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ly consolation over the "dark places" of his desponding heart. The friend who was the compauion of his gloomy journey to London gives us not even the most distaut intimation of any endeavour to rouse him from the contemplation of the abyss of his dejection, by unveiling to him the glories of the world to come. We find not a single hint, in any page of the sad history of his sorrow and death, of any kind hand which directed his eye to the Source of peace and joy, to the Cross of the Redeemer, to that "Man of sorrows," who will not "bruise the broken reed nor quench the smoking flax." We do not say, that the consolations of Religion would ne cessarily have checked the inroads of disease; but Religion is surely the best antidote for that species of mental alienation which is nourish ed in the deep and dreary recesses of a broken heart. At all events it would have been cheering to us to know (for, after all, we may be ignorant of what really took place), that the experiment had been tried; and that a great mind had not been left to fall without an application of the only support by which, in our apprehension, it could be sustained. We trust, however, that the moral taught by his death will not be wasted on the public, and especially on the younger members of his own bonourable profession. It is a profession in which a large proportion of the talent and industry of the nation is concentrated; and of which, therefore, the moral influence on the character of the country is almost incalculable. Can any thinking man, then, contemplate the apparent religious indifference prevailing in that profession without grief and dismay?
Can we hear of some, even of our most distinguished lawyers, habitually neglecting the worship of God, and devoting the Sunday to professional employments, without a conviction that
when the plain and palpable duties of Christianity are thus openly violated, and truth poisoned as it were at the fountain-head, streams of corruption must be flowing down upon the lower levels of ordinary life? Nor is another question, in some measure connected with this subject, easy of answer; we mean, why those very individuals whose habits of study, of general converse, of varied society, of careful investigation, might have been expected to invest them with an unusual spirit of liberality and candour, should have been found, in too many instances, in politics, the friends of corruption, and, while thus lax in religious observ ance, yet in religion the patrons bigotry. It would not be difficult to advert to high professional characters, who have worn out the long years of a protracted life in the endeavour to hunt down the few feeble advocates of spiritual religion, or to starve them by a rigid exclusion from preferment into apostacy from truth, and philanthropy, and religion. We sincerely pray that the late awful incident may not be thrown away upon the country. May the professional friends and scholars of Sir Samuel Romilly, as they collect around his tomb to lament over the sudden extinction of as much talent, knowledge, and energy as perhaps have ever been concentrat ed in the bosom of any one legal advocate-learn that knowledge, and genius, and wealth, and popular applause are, also, but "vanity" -a vapour that appeareth for a little while and then vanisheth away.
with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy." If such be the parent, what might we not expect from her peculiar children, from those who catch the lessons of truth and wisdom from her lips, and live in the beams of her presence? We might surely expect them to be men of orthodox opinions, and correct practice, and large hearts, and charitable tempers. We might expect no longer to be driven back to the days of Sir Matthew Hale, for an example of the highest legal eminence combined with the deepest and most striking piety. We might expect that his honoured mantle would fall on many of his successors; and that a vast proportion of them would be seeking that "bosom of God," which is the tranquil and eternal seat, not only of the fundamental principles of their profession, but of their hopes, their triumph, and their unchanging happiness. May these expectations be more than realized in some of the promising young men who are now beginning to tread the ground which their elder brethren have left.
A Letter on the Principles of the Christian Faith. Written by HANNAH SINCLAIR, eldest Daughter of the Right Honour able Sir John Sinclair, Bart., who died on the 22d of May, 1818.
London: Hatchard. 1818, 8vo. pp. 25. price 1s. 6d.
THE advantages which Christianity has conferred upon the female character, and which the female character, thus influenced, has conferred upon the world at large, are not the less real or important for having been rendered trite by repetition, or suspicious from vain and unmeaning compliment. It has been occasionally among the excrescences of ill-directed zeal to panegerize the female character on solemn occasions--such, for instance, as the anniversaries of chaCHRIST. OBSERV. No, 204.
ritable societies-in terms which, however truc, neither become the place, the speaker, nor the objects of eulogium. We have more than once heard females of sense and modesty lament that the panegyric of their sex should have engrossed moments which they thought might have been far better employed, and especially when the panegyric, though adduced immediately in reference to their activity of benevolence and their religious qualities, has assumed something more of a secular colour, something more of the current language of "the world," than might, perhaps, strictly become the platform of a charitable, and especially a religious, institution.
We are anxious, therefore, in taking up a pamphlet like the present, to avoid the current language of compliment to the female sex, while we acknowledge with gratitude to God the great blessings which their piety and virtue so often confer upon ours; blessings which have never been greater than at the present moment, when among the most excellent and useful of our writers the most active and enlightened of our philanthropists-the wisest guides of youth-the most efficient supporters of our charitable institutions-the best friends of the poor, the sick, the outcast, the prisoner-we may enumerate females, who, without derogating from the retiring delicacy which becomes their character, have contrived simply, piously, actively, unostentatiously, to confer benefits upon their country, for which many a succeeding race will arise to call them blessed.
