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the atonement by Jesus Christ. His work was done, and well done,' and his Father in heaven called him home to enjoy the reward of the faithful.
In this brief sketch of a good man's life and labors, we have endeavored to give not only an outline of the 'Memoir' by Mr Bond, but also a comprehensive view of those features in the character and exertions of Mr Fisk, which render him a model worthy of extensive imitation. The result of efforts at compression, however, will hardly be satisfactory to such as have contemplated and admired the full length portrait. The miniature must necessarily be wanting in completeness. Only a few prominent and general lineaments could be included in a space so inevitably restricted.
A recapitulation of his characteristic traits may not here be irrelevant.
Mr Fisk was a man of extraordinary piety. Possessing correct views of the character and government of God, he cherished continually an impressive conviction of his obligations and duties as a dependant and sinful subject. He ever made religion a consideration of personal interest, and consequently, notwithstanding his zeal and labors for the salvation of others, he did not neglect his own soul. Because of the multiplied efforts in which he engaged to bring others to the feet of the crucified Saviour, he did not consider himself as absolved from the duty which he enjoined upon them. His industry as a student, or as a Missionary, was not less conspicuous than as an humble and assiduous cultivator of his own gracious affections. He loved the Scriptures—he delighted in prayer—and in his examinations of his own heart, he was unusually particular and severe. The purity and strength of his devotional feelings, while prosecuting his academical education, have seldom been excelled; and they most thoroughly refute the oft-repeated objection, that classical studies necessarily repress the ardor of piety. It is possible that Mr Fisk did not devote so much of his time, while in College, to efforts for intellectual improvement, as might have been desirable. But he was not indolent; nor did he ungratefully despise and neglect the advantages which he enjoyed. All things considered, he held a creditable position in his class; and he was devotedly active, not only in cultivating personal piety, but also in diffusing around him the influence of an operative and fervid Christianity. We were well acquainted with him while in College, and at Andover. We have attentively observed the course which he has since pursued. And, in view of the whole, we have often contemplated him as affording a remarkable illustration of the fact, that a student, surrounded by many discouraging circumstances, and not distinguished at first as a scholar, may, in a few years, by well directed and persevering diligence, outstrip those who once were before him, and leave them far behind, both in intellectual attainments and in real usefulness.
In all his prayers and toils, he was distinguished for unity of object. The one engrossing, all absorbing object of his life, was the work of a Missionary. For this work he resolved, by every practirable method, to qualify himself, assured that should Providence
require him to remain and toil in some secluded country parish in New England, every qualification of a thorough-bred Missionary would even there be of essential service. And were this spiritthis genuine “passion for Missions,”—more extensively nurtured in our Colleges and Theological Institutions, they would become fountains whence far ter streams would issue for the watering, not only of foreign, but also of domestic vineyards. The spirit of Missions is the spirit of the Apostles—the spirit of Christ.
Mr Fisk was remarkable, even from childhood, for perseverance. Whenever his mind was established in regard to duty, he urged his way firmly onward to its performance. In almost every enterprize of his life, we discover indications of this steady and unwavering adherence to his original purpose-never yielding to small difficulties--never relinquishing his object, unless convinced of its impracticableness by the opposing providence of God. He was a stranger to that disgraceful timidity which hesitates, and is fearful of doing duty because the consequences threaten to be disastrous to himself. He studied not his own ease or gratification, but the will and honor of his Master. He dared to do what he believed God required of him, and dared not do less. And this moral heroism was as strikingly developed in his patient submission when his plans were interrupted, as in his zealous prosecution of them, while their accomplishment seemed practicable.
In the loftiest and purest import of the term, Mr Fisk was an enthusiast. His enthusiasm, however, was accompanied by light as well as heat. It was chastened and regulated by principle, and seldom overstepped the limits of Christian prudence. It was the concentrated emotion of a mind, deeply convinced of the depravity and peril of the perishing myriads of the human family, and desirous to put forth its utmost energies to rescue at least some of them from the terrors of “the coming wrath.” He had enlarged conceptions of the stupendous value of the soul, the holiness of God, and the awfulness of the sinner's destiny; and he counted not his life dear unto himself, so that he might be the instrument of publishing the tidings of a Saviour's love in the abodes of ignorance and crime.
