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trate the truths, and inculcate more of his auditory. That this the duties of Christianity! Mount should have been the case, will Sinai seemed to thunder from his not probably appear surprising to lips, when he denounced the those who attentively peruse the tremendous curses of the law, volumes of his printed discoursand sounded the dreadful alarm es, and reflect that the selection to guilty, secure, impenitent sin- was made, after his death, from ners. The solemn scenes of the such as he ordinarily preached. last judgment seemed to rise in The world is in possession of a view, when he arraigned, tried, great variety of excellent and inand convicted self-deceivers and valuable sermons. Yet, if aptiformal hypocrites. And how tude to accomplish the great ends did the balm of Gilead distil from for which sermons are needed, his lips, when he exbibited a be considered as the standard of bleeding, dying Saviour to sinful merit, few extant are superior to mortals, as a sovereign remedy those of President Davies. for the wounded heart, and an
Their chief and prominent guished conscience! In a word, excellence is doubtless this : whatever subject he undertook, that they abound in clear, forcipersuasive eloquence dwelt upon ble and affecting delineations of his tongue; and his audience the distinguishing doctrines of was all attention. He spoke as the gospel. The utter depravion the borders of eternity, and ty and impotence of man; the as viewing the glories and ter- sovereignly free grace of Jehorors of the unseen world ; and vah ; the divinity of Christ; the conveyed the most grand and af- atonement in his blood; justififecting ideas of these important cation through his righteousrealities."
ness; regeneration and sanctifiThough to some, this descrip- cation by the Holy Spirit; these tion may seem like the partial, were his favourite themes. On undistinguishing panegyric of a these he never ceased to insist friend, there is much reason to and expatiate. He viewed these rely on its truth and accuracy. doctrines as constituting the There are those still living, who essence of the Christian scheme; repeatedly heard Mr. Davies the grand support of vital and preach, and who speak of his practical religion. 'He considerpublic performances as combin- ed their intelligent and cordial ing a solemnity, a pathos and an- reception as of the highest imimation truly wonderful, such as portance; and viewed every atseemed directly to result from a tempt to subvert and explain lively sense of a present Deity, them away, as equally hostile to together with a most tender, fers the truth of God, and the best yent benevolence to the souls of interests of men. On these men. The effects were in some points, he was uniformly explimeasure answerable. It is said, cit, decided, and strenuous. that he seldom preached, without Suill he defended the truth, producing some visible emotions and even repelled those errors, in great numbers present; and which he viewed most dangerseldom, without some saving ous, in the spirit of love and impressions being left on one or meekness. None could be more distant from pressing unhallow- upon the bruised reed, and upon ed human passion into the ser- the spiritually whole and sick, vice of God. In his sermons, abound with discriminating reve find none of those asperities marks on character, and with by which religion has too often consolations for the weakest, the been dishonoured. Truth ap- most dejected and trembling bepears in an attitude and aspect, liever. not only majestic, but graceful It is no small recommendaand attractive.
tion of the sermons of Mr. DaEven in his most pungent and vies, that, while intelligible to awakening addresses to the un: the meanest capacities, they are converted, the spirit of benevo: calculated to gratify persons of lence and compassion is obvious the greatest knowledge and rely predominant. Perhaps there finement, They abound with are no sermons, which depict, in striking thoughts, with the beaumore striking and awful colours, ties and elegancies of expres, the guilt, the wretchedness and sion, and with the richest imdanger of the impenitent. Yet, agery. Some fastidious critics who does not see, that a tender, may perhaps object to his style, trembling concern for their best aş forid and ornamented in the interests prompts and pervades extreme. But it should be re, the whole? And where is the membered that nature made hiin sinner, who can refrain from a poet ; and that a brilliant imtaking the preacher's partagination, operating on a warm against himself?