The importance of the maternal character, to the best interests of the rising generation, has been so often and so satisfactorily demonstrated, as to need, on the present occasion, nothing more than a simple mention, with a passing expression of gratitude to those writers who have inculcated, and those mothers who have practised, 5 N
the duties of this most responsible relation.
But there is another class of fe. males whose power of benefiting their immediate connexions, and ultimately society at large, is often second only to that of mothers themselves, but whose duties have not, perhaps, been sufficiently noticed in the exhortations which have issued from the press, or been inculcated in the pulpit-we mean the elder sisters in large families. On these, in the event of the death of one or both parents, and even in a considerable measure during their life-time, must often devolve a large part of the task of forming the minds and regulating the prin'ciples of the junior branches of the household. Their more immediate contact and intercourse with them, together with other circumstances, will often invest them with an influence, which, though nominally far less than that of a mother, will not unfrequently be found practically equal or even greater. The difference of age and pursuits between the parent and child is such that they must necessarily live in a very different world: the child, therefore, though it may respect and obey the parental decision, and know it in theory to be the best that can possibly be given, finds, perhaps, no common ground between them which to argue the question, and would not, therefore, be displeased to discover how the same subject would be viewed by those whose and circumstances would tend
to bring the parties somewhat nearer together. Again, every age has its peculiar fashions and modes of instruction; and a younger child is often more swayed in its real opinions, whatever it may ostensibly profess, by the conduct and sentiments of one who has gone over identically the same ground, though advanced, in its estimation, to a vast distance of superiority, than by the views of one who has been educated under
different circumstances, who has not read precisely the same books, or been influenced in childhood by exactly the same associations with the junior members of her own family. A parent often appears "a being of other days;" an elder sister is a friend of the same generation, who sometimes, in the child's estimation, makes up, by greater similarity of education and views, what may be wanting in maturity of thought and authority of
The connexion of these remarks with the pamphlet before us will appear from the following introductory passage, written by Sir John Sinclair, the father of the authoress.
"The writer of this letter was, from her earliest infancy, distinguished by a warm attachment to Religion. The knowledge she had acquired of its doctrines, as well as her accomplishments in many other respects, were of the highest description. It was her great delight, to explain to the young the principles of the Christian faith; and she took a peculiar pleasure, in the instruction of her brothers and sisters. One of the latter, my (now) fifth daughter, had earnestly requested her to put down in writing what she had frequently explained in discourse. The result of that application was the following letter, which, though never intended to be printed, I feel it incumbent upon me to publish, for the satisfaction of her friends, and for the benefit of others. During her life, nothing gave my dear daughter so much delight as doing good; and if the spirits of the departed are conscious of what passes on earth,
she will rejoice at being still enabled
to contribute to the benefit of those
whom she has left behind her." p.iii.
The afflicted parent states, that the death of Miss Sinclair was caused by a consumption, to which she had for several years had a predisposition, but the immediate attack of which arose from a cold contracted during last January, while she was going about, according to her custom, for religious and benevolent purposes.
With reference to a familiar tractate, published under circumstances like these, criticism can bardly find much scope for exercise, so that we should probably have said nothing, if we could not conscientiously have said what is to the honour of the writer. But in the present case we feel pleasure in attesting that the pages before us are no less creditable to the talents and judgment of the deceased, than to her piety and sisterly anxiety for the welfare of the younger members of her family; and we by no means think that the paternal editor has been unduly biassed by his affections in submitting it to the public eye. We are, indeed, always glad of suitable instructions for youth, written by the pen of a friend without any view to publication, as they often partake of a tenderness and simplicity which do not always characterize the writings of professed authors. Neither the views nor illustrations in this "letter" are particularly new-they do not profess to be so-and we might possibly find occasion to object here and there to an expression, or to a mode of viewing a doctrine; but the following extracts will shew that the degree of approbation
which we have felt ourselves warranted in expressing is not undeserved. Miss Sinclair thus introduces her view of Christian doctrine.
"You are aware that one of my chief aims has been to impress upon your minds, by a variety of arguments and considerations, the superiority of what is called the evangelical system of religion over every other; and also to explain to you what that system is. It consists of several doctrines closely connected with each other, and which all appear to be plainly revealed in Scripture.
"The first of these doctrines, and the foundation of all the rest, is, that of the deep depravity and corruption of human nature. This doctrine in the main, is not, I believe, denied by any; but the evangelical preachers explain it in a different manner from what others do. By others it is considered
as a slight taint;-by them it is represented as a deep pollution; a total alienation of the heart from God, which is most culpable, and wholly inexcusable, in his sight. So far is man, in a state of nature, from loving God above all things, that there is scarcely any thing which he does not prefer to God. To the majority of the world, what duty is so irksome, as that of prayer? What day so wearisome as the Sabbath? What time so long as that which is spent at church? What books so uninterest
ing as those which treat of religion?
