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points of doubtful speculation with liever, his communion with God, and the fundamental doctrines of the the consolations of the Spirit, in a Gospel. These doctrines are now life dead to the vain society and pleapretty generally considered, not in sures of the irreligious, are lost sight that dogmatical metaphysical form of: in a word, a secret, but fatal, step which mixes doubtful inferences is taken towards a decline from the with plain assertions; but as facts, pure evangelical standard of Christo use the fine observation of a tian truth. living writer, believed on the sole The history of the Reformation authority of the Supreme Being, is full of the dangers, arising on and inculcated in the words, and the side of undue concession, to for the purposes, for which he has which Melancthon and even Luther revealed them.
were exposed from their love of But with this spirit of Christian peace, and by which Erasmus was affection and unity, which, after all, ultimately lost to the cause of truth. we are only now beginning to learn, Timid and artful politicians were we must join that firm and unambi. never employed to any good purpose guous profession of every essential in the service of Christ. The systruth which is necessary to the cha- tems of refinement and mediocrity racter of the true Christian. And which they propose are, in fact, perhere a formidable, though concealed, fect chimeras; for, as Dean Milner danger lies hid. Charity may and admirably observes, “ The cross of will be counterfeited in a day like Christ must be undergone by those the present. A false candour, an who mean to glorify God, to preindifference to truth, undue conces- serve a good conscience, to rebuke sions to the spirit of the world, timid by their lives and conversations the compliances on the score of peace, evil practices of the world, and to may and will be pressed upon us. promote the salvation of mankind. In a time when the church is free Erasmus was employed many years from persecution, and when a wide in these nugatory schemes; and while range is given to the avowal of he courted the favour of the great, some of the peculiar doctrines of and secured himself from the danger Christ, there is danger lest we should of persecution, he promoted not one compromise our duty, and come of those peculiar truths of Christian down from the high elevation of the doctrine on account of which the Gospel to the opinions of mankind. good reformers suffered grievously Much harm is now in progress in this from the tyranny of powerful princes way. Persons shrink from the bold and prelates." Something of this originality of the peculiar discoveries dangerous spirit may of late years of revelation, and attempt to recom- have been contracted incidentally mend them to the acceptance of from the general intercourse among proud and worldly-minded men, by persons friendly to the circulation of iheartifices of palliation and disguise. the Scriptures which the Bible SoThus the edge is taken off from the cieties have occasioned. If that truths of Christianity; the depth of the should be found to be the case, one Fallof man and his utter ruin are con- remedy for the evil is not to limit cealed or palliated; the need of the those blessed institutions, or to naroperation of the entire mercy of God row the comprehension of their rules is weakened; the Scripture doctrine --but to infuse into the public meetof justification is obscured; the com- ings of such societies, more and more plete renewal of the whole heart af- of the true temper of the Gospel of ter the image of God is couched in Christ, and to watch more jealously softer terms, and made less promi. than ever against mistaking our nent than the Scriptures represent union as individuals--in a vast soit; the holy deportment of the be- ciety whose glory it is to embrace
the whole world, not only as the ture and conditions of the kingdom of object of its bounty, but as co-ope: every where exposed to the opposition of
Christ-which is of that kind, that it is rators in its efforts---for an union with the world and of satan. They who are Christ himself.
