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plagiarism. His remarks on this subject might have been dispensed with at the time, we presume; but since they are worthy of general attention, we shall conclude by extracting the greater part of them.
“To say nothing of the danger to which the doctrines of our church would be exposed, were her ministers allowed, instead of studying the word of God for themselves, to beg or borrow, or take their discourses ready made from the booksellers' shelves, such a license would tend to discountenance industry, to paralize exertion, and reduce, in the public estimation, so far as sermonizing was concerned, the ignorant and the learned, the diligent and the slothful, the foolish and the wise, to the same unenvied level. Then, grace apart, all the requisites for the due performance of the public duties of the ministerial office, would be memory and speech, together with sufficient education to read and write. Because, by supposition, all that would be required of the licensed performer, would be, to assume the manner and repeat the language of other men. Though there were no guilt, there would be much degradation in such a state of things.
“ But this is not the light in which we are called to view this question. We have no such office as readers or recitors, nor any such legalized exercise in our churches, as recitations. We license and we ordain ministers, not to repeat the discourses of others, but to prepare and deliver discourses of their own. Hence our examinations to ascertain whether they are qualified for the performance of this high office; and hence our solemn charge to them to be diligent in study, as well as fervent in spirit. So intelligible and so well defined is the obligation imposed on the presbyterian minister to preach his own compositions, that whenever he preaches the compositions of others, he can only absolve himself from the imputation of deception by an avowal at the time, of the fact. For from the tenure of his office, his auditors have a right to presume, unless he informs them to the contrary, that the discourses he delivers to them from the pulpit, are substantially his own productions, and not the productions of another. I say substantially: because by common consent, and this constitutes the law on this article, without the transgression of which there is no deception, it is allowed, not indeed, in printed, but in spoken discourses, to appropriate an incidental thought, or transfer some peculiar expressions, without interrupting the unity of the argument, by indicating the source from which it was drawn. It is allowed to take at pleasure, even larger portions, without express quotation, from authors known to be in general use. It were quite superfluous to refer to Matthew or Isaiah, or to any other writer, either sacred or profane, so universally familiar as to be recognized without such reference; and even where the writers are not familiar, if there be any thing in the matter or in the form of what is taken therefrom, that indicates its transfer, as is often the case with history and poetry) it were unnecessary to indicate it. Nor is it ordinarily expected in the discussion of hackneyed subjects, that the materials are original. But even on these subjects, and from whencesoever the materials are drawn, it is expected that the fabric into which they are wrought is, and of right it ought to be, unless the contrary is announced, the speaker's own.
“Such is the implied obligation under which every minister in our connection preaches. Express and voluntary obligations may indeed be superadded; when the crime of plagiarism assumes a bolder type and the slander of having falsely imputed it a deeper malignity. Indeed the sanctions of official duty apart, it is understood that what a man publishes under his own name, or delivers in his own place (unless it be in the theatre, the recitation room, or in some other situation where the act explains itself) is, and therefore of right ought to be his own.
“Hence the disgrace every where attached to plagiarism. It sinks the character of an under graduate, and even of a school boy, to attempt to pass off as his own the productions of his play-fellow. The reason is obvious. It is the duty of every accountable being, to be candid and honest; and an attempt to deceive, under whatever disguise it is made, always crosses our moral feelings.
“But especially does this cross our moral feelings, when we meet with it in the teachers of religion, and during the service they perform at the altar of God. Here, if any where, we expect simplicity and sincerity; actions as well as language that lie not.
“ Almost every other virtue bends to circumstances; but truth, like justice, is unalterable and eternal; nor can there be a continued departure from either without weakening the moral principle, and giving a hue to the general character; thus he who loses his regard for truth in one situation will not long feel its binding obligations in another; and he who deceives on the sabbath day, will soon find himself betrayed into deception on other days. Indeed, so many disguises and equivocations are requisite, to give effect to any one act of deception, that a man who ventures on such a course, places his character for veracity in jeopardy; and the full effect on the conmunity of upholding and sustaining in office false and faithless teachers, even of religion itself, is not easily to be anticipated.” p. 132.135.
ARTICLE IX.-Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Abigail Waters;
who died in Boston, Nov. 22d, 1816, in the 86th year of her age. To which is prefixed the Sermon preached on occasion of her death, by Joshua Huntington, Pastor of the Old South Church. Second Edition. Boston, 1817. pp. 144. 18mo.
The Reverend author of this little book laments, as did the subject of these memoirs, the great decay of vital piety in the town of Boston; and truly it is with propriety, if it was requisite for him to apologize repeatedly for describing the usual operations of the Spirit; or to vindicate them, as he has ably done, at every step, from the charge of superstition, fanaticism, or nervous disorder; and that too, in a work principally designed for the consolation of God's people. Better days than the present, days of the right hand of the Most High, we hope, however, are coming; and we feel our expectations not a little encouraged by the fact, that our brother Huntington's truly evangelical work has met with sufficient encouragement to warrant the publication of a second edition.
One means of reviving a work of grace in Boston will probably be, the circulation of the right kind of books; and another, the most important, the preaching of the right kind of sermons. For many years past, the people of the metropolis of New England have patronized elegant editions of Paley, Calmet, Mosheim, Newcomb, and similar authors, and have even manifested some little regard to the delicate, refined, almost sublimated re. ligion of Miss Hannah More, and the Christian Ob. server; but for the writings of their fathers, the puritans; or for the orthodox publications of New York and Phi. ladelphia, very few of them have any taste.
If these “Memoirs" are popular in Boston, it is a good sign; and we shall soon expect to hear, that a bookseller near Old South has ventured to republish John Bunyan's Pilgrim, and “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ;" Rawlin on Justification, Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion, Boston's Fourfold State; the dif. ferent sermons and letters of Richard, Increase, and Cot.
ton Mather; Henry's Commentary on the Bible, together with the whole works of John Owen and John Newton. How the times will be changed, when these performances issue from the press in Boston!-unless it be, that the sheets may be sent to Philadelphia on speculation!
In the Sermon prefixed to the Memoirs, Mr. H. de. signs to show, from Rev. xiv. 13. first, Who may be said to die in the Lord; and, secondly, Wherein consists the blessedness thus solemnly pronounced upon them. The first head of discourse he treats negatively and positively. The negative portion is the best part of the discourse. When he endeavours to show what it is to be in the Lord, which was requisite, before he could tell his audi. tors what it was to die in the Lord, he is
is very defective. He observes,
“ From these passages, among many others, it appears, that to be in Christ, or in the Lord, is to be the subject of a thorough and radical change; a change so great and universal, as to be fitly denominated a new creation—is to exercise a faith which leads to, or consists in, an utter renunciation of all self dependence, and a humble joyful reliance upon the merits of Christ for salvation-is to yield a sincere, habitual, persevering obedience to all the requirements of the Gospel-is, in a word, to be a vital and practical Christian.” p. 20.
All this is true; for every regenerated person is in Christ: but is a believer in Christ only, or principally, by regeneration and sanctification? He should have re. membered, that all who die in the Lord, were in him previously, as a Covenant Head, as a satisfying Surety; so as to be in him also, by justification. The first doctrine, which men departing from the truth overlook, or omit to preach, is that of justification through the vi. carious obedience and sufferings of the Lord our righteousness; and the last which men relinquish, before they cease to have any claims upon the character of gospel ministers, is that of sanctification through divine influences.
Mr. H. treats very well upon sanctification; and we know, from what he has published, that he deems justi. fication through the death of Christ essential to eternal life; but we wish him to have clearer views of the na
ture, and importance of that “act of God, by which he freely pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth of us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” Jehovah decrees our sanctification, because, in the order of nature, he previously decreed our justification; and when the Holy Spirit, in covenant subserviency to the Father and Son in the great work of salvation, commences the work of sanctification by the act of regeneration, it is that the subject of the work may be justified; and God glorified in this manifestation of his righte
Let Mr. H. preach the doctrines of atonement and justification as ihe Mathers and the Rev. Gilbert Tennent did; and if he has one such praying person in his congregation as old Madam Waters was, he will very soon perceive a shaking among the dry bones of Old South,
The solemn truth, as it seems to many in this part of the Church, is, that several teachers in Massachusetts, who still adhere to the essential deity of the Son of God, know not what to do with Christ in their preaching. They have knowledge enough of Jesus to be saved by him themselves; but hardly enough to offer him to others.
The blessedness of those who die in the Lord is treated of in four brief pages, in which the author forms several pretty contrasts between the condition of saints while here and when there; but every thing cannot be said in one discourse; we pass therefore to the Memoirs. They are well written, well selected, and calculated to do good. Since the work is small, and the nature of their subjects would admit of the translation of the notes, we recommend to Mr. H. to insert the greater part of them in the text of the next edition, should a third be demanded:—which we think not improbable; especially if one of the benevolent Deacons of Old South, Lieutenant Gov. Philips, should find it in his heart charitably to bestow a thousand copies on the poor.
Mrs. Abigail Waters was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Dawes; was born in Boston, Jan. 13th, 1721, was baptized by Dr. Sewall; was “early taught to pray for