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they may be regarded as comprising a miniature "body of divinity, as the reader will perceive from the following Table of Contents.
1. A Summary of the Evidences of Christianity, comprised in six chapters.
2. An Essay on the Wisdom, the Equity, and the Bounty of Divine Providence.
3. The doctrine of the Cross of Christ stated and improved. 4. The certain efficacy of the death of Christ. 5. The dignity of the Redeemer of men—being an illustration of Col. i. 15—18. 6. An Essay on Anger., 7. The important Journey from this world to the next, considered in a Sermon, delivered at an Association at Bradford, in Yorkshire, June 13th, 1810. 8. Substance of the last Sermon preached by Mr. Fawcett, February 26, 1816, printed from his own Notes. To the volume is prefixed a Memoir of the Author, extending to thirty pages, and a finely engraved Portrait.
Of some of the pieces contained in this volume we could say very much in the way of commendation were it necessary, and did we not fear that we should thereby expose ourselves to the risk of being thought to indulge in panegyric. But the truth is, there are few writers of the age, whose doctrinal sentiments are more in unison with our own than those of Mr. Fawcett. His " Doctrine of the Cross stated and improved," is surpassed by nothing in our language that we know upon the subject, if we except Mr. Maclaurin's Sermon on glorying in the Cross. And his " Essay on Anger" has long obtained such an established reputation, that nothing which we can say is likely to augment its praise. It is now pretty generally known, that this valuable piece had the felicity to attract the notice of our late revered monarch, George the Third, and to obtain from him a tender of his services in any way the Author might wish to avail himself of them; and that he did avail himself of them at a subsequent period of his life, in a way which we are not allowed to explain; but which will always be considered as reflecting the highest honour on the character of Dr. Fawcett! We exceedingly regret that our limits will not permit us to indulge in a few extracts from this interesting volume; but we earnestly recommend" it to the attention of our readers, as one of the most useful books with which we are acquainted, to be put into the hands of
young men, as an antidote to scepticism and infidelity, and as exhibiting just views of the religion of Jesus Christ, in its doctrines and practical influence.
Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Worship; collected from Dr. Watts and other Authors. By T. WrLcoCKS, Devonport. Printed by W. Byers, and Sold'in London by W. Jones, 5, Lovell's Court, Paternoster Row; 18mo. pp. 780, pr. 5s. bds. or 5s. 6d. bound. 1824.
Though every one must admit that it is highly desirable to have a variety of Divine Songs, adapted to the diversified frame of mind in which Christians may be placed while on their way to Zion, to aid their devotion, and call their feelings into lively exercise, yet, we believe, the multiplication of Hymn Books, which in the present "day is become so abundant, is felt as an inconvenience, if not generally regretted. We remember the time when Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns were without a rival, and the worshipping assemblies were well satisfied with the treasure they possessed. But since the Doctor's day, we have been favoured with a succession of Christian poets; who, though none of them, upon the whole, can be said to equal him, yet they have made large additions to our stock of sacred poetry, and of course rendered us much more capricious and squeamish than we should otherwise have been. Dr. Doddridge, the Wesleys, Toplady, Hart, Cennick, Gibbons, tjie Stennetts, Steele, 'Needham, Beddome, Fawcett, Newton and Cowper, &c. &c. of what we may term, the generation that succeeded Watts, have each of them contributed according to their measure to the public stock—and these have been followed by Henry Kirke White, Montgomery, Kelly and others, who are every day rising up, and still more amply enriching the Christian church with their mental treasures. This accounts, very satisfactorily, for the number of volumes that have appeared in rapid succession under the title of a " Supplement to Dr. Watts," &c. but it has no tendency to lessen the inconvenience that is felt. Almost every congregation, and every individual worshipper that would study his own accommodation, must.be prepared with two, if not three, Hymn Books; and, after all, so numerous are these "Supplements," "Selections," "Appendixes," &c. that if he have occasion to attend at different places of worship, his own two or three Hymn Books will not always supply his need, and enable him to join in the worship. The evil, to which we have alluded, is moreover a growing one, and sooner or later a remedy must be devised by the churches, or its consequences will be very disastrous. Every reflecting mind, we think, must be struck with this view of the subject, and approve what appears to be a judicious effort to provide a remedy. But if the churches are to get rid of the inconvenience resulting from Laving to provide more Hymn books than one, and yet avail themselves of the choicest fruits of the race of poets who have succeeded Dr.,Watts, it can only be done on the plan which Mr. Wilcocks has adopted, and so successfully executed in the volume before us. Arranging his materials under the general heads of Public Worship—The Lord's day—Before and after Sermon— The attributes, decrees, and works of God—The Word of God—Blessings of redemption and salvation—Invitations, warnings, and promises—The mediation of Christ, (under which are included, his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, names, offices, kingdom, and reign, second coming, &,c.)—Praise to Christ— Influences and offices of the Holy Spirit— The Christian character and privileges— Heaven—The Christian church, &c. &c. Mr. Wilcocks has, with a sound and discriminating judgment, selected from Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, and Lyric Poems, all those compositions that he found best suited to his purpose. It may, perhaps, strike the minds of some, that upon this plan a great proportion of the book of Psalms must necessarily be omitted; but that is quite a mistake—on the contrary, there are comparatively fe w of these valuable compositions that do not find a place in Mr. Wilcocks's volume, though they arc not placed in numerical order, but arranged according to the subject of which they treat. From a reference to the "Index of Scriptures " at the end of the volume, we find the number of Psalms, or parts of Psalms, which our Author has extracted from Watts, amount to about two hundred and thirty, which forms one-fifth part of the present Collection— the whole number of Hymns, &c. being
MR. WILCOCKS S SELECTION OF PSALMS AND HYMNS.
