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of heart, to be content with any less 4. Would you be useful in your perfect standard than the example of day and generation, you must grow Christ, the dictates of the Spirit—the in grace. And who, that is born of whole law of God-holiness in all its God, would not desire to be useful ? parts. To grow, therefore, in grace You must then press forward. There is necessary to our Christian calling, is no such thing as being stationary, is an indispensable accompaniment of if you would benefit mankind. Nay, a state of salvation.
if you stand still, if you give up re3. Grow in grace, further, if you sistance to evil; you will not only would taste the consolations of re- fail to be useful to others, but you ligion. They are inseparably con- will decline yourself more and more. nected with it. To be spiritually If you mean to do good to the minded is life and peace. Progress church and the world, you must in religion, is progress in happiness. bring forth much fruit; so shall ye It gives a taste of purer pleasures be Christ's disciples, and so will your than the brightest images of human heavenly Father be glorified. You felicity have afforded the least inti: must seek to be decked and adorned mations of. As the heart becomes with the beauty of Christ, that you pure, it is capable of receiving the may attract sinners to him. Your satisfying happiness of religion. As purity of life, your patience under the vessel of the conscience is puri- sufferings, your moderation in earthfied, it becomes sacred; the Spirit of ly pursuits, your animated hope of God
pours into it the fullest tide of glory after death: these will be the blessedness. The backslidings of best means of infixing a conviction Christians are the cause of their in the minds of men that there is a misery. When we turn towards the reality in religion ; and, at least, will Sun of Righteousness, and seek produce the wish of Balaam, “Let brighter emanations of light and me die the death of the righteous, love from Him he will shine full and let my last end be like his.” into the heart, and will shed comfort And soon the realities of eternity and
peace there; God will give us to will be here. Every effort to do the drink of those rivers of pleasure which will of God, will then be recomare at his right hand for evermore. pensed in full measure. God will re
Look back on your past expe- ward every one in proportion to his rience. When did you walk in advances in piety. Those who have darkness, meditate terror, fear that advanced most in grace, will stand you were not a true Christian? When nearest to the Saviour. Let us covet you had forsaken God, when you a distinguished place among the had lost sight of Christian vigilance, mansions which Christ will assign. when you ceased to walk closely with For, behold, he cometh quickly, that God, when you followed lying va- he
every man according nities, and forsook your own mercies, to his work. Amen. when you ceased to pray. Then it (To be concluded in our next). was that you were entangled, then was the critical moment, then was the hour of successful temptation. If you would have the consolations of religion, the comfort of the Spirit, the presence of the Saviour, you must grow in grace—the Spirit of Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer. God cannot witness to a lie—you I have read with great interest, in must shut your ears against tempta- the Christian Observer of March, the tion, you must not follow the voice introduction to the Notes of Sermons of the seducer. If you would enjoy by the late Rev. Robert Hall. Havpeace of heart, you must walk hum- ing for nearly twenty years availed bly and closely with your God. myself of every opportunity which
OBSERVATIONS ON THE CHARACTER OP
THE LATE ROBERT HALL.
