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believe, pretty commonly entertain- community is a work, for the suc. ed, that sermons of the class to which cessful performance of which several these belong, are calculated, even qualifications of no ordinary kind are more than others, to promote gene. requisite. One of primary imporral good. The value of a compila- tance is, that the writer have clear tion of plain, practical discourses, ideas on the subject of which he adapted to the understandings and treats. This, indeed, should be comcircumstances of the lower orders mon to all who wish to convey inof society, will be fully appreciated, struction to others, whether by speak. perhaps, by those only who, feeling ing or writing. But it is more in. a tender solicitude about the eternal dispensable in those who undertake interests of their servants and other to instruct the poor and uninformed; dependants, are anxious to supply to on this account, that hearers of this then, in the best manner possible, class are less able to supply, by the those means of spiritual instruction exercise of their own understand. which may not be afforded them in ings, the want of clear conception in public. That such a deficiency as the insiructer. It is not, by any ihat here adverted to exists, owing means, that we entertain degrading to causes which it is not necessary notions of the capacities of the lower to specify, and that a proportionable orders; on the contrary, we think it want of familiar sermons has been undeniable that they are endued with felt by conscientious individuals, is a understandings which are naturally well-known fact. It is not, however, no less capable of improvement than that we forget or undervalue the those of their superiors. It is equaltreasures of this kind which we pos- ly certain, however, that from the sess. We are indebted to many ex. circumstances of their situation in cellent divines, some of whom are life, and particularly from their early still labouring in the sacred vineyard, habits, their minds become less quick others reaping the fruits of their la- of apprehension, and less capable of bours, for discourses which cannot distinguishing, comparing, combin. be read or heard, is read and heard ing, and disposing the ideas which attentively, without improvement, are presented to them than those though possessing different degrees that are more habituated to those of comparative as well as of positive exercises. And it is this which renexcellence. We need scarcely men. ders a clear and distinct concepuion, tion the names of Walker of Truro, with its natural concomitants, luand Milner; and (though, perhaps, minous and orderly arragement, and they are more especially calculated perspicuity of style, so peculiarly for the higher orders) of Gisborne important in one who com poses serand Venn. Still less will our readers mons more immediately for the lower need to be reminded that the volume classes of society.-- To this it is exnow under review has been preceded tremely desirable that he should add by two others from the same author, warmth of feeling. Earnest appeals, particularly directed, like the pre: affectionate admonitions and exhortasent, to the purposes of domestic and tions, and tender expostulations, have parochial instruction. But this sup. a peculiar efficacy on the minds of the ply, great as it is, by no means meets poor and unlearned, and are frequentthe demand. And this deficiency ly instrumental in lodging a salutary we conceive to arise, in part, front and abiding impression, when an the difficulty of providing this sup- argumentative and less animated ply. The composition of sermons address would fail of exciting atadapted to the lower classes of the tention. We
We may, perhaps, be
thought to indulge somewhat of a ordinary affairs of life, and thus, by love of fiction, when we state a vivid forcible contrasts and familiar com. imagination to be, in our opinion, parisons, leading them to pass senanother important qualification in a tence on themselves in matters of writer of sermons of the class now religion. In order to secure these under consideration.' We do not, and other similar advantages, to his of course, mean that he should em- ministry, it is manifest that he must bellish his discourses with poetical himself be intimately conversant with imagery and splendid descriptions;, their peculiar habits of thinking and but we apprehend that nothing is of acting. greater use to uneducated minds In the particulars to which we than apt and forcible illustrations have here adverted, as constituting, borrowed from familiar subjects in our opinion, qualifications espe. and it will not be denied that a prea. cially important in the instructer cher of a ready fancy, and one of those who occupy the humbler naturally inclined to seize on every stations of life, Mr. Cooper appears object which presents itself to his to us, perhaps with a single excepmind, will have the advantage, in tion, we mean the liveliness of ima. this respect, over one who is of a gination, greatly to excel, The less excursive habit. There is still plainness and perspicuity of his style, another particular, which we regard together with the easy flow and naas, if possible, still more requisite tural arrangement of his ideas, shew in the instructer of the lower classes; him to be very clear and distinct in and that is, a familiar acquaintance his conceptions of the great subjects with their habits of thinking and feel of which he treats. His sermons ingi with their common notions, seem to be composed with the free. prepossessions, and prejudices; with dom and unstudied eloquence with their modes of judging and reason which a man converses on a subject ing. However incompetent they of which he is perfect master. They may be to pursue a long train of are, for the most part, animated also thought, or to employ or estimate with affectionate earnestness, the aids of artificial reason, they are which discovers much tenderness of in general by no means deficient in disposition. He seems to make the the use of what is termed natural case and situation of his bearers his togic. Numbers of them are persons own; to intercede, as it were, with of excellent plain common sense, them in their own behalf; to marshall and the simplicity and honesty of before them the terrors of God's their minds give them no small ad- justice, and display the riches of his vantage over many of their more grace, with an importunity and wake. refined and sophisticated superiors. ful solicitude, like that of a parent Much good may be expected, through yearning over a beloved child in a the Divine blessing, from plain, season of danger. In the delineation simple appeals to their consciences; of character in the development from laying open before them the of feelings-in analyzing and laying secrets of their minds, and exposing open the secret workings of the the particular errors in opinion mind, and the hidden springs of and practice which actually prevail action—he displays an energy and amongst them. The preacher will spirit which at the same time evince be inuch assisted in his attempts to the activity of his own mind, and awaken conviction in their hearts, give such a reality and life to the if he can, as it were, make them images which he presents to the their own judges, by reminding minds of others, that they can scarcethem of the principles and maxims ly fail of discovering intuitively their by which they are governed in the own reseniblance in them. Nor let
it be thought that these observations Of the twenty sermons which are but little applicable to composic compose the volume, the first is tions which are, or ought to be, entitled 16 The Gospel Message;" unclaborate and unartificial. Mr. in which the words addressed by Cooper's sermons, which are what the Israelitish deliverer, Enud, to they profess to be, familiar and the king of Moab (Judges iïi, 20), simple, are nevertheless the produc. are considered as applicable by every tions of a mind capable of considera- minister of the Gospel to each indible efforts; and furnish, in our esti. vidual in his congregation. In order mation, a striking testimony to the to explain and justify this application truth of a sometimes disputed posi- of the passage, Mr. Cooper observes, tion, that superiority is often most that the ministers of the Gospel are conspicuous in the masterly exccu. God's messengers in a certain sense, tion of comparatively easy perform- though not in the same sense in ances. of the last qualification which Ehud, the Prophets and Apos. which we mentioned as peculiarly tles, or the first Christian preachers, desirable in sermons of this class; were ; that they are under the most viz a familiar acquaintance with the solemn obligations to be faithful in modes of thinking, the feelings, delivering this message ; and, as a habits, and prejudices of the lower natural inference from the two foreorders, Mr. Cooper's sermons afford going observations, that if men rethe most abundant indications; and fuse to attend to the message thus this circumstance alone would, in delivered, it is at their own peril. our judgmeni, confer a high value on the ground thus laid down be on them. And when in addition to proceeds to a direct and particular
, these characters of excellence, which application of his text, having Arst we have stated as in some measure given a compendious statement of appropriate to familiar discourses, the substance of the Gospel-message, we remark that they possess, in no and well remarked that this message, less a degree, those other qualities though general in substance,
branches so essential
sermons of every into a variety of particulars, and must description, a sound and explicit be distinctly addressed to various statement of the leading doctrines of classes of men, in order to be prothe Gospel, connected with an ample fitable to any. It is this personal exposition of evangelical principles application of the general truths of and duties-an impartial exhibition Scripture which constitutes one
dis. of every part of revealed truth, with- tinguishing excellence of Mr. Cooout any accommodation of Scripture per's sermons. On the present occato peculiar religious views—a sober sion, he urges the important message and judicious interpretation of the with which he is entrusted-Ist, on sacred text according to the analogy careless and thoughtless persons;
2d, of faith—and the faithful and forcible on the ungodly and profane ; 3d, on application of subjects to the con- the humble and serious inquirer after sciences of the hearers; we assign Divine truth ; 4th, on declining pro. what we think will be deemed a fessors of godliness ; 5th, on the consufficient reason for the value we vinced and self-condemning sinner; attach to the volume before us. It and, 6th, on the established Chrisis time, however, that we lay before tian: and the suitableness of his adour readers a slight sketch of its dresses to these different characters contents, together with a few extracts furnishes, in common with many which may enable them to form, others of his sermons, an adinirable for themselves, a judgment of its illustration of St. Paul's declaramerits.
tion to Timothy, that “all Scrip.
ture is given by inspiration of God, departs from the genuine, simple and is profitable for doctrine, for re. sense of Scripture, in order to sú p. proof, for correction, for instruction port any favourite system of theoloin righteousness."
gy. Without perplexing himself or The Second Sermon is from Acts his hearers with any impertinent disviii. 35, and is entitled 6 Jesus the quisitions respecting the decrees of great Subject of Christian Preach- God, the freedom or impotency of ing." In the opening of this ser the will, he is content to state the mon the writer draws an instructive matter simply as he finds it in the outline of the discourse in which sacred text. He affirms the want of Philip may be supposed to have willingness to be the obstacle, the initiated the Ethiopian eunuch in the only obstacle, which prevents men fundamental truths of the Christian from coming to Christ; that is (as Religion.
he explains this term,) from sharing Sermon III. on The broad and the blessed consequences which are the narrow Way,” from Matt. vii. 13, derived by faith from Christ, in this 14, is a peculiarly useful discourse. life and that which is to come. He
Sermon IV. professes lo state and illustrates this position by a referillustrate 56 The real Cause of Men's ence to several cases, recorded in Rejection of the Gospel," as ex. Scripture, of persons destitute of pressed in the words of Christ, John true religion; and concludes with a V. 40,“ Ye will not come to me, that brief consideration of the misery and ye might have life;" or as more fully sin of not coming to Christ. set forth in the following passage,
The Fifth Sermon, on the “ Divine with which the sermon opens :
Forbearance towards Sinners,'fur.