about Eleven Hundred And TujrtyOne.
We have intimated our opinion of the powers of discrimination which Mr. Wilcocks has manifested in the publication before us; and this is a topic of so much importance in a work of this kind, that we must take leave to expatiate a little upon it, since, in our humble judgment, much of the value of his book arises from it. We need not take time to prove, that in compositions which are designed to be used for the purpose of conveying our emotions of praise to God, it is of the last importance that our sentiments be scriptural—that if we supplicate blessings, they shall be agreeable to the will of God—and that if we confess his truth to the glory of his name, we do it in sound speech which cannot be condemned. Now we do think that, in this respect, not a few of Dr. Watts's Hymns are exceptionable; the same may be said of Dr. Rippon's Selection, now generally used as a Supplement to Watts. We give as an instance of what we mean, the first lines that occur to us:
"O could I hear thy penile voice,
"O tell me, with a gentle voice,
Now, to us it appears, that this is calculated to promote a spirit of blind enLhusiasm, by leading persons to imagine, that the Holy Spirit "whispers" in the ears of mortals something aside from the declaration, witness, testimony or promise, which he openly bears in the Holy Scriptures—than which nothing can be more fanciful and delusive. Yet this sentiment pervades "The Selection," and renders a considerable part of it totally unfit for the worship of God, either public or private. The reader will find nothing of this kind in Mr. Wilcocks's volume. He has extracted from all the authors that have come in his way, whatever appeared to him congenial to the mind of the Spirit; but he has rejected the chaff which has filled up a great part of the pages of his predecessors.
Another thing that will not fail to attract the notice of such as examine Mr. Wilcocks's book, is the extraordinary variety of subjects to which the Hymns have regard, and on which they are founded. In this respect it is a truly noble cnUr-tinn, and leaves all that have gone before it at a vast distance. We need not inform those who are much conversant with this species of publication, that many of the modern collections of Hymns are woefully circumscribed in point of doctrinal sentiment. Not a few are avowedly constructed upon the principle, that nothing should be sung in the worship of God but what is of the nature of praise. This, however, appears to us to be a very mistaken sentiment; for if we take the book of Psalms for our model, and it was composed by inspired prophets for the use of the ancient church of God, we find an endless variety of subjects there introduced; and on this model Mr. Wilcocks has evidently constructed his volume. The reader who carefully examines the "Index of Subjects," which occupies twenty-three pages in double columns, will have the best view of its fulness in this respect, and be best able to appreciate its merit. Yet we would not be understood as holding it up in the light of a perfect work of the kind. We miss a few Hymns which are favourites with us—a few others have been curtailed of some of the stanzas which we cannot afford to part with; and both these deficiencies we must entreat him to supply, whenever a second edition is called for. We should have also been glad of a few pages of Preface to the work; but he has sent his bantling into the world without a rag to cover its nakedness, leaving the helpless creature to shift for itself, or suffer the rage of its enemies. We have repeatedly tried to find an excuse for his very singular conduct in this instance; and after indulging in various conjectures, the most probable that we have been able to raise is, that he determined, in this respect, to exhibit as perfect a contrast as possible to the vanity and egotism of his brother Rippon! We take our leave of the Author and his work, by cordially thanking him for the service he has rendered to the church of God, and recommending his publication as the best adapted we have yet seen to supersede the necessity of having recourse to more Hymn books than one.
