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allow time for this, and beware of which, it seems, he does not agree
with them; but in both instances, we think they are right and he is wrong. The first is, the doctrine of a progressive sanctification—the other, that the moral law is a rule of life to believers.
1. With respect to the doctrine of sanctification. We have long had occasion to remark, that, in almost every controversy which has arisen among Christians, much confusion has been occasioned by the disputants taking partial views of the subject, as it lies in the word of God; confining their attention to one side of a question, without taking into their consideration the whole doctrine of the scriptures concerning it. This is obviously the case in the instance before us. If Mr. Cowan would impartially examine the New Testament on the point, he would presently find that the inspired writers, treat of the doctrine of sanctification under two different aspects. The first is that which, for distinction sake, we may call the sacrificial sense of the term; in which sense, we admit, the term "sanctify," is mostly used in the epistle to the Hebrews. We shall quote a few texts in proof of it. Thus, the apostle says, " for he that sanctijieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one" [nature, family, or father] Heb. ii. 11. Again: "lor if the. blood of bulls or of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctijieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." ch. ix. 13, 14. Once more: "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." ch. xiii. 18. By this act of suffering Christ not only atoned for their sins, but also consecrated them to God as his peculiar people; and to complete the service of their Great High Priest he carried his blood into the heavenly sanctuary to present it in the presence of God for them, even as the blood of the sin-offering, under the law, was carried by the high priest into the earthly sanctuary, ch. ix. 12,24. And thus Christ, hath by his one offering "perfected for ever them that are sanctified," having obtained eternal redemption for them. In this sense, we presume no Christian talks of the
putting stumbling blocks in their way, or contributing by their improper behaviour to impede their march of sentiment. It was with real concern that we read the following paragraph towards the close of Mr. Cowan's pamphlet.
"As to what is denominated the religious world, the more I know of it, the more inclined I am to knew less of it. While 1 see professors living and acting as others do, find in them, the most bitter persecutors of those who believe in a finished redemption for all the elect of Ood, and would, from feeling this desire from love, 'to live godly in Christ Jesus,' and yet at the same time, hear them talk of progressive sanctification, and of the Law being a rule of life to Believers, I must be pardoned if I say, the society of those who are branded with the name of Antinomians, is infinitely preferred by me—men, who, while thus stigmatized, know their Bibles better, and live as close to God, as any 1 have met with, and who love, when meeting together, to converse of what Jesus hath done for their souls, instead of passing their time in religious gossipping, in censuring others, or in praising themselves, by talking of their humility, &c. &c. 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' If this be Auiinomianism, the Lord make me more Antinomian still. Amen.
Sept. 17th. 1817.
Mr. Cowan will, we trust, allow us the privilege of offering a remark or two on this extract. In fact he has himself invited us to it, when he tells us, p. 49. that " on the score of doctrine he seeks no»indulgence." That part of the quotation which respects the conduct of the professing part of the inhabitants of Bristol, we consider as beyond our province, and we therefore meddle not with it further than to say, that we hope Mr. Cowan has sufficient candour to distinguish between truth and its professed friends, and not to blame a whole denomination of Christians for the indiscreet conduct of a few individuals who may chuse to class with them. Of the religious people in Bristol we know nothing: let them defend themselves if they are able to do so—but if the complaint be well founded, it will be wise in them to lay the subject to heart and study to correct what is amiss. There are two points of doctrine however to which Mr. Cowan refers, as held by the Baptist churches in Bristol, and in
doctrine of progressive sanctification. It was a single act and perfected at once by the shedding of the blood of Christ—" the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." See Heb. x. 5—10. But the New Testament writers also speak of sanctification in a moral sense; agreeably to which, to be sanctified, signifies to be made holy by a renovation of the spirit of the mind, being created after the moral image of God in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. iv. 23, 84. This sanctification is produced by the Holy Spirit, and so is termed "the sanctification of the Spirit." 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Pet. i. 8. but it is by means of the truth that this is effected, and hence Christ prays "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth." Johnxvii. IT. It is through the knowledge and belief of that truth which testifies of redemption from the curse of the law by the blood of Christ, that men are not only justified, but also sanctified— that they become dead unto sin, and alive unto God. Rom. vi. 6, 7,22. ch. vii.4—I.Col.ii. 11—15. and from this inward sanctification proceeds holiness of life and conversation, for the subjects of it are led to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously,"and godly in this present world. Titus ii. 11—15. This holiness or sanctification, which is essential to our happiness in the enjoyment of a holy God, must, in the very nature of the thing be progressive—and indeed it admits of as many degrees in the saints on this side the grave as there are degrees of knowledge, faith, charity, and every other Christian grace. It is perfect in none of them while in this world; for the most advanced of them, even those who are termed fathers, in distinction from babes, in Christ, still carry about with them a body of sin and death, from which they groan for deliverance, saying with the Psalmist, " I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness." Ps. xvii. 15.