One fact developed in the course of this Memoir,' though perhaps of little value in the estimation of others, excited in us a peculiar interest. Mr Fisk submitted to Providence, and the judgment of the Board, the selection of the field where he should labor. He had surrendered himself, without reservation, to the work of a Missionary, and was willing to wear out his life in any part of the world where he might be useful in winning souls to Christ. This was his highest ambition. Consequently he felt little solicitude, whether, after doing all the good in his power, his body might be interred in some island of the Pacific seas, beneath the snows of Greenland, among the arid sands of Africa, or in the jungles of Hindoostan. He felt that he was devoted to the service of a Redeemer, who, while a Missionary in this ruined world, had “not where to lay his head," and he would not be particular about his temporal comfort, provided he could somewhere demonstrate his fi
delity to that Redeemer, and be permitted to guide some wandering souls to the field of his compassion.
Of the book, whose title is placed at the head of this article, and from which we have derived the materials for this condensed sketch, we have little to say. With its structure, in the main, we are pleased. To the eighth Chapter we would only add the following words: And it would doubtless have been still more interesting, had there been among the communicants a Roman Catholic and a Quaker.
The Author has exhibited his talent, not so much by what he has himself written, as by a judicious selection and arrangement of the documents which were left by his deceased friend. The memory of many an excellent man has suffered, and the influence of his writings and of his example has been greatly diminished, in consequence of the selection of a biographer, who has evinced less solicitude to do justice to the departed subject, than to show off his own ability to make a book. Not so in the case before
We see nothing of Mr Bond, except what is necessary in order to preserve the narration unbroken, with occasionally a remark at the conclusion of a chapter, or of a particular subject, such as would be natural to any one whose mind was deeply interested in the events recorded. He throws himself into the distance, and shows us Fisk-Pliny Fisk, just as he was; and hence, every one who delights in a true exhibition of things and characters, must read this volume with satisfaction. It is a plain, undecorated narrative ; exhibiting facts such as a lover of truth, and an admirer of the Christian character would wish to find. It presents to us a young man, of little more than ordinary powers, by the mere force of a consistent piety, urging his way through embarrassments and difficulties, at which others would have been disheartened; never losing sight of the one object toward which all his efforts concentred; prosecuting his duties, however toilsome, with a quenchless ardency of soul; rendering every thing around him and within him, subservient to the promotion of his object; renouncing the satisfactions of domestic felicity; zealously pushing his researches into every section of the country about him, for the benefit of his successors in the field ; exposing and combatting "spiritual wickedness in high places;" continually projecting fresh schemes for extending the light of salvation, and continually executing those schemes; and at last, at the age of thirty-three, calmly resigning his spirit into the hands of that Redeemer in whom he trusted, and for whom he labored.
The Selection and Use of Acceptable Words in Preaching ; a Ser
mon, delivered at the Ordination of Mr EBENEZER THRESHER, Jr. to the Pastoral Charge of the First Baptist Church, Portland. By DANIEL SHARP, Pastor of the Third Baptist Church in Boston.
LANGUAGE is the most common medium of communication between man and man. By this, either written or spoken, we impart to others the knowledge of our opinions and desires, and of facts with which we are acquainted. The interests of society require that our language shợuld be a correct representation of what we think. In making statements of facts, which may have influ. ence upon the political and religious opinions of men, and may affect the whole course of their lives; or in making historical records of events, perversion of language to purposes of deception is universally denounced. But not only falsehood thus meets with reprobation. Concealment of truth, defective or partial views of truth, feeble representations of what ought universally to be known as important facts or opinions, may expect the censure of the wise and good. Much more in him, “ Who negociates between God and man,
-as God's ambassadorand who is a public advocate and expounder of a revelation which purports to be from heaven, the reception or rejection of which will fix man's weal or wo forever,"'-much more in him do we demand the annunciation of truth, of the whole truth, of truth unperverted by human opinion, of truth undisguised and uninjured by the medium through which it is presented.