Pastoral Narratives: illustrative of the importance of Evangelical Hetigion, and its tendency to promote the happiness of its Subjects. London, Nisbet, Berners' Street,Oxford-street, pp. 97, pr. Is. 6d. One of the pleasing characteristics of
flic age in which we live, is the atten
tion paid to the instruction of the rising generation. Since the increase o_f Sunday Schools we have had a multiplication of publications, suitable for impressing important knowledge on the minds of the young. For their benefit chiefly, though not exclusively, the little volume before us appears to have been designed. It is divided into four parts or numbers—No. I. is entitled, Piety in the House of a Drunkard; or, an Account of Mary Jones.—No. II. The Unhappy Marriage; or, the History of Susan Lewis.—No. III. The Sunday School at B .—No. IV. The Contrast; or, the Rich miserable, and the Poor happy. Each of these brief narratives is interesting, but we have been particularly plessed with that of Susan Lewis, (No. 2,) and the Account of the Misers, (No. 4.) In the latter, there is an intimation (page 80) that the characters are "copied from nature." We arc not without an opinion, (though it is not stated in the work,) that the incidents throughout may have been either furnished or suggested by occurrences from real life. The narratives are simple and natural, and therefore the more interesting. The Novel style is very wisely guarded against by our Author, who, we dare say, thinks with Mr. James of Birmingham on that subject: See the admirable remarks of that Author contained in his recent work, which we reviewed in our last number. There are a few things of minor importance in this interesting volume, which we should, ourselves, be disposed to alter, either in a second or future edition. We don't think that the expression "a glorified joy," (page 49) is either so expressive or so correct as our common reading—" joy unspeakable and full of glory." At page 63 the expression occurs, " praise God to eternity.," Though this should have the authority of good old Matthew Henry, it is manifestly ungrammatical, and should be altered. The"proper expression is either through eternity, or eternally- At page 68, books of a class similar tojaneway's Token for Children, but perhaps a Jittle smaller, are oddly denominated, "a host of junior brethren of the same family." The word condition instead of wealth, or temporal outward circumstances, is not very intelligible in the following sentence, at page 88, "It is character, and not condition that will fix our eternal destiny beyond the grave." We are not 319
Very well satisfied with the title of No. 4. The Contrast; or the Rich miserable, and the Poor happy, because youth might be apt to infer from it, that misery belongs as a matter of course to the one state, and happiness to the other. In the story of the miser, Mr. Bartle, the reader is told at page 84, " He had departed from God, and had loved this present world." This glances at a passage, 2 Tim. iv. 10. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." Now Mr. Bartle's departure from God, does not appear to have been either backsliding or apostacy; for though he is described as having descended from a race of pious men (page 81), we find no hint given of his having himself made any profession of Christianity.
We have intimated an opinion, that these'stories may have some foundation in real life. We sincerely hope, however, that this may not be the case with respect to the brutal husband in the narrative of Susan Lewis. It is but seldom, we hope, that such hardness of heart is of actual developement in our land.
The third number contains a pleasing testimony to the advantages of Sunday Schools, in impressing the hearts of the young. Their vast importance is not to be fully estimated in the present state. To borrow the impressive phraseology of one of the Reports, "we may, indeed, see something of the rising crop, we may gaze upon it with wonder and delight as did the ancient Jews, when, looking on the grapes of Eshcol, they anticipated the felicities of the promised land; but they shall only be fully traced out with strong immortal eyes in the light of heaven."
The following extract from the concluding pages of the work, we give as a fair specimen of our Author's manner of writing in this little volume.