2. Mr. Cowan also objects to the Baptists of Bristol, their considering the moral law as the rule of life to believers—an objection as old, we believe, as the days of Dr. Crisp, but of which it has always confounded us to make out the grounds and reasons. The moral law, as delivered to Israel in the Sinai covenant, comprises ten precepts. See Exod. jx. Now if Mr.
Cowan doubt whether he, as a believer in the Son of God, be under any obligation to keep these precepts, or in other words, to make them the rule of his life, we entreat him to take any one of them—for instance " Thou shalt not kill—thou shalt not steal— thou shalt not commit adultery"—or any other he pleases to select, and let him seriously ask his own conscience, whether he be at liberty to violate it with impunity. The man who should answer in the affirmative, whether believer or unbeliever, we should think a fit object for the care of Dr. Munro'. but if he answer in the negative and allow that it would be sin in him to transgress it, he plainly shows by such answer that his objection is a mere quibble—an idle strife of words. The truth is that the moral law is the eternal rule of righteousness, and consequently is not like positive or temporary institutions, which depend entirely upon the will and pleasure of the Institutor—but is founded on the very nature of God, being a transcript of his holiness, justice and goodness—on our relation to him as nis creatures and the subjects of his moral government—and on our relation to one another as possessed of the same common nature, and connected by various ties. It must consequently remain the same, in substance, under every dispensation, and nothing can either relax or destroy its obligation upon the creatures of God. Christ has indeed fulfilled it in the room and place of his people as their substitute and representative, and delivered them from it as the condition of life, or the terms of their acceptance mth God—but still he has delivered it unto his redeemed people, under the covert of his own blood, and enforced it upon them by his redeeming love, and by the rewards and punishments of a future state. See Matt. v. 19, 20. Rom. xiii. 8—11. James ii. 8—13. The spirit and substance of this law was imprinted on Adam's heart at his creation, and is summed up by our Lord in two particulars, namely, perfect love to God and our neighbour—duties which are of eternal and immutable obligation upon all the people of God. Matt, xxii. 37—41. It would be easy to enlarge on this subject, and expos* the utter absurdity of the contrary sentiment, but we hope these few re
marks will be deemed sufficient to induce Mr. Cowan to review his principles, if not to remove his objections.
Were it not that we have already devoted so many of our columns to Mr. Cowan's pamphlet, there are several other subjects on which we could have wished to offer a few observations, particularly the intimation at p. 48. of his using a printed Liturgy in public worship! This is a pretty plain indication that though the clamours of conscience have compelled him to withdraw from the establishment, he still fondly clings to the skirts of the " Mother of Harlots," or, at least to those of her unchaste daughter! These half-hearted dissenters, of whom we have several among the ministers in the Metropolis, are a perfect non-descript in the kingdom 01 Christ. Was it thus that Owen and Charnock and Bates and Howe and "the noble army" of the Puritans in general acted, when driven out from the church of England? Far otherwise. But it is manifest that Mr. Cowan is hitherto very partially enlightened into the import of Christ's good confession, which he witnessed before Pontius Pilate, when he declared his kingdom to be not of this world. When his other avocations shall allow time for it, we with all deference bee; leave to recommend to his perusal, " Towgood's Dissent from the Church of England fully justified"—" Theological Dissertations, by the late Dr. John Erskine, of Edinburgh"—" An Essay on the Kingdom of Christ, by the late Mr. Abraham Booth"—-" An illustration of Christ's Commission to his Apostles, by Mr. M'Lean"—and