Imagens das páginas

It is with professors of religion, especially with those who become such at a time of great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as it is with blossoms in the spring; there are vast numbers of them on the trees, all of which look fair and promising, but yet very many of thèm come to nothing. Many of them soon wither and drop off, though for a while, they looked as beautiful, and smelled as sweetly as those that remain ; so that we cannot by our senses ascertain, with certainty, those blossoms which have in them the secret virtue, which will afterwards appear in the fruit. We must judge, not by the beautiful colours, and the pleasant smell of the blossom, but by the matured fruit. So young professors may appear very promising ; pious persons may think they talk feelingly, may relish their conversation, and imagine that they perceive in it a divine savour; and yet all their profession may prove to be nothing.'--pp. 98, 99.

• The affections of hypocrites are very often maintained in the same way.

I bey are first much affected by some impression or impulse on their imaginations, wbich they take to be an immediate suggestion, or testimony from God, with respect to his love to them, and their distinguished privileges ; regarding this as a great discovery, they are powerfully worked upon, and hence arise high affections. And when their passions are thus influenced, they feel a persuasion that God is greatly pleased with their affections; and this affects them more, so that they are affected by their affections. And thus their affections are raised higher and higber, until they are filled with self-conceit, and a kind of fierce zeal.'--p. 149.

Conversion, if we ought to give any credit to scripture, is a universal change of disposition, a real turning of the soul from sin unto God. A man may be restrained from sin, before he is converted; but, having experienced that gracious change, he is not only restrained from sin, but made to hate it. If, therefore, the high affections of the supposed convert bave so declined, that there is now no remarkable alteration in him, and he is in general under the prevaila ing inflgence of the same dispositions as before ; if he appears as selfish and carnal, as lukewarm and anti-christian as ever; these circumstances afford such powerful evidence against him, that the finest story about experience that could possibly be told, would be regarded by the judicious Christian as possessing no value., For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision ; neither a forward profession, nor a diffident one; neither a fine story about experience, nor a poor one, avails any thing; but only a new creature.'-p. 220.

• Such persons as these, instead of embracing Christ as the Saviour from their sips, trust him as the Saviour of their sins ; instead of fleeing to bim as the refuge FROM their spiritual enemies, they make use of them as a defence of those enemies. They make Christ the minister of sin, and trust in him to preserve them in the quiet enjoyment of their unholy gratifications. Thus they take the place of the children of God, even his bosom, and fight against him with weapons hid under their skirts.'—p. 236.

These certainly are excellent remarks, and there are many more like these; but they are mingled with much alloy. The book is throughout clothed with the language, and sometimes, though not generally, breathes the spirit of the system, adopted by the writer. One radical error running through and deforming the whole work, consists in his supposing the religious affections to be altogether supernatural; and that the mind of man, wlien under their operation and influence, is not at the same time under the operation and influence of its own laws. Hence we have—not what we want, rules and directions by which we may endeavour ourselves to acquire and regulate the religious affections--but only certain signs and symptoms by which to determine the state of the heart, considering it as a mere passive recipient of supernatural influences. The work, therefore, aims rather to settle the point of fact, whether a man is or is not con

a verted, than to afford him any light or assistance in bringing his conversion to pass. Besides, we are not to understand that all these supernatural influences are divine ; many of them, we are told, are diabolical, intended to mislead and betray. Our author's ideas on this subject are so remarkable, that we choose to give them in his own words.

• There are other invisible agents who have influence upon the minds of men, besides the Holy Spirit. We are directed not to believe every spirit, but to try the spirits whether they are of God. There are evil spirits, exceedingly busy with men, who often transform themselves into angels of light; and, with great subtlety and power, mimic the operations of the Spirit of God.--Many of the operations of Satan are very distinguishable from the voluntary er. ercises of our own minds. They are so, in those horrid and blasphemous suggestions by which some persons are dreadfully harassed; and in those unnecessary and uprofitable terrors by which others are exercised. And the intluence of Satan may be as evident in false comforts and joys, as in terrors and horrid suggestions. It is not in the power of men to put themselves into such raptures, as the Anabaptists in Germany, and many other raving enthusiasts have exhibited.'--pp. 59, 60.

• As the devil can counterfeit the operations and graces of the Holy Spirit, so he can counterfeit whatever is preparative to the communications of grace. If Satan can counterfeit those operations of the Spirit of God, which are special and sanctifying ; much more easily can he imitate those which are common, and of which men, while they are yet his own children, are not unfrequently the subjects.'--p. 74.

• When the Spirit of God is poured out in a more abundant man

ner, the old serpent, as soon as possible, introduces this false religion, and mingles it with the true. The pernicious consequences of this are not easily imagined, until we behold its baneful effects, and the dreadful desolations produced by it. Ministers should therefore maintain a strict guard against this kind of delusion, especially at a time of great awakening; for many persons, particularly among the common people, are easily seduced by such things as have a show of extraordinary religion.

• All the delusions of Satan, by which those persons are carried away, who are under the influence of false religion, seem to be formed in the imagination. This is the devil's grand lurking place, the nest of foul and delusive spirits. It is probable that Satan cannot come at the soul of man, to excite any thoughts, or to produce any effects there, but through the imagination.'-p. 176.

