work, and, in another age some of the characteristics of the revival of that age would not re-appear, yet the work was by the same Spirit, on minds similarly constructed, through similar instruments, and accompanied by kindred results.

2. History of the Great Reformation of the sixteenth century in Germany, Switzerland, &c. By J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE. Vol. III. New York. Robert Carter. 1842. pp. 504, 12mo.

This third volume of D'Aubigné's great work fully sustains his wellearned reputation. The expectations of those who read with interest. his two former volumes are abundantly met. By the examination of original documents in the library of Paris, and in the library of the conclave of pastors of Neufchatel, he has been enabled to introduce into his history many new facts. The work is entertaining and instructive; at the same time fitted to be read, in course, with lively interest, and afterwards to be used for frequent consultation, as a vast repository of facts, belonging to, and illustrative of, the period which it describes.

3. Theopneusty, or the Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. By S. R. L. GAUSSEN. Translated from the French, by Rev. E. N. Kirk. New York. J. S. Taylor and Co. 1842.

This subject is one of too high importance to be overrated. It lies at the basis of our evangelical faith. If the Scriptures are not strictly the word of God, our faith is without foundation. Whatever item of our creed is assailed, it is to this that we must flee for its confirmation. The work before us goes very thoroughly into the subject, and takes very sound views of it. M. Gaussen is associated with M. Merle D'Aubigné, in the Institution at Geneva; and that ancient stronghold of truth may well exult in the honor of holding two such able and efficient champions of the doctrines of the Reformation. Mr. Kirk has done well in presenting the ministry of our country with so acceptable a fruit of his foreign tour. If every professional American, visiting the continent of Europe, would furnish us, on his return, with so honorable a testimony to his "profiting" during his absence from home, we could more willingly consent to the interruption, for a season, of the pleasures of social intercourse. The temporary loss would be more than compensated by the permanent benefit. We beg leave to protest against this new word,-Theopneusty,-which, in the title of this work, has sought admission into the English language. We doubt its claim to a place. Although, etymologically considered, it describes the Author of inspiration, as well as the fact of it,-which our common term, "inspiration," does not,-yet by long usage in the sense of inspiration from God, our common word is to the ear of the public generally quite as expressive, and a great deal more intelligible. We are no enemies to the enrichment of our native tongue by any words which the necessities of theology, or of any art or profession may demand. But we believe that new words ought not to be coined, when we already have old and approved words, which bear precisely the same signification as the new ones.

4. The works of Jonathan Edwards, D. D., late President of Union College, with a Memoir of his Life and Character. By TRYON EDWARDS. In two vols. pp. 519, 556. Andover. Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell. 1842.

These are the works of President Edwards, commonly called, the younger. Some of them have already been among standard authorities

for many years. We refer particularly to his "Salvation of all men, strictly examined, in reply to the reasonings of Dr. Chauncey," and "A Dissertation concerning Liberty and Necessity, in reply to Dr. Samuel West." The present volumes contain these, with his other published works, and a considerable number of sermons, edited from his manuscripts. In his religious views and in the habit of his mind, the younger President Edwards followed in the steps of his celebrated father. There is an interesting parallel drawn between the father and son in the Christian Spectator for January, 1823. Dr. Emmons was accustomed to say that the senior president had more reason than his son; but the son was a better reasoner than his father. The writer before alluded to remarks: "We have said that, in our opinion, the first President Edwards was a greater man than the second; but if the father had higher powers of invention, the son was perhaps most dexterous and acute as a logician. If the former could dive deeper, and draw up more pearls from the bottom, he could not arrange them, when procured, with greater skill and advantage than the latter. If his eye was more excursive, it was not keener. If he could lift the telescope easier, we doubt whether he could manage the microscope quite so well." It is interesting to observe the marks of resemblance which existed in the father and the son; and to trace the influence of the former, in moulding the character of the latter. The second volume is entirely occupied by sermons, and essays written for the Theological Magazine. His style is formed on the model of his father's, plain and forcible. One of his sermons (Vol. 2, p. 124), which was preached as the annual Concio ad Clerum at Yale College in New Haven, Sept., 1792, on the Marriage of a Wife's Sister, is deserving of serious attention. Without affirming or denying the truth of his positions, we simply state that he decides that it is unlawful, according to the express revelation of God; and he sustains his position by a series of earnest reasoning. The volumes are in good type and handsomely bound.

5. Sermons and Sketches of Sermons, by the Rev. JOHN SUMMERFIELD, A. M., late a preacher in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church. With an Introduction by the Rev. THOMAS BOND, M. D. New York: Harpers, 1842. pp. 437. 8vo.

The public will easily remember how high promise of extensive usefulness was given a few years since, by this young clergyman. His extraordinary zeal and eloquence enchained his hearers, as if by some magic power. But he fell, an early victim to his severe and imprudent labors. We say severe labors; for although he did not preach from a manuscript, he was accustomed, after the delivery of a sermon, to return home and write it out in full. His studies were continued, even before he entered the ministry, sixteen hours a day,-from four in the morning till eight at night. He was of a frail body and delicate constitution. And though he commenced preaching before he reached the age of twenty years, yet he often preached five, seven, and even ten times in a week. In the first eighteen months of his ministry, he preached four hundred sermons, besides delivering addresses on various occasions. James Montgomery, the poet, after having examined a volume of his sermons in manuscript, remarked of them, "Though but studies, they are exceedingly methodical in plan; and in execution, they are distinguished chiefly by sound doctrine, exact judgment and severe absti

« VorigeDoorgaan »