came within my power of hearing more solemn feeling than usual of his incomparable addresses on Divine the momentousness of the truths to truth, I feel a lively satisfaction in which he gave utterance. So far am the attempt to assign to him his just I from being able to enter into the rank and place, as a man, a Chris- idea of there having been any thing tian, a preacher of the Gospel, and resembling a school-boy's recitation, a conductor of public worship. I that, judging from my own impreswill not conceal that my interest is sions, I should rather compare Mr. greatly heightened by more than a Hall's addresses to the pouring forth suspicion, that, in the whole style of of a mighty bed of water struggling the observations referred to, I trace through a narrow pass, till its accuthe hand of one to whose own public mulations sweep every thing before instructions (whatever I may be in them. When he rose from the argudebted to them as an individual) I mentative and metaphysical parts of owe, as a clergyman, the most es- his discourses to matters touching sential assistance, as fixing in my the core of religion—such as the mind an elevated standard of public worth of the soul, the vanity of life, ministration, and an excitement to the immensity of eternal things, the its performance, both in the manner devastation of sin, the glories of reand spirit of its performance. demption, the sufficiency of the pro
As your respected correspondent mised influences of the Divine Spirit has arrived at some different con- -he displayed at once the inspiration clusions respecting Mr. Hall's preach- of the poet, the eloquence of the ing from those which have been formed orator, the solemnity of the man of in my own mind; and as every thing God, the copiousness of a mind that is interesting which relates to this had filled its urn at the fountain of extraordinary man—who was, to use Divine truth, and an unction of spirit his own forcible description of another, caught from the Father of lights, “one of those rare specimens of hu- and those invisible realities with which man nature which the great Author of he freely and permanently conversed. it produces at distant intervals, and I entirely concur with the suspicion exhibits for a moment, while he is of your correspondent, that the emhastening to make them up among ployment of taking notes may have his jewels ”-I beg to offer to you neutralized his own, otherwise unand your readers a few remarks, both questionably excellent, powers of disupon your correspondent's observa- crimination. tions, and upon the subject of them. 2. Your correspondent supposes
1. Your correspondent says, “ Mr. that Mr. Hall meditated and wrote Hall's discourse passes through the much previously to the delivery of mind of a stranger with very little his sermons, and that he delivered a impression.” “ It appears like the great part of them “ memoriter.”hurried recitation of a school-boy." From observation, and from know“ The consequence is, that the hearer ledge of his mind and habits derived is not struck at the time, or very from various quarters, I exceedingly faintly,” &c.—I confess that I am doubt the whole of this conjecture. able in no degree to accord with the There is no necessity for such a supopinion expressed in this passage. position. Robert Hall's mind was For my own part, I can say, with a always at work, and his habits in perfect recollection of the first sermon society, or in privacy, were emiI heard from this unique preacher, nently intellectual. Reasoning out that the effect of that sermon upon subjects of all kinds was to him a my mind was as that of enchantment: natural employment. He had acnor have I ever heard him on any quired, of course, a facility proporoccasion without the most riveted tioned to his habits and powers, of attention, and exquisite gratification, rapidly seizing the prominent feaunited, in most instances, with tures of every subject, and of distinctly classifying them. He was on, are all that is required for this also familiarly acquainted with the effort. We have all heard preachers word of God, the great storehouse of this class to weariness. There of the preacher. I can conceive no can be no question, among sensible reason, therefore, for supposing that people, that for ordinary men, and there was all the immediate labour in general for talented men also, for the pulpit which is assumed by whether the language and filling up your correspondent.
On the con- of their discourses be extempore or trary, I should judge that he pre- otherwise (I protest against the mepared little for the actual occasion ; moriter plan), the example of your that he wrote still less; and that correspondent himself—whom I take onemoriter he was not accustomed leave to denominate indisputably the to speak at all. It is generally un- most diligent and successful student derstood that the evening on which for the pulpit in our day—is far more he preached the funeral sermon for worthy of imitation than that of the Princess Charlotte he went to Mr. Hall, who ought to be followed his chapel unprepared for that in this respect by none but those who effort; and that it was on being in- are possessed of the same rare assemformed that a congregation had as- blage of qualities with himself; that sembled under the expectation of is, by not more than an individual in hearing him preach something suit- an age. I am not now speaking of able to the event, that he delivered what may be the peculiar gifts of the sermon afterwards printed, which, the