"Margaret Thompson was a woman whom poverty and the infirmities of old age had placed in our parish workhouse. She had long been a partaker 'of the grace of God in truth ;' and when her eyes failed her, that she could no longer obtain her living by spinning, and she was forced in her old age to fly to the asylum which the wise and humane laws of our country have made for the aged and infirm, she did not murmur and think it hard, that after a life of industry and hard labour, she was obliged to come to
the workhouse. No; the had been taught, that all our affairs are governed and directed by infinite wisdom: and she rejoiced, that she even now possessed an assurance that the good promise of God, that her ' bread should be given her, and her water should be sure,' was likely to be fulfilled. She lamented, that it was her lot to be cast among so many who hated God, and she wept much when she entered the house, and found a considerable number of poor old persons, hardly any of whom knew any thing of that Saviour whom she had long loved and adored; but she rejoiced that she should yet be allowed the privilege of hearing the Gospel. She has often said, that it was to her a delightful thought, that the throne of God might be addressed even from a workhouse; and that her heavenly Father would not reject her prayer, because she was poor. Often has she dwelt with pleasure. on that delightful passage in the hundred and second Psalm,' he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.' Even in this unpromising spot, she found ways and means of usefulness; as the whole of her time was unemployed, she had frequent opportunities of talking to the inmates of the house on the importance of attending to the things of eternity; and there is some reason to hope, that her ' labours of love* will not be found to be entirely ' in vain.' Her life was a luminous comment on the truths of which she delighted to speak: and had St. Paul been now living, he would not have scrupled to have ranked her among those whom he addressed, when he said,' Ye are our epistles known and read of all men.' Whenever she was visited by any of her Christian friends, they did not find her murmuring at the hard lot which Providence had dealt out to her, in sending her to the workhouse; but on the other hand, rejoicing in the goodness of God, and calling upon all around to join her ijj praising the Lord for his mercy, in making so comfortable a provision for her in her old age. She had used to say there was but one thing that gave her any concern, which was, that she was so seldom visited by those who loved the Saviour. But she would add, ' this complaint will soon be over; for I hope before long to enter that blessed world where I shall see all who love the blessed Saviour; and talk with them on the wonders of his love.' She "was accustomed, very properly, to look on the trials of the present state, as a part of the discipline we must undergo to prepare us for the heavenly world; and reckoned with St. Paul, 'that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory that shall be revealed,' and that' these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us afar more exceedingand eternalweight of glory.'
"The few sands of mortality which she had to spend, when she entered the poorhouse, were now run, and she was brought to the close of her earthly existence. Nature was exhausted,but grace flourished. She ' brought forth fruit even in old age; in the ways of God, she was ' fat and flourishing:' the amiable fruits of the Spirit she now bore, were these of ' love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.'
"The plants of pace shal 1 ever live;
"Nature decays, but grace must thrive; "Time, that doth all things else impair,
"Still makes them flourish strong and Mr.
"Laden with fruits of age they show "The Lord is holy, just, and true;
"None that attend his gates shall find •' A God unfaithful or unkind.
"Her death was somewhat sudden, but to her it was happy, and to her friends it was satisfactory. She was enabled, in the language of triumph, to say, 'O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who giveth me the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' How great to her must be the change to rise from a bed of suffering, in a workhouse, to the possession of a throne of immortal glory! Her mortal remains were interred in the parish church-yard. It is true, no stone marks the spot where her body was laid ; but Jesus shall watch over her precious dust, for he has said, and the declaration is full of delight, 'This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth in him, shall have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.'"
We should have noticed this little work at an earlier period had we met with it. It well merits the attention of the conductors of Sunday Schools, and to have a place in all juvenile libraries. The Author, who has thought proper to publish anonymously, is a Minister of respectable talents in the Baptist denomination, but just now without any pastoral charge.
Lord Byron's Works viewed in Connexion with Christianity, and tlie Obligations of Social Life. A Sermon delivered at tiolland Chapel, Kenningtcm, July 4th, 1824. By the Rev. John Styles, D.D. London, Knight & Lacey, pr. Is. 6d. The death of Lord Byron has produced among us feelings of the strongest kind. The man of taste has mourned the extinction of his genius, the patriot has lamented the departure of one so devoted to the cause of liberty, "the infidel regrets the decease of the great champion of his cause, and the christian weeps when he remembers the mighty talents that he prostituted, the religion he profaned, the blasphemies he spread, and the consequent moral mischief he diffused around him.
Dr. Styles, as many of our readers know, is a popular minister among the Independents, who has recently removed from the station he filled for some years at Brighton, to occupy the pulpit at Holland Chapel, Kennington, where it is said he has attracted a considerable congregation. Feeling a very laudable desire to guard his young hearers from the principles of Infidelity, which at once debase and ruin the soul, and scatter destruction among Society, he addressed to them the Sermon that now lies on our table, and which we have read with considerable pleasure.
Dr. Styles considers the works of Lord Byron as fraught with the most dangerous principles, and that therefore the ministers of religion ought to expose their true nature, and warn their hearers of the danger they incur in reading them. He very properly remarks that—
"As that portion of the public press which is constantly employed in the desecration of all that is holy, will teem with monodies and panegyric, occasioned by the loss of so great andsplendid a coadjutor; as he will be held up as the light and glory of his native land; as his transcendent genius will be lauded to the skies—and thus a new impetus be given, to induce the purchase, the perusal, and the re-perusal of his works, it ought not to be imputed to the official guardians of piety and virtue as a crime, that they lift up their solemn and dignified voice, in behalf of the traduced and suffering cause which these works assail; especially when that cause involves the temporal and immortal destinies of their fellow-creatures."
And again, • "When wonderful endowments, when