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in this passage, the author observes, 1.That the times of man's natural life; 2. the times of the spiritual life of believers, including all the varieties of their religious experience; and 3. the time of their death, are in the Lord's hands.

The following paragraph, from the 2d head of discourse, is given as an agreeable specimen of the sentiment and style of the

sermon.

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"For a while they (that is, they who are to be the final subjects of salvation,) are permitted to main with "the world which lieth in wickedness," "to walk after the ways of their own hearts, and in the sight of their own eyes," departing farther and farther from God, wandering in the fruitless pursuit of hap piness, through the various scenes of worldly vanity, and amidst the multiplied snares of the cruel destroyer, "who leads the children of disobedi. ence captives at his will," exulting with a most malicious triumph, in the expectation of soon plunging them headlong into everlasting perdition: But the time of divine mercy and love at length arrives, when these infatuated servants of sin must be ransomed; when these wretched captives of Satan must be delivered; when "these lost sheep must be brought back to the fold of their heavenly Shepherd." When in their mad career of bold impiety, unrighteousness, and licentious indulgence; or in their thoughtless progress down the broad road of worldly business, of fashionable amusement, or of the decent, lifeless forms of religion and virtue, they were hastening to eternal destruction; they are mercifully arrested by an invisible power. For now the Divine Spirit, given by the Father, through the mediation of the Son of God, comes to carry into effect the great design of redeeming grace and love in their favour. To this end,

he awakens their solemn attention to the demands of the law, and the calls

of the gospel. Thus he convinces them of sin, awakens their fears of the wrath of God due to it, and con

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strains them seriously to consider
and inquire what they shall do to
be saved?" Then pointing their views
to the only and the all-sufficient Sa-
viour, revealed and offered in the
gospel, he suffers them not to remain
on any fallacious ground, on which
they would be ready to feel them-
selves secure, and to promise them-
selves peace; nor will he allow them
to conclude that they have found rest
to their souls, till they have "fled for
refuge to lay hold on the hope set be-
fore them in the Lord Jesus Christ,
whose is the only name given un-
der heaven by which any can be
saved." And now, in a day of divine
power, they are made willing, cordial-
ly willing, to forsake their sins, to re-
nounce their self-righteousness, to
give up the world, and "to suffer the
loss of all things," which were once
most dear to their hearts, "that they
may win Christ, and be found in him,"
and become his genuine disciples and
followers. For his sake, they are
now disposed "to deny themselves"
in respect to all worldly interests and
pleasures, which may be incompati-
ble with their obligations and their
duty to him; they are now ready,
also, "to take up the cross" of re-
proach, or of any other kind of suf-
fering, to which they may be called
on account of their attachment to
him, and their fidelity in his service;
and thus they are prepared, cheer-
fully, "to follow their Lord and
Saviour" to his heavenly kingdom, in
that way of obedience and trial which
he has marked out in his gospel, and
which, to their natural pride and self-
love, heretofore appeared to be the
inost unpleasant and irksome, beset
with the most formidable difficulties,
and surrounded with the deepest and
most discouraging gloom."

In the sermon and note the author gives an interesting and affecting account of the extensive destruction of the fruits of the earth, and of the lives of men occasioned by the tempest, and forcibly inculcates that pious attention to the events of divine providence, which is equally the duty and happiness of all rational

creatures..

A Sermon, delivered at Ashburn ham, May 22d, 1806, at the interment of Mr. John Cushing, jun. who expired at the house of his father. By Seth Payson, A. M. Pastor of the church in Rindge. Published by request. Leominster. S. & J. Wilder, 1807.

WHILE the pilgrimage of mortals is through a vale of tears, while "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward," that religion must be peculiarly dear to him, which affords the strongest consolation under the pressure of calamity, and teaches him in the best manner the heavenly art of educing good from evil. This is the glory of the Christian religion; and surely the views it presents are admirably calculated to animate the desponding mind, and to cheer the drooping spirits, What can be more so, than the assurance of a superintending Providence, ordering all things for the best; than the prospect of an eternal weight of glory, infinitely counterbalancing the evils of time, though secured and enhanced by them; than the example of the wise and good in all ages, and of the divine Author of the religion himself, all of whom were made perfect through sufferings?

Such are the topics of consolation, on which the ministers of the gospel are called frequently to dwell. In the sermon under review we find them presented in a clear and forcible manner, well calculated to command attention, and to convey solace and instruction.

The text is from the epistle of St. Peter, Brethren, think it not

strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you. After an appropriate

introduction, he proposes his plan of discourse in the following words. "We are here taught that those, who are beloved of God, are exposed to severe trials; and that the heavy afflictions, laid upon them, afford no just cause of surprise.”

Under the first general head we find the following observations.

"Above all things else is the honour of God and the glory of the Saviour dear to the Christian. To what painful sensations then is he subject in a world, where this glory is neglected, blood trampled under foot, which he this love despised, and that precious knows was the price paid for the ransom of his soul, and which has brought peace to his conscience, and heaven to his heart?"

That the Christian has no cause for surprise on account of the afflictions he is called to endure, is shown from a number of considerations, that are brought into view, collectively, in the following paragraph.

"Forewarned that the Christian's

life is a warfare; that Christ himself encompassed with a cloud of witnes was made perfect through sufferings; ses, who rose out of great tribulation, and now stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion; assured that the sufferings of time are designed to make us partakers of the divine nature, and that they will so soon be crowned with immortal bliss; under these views, do the severest trials afford any ground to suspect, either the truth of the promises, or our interest in them? Do they not rather afford ground to welcome the hand, which corrects us får our benefit, and has opened so many springs of consolation for the support of his afflicted people? What thanks are due to the Father of mercies for the re

freshing hopes and comforts of the gospel? That God reigns; that he

pre

exercises a special providence toward those who put their trust in him, and that his wisdom, power, and good ness are continually employed in paring them for future glory, are truths, which need but to be realized, to raise the mind above the evils of time, and to fill it with all joy and peace in believing."

The subject is then applied to the occasion, which produced it. The deceased is represented as a very worthy man; and his profession, as a merchant, leads to a train of useful reflections on the importance and advantages of commerce. The consolations of the gospel are more particularly addressed to the bereaved, and the author concludes with seriously applying the lessons of Providence to his audience at large.

On the whole, we have been happy to find that the discourse, we have been reviewing, comported with the character, its author has sustained, as a man of sense, and a Christian; and we cordially recommend it to the perusal of our readers.

that he had therefore to contend with the various difficulties which must be encountered by those who pursue a path hitherto unattempted. It was necessary that he should be thoroughly acquainted with all those materials which had occupied the attention of former writers of Church History, with a view to ascertain their bearing upon the particular objects of his research. But it was also necessary, that, taking a wider range, he should penetrate recesses of private history unexplored by his predecessors; and that, in order to form a true judgment concerning the sentiments and character of individuals, he should peruse with attention original writings, which before had been almost consigned to oblivion; a task far more laborious, and less amusing than commonly fall to the lot of authors. The works of other ecclesiastical historians exhibit indeed, in splendid characters, the lives of men who bore a distinguished rank in the church; they record the actions of the great and honourable of the earth; of kings, and bishops, and

Milner's History of the Church of councils. In the work before us,

Christ.

[Being informed that an American Edition of MILNER'S CHURCH HISTORY is contemplated, we introduce under this head, for the information of the American public, the following concluding remarks, on this excellent work, of the Reviewers in the Christian Observer.]

IN forming an estimate of Mr. Milner's labours, it must be kept in mind, that the design of his history was entirely new; and

By Messrs. Farrand, Mallory, & Co, in Boston.

names "unknown to song," but inscribed in the book of life, are drawn from their obscurity; and, anticipating that day in which a true and impartial judgment of merit will be formed, and in which the righteous only shall be had in everlasting remembrance, they are held up to the regard and admiration of mankind, as monuments of the transforming power of divine grace.

But it is not only on account of his patient industry, and unwearied research, that Mr. Milner de

serves the grateful thanks of the church of Christ, but likewise for his strenuous endeavours to correct the opinions of mankind on many important points, by leading them to form their decisions according to truth, and not according to the false criterion of worldly estimation. We deem those parts of his work by no means the least valuable, where he has combated, and always, we conceive, with success, the artful and insidious misrepresentations of Hume and Gibbon, by which a general currency had been given to sentiments tending greatly to the depreciation of Christianity. We think that Mr. Milner particularly excels in accuracy of discrimination, and soundness of judgment; and we are disposed to attribute his superiority in this respect to his invariable practice, a practice in which we fear that as an historian he will be found to stand nearly alone, of estimating men's characters and actions by the unvarying standard of the word of God. His knowledge of the human heart was deep, his views of religion and of its influence just and extensive; he possessed also an originality and independence of mind which prevented his servilely copying the plans or adopting the sentiments of preceding writers. His remarks on the different characters which pass under his review, manifest a more than usual share of acute observation, while they exhibit a pleasing spirit of Christian candour and charity. In the impartiality with which he notices the faults and defects of Christians, whose lives in the main were excellent, we recognize an imitation of the fidelity

of the sacred writers, whose historical details describe men as they are, while their precepts point out what they ought to be. Our author's appreciation of the merits and defects of Wickliff, Luther, Erasmus, &c. will exemplify this remark. We mean not to assert, that Mr. Milner has in no instance erred in the view he has given either of facts or characters; or that he has been in no instance biassed in his judgment by his peculiar sentiments in theology; but thus much we feel ourselves justified in asserting, that, in general, we may safely rely not only on the representation he has given of facts, but on the estimate he has formed of characters. The love of truth evidently constituted a striking feature in our author's mind. That sterling integrity which dares not flatter, and will not deceive, is very conspicuous in his work; nor can any one, who reads it with care, entertain a doubt that the object of its author was, not to gratify his own vanity by composing a book which should enhance his literary fame, or to obtain popularity by accommodating himself to the prevailing taste; but, with simplicity and plainness, to set before his readers the genuine principles of the gospel of Christ, and to exemplify their effects on the spirit and conduct of such as cordially embraced them.

The strong and uniform attachment shewn by Mr. Milner to those truths which are peculiarly entitled to the appellation of evangelical ought not to be omitted in the enumeration of his merits as the historian of the church of Christ. With re

spect to some religious opinions, there will always be much difference of sentiment among even the true followers of our Lord; but all who have a fair claim to that character will feel themselves under great obligations to Mr. Milner for the boldness and ability with which he has asserted and vindicated the evangelical doctrines of original sin, salvation by grace through faith in a crucified Redeemer, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. He loses indeed no opportunity of illustrating these grand truths, and particularly the doctrine of justification by faith, of which he never speaks but with a manifest impression of its importance. Should any of his readers conceive, that he lays too much stress on the single point of the necessity of faith in the atonement and grace of Christ, let them reflect, that in the view of Mr. Milner, and as we conceive in that of the inspired writers, it is a point most intimately and inseparably connected with every branch of Christian verity, lying indeed at the root of all true religion; and that with him as with them, it is always a practical truth, producing necessarily, when rightly and cordially received, holiness of heart and life.

Perhaps there is no excellence so predominant in Mr. Milner's work, as as the genuine piety which appears in every page. The author does not speculate respecting Christianity with the cold, philosophical spirit, so congenial to the taste of the present age; but feeling all his own present happiness and future hopes to be centered in the gospel, he commends it with honest warmth to the affections of his

readers.

His heart seems to glow with love to the Redeemer of mankind, whose glory he la bours to exalt. He appears also deeply interested in the welfare of his fellow creatures, and shews a constant solicitude to promote their salvation. And while the luminous piety of his own mind beams forth upon his readers, and kindles their devout affections, his writings are eminently calculated to enlighten and instruct them. We rise from the perusal of this history with far other impressions of the value and excellence of Christianity, than are produced by almost any other historical work: our faith is strengthened, our hope elevated, and our souls animated with a desire to be followers of those who through faith and patience have inherited the promises.

Defects may undoubtedly be pointed out, but they are chiefly the defects of a vigorous mind grasping at great objects,

and indifferent to those smaller

points which might distract the attention. Much allowance must also be made, when, as in the present case, a work of such magnitude and difficulty is executed in the short intervals of leisure redeemed from numer. ous and laborious employments, and amid the interruptions occa sioned by frequent attacks of sickness.

On the whole, we do not hesi tate confidently and earnestly to recommend this history as a valuable addition to the library of eve ry Christian; as a work in which instruction is happily blended with interesting narrative, which the young may be allured to read for the entertainment it affords, and which the advanced

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