Sidor som bilder

though possibly, were he now to appear among us just as he was when alive, soine of our more ordinary or less informed Christians might say a great many wakeful things to him about Missions and the distribution of the Bible, the circulation of Tracts and the Education of young men for the Christian ministry, and many other benevolent operations preparatory to the wider and more rapid spread of the gospel ; yet, compared with him, how little acquainted with the heart would almost any the more advanced and experienced Christians feel, on being introduced to his society, or privileged to attend on his ministry. We speak, of course, in general terms only, and we know there are exceptions; but to so great an extent are we the creatures of circumstance; and while our cirsumstances are favorable to the developement of all the activities of an enlarged and growing benevolence, but not so favorable to the cultivation of an acquaintance with the heart, bis were more favorable to the latter, and less to the former. No doubt the good man would be much obliged to us and not a liti le rejoiced at all we might tell him of what God is doing in our day; but why shall not we be equally glad to hear from him respecting a devout and holy and spiritual life. He is gone it is true, and cannot be benefited by us. But may we not by him ? Undoubtedly we may. Though dead, he yet speaketh ; and few speak so much to the purpose respecting Christian experience and the life of piety in the soul. Baxter is not less powerful in the appeals of reason to the conscience, and the sense of obligation in man, and Bunyan is not wanting in true penitence for sin ; but without the seeming legality of the one, or the real facetiousness of the other, Owen is right onward to the heart, with all seriousness and solemnity.* No one can read him, especially in the work now under considertion, without feeling that he is holding intercourse with a master spirit in things pertaining to God and holiness, and the way of salvation by Jesus Christ.

In an age, then, when the question, “Am I a Christian ?though one of the most important that can be asked, and one which used in practice to be thought much of, is wont to be ananswered, as we fear is too often the case, in a superficial manner, how valuable such a book! And in an age when the attention is so much turned- very benevolently and very laudably to be sure-but so much turned towards the duty of doing for others, how desirable that we should read such books as this of Owen! a book which shall lead us not to overlook ourselveslead us, indeed, to cultivate that genuine piety, without which, all these kind attentions to others will ere long fail, or spoil on our hands, like unsound goods. Not to supersede the Bible, or the judicious and well conducted paper or periodical, the perusalof such books is a meansof grace, a means of grace adınirably adapted, too, to the necessities of Christians of the present day; and perhaps it is one of the ends for which such good men as Owen and Baxter and Flavel and others of like character

* Dr. Owen was the son of Henry Owen, fifteenth great grandson of Lewis Owen of Kwyn, near Dollegelle, in North Wales, through his grand-daughter Susan, who married Humphrey Owen of the same family in another line. He was born at Stad. ham in Oxfordshire, England, 1616, and died at Ealing near London, August 24, 1683. He was a non-conformist, first a Presbyterian, but afterwards a congregationalist, a distinguished scholar and a more distinguisbed Christian.

, were call. ed to live in circumstanes adapted to lead to a more intimate acquaintance with the heart, that in this respect they might bless us, who seem to be all outward boun.l.' Let us not defraud them then of their reward.

But it is time that we give some account of the Spiritual Mindedness as abridged by Dr. Porter. From some remarks in the preface, the remote occasion, it would seem, which led him to undertake it, is to be traced to his childhood, and particularly to the impressions m:ide on his mind by the perusal of Baxter's Saint's Rest. “ In the family of my father," he remarks, “ under whose Christian influence, it was the merciful allotment of Providence, that my childhood should be spent, there was a small library, consisting chiefly of religious books. Those not strictly religious, were yet of useful tendency; so that until the age of twelve years, when my academical education began, I had never seen a single bad book. In this little paternal library was Baxter's Saint's Rest, the reading of which, on account of its simplicity, its rhetorical vivacity, its Christian fervor and pungency, made an indelible impression on my mind.”_ He goes on to remark, that the circumstance of his interest in Baxter, led him subsequently to an acquaintance with his cotemporaries, among whom was Owen. Afterwards to promote spirituality of mind as a minister and fit him the better for the discharge of the high and holy duties of the sacred office, he was led to the daily reading of a portion of some one of these authors in connexion with his closet devotions--the same which many ministers may be excited to do by his example--and hence, at length, this abridgement of Owen. The whole account is worthy of notice, too, for the hint it contains about family libraries. We do not remember the Saint's Rest at so early an age, nor the Grace and Duty of being spiritually minded, but we do another of Owen's treatises, the Indwelling Sin, and this has almost constantly been before our minds in the reading of the one before us. We wish, too, it were abridgand published anew, as this is, and we hope Dr. Porter will do


it, as he intimates he may abridge another still of Owen's treatises, the 130tb Psalm. We were about to say, also, happy are those families, however retired and undistinguished, of which the children as they come forward to distinction in after life, can say they never saw a "bad book till they were twelve years of age. Blest remains of our Pilgrim Fathers ! May the religious purity and simplicity of their family habits long linger among their unworthy descendants.

As to the amount of abridgement the work has undergone, we should think it nearly one third ; and as a specimen of the manner in which, principally, it has been made, we subjoin the following given by Dr. Porter himself, the brackets denoting the parts omitted by erasure.