"Besides this dislike and repugnance to the exercise of devotion, or, in other words, to all manner of intercourse with God, there is, in fallen man, a spirit of disobedience and rebellion against his Makeṛ. It is true, that many of the persons here described do fulfil various moral duties, and so far obey his commands; but they do not obey them because they are his commands. Generally speaking, some motive of interest, pleasure, or vanity, of self-gratification of one kind or other, secretly influences them; or if they do pay any regard to God at all, it is the fear of his wrath which prompts them. They do not obey, from a sincere filial desire of pleasing him, but from dread of a power which they know cannot be resisted. Such is man by nature, without any exception. This charge may be brought with as much Justice, against the decent and moral, as against the vicious and profane. Nay, even the most eminent Christians, though this is no longer their character, will most readily acknowledge that it was once so. They can all of them remember a time, when they were exactly in the condition here described. Now, as God has repeatedly declared in Scripture, that he will on no account admit into his presence those who are thus alienated from him, it follows of course, that if we live and die in this state, we must perish for ever; or, to use our Saviour's own words, 'Except a man be born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' The change which our Saviour alludes to in these words, is described in the Bible under a great variety of figures and phrases, such as being renewed and sanctified;" "being adopted into the family of God;'
being no longer under the law, but under grace;' having passed from death to life,' &c. &c.; and St. Paul expressly says, If any man be in Christ, he is a
new creature; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new;' by which he plainly signifies, not only that the change must be great,
but that it must be universal-that 'all things must become new!'
"To describe, as plainly and distinct ly as I can, wherein this change consists, shall be the purport of the remainder of this Letter." pp. 6-8.
The following is her view of progressive sanctification."
"Let me remind you, that sanctification is a gradual work. The change I am describing, from sin to holiness, from the love of the world to the love of God, is not instantaneous, 'but resembles the morning light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day.' An established Christian differs in many respects from a young convert, and, generally speaking, that difference is in no respect more visible than in their feelings aud experience relative to the pleasures of Religion. A young convert is usually beset with doubts, fears, and anxieties. He feels and knows himself to be a sinner; is depressed by a sense of his own guilt and infirmities; and has not yet learned to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and to cast all the burden of his sins upon him. But, by degrees, more light is communicated to his mind; he perceives how God can be just, and yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus; he applies all the promises of the Gospel to himself; he looks to Jesus, not merely as the Saviour of sinners, but as his own Saviour; and believes, not merely that he died for mankind in general, but for himself in particular: and thus he learns to look forward to Heaven, as his own certain portion and inheritance: not for any works of righteousness which he has done, but solely because he is united by
faith to the all-sufficient Saviour.
"Some perhaps may tell you, that this is not consistent with humility; but they
mistake the nature of Christian humility, which does not consist in believing that we are going to hell, but that we deserve to go there. Who was ever more humble than St. Paul? He disparages himself in almost every page of his writings; yet he speaks of his own salvation with the utmost confidence
-expresses a wish to be absent from the body, that he might be present with the Lord; says, that he had a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is
far better; and that to him, to live is Christ, and to die is gain;—and he describes Christians in general, as those who rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,' or in themselves, plainly shewing that these two feelings are no way inconsistent with each other. A criminal may believe himself to be worthy of death, yet if he receives a pardon, he no longer fears death: thus it is with Christians, they believe themselves to be pardoned for Christ's sake.
"It is true indeed, as I formerly observed, that young converts do not usually view things in this light, for faith, generally speaking, is a gradual attainment. It is also true, that established Christians may have their seasons of doubt and dejection; but this is owing to the weakness of their faith, and these seasons are their worst seasons. A variety of circumstances also, such as nervous diseases, temptations, misfortunes, and others, may depress the spirits of Christians. But notwithstanding all these exceptions, for which due allowances should be made, it is perfectly true, that the spirit of the Gospel is a spirit of hope, peace, and joy, and that the children of Zion' are not only humble but joyful in their King.' pp. 12-14.
With such principles we are not surprised to find the following remarks by her father.
"Such were the religious doctrines of this most excellent person, on which she acted with unceasing attention. Those who witnessed her serenity of temper; her uniform cheerfulness; the pleasure she enjoyed in constantly doing good; the patience and resignation with which she bore up against the suf ferings of a protracted illness; and the confident hope she entertained of future happiness, in another state of existence, feel it a duty incumbent upon them, her principles, and her example." p. 25. most earnestly to recommend to others,
"It is not too much to add, that no one ever saw her temper ruffled, or ever heard her say any thing harsh or unfeeling respecting the conduct or the motives of others. She never wilfully committed any error, nor ever omitted to do good when an opportunity presented itself." p. iv.
We would, in conclusion, express a strong hope, that not only the young persons for whom this Letter