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religious character, strikes us as very interesting, and is full of just and liberal remarks. Mr. Homer, we are informed, “ kept no daily record of his emotions.” The particular objection which he felt to Diaries may be perceived by the following remark. “Last week I derived great pleasure from reading the religious diary of — , it is rich, rich, in religious experience. He seems to have elaborated his love to Christ until it appears to be almost seraphic. But alas ! I shall never read that diary again, for I perceive that a year or two before his death he re-wrote it. What must a man's expectation be, in penning bis religious journal the second time ? " The piety of Mr. Homer is represented in the Memoir as retiring, modest, unostentatious, natural. To us the phrase "naturalness of piety," is not “ an ambiguous one ;” it expresses clearly and distinctly to our mind a most important feature in the true religious character. And we rejoice to meet with such sentiments, as are expressed in the following sentences, which we quote gladly from the Memoir. Coming from the quarter from which they proceed, they must exert a good influence in the religious community. “The perfection of goodness is to make a right use of the nature which God has given us." " To shun artificial developments, and mere conventional forms, and to let one's free and full heart flow out in the channel of true benevolence is a great thing ; far greater than to catch a certain good tone, and to be familiar with a round of phrases, that may happen to form the Shibboleth of a community.” “Like himself too, his (Mr. Homer's) piety was kind, condescending, and considerate. He was not a noisy member of a Peace Society, nor clamorous for Moral Reform, but he cultivated the amiable instincts of his nature, and delighted in diffusing happiness among those around him.” “An error of many Christians is, that they attach an authority to the example of some imperfect man, and debar from their fellowship all who do not follow that example. One class of religious developments they commend too exclusively, and are intolerant of another class which are useful in their own sphere, but are not in sympathy with the provincial taste. Our duty is to reverence the graces of the Spirit whatsoever they be, and to aim after that union of all the virtues which we discover in our great Exemplar."
In November, 1840, Mr. Homer was ordained as Pastor of the Congregational Church and Society in South Berwick, Maine, where he had preached most acceptably six months besore. Here he exercised his ministry, and we are informed that his influence was perceptibly growing until he was removed from life. There is to us a delightsul simplicity and artlessness in some of the specimens which are given of his discourses. He 6 was not ashamed to confess that on his own account, as well as for their good, he desired the regular attendance of his people at church.” In a discourse delivered soon after his settlement, he says,
“« You should listen to the preaching of the gospel with a careful regard to the feelings of your minister. Remember that he is a man; by education, by profession, it may be by temperament a sensitive man. He has eyes that can see. He has ears that can hear. He has a heart that can feel. Let the delicate and honorable deference with which you meet him in the street, or welcome him to your dwellings, not be entirely laid aside, when he stands before you as the messenger of God. There are many persons who act as if they supposed that the eminence of the pulpit raised their minister above the level of human feelings, that it was round about him like an impregna. ble fortress, and every mark of contempt or disrespect or inattention from the audience falls as powerless as if he were a senseless machine. If he visit them at their homes, they would be ashamed to treat him with such coldness and scorn, and it would be deemed the lowest indecency to look out of the window, or to read a newspaper, or to drop asleep in the chair while he was talking with them ; but when he stands before them in the pulpit, they borrow a license from his remoteness and his elevation, as well as from the multitude who share the responsibility of their politeness, and they never dream that it is rude and ungentlemanly to be gazing around the house, or turning over a hymn-book, or whispering some pleasantry to a neighbor, or fixing themselves in a good position for sleep. The truth is, my friends, the minister is and ought to be more keenly sensitive to these marks of public disrespect, than he would be to private and personal contempt. An insult is offered to the fruits of his own mental toil. A contempt is thrown upon his high office as a preacher. The solemnly dedicated house of worship seems, in their view, to have, a claim for decorum inferior to the highway or the parlor. More than all, that august Being in whose name he speaks, before whom angels cast their crowns in ceaseless adoration, Jehovah himself is repulsed by the coldness and stupidity of earthly worshippers. And I wonder how a man can preach, when such reflections are pressed upon him with overwhelming power from a careless or trifling or sleeping audience.'”
6. There is one other thought connected with this subject, to which you will pardon me for alluding. You are aware that there is now extensively prevalent among ministers of the gospel a singular paralysis of the vocal organs, which has driven many from their pulpits and their flocks. The disease is one which has eluded the researches of medical science, as it has baffled the reach of medical skill. But among the many theories to account for its origin, I have found none more philosophical or more consonant with my own experience, than that which attributes it to the stupidity and inattention of an audience. It is well known that there is an active sympathy between the mind and the body, and what more natural than that a depressed and embarrassed spirit should derange an organ so delicate and sensitive as the human voice. Those of you who are at all accustomed to public speaking can testify how much the ease of your utterance depends upon the interest of your audience. If you find it hard to make yourself understood, or the force of your argument falls powerless upon stupid hearers, the utterance at once becomes difficult, the mouth is quickly parched and dry, there is a choking sensation about the throat, a thousand impediments seem to check the flow of language, the speaking is all up-hill work, and you sit down with the vocal organs irritated and inflamed, and an exhaustion of your whole systein tenfold greater, than if you spoke to an audience so full of sympathy and interest and excitement, that the flow was easy from your heart to theirs. For myself, I confess, so great has sometimes been the physical difficulty with which I have preached to a trifling or listless congregation, that I have been ready to wish that in the pulpit I could be stripped of every sense and every faculty, but that of speech, so that there might not come in through my eyes and my ears and my wounded sensibilities, so many impediments to the easy current of my language.'” – pp. 106, 107, 109, 110.
Among the sermons given in the volume before us is a Thanksgiving Discourse on “the Connexion between Christianity and the Social Affections,” from which we make the following extracts.
“ It is said, that the celebrated Dr. Johnson once read a manuscript copy of the book of Ruth to a fashionable circle in London. The universal exclarnation of the company was,
where did you get that exquisite pastoral,' and the thoughtless were directed to the book, which to them had been associated only with gloom and dulness. It is in truth remarkable, that among a people whose domestic institutions and exclusive habits seemed so unfavorable to social refinement, the Old Testament history should abound in such delicate narratives of the affections. The ancient classics are notoriously deficient in the sentiments of the fireside, but the more ancient literature of the bible, even in the primitive traditions of patriarchal life, seems to have held the family relation among its choicest subjects. In the whole range of eastern story, I know of nothing more rich than the account of Isaac's courtship. The witching pages of fiction have never yet surpassed the true narrative of Joseph and his brethren. And the sweetest refinement which modern taste has thrown around the grave is unequal to the simple pathos of old Jacob, in his dying request : “Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite : There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.'"
“Go back to the remote ages of antiquity, before the light of our religion had dawned upon the world. Many a bright spot shall you find in the moral waste. Many a city where art has lavished her most gorgeous treasures, and learning has rear. ed her proudest seats. You shall find there the taste of the architect, in marble columns, gracefully carved cornices, and majestic temples that rear themselves towering and queenlike. You shall find there the skill of the sculptor, in the accurately chiseled proportions of that chief earthly beauty, the human form. You shall enter suburban groves, and listen to philosophy in her most inspired lessons, and poetry in her most winning strains. You shall be surrounded by everything outward that speaks of elevation and refinement. But when you penetrate the secrets of domestic life, when you look for the happi. ness of a pure and holy fireside, the light that is in them has become darkness and how great is that darkness !! You recur to those whited sepulchres, which are beautiful without, but within are full of loathsomeness and corruption. And while you glory in the achievements of human taste and genius, you weep that they can attain so little, when unaided by the gospel of Christ. : “Follow the influence of Christianity during the ages since its origin, and you will find the nature of the case materially changed, yet leading to the same result. Now religion and refinement seem to go hand in hand. All that is splendid in art becomes consecrated to, or is consecrated by the spirit of the gospel. Painting and sculpture expend their choicest workmanship on the subjects of the bible, and the mosaic pavement, and the arched galleries, and the frescoed ceiling become vocal with the praises of God. And it seems as if the social refinement of Christianity attracted to its own service the genius and taste of man, as eminently harmonious with its spirit. Wherever it pressed its way, though among the hordes of barbarism, it invariably carried with it more or less of the blessings of cultivated life. And wherever tribes and nations, that for a time have lived under its power, were left to relapse into their old heathenism, or gave way to the forced establishment of a hostile faith, it has been generally noticed, that barbarism and social debasement have come in, and stalked over the ruins of Christianity with the breath of a moral pestilence.” — pp. 302, 303, 305, 306, 307.
At the age of twenty-four years and less than two months, and after a ministry of but four months, the subject of the memoir before us was called out of the world. But short as his ministry and life were, they were long enough for the exhibition of rare qualities of mind and heart, of which the volume before us is a beautiful and permanent monument.
W. P. L.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy. By Moses STUART,
Professor in Andover Theological Seminary. Andover, 1842.
We shall begin to like Professor Stuart, if he gives us such volumes as this. We consider it by far the best book he has ever published. · We do not mean to assert that his views, particularly those relating to the principles of interpretation, the theory of double senses, and the import of the phrases, “then was it fulfilled," and the like, which occur in the New Testament, contain in them anything new. They are views, which we have all along held, and which are familiar to all well informed theologians of the class of Christians to which we belong; but it is exceedingly gratifying to meet with them, coming from the quarter from which they emanate in the present volume.
The position which the Professor takes, and which he well defines, is, that the Bible is to be interpreted in the same manner as any other book. Its poetry "is poetry with all its characteristics; its prose is prose;" its history is history, and
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