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Such is the tenor of our Lord's affectionate remonstrance with his infatuated countrymen. How often would I, says he, in the dejection of his heart, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.—He does not lament that they could not turn to him, but that they would not—not that they wanted the power but the will—and he goes on to forewarn them, that they were on the brink of that state, when their mill even would but little avail to break the bands of iniquity, which, with malignant perseverance, they had fast coiled round themselves; adding the fearful intimation—“Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Or, as we may almost paraphrase his words by another inspired passage—“Because I have called" we may conceive him to say, “and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. I will also laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh, when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you, then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; for that they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord ; they would none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their onn way, and be filled with their own devices; for the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Prov. i. 24.
If then our future state of reprobation is so strictly the natural consequence of our present ill behaviour, and not, as may erroneously be supposed, an unalterable sentence, unconnected with our conduct ; we must closely watch our present behaviour, and examine to what it is tending. We must consider with ourselves, what mercies we are daily receiving, what calls to repentance, what offers of forgiveness, the course of our experience is incessantly sounding in our ears; and judge by our reception of these mercies, by our obedience to these calls, and hearty concurrence with these offers, what condition we are in with respect to our future salvation.
It is the present which is fully and strictly in our power; now we are to believe is the accepted time; now the day of repentance; let us then seriously consider, how far we have hitherto done despight to the grace of God working in our hearts, and grieved the Holy Spirit by unthankful resistance to his divine offers of assistance;” that we may take immediate measures, lest we bring ourselves into that fearful state when our house shall indeed be left unto us desolate. It is not to the Jews alone, be assured, that our Lord addresses the expostulation of the text; to us also he speaks the same words by his Spirit: it is to us too that he says, to us his visible church, and the evident objects of his divine love, inasmuch as he has called us by his name, and made known to us the terms of salvation;–" How often would I have gathered thy children together and ye would not.” For we know ourselves but little, unless we are sensible that we have neglected opportunities; that there have been occasions when we have listened with dull and heartless attention to the voice of
the wise charmer ; when the words of healing and comfort have carried no balm to our souls: when we have been anointed by the pouring out of the Spirit on us, and, alas! we have not felt his precious unction in our hearts. So often has our Lord called upon us and we have refused him. So often has he been milling, may ancious, to receive us to himself, and we mould not: now then is our time, while we stand, as it were, between the living and the dead;—while the present opportunity of exertion stretches itself forth as an isthmus between Heaven and ourselves,—now is our time to strengthen our hands, to anticipate the increase of difficulty which, we clearly foresee, must attend our future endeavours, as we continue to reject the gracious offers of mercy. Nor let any of us suppose that we are already arrived at that period when repentance can little avail towards our recovery. It is not our part ever to act on such a presumption. Though we may justly anticipate such a period as a precaution against future difficulties which, for aught we know, we may not have strength to overcome, and as a powerful stimulus to present exertion; yet to presume that we are already in this state of abandonment, so long as our life is spared to us, wherein much evidently may be done to aggravate or diminish our weight of criminality, would be an evident contradiction to a plain matter of fact. This indeed would be a dangerous downfal to the sinner; and should such a thought for a moment occur to any, let it be banished from the mind as a baneful delusion of the tempter of mankind. It is sufficiently fearful to anticipate the possibility of our falling into such a state. Let us not terrify our imaginations by at once plunging ourselves into all its horrors. Let us not scare ourselves from the throne of mercy, by interposing between it and ourselves the demon of darkness and desolation. That period is indeed fast approaching to us all, which shall at onee close our labours and our trial. The day is far spent with us, the night is at hand when no man can work. But not until that night is come; that night which shall cast its long and deep shadow over all our earthly joys and sorrows, and blend in indiscriminateness the uplands and the vallies of this mortal scene ; not until that night comes, are we entitled to despair of our state, nor consequently to cease from diligence in insuring to ourselves an interest in that glorious reward, to which not our own arm, or our own strength, has obtained for us a title, but the holy and prevailing mediation of a Divine Redeemer. Should this awful period come upon us unawares, then, indeed, will our house be left unto us desolate. For, in allusion to that time, says the Scripture, “He that is unjust let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still ; but he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev. xxii. 11. For then only are we to consider our condition as unalterably fixed; for then only is our whole probation gone through and concluded. * Be it our care in the mean time eagerly to embrace the comfortable invitation of the Gospel, which alone can dispel all fearful disquietudes and vain vexations of spirit. If we sincerely and cordially by WOL. Wii. NO, W. P p
faith come unto Him, who alone is able to give rest unto our souls, we shall be secured from that despondency of heart, and that foreboding apprehension of future misery, which every son of Adam must feel, when he looks within himself alone and leans on the broken reed of his own very imperfect works. He, in that infinite love which he has manifested to us in our redemption through his blood, will receive us into his vineyard, though at the twelfth hour of the day, if we are really desirous to enter in, and to do his work; He will not exclude us from his fold, though we have long been his lost sheep, if we only hasten to retrace our wanderings and return to the true Shepherd of our souls. As the great Captain of our salvation, he will not expel us from the noble army of his redeemed, though we have fled from his standard and deserted our post, if we will only surrender ourselves immediately to Him, and henceforth fight manfully the good fight of faith. H.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
A Sermon preached in the Church of Hatton, near Warnick, at the Funeral of the Rev. Samuel Parr, LL.D. in obedience to his on-n Request, March 14th, 1825, and published at the Desire of the Eacecutors and Friends assembled on the Occasion. By the Rev. S. BUTLER, D.D. F.R.S. &c. Archdeacon of Derby, and Head Master of Shrewsbury School. Longman. 1825.
A FUNERAL Sermon, like the funeral orations of ancient Greece, has to encounter the opposite prejudices of two classes of hearers—those who are fondly familiar with the virtues of the deceased, and those to whom his character is altogether unknown. One class think that nothing can be said sufficiently in praise of the object of their admiration—the other class in their surrize at the display of excellence which is suddenly brought efore them, are disposed to disbelieve that part of the description which surpasses the ordinary standard of merit. The office, therefore, of the Preacher is a very arduous one. He presents himself as a moderator between these conflicting judges, and attempts to gain the good-will of both, that he may direct both to a wise improvement of themselves, from the portrait of virtue which he holds up to their admiration. The task, in every case so difficult, appears to have been rendered still more difficult in regard to the lamented subject of the funeral sermon now before us. The Preacher informs us that he had been particularly deputed to discharge the solemn duty by him whose character is the theme of his discourse. He accordingly came before his audience with a sacred bequest of admonition from his deceased friend. It was incumbent on him, in fulfilling his engagement, to discharge his office with a strict impartiality, as he could not for a moment conceive that he would have been expressly charged with such a request, unless he had been regarded as one who would not shrink from executing it faithfully. He had therefore to reduce his feelings into subserviency to the lessons of moral instruction, and from his very affection for the deceased, to merge the sense of private regard in the obligation of a public duty. To do justice, indeed, to the merits of a distinguished literary character, apart from all other considerations, is no ordinary undertaking. The hand which essays to twine the ivywreath for the brows of the learned, must itself be not unpractised in the pursuits of literature, nor such as genius would disdain to own as its minister. For the object in giving a sketch of an intellectual character, is not merely to enumerate the peculiar qualities by which it was distinguished, but to place those qualities in a just and striking point of view, so as to give them an expression of individuality. It is the production of this effect which marks the workmanship of the true portrait-painter compared with that of the vulgar artist. The exertion required to produce this effect can hardly be estimated too highly, where the person whose mental endowments it is sought to pourtray, is one whose title to the pre-eminency of learning has not been consecrated by time, but as yet is only vaguely and indefinitely established by the living suffrages of his contemporaries. We have all been so long accustomed to hear of Dr. Parr", as a first-rate scholar and man of genius, that we expect a great deal from the person who shall first endeavour to give us an actual sketch of his intellectual features. We have no standing authority to guide our judgment, as in the case of one whose fame has obtained a traditional sanction from the pens of successive writers; and we form our criterion of the fidelity of representation, from the fluctuating outline of character, which each of us, in the absence of more authoritative information, has drawn for himself. We shall proceed to lay before our readers some extracts from the sermon of Dr. Butler, and it must remain then for each to judge for himself how far the description given answers to his own idea of the subject. The text, we should premise, is from Micah vi. 8: “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”—A passage of Scripture which, we are told at the close of the Sermon, Dr. Parr has desired to be inscribed on his monument. Dr. Butler, having related the reason why he in particular addressed the congregation on that melancholy occasion, and adverted to the consolations which the event itself brought with it, like a skilful orator, obtains the confidence of his hearers for the more encomiastic, and consequently less credible, parts of his discourse, by commencing with a proof of his impartiality— placing in the foreground some of his darker touches.
* The following notice of Dr. Parr appeared in the public prints at the time of his decease.—We should be obliged if any correspondent could favour us with a more extended, as well as more authentic, detail of the events of his life.
“Dr. Samuel Parr was born at Harrow ; his father was a surgeon in that place, and his paternal grand-father was Rector of Hinckley, in Leicestershire. He was at the head of Harrow school in his fourteenth year, and on the death of the Rev. Dr. Sumner, who strongly recommended him as his successor, he was not appointed to the head mastership on account of his youthful age. At Harrow was founded his friendship with the celebrated Sir William Jones, and the Right Rev. Dr. Bennet, late Bishop of Cloyne; and almost all the boys in the upper part of the school accompanied him, when he removed to establish himself as a teacher at Stanmore, in Middlesex. He was successively master of the grammar schools of Colchester and Norwich ; and in 1780 received his first ecclesiastical preferment, the rectory of Asterby, in the diocese of Lincoln. In the year 1785, the exchange of Asterby for the perpetual curacy of Hatton, brought him into Warwickshire, where he continued to reside till the day of his death. He was twice married—first to Jane, of the ancient house of Mauleverer, in Yorkshire, and afterwards to Miss Mary Eyre, of the city of Coventry. By his first wife he had several children, all of whom died in their infancy, except Sarah and Catherine, both of whom he also survived. In addition to his benefice of Hatton, he held the living of Graffand, in Huntingdonshire, to which he was presented by Sir F.
“I am not about to consider him as a faultless character: were I to do so, I should betray the trust he has reposed in me, in a manner that would, I am sure, be as offensive to the feelings of those who hear me, as to my own. He had not only his share of the faults and failings which are inseparable from our nature, but he had some that were almost peculiarly his own. But then they were such as were nobly compensated by his great and rare excellencies. Such as arose from his grand and towering genius, from his ardent and expansive mind, from his fearless and unconquerable spirit, from his love of truth and liberty, from his detestation of falsehood and oppression; and not unfrequently also, for we may scorn to conceal it, from the knowledge of his own strength, from the consciousness of transcendant talents, of learning commensurate to those talents, and of eloquence proportionate to that learning. This led him to be impatient in argument, sometimes with a dull and unoffending, often with a legitimate, and always with an arrogant or assuming adversary. From the impetuous ardour of his feelings, and the sincerity of his soul, he was apt to judge of others from himself, and this counteracted his natural sagacity, and exposed him too easily to the artifices of pretenders and impostors. Of his intellectual powers it was impossible that he should not be conscious, and this made him too open to the
Burdett, through the interest of the present Earl of Dartmouth's grand-father. Bishop Lowth also gave him a prebend in St. Paul's Cathedral. He died on Saurday, March 5th 1835, in the 79th year of his age.