Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of.

Beauties of sacred literature : a compendium of Christian doctrine, faith, and practice online

. (page 1 of 38)
Online LibraryProtestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion ofBeauties of sacred literature : a compendium of Christian doctrine, faith, and practice → online text (page 1 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


\ \



^ \



BEAUTIES



OK



SACRED LITERATURE.









JOHN A. ORAT V QREEN,

PRINTERS,

STEREOTTPERS ANO BINDERS, NEW-YORK



BEAUTIES



acnfo literature.



A COMPENDIUM



OF



CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, FAITH, AND PRACTICE.



^elcctcb from Marions ^utbois,



EOITKI) BY A LAY ME.MBKR OF THB PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.



" Christianity lias fallen into contempt, through pure ignorance of its nature and design. And
until this obstacle is removed, the clearest display of its external evidences, or even its moral ex-
cellences, as exemplified in our Saviour's life, and taught iu his precepts, will be of little or uc
avail.'' — Alexander Knox.




NEW YORK;
PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL SOCIETY FOB THE PROMOTION OF
EVANGELIC IL KNOWLEDGE,

3 BIBLE HOUSE. FOUKTH AVENUB



^tf&



" We must bring into view the very kernel of Christianity, freed from
all its husky integuments ; and when this is rightly done, it will be seen
that genuine Christianity is that centre where intellect, judgment, taste,
interest, prudence, principle, the firmness of the Stoic, the devotion of the
Platonist, the tranquillity of the Epicurean, the archetypal realities to
which all earthly objects, in the shape of pleasure, profit, or honor, cor-
respond, as gilded clouds do to the sun, — all meet, and is, of course, that
identical chief good which human nature, so soon as its higher faculties
have at any time come into action, has invariably panted after, and which
the wisest sages have so agreed in describing, that even by their marks
alone we might be satisfied of its genuine existence in the Gospel." — Alex-
ander Knox.



PREFACE.



The selections contained in this volume have
been made from the most eminent writers of the
Christian Church, at various periods of her his-
tory, and embrace the essential and practical
truths of Christianity.

From such a compilation, the introduction of
puzzling theories, of abstruse speculations, of logi-
cal subtilties and of gloomy dogmas, is of course
excluded.

Man's science is the culture of the heart,
And not to lose his plummet in the depths
Of nature, or the more profound of God."

Although in the present day (so prolific of
writers in every department) we cannot com-
plain of any lack of religious publications, often
of acknowledged merit, it must at the same time
be admitted that while some of them are faulty
in taste, others give erroneous and distorted views
of the Gospel system. From these defects the
writings which constitute this work will be found



IV PREFACE.



entirely free ; the views it presents are orthodox
and evangelical, and such as exhibit in the most
simple, lucid, and comprehensive form, the sacred
science of Christianity.

The numerous topics introduced, together with
the varied opinions expressed by several writers,
will furnish not only interesting matter for inves-
tigation, but afford an opportunity for discover-
ing how in the light thrown upon them by the
purest and brightest minds, the different parts of
Divine Truth become homogeneous ; how under
the touch of sanctified genius, the seeming dis-
crepancies that pervade Gospel truth are fused
into happy harmony.

The original matter is strictly adhered to, it
being deemed preferable not to alter or modify
the phraseology. In a few instances quaintness
of style will be found, but not such as to obscure
the sense and spirit of the meaning. In fine, it
may be affirmed that these selections are written
in a diction of unrivalled purity, strength and
beauty ; and by those who have hearts to feel
and minds to understand, it will doubtless be ad-
mitted that the piety and genius by which they
are animated and illumined class them among the
most unsophisticated effluences of the Christian
head and heart to be found in any language.

New York, September, 1864. T. M.



OOISTTEISTTS.



