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STYLE OF

THE MEDITATIONS."

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not fully blown till we saw it sure and certain in these ample and exuberant flowers. Yes, and even now we feel that it would make a warmer June could we love peonies and martagons as we loved them in days of yore. Hervey was a man of taste equal to his age, and of a warmth and venturesomeness beyond it. He introduced the poetical and picturesque into religious literature, and became the Shenstone of theology. And although he did what none had dared before him, the world was ready, and his success was rapid. The Meditations evangelised the natural sciences, and the Dialogues embowered the old divinity. The former was philosophy in its right mind, and at the Saviour's feet; the other was the Lutheran dogma, relieved from the academic gown, and keeping healthful holiday in shady woods and by the mountain stream. The tendency of his writings was to open the believer's eye in kindness and wonder on the works of God, and their effort was to attract to the Incarnate Mystery the heart surprised or softened by these works. We cannot, at the distance of a century, recall the fascination which surrounded them when newly published, when no similar attempts had forestalled their freshness, and no imitations had blown their vigour into bombast. But we can trace their mellow influence still. We see that they have helped to make men of faith men of feeling, and men of piety men of taste. Over the bald and rugged places of systematic orthodoxy, they have trained the sweetest beauties of creation and the softest graces of piety, and over its entire landscape have shed an illumination as genial as it is growthful and clear. If they be not purely classical, they are perfectly evangelical and singularly adapted to the whole of

Their cadence is in our popular preaching still, and may their spirit never quit our Christianity! It is the spirit of securest faith, and sunniest hope, and most seraphic love. And though it may be dangerous for young divines, like Samuel Parr, to copy their descriptive melody, it were a blessed ambition to emulate their author's large and lightsome piety—his heart “open to the whole noon of nature, and through all its brightness drinking the smile of a present God.

man.

In the middle of last century evangelical religion derived its great impulse from the three now named. But though there were none to rival Whitefield's flaming eloquence, or Wesley's versatile ubiquity, or the popularity of Hervey's gorgeous pen, there were many among their contemporaries who, as one by one they learned the truth, in their own department or district did their utmost to diffuse it. In Cornwall, there was Walker of Truro; in Devon, Augustus Toplady; in Shropshire, was Fletcher of Madeley; in Bedfordshire, there was Berridge of Everton; in Lincolnshire, Adams of Wintringham; in Yorkshire, were Grimshaw of Haworth, and Venn of Huddersfield; and in London was William Romaine—besides a goodly number who, with less renown, were earnest and wise enough to win many souls.

In the summer of 1746, SAMUEL WALKER* came to be curate of the gay little capital of Western Cornwall. He was clever and accomplished-had learned from books the leading doctrines of Christianity, and, whilst mainly anxious to be a popular preacher, and a favourite with his fashionable hearers, had a distinct desire to do them good—but did them none. The master of the grammar school was a man of splendid scholarship, and the most famous teacher in that county, but much hated for his piety. One day Mr Walker received from Mr Conon a note, with a sum of money, requesting him to pay it to the Custom-house. For his health he had been advised to drink some French wine, but on that smuggling coast could procure none on which duty had been paid. Wondering whether this tenderness of conscience pervaded all his charac

* Born 1714. Died 1761.

SUCCESS AMONG SOLDIERS.

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It was

ter, Mr Walker sought Mr Conon's acquaintance, and was soon as completely enchained by the sweetness of his disposition, and the fascination of his intercouse, as he was awed and astonished by the purity and elevation of his conduct. from the good treasure of this good man's heart that Mr Walker received the gospel. Having learned it, he proclaimed it. Truro was in uproar. To hear of their absolute depravity, and to have urged on them repentance and the need of a new nature by one who had so lately mingled in all their gaieties, and been the soul of genteel amusement, was first startling, and then offensive. The squire was indignant; fine ladies sulked and tossed their heads; rude men interrupted him in the midst of his ermon; and the rector, repeatedly called to dismiss him, was only baffled by Mr Walker's urbanity. But soon faithful preaching began to tell; and in Mr Walker's case its intrinsic power was aided by his insight into character, and his mastery over men.

