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BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.

A Digest of Biblical History and Biography; being an Introduction to the Study of the Old Testament Scriptures. By the REV. JAMES GARNER, author of "Theological Dissertations," &c. London: W. Lister.

To ordinary readers of the Bible this is one of the best Introductions ever published; and even to students for the ministry it may prove a valuable auxiliary. Less elaborate than Horne, less critical than Davidson, less erudite than Havernick, it nevertheless develops the scope and purpose of the sacred writings in a manner much better adapted to common people than any one of the three. The doctrinal teachings of the Bible the author has disposed of in his "Theological Dissertations;" the present work is devoted chiefly to History and Biography. In a series of chapters, arranged for the most part in chronological order, all the important historical and biographical subjects of Old Testament scripture are discussed with fulness, perspicuity and discretion, embodying the ripe fruit of the author's extensive reading and experience. Nor are Bible difficulties ignored or slurred over.

On

the contrary they are encountered with manliness and good sense, and where they cannot be removed altogether, they are considerably lessened. The present work is devoted exclusively to the old Testament; the New Testament is reserved for a separate volume. We purpose at a future time discussing the merits of this treatise at greater length.

Excelsior; or, the World for Christ.

By J. ASHWORTH, author of "The

Immortal Theme," &c. London: W. Lister.

A spirit-stirring book. While the theme is of transcendent interest in itself, the discussion of it is conducted, in a manner which leaves no doubt as to the thorough earnestness of the author. Every line heaves with animation, quivers with excitement, and glows with fervour. Eschewing everything speculative, the practical bearings of the subject are exclusively dwelt upon, and a number of lessons are enforced which if laid to heart cannot fail to help on the cause of Christ. The chapter on Christian liberality is specially deserving of commendation. If this chapter were published separately, in the form of a tractate, and circulated by tens of thousands amongst the Primitive Methodist churches, a most important service would be rendered.

The Agency of the Church; or, The Church of Christ the Great Working Power for the Conversion of the World. By the REV. THOMAS CROMPTON. London: W. Lister.

THIS is a comprehensive, elaborate, and exhaustive treatise; in which the manifold aspects and bearings of Church agency are discussed with considerable mastery of thought and language. Scriptural and logical in argument, calm and philosophic in tone, correct and dignified in style, pertinent and felicitous in illustration,-this work is pre-eminently fitted to engage the attention, interest the feelings, and improve the character of thoughtful Christians.

THE

CHRISTIAN AMBASSADOR

THE

ART. I.-ROWLAND HILL.

THE Rev. ROWLAND HILL had an ancient and honourable ancestry, reaching up to the reign of Edward the First. The first Protestant Lord Mayor of London, Sir Rowland Hill, was a member of this family. The father of the subject of this sketch was Sir Rowland Hill, who for many years represented Lichfield in Parliament. He was married to the daughter of Sir Brian Broughton, baronet, by whom he had six sons and two daughters. The family residence was in Shropshire, and Rowland Hill was born at Hawkstone, August 23, 1744. He was a witty and playful boy; he began his education at the Royal Grammar School, Shrewsbury, and in due time was removed to Eton, where he had to associate with the sons of wealthy merchants and of high-minded nobles from all parts of the kingdom.

His attention appears to have been drawn to religion when very young, by reading Dr. Watts' Hymns for Children, and the conversation of his pious brother, Richard, and sister, Jane, both of whom took a deep interest in his spiritual well-being, which proved not to be in vain; for when he was a little over eighteen years of age, and while a pupil at Eton, he entered the "sweet service," as he was accustomed to call it, of his heavenly Master; and so delightful did he experience this service to be, that he was wont afterwards to illustrate his love and gratitude to God by the story of a negro, whose master said to him, "Now you are of age; you may go where you please, and serve any master you think proper. I did not buy you to keep you as a slave, but that you might enjoy the sweets of liberty. You can leave my house to-morrow if you like." Full of grateful emotion, the poor slave replied, "Me leave you, my dear massa! oh! not for all de world. Me want no wages to serve you. If massa turn me out at one door, me will come in

T

at de oder." He composed some verses to express the happy change he had undergone, of which the following is the last :

"Hail! dearest Lord, my choicest love,
By pity drawn from realms above;
I wonder at that grace of thine,

That won a heart so vile as mine."

:

He did not hide his talent in the earth, nor his light under a bushel, but brought them to bear with good effect upon the hearts of his young companions.

After four years residence at Eton, he removed, when he was twenty years of age, to the University of Cambridge, to study for the Church, among the gay and thoughtless young men who then crowded the halls of that ancient seat of learning. His devotion and firm trust in God shielded him from the power of the temptations with which he was surrounded; and he found even there a few who were partakers of like precious faith with himself, with whom he often met for religious edification. Mr. Hill says:"Our custom was to read with each other the Greek Testament, and other evangelical publications. These meetings we always conducted with prayer. No wonder, therefore, if, for such exercises, and for some other strong symptoms of a Methodistical bias, we were specially marked, and had the honour of being pointed at as the curiosities of the day. This did good. Others soon joined us, to the number of ten or twelve; some of them were Nicodemian disciples; others have proved bold and useful ministers; and some of them, I trust, are taken to glory." One of the foremost in this little band was the Rev. David Simpson of Macclesfield.

While at Cambridge, Mr. Hill made the acquaintance of John Berridge, the zealous, but eccentric vicar of Everton, whose preaching and private advice were of much service to his young friend. Yet it is thought that the "humour and drollery" which that good man sometimes took into the pulpit, induced and encouraged Mr. Hill to give way to the same propensity in preaching.

By the advice of Mr. Berridge and other friends he began to preach before he had finished his course of study at the University. He delivered his first public discourse in a cottage on his father's estate; and, in company with his cottage friends, he visited the sick, the poor shut up in workhouses, and criminals confined in prisons.

He was introduced, in 1766, to the celebrated George Whitefield, who became his intimate friend, and encouraged him to preach the Gospel through good and evil report. And such a friend he much needed at that time; for his tutor condemned his irregular preach

ing, his father threatened to turn him out of his house, and his mother was his greatest earthly enemy; and when he preached in the villages, the common people knowing that he was out of favour at home, dared to insult him. But none of these things moved him; he went on preaching the Word, "in season and out of season," sometimes "without a shilling in his pocket, and without knowing in the morning where he should rest at night." For his father, disapproving of his conduct, allowed him but a small income. This persecution must have been keenly felt by the sensitive mind of Mr. Hill. He once referred to it in his old age, when walking with a lady in the beautiful grounds of Hawkstone. "You have seen," said he, with tears in his eyes, "how I am now received here; but in my youth I have often paced this spot, bitterly weeping; while, by most of the inhabitants of yonder house, I was considered as a disgrace to my family. But it was for the cause of my God.”

He was attentive to his studies, and in 1769 obtained the degree of B.A. He applied to be ordained a minister of the Church of England, but met with much opposition, and was kept in painful suspense during four years, in consequence of his Methodistical practices, preaching in Dissenters' chapels, private houses, and other unconsecrated places, in many parts of the country, where he was often pelted with eggs and stones, and sometimes burnt in effigy. His quaint friend, Berridge, writing to Lady Huntington in 1771, observes :-"I find you have got honest Rowland down to Bath. He is a pretty young spaniel, fit for land or water, and has a wonderful yelp. He forsakes father and mother, and brethren, and gives up all for Jesus. I believe he will prove a useful labourer, if he keeps clear of petticoat snares. The Lord has owned him much at Cambridge and in the north, and I hope will own him much more abundantly in the west."

At length he was ordained a deacon in 1773, by Dr. Willis, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was appointed curate for the parish of Kingston, near Taunton, in Somersetshire. Referring to his ordination, he writes: "For visiting the sick and imprisoned, and expounding the Scriptures in private houses, I met with no less than six refusals before I gained admission into the Established Church."

Kingston is a charming locality, and the church is a handsome gothic building; but the new curate knew well that his parishioners were rude and ungodly farmers, who required to be addressed in the plainest manner; and he was careful not to shoot over their heads by figures of speech they did not understand. On one occasion he greatly offended his hearers by telling them that they were "as bad as their very pigs." Some farmers having met at a house in the village, saw Mr. Hill pass by, called him in, and asked him what he meant by his degrading assertion.

They had not long to wait for an answer. "Now, look at your pigs," said the curate; "when the acorns drop, they do not go under the elm in search of them, but under the oak; and when they have swallowed all they can find, off they go, without giving a single look at the tree which has furnished their meal. So you, like your pigs, know where to go to look for your wheat and other produce, and when your barns are filled with plenty, like them, you forget to look up to the source where all your blessings have been obtained." The readiness of the reply pleased the farmers, but its application was not quite so satisfactory.

Mr. Hill's evangelistic proceedings were so displeasing to the bishops that he never succeeded in obtaining priest's orders, and had, therefore, to pass through life, as one of his biographers has said, "wearing only one ecclesiastical boot."

After a years' residence at Kingston, he travelled through many parts of the kingdom, preaching the Gospel, with power and effect, to large congregations. And in the midst of these engagements, he married Miss Tudevoy. The lady, unlike her husband, was a quiet, retiring person, thoughtful and prudent, and was of great service to Mr. Hill in keeping him out of difficulties; for such was his generosity, that he would have given all he had away, if there had been no one to remind him of the claims of his household. Mrs. Hill was, in all respects, a valuable helpmeet, sincerely loved and trusted by her husband; and their wedded life was a happy

one.

At this time, it was said that this clergyman, without a church, was the most popular preacher in England. His earnestness (a rare thing then in the pulpit), his fluent delivery, his wit and humour, joined to the well-known fact that he was a gentleman by birth and education, drew great crowds of rich and poor to hear him. Writing to his friend Simpson, he says:-"Though I preach in licensed places continually, yet more churches are open to me than I can serve. Thousands in this city (London) flock to hear, yet multitudes go away for want of room. Ecclesiastics roar, as

Luther says, like bears struck on the snout; yet this, they know, is all they can do. Your share of humility and diffidence I long for exceedingly; yet a little courage to face the devil may not be amiss." In the latter quality he was certainly not deficient, and no doubt it contributed largely to his popularity. It enabled him freely and boldly to exercise all the other faculties with which he was endowed, and gave him great power over the masses; for those who can appreciate nothing else, can understand and admire courage. The uneducated relished vastly his broad humour, which often gave offence to the more refined, and, upon reflection, was often the cause of regret to himself. He frequently preached at St. John's, Wapping; on one occasion, finding the large congrega

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