The public teacher of religion having proposed to make a simple, perspicuous, and forcible statement of divine truth, will by ad. hering to this purpose, be saved from an unworthy attention to mere language. While he avails himself of the power of language, distinctly to explain and cogently to enforce divine truth, he will not employ it in order to strip the truth of its essential characteristics, so as to secure for it an apparent acceptance and to shield himself against the charge of making unreasonable demands upon the belief and the practice of his hearers
. Language he will emplóy, for explaining and vindicating the claims of religion, and for securing obedience to those claims, comparatively disregarding the opinions and feelings which men may cherish respecting himself. His effort will be, not to exhibit an elegant combination of finely wrought sentences, but in an intelligible and earnest manner, to declare all the counsel of God.” Alas ! if a minister loves display, if he loves to invest himself with the pomp of language," he may be amusing his people with the mere sound and arrangement of words, while they are famishing for the bread of life.” How often, alas! 'when the professed minister of religion has been standing in the holy place, and occupying the hours sacred to devotion, in a manner which has called forth the admiration of the people, has religion herself bled at every pore !
But has not the pulpit furnished specimens of language and style that are almost beyond praise, and that will occupy the rank of models for successive generations ? And have not discourses, thus distinguished for excellence, been manifestly employed by the Holy Spirit as instruments of saving the soul? Unquestionably. But examine those performances. What, (waiving the question of divine influence) what gave them their power ? Was it the structure of the sentences, the accurate measure of the periods, the polish of MAY, 1829.
the diction? Or rather, was it not the truth of the sentiments, the rich infusion of scriptural thought, the clearness of the expression, the author's manifest losing of himself in the presenting of his subject? The fact is, God honors piety. A sound judgment, a warm heart, a fervid zeal in the cause of Christ, will impart many positive excellencies even of style to a minister's public discourses; while through deficiency of these qualities, a man, solicitous for reputation, “coldly correct and critically dull,” will be powerless in the work of saving souls, and even in attracting towards himself the favor of his fellow creatures. No wonder then, that when in connexion with literary qualifications, there is possessed a fervid zeal for the honor of Christ and the salvation of men; no wonder that discourses should be produced, which, while they build up the humble Christian in his most holy faith, possess also the attractions of a finished and eloquent composition.
If a min er adheres, in his discourses, to the purpose which has been mentioned, he will need but few hints respecting his choice of language. He ought to understand the declarations of the Bible on which he proposes to speak, and he ought to choose such language as will distinctly and fully convey to his hearers the meaning of the Bible. That this is his duty, is plain, from the importance of the subjects presented in the Bible. That there is need of effort at this point, appears from the fact, that many Christians have so inadequate, and many so incorrect notions respecting some scriptural subjects; that many terms, which are in current use among religious people, and which may be called the technical terms of religious conversation, are so indefinitely apprehended; and that many words and phrases are often undergoing variations in meaning, either by losing somewhat of their former signification, or by receiving additional shades of meaning. The language by which ministers endeavor to express their ideas, ought to be such as they know will convey precisely those ideas; and when certain words, or phrases, however long sanctioned by use, and however ready to recur to the preacher's mind, are yet not understood, or are understood in a sense different from that which the preacher intended, he ought to select other words which will convey his ideas to the mass of his hearers. Had the minds of men been more directed to things than to words, many fierce controversies might have been spared, many factions in churches might have been prevented, many a disconsolate Christian might have gone on his way rejoicing, and many a self-deceived professor might have seen the error of his way. On ministers is it incumbent to use such language as will distinctly and fully convey the meaning of the Bible, because by the statements of the pulpit more than by the declarations of the inspired word, are the religious opinions of congregations affected. Whatever excellencies then may belong to a minister's language, if on this point there be a failure, there is failure where most of all ought to be success.
But no minister should be contented with barely escaping the charge of misrepresenting, or of not fully exhibiting the meaning of the Bible. Such language should be chosen as is adapted most