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The following are from his sermons, and afford a further specimen of his method of addressing the consciences of sinners :
"Who knows but the Lord may be gracious ? Remember you
have to plea but sovereign mercy; but for your encouragement, also, remember it is the world, such as you are, to whom the Comforter is to come, and whom he is to convince. Wait therefore at Wisdom's gates. The bare probability of having a door of mercy opened, is enough to keep you striving. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, the chief of them. You know not but he came to save you. Do not go and quarrel with God's decrees, and say, if I am a reprobate I shall be damned ; if I am elected I shall be saved; and therefore I will do nothing. What have you to do with God's decrees? Secret things belong to him ; it is your business to give “ all diligence to make your calling and election sure.” If there are but few who find the way that leads to life, do you strive to be some of them. You know not
at you may be in the number of those few, and that your striving may be the means which God intends to bless, to give you an entrance in. If
you do not act thus, you are not sincere ; and if you do, who knows but you may
find mercy ? For though after you have done all that you can, God may justly cut you off, yet never was a single person damned that did all that he could. Though, therefore, your hands are withered, stretch them out; though you are impotent, sick, and lame, come lie at the pool. Who knows but by and by the Lord Jesus may have compassion on you, and send the Comforter to convince you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment ? He is a God full of compassion and long-suffering, otherwise you and I had been long since lifting up our Eyes in torments. But still he is patient with us!
0, Christless sinners, you are alive, and who knows but God intends to bring you to repentance ? Could my prayers or tears effect it, you should have volleys of the one, and floods of the other. My heart is touched with a sense of your condition. May our merciful High Priest now send down the Comforter and make you sensible of it also ! O, the love of Christ! It constrains me to beseech you to come to him ; what do you reject, if you reject Christ, the Lord of glory! Sinners, give the dear Redeemer a lodging in your souls. Do not be Bethshemites; give Christ your hearts, your whole hearts. Indeed he is wortor. He made you, and not you yourselves. You are not your own; give Christ then your bodies and souls, which are his! Is it not enough to melt
you down, to think that the high and lofty One who inhabiteth Eternity, should condescend to invite you by his ministers? How soon can he frown
but he may this very Listant, if you do not hear his voice? Did any yet harden their hearts against Christ and prosper ? Come then, do not send me sorrowful ағау; do not let me have reason to cry out, “ Oh, my
leanDess!" Do not let me go weeping into my closet, and say, “Lord, they will not believe my report; Lord, I have called them, and they will
I am unto them as a very pleasant song, and as one that plays upon a pleasant instrument; but their hearts are running after the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life." Would
you be willing that I should give such an account of you, or make such a prayer before God? And yet I must not only do so here, but appear in judgment against you hereafter, unless you will come to Christ. Once more, therefore, I entreat you to come. What objections have you to make ? Behold, I stand here in the name of God, to answer all that you can offer. But I know no one can come unless the Father draw him : I will therefore address me to my God, and intercede with him to send the Comforter into your hearts.'
pp. 418, 419. Yet, with all his attachment to truth, Whitefield was no stickler for mere systems. He had eminently a catholic spirit; and as has been heretofore remarked, in a former article in this work, he could heartily rejoice in the success of others. His controversy with Wesley did not so alienate his affections but that he ever regarded him as a dear friend and brother; and it was at his request thar Wesley preached his funeral sermon, at the chapel in London. His aim was the salvation of souls; and to secure that, he was willing to merge all other differences, and to recognize as his brethren in the family of God, all who evinced that they shared in any degree in the spirit of Christ. Thus he says in one of his letters, “ O, how I do long to see bigotry and party zeal taken
away, and all the Lord's servants more knit together!" And yet again, “I wish all names among the saints of God were swallowed up in that one of CHRISTIAN.
The same feeling is expressed in the following anecdote :
• When Mr. Whitefield was one day preaching in Market-street, Philadelphia, from the balcony of the court-house, he cried out, “ Father Abraham, who have you in heaven? any episcopalians ?” “No!" " Any presbyterians ?” “No!” “ Any baptists ?"* “ No !” “Have you any methodists there?” “No!” “Have you any independents or seceders?" “No! No!” “ Why, who have you then?" "We don't know those names here. All that are here are christians-believers in Christ-men who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony.” “O, is this the case ? then God help me, God help us all to forget party names, and to become christians in deed and in truth.”
pp. 307, 308. With respect to his discourses, as reported by the celebrated stenographer, Mr. Gurney, a few of which are given in this volume, Whitefield complained as if injustice had been done him. We have no doubt that they are wanting in those nicer and more delicate touches, which gave them symmetry and beauty when delivered. Yet they contain so many allusions to persons, places, and incidents of then recent occurrence, that they bear strong marks of authenticity. They may be compared to the rough crayon sketches of an artist, giving the figures and grouping of objects; but which, to produce their full effect, need to be filled up with the same magic pencil by which they were at first drawn.
They are, however, by no means deficient in many of the excellences which were combined in Whitefield's preaching. Simple, and for the most part immethodical, they still furnish some passages of wonderful power as home appeals to the conscience. They abound in those graphic illustrations from common life, and those vivid pictures of eternal things, to which we have before alluded.