heart, familiarized him to forms These sermons contain fre- of expression, which, in others, quent descriptions of the nature might seem unnatural and afand evidences of real religion. fected. On the whole, it may They exhibit it as commencing be properly remarked, that his in repentance and faith, as con- style, though rich and entertinued by a course of mortifica- taining, is rather a dangerous tion and self-denial, and as man- model for imitation. Young ifesting itself by substantial fruits preachers, by following it too of holiness and yirtue. So lu- closely, might be betrayed into a minous and striking are these manner ill suited to their ge. delineations, and so accurately nius. Let them study to resem: do they distinguish genuine re: ble President Davies in his pieligion, both from its opposites ty, his zeal, his fidelity in exand counterfeits, that it seems ploring and
communicating Scarcely possible that any one truth ; but let them not be toa should attentively peruse them, emulous of soaring upon the and yet remain ignorant of his wing of his vigorous and excurreal state. His discourses upon sive imagination. the poor and contrije in spirit,
ON THE IMPRECATIONS IN THE SCRIPTURES.
When a passage, in the orig. apostle hath said, Bless them thar inal language of the Scripture, curse you. may be fairly translated two 2. To imprecate wrath against ways, it will hardly be denied, enemies does not appear to cointhat we ought to adopt that trans, cide with other parts of David's lation, which is attended with conduct. In Psal. xxxv. 12, &c. fewest difficulties.
the psalmist is represented as The writer of these remarks being very deeply afflicted, when pretends to no critical knowledge his enemies were in distress. of the Hebrew language, but be- Christ, on the cross, prayed, not lieves it to be generally conced- that his enemies might be dea ed, as it is by bishop Horne and stroyed, but forgiven. Stephen, Mr. Scott, that those passages in in the agonies of death, preferred Psalms, 69, 109, and 137, a similar request. which are rendered, by our trans- The language of imprecation lators, as imprecations of tem- and cursing does not seem to poral and spiritual judgments, on have been common to saints. the writer's enemies, are capable Jeremiah did, indeed, use it in of being translated, as if they the 20th chapter of his prophecy. were a prediction.
His words, at that time, as well The latter supposition is at. as those of Moses on a particular tended with no very important occasion, give humiliating proof difficulties. The greatest diffi- of the power of corruption, even culty, which presents itself, is, in God's children. They are that the psalmist should be sup- not to be imitated. posed certainly to know the des- But you imagine, perhaps, that tiny of his enemies. Once sup- benevolence may lead a man to pose him possessed of this knowl- imprecate present and eternal edge, and it is easy enough to misery on his enemies, on supconceive that he should commu- position that his enemies are the nicate it to others.
enemies of God. The difficulties attending the The crucifiers of Christ were opinion, that the psalmist prayed enemies to God by wicked works; for various temporal disasters to so were the murderers of Stedescend on his enemies and their phen, yet both were the objects connexions in this world, and for of intercession, and not of impre. their everlasting damnation, in cation. Those enemies of David, the world to come, are neither for whom great tenderness is few por trilling
expressed in the 35th psalm, 1. To pray for the destruction must have been of a similar of enemies appears not to savour character to those others, of of an evangelical temper. The whom he speaks in psalm 109. apostle's direction is, Bless, and Nay, there is an important sense curse not. A greater than the in which all unrenewed persons are enemies to God. Are we, offered, would not the Lord anon that account, to pray for their swer, Oughtest thou not to have eternal undoing?
compassion on thy fellow servant, But David's enemies deserved even as I have had pity ou thee? destruction. Ah, doubtless they Doubtless the saints will acdid. So does the writer of these knowledge the justice and holiremarks, and so do all his fellow ness of God in his treatment of sinners. Still he hopes, that reprobates. They now acknowlnone, through benevolence, de: edge his holiness in sending sire either his, or their reproba- dearths, earthquakes, tornadoes, tion.
and the pestilence, but they do But you proceed farther, and not pray for these judgments. say, the enemies of David were Who would not be surprised, incorrigible. Who knows this? should a pious believer, when emDavid himself could not know ployed in domestic worship, be it, saving from special revelation; heard to pray against his wicked and if such revelation were made neighbours, that the Almighty to bim, it removes the most would strike their houses with important objection against the lightning ; send sickness and opinion of Bishop Horne and Mr. want into their families ; bring Scott, who believe that the psalm- them all to an untimely grave, ist did not imprecate, but only and to the place appointed for foretel. If their destiny were the devil and his angels? revealed to him, it is not very
But it is said there are passa. surprising, that he should com: ges of Scripture, even in the New municate a knowledge of it to Testament, which would justify others.
such an intercession. Christ That the Scriptures do not said to the Scribes and Pharisees, commend impatience towards Fill up the measure of your the wicked, is very certain. God fathers. endures sinners with much long Is this a prayer? If it be, to suffering, and encourages his whom is it directed ? It is spokchildren to do the like. Many en ironically; and no persons, after enormous profliga- proves, that our blessed Lord, cy, have yet been the monuments who, in the last hours of his life, of grace. It would, indeed, be an prayed for his murderers, did extraordinary occurrence in the previously pray against them, Christian world, should any hum- than the words of Solomon, Reble saint, under a sense of his own joice, O young man, in thy youth, &c. unworthiness and the divine for- evince, in him, a design to pro. bearance towards himself, adopt mote rudeness and debauchery. the following language in relation To elucidate difficult passages to others," I have frequently pray, of sacred writ, by those which are ed that they might repent and plain, is safe and prudent; but to pitain salvation ; but as they still explain one obscure passage, by remain impenitent, and deserve others equally obscure, is by no wrath, I now pray, in opposition means satisfactory. to my former requests, that they
The 2d epistle to Timothy may not repeni, but be damned does, indeed, contain these words, forever.” Were such a prayer Alexander, the compersmith, did
me much evil. The Lord reward cations. If, therefore, they will, kim according to his worke. Is it as the learned observe, bear such so very certain, that St. Paul did, an interpretation, it can scarcely in these words, pray, that inis be a desirable object that they mechanic might experience the should not. But if they be, in eternal wrath of God, that this fact, imprecations, there is doubt. text will prove David to have im- less something relating to the precated such misery on his ens case, which we do not under emies? In the verse next but stand,
LEIGHTOX. one succeeding, the apostle informs Timothy, that, in his first defence, all men forsook him ; but subjoins, I pray God that it TNE PIETY OF ANCIENT PAGANS. may not be laid to their charge. It is an opinion of many emiz Did the apostle pray for the salt nent authors, that there is no na, vation of those, who forsook him, tion or race of men so barbarous and against the salvation of him and brutish, as to be utterly des; who withstood him? His own titute of all notions or impress tirulence against the gospel was sions respecting a supreme Beonce, it is probable, as great as ing. The accounts given of the Alexander's ; yet he obtained natives of New Holland, seem to mercy; and he was divinely contradict this opinion; for so taught to give this direction, far, as the English residents in In meekness instruct them who that country can discover, the oppose themselves, if God perada rude aboriginals of that seques; venture will give repentance to tered continent manifest the acknowledgment of the truth. ideas of a God. Without al
The seeming imprecation on tempting to prove or disprove Alexander is thus paraphrased by the justness of an opinion, the Dr. Doddridge : "I doubt not, precise theoretical correctness of but the Lord, who exercises a which it may not be easy to sets guardian care guy me as his tle, I would observe, that most faithful servant, will, sooner or savage nations have entertained later, reward him according to his some imperfect conceptions of a works. May it be an instructive supreme being or beings, who and merciful discipline to reform created the world, and continue rather than destroy him.”
to exercise some influence over “ All the ancients note,” says men and physical events. In, a learned commentator, “ that deed it is hard to believe that be. this is not an imprecation, but a ings, endowed with intellectual prediction becoming an apostle. powers, however feeble and uns Pseudo Justin, Chrysostom, cultivated, should see themselves, Theodoret, Ecumenius, Theo and every thing about them, un, phylact."
der the constant control of caus: Good people, it is thought, es beyond their reach, without a would find more pleasure and ed- strong impression, that there ification in reading such passa- must be a supreme, intelligent ges with a well grounded belief and all-powerful Agent, to which that they are predictions, than if the visible operations of nature they considered them as impre mast be ascribed.