Holy Spirit in any particular inalthough it may not be one of his stance: that is a question quite dismost powerful discourses, abounds tinct : I refer only to ordinary enwith passages of great splendour, and dowments, and the use which God is altogether sufficient to prove that is pleased to make of the faculties he had no occasion to resort to the which he bestows. slavery of“ memoriter" preaching. Having repeatedly heard this His eminent metaphysical talents * Apollos of our own time, and having very early developed, and strength- on a few interesting occasions been ened by long habit ; his power of in his society, it may not be uninabstracting his thoughts from sur- teresting and unedifying, especially rounding objects, referred to by your to younger students for the sacred correspondent, and which probably ministry, to refer to some of the prohe carried with him into the pulpit ; minent excellencies which he exhihis well-furnished and ready me- ,bited, and to some of those blemishes mory; his knowledge of Scripture; which took their root and found their his rich, excursive, and singularly nourishment in the very qualities we elegant powers of imagination; the so much admire. We may learn great reality which his subject ever even here to cease from man." was to him; and the perfect freedom 1. Child-like devotion appeared in which he stood from the solicitude conspicuous in this eminent indiviof applause, or the fear of censure; dual.—Of uninspired and extempore all qualified him to become an ex- prayers, I must say that I never tempore preacher in the strictest heard such as proceeded from his use of the phrase. An extempore lips. If in preaching he appeared preacher in this sense, only a man an angel in vigorous intellect and like Mr. Hall can become : no other knowledge of Divine mysteries, in person should attempt it. Nothing prayer he appeared an angel in hucan be more mistaken than the idea mility, covering his face before the that fluency, and the power of going Eternal Throne. It was the prostra
tion of a creature sensible of the The most intimate friend he ever had gulf which separates finite from informed me that at ten years of age he read, for his own gratification, “ Edwards Infinite, dependent from independent on the Freedom of the Will."
being; a prostration of soul augmented by the penitence of a re- to be dazzled with the reflection of deemed sinner. It was the confiding his beams as they play from the approach of a child restored to his ocean beneath. The natural vice of father's arms. It was the clinging such a mind is pride, not vanity ; of weakness to Omnipotence. It confidence in itself, rather than the was the fervency of craving want, overvaluation of foreign opinions. of a spirit thirsting for its proper
3. The constant effort to be usegood. Its prominent characteristic ful, which appeared in his preaching, was reverential, filial simplicity. deserves to be noticed.
He had a The metaphysician, the orator, the highly metaphysical mind. Arguman of information and brilliancy, ment, reasoning out a subject, seemed were never forced upon the atten- to place him in his natural element; tion: the creature, the penitent, the most elaborate train of thought the child, the believer, were all we flowing with a facility inconceivable could discover. The intimate friend except to those who have again and to whom I have alluded most justly again listened to his most perfect remarked to me once, “ You never specimens of acute and logical ratiohear a sparkling thought from him in cination. But to what purpose did prayer.
he apply this power of profoundly 2. Insensibility to his own great and accurately demonstrating truth? powers was remarkable in him. I To the discomfiture of the infidel, the have understood that he frequently overthrow of Socinian subtlety, the expressed surprise that people
should establishment of the essential vericrowd to hear him;-language in his ties of the Gospel, the vindication of lips the most remote from affectation religion as the only medium of hapof a feeling he did not possess. He piness, the proof that sin is indissoappeared to feel no complacency in lubly connected with misery and dehis popularity, and was much more gradation. His efforts were triumhappy among his poor people at Lei- phant. By the force, not of abusive cester, than amidst the suffocating language, but of irresistible proof, throngs of London, Clapham, or he literally trampled his adversaries Cambridge. This insensibility to a in the mire; assailing them first with vice so common as the desire of the power of reason, and then, with popularity resulted from the union an extraordinary sequel of irony, of two causes,—the eminence of putting their conclusions into a light his Christian character and attain which shewed them to be as absurd ments, and the natural greatness of as they had been previously proved his mind. The former is an obvious to be unfounded. But from the cause; the latter, in connexion with metaphysical to the practical, and it, is no inconsiderable assistance to what suited the humblest mind, to such an indifference. To a mind was an easy return to him. I never like that of Mr. Hall, the horizon heard him preach an argumentainconceivably widens;
tive sermon that did not issue in a “ Hills peep o'er hills, and alps o'er alps Gospel manner. I have in my recolarise :"
lection, as an instance, a sermon, the possibilities of knowledge are ex- which he preached about seven years tended, the difficulties of subject mul- ago on
