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of human redemption ; and by “the free gift" of his own Son, who by a cruel death paid a full ransom for our race, and completely satisfied his Father's injured law, restoring us to a state of reconciliation, through faith, with himself, even more beneficial than the condition of our first parent, before sin had sullied the original purity of his nature. Hence he shows, in the most convincing and powerful manner, the surpassing excellencies of the Christian dispensation; the “high calling" and blissful prospects of the believer; the virtues which faith produces in the heart and life ; the consolations which it never fails to afford in circumstances of difficulty, danger, persecution, or distress ! Filled with holy indignation at the manifest dominion of Satan on every hand, over a people “in all things too superstitious ;” roused to a pitch of the loftiest enthusiasm by a consciousness of the awful importance and divine majesty of his mission; and urged onward by the natural impetuosity of his disposition, and a heart overflowing with love and pity towards his fellow men--his whole energies were so entirely devoted to the work of an evangelist, that he was a determined to know nothing amongst men, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” for their sins; his whole sul was so baptised into the spirit of universal benevolence, that he felt all other objects of human ambition and pursuit to be " but dung and dross that he might win sals to Christ ;" his whole mind so absorbed in the generous thought that Jew and Gentile had at length become as one family through the Gospel of peace, that in the ardours of his attachment to " so great a salvation,” he was a persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, should be able to separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus." Hence the high strain of sentiment that everywhere pervades his writings--the vehemence of his zeal-the exquisite tenderness of his appeals—the unparalleled sublimity of his loftier descriptions and addresses.
Of the thirteen epistles which bear the name of Paul, it has been remarked that eleren begin with exclamations of joy, thanksgiving and praise. So lively was his sympathy with all who “ loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity;" and yet at the same time so comprehensive, that wherever a Christian church was planted, he seemed to have found a never-failing source of pleasure and delight, in which all sensibility of the temporal afflictions, that abounded in his own experience and in that of his friends, was lost in the contemplation of that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," which they were chosen to inherit in the kingdom of grace.
Though called in the course of his missionary labours to suffer every species of hardship, to encounter every extremity of danger, to brave the assaults of the populace, to bear the stripes of their rulers ; though scourged and imprisoned, beat, stoned, and left for dead so far were all these from damping the ardour of his zeal, or diverting the steadfastness of his purpose, that we find him, on the contrary, “glorying in tribulation," when driven from one city, preaching in the next, and when prevented by confinement from proclaiming the object of his mission in public discourses, writing in chains those beautiful epistles, * which have been the wonder and delight and consolation of Christians in every age, and under every variety of circumstances surpassing, if indeed it were possible, in holy fervor and intensity of feeling, even those which he produced under more favourable auspices. To cull from these flowers of the Apostle's pen, passages illustrative of the various excellencies they contain, would eneroach too much on the prescribed limits of this essay. Of examples of the beautiful and the pathetic, alternating with the truly sublime, the epistle to the Ephesians is full, and particularly the prayer contained in ch. iii. v. 14-21 is, perhaps, without a single exception, the most nobly and powerfully conceived of any to be found in any language. But it is not in generic beauties alone that the genius of our writer shines preeminent: he displays the most wonderful tact and originality in shaping the style and manner of his address to suit the varied character and circumstances of his readers. The last-named epistle, for instance, being written to a people distinguished for architectural skill, contains many appropriate and striking allusions to that science: those addressed to the Grecian churches, are admirably adapted to the genius of a nation, whose excessive fondness for the graces of eloquence, philosophy and art, was a besetting sin ; that to the Romans, is every way worthy of the sturdy conquerors of the world: and if further example is required, where shall we find in as small a space, so
* St. Paul is supposed to have written in his imprisonment, the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Phillipians, Philemon, and the 2nd to Timothy.
