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ions, it may be remarked, þy way of apology for Saurin, are followed equally with others. Top high ideas of the ministerial office, have proved the bane of almost every sect of christians ever since christianity. was first established, or, more correctly speaking, "corrupted by Constantine ; and notwithstanding the reformation from pope. ry, and the gradual advancement of light and knowledge, our ' protestant churches hảye much to learn froin those of the primitive christians. Long and laboured explanations of sçripture are still common in the introduction of a dutch sermon. Saurin, a' minister of the presbyterian church of Holland, was surrounded by consistories and synods whose business it was to watch over the orthodoxy, rather than the morality of their ministers: he was a man who thought for himself, ventured out of the beaten track, and whose sermohs' diligently attended to, must have taught others to follow his example; but the preacher appeared sensible of the delicacy of his situation, and in some of his best sermons felt himself compelled to labour to prove that what he had said was not inconsistent with the established 'creed and catechism: he was indeed persecuted for his opinions, not only in the catholic church of France, but in the presbyterian church of Holland; but although banished from his country by the former, he proved victorious in the latter.*
* When I was at Rotterdam a few years since, I observed a curious instance of that bigotted attachment to formularies
! May I here be permitted to make a general remark for the benefit of the younger part of my readers. It is whilst perusing our best, writers
, that we ought more particularly to examine and to judge for ourselves: we are scarcely in danger of being led aside by common place, authors, in whose writings we find nothing to object to, and nothing to interest. It is when attending to our. Saurins, our Robinsons, or to allude to those of a different description, our Shakespears, our Miltons, men who work themselves into our very, souls, that we
ought to be on our guard to distinguish between truth and error, virtue and vice, beauty and deformity. It is perhaps to force upon us the imin the members of the national church of Holland. Looking over a Dutch translation of the discourses of Mr. Newton, Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, entitled Messiah, .I came to the part in which the author, makeş şome jạșt remarks on the nature of the differences amongst christians in their explanations of scripture doctrines, and exhorts them to candour and forbearance. To these remarks the translator has added a note expressive of his approbation of the sentiments of the author, so far as they applied to those lesser points on which christians might safely differ; but that uniformity was absolutely necessary in those important points which the SYNOD OF Dort had determined !. What a pity, I could not help remarking to a friend, when reading this passage, that the staunch disciples of that venerable synod (venerable they truly were as individuals, although they might have been better employed than in multiplying human creeds for themselves and posterity) could not preserve the house in which they drew up their gravę ecclesiastical decisions, from being perverted to a very different purposeWhen I residedi in Holland, it was a house of ill fame.
portant lessons that we are to call no man master upon earth, and that we are hereafter to be personally responsible for the exercise of those powers and faculties with which the Almighty has endowed us, that we so frequently find the greatest excellencies united with the greatest defects. Saurin's sermons are adapted for closet rather than for family reading: they are, however, well deserving the serious and repeated perusal of private christians in general, and of christian ministers in particular; and were those teachers in the church who profess to be of Saurin's doctrinal sentiments, intimately acquainted with his discourses, hearers perhaps, would not so frequently complain of poverty of ideas and language in the pulpit, and preachers would less frequently complain of inattention and yawning in the congregation.
There are some circumstances attending Mr. Robinson's translation of Saurin's sermons, mentioned by Mr. Dyer, too curious to be omitted on this occasion. The biographer informs us that the clergy of the established church paid him
many compliments for his elegant and useful “ translation, and made him liberal proposals for “ original compositions, or for translations of “ Saurin not yet presented to the public; and that “ five guineas a sermon were offered him by an “ Irish dignitary, and other proposals submitted
to his consideration by an English prebendary." Instances are alluded to of “a modern right re“ verend person, strongly soliciting the favour of a sermon, and of a very orthodox divine fore
stalling a part of Saurin's translation, confiden“tially entrusted to him, which he inserted in a
publication of his own.” Dr. Beadon, bishop of Glocester, is mentioned as the person who so strongly solicited the favour, but whether the solicitation was complied with we are not informed. It is, however, added, that although Mr. Robinson uniformly refused the request of “
many a younker," as he expressed himself, in the university, the courtly address, and the elegant " solicitation of a dignitary he could not so easily
resist; but though poor he was scrupulous, and “made few compliances of this kind.” he does not appear to have been quite satisfied as to his conduct in these instances : he therefore consulted amongst others, his friend the late excellent Dr. Evans of Bristol, who answered him, very properly, as follows:-“Seriously, I see no harm " in the world in your making consecration ser“mons if you can get any one to preach them: “if our parsons here would but preach what I “could compose for them, I would work night " and day, but I would serve them with better
husks than they feed their flocks with now.... “If you trim, and turn high-churchman, you will “ be criminal indeed.... As I think none of us “ should scruple to preach a visitation or conse“cration sermon, would the bishops permit us, “I see no reason why we should scruple to make "one to be preached."
Such was the high opinion entertained even by the dignitaries of the es tablishment of Mr. Robinson's abilities as a translator and a preacher.
During the time Mr. Robinson was employed in his translation of Saurin, he bestowed much attention to the history of the nonconformist inini: sters who were ejected from their livings, or si, lenced by that scandal to our statute books, and to the church of England, the Act of Uniformity. The history of his own church and congregation he detailed in his church' book, and which Mr. Dyer observes “ would, if published make an “ entertaining little performance," but a sight of it I have not been able to procure. His labours were of considerable service to his friend Mr. Palmer, the venerable pastor of the independent church at Hackney, in preparing a new edition of The Nonconformist's Memorial:--a'work, which as it affords the most striking practical illustration of the worth and excellence of the principles of genuine nonconformity, ought to have a place in the library of every dissenting family, and which it is the incumbent duty of every dissenting parent to read to, and recommend to the serious attention of his children.
In 1776, Mr. Robinson published“-A Lecture on a becoming behaviour in religious assemblies, preached three years before, but never
Dyer's Memoirs. p. 87-91.