" The scheme of the Gospel must be considered altogether, in order to
the correct understanding of any one feature

The whole outward scheme of things appears to be that to Christianity
which the body is to the soul or spirit of the individual. To each person
it is, when given to him from on high, as a soul within his soul ; overcom-
ing the carnal life, and producing a divine and spiritual principle, which is
not only life but peace. AvA, in a grander way, it is working inwardly and
invisibly in the great social mass of mankind, until, by this mighty but
unobserved working, the whole shall b? lea? Jied. To be within such a
Divine scheme, and to make an humble part of it, is the chief end, the
consummate glory, the only real life of man." — Alexander Knox.



CONTENTS.



PART I.

PAG3

Christianity the Way of Peace and True Happiness— Requirements of
Christianity— Religion : I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII.— Seriousness Ne-
cessary to Religion— The Effects of Religion— Tests of True Reli-
gion—Happiness : I. II. III. IV.— Inquiry after Happiness : I. II.—
Search after Happiness— Impediments to Happiness— Happiness of
the Righteous— It is a Sin not to be Happy— Duty and Happiness-
Piety not Gloomy : I. II.— Piety the Sum of Happiness, 1-105



PART II.

Folly of Deferring Religion— Neglect of "Warnings— A Life of Sin-
Wickedness — Grace and Nature — Repentance — Reformation of
Heart— Surrender of the Heart— The one thing Needful— The Two
States— Conversion and Regeneration— Conscience— Good Resolu-
tions—Universal Conscientiousness— Worldly Hopes— The Earthly
Inheritance— The Unrest of the Soul : I. II.— Restlessness of the
Heart— True Religion— TnE End of our Being : I. II.— Time— Employ-
ment of Time— A Thought— Judgment and a Future State, . . . 109-157



PART III.

The Object of the Gospel— The Great Design of the Gospel— Salvation
by Faith— Salvation Through Christ— The Cross of Christ— Christ
Crucified— Faith— The Marks of Faith : I. II.— Christ the Medium of
Faith — Acts of Faith — Christianity and Prayer of the Heart —
Prayer : I. II. III.— The Habit of Prayer— Fasting and Prayer— The
Operations of the Holy Spirit — The Fruits of the Holy Spirit— Jus-
tification : I. IL— Justification by Faith— The Peace of God : I. II. —
Peace of Mind— The Fear of God— Redemption of Time— The Sab-
bath — Holiness— Zeal— Humility : I. II. III.— Marks of Humility —
The Divine Call Imperative— Experimental Religion— Sanctikica-



VJ11 CONTENTS.

PAGH

tion— TnE Christian — Christian Progress: I. II. — Virtue: I. II.—
Virtue and Vice— Wisdom— Wisdom and Virtue— Plain Truths— Ho-
liness of Life Indispensable— Evangelical Religion— The Affec-
tions : I. II. III.— Religious Feeling, 161-260



PART IV.

The Gentleman— Secular Pursuits— Gifts— Pride : I. II.— Moderation-
Honesty— Reputation no True Rule of Action— Calumny — The Pas-
sions—Governing of the Passions— Superstition— Atheism— Sin and
Sins— Worldly Policy and Religion— Pleasure— Worldly Mirth-
Asceticism— True Beauty is of the Soul— Sympathy— Christian Ex-
ternality—The Understanding and the Imagination— The Sensitive
and the Intellectual — The Ladder — Religious Taste — Religious
Education— Intemperance : I. II.— Riches— Sentimental Benevolence
— Christian Benevolence — Good Works: I. II. — The True Use of
Wealth— Heavenly and Earthly Usury— Conversation — Religious
Conversation — Intercourse with the World — Social Intercourse :
I. II.— Worldly Compliances— Amusement : I. II.— The Opera— The
Theatre, I. II. III. — Union of Christianity and Refined Taste— Con-
tempt of AVorldly Vanities — Religion and Business— Objections to
the Suprf.macy of Religion— Aversion to Spiritual Religion, . 263-301



PART V.