There are, we believe, very few qualities of Whitefield's preaching which would not be successful at the present day. A greater degree of refinement might, perhaps, sometimes be necessary; but, united in a man of similar powers of address, a like hearty sincerity of appeal, the same faith in God, sense of obligation
, and inexpressible longing for the salvation of men, the same untiring effort to reach the conscience and win souls to Christ, and expressed in a similar manner,—they would disarm prejudice, and make their way to the heart. They might not exhibit the stately eloquence of Mason, or of Robert Hall, or the continuous flow of Chalmers; but they would carry with them a power which would be felt, and which would rivet the attention, rouse the feelings, and bear along the hearers with the preacher, though unconscious how it was effected. We believe the time is coming 100, when such preaching will be more and more appreciated. Were it necessary to prove its adaptation, we might recur to living examples, and show that its superiority is now felt and confessed. The interest with which persons of all classes listen to the argupient of an able lawyer who is addressing a jury, and the power which the most homely illustrations, if aptly introduced, exert in securing conviction, is decisive proof in its favor. More than all, and a higher authority still,—it is the method of the bible ; the mode of our Savior's preaching. The more the inherent capabilities of the truths of the gospel, as calculated to affect men, come to be understood ; the more a business-like method of presenting these momentous subjects prevails ;-fitted as it would be, to the ordinary habits of thinking and acting, among mankind in general; -the more assuredly may we look for the exhibitions of its power over the minds and the hearts of men. The Holy Spirit, in its concurrent agency, acts in accordance with such an exhibition of the truth ; and it is an union of such a spirit of entire consecration to Christ in a life of prayer and holy activity, as shall draw down those blessed influences, with a wise adaptation of the gospel message to reach the understandings, consciences, and hearts of men averse to the truth; such a concentration of sincerity and singleness of aim for God's glory, with the untiring effort to bring men to see and feel their danger, which may well entitle a preacher to hope for eminent success. We would urge upon our readers a close study of the life, character and feelings of Whitefield, and an acquaintance with his sermons, and manner of preaching, as
exhibited in this volume. Room is wanting to do justice to ou views of their importance; and we have been obliged from thi cause, to leave untouched several points which might have afforder interesting matter for remark. There have been many men o far inore transcendent talents; more accurate reasoners ; more systematic in their views; and who better understood the grea doctrines of the bible, in their harmonious connection with each other; men who could as well, or better, defend the truth against the objections of sophists, and detect the fallacy of the hypocrite' refuge; but probably there never was an uninspired man, who se well understood how to urge home the plain simple truth of Goc upon the consciences of his hearers, with an overwhelming, and almost irresistible power of conviction, as George WHITEPIELD Of whom else could Cowper have written such a panegyric ?
• He loved the world that hated him; the tear
Fanaticism. By the author of Natural History of Enthusiasm. New-York ; Jonathan Leavitt: Boston ; Crocker & Brewster, 1834.
The writer of this work has previously claimed a share of our attention, in a review of his Natural History of Enthusiasm, and Saturday Evening.* The former of those books and the present publication are the result of a plan which, it seems, the author conceived several years ago, of exhibiting at one view the principal forms of spurious or corrupted religion. Having been discouraged, however, by the magnitude and difficulty of the attempt, he abandoned it for a time; but the subject pressed continually upon his mind, and he ventured at length on a detached part of the general theme, in a book under the title first named. The topic which followed, according to the train of discussion which he had projected, was that which fills the present volume. But he has by no means completed his original intention. “ Half set remains unsung," or unsaid, and indeed much more. Superstition, with its attendant cruelty, is destined to follow. Spiritual despotism, that natural transition from superstition, is next to demand attention. And corruption of morals, the direct consequence of the overthrow of piety; and scepticism, or philosopbic treligion, are required to finish the series. These nearly conDected and sequent undertakings, as we gather from the preface, may be expected to appear in due time. Saturday Evening, il we may judge froin the author's silence respecting it in this conDection, formed no part of the plan, although it seems to have aimed at the same general end which he has in view, according to repeated intimations, in all these works, viz., the detection and dissipation of spurious piety; and it may, therefore, have been intended only as an interlude in the progress of the representation. We are tempted to wish that other interludes may be interposed, notwithstanding the interest with which we look forward to the pieces which are to continue, and finally wind up the developed plan.
* September Number of Christian Spectator for 1832.
Extended and elaborate works on subjects, most of which are so similar, and separated only by slight shades of difference, demand in him who puts bis hand to such an undertaking, a discrimination of mind, and a grasp of thought of no common order. Their successful and satisfactory execution would seem to indicate a master in religious, philosophical research, and psychological description. Such, without doubt, is our author. If the religious world has ever needed a Bacon, or ever found one, who might expose the errors that have been superinduced upon the christian system, and portray in their true colors the phantasms that have dazzled so many spiritual devotees to their ruin, we venture to say that this priest of our moral nature, is the author of the Natural History of Enthusiasm, and of Fanaticism. He bids fair to dash in pieces more than “ the cycles, epicycles, and crystal orbs of a visionary antiquity.” The stronger delusions of human depravity are the main objects of his attack. The retreats in which a false devotion has secreted itself for ages, he touches as with the wand of an enchanter; and, to say the least, they tremble for their existence. It would seem that he feels himself called to this work by some irrepressible moral instinct-by some consciousness of power, that has impelled him in his career thus far, justifying the language with which he concludes the present book, though perhaps he intended not the particular form here given to the subject,