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577 One of them was traced downward to the depth o about thirty feet, without coming to a termination, though its cameter was contracted to half an inch. The substance of thes tubes, which are longitudinally corrugated, appears to be theelted sand of the coast, but is extremely difficult of fusion. agent which appears sufficient to account for this producon, is the electric fluid.
Art. IV. Sermons: By the Rev. John Venn, M. A. Recur & Clap
ham, 2 vols. 8vo. pp. lii. 778. Price 11. ls, boards London,
Hatchard, 1814. HOW strange soever the declaration may and will oubless be
thought by many of the fraternity of critics, w nevertheless confess, that there is no character on which we reflect with so much complacency, as on that of a faitful minister of Jesus Christ. The fame of the conqueror ma be borne to the very ends of the earth, perhaps wafted thithr in sighs ; but the remembrance of the Minister of Christ will ascend to heaven, and will there be cherished eternally. 'he metaphysician
may improve the intellect, the logician and th mathemati
may teach the arts of reasoning and of investigaon, the poet may warm the feelings and charm the imagination, but the judicious and successful divine, is the honoured instrumnt by which the Father of mercies often awakens the consciece, enlightens tbe understanding, and sanctifies the heart. Of such a servant of God, thus employed and thus blessed, w are now to speak.
The Rev. John Venn, the Author of the “Serions” before us, was born at Clapham, on the 9th of March, 17). He was the son of the Rev. Henry Venn, well-known as pious, zealous, apd active clergyman, and as the Author é a popular work, “ The Complete Duty of Man.” By ths excellent parent he was placed under Mr. Shute, of Leeds, to receive the early part of bis education.
• He was then removed to Hippasholme School, were he was well grounded in classics by the care of Mr. Sutcliffe. Le had after*wards the benefit of the Rev. Joseph Milner's instrution, at the Grammar School at Hull; and of the Rev. Thomas Rbinson's and the Rev. William Ludlam's, the last an eminent mathmatician, at Leicester. He was admitted a member of Sidney Susex College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of A. B. in 1781. In Septem, ber, 1787, he was ordained deacon, as curate to his fathe : le entered into priest's orders, in March 1789, and two days aftervarls was instituted to the living of Little Dunham, in Norfolk. On the 22d of October, 1784, he married Miss Catherine King, of Hill, who died April 13, 1803, leaving a family of seven children. h June, 1792,
on the dath of Sir J. Stonehouse, the former rector, he was insti. tuted to be living of Clapham. In August, 1812, he married Miss Turton, aughter of John Turton, Esg. of Clapham. At this place he residd, with little intermission, from the beginning of the year 1793, tohe day of his death. After several weeks of great suffering, he finishd his course on the morning of the 1st of July, 1813.”
Thiss, in truth, a meagre account of the life of such a man as Mr. 'epn appears to have been ; but it is nearly all which the prefacete his posthumous sermons furnishes. We could have wished to learn something as to the discipline, by which, under God, hs character was formed ; but, in this respect, we collect nothing more than can be conjectured from the circumstance of his haringbeen a pupil of a man of such originality of thinking and such epth of piety, as the Rev. Joseph Milner, of Hull. We could aso have wished to trace the history of his habits and pursuits, aber bis character was formed, and he was thrown into active fe : but here again, we learn little more than that he was a coscientious, kind, and faithful parish-priest. This, however, is phenomenon of easy solution. Mr. Venn seems to have bee a person of retired manners, who courted no publicity, sougt no honour but that “which cometh from God;" had little deire to be known beyond the precincts of his own parish ; anwas not, it would seem, much seen in it, except in his pulpi in the cottage of the indigent, and by the bedside of the ficted. How cordially should we rejoice if every parish in Geat Britain possessed such a minister !
Mr. Ven prepared no sermons for the press, but left a considerable nmber in manuscript, from which those published in these voluies have been selected, by some friends to whom he assigned th task. The first volume comprehends twenty-two sermons; le second twenty-three.