Reflection— Interior Learning and Piety — Purity of Intention— Con-
templation : I. II.— Meditation : I. II. III.— Compunction of Heart —
Advantage of a Devotional Spirit — Mental Devotion— Interiority :
I. II.— The Inner Life— The Kingdom of God— Converse with God-
Christianity Implies Religious Experience— Self-Resignation— Sim-
plicity and Purity— Predestination Conditional — Election, Calling
and Salvation — Eternal Happiness : I. II. — Perfect Love — Inward
Victory the Christian's Privilege— The Tuned Soul — Christian Ele-
vation : I. II. — Religious Perfection— Winged Piety— Christian Per-
fection : I. II. — Communion with God — Prelibation of Heaven:
I. II, 365-434



PART VI.

Adversity : I. II. III.— Temptations— Affliction : I. II. — Life a State of
Probation— The Warfare— The Duties of Life— The End of Life— A
Future State : I. II.— Death : I. II.— Early Death— Advantage of the
Uncertainty of Death— The Fear of Death — Grief for the Loss of
Friends— Reflections concerning Life and Death— The Account
Hereafter — Dying Ecstacies, 437-487



CONTENTS. IX



PART VII.

PAGE

The Sacred Scriptures : I. II. III. IV. V. VI.— Partial Manifestations-
Proofs of Religion— Evidences of Christian Truth— Ancient Phi-
losophy and Christianity — Religious Controversy— Harmony of Di-
vine Truth— Truths Separate and Combined — Speculative Theories —
Doctrinal Theories— Special and General Truths— Theoretical and
Practical Truths : I. II. — Ultimate and Mediatory Truths— Good-
ness— Goodness of the Deity— The Love of God : I. II. III. IV. V.
VI. — Divine Providence — The Treasure and the Pearl — True Knowl-
edge, . ; 491-574



PART VIII.

Preaching : I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII.-Unction— What is a Ser-
mon ? — Preaching and Hearing : I. II. III. IV.— Sermons and Prayer —
Revivals of Religion — The Liturgy: I. II. — The Lord's Supper:
I. II., 577-628

Fragments, 631-6GC

Index, 667



A



*



A IT T II O E S



AUGUSTINE, ST.
BACON, LORD.
BERKELEY, BISHOP.
CAIRD, JOHN, D. D.
COLERIDGE, S. T.
CHRTSOSTOM, ST.
CUDWORTH, RALPH, D. D.
DAVY, SIR HUMPHRY.
EDWARDS, JONATHAN.
GREGORY, ST.
HALE, SIR MATTHEW.
HOOKER, RICHARD.
HOW, HON. CHARLES.
JEBB, BISHOP.
JOHNSON, SAMUEL.



KEMPIS, THOMAS A.
KNOX, ALEXANDER.
LEIGHTON, ARCHBISHOP.
LOCKE, JOHN, LL. D.
LUCAS, RICHARD, D. D.
MORE, HANNAH.
MORE, HENRY, D. D.
PALEY, ARCHDEACON.
PASCAL, BLAISE.
PORT ROYALISTS.
RUSKIN, JOHN.
SCHIMMELLPENNINCK, M. A.
TAYLOR, JEREMY.
WESLEY, JOHN.
WORTHINGTON, WM., D. D.



" The men who spend their time in an impartial search after truth,
are better friends to mankind than the greatest statesmen or heroes ; the
advantage of whose labors are confined to a little part of the world, and a
short space of time : whereas a ray of truth may enlighten the whole
world, and live to after ages." — Berkeley.



PART I



" He who is in earnest m his endeavors after the happiness of a future
state, has an advantage over all the world : for he has constantly before his
eyes an object of supreme importance, productive of perpetual engagement
and activity, and of which the pursuit (which can be said of no pursuit
besides) lasts him to his life's end." — Paley.

" Christianity, to be the light of the Avorld, must be naturally, as well
as supernaturally, engaging; it must be cheerful as ; .t is luminous ; not
only pure but sublime ; beautiful itself, and adding fresh beauty to all
which it irradiates." — Alexander Knox.



BEAUTIES



Oi"



SACRED LITERATURE



Christianity the Way of Peace and Trus
Hairiness.

