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all the power of forcible address and melting persuasion to the heart.” -Pp. 3, 4.
That the critic may find some objectionable things in the sermons before us is freely admitted ; and that there are some sentiments in them that would be objected to by a large proportion of the readers of the Methodist Quarterly, is believed; for it should be remembered that the author of the sermons was a Calvinist, and that some of the peculiarities of his creed would naturally find a place in them; but notwithstanding all their objectionable features, we must be permitted to pronounce them as among the most eloquent and useful sermons ever issued by the American or English press. A few extracts from them must suffice.
In Sermon II, our author discourses on John iii, 16: "For God so loved the world,” &c. It was preached immediately after he had recovered from a severe fit of sickness, and was introduced by the following remarks, which evidently show his ardent desire to benefit his hearers :
“I have been solicitously thinking in what way my life, redeemed from the grave, may be of most service to my dear people. And I would collect all the feeble remains of my strength into one vigorous effort this day to promote this benevolent end. If I knew what subject has the most direct tendency to save your souls, that is the subject to which my heart would cling with peculiar endearment, and which I would make the matter of the present discourse.
“And when I consider I am speaking to an assembly of sinners, guilty, depraved, helpless creatures, and that if ever you are saved it will be only through Jesus Christ, in that way which the gospel reveals; when I consider that your everlasting life turns on this hinge, viz., the reception you give to this Saviour, and this way of salvation; when I consider these things, I can think of no subject more suitable for recommending the Lord Jesus to your acceptance, and to explain and inculcate the method of salvation through his mediation.”Pp. 31, 32.
In elucidating the subject, he notices at length the following points in his usual style, which, for strength and simplicity, is scarcely equaled by the celebrated Dr. South :
"1. Without Christ, all are in a perishing condition. “2. That through Christ, a way is opened for salvation. “ 3. The grand prerequisite to being saved, is faith in Jesus Christ. “4. That those who believe in Christ shall be saved.
“5. That this method of salvation is a most striking and astonishing display of the love of God.”
Our author lived in an age in which infidelity was embraced by many, especially of the youth. Against it, he frequently leveled his artillery with great power and effect. In a sermon on the “Divine Authority and Sufficiency of the Christian Religion,” he thus speaks of the religion of the Bible :
“ The religion of the Bible has the directest tendency to promote true piety and solid virtue in the world; it is such a religion as becomes a God to reveal; such a religion as we might expect from him ; a religion intended and adapted to regulate self-love, and to diffuse the love of God and man through the world; a religion productive of every humane, social, and divine virtue, and directly calculated to banish all sin from the world ; to transform impiety into devotion, injustice and oppression into equity and universal benevolence, and sensuality into sobriety; a religion infinitely preferable to any that has been contrived by the wisest and best of men.”
Mr. Davies was a great lover of his country. In defense of its liberties, he appeared with all his zeal and eloquence. He preached on the occasion of his country's invasion by a foreign power. He gives the enemy no quarters. He fully believed in the efficacy and power of the gospel to triumph over the wickedness of this world, and that the time would come when the kingdom of the Redeemer would exercise its “government over our guilty race." His sermon on the “ Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ,” for sublimity of thought and true eloquence of expression, is hardly surpassed by any writer of ancient or modern times. But on the character of these sermons it is unnecessary that we should say more. The above will suffice for recommending them to the reader's attention. This was the principal object of the reviewer.
That the enterprising publishers have presented the public with a new and cheap edition of these sermons is a matter of thankfulness; and it is ardently hoped that they will still prove a great blessing to the ministry and to the church, and that they will continue to be read with increasing interest, delight, and profit, until time shall be no more!
R. W. A. New-London, Conn., Sept., 1845.
ART. VIII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1. The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments; translated
out of the original Hebrew, and with the former Translations diligently compared and revised: and the Greek New Testament, printed from the Text, and with the various Readings of Knapp: together with the commonly-received English Translations. Designed for the Use of Students. 4to. New-York: J. C. Riker, 129 Fulton-st. 1845.
In further explanation of the form and design of " The Student's Bible,” it is only necessary to say, that the text occupies but a small part of the page, the remainder being ruled for the purpose of notes and criticisms. The paper is clear and firm, and admits of writing upon both sides without blotting. For those who study the Scriptures critically, and wish to note the results of their investigations, this Bible will be found a great convenience. We most heartily thank the publisher for thus furnishing our Biblical students with precisely what they want in this line; and we hope he may find ample encouragement in the enterprise. We feel a lively interest in efforts to put the Holy Scriptures into every desirable form; and we pray for a blessing upon those publishers who risk large outlays in endeavoring to carry out so desirable an object. They are especially entitled to the patronage of the Christian public, and we seriously hope our friend Riker will not fail to receive this reward.
2. A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old and New Testa
ments and the Apocrypha. By PATRICK, LOUTH, ARNOLD, WHITBY, and LOWMAN. A new edition, with the text printed at large, in four volumes. Phila.: Carey & Hart. New-York: Wiley & Putnam. 1845.
We noticed this important publication on the receipt of the first number. We are now happy to say that the whole is completed. commentary upon the entire Bible, this one has very few rivals. It is critical and thoroughly orthodox. But by this we do not mean to say that we subscribe to every line of this great work ; but that, in general, it is a most excellent and safe guide to a better understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Whitby is thoroughly Arminian, and brings a vast amount of critical skill and argumentative power to the support of the true exposition of those portions of St. Paul's Epistles which are perverted by the Calvinistic commentators. He shows the theology and logic of Geneva no quarter, but dissects them, and
exposes their radical deformities with the hand of a master. We most cordially recommend this great work to our preachers and people. Those who can go beyond the commentaries of our own publication, ought by all means to furnish themselves with this. The work has long been exceedingly scarce and dear. Now, thanks to the American publishers, it can be had in royal 8vo., in a most beautiful style of execution, at a low price. We could wish every Methodist preacher, especially, might soon have a copy in his library.
3. Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Epistles of Paul to the
Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. By Albert Barnes. 12mo.,
pp. 331. Harper & Brothers. 1845. 4. Notes, fc., on the Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, Timothy,
Titus, and Philemon. By ALBERT BARNES. 12mo., pp. 355. Harper & Brothers. 1845.
So far as we have been able to examine these volumes, they sustain the well-earned reputation of the pious author, as an expositor of Holy Scripture. If we were to notice Mr. Barnes' faults as a popular commentator, we should mention, next to his doctrinal errors, that of prolixity. He seems not always to take time to condense his thoughts. The writing of a commentary upon the New Testament is great work. One short life is scarcely enough for the object, and it is not a matter of wonder that a writer, who succeeds as Mr. Barnes has done, should press on to the conclusion as rapidly as possible. There is so great a want of a commentary upon the plan of Mr. Barnes’ Notes, for the use of Bible classes and families, that we could wish to recommend these Notes without reserve. But unhappily we cannot do so. Mr. Barnes, after all his trouble with the General Assembly, is a high-toned Calvinist. Witness his notes on the first chapter of Ephesians. He makes out the fifth verse to contain the doctrine of personal and unconditional election to eternal life, and proceeds to a vindication of that doctrine. The following is a part of this vindication, and will give a good idea of the strain of his argument:
“Who could worship or honor a God who had no plan, or purpose, or intention in what he did ? Who can believe that the universe was formed and is governed without design? Who can doubt that what God does he always meant to do? When, therefore, he converts and saves & soul, it is clear that he always intended to do it. He has no new plan. It is not an after-thought. It is not the work of chance. If I can find out anything that God has done, I have the most certain conviction that he always meant to do it—and this is all that is intended by the doctrine of election or predestination."-P. 24.
So those individuals whom God finally saves," he always meant" to save; and those whom he finally damns, “he always meant" to damn.
And yet God offers to those very men, whom " he always meant" to send to hell for ever, a free pardon of sin and eternal life! As says our commentator :
Suppose it should appear that while the executive meant, for wise but concealed reasons, to forgive a part, he had also determined to offer forgiveness to all." --P. 25.
And “suppose” he should “offer forgiveness” to those whom “he had always meant" to damn, surely this would be all fair enough, if it were done " for wise but concealed reasons !"
Again, upon verse 11, he comments thus :
“Of him who worketh all things. Of God, the universal agent. The affirmation here is not merely that God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsel of his will, but that he does everything.
is not confined to one thing, or to one class of objects. Every object and every event is under his control, and is in accordance with his eternal plan.”—P. 31.
Now, this note is more ultra Calvinistic than that of any old Calvinistic commentator upon this place we have been able to find. The assembly of divines, Diodati, Beza, Henry, and others, in sense maintain that the text asserts what Mr. Barnes explicitly denies, viz., that “God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsels of his own will." But Mr. Barnes would make the passage a universal proposition. He would make Paul affirm that God does everything that is done in the wide universe, and that all things which are done are “according to the counsel of his own will." What he says subsequently about “the laws of mind” only mystifies the subject a little, but does not remove the difficulty in the least. According to the note under consideration, God is the only efficient agent in the universe. He moves matter and mind by his own agency, and all the changes which the one or the other undergoes are in perfect accordance with his will. Where, then, is human responsibility? Is man to be responsible for what God does ? And will the Judge assemble at his bar the whole world of mere passive instruments to render an account to him for what he will have done himself ? This cannot be; for “the Judge of all the earth will do right."
But we did not intend, when we commenced this notice, to attempt an argument upon predestination and election. Our object was merely to exhibit the author's high-toned Calvinism. How far it is safe to introduce a work, so thoroughly spiced with the peculiar doctrines of the Geneva school, into our families and sabbath schools, we will not pretend to say. But we would most earnestly admonish those of our readers who use it, to be upon their guard in reading the Notes upon