If we 'ere called upon to answer the question. What under any particular circumstances, is the best sermon ?' we should reply,—That is the best which makes the deepest impresion, and produces the greatest religious effect upon the auditory. And assuming this
accurate descriptiot we do not hesitate to say that the Sermons d Mr. Venn, at least, if the manner of delivery bore any adequat relation to he structure and composition, deserve to class very high. Thi parish of Clapham, we have always understood comprises a rather more than usual proportion of affluent and well-informd persons, and, at the same time, a great many inhabitaits that are both poor and illiterate. In these sermos we meet wib nothing, on the one hand, that can disgust : personal the most refined and cultivated intellect; notbing, an the other, buiwbat is on a level with the capacity of the most igpo rant person, provided he yield his attention. The prevailing cha
racteristics are, simplicity of style, purity of taste, earnestness of manner, freedom from pomp and parade, from extravagance of expression, from pedantry, and from all extreme notions. Usually they are contemplative, touching, and heavenly-minded. Their general tenor, though marked, as we have just said, by great simplicity, indicates an elevation of sentiment, and continuity of thinking, without elaborate discussion : and, frequently, there is a stream of eloquence, which flows, not from effort, but from an adequate feeling of the subject,-from a heart alive to its supreme importance.
In the construction of his discourses, the preacher seems often to have had in his mind George Herbert's “ Priest to the
Temple”, giving, ‘First, a plain and evident declaration of ' the meaning; and, secondly, some choice observations, drawn s out of the whole text, as it lies entire and unbroken in the * Scripture itself. This he thinks natural, and sweet, and
grave. Whereas, the other way, of crumbling a text into 6 small parts (as the person speaking, or spoken to, the subject, ! and object, and the like) hath neither in it sweetness, nor
gravity, nor variety; since the words apart are not Scripture, « but a Dictionary.'
Mr. Venu's “ Sermons” are very seldom defective in exhortation; nor do we recollect one, in which that essential requisite in our estimation-a more or less copious development of the plan of Salvation-is not to be found. It is, in fact, (says Mr. Venn, p. 219, vol. ii.) the grand object of my preaching to explain the just foundation of human hope, and to press it upon your
consideration.' We beg to recommend this example to the imitation of all young Clergymen and Dissenting Ministers who peruse these pages.
But it is time that we endeavour to justify this high commendation, by a few references and quotations. By way of reference, we would point to the 6th, 7th, 11th, 17th, and 19th sermons in the first volume ; and to the 3d, 4th, 6th, 9th, 11th, 16th, 18th, and 20th, of the second, as perhaps, altogether, the inost striking and valuable. We have witnessed the strong impression made by several of these when they have been read aloud in the family : have observed the feelings both of the reader and the hearers, evincing unequivocal testimony of the deep interest of the subject, and of the natural and touching eloquence with which it has been invested by the pious writer.
One of the sermons which we found productive of these happy effects, was the 6th in Vol. I. Our readers shall judge of its merits by a few extracts.
"" I beheld,” says the Apostle, (admitted, for the consolation of the church, to witness and record the happiness of the saints in hea
ven); ““I beheld, and, lo! a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands,”-O what a different scene, what a different world, separated only by a slight veil from that which we inhabit, is here exhibited to our view a world into which we may enter by a single step, and in a moment of time! Here we see a busy world, eager in vain pursuits, agitated by mere trifles, contending about objects of no moment, and immersed in things which perish with the using. All is noise, and confusion, and vanity, and sorrow, and evil. But behold another world, nigh at hand, composed of different beings, governed by different principles : where all things are as substantial, as here they are vain ; where all things are as momentous, as here they are frivolous ; where all things are as great, as here they are little; where all things are as durable, as here they are transitory; where all things are as fixed, as here they are mutable! That world has also its inhabitants—so numerous, that the population of this world is but as a petty tribe compared them. It has its employments; but they are of the noblest kind and weightiest import; and compared with them, the whole sum of the concerns of this life is but as a particle of dust. It has its pleasures; but they are pure and spotless, holy and divine. There, perfect happiness, and uninterrupted harmony and righteousness and peace, ever prevail. What a contrast to our present state !-And is this blessed scene near us? Is there but, as it were, a step between? May we be called into it in a moment? With what anxious solicitude, then, should we endeavour to realize it! And how ardently should we desire to be prepared for an admission into it !' pp. 84–86.