David, in that noble nineteenth Psalm, makes an
important distinction "between secret faults and pre-
sumptuous sins ; and while he laments the former
(" Who can tell how oft he offendeth ? "), and prays
(therefore looks) for deliverance from them, he ac-
tually implies a freedom, though not a security, from
the latter. This appears from the different terms,
" cleanse from " and " keep from ; " the former imply-
ing present in-being ; the latter, clear separation and
some present distance, though with possibility of their
returning and reentering. JSTow, this may be taken as
a brief, but clear, statement of what is essential, at the
lowest, to a state of grace : a freedom from all pre-
sumptuous sins. The will is averted from moral evil ;
all the deliberate volitions are pure and holy; wr
1



2 CHRISTIANITY THE WAST OF

desires and passions are felt as diseases, to be habitually
guarded against, and, as far as possible, to be wholly
suppressed. . All those acts, therefore, which imply pre-
dominant depravity, are at an end. But, in matters
which belong to weakness rather than depravity, to the
excitability of the passions, without any perverseness
of will, the language may still be that of David, " Who
can tell how oft he offendeth % " — " Oh, cleanse thou
me from my secret faults ! " yea, and will be still, to
a certain extent ; he who has conquered one set of
faults, finding forthwith, by means of his increased
moral sensibility, a new set of still more subtle faults,
to be guarded against and resisted.

It is not assumed, however, that the being in a state
of grace implies necessarily the possession of Christian
grace. John the Baptist was in a state of grace, even
more surely than David ; yet, our Saviour says, " He
that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than
he." In somewhat a similar way, one cannot doubt
that St. Paul's struggling convert (Bom. vii. 1), when
he delighted in the law of God after the inner man,
had got into a state of grace as really as David had.
But it is clearly intimated that he had not what is
properly Christian grace, that is, the higher influence
which Christ came to bestow, until " the law of the
Spirit of life " had made him free from " the law of sin
and death." (Bom. viii. 2.) But more clearly still, if
possible, St. Paul allows the Corinthians to be " babes



PEACE AND TRUE HAPPINESS. 3

in Christ ; " though he will not allow them to he spirit-
ual, hut carnal, and, in too many (though we may infer
with certainty, no gross) respects, to " walk as men/'

Our blessed Saviour came into the world, not to
contract any preexisting circle of mercy, hut to furnish
means for attaining richer mercy and higher priv-
ileges. It was not for the mere forming of what St.
Paul here means by babes in Christ, that Christ came.
Christ came, not only that we might have life, but
" that we might have it more abundantly ; " in other
words, to impart to us of his fulness and grace for
grace ; that is, evidently, every grace correspondently
to the graces in him. Xow, this more abundant life,
and this efficacious access to and participation of
Christ's fulness of grace, may be taken as strict and
proper Christianity ; and to this idea, all the expres-
sions which the apostolic writers use to describe it
correspond : " Ye have not received the spirit of bond-
age again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of
adoption (not of slavery, but of freedom), whereby we
cry, Abba, Father." — " Therefore, being justified by
faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith
into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope
of the glory of God ; " " because the love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which
is given unto us." — " Examine yourselves, whether ye
be in the faith; prove your own selves; know ye not



4 CHRISTIANITY THE WAY OF

your own selves, how that Jesus Christ dwelletli in
you, except ye be reprobates ? " — " Be careful for
nothing ; but, in every tiling, by prayer and supplica-
tion, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made
known unto God ; and the peace of God, which passeth
all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus."

These, and innumerable other passages of like im-
port, satisfy me, that the true Christian life is not only
an inward and spiritual life, but a victorious, peaceful,
happy life — victorious over the world, and over sin, in
every instance that is necessary to continued peace of
conscience and filial access to the Father of Spirits.
But we are far from thinking that he who is not thus
a new man in Christ Jesus, is therefore, of necessity,
not a good man, nor, in any sense, within the covenant
of grace. St. Paul's spiritual man was exactly the
complete Christian we describe ; and yet, the Apostle
calls those who were not spiritual, but carnal, " babes
in Christ." In fact, we may rest assured, that every
sincere endeavor to please God is, and ever must be,
successful ; and that, though the want of those bless-
ings which are strictly Christian implies a real and often
very painful diminution of happiness in the mind, the
person, while humbly and cordially endeavoring to
walk before God in truth, and with an upright mind,
is substantially accepted of Him.

