Изображения страниц

bring a church to agree in such a harsh conclusion as this, so every thing else must be a matter of forbearance, and their zeal for, and attachment to the word of God must be relaxed to give place to nobody knows what.

3. This rule in many cases would make void our Lord's plain law of discipline, Matt, xviii. 15— 18. Though a member should commit a trespass against his brother, and continue impenitent after the use of all the means there prescribed to bring him to repentance; yet unless the church can positively determine that this offence, if not repented of, will finally exclude him from salvation, he must not be treated as an heathen man and publican, according to Christ's direction. That you could not follow out this divine rule is also plain from the question you put upon it, via. "Would God appoint his disciples to treat those as heathens and publicans, who, though they should persist in the conduct censured by them, are not heathens and publicans'?" Now if neither the offence, nor persisting in it will warrant a church to treat a person as a heathen man and publican, then it is plain that this rule of discipline ought not to be followed, for Christ assigns no other cause for the treatment he there prescribes. If the conduct censured by them is no cause for such treatment, they can have no cause for it at all; for they have no authority to treat any in this manner whose conduct they do not censure for some transgression of Christ's law, and the rule prescribes no appeal from their judgment to any other tribunal on earth. The nature or degree of the original offence is not mentioned, and so makes no part of the rule. It may be such an offence as a brother may commit seven times in a day, and yet be forgiven upon his professing repentance, see Luke xvii. 3, 4. but if justified, or persisted in

with impenitence, it then becomes a just ground of exclusion according to this rule. But, even in this case, you deny that they are heathens and publicans; by which you cannot mean avowed idolaters and Roman tax-gatherers, for nobody maintains this; your meaning must be, that they are not unfit persons for the Christian communion notwithstanding their obstinate impenitency, nor has Christ enjoined to treat as such by putting tbem away. This I think clearly overturns our Lord's rule, and flatly contradicts it.

To the Editor of the New Evangelical

Magazine. SIR,

A Minister lately speating upon the subject of Salvation, told his hearers, "If Immanuel put not away sin before he expired on Calvary's tree, sin is not now put away." "Christ died the death due to sin when he was cut off from communion with his Father." The apostle Paul appears to have thought differently when he says," Christ died for our sins." But as I am not capable of handling the subject, shall feel much obliged to you or any of your correspondents for an answer to the following query.

Was the atonement for sin completed before Christ died, and what did Christ mean when he said, " It is finished." A. C. R.

A constant reader who has lately had his mind much exercised on the doctrine of divine providence, is desirous of asking whether there is not only a general, but a special and particular providence over the Lord's own redeemed people— to doubt a special providence appears to the writer to strike at the faith, the hope, and comfort, so necessary to support the tried Christian in seasons of affliction.

W. P,

geological &eb(efo.

$'>:male Scripture Biography: including

an Essay on what Christianity has

done for Women. By Francis

Aogustcs Cox, M. A. 8 vols. 8vo.

about 500 pages each. Price 24s.

boards. London. Gale and r en

ner, 181T. It may be thought a homely, but it certainly was a very significant description which the late Mr. Fuller was accustomed to give of the writings of one of his " dearest brethren" when he termed them "Veal pie without either pepper or salt." It would appear that he himself was fond of a little seasoning; and, to speak the truth, we have no objection to it ourselves, provided it be dealt out in moderation. Yet we should think it very possible to select a dish, to whichneither" Mrs.Raftuld," nor the "Domestic Cookery," would recommend the application of pungent spices—but would rather direct their being served up in the plainest and Simplest mariner without any adventitious aid from the culinary art. Now it strikes us that there is a considerable analogy between the food of the body and that of the mind—and that if there be certain articles of diet which disdain to receive improvement from the skill of a "French cook," 'twill hold equally true, that there are also literary undertakings of which simplicity and plainness are their highest ornament.