nishes one among many instances of “There is no truth more plainly taught Mr. Cooper's happy accommodation in Scripture than this, that while man's of particular texts to the purposes of salvation is entirely of God's grace and
text is mercy, his ruin is altogether of himself. general instruction. His If he perish, it will be his own fault
, and he Hosea xi. 8,9; in which Jehovah, in will have no one but himself to blame. gracious condescension to our capaWherever the Gospel of Christ comes, it cities, represents himself as sustainfreely invites all to accept the blessings ing a mental conflict between the which it brings. Whether men will be the better for the invitation, depends on the re
contending claims of justice and mer. ception which they give to it. It they are çy, in respect of his chosen people willing to receive it, and consent to the Israel. In unfolding the primary terms proposed, the blessing will be theirs ; signification of the passage, Mr. but if they refuse and are disobedient, it Cooper depicts in a very striking will be justly withheld from them."
manner, with boldness, yet with re
verence, the debate conceived to take We wish that all who speak and place in the Divine mind-the deterwrite on this important subject, mination of that debate in favour of thought and expressed their thoughts mercy-and the ground of this deter. with the same faithful adherence to mination expressed in the words, the plain declarations of Holy Writ “For I am God and not man." which Mr. Cooper manifests through Sermon VI, considers, from Matt. the whole of this discourse. Though xii. 50, the description of Christ's dishe has shewn in his two volumes of ciples, and the dignity conferred on doctrinal sermoos that his senii. thein. On the first of thesc heads
are what Arminians would Mr. Cooper very usefully remarks, term Calvinistic, yet he no where that there is a plain reason why Christ. Obsery. No. 161.
“doing the will of God" should be had almost said immoralizing-expoinsisted on in Scripture as the distin- sition of Christian doctrine, on the guishing mark of Christ's true disci. other. ples, since it is the great end of In Sermon VII. (2 Thess. iii. 13.) Christianity to bring our wills into a on “The Tendency to Weariness in cordial agreement with the will of Well-doing," the author considers God ;' and because, until this union the principal causes of the tendency is effected, we labour under a moral in question to be, fickleness ; the incapacity of enjoying heaven, even want of success in our efforts to do gupposing we could be admitted into good ; and the unkind and injurious it-the happiness of that state con- treatment to which our benevolent sisting summarily in a conformity to endeavours may not unfrequently exthe mind and will of God. And he pose us. With a view to oppose further observes that the propriety of the tendency to weariness resulting thus characterising Christ's disciples from these causes, he advises that we is illustrated by considering what is should consider, ist, The recorded meant by doing God's will; under example of Jesus Christ; 2d, His which term far more is comprehend. conduct towards ourselves ; and, ed than any man is able to perform, 3dly, The express promise given to until he has been made a child of perseverance in well-doing, which God and a partaker of the Divine may be attended with success even natu re, through the exercise of that in this life, and will certainly be refaith in Christ which alone consti. warded with a gracious recompense tutes him one of his true disciples. in the life to come. And in this part of his discourse we In Sermon VIII. Mr. Cooper takes cannot but remark how usefully Mr. occasion, from Isa. li. 7, 8, to Cooper exhibits, in their just and na. courage Christians against the Fear tural connection, the fundamental of Man”—judging himself authoprinciples and practical effects of the rized, as well by the general tenor religion of Christ. He reminds his and spirit of the New Testament, as hearers that a primary part of the will by many particular passages of it, to of God (the same which is emphati. consider the words of his text as adcally styled “the work” and “the dressed by Christ to his people. commandment of God,") is, that we We are not disposed to question the believe on his Son Jesus Christ; that propriety of this exposition; being this belief implies a cordial reception entirely of the author's opinion, that of him in the character and for the there is no interpreter of the Bible purposes for which he was sent into so good as the Bible itself," and par. the world, and pre-supposes a deep ticularly that the promises and conconviction of our sinfulness, and an solations with which the prophetical entire renunciation of our own righ- Scriptures o? the Old Testament teousness; and that, as a necessary abound, can be understood and ap. accompaniment of this faith, we are plied only by a reference to the writrequired also to repent and walk in ings of the Evangelists and Apostles, newness of life. If the excellent ex. On this principle, Mr. Cooper views ample which Mr. Cooper furnishes in the words, " ye that know righteousthis, as indeed he does in almost ness, the people in whose heart every other, sermon, were generally is my law,” as a strictly evangelical imitated, we should not have so much description of true Christians; the reason to complain of barren systems former clause being expressivem of unchristianized morality, on the one their inward and experimental ashand; or of the unmoralized-we quaintance with the great doctrine