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tion of the sublime compositions to which his best feelings were so long enchained. Hence, I think that it will be found, that though the fancy has predominated in sketching the history of the several psalı is, yet, with regard to fixing the precise meaning of the text, a more uniform sobriety of interpretation prevails, than in any of our author's previous attempts as a sacred commentator.”
Up to the year 1807, Mr. Good was connected with a Socinian congregation; he was, moreover, an avowed materialist, and had adopted the notion of the Universalists' respecting future punishment. In that year, however, he gave the first decided proof of a growing dissatisfaction with the doctrines of scepticism, by breaking off his connexion with the society. The reason he assigns for this step, in a letter to the minister of the chapel, will shew that it was not taken upon slight grounds. It appears that the reverend apostle of disbelief had, on the preceding Sunday, asserted in the pulpit, that it is impossible to demonstrate the existence and attributes of God; or had at least treated the a priori demonstration of the Divine existence as unsatisfactory and 'exploded,' without putting his audience in possession of any better method of proof. The following is part of Mr. Good's letter.
“I sincerely respect your talents and the indefatigable attention you have paid to biblical and theological subjects; I have the fullest conviction of your sincerity and desire to promote what you believe to be the great cause of truth and Christianity ; but I feel severely that our minds are not constituted alike; and being totally incapable of entering into that spirit of scepticism which you deem it your duty to inculcate from the pulpit, I should be guilty of hypocrisy, if I were any longer to countenance, by a personal attendance on your ministry, a system which (even admitting it to be right in itself) is at least repugnant to my own heart and my own understanding."
This decisive step naturally led to a re-examination of the principles and notions which Mr. Good had long held in common with the congregation from which he now seceded; and the result was, a gradual surrender of all the distinguishing tenets of the Socinian creed. Still, the change was, as yet, only a revolution in his speciilative opinions; an important and genial change, inasmuch as it involved an escape from the entanglement and delusion of fatal error and sophistry, and the removal of the most serious intellectual obstructions to the moral influence of divine truth. But his understanding was entirely convinced, long before his heart was transformed. It was a considerable time, we are told, before his more correct opinions 'assumed the character of principles of action, and issued, by God's blessing, in the transformation of his heart and affections. For several years, subsequently to this period, he devoted a great portion of his Sunday mornings and evenings to the prosecution of his biblical studies, to which he always discovered a strong attachment. From 1808 to the beginning of 1812, these leisure hours were occupied with his translation of the Book of Job, and the notes which are appended to it. Within the whole compass of these notes, says his biographer,
“I am not aware that there is a specific reference to the plan of
the Gospel as a restorative dispensation, in which, by the atoning efficacy of a Saviour's blood, sin may be pardoned, and, by the purifying energy of the Holy Spirit, man may be raised to the dignity from which he has fallen, and again shine in the image of God. He did not appear, therefore, as yet, to regard this as entirely essential to true religion; in other words, to consider the evangelical system as the only solid basis of a rational hope of eternal felicity and glory.”
Still, it was manifest to those who were most in his company and confidence, that there was a progression of sentiment, which evinced itself in the growing thoughtfulness of his habits, his increased anxiety to cultivate the acquaintance of pious men, and a certain mellowing of his character. In the summer of 1815, Mr. Good first distincly announced to his biographer, to whom he must have known how gratifying would be the communication, his cordial persuasion, that the evangelical representation of the doctrines of Scripture, is that which alone accords with the system of revealed truth.
“He said, he had greatly hesitated as to the correctness of a proposition I had advanced a few years before, that there was no intermediate ground upon which a sound reasoner could make a fair stand, between that of pure deism, and that of moderate orthodoxy, as held by the evangelical classes, both of churchmen and dissenters; but that he now regarded that proposition as correct. At the same time, he detailed several of the Socinian and Arian interpretations of passages usually brought forward in these disputes, and, with his accustomed frankness, explained how he had come, by degrees, to consider them all as unsatisfactory, and, for an accountable being, un safe."