We hope Mr. Cox will not take the alarm at this strange introduction to the review of his " Female Scripture wography," nor imagine, for a mo'icnt, that we have the slightest intention to treat the article with levity. We were led into the above train of thought, by reflecting on the Peculiarity of the subject of his work —a work which he has "respectfully nsenbed to tlie Ladies of Great Bri.m- The object of the publication 'sobytously to form and regulate the emale character on Christian prin

ples. To accomplish this, he cannot avail himself of the exploits of an

gnppina or a Cleopatra, nor any

"eroinc of more recent date. If he

s„-P h,s attention fixed upon the

"Ptures, and deduce from that

;n* ^ndard, his patterns of femi

vOL. Hi. r

nine excellence, he must paint with less gaudy colours. "I will, says an apostle, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." It is added " Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection—but I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence; for Adam was first formed then Eve: and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." 1 Tim. ii. 9—14. "Wives be in subjection to your own husbands"—and your "adorning let it be that ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price: For after this manner in old times the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, callinghim lord," or master. 1 Pet. iii. l—6. Here is the standard of all true female excellence; and it is manifest at first view, that the writer of Female Biography, who makes a point ot reducing all the graces of character to this model or rule, though he may embellish his composition with the flowers of rhetoric, he can avail himself of neither the marvellous,, nor yet of the sublime, to arrest the attention of his readers.

Mr. Cox's volumes are designed to form a Supplement to the Biographical works of Dr. Hunter and of the late Mr. Robinson of Leicester, but more especially of the latter. Our opinion of the "Scripture Characters," has been already given in a former page of this number (See p. 163.) and to the judgment there offered we still adhere. The project of furnishing acontinuation of that work, to consist wholly of female characters, was happily conceived; and, to make the sequel at least equal to its predecessor, was, in truth, not a difficult undertaking. It is therefore no great compliment to Mr. Cox to say that he has successfully accomplished it. His volumes may with perfect safety be put into the hands of any 2 A * female or of any family. We could indeed wish that something more solid and substantial—something that enters more into the meaning of the scriptures, and that is calculated to inform the understanding, while it

were destined to become—till at length, " fair as the moon" ascending to the noon of her glory, and tinging with the mildness of her beam, every earthly object, woman attains her indisputed eminence, and diffuses her

sways the will and affections, could benignant influence in society." p gain a preference in the female esti- lxviii

mation; but this light and easy reading, unfortunately, is in more prevalent request, and authors will always be found in readiness to gratify the public taste however erroneous or vitiated it may be.

The Characters which Mr. Cox has undertaken to amplify and improve are those of Eve—Sarah—Hagar— Lot's wife—Rebekah—Miriam, the sister of Moses—Naomi, Orpah and Ruth — Deborah — Manoah's wife— Hannah—Abigail—The Queen of Sheba—The Shunammite—Esther, in Vol. I. The second vol. comprises The Virgin Mary—Elizabeth— Anna—The Woman of Samaria— The woman who was a sinner—The Svro-Phenician—Martha and Mary— The poor widow—Sapphira—Dorcas —and Lydia.

The Essay on what Christianity has done for Women is with propriety introduced at the beginning of the second Volume, and occupies 100 pages. It takes a survey of the condition of females and the rank which they occupied in society among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans of old — in savage, superstitious and Mahometan countries in more recent times, and in each of the four quarters of the world—but particularly Asia and Africa; and in this part of his Essay, Mr. Cox has availed himself of a mass of interesting information which has been communicated from time to time by our Missionaries in those countries. From this, the author reverts back to Patriarchal times and the period of the Jewish Theocracy. "By this mode of conducting the argument" says he "we trace the great epochs in the' history of female amelioration: the glory of woman appears at first eclipsed, as behind a dark cloud, which the passions of a degenerate race had interposed to hide and debase her; she then emerges, though partially, to view, through the mists and obscurities of a temporary dispensation, adapting itself to the circumstances of mankind as they then existed; but unsuited to what they

All this is very fine, and " the Ladies of Great Britain," of the present day, cannot do less than make their courtesy to Mr. Cox, for so elegant a compliment. "From the dark and deeply shaded back-ground of the picture of female degradation, formed by the facts [which he had adduced in the previous part of the Essay,] Christianity is brought forward with conspicuous prominence in all her gracefulness. The contrast is at once striking and affecting: the moral scene brightens upon the view as we contemplate this attractive figure, combining majesty and mildness—fascination in her smiles and heaven in her eye." p. lxxiv. If this be not genuine Romance, it certainly borders clogely on it!