much that is calculated to move the chords of Christian benevolence, as in the little token sent to Philemon, from “ such a one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ?” Nor should our admiration of the surpassing eloquence, and piety, and persevering energy of Paul, suffer us to overlook his liberality of spirit; his soundness and sobriety of judgment; his “candour in distinguishing between the occasional suggestions of inspiration, and the ordinary exercise of his natural understanding." How well and happily were all these qualities applied by himself, in resolving the scruples of a hesitating conscience; in admitting the moral indifference of many actions, yet at the same time urging their propriety, where non-compliance might produce an unfavourable effect on weak-minded observers: in occasionally conforming in his own person to the requirements of the Mosaic law, to appease the prejudices of his countrymen ; in becoming “all things to all men that he might win the more!"Yet with all this accommodating flexibility of manners, were combined the most entire unity of purpose, the most unwavering consistency of character ; the most uncompromising fidelity of execution! Nor are these qualities lightly or faintly imaged in the letters before us. Their very language is such as we can suppose no man to have uttered, who was not fully persuaded of the goodness of his cause ; who was not conscious of the integrity of his motives, and the reality of his mission; who had not the welfare of mankind at heart, and the fear of God before his eyes. Every sentence bears the impress of a warm, affectionate, and generous nature ; and the resemblance extends even to the order of thought, and the construction of periods. The style throughout is the same unique compound of energy and sentiment, so peculiarly characteristic of the writer's temperament and disposition. Full of his subject, to an extraordinary degree intent on declaring “ the whole counsel of God," he is sometimes so eager for the goal, that " forgetting those things which are behind, and pressing on to those that are before," he sets down the reader at the end of the journey, before his own ideas have travelled half way to the place of destination. Indeed, a clear perception of his ultimate object is a faculty that never fails him, even where his extreme subtelty of thought tempts him to indulge in intricate parentheses, or an involved argumentation, which it is difficult for another to pursue. And though in the midst of a sermon (shall I say?) or an argument, he very commonly breaks away from the subject of discourse to touch upon some irrelevant matter; to make some expression of joy ; or to meet some objection that may present itself to his mind;-he as quickly returns ; often indeed without any notice of his intention, and at the risk of being thought obscure.
In short, these writings of St. Paul are the breathing-picture of his soul—the genuine offspring of a rarely-gifted and philosophic mind-the warm effulgence of genius at its highest pitch of exaltation, beaming in the light of a real inspirationthe outpourings of a heart of amazing extent of sympathy and intensity of feeling, overflowing with the love of God in Jesus Christ, and earnestly intent on the salvation of souls. They exhibit to us its inner workings and conceptions during the most active and momentous period of his life, and in such a liveliness of colouring and originality of outline, that as our eyes fill with the freshly-blooming beauties disclosed to their perception, we seem no longer to read—the Apostle himself stands before us - we hear him speak with astonishment and delight. And when, in addition to their animation of language, and the glorious nature of the truths they reveal, we consider the strong confirmation they afford to other parts of the Gospel history, and of the truth of Christianity in general, we feel it no extravagant praise to affirm, that " a more inestimable treasure the care of antiquity could not have handed down to us."
PRIZE ESSAY. Subject for September, “SCIENCE CONSIDERED, AS AN AGENCY FOR THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIANITY."
Subject for October, “The Poetry Of The Book of JOB.” - Essays for the respective months, occupying not more than six pages manuscript, to be forwarded, with a sealed note containing name and address, on or before the 15th of August, and 15th of September.
A COURSE OF LECTURES TO YOUNG MEN.—No. II. THE INFLUENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUNG MEN.
THE STANDARD OF RESPONSIBILITY. In the observations which we offered in the last number of The Student, on this important subject, we attempted, we hope not unsuccessfully, to show that the peculiar responsibilities of young men, arising from the first principle of moral obligation, are enhanced beyond all recorded precedent, and are enforced with an impressiveDess never before known in the history of man, by the imminent circumstances of these portentous times ; and that young men are now occupying positions, and will probably be called to act in scenes, when compared with which all that has hitherto transpired sinks into insignificance. It is evident that an important question must be set at rest before we proceed, and that is—What is the test of responsibility?
No responsibilities can be discharged - no influence can be exerted aright — without the establishment of true principles, by which the nature and extent of that responsibility are to be ascertained, and the expenditure, the application, of that influence is to be directed. Without principles, there can be no stability of character, no steadiness of perseverance, no moral health, no permanent usefulness, no beneficial success. Without principles, the course of action will always be vacillating, fitful, uncertain, and perilous-like that of a vessel without ballast and without a rudder, driven about by every blast and every billow, until it is either shattered to fragments upon the rocks, or is plunged into the abyss by the violence of the waves. Not the smallest atom of dependence is to be placed upon unprincipled zeal, upon unprincipled energy, however for the time they may be devoted to the best, to the purest, and to the most beneficent ends.
Principles, therefore, must be examined, tried, and fixed. And it necessarily follows from the positions established in our last paper relative to moral obligation, that religious principles must come first in order, not only because of their evident primary importance, but because they either directly or remotely involve or influence all other principles.