But then, since Christ came into the world, and



PEACE AND TRUE HAPPINESS. 5

took all the pains lie did to introduce into the world
that higher principle of peace and happiness, it be-
comes most obligatory, on all who feel the extent of
his design, to do what in them lies to promote the ac-
complishment of the purpose. Every expression im-
plies, that though God will not now, any more than
formerly, " break the bruised reed, or quencli the
smoking flax," yet the object of the Gospel is to heal
all moral bruises, and change the smoke into flame.
It is then a matter of demonstration, that this efficient
view of Christianity is its appropriate view, and that
justice cannot be done to it, except its full energies be
distinctly exhibited. The fact is, that it is only by
such a representation of Christianity, that it can ever
be made fully to answer its purpose, or even to excite
sufficient attention in the world, for its being examined
or judged of. The cold, low, un energetic notion of it,
which is all that the most admit, is really below Cicero
in moral matters, and far below Plato as to the con-
templative action of the mind. In Christianity, so
presented, thinking persons see nothing that warrants
such movements, both in the physical and providential
world, as the Christian history asserts. " ISTec Deus
intersit," say they, " nisi dignus vindice nodus." l



1 " Nor on this earth let heaven's dread Ruler stand,
Unless ' a cause ' the present God demand."

1 Sam. xvii. 29.



6 CHRISTIANITY THE WAY OF

They, therefore, sink into scepticism, or, perhaps, con-
firmed infidelity, because they do not see the reason-
ableness of so vast an apparatus, for a purpose so little
beyond what could be accomplished by education and
good laws. Thus has Christianity fallen into con-
tempt, through pure ignorance of its nature and de-
sign. And, until this obstacle is removed, the clearest
display of its external evidences, as exemplified in our
Saviour's life, and taught in his precepts, will be of
little or no avail.

But, if Christianity really proposes, not only to
engage men to struggle with their frailties, but to make
them, conquerors over them ; if it be a divine appa-
ratus for transforming human minds, purifying human
hearts, spiritualizing and sublimating human affections,
so as to make a man superior to all things earthly, and
even to himself ; giving him wings, as it were, by which
he rises, as to his mind, above " the smoke and stir of
this dim spot," and seems to himself comparatively to
dwell " in regions mild, of calm and serene air ; " if
Christianity really makes this offer, it is, at least, worth
considering, inasmuch as this is the very object which
all enlightened heathens agree in esteeming the one
thing needful ; and if it actually accomplishes this, it
would be, by the suffrages of all the philosophers,
worthy of that God whom it claims as its author. In
what variety of ways does even Horace alone express
the longings of Iranian nature for such a state of moral



PEACE AND TRUE HAPPINESS. 7

victory and mental peace ? What but this is his
" otium non gemmis neque purpura venale nee auro % " x
to which he opposes the " miseros tumultus mentis, et
curas laqueata circum tecta volantes." 2

Wliat else was in his mind when he says —

" Navibus atque
Quadrigis petimus bene vivere ; quod petis hie est,
Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit gequus ? " 3

The only question was, how the " animus aequus "
was to be come at. This, too, was what he talked of at
his country house with his friends : —

" Quod magis ad nos
Pertinet, et nescire malum est agitamus : utrumne
Divitiis homines, an sint virtute beati ;
Quidve ad amicitias, usns rectumne, trahat nos ;
Et qua3 sit natura boni, summumque quid ejus." 4

1 " Ease, unbought

By mines of wealth, or the imperial purple."

* " The mind's tumultuous strife

And cares, that dark ascend in turbid wreaths,
Sullying joy's gilded ceilings."