not aware of this will fail when dangers 7. But this point will be more arise, and will condemn the Gospel as a fully developed when we proceed to seditious doctrine."" make our next deduction from the
Nothing can be more wise or scripwhole subject; namely, That in a tural than this remark; but it yields great revival of religion, we must and elevated sentiments of the same
in fulness to the following striking expect, and yet guard against, the
reformer. evils inseparable from it, not letting
“ Another passsage presents Luther's such evils indispose us to the infinite own answer to those who exaggerated the blessings of such a revival. For mischiefs consequent upon the Reformaevils, and great evils, though often tion, and represented them as so great
that it would have been better had no greater in appearance than reality,
change been attempted. It is not easy have attended considerable
to get over those scandals, when satan, revival of Christianity. That the or when subtle and able men set them Reformation was not accomplished forth in glaring colours, and charge us as without such accidental conse
the authors of them. Erasmus, among
others, bas told us, that there are certain quences, who can deny? Witness diseases which it is better not to meddle the civil wars in Germany and the with; the attempt to cure them is attendLow Countries; witness the dis- ed with so much danger. This sounds orders of the Anabaptists ; witness wise ; and we ourselves are well aware of the divisions in the Protestant tious liberty that prevails
, and the dissolu
the evils complained of: we see the licenchurches ; witness the relaxed tone tion of discipline, greater than existed unof discipline in some of the Reformed der the Papacy. But are we answerable districts; witness the infidelity and for this? In preaching the word, in conscepticism which cloaked themselves tending by means of the word, we do but
as we are commanded; nor may we on under the spirit of free inquiry. And any consideration withhold obedience to yet all these evils were so incom. the Divine command. The kingdom of parably less in extent than the Christ is of more worth, not only than universal idolatry, superstition, ig- under the Papacy—but than heaven and
peace--especially such a peace as existed norance, torment of conscience, vice, earth themselves. And then consider the dishonour of the Gospel, neglect of other side : open your eyes and see the the Bible, and anti-Christian cor. monstrous impieties which before pre
vailed! No where was one pure sentence ruption of the whole design of re
heard concerning singrace-the merit velation, under the Papacy, that they of Christ really good works--the magiare not to be named as an argument stracy and other offices and relations of against the blessed Reformation.
Jife. All was deformed and lost beneath This is a point so much misunder. corrupt and pernicious glosses. Then,
what were the profanations of masses, stood, and of so great moment, that what the impostures of indulgences, purwe must pause to give it a some- gatory, and other abominations devised wbat further development.
only as sources of gain! Mankind appear Let us first adduce the matured de. ly exposed, by impious teachers, to satan
to me to have been purposely and studioustermination of Luther upon the case. and eternal death. Look at the two sides “In our time, the success of the Gospel
of the question-there are evils and diswas at first great; and all hoped, as the
orders on bothbut which of the two is Apostles did, before they were enlightened
to be preferred ? I had almost said I by the Spirit of God in the nature of his
would rather live in hell with the word of kingdom, that our doctrine would intro
God, than in paradise without it.'” pp. duce public liberty and tranquillity ; but,
325, 326. when disturbances arose, and the true Surely to any person who calmly character of the spiritual kingdom was dis- weighs such arguments little needs and the like ; then many drew back, and be said to prepare him to expect a began to hate the Gospel. What was the similar situation of things in the precause of all this, but ignorance of the na- sent day. Alloy and dross will some. what debase our purest gold. Since ing spirit and doctrines, may not the period of the Reformation much always be sufficiently exhibited. advantage has been taken, by Divisions and controversies may Papists generally, of the divisions spring up and be pressed for a time among Protestant Christians. All with acrimony and misrepresenunity is said to be lost; a rule of tions. Scandals may occasionally faith is declared to be evidently be found in the hypocrisy and evil wanting; the evils of a free press acts of individuals, and primary and of controversies on religion are duties be neglected by some who magnified ; obscure sects scarcely are eager to appear in the officious known in our own country, and discharge of occasional ones. Let having no kind of influence, are these and various other particular swollen to principal divisions. But evils be admitted to exist, or, if the these are only incidental evils, and objector pleases, to be even created are scarcely perceptible when com- by the progress of a revival of repared with the vast good attendant ligion ; still, if they are only inciupon unfettering the consciences of dental; if they bear but an exmen, and promoting an unchecked ceedingly small proportion to the propagation of the Gospel. We are immense good achieved ; if they persuaded that if due attention were are jealously guarded against and but paid to this consideration, checked as they arise ; if the leaders those of the rulers and higher and chief personages connected clergy of our national church, who with these exertions of duty and regard with jealousy the operation mercy protest against them; if of our Bible and Missionary Socie- practicable suggestions for lessenties, the labours and doctrines of the ing them are zealously adopted; if clergy who are termed (let us hope prayer and other means are emnot by way of reproach) evangelical, ployed for purifying and elevating and the general activity of all classes the proceedings of the assemblages in the diffusion of the Gospel, which occasion them; if, above all, a would view these proceedings with spirit of humiliation and penitence is a more benign aspect. Unques- cultivated on account of these attendtionably, evils may follow all this ant defects and the progress of things, exertion and these acts of Chris- becomes visibly less and less alloyed tian benevolence. Undoubtedly, by their intermixture; then may we defects peculiar to such a new state also, like Luther, rely on the mercy of things may be produced, and of God to cover our multiplied failwhich, without the amazing efforts ings, and to grant us larger measures that generate them, might have re- of His grace in the further prosemained unknown. In considering cution of our Christian designs. the paramount importance of con- But let us never, on account of such verting the whole world, the honour deiects, renounce the positive and of which will not be restricted to paramount duty of propagating the any one body of Christians, some Gospel of Christ; let us never join individuals may be apt to think too the heedless throng in magnifying little of the peculiar claims of our attendant and lamented evils ; let us own apostolical church. In our pub- never, with the timid and worldlylic assemblages occasional violations minded, withdraw our support from of taste and sound feeling may be the acknowledged cause of God; let apparent. It is alleged also, that us never accuse our great societies there may be a danger of somewbat of constituting a faction, or tending tarnishing the retiring graces of the to the overthrow of existing estafemale character, by charitable as- blishments; and let us never affect sociations, however privately con- a middle course, and wait for new ducted. The purity of the Gospel, efforts, and join in decrying the and the high tone of its distinguish- means by which the nations are now CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 302,
actually receiving the light of the grimage of the Christian church, Gospel. Let the world calumniate point out to him the permissive will _let the half-hearted listen to cow- of God in the Western and Eastern ardly remonstrances—let those who apostasies, direct him to the especial cannot estimate the glory of the Go- sins which these apostacies were sent spel, or the value of the souls of to punish, and strengthen his faith men, or the importance of seizing in the nature and ultimate triumph opportunities as they arise, take the of the Gospel of truth. A proporside of the inanimate and lethargic, tionate study of prophecy, in a day and repose in the false dignity of like the present, may also, perhaps, external ease and inactivity. But include a somewhat larger share of let us, warned by the example of time than it would have done a cenevery preceding age, press on in the tury or two back, when we were career of Divine benevolence and struggling, in the infant days of truth, and never omit instant and Protestantism, against the pressing infinitely momentous duties on the danger of the anti-Christian tyranny. plea of incidental inconveniences or Yet even then we observe that Luevils. The sceptre of the Lord, says ther was cheered by the voice of Luther, admits of no bending and prophecy. The brand of the Apojoining, but remains straight and calyptic beast was infixed on the unchanged, and will at length sway Papacy by the Reformed preachers. the empire of the world.