• In considering the multitudes, beyond the power of calculation, which will peuple the realms of bliss, we must recollect, that there multitudes constitute happiness. On the earth, where a difficulty of subsistence is often experienced; where there exists a constant collision of interests ; where one stands in the way of another; where jealousies and envyings, anger and revenge, pride and vanity, agitate and deform the world ; numbers may tend to diffuse wretchedness and to multiply evil. Hence we fee for peace and joy from the crowded haunts of men, and court the sequestered habitation and the retired vale. But in heaven, where there can be no thwarting interests ; where the wants of one are never supplied at the expense of another; where every bosom glows with love, and every heart beats with desire to promote the general happiness ; the addition of a fresh individual to the innumerable throng diffuses a wider joy, and heightens the universal felicity,
• The multitude assembled there is described as composed of “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” – Here, again, we must beware of forming our judgment from the feelings and views of this fallen world. There, it will be no cause of jealousy, or rivalry, or hatred, that one person received his birth on this, and another on that, side of a river or sea. A man will not despise his þrother on account of the different shade of his complexion; he will
not seek his destruction because he spoke in another language; nor renounce communion with him because he praised the same God, with the samne spirit of piety, in a house of different form. All these petty distinctions will have either ceased to exist, or will be completely annihilated in the general spirit of love which will then animate every mind. One pursuit will occupy every heart; each will strive only to glorify God. There will either be no distinctions, or the distinctions be like the beautiful variety we see in the works of God-like flowers enriched with different colours to delight the eye, or with various perfumes to gratify the smell. Why should distinctions offend, or variety disgust? It is the dark and selfish pride of the heart which considers itself as the only standard of right and excellence, and therefore despises or hates every deviation from itself. Let the pride be removed, and the distinction would become a pleasing variety, instead of a source of hatred.
Alas! alas ! what petty differences, engendered by pride, and nursed by the worst passions of the human breast, here separate, with unchristian hatred, those who are brethren, the children of the same God, the members of the same church, taught by the same book, partakers of the same hope, redeemed by the same Saviour, influenced by the same Spirit, travelling along the same road towards the same blessed country! Oh, Religion ! our best, our dearest, holiest guide! is thy sacred name to be prostituted, is thy divine aim to be perverted, to sanction discord, to justify hatred, and to consecrate bigotry? No! Religion acknowledges nothing as her own work, but union and
In heaven, her throne, no odious denominations will parcel out the regenerated church, no frivolous distinctions be suffered to break che unity of the members of Christ ; but people of every nation, and kindred, and tribe, and tongue, will unite in one worship, will be animated with one spirit, will be actuated by one principle -- and that, the principle of pure and universal love.'
• To what an exalted height of happiness and glory, my Christian brethren, is then that “innumerable company" advanced ! With what a glorious society do they hold communion! In what noble employments are they engaged; of what refined enjoyments do they partake! Blessed spirits ! your lot is fixed; your happiness is permanent and eternal. You will suffer pain or feel distress no more. Your minds are cleansed from every taint of sin ; your breasts are the everlasting abode of purity and joy. All around you is peace. Every thing is concerted, by Almighty Wisdom and Infinite Goodness, to banish the very elements of evil”; to dispel the slightest shade of misery ; to pour around you, in luxuriant profusion-a profusion designating the infinitely varied power of the Giver-all the richest stores of good.
How unlike this is our present state ! What a different abode is this world below! Here, fear and terror, danger and violence, pain and suffering, sin and remorse, misery and grief, poverty and labour, the curse and the frown of justice, have fixed their abode. But, my brethren, though “ these days be evil,” give not way to despair.