3 " We crowd the sail, we urge the chariot's speed,
To gladden life, to find the joy we need ;
Here, or in Ulubra?, that joy we find,
Deep in the centre of a balanced mind."

* " Ilere we discuss, what most for weal or wo
Concerns ourselves, and shames us not to know,



8 CHRISTIANITY THE WAY OF

And still more strongly in tins most beautiful pas-
sage : —

"Inter cuncta leges, et percunctabere doctos
Qua ratione queas traducere leniter aivum ;
Ne te semper inops agitet vexetque Cupido,
JSTe pavor et rerum mediocriter utilium spes :
Quid rniimat curas ; quid te tibi reddat arnicum ;
Quid pure trauquillet, honos, an dulce lucellum,
An secretum iter, et fallcntis semita vita3." 1

What was this but a vague longing for, and a cloudy
apprehension of, " the peace of God which passeth all
understanding \ "

Perhaps no idea in the Greek mythology had a
greater tendency to raise the mind of a poet to some
visionary anticipation of this chief object of the human
heart than that of the Muses. They are regarded as



If most delight in wealth or virtue lies ;
Which forms our friendship's ordinary ties,
The sense of interest, or the love of right ;
What is true good, and where its utmost height."



Here shalt thou read, and learn in wisdom's school

The purest knowledge, by what happy rule

Life may be taught to steal in peace away,

No more to restless, vain desires a prey

By vexing cares and fears no more oppress'd,

By hopes of objects little worth at best ;

What best may soothe thy sorrows ; where to find

Calm self-contentment, and the approving mind."



PEACE AND TRUE HAPPINESS. 9

the calmers of wrong passions, the inspirers of moral
wisdom : —

K Vos lene consilium et datis, et dato
Gaudetis almce." x

And Horace, accordingly, addresses them with something
more like devotion than we find in any other part of
his poetry ; and looks to their presence with him as an
unfailing sonrce of happiness and safety : —

" Yester, Canicense, vester in arduos
Tollor Sabinos ; seu mihi frigidum
Prasneste, seu Tibur supinum
Seu liquids placuere Baiaa !

" Vestris amicum fontibus et clioris,
ISTon me Philippis versa acies retro,
Devota non extinxit arbos,
ISTon Sicula Palinurus unda.

" Utcunque mecum vos eritis, libens
Insanientem navita Bosphorum
Tentabo, et arentes arenas
Littoris Assyrii viator. 1 ' "



1 " Wisdom you gently breathe, and peace inspire ;
And joy yourselves in hearts that catch your fire."

3 " Yours, ever yours, ye Nine, where'er I rove,
O'er Sabine hills, through cool Prameste's grove,
On Tibur's slope, by Bail's pleasant bay,
Your votary still, through every clime I stray.

1*



10 CHRISTIANITY THE WAT OF

That moral feeling entered strongly into this noble
rhapsody, appears from the words quoted just before,
which immediately follow ; and from this impression,
arises that picture of the Supreme Ruler, which is won-
derfully just, as well as truly sublime : —

" Qui terrain inertem, qui mare temporat,
Ventosque et urbes, regna que tristia,
Divosque mortalesque turmas
Imperio regit unus aequo." 1

The concluding stanza shows, still further, in wha*
frame he wrote : —

"Vis concili expers mole ruit sua;
Vim temperatum Di quoque provehunt
Inmajus; idem odere vires

Omne nefas animo moventes." 2

" Me, of your sacred founts and choral rite
Enamor'd, not the dread Philippian flight,
Not that fell tree, not leaves, have leave to harm
Beneath the safeguard of your powerful charm.

" Where'er ye deign to lead my wandering way,
Your presence soothes, and your smiles repay ;
Ye bid the angry ocean roar in vain,
And shed a grace o'er parch'd Assyria's plain."

1 "The sluggish earth, the seas, his bidding know,
The winds, the haunts of men, the realms below ;
And Gods above, and mortals here, obey



Online LibraryProtestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion ofBeauties of sacred literature : a compendium of Christian doctrine, faith, and practice → online text (page 1 of 38)