Far from our hearts be the remotest wish to detract from the honour of' the female character, or to degraded sex a step lower in the scale of society than is allotted them in the Koto of God—if any error attach to us on this subject, it certainly lies on the other side. But after all, these florid descriptions of Mr. Cox's are liable to create mistakes, and to injure rather than benefit the cause he professes te serve. Christianity has done muchvery much—more indeed than can possibly be told, for both man and woman. It has brought life and immortality to light—and in this respect itplacesboth upon alevel—for" there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus." It has also tended much to correct some of the grosser evils which have resulted from the corruption of human nature, and poisoned the sweets of domestic life. It has in a great measure abolished Polygamy, and rescued the female character from the state of degradation which must ever attend it where that practice prevails. But after all, i' should never be forgotten, nor kept out of sight, when the subject is eipressly under consideration, that this sphere allotted to females, and in which they are destined by their Creator to move, is a humble one. The woman is to be clothed with shame facedness and sobriety—the ornaments with which she is to be adorned are those of a meek and quiet spirit— she is not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in subjection—and if she be a wife, she is to cultivate obedience, submission, and reverence towards her husband, such as the church owes unto Christ, Eph. iv. 22—24. And the more she excells in these things, the more honourable she becomes. It were easy to enlarge on this part of the subject, and to evince both its reasonableness and its conformity to the revealed will of God, had we time and space for it; but we shall only further remark upon it, that Paul assigns two reasons for this subjection on the part of the woman; the first is that she was created after the man, and as an assistant to him—the other, that she was first in the transgression. 1 Tim. ii. 13,14. It struck us as a defect in "Mr. Cox's Essay, that he has (perhaps from an unwillingness to hurt the feelings of " the Ladies of Great Britain.") Kept this humbling doctrine too much out of sight, and indeed throughout his book there is not sufficient attention paid to it. Tis wrong to extend our politeness at the expence of the doctrine of scripture.

We must not, however, allow our readers to run away with the mistaken notion that we have found nothing in these volumes to afford us satisfaction. We were not a little pleased, in reading the history of Dorcas, at meeting with the following correct account of faith. And we extract it, because we have recorded our dissent from Mr. Robinson's notion of it; See p. 165.

"This term is of various import, and of Very extensive application in Scripture. It signifies belief, and refers to testimony either human or divine; but is restricted in its evangelical use to the latter. Revelation in general is the object of faith; and those invisible realities which it discloses to the menial eye are seen with equal distinctness and believed with equal conviction, as if they were capable, from possessing some material quality, of impressing the corporeal senses. Faith glorifies its great Object and Author by paying an implicit deference to his authority. It asks no other bond than his promise, no other evidence or attestation than his veracity. It npt only ranges through worlds which mortal eye could never explore, but which human reason could never discover; and as by transgression

man has fallen under the dominion of his tenses, it delivers its happy possessor from this state of degradation and wretchedness. "But though this be a general signification of the word, its more precise and appropriate use in the Gospel is expressed by the phrase, "believing that Jesas is the Christ, the Son of God." Here the general and the particular use are necessarily blended. Faith is belief—but belief in "the truth as it is in Jesus." To believe, in the ordinary sense, is to admit a fact, to assent to the statement of an accredited or respectable witness; to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, is to acknowledge his real character, to perceive his true dignity, to view and to love him, not only as distinguished by perfect excellence, but as specifically the Saviour of lost sinners: for " whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." Faith comprehends what he is, contemplates him in all his glorious offices, and from the manger of meanness traces him to the throne of power, relying upon what he has suffered and said as the infalliblepledge of what he will accomplish. It is not only well informed, but humble. It resided in his heart who exclaimed, "Lord, save me!" It dictated his language who cried out, " Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." It gave efficacy to the prayer of that humble petitioner who said, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." It is pleasing to Gad, essential to salvation, and his own gift; for " Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God" —" a man is justified by faith"—and "by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

He then goes on to show that faith is not a dormant principle, but active and operative—that it stimulates to the most laborious duties; to sustain the most poignant sufferings; that it produces the greatest purity of character—and above all, that it " works by love." These properties of genuine faith are all exemplified in the history of Dorcas.

We cannot resist the temptation, straitened as we this month are for room, to introduce another extract, and we do it chiefly for the sake of Mr. Cox's ministerial brethren, to whose serious attention we earnestly recommend it. The subject is envy and the remarks will be found in the history of Miriam.

"Andean Miriam be envious? Strange infatuation I But, perhaps, we are really censuring ourselves. Listen to the unbiassed voice of conscience. Does it not thunder in your ears, * Tbou art the man {'.

Art thou insensible to its powerful and just remonstrances,' Wherein thou judgest another, thou eondemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things V O beware of this mean, creeping, repiile spirit; Persons in eminent stations may, in a certain degree, expert to suffer from the wile* of envy; but to suffer from those of their own household, and from persons on whose friendship they have had the greatest reasons to rely, must be peculiarly afflictive. If it be possible to add one drop to the bitterness of such a portion, it is by being envied and consequently depreciated by those who are associated in the same sacred office. A remark upon this subject cannot be misplaced; the history seems rather to claim it. A mortal creature cannot be invested with a more important commission than that of the ministry of the word. So highly did the apostle of the Gentiles appreciate his work, that, gifted as he was in every requisite to discharge it with honor and success, he exclaimed, ' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this

grace given, that I should preach amongst nas ma(je tys Selection are Messrs. the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of i K n Medley, Newton and Cowper,

his book we have felt a temptation, now and then, to mete out to him a modicum of praise; but we have been checked by the consideration that it is a dangerous thing to some persons, and as we wish well to Mr. Cox, we would not willingly injure him. Our only fear is that some silly body of men in America will, for want of something better to do, be sending him over a Diploma in a year or two, creating him D.D. and if such a foolish affair should take place, we sincerely hope (though in these days of childishness and vanity we can scarcely expect it) that he will have the virtue arc! good sense to cast it to the dunghill.

A Collection of Hymns, A/c. By James

I Upton. Second Edition. London.

Button; and Gale and Fenner. 4s.


The authors from whom Mr. Upton

Christ.' But if each heavenly ambassa- i „ u-
dor be really convinced that he and his | "__,",
brethren are intrusted with an office at
once so dignified in its nature, so useful
in its design, so extensive in its duties,
that no one can adequately fulfil for him-
self what would be sufficient to expend
the energies of an angel; and that the
combined exertions of all the preachers
that ever have, or ever will, minister in

Fawcett, Hart, Fellows, Kent, Stephens (of Colchester) with a few Anonymous writers. The Hymns are four hundred and nineteen in number, and the publication has this singularity that each author's hymns are printed in succession. Were we disposed to make any remarks on this collection, it would be

[ocr errors]

sphere of possible usefulness, were every power of the mind, and every moment of time, made tributary to the service—if this were duly considered, surely instead of envying, depreciating, and thwarting each other, perfect love must prevail, and mutual assistance be incessantly rendered. The world is sufficiently disposed to reproach the servants of the sanctuary; they should not undervalue each other. Nothing can exceed, and no words can express, the littleness of attempting to construct our own fame upon the ruins of others; and when this temper exists, as it sometimes unquestionably does, amongst those who teach humility, it is singularly detestable. Ministers of the divine word should be guardians of each others' reputation, aware that the honor, and in some degree the success of it depends upon the character of its publishers and representatives. Miriam and Aaron should have been the last, while, such is human nature, they were the first, to envy Moses!"

In this extract, the reader has no unfavourable specimen of Mr. Cox's flowing diction, and of the pertinency of remark with which he has interspersed his biographical details. We will not deny that in glancing over

has been too solicitous about the elegance of the poetry or the graces of versification, to the neglect of doctrinal sentiment. Perhaps our nieanning will be best understood by an example. Watts and Doddridge are our two most eminent writers of sacred poetry. The latter eminently excelled in the luxurious harmony of his versification; but take him in the general, and he is not to be compared with Watts in the richness of his sentiment—nor do we think that any other writer who has succeeded him is, in that respect, comparable to him. In his sacred Poetry, while rarely denV cient in the harmony of his numbers, there is always something to feed the mind, and this is what we think should be particularly regarded by those ministers who undertake to enrich our stock of hymns for public worship. There are many excellent hymns in Dr. Rippon's Selection; but, in our opinion, it errs' greatly on the score now mentioned. One half of his volume is only fit for the nursery, or at most for the parlour!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »