Images de page

so little; so saith -) but because our actual state, in Presbyterian churches, has so little to awaken and fill the affections. Old spiritualism (Pollockism) [i. 199] is no more. Revivalism is no more. The only activity visible is a mere business bustle in regard to organisms and agencies. Must we not go deeper than we have gone? I am deeply affected with a sense of this. But how to begin? At home, we need most of all. I have shut up books, and live in the streets and houses, all the available hours of the day. Bush is out with his anti-resurrection book. 12 Expect him to turn Swedenborgian. [This took place.]

and family in the Great Western, from third visit abroad. He says he saw much of Carlyle. C. and Tennyson had a night with him just before he left London. Pipe-smoking, with wash-basin on table for spittoon. Carlyle is in talk as in his books; only more so. As Addison is printing [Isaiah] with Wiley & Putnam, I have the entrée there, and enjoy a grand gloat on the arrival of each steamer.

The English books are reaching a sumptuosity which constitutes a branch of luxe quite new in the world; e. g. Murray's 4to edition of Byron. While I write, the grand Whig procession is advancing : Vanitas vanitatum. The under-current of religious activity in this city strikes me with unexpected force, as strong and branching into a vast number of charities. I did not conceive that so much was effected in regard to seamen, tract distribution, and care of poor. The increase of foreigners is amazing : I perceive it in the increase of foreign newspapers in New York, signs of stores, and lingos in shop and market. Liveries are all the go again : everywhere coachmen with white neckcloths, of true dissenting cut. I am just called down to talk with a man from Rome (N. Y.) who heard me preach on Sunday, and is under great distress of mind.

NEW YORK, November 18, 1844. Mr. Masters was buried on Thursday. The body was brought to our church, contrary to New York usage. Dr. Potts, and Dr. Cummins of Florida, an old friend, assisted. I spoke from John xvii. 24. Large assembly, including some of the chief merchants of New York. We have lost the leading mind in our church. In the use of his pen, Mr. Masters took rank with scholars. As a merchant, he was sagacious to a remarkable degree. I have now but two elders; and old Mr. Beers [since deceased] is out of town nine-tenths of the time. I catechize every Saturday from nine to ten. My lecture is on Tuesday evening, half-past seven, in the basement. Last Thursday (which

VOL. II.-1*

is our prayer-meeting) we had the Rev. John Macnaughton of Paisley. You may remember the long debate in the Free Assembly of ’43, which resulted in refusing to translate him to N. Leith, on account of the resistance of his flock. He has been on a special mission to Canada, and sailed on the 16th in the Hibernia. He has preached much oftener than once a day, in America ; on several Sabbaths four times. Young, ruddy, handsome, uncommonly plain in dress, and a most eloquent preacher. He never uses a note, and says “reading sermons is almost exploded in the Free Church.” None of the Scotchmen come near him for unction, elegance of diction, and Summerfieldian soaring of imagination. In the Native American procession, among abundance of Bibles and Bible-banners, I read, with my own eyes, the following, on a large canvas, and most prominent place : “By the eternal, we must and shall”-I presume the last word was

“ rule.” I regard the outcry against the Tract Society's edition of Merle d’Aubigné as factious and wicked. For all the ends, the mutilated book is not one stiver worse than the other. The New School men are intent on having a sectarian Board of Publication. They are angry with the Tract Society for being so old-fashioned in doctrine. In two years, the Society would have had 100,000 copies all over the land. Now they are paralyzed, not only in regard to this, but all their operations. All this, while I think the alterations should have been first submitted to Merle. I fully agree with you about Polk; he never fought a duel ; that is something : Ezek. xxii. 6. A visit from you will be truly acceptable. If at any time you find us full, your kin will receive you; here are the names and residences, in full, viz.: [Here a list of " Halls” from the Directory.]

My prospects of a full house are certainly not less than I expected. All our down-stairs pews are sold, but there are seats offered to let. Gallery-pews are not sought. I have not visited

lest I should seem to be canvassing; the name has not been given to me, as among our hearers, and my time is unequal to the search for such as are. Several cases of awakening are known to me. It is generally believed that no church in New York has so many young men. They have a monthly association, which I have attended. Kidder has put out a valuable translation from the Portuguese, on Celibacy: see this week's Observer. I have met him twice. Me judice, the Methodists are doing more than all of us, in evangelizing this Sodom. The monthly visits of the City Tract Society's distributors, is the most wonderful and blessed agency; the half had not been told me. Burns has determined to settle at Toronto.. A visiter told me

this of which follows: He was presented to the Governor of New Brunswick. After he had blathered away, as he is wont, for about an hour, the Governor rose and said: “As I find no opportunity to say any thing, I will take my leave.” The Scotch Publication scheme is grand; they will have no lofts filled with unsold books. It is this : No books are in market, nor any printed, but for subscribers. All the money goes to cheapen the books. Each subscriber, who at first received two bound vols. per annum for 4s. sterling, now receives four bound vols. for the same. Subscribers now, 40,000. This ensures their being read, and they are cheaper than our “ cheap literature.” In all our operations here, I am afraid much of the water runs beside the mill-wheel; e. g. the millions of “winged messengers” which fly into waste-paper-deposit. But let's not croak: for croaking is already hindering half we attempt. I wish Willis was not so incorrigibly and laboriously frivolous. His “ Mirror,” now daily, gives the best daguerreotype of this frivolous city. is to be the editor of the New School paper, “and to party give up, what was meant for mankind.” My people will not stand up in prayer. Some pastors have used pains to introduce what Dr. Cox calls a “sedentary reclinature." I hope they will not introduce berths, for repose in devotion.

NEW YORK, December 2, 1844. Your thoughts about the Sabbath Convention show how well you have succeeded in picking up my views, probably from my old parishioners. Beware how you use “my thunder."

” Our ponderous fire-bell is telling of fire. Though we hear the tocsin at least daily, I have never seen an engine, nor met with that sort of hubbub which agitates all Philadelphia at once, on such occasions. The reason perhaps is, that the law forbids engines to go out of their own district, unless a special call be made for more help. I have a choking new cold; yet I preached twice yesterday, and was at a funeral to-day: Dr. Milnor, Dr. Snodgrass

and 1. Fourteen white scarfs, of fine twined linen. Burial in vault in Trinity-yard, where Milnor officiated, after my service at the house. The old Doctor is right hale for 72. [He died April 8, 1845.] He tells me he practised law, actively, twenty years. Morse, after long silence, is editorializing about Merle's history. The life of McCheyne humbles me. What zeal and faith! what a proof that Old Calvinism is not insusceptible of being used as an arousing instrument! Macnaughton seems to be of the same school. The book is open to an objection, conveyed in an anecdote told me by a nice Scotswoman, the


other day. Dr. Chalmers said of Burns jr., McCheyne, McDonald, &c. : “ These young brethren are doing a good work; but I wish they would have done with their nursery endearments.Noah is repeating his lecture this evening. Potts has been challenged by Richmond, to discuss prelacy in an oral way. This, you remember, was Potts' proposal to Wainwright.“ And," Richmond adds, " as you are well prepared, let us begin to-morrow.” The November number of the “North British Review " is good. Leading article by Chalmers. One on Davy, by Carlyle ; one on America, by Cunningham ; admirable. One on somebody's telescope, by Brewster. The best is on Backhouse (quaker)'s missionary visit to Africa ; developing the principle of a book called “Good-Better-Best.” Among all my catechumens, I find but two who know the whole Shorter Catechism. I find it my pleasantest hour in the week. Much talk in Princeton of the amazing genius of a young poet. He belongs to the set which may be said to constitute the “ New America.” They go for metaphysie, Coleridge, almost for Spinoza. They laugh at Locke, Reid, Stewart, &c. They undervalue Newton and Bacon. They applaud Plato. They care less, than they once did, for prayer-meetings, missions, &c.

Keep your eye on this. How much we need to stick by the plain declarations of the written word! Reading McCheyne makes me feel how defective we ministers are, in helping one another in the main point. It is a great thing to have one to go to in a soul-trouble. Bustle, bustle. It was temperanceit is now the Sabbath. I am trying to fall in with a good little Moravian, named Bigler, who is said to preach the old gospel with much unction. Some of the Methodists preach delightfully; and when they all sing together, it leaves the orchestral style far behind. I am anxiously concerned about new elders, having only Messrs. Auchincloss and Beers. I have never had any one to pay a visit of introduction with me; still I am getting on. I lecture on Hebrews, and wish I could do nothing but expound. I read one sermon a week; with a growing persuasion, that written sermons have undoubted points of superiority; but that these are all worldly. I more and more believe (my practice belies it) that (1) constant Bible-study, using Scripture to explain itself

, and (2) culture of the heart, by prayer, &c., are the great preparation for the pulpit. O for a generation of the old sort of preachers ! Matt. Henry, Newton, Cecil, &c. We are dying of Moderatism. Listen to the talk of our divinity-students; it is of Coleridge, Emerson, &c. In New York, the result of the former exciting revivals is seen, even in good men, in the making all religion consist in evangelical

effort. Some are very busy saving souls, with all the dialect and levity and coarseness of Maj. Downing. I feel my own defects. I desire to be a parish-minister, wholly, and with all

my soul.

NEW YORK, December 9, 1844. I think we are at cross-purposes about the cold sort of preachers." I meant such Presbyterian pastors and preachers as were known to our fathers. I would not demand that any of us should adopt those peculiarities which belonged to the age and fashion of the Puritans; their “pun-divinity," as Charles Lamb called it. Nor do I deny that they sometimes introduced inconvenient niceties of distinction. Yet even in respect to these, I believe it may be taken as universally true, that every distinction arises from some new error to be opposed. The Apostles' creed sufficed, till Arianism arose. Sabellius made other distinctions necessary, and so on to the end of the chapter. Some of the distinctions of the Reformed Theology, and even of our Confession, have become obsolete, but new ones have taken their place, and the number does not seem to be lessened. But the technical formulas of these nonconformists and Scotch Presbyterians are not the things I would imitate. One good characteristic, however, of this whole class, I do wish we had in greater measure; they not only held Scripture truth, but they associated it with Scripture language. Their writings teem with Bible phrase and Bible figure; a necessary result, in any age, of affectionate devotion to the book. For this I love them; and, in my best moods, in this I feel myself sliding into imitation of them. I do not, I own it, think even the Puritan writers, as a body, chargeable with overlaying the truth, or complicating its simplicity. True, they pursue doctrines into minute ramifications; the necessary consequence of their dwelling so profoundly on them. The general statement of a doctrine is, I know, true; it is, also, more intelligible, and more fit for a beginner ; but the fault of modern divinity is that it too seldom gets beyond these generalities. Jay represents such a truth as this, " Christ died to save us,” in a thousand ways, and each of them coloured with some Scriptural phrase, figure, or example. Some of us, if we taught the same, would scrupulously avoid every such vehicle, and would translate the Bible-diction into that of philosophic elegance. The former I think most luminous, most interesting to common minds, and most safe. It is a great merit of this way, that it is prized by our Stuarts, Pollocks, and Woodruffs, [humble parishioners.] It is the way which made them just what they are. If all our youth were bred in this way, all our old folks would

« PrécédentContinuer »