We feel hardly competent to decide as to the correctness of these positions, having never made the subject of demonology much of a study. We think, however, that these speculations have come rather too late in the day. They would have done better for times when we had witches and wizzards; and when to see and even converse with the devil, was one of the commonest occurrences in the world. For some reason or other he has of late years kept himself very much to himself; and probably from this cause some have become so bold, and it may

be so foolhardy, as to believe there is no worse devil existing, than is to be found in the passions and affections of men, when perverted and unrestrained ; and that to hold up any other can have no good effect, as it can only serve to turn away men's watchfulness and resistance against this real devil, to direct them against ap imaginary one.

There is one more observation which we wish to make, and which has often occurred to us on reading the devotional works of Calvinistic writers. We do not recollect a single suggestion in this book, calculated by its effect on the heart of man to excite or promote real piety, with which we do not fully accord. So true it is, that all piety must be founded on those great principles of religion, in which all christians agree. And whenever we depart from these great principles, it is only to wander in mazes, which have as little to do with the heart of man, as with the simplicity of the gospel.



Died at Medford, on the 12th of December, 1822, Rev. Da. VID Osgood, D. D. in the 49th year of his ministry in that place, and in 76th year of his age. He was born at Andover, October 25th, 1747. He passed through the preparatory course of study under the tuition of Rev. Daniel Einerson, of Hollis, and entered Harvard University in 1767. On leaving college he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, and pursued his theological studies at Cambridge. He was ordained over the church and society in Medford, September 14th, 1774, and God blessed him with a long and happy ministry.

In the death of Dr. Osgood our churches are afflicted, and the cause of religion mourns the loss of a venerable and tried advocate. When one, whose revered form has year after year been seen at the altar of the sanctuary, and who even with the trembling hands of old age has upheld the ark of God, is removed, some of our best and most hallowed feelings receive a painful shock.

Dr. Osgood had for a long time filled a large space in society: He stood forth conspicuously as a man, and as a clergyman, and few could be said to be wholly ignorant of him. He gave a highly gifted mind, in all its energy, to the service of the cause of truth. Men, who were destined by talents or station to guide and adorn society, regarded him with profound respect; all, who knew him, looked upon him with uncommon interest: and in the hearts of those, who came within the sphere of his instructions, who listened to the eloquent accents of his lips, and felt the energy of his character, there is lest a cherished image of him not soon to fade away.

Dr. Osgood was a great and good man. The qualities which composed the groundwork of his character, were of that decided and definite cast, which would sutser no one to be indifferent to him. He had scarcely a tame or unmeaning ingredient in his composition, and was wholly a stranger to those evasive, timorous, halfway principles and conduct, which leave a man in a sort of neutral ground, with the liberty of taking such a course, as in the sequel shall appear most successful or convenient. He was distinguished from youth for habits of patient and laborious application and thought. His early life was passed principally in retirernent and in devoted attention to the studies of his profession. Being thus secluded in a great degree from the common influences of promiscuous intercourse, at a period when bis ba. bits were in a forming state, he never acquired that artificial exterior of character, which so often passes in the world for more than its worth, and is frequently little better than the whited sepulchres of old. No one, that knew bim well, can have failed to remark, as one of the striking traits of his heart and mind, a fearless honesty, an entire freedom from disguise. The character of Nathaniel was bis—an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.' Whatever he did or said, you might be sure he thought it his duty to do and say. He might err in judgment; but he followed with firmness the convictions of conscience. The true feelings of most men are concealed, or at least qualified, restrained, and coloured by the fear of appearances, or by a diseased desire of pleasing for the moment. But there was nothing of this in Dr. Osgood. His purposes, views, and thoughts, the springs, which set in motion his character, were generally visible to the world, and sought no concealment or modification. Hence there was a force and directness in his remarks and conduct, which gave him great weight and influence; and one might always feel a perfect security from all apprehension of his acting a part. Yet from a character of this unbending integrity were not excluded the mild and amiable qualities which attract affection.

It is true, he had not that babit of temporary accommodation to the various tastes and feelings of those around him, wbich distinguishes some individuals. But in the minds of all, who enjoyed his acquaintance, there is evidence enough that his heart was the home of many of the kindest dispositions and tenderest feelings of our nature. His conversation was very often enlivened with innocent hilarity and playful cheerfulness; and few men have made their intercourse sought on these accounts more than be. There are certainly many hearts, which will testify that he was kind and good; and among the young, who surely are not easily won except by something besides sternness and severity, there are those, to whom it is a bitter remembrance, that the venerable old man, whose form was connected with their best feelings of attachment, has gone down to the grave, and that the hand, which always welcomed them with friendship and paternal kindness, is crumbling in the dust.

• Beware
All ye who knew him not, how ye decide
Upon a heart with charity replete
And human kindness, though with brow austere
And stern rebuke sometimes he would reprove
The vanities and vices of mankind :

'T was such the champion of the truth should be, New Series-vol. IV.



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