" I shall first show what the spiritual mind is, (and wherein it doth con. sist,) and then how [it doth evidence itself, so that) we may form a right judgment whether it be in us or not.

"This is the best (and most sure) indication of the inward [frame and) state of the mind. For if it be so, [on the one side) as [un] to the carnal mind, it is so, [on the other) as (un) to the spiritual. Wherefore to be spiritually minded, is to have the course [and stream] of [those thoughts which we ordinarily retreat unto, which we approve of as suited unto) our affections [to be ] about spiritual things.

" When any efficacious conviction passes on the mind, it forces (the egress of] its thoughis up[wards) towards heavenly things, [it will think much and frequently of them,) as if that were their proper motion and course ; but so soon as the power of the conviction (decays or] wears off, and the mind is no more sensible of its (force and] impression, the thoughts return (again un] to their old course [and track] as the water tends downwards."

It will be seen by this about what has been done, and how without his verbiage we have all the pith and sentiment of the author, with all his discrimination, spirituality and fervor. We cannot but think the volume a valuable one for the closet,


pendir. By WILLIAM COGSWELL, Secretary of the American Education Society. Boston : Peirce and Parker.

pp. 362

The author of this book is favorably known to the religious public as actively engaged in the great cause of benevolent enterprize. His connexion with the Education Society for some years past has without doubt led him to the survey which he has here taken of the mighty schemes now in operation for the conversion of the world. There is no society in existence whose plans and movements more naturally lead the mind of one connected with them, to a contemplation of the whole system of religious efforts, than the American Education Society. We cannot omit to pay a passing tribute of respect and veneration to this noble enterprize. No one has probably looked over the various means for the conversion of the world, without thinking how useless they would all be without the ministry of the Gospel. “How can they bear without a preacher ?" is a question which was intended to affirin a most important truth. The Bible is dependent upon the living preacher for its efficacy as the sword of the Spirit ; missionary operations depend upou heralds to publish the messages of God. Our local churches, on whose prosperity all the movements of the Church depend, must be supplied with able and faithful and efficient men. Then, the cause of Tract Distribution, of Sabbath Schools, and other religious efforts look to ministers for their support, and would be comparatively inefficient witbout the stated ministry of the Gospel. There seems to be a peculiar appropriateness, therefore, that such a book as the one before us, embracing no tices of all the grand enterprizes of the Church, should proceed from one who liolds the office of which the author is the incumbent.

This is the only work with which we are acquainted that brings together the numerous benevolent plans of the present day in one connected harmonious view. The plan of the work at its first announcement appeared to be novel, and like all happy thoughts, seemed so obvious and desirable, that we wondered it had not before occurred to some of the spiritual surveyors who are employed about the towers and bulwarks of Zion. It brings before the mind at once all which the friends of Christ are doing for the advancement of the latter day glory. In looking at the book one feels as he does after a return from the Anniversaries," though, while like them it makes the important enterprizes revolve before the mind, it does not occasion the fatigue and uneasiness of listening, nor is it attended with the same liability of losing half the impression wbich is made, by crowds, and by strange, or recognized faces. It is a family portrait of Christianity, including the likenesses of twelve or fifteen sisters, beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem. Who would ever think that any could regard them as jealous of each other, or praise one of them with feelings of deterioration or disparagement of the rest! They are as much one, as a constellation made up of many stars ; and in fact they are all “ Pointers” to the day star on high. One great excellence in the spirit in which this book is written, is the catholic feeling which seems to fill the author's mind while contemplating the various organizations for the same great cause. It is not his Society, or his plans which it is the object of this work to exbibit, but the united though various measures in which the followers of his Lord and Master are engaged for the advancement of the kingdom of Heaven.

The title of the book is as novel as its plan. The eyes of the Church have in all ages been directed to a glorious but far distant time, when the knowledge of the Lord is to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. What rapturous emotions did the anticipation of that day awaken in the minds of the old Prophets! How abrupt and startling, as is always the case in a highly excited state of mind, all their expressions when, as the Spirit of God lifted them up, they caught a glimpse of the Saviour and his reign! How has the theme of Millennial glory pierced the thoughts an i feelings of bards in every successive age. CowPER, on whom the spirit of the latter day glory seemed to be poured, has expressed, once for all, the feel ings which every Christian has in looking forward to those illustrious scenes, so that whoever begins to write upon the Millennium is here to end with

“O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,"when the dwellers in the vales and on the mountain tops shall shout to each other; --each song beginning and ending with Worthy the Lamb for he was slain for us," till

_"Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round.” In order that this day may dawn upon the world, it is first necessary that the appropriate and appointed means should be used by the followers of Christ, to send the Gospel to every creature. If any one will read the book before us he will see what is to be done, and in what manner the Church is to do it. The successive arrangem 'nt in the book of the several means to be used to advance the Millennium is judicious, but were we lo arrange them in the order of cause and effect we should first of all speak of the necessity of providing for a Supply of Ministers. As a means of this, let the most diligent and earnest attention be given to Sabbath Schools, that young minds may be forestalled with a holy influence before error and sin have perverted or wasted ther useful energies. Revivals of Religion must be sought for to bring in laborers to the harvest,—especially from our literary institutions, as well as to increase the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »