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the mind, to improve the taste, and to meliorate the heart. By exhibiting goodness in an alluring, but practicable form; by presenting excellence ectually attained, with the various means and steps of its acquisition; it furnishes us with some of the best possible excitements to be what we ought to be.
"In one point of view, the delineation of eminent Christian characters appears peculiarly interesting. It af fords a striking evidence at once of the divinity of the Scriptures, and the transcendent excellence of the religion which they inculcate. The best vindication of this religion results from a display of its nature and genuine effects.
"With great propriety it has been remarked, that those lives which deserve most to be had in remembrance, are most easily recorded, and consist of fewest articles. The memorials of excellent and exemplary women therefore peculiarly worthy of atten. tion for the very reasons, for which they are sometimes undervalued. Though generally uniform in their tenor, barren of incident, and of course little calculated to gratify mere curiosity, yet these are the lives which afford the most solid and valuable instruction; instruction which comes home to the bosoms of all, and which peculiarly addresses us amid our humbler occupations and more retired
"The importance of women in every civilized society, their ascendence over the other sex, and influence in forming its character are generally confessed, but can scarce be adequate ly appreciated. If this influence extended only to the periods of infancy and childhood, it would be a most momentous affair; especially taken in connexion with the peculiar opportunities for its exertion. But it operates with even an increased force, in the succeeding stages, and ceases not, but with life....It is of incalculable importance that those, who thus give the tone of sentiments and manners to their species, should be themselves correct. Nor can a greater service be done to society, than to present them with models by which their own characters may with safety and advantage be formed. Vol. II. No. 1.
"The Memoirs of eminently pious women, by DR. GIBBONS, furnish much valuable instruction of this kind. Many of the characters exhibited are of the first order. Nor is it an unimportant circumstance to find eminent piety recommended, in so many instances, by the embellishments of genius, learning, and rank. Yet cer tain obvious infelicities attached to the work, seem much calculated to obstruct its circulation and usefulness. To remedy these infelicities, has been the aim of the editor of the present volume. He has connected the narrative, compressed the style, and, without omitting what seemed important, curtailed a variety of redundant and uninteresting matter. In a few instances, distinct and independent accounts of the same life have been incorporated; a change equally con ducive to conciseness and perspicu ity. In others, where the materials for profitable history were obviously scanty, it was deemed best to present, without ornament or circumlo cution, the few traits which could be collected. Such are the principal means, by which he has endeavoured to transfuse into a moderate duodecimo volume, the essence, of two copious octavos."
This volume, thus handsomely introduced by the editor, delineates the lives of the following persons, of distinguished rank and piety, viz.
Lady Jane Grey, Queen Cath. arine Parr, Jane Queen of Na varre, Mary Queen of G. Britain, Lady Mary Vere, Countess of Suffolk, Lady Mary Armyne, Lady Elizabeth Langham, Countess of Warwick, Lady Elizabeth Brooke, Miss Margaret Andrews, Lady Alice Lucy, Lady Margaret Houghton, Miss Ann Baynard, Lady Frances Hobart, Lady Catharine Courtew, Lady Cutts, Mrs. Anne Askewe, Mrs. Jane Ratcliffe, Mrs. Catharine Bretterg, Lady Rachel Russell, Mrs. Elizabeth Burnet, Mrs. Elizabeth Bury, Mrs. Elizabeth Rowe.
the original work by DR. GIB BONS. After attending to that, we are ready to bestow high encomiums on the abridgment, and on the judgment, taste, and pious design and diligence of its author. We shall attempt to recommend this work to the attention of the Christian public by pointing out some of the peculiar benefits, which it tends to produce, and which every careful, devout reader of it may hope to experience.
We have seen one volume of devotedness to the cause of God, and the same cheerful, unreserv ed acquiescence in his will. We see them all thinking, speaking and acting as children of the same Parent, disciples of the same Master, seekers of the saine country, and heirs of the same glory.
This book is a fit companion of our retired hours. It may with propriety be admitted into the closet, and used as an aid to pious meditation, and an excitement to devotion. Properly used, it would contribute much to the peculiar delight and advantage of religious retirement.
It happily displays the sameness of evangelical religion. Here we see that the diversity, which appears in the external circumstances of believers, does not al ter the nature of religion. That appears the same in the day of prosperity, and in the day of adversity; the same in the palace, in the prison, and on the scaffold. Here it is manifest, that true religion is the same in different ages. The greatest diversity in the customs and manners, and in the civil and literary advantages of different times makes no change in the essential features of true piety. It is pleasing and edifying to observe in all the characters here exhibited the same apprehension of God's glory, and of the hateful nature of sin; the same regard to the divine Redeemer; the same humility, self-loathing, and dependence on divine grace; the same
This volume clearly shows, that the most elevated condition of life, the most noble birth, shining talents, and honourable connexions, furnish no safeguard against calamity, but rather expose to trials unusually severe, and to sorrows deeper than mortals commonly feel. Who that reads the history of these exalted characters, and surveys the cares which oppressed, the dangers which threatened, and the grief which almost overwhelmed them, can envy their exalted situation ? At the same time we are here taught to admire the grace of God, which secures persons from the numerous temptations of high life, and enables them to persevere in well doing amid all the perils to which their piety is exposed.
The volume we are now recommending is calculated to promote humility. That such heights of knowledge and piety were attained by these excellent women; that they were so meek and lowly in circumstances, which tended to nourish their pride; so penitent, where sin is commonly overlooked; so strictly religious, where so many things encouraged dissipation; to see them so diligently using for God those talents and accomplishments, which others devote to the world, surpassing the common Christian as much in selfdenial and heavenly mindedness,
as in the trials of their condition; all this reproves our low attain ments, and should fill us with emotions of humble penitence.
