"Literary Critical Notices of Books," The
Biblical Repository and Classical Review 5, no. 3 (July 1849): 566-567.
The Complete Works of John M. Mason. By Ebenezer Mason.
New York: Baker and Scribner, 1849.
Dr. John M. Mason possessed a mind of the highest order. Few men served
their generation more effectively than he, or left a brighter and more
enduring name to posterity. As a thinker, bold and original; in argument,
logical and able; in manner, energetic and often highly eloquent; a
varied and profound scholar; and honest and earnest in the utterance
and vindication of the truth, - he made a deep impression while he lived,
and has left, in his writings, a right legacy of treasured influence
to those that come after him. He seems to have been raised up for a
special service, and nobly did he perform it. He was a man that discerned
well his own times and wisely adapted himself to them. Many of these
essays, addresses, and sermons were occasional in their character, i.e.,
they were called forth by special occurrences, or by something special
in the public mind, and they were adapted primarily to meet these cases.
And it is no mean proof of the power and greatness of the Author, that,
while the exciting occasions have passed away, the interest and value
of the writings remain.
As a controversialist, Dr. Mason was preeminent and always successful;
while as a divine and preacher he had few equals. After reading such
sermons as "The Gospel for the Poor,"(1) "Messiah's Throne,"
and many others which might be named, we can appreciate the remark of
Robert Hall, himself the prince of preachers, after hearing, we believe,
one of the sermons named above, that he could never preach again. There
is a breadth and depth, a grandeur and energy of thought, and energy
and power of diction; and regard his writings as among the most valuable
of the theological literature of the American Church. We regret that
we have only the earliest and latest efforts of his pen. Twenty-five
years, during the prime of his days he lectured and preached without
writing, and consequently the memorials of these years are to be found
only in living hearts.
The present is a complete edition of Dr. M.'s works. It embraces, besides
an Introduction by his Son, Rev. Ebenezer Mason, his celebrated Plea
for Holy Communion on Catholic principles: Letters on Frequent Communion:
Considerations on Lots: his celebrated Essays on Episcopacy, unrivaled
together with many of his best sermons, and various addresses and orations
delivered on special occasions.
The edition is brought out in very neat and substantial style. The four
volumes embrace nearly 2400 octavo pages, and are sold for the low price
of $6.50 We commend these volumes to clergymen and students as among
the most valuable of the recent issues of the press.
(1.) This was the sermon with which the "American National Preacher"
started on its useful career, in June, 1826.