“ The stone cut out without hands, 8. And this leads us to our last and filling the earth,” was the spring practical deduction from a subject, of hope and confidence; and the our remarks on which, we fear, our command to “come out from the readers may think already unduly mystic Babylon, and not be parextended. We may learn from all taker of her sins," was not issued we have been reviewing, to persevere in vain. Still more then should we in every holy effort, relying on the now study the word of future reveDivinepromise and blessing, and with lation, when three centuries have the general encouragement to be de- been unrolling so much more of rived from the aspect of the world the book of God, and the labours of and the scope of Scriptural prediction Mede, and Sir Isaac Newton, and without entering too much into the Bishops Newton and Hurd, and question of times and seasons, and Scott and Faber, and various other the minute explication of the prophetic writers, have shed so much light on records. A wise and sober atten- its interpretation. tion to the Apocalyptic visions is our But having stated thus much, duty and our privilege; for a blessing we feel it our duty to add, that there is pronounced on those who hear, and is great danger of too much attenthose who read the words of the pro- tion being attracted to the study of phecy. To compare the remark- prophecy, important as it is, so as to able series of predictions in Daniel draw off the minds of Christians from with those of St. John, and to illus- the vital and fundamental truths of trate the fulfilment of both by the salvation. There is danger of the unerring voice of Providence in the imagination being inflamed, and the history of the church and of the sound exercise of the judgment susworld, is doubtless a noble and most pended ;-there is danger of private animating study. A proportionate interpretations directed to immediate regard to these parts of the inspired and exaggerated objects, supersedbooks, chastened by deep humility ing the true import of what was and fear, will encourage the Chris- spoken by holy men of old as they
tian to effort, relieve his mind during were moved by the Holy Ghost ;+ the heat and burden of the day, there is danger of some such doubtcheer him with the prospect of the ful and unestablished interpretation termination of the captivity and pil- so occupying the mind as to be
elevated into an article of faith or promises of God's grace and blessinculcated with unbecoming warmthing, is all we need for our encouand pertinacity--there is danger lestragement, and all we are capable the mind, greedy of future know- of using aright in our present state ledge, and weary of ignorance, should of conflict and darkness. It is not 80 seize on the supposed fulfilment for us to pretend minutely to know of passing events as to render us pro- “ the times and the seasons," which phets ourselves, and inflate us with the Father hath put in his own notions of self-importance, and lead power. Such a prescience would us to imagine we can solve the actual unsettle our minds in the attitude state of the dispensations of God's of dependance, and might indispose providence in the events around us. them for the duty of penitence and
In proportion as the study of un- prayer. Taken generally, and in fulfilled prophecy verges towards their broad features, the prophecies such evils, it becomes a dangerous are "a light shining in a dark place;" spare. The miserable follies of the they are the harbingers of the Reprophets of Germany in the sixteenth deemer's coming; they are the anticentury, and of those of France cipations of the overthrow of antiin the seventeenth, with the scan- Christ; they are the
Christ; they are the songs of praise dals and hindrances to the Gospel tuned for the day of conquest; which those pretenders occasion- and they are the assurance and ed; had their origin in perhaps a pledge of the ultimate and glorious commendable study of prophecy, triumph of the eternal Saviour. In but, carried to excess, allowed to this blessed consolation, let us heat the fancy, and tending to lift pursue each our course of labour, up the mind, from humble watch- and, it may be, of suffering. Like fulness and obedience, to enthusi- Luther and his noble colleagues, astic visions and pretensions. let us hope for every success in
To all scriptural purposes, the re- the name of our great Captain ; let strained and cautious developmentus imitate the reformers as they of the roll of prophecy, as events followed Christ ; and let us, in the clearly conspire to unfold it, is suffi. spirit of courage, wisdom, meekcient. Such a proportioned and ness, humility, and singleness of enlightened perusal of the prophetic heart, exert every effort to propabooks, when connected with a con- gate the kingdom of God, first in sideration of the aspect of the world our own circles, and then in our and the church, and the general country and in the world.
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE,
Lectures on the 'Evidences of ChrisPREPARING for publication :-A new His- tianity; by various Ministers ;-History tory of Greece; by Mr. Grote ;-Forty of Philosophy and Science; by the Rev. Years' Diary of a Nonconformist Divine; T. Morell ;– The Grievances of the Cu-Blumenbach's Physiology, translated by rates of the Church of England, under the Dr. Elliotson.
Powers vested in the Hierarchy, by 36 In the press :-Ulloa and Juan's Secret Geo. III. c. 83, and subsequent Statutes Report on South America ; with illus- under the prevailing System of Nontrative Notes, by David Barry ;-The residence and Pluralities; by the Rev. J. Present System of Public Education in J. Holmes. France; by D. Johnston, M.D. ;-A Poem Orford.—The Rev. G. Faussett, of on Idolatry; by the Rev. W. Swan ; Magdalen College, has been elected Mar