** demoniacal agency."
It tiplied, the sources of humility deep- was a course of severe and laboured ened, the sense of abstract excellence reasoning. The argument was conquickened: the comparison of its own clusive: he dismissed a variety of flight is with the infinite abyss into Socinian glosses in a manner the most which it plunges, and not with the complete and satisfactory. But his kite-high_ascent of surrounding conclusion to this appeal to the inminds. The eye of the eagle which tellect was one of the most awful soars to gaze upon the sun, is not applications of usefulness possible, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 354.
It was like the applications of Dwight piece. “No, sir,” Mr. Hall energeti(who had a mind much more of Hall's cally said; "he ought to have been class than Dr. Chalmers), splendid, prostrate at the Redeemer's feet *." holy, practical. I took no notes of One of the blemishes of this sinthe sermon, but I have a perfect re- gularly endowed man appears to have collection of his energetic description been a tendency to extravagance of of the great contest waging in the sentiment. This probably arose from universe between God and the spirit the ardour of his character and the of evil; a contest in which the inha. generosity of his disposition, which bitants of the invisible world took the often presented objects to him in an most lively interest, and a part on unnatural size. His note upon the one side or the other, while the lamented Mr. Spencer, appended to soul of man, of every individual be- his great sermon on the Christian fore him, was the prize contended Ministry, is an instance of this kind. for. Then followed the exhibition Without detracting from the merits of Gospel mercies and the glory or promise of Mr. Spencer, it was of the Cross, concluded with the un- surely too much to say, on mere fettered offer of pardon, grace, help, report, that a youth of twenty, had and eternal life to all present. The he lived, “would probably have effect was electrical,
carried the talent of preaching to a 4. The splendour of this extra- greater perfection than it had ever ordinary man's conversation is, of reached in this kingdom.” The sequel course, familiar to all who knew him. of this eulogium is no less exorbitant. When he engaged in discussion, The sermon on the Princess Charlotte, which he frequently did, he dis- also, has a mixture of the same explayed the same ability which dis- travagance, arising from the dispotinguished his pulpit exhibitions, sition to magnify objects viewed and the same power of overwhelm- under the excitement of feeling; ing an adversaryHis conversation while the great powers of his mind also displayed great originality: he replied with facility to the warmth could not say a common thing in a of his heart in furnishing arguments common way; or, rather, common agreeable to his generous emotion, ideas lost in his mind their grega- and in diminishing the force of conrious character by some original tending or neutralizing evidence. association. Mr. H. had been to see Another fault natural to Mr. Hall, York cathedral. It was not, as he was, perhaps, a too great readiness described it, “a venerable, majestic, to yield to the metaphysical turn of solemn, awful” building : that his mind; and which he permitted would have been the common-place in some instances (not in public, form of the idea : his was, “ The that I am aware,) to lead him to place would sober a Bacchanalian.” argue ably and brilliantly, but falHe made a remark, when he first laciously, on the wrong side of the saw the monument erected to the subjects under consideration. I late Mr. Robinson of Leicester, which remember an instance of this kind, intimated at once his delicate sense in which he maintained the position of propriety, his apprehension of the he had taken, most splendidly, Saviour's glory, and his judgment of against the late Mr. Owen and two the honour conferred on those who are called to preach the everlasting * Even during his well-known aberGospel. Mr. Robinson is represented ration of mind he is stated to have often
uttered remarks of extraordinary force in a standing posture, receiving the and brilliancy. His incoherent ideas were Bible from the Saviour's hands.
not common-place. Thus, suffering under The friend who was with him (my an intense pain in the head, he was heard informant, if my memory is correct),
to exclaim,“ Gabriel, you have bound expressed his admiration of the
this crown too tightly around my brows; it presses me to agony."