Of this gradual modification of his sentiments, and of the decision which they at length attained, the manuscript notes in his Bible, and his private papers, present the most interesting evidence. Domestic anxieties and trials, the threatening illness of his daughter, and the death, in 1823, of his accomplished and excellent sonin-law, Rev. Cornelius Neale, appear to have had the happiest influence in confirming him in Christian principles, and inducing a greater degree of spirituality of mind. For the last seven or eight years of his life, Dr. Good was a zealous and active supporter of Bible and Missionary societies. To the concerns of the Church Missionary Society, more especially, he devoted himself with the utmost activity and ardor, as an able member of its committee. And during the few years immediately preceding the close of his life, his occasional papers exhibit a rapid advancement in meetness of character for the heavenly inheritance. Of these, we have several very impressive specimens : we select the first as being of convenient length.
‘And Enoch walked with God.' Gen. v. 24. “This is the only walk in which we can never go astray; and happy he who, amidst the innumerable paths by which he is surrounded, is led to the proper walk. To walk with God, we must take heed to every step of his providence and his grace; we must have a holy fear of not keeping close to him ; though he will never leave us, if we do not leave him. We must maintain a sacred communion with him, and have our conversation in heaven, rather than on earth; we must be perpetually receding from the world, and withdrawing from its attachments. We must feel our hearts glow with a greater degree of love to him, and, by the influence of his Holy Spirit upon our affections, become gradually more assimilated to the Divine nature. We must take his word for our directory, his promises for our food, and his blessed Son for our sole reliance, making the foot of the cross our only resting place. If we thus walk with God through the wilderness of life, he will walk with us when we reach the dark 'valley of the shadow of death ;' and though we cannot hope for the same translation as Enoch, still, like him, 'we shall not be, because God hath taken us.'".
As a specimen at once of Dr. Good's poetical talents, and of his religious sentiments and feelings at this period, we insert the following stanzas, written apparently after hearing a sermon on John i. 1.
“() word ! O wisdom! heaven's high theme!
Where must the theme begin?-
Yet sacrifice for sin!
Thy boldest powers excite,
And arm thee for the fight.
Of things to sense reveald,
Th' abyss of things conceal'd.
The sinner's contrite sighs,
Or frankincense to rise.
By logic's nicest plan,
Nor aught divine be man:
Whose fiat forind the sky,
Nor breathe, and groan, and die.
Here learning I despise,
To heavenly minds supplies.
Of rapture and of grief!-
0, help my unbelief.” From the beginning of 1822, Dr. Good's health began to decline; and a severe fit of gout, which was brought on, in his own opinion, by too much mental excitement in completing his Study of Medicine, seems to have been regarded by himself as a providential warning of his approaching end. In a letter to his friend Dr. Drake, dated Dec. 11, 1824, after expressing his gratification that his correspondent should have thought so highly of his work, he adds:
“But I know the danger of even honorable reputation, and I fear the Circean cup. The richest pearl in the Christian's crown of graces, is humility; and when I look back upon myself, and examine my own heart, and see how little progress I have made in that which it most imports us to study, I am sure there is no man breathing who has more cause, not only for humility, but for abasement, than myself: for how often have I neglected the cistern for the stream, and have been pursuing a bubble, instead of giving up all my feeble powers and possessions in purchase of the pearl of great price. What a mercy not to have been allowed to persevere in that neglect!”
During the last three months of his life, his strength declined rapidly, exciting much solicitude in the minds of his family, but no alarm of immediate danger. His last illness was short, but exceedingly severe. From the 24th to the 28th of Dec. (1826,) he continued, with daily increasing difficulty, to be moved from his bed to a sofa ; but, although he suffered much from the nature of his disorder, it was not till the 29th, that his life was supposed to be in danger. On the day following, his friend, the Rev. Mr. Russel, was sent for; and to him, in the presence of his assembled family, Dr Good thus delivered his solemn confession and testimony to the truth.
“I cannot say, I feel those triumphs which some Christians have experienced ; but I have taken, what unfortunately the generality of Christians too much take,- I have taken the middle walk of Christianity. I have endeavored to live up to its duties and doctrines, but have lived below its privileges. I most firmly believe all the doctrines of Scripture, as declared by our church. I have endeavored to take God for my Father and my Savior ; but I want more spirituality, more humility; I want to be humbled.”—Here he .became much agitated, yet went on :-“ I have resigned myself to the will of God. If I know myself, I neither despair nor presume; but my constitution is by nature sanguine in all things, so that I am afraid of trusting to myself.” Some remarks being made about the righteousness of Christ, Dr. Good replied: “No man living can be more sensible than I am, that there is nothing in ourselves; and of the absolute necessity of relying only upon the merits of Jesus Christ. I know there is a sense in which that expression of St. Paul's, Of whom I am chief, is applicable to all ; but there are some to whom it is peculiarly appropriate, and I fear I am one. I have not improved the opportunities given me. I have had large opportunities given me, and I have not improved them as I might. I have been led astray by the vanity of human learning and the love of human applause.”
On Monday, the 2d of January, his hearing had become greatly affected, and he was almost constantly convulsed. He uttered only one or two connected sentences.
“Mr. Russel called to him in a loud voice, ‘Jesus Christ, the Saviour :'-he was not insensible to that sound. His valued clerical friend then repeated to him in the same elevated tone, ‘Behold the Lamb of God:' this roused him, and with energy, the energy of a dying believer, he terminated the sentence,' Which taketh away the sins of the world;' which were the last words he intelligibly uttered, being about three hours before his death."
When Dr. Good's former Unitarian views are remembered, this touching account of his last moments will appear the more satisfactory and instructive. It serves, we think, to illustrate the remark that, in the case of the philosophic unbeliever, repentance will ordinarily be the result of faith, rather than conduct to it. It supplies us, too, with a striking proof of the vast importance of a mere change of opinion from false to true, in the matter of religion,-a simple rectification of the views, (although very far from answering to the Scriptural idea of conversion,) inasmuch as it involves the removal of a fatal barrier to the influence of truth upon the conscience and the heart. Because a change of opinions does not always issue in a change of character, some persons have, we think, underrated the value of the intellectual revolution. Neither Dr. Good himself nor his friends, ever confounded his embracing Orthodox opinions with that subsequent and essential change, the precise epoch of which was never known, we are told, even to his nearest relatives. “But its reality was indisputable; and they who had the most frequent opportunities of noticing it, deemed it another proof of that striking diversity of operations' with which the same Spirit worketh in all.”
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
1. Thoughts on Revivals. By Rev. B. B. Smith, Rector of St. Stephen's Church, Middlebury, Vt. Middlebury, 1828. pp. 23.
This little work, though unassuming in title and pretensions, is yet a very candid, temperate, judicious and able discussion of a most important subject. The author begins with defining a revival of religion.
“ All experimental believers essentially agree in the opinion that a greatnay, an entire moral change must take place in the heart of every child of Adam before he can become a real Christian. This change, wrought through the word of God as the instrument, and by the Holy Ghost as the divine agent, is called conversion. The circumstances under which this effectual moral rev. olution is brought about, are admitted to be very various. In most cases, at least in ages past, this change has been comparatively solitary, silent, and as far as man could udge, progressive. But it is equally plain, that the change may be, as in many cases both in ancient and modern time it has most indisputably been, sudden, powerful, public, and in many persons nearly at the same time. This multiplication of individual conversions, is what, in correctness of speech and Christian charity, should be understood by REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
"By the foregoing definition, a broad distinction is intentionally taken between the real conversions which constitute revivals of religion, and the meetings, visits, conversations, sermons, and prayers which are connected with them. Many of these meetings may really be out of season, artificially contrived, and