Our readers must forgive us for dwelling with the utmost possible
earnestness upon this subject, because it is undeniable that a very opposite opinion has been obtaining progressive prevalence among many, even of the educated and professedly enlightened young men of the day. Fascinated by the meretricious attractions of, what for the present we must call, a scientific scepticism — seduced by the plausible theories of the age on the organization of animated and inanimated “nature”-gratified by the arrogation of a power and a right to subordinate modes as well as facts of existence to "all-penetrating and allcomprehending reason" - proudly assuming that they have ascended an intellectual elevation far removed above the gross elements of popular prejudice and superstition —or carried away by the inspirations of such wondrous but prostituted genius as we find embodied in the effusions of such men as Byron, Keats, Shelley, &c.— many of our young men, of the fairest original promise, infatuated by the agencies we have described, and by others which need not be named, are acting over again in this country the part performed across the channel by “ La jeune France," and are attempting with a zeal and ability worthy of a better cause, to explode whatever bears the semblance of religious principle, and to extend the folly of their senseless, as well as the power of their pestilent principles among the mass of the youthful society of the land. Now we are intensely anxious to express the views which we entertain upon these operations of folly and of evil, because they strike at the very root of all the principles of any responsibility whatever.
It is not enough to affirm that the notions to which we have alluded destroy all moral, because they annihilate all religious, principle. Far be it from us, indeed, to affirm that all the young men who have professedly abandoned the standard of Christianity, and have arrayed themselves beneath the black banner of atheistical infidelity, are vicious profligates; but we do affirm that if they are decorous, or what in common parlance is called virtuous, in the tenor of their lives, it is certainly in spite, and not as the necessary result of their principles. To substantiate the accuracy of this representation, nothing more is requisite than to refer to the popular publications which issue from this school in Germany and France, as well as in this country, and which without one exception, notwithstanding all their insidious pretensions to the contrary, tend to enlarge the dominion of sensuality, to repeal and to abrogate every law by which divine revelation has restrained the indulgence of the passions, and to release their disciples from an attention to the state of the heart and mind, as the well-spring of external actions, from, in fact, every care but the preservation of external decorum-a barrier as feeble against the force of temptation and the violence of appetite, as the broken straw against the fury of the hurricane, or the feeble feather against the wheeling world. We have known what it is to be entangled in the sophistries of infidelity—we have witnessed in the very midst of its most garnished and decorated workings, the degrading moral influence of its dogmas, the essential spirit, the animus of its system—we have seen in numerous melancholy instances, young men once as estimable and amiable as they were talented and instructed, endeavouring to persuade
themselves into the belief of its tenets, in order to lull their consciences to sleep amidst their delinquencies and vices, vainly attempting to render the extenuation of their offences the creed of their reason—and now, bike shipwrecked mariners who have reached the shore after struggling for existence with the violence of the ocean, we refer to our past perils to enhance our gratitude for our escape, and to stimulate our zealous activity in warning those unfortunate individuals who are now immersed in the fearful turmoil from which we have been dangerously delivered.
The fact upon which we wish at present especially to fix attention, is this — These sceptical notions render it impossible for young men to discharge their responsibilities, they render it impossible for them even to form a tangible estimate of any responsibility at all, because they preclude the possibility of obtaining access to any standard of truth by which responsibility is to be measured, is even to be discovered. We have shown that there can be no discharge of responsibility without tried and fixed principles of truth. Who can be insane enough to affirm that any such principles can be tried and fixed without a standard of truth? AND WHERE IS SUCH A STANDARD TO BE FOUND ?
The young men to whom we have referred, we are fully aware have an immediate answer for this question. They say that REASON is the standard of truth, and consequently the standard of responsibility? By reason here, of course, when divested of all the jargon of mystification, is intended the power which each intelligent being possesses of deducing one proposition from another-of proceeding from premises to consequences. Now this reason cannot be the standard of truth, because it has itself, considered abstractedly, no fixed principle. The respondent to our inquiry may assert that his reason is the standard of truth-we have an equal right to assert that our reason is the standard of truth. But his reason conducts him to one conclusion, and ours conducts us to another. Where then is the standard of truth? The respondent may insist upon the pre-eminence of his reason, we may equally insist upon the pre-eminence of ours,—others again may do the same, until we shall ind just as many standards of truth as there are rational creatures on the surface of the globe. For we shall never find any number of thinking men in any place, or in any circumstances, whose reason will conduct them to the same conclusions upon truth or responsibility. As there is nothing in matter exactly alike, so neither is there in mind. No two minds are alikeno two minds, separated from all communication with each other, will proceed precisely to the same results. To say, then, that reason is the standard of truth and responsibility, is to say that such a standard is a matter of mere argument and dispute, so that the hope of the discovery of any such standard must be abandoned in atter despair. Added to all this, reason is the very thing which by a standard of truth is to be tried and directed. To say, consequently, that reason constitutes such a standard, is to make an affirmation so utterly preposterous, that were it not for its ruinous consequences, it would be absolutely beneath contempt. Our important object, therefore, a very few words will be sufficient triumphantly to accomplish.