But while it humbles, it encourages to pious resolution and diligence. How can we despond, or indulge in sloth, when we see that moral excellence is attainable, and that the most arduous duties are practicable? In the diaries of these pious women, the Christian has the peculiar advantage of observing their most pri vate reflections, and looking into their very hearts. Thus he finds that the spiritual trials, the inward struggles, the awful corruptions of heart, which often distress, and sometimes discourage him, have been the common lot of the saints. He learns that the excellent of the earth, those who have overcome the world and obtained a crown of glory, have experienced the very things, which now clog his devotion, interrupt his joy, and overcast his spiritual prospect. In this way he is led to admire the abounding grace of God, and is enliven ed in the work of religion.
Finally, these memoirs show us, how tranquil, how victorious the death of those, who live piously, and die in the Lord; and so im, press our minds with the desira bleness, as well as the solemnity of the time, when the believer will rest from his labour, and receive the endless rewards of redeeming grace,
This is a brief display of the advantages, which the serious, devout reader may derive from the memoirs of these eminently pious women. Such are the leading considerations, which recommend the volume to public notice. The style is easy, cor
rect, intelligible, and adapted to the subject. There is an observable sameness in many extracts from the private diaries of these worthy characters; but the sameness is not irksome to those, who love the amiable exercises of vital religion.
Familiar Letters to the Rev. JOHN SHERMAN, once pastor of a church in Mansfield, in particular reference to his late Anti-Trinitarian treastise. By DANIEL Dow, pastor of a church in Thompson, Connecticut.
It is very satisfactory to enlightened Christians to know, that evidences multiply in favour of revelation, as the sciences are improved, and human knowledge extended. Every traveller, who visits the rocks of Tyre, the cottages of Egypt, the plains of Babylon, or the hills of Jerusalem, "trodden down of the Gentiles," relates those facts, which establish the divine au thority of ancient prophecies. Improvements made in the an cient languages have also the same happy effects.
Men of unscriptural opinions observing these things, endeav our to pervert the same means to support their peculiar tenets, and favourite speculations. Their Lexicons, Hebrew and Greek, have new meanings; their Bi. bles must be tortured with new translations, and forced to teach new doctrines. That the Uni tarian may quote Scripture with tolerable consistency, some pas sages must be altered, some enlarged; others must be shorten: ed, and others entirely erased
from the book of God. By adding and blotting they greatly support their system.
Among these divines, it seems, Mr. Sherman was ambitious to shine; he, therefore, wrote a volume. To this the pamphlet before us is a reply.
The first letter is " to Mr. Sherman, concerning his authorship." It is, indeed, a "familiar” letter. The close is serious. "But let it be remembered," says Mr. Dow, "that to us it is infinitely important, that we so live, speak, and act, as that we may, eventually, have praise of God. Though it was not at all incumbent upon you, while you deemed truth so unessential, to write such a book as you did; yet I feel it incumbent upon me, who believe truth to be of everlasting consequence, to make a few plain, friendly remarks upon your performance."
him of his Deism in early life, of his change to orthodoxy, and of his change again to Unitarianism.
Letter 4th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning his mode of expounding the Scriptures." This letter is replete with pertinent matter. The substance of it follows.
Being desirous of raising a stately building, you began by laying at the foundation a preposition. However, the preposition not being fit for your purpose, in its present state, you found it necessary to square it with a new translation. You indeed
The second letter is "to Mr. Sherman, concerning his advanta ges for biblical criticism."
admit, that the preposition is some-
In this, he certainly does not
Letter 3d, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning the trammels of his education." In this, he reminds
ed sentiments. And in that case we may as well adopt the former as the latter. But the word of the Lord is settled in heaven."
Letter 5th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning his Rabbins."
Letter 6th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning the fruits of his doctrines." This letter demands the very serious attention of Unitarian ministers. We wish them to inform us, why God blesses orthodox preaching "by his own energizing Spirit, while they always dwell in a dry land;" why they have so few living Epistles to recommend them. Why their flocks "are like the mountains of Gilboa, on which was no rain nor dew."
Letter 7th, "To Mr. Shermen, concerning his catholicism." This deserves a serious perusal.
Letter 8th," To Mr. Sherman, concerning his present mode of defending the gospel."
Letter 9th," To Mr. Sherman, concerning Bible corruptions." This is useful, and shows a faithful attention to the subject.
Letter 10th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning mysteries," abounds with good sense, level to every capacity.
Letter 11th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning the Trinity," contains much important truth.
Letters 12, 13, and 14, respect the person, offices, and character of Christ, and present various evidences of his divinity.
Letter 15th, "To Mr. Sherman, concerning his exposition of particular passages.” This is really the most useful, and in some respects the best part of the book. In one column are passages of Scripture; in the other Mr. Sherman's exposition. But Mr. Dow has not quoted Mr. Sherman, verbatim, but
These letters we think calculated to do good, especially in the circle for which they were particularly designed. The style is generally correct, easy, and perspicuous. Considering the customary freedoms of neighbours, and how much Mr. Sherman had provoked disrespect by shifting and changing his sentiments once and again, had these letters not been intended for publication, little in them could be thought exceptionable; but when they are considered as written for the public eye, to instruct serious, inquiring minds on one of the most profound, and most essential doctrines of the gospel, they are evidently defi