In a few years upwards of eight hundred parishioners had called on him to ask what they must do for their soul's salvation; and his time was mainly occupied in instructing large classes of his hearers who wished to live godly, righteous, and sober in this evil world. The first fruits of his ministry was a dissolute youth who had been a soldier, and amongst this description of people he had his greatest success. One November, a body of troops arrived in his parish for winter quarters. He immediately commenced an afternoon sermon for their special benefit. He found them grossly ignorant.

Of the seven best instructed six were Scotchmen, and the seventh an English dissenter. And they were reluctant to come to hear him. At first, when marched to church, on arriving at the door, they turned and walked

away. But when at last they came under the sound of his tender but energetic exhortations, the effect was instantaneous. With few exceptions tears burst from every eye, and confessions of sin from almost every mouth. In less than nine

weeks no fewer than two hundred and fifty had sought his private instructions; and though at first the officers were alarmed at such an outbreak of Methodism among their men, so evident was the improvement which took place—so rare had punishments become, and so promptly were commands obeyed that the officers waited on Mr Walker in a body, to thank him for the reformation he had effected in their ranks. On the morning of their march many of these brave fellows were heard praising God for having brought them under the sound of the gospel, and as they caught the last glimpses of the town, exclaimed, “God bless Truro!” Indeed, Mr Walker had much of the military in his own composition. The disencumbered alertness of his life, the courage, frankness, and through-going of his character, the firmness with which he held his post, the practical valour with which he followed up his preaching, and the regimental order into which he had organised his people, betokened the captain in canonicals; as the hardness of his services, and his exulting loyalty to his Master, proclaimed the good soldier of Jesus Christ.

In the adjacent county of Devon, and in one of its sequestered parishes, with a few cottages sprinkled over it, mused and sang AUGUSTUS TOPLADY.* When a lad of sixteen, and on a visit to Ireland, he had strolled into a barn where an illiterate layman was preaching, but preaching reconciliation to God through the death of His Son. The homely sermon took effect, and from that moment the gospel wielded all the powers of his brilliant and active mind. He was very learned. Universal history spread before his eye a familiar and delightful field; and at thirty-eight he died, more widely-read in Fathers and Reformers than most academic dignitaries can boast when their heads are hoary. He was learned because he was active. Like a race-horse, all nerve and fire, his life

# Born 1740. Died 1778.

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was on tip-toe, and his delight was to get over the ground. He read fast, slept little, and often wrote like a whirlwind; and though the body was weak it did not obstruct him, for in his ecstatic exertions he seemed to leave it behind. His chief publications were controversy. Independently of his theological convictions, his philosophising genius, his up-going fancy, and his devout, dependent piety, were a multiform Calvinism; and by a necessity of nature, if religious at all, the religion of Toplady must have been one where the eye of God filled all, and the will of God wrought all. The doctrines which were to himself so plain, he was perhaps on this account less fitted to discuss with men of another make ; and betwixt the strength of his own belief, and the spurning haste of his over-ardent spirit, he gave his works a frequent air of scomful arrogance and keen contemptuousness. Perhaps, even with theologians of his own persuasion, his credit has been injured by the warmth of his invective; but on the same side it will not be easy to find treatises more acute or erudite—and both friends and foes must remember, that to the writer his opinions were self-evident, and that in his devoutest moments he believed God's glory was involved in them. It was the polemic press which extorted this human bitterness from his spirit; in the pulpit's milder urgency nothing flowed but balm. His voice was music, and devotion and sanctity seemed to emanate from his ethereal countenance and light unmortal form. His vivacity would have caught the listener's eye, and his soul-filled looks and movements would have interpreted his language, had there not been such commanding solemnity in his tones as made apathy impossible, and such simplicity in his words that to hear was to understand. From easy explanations he advanced to rapid and conclusive arguments, and warmed into importunate exhortations, till consciences began to burn and feelings to take fire from his own kindled spirit, and himself and his hearers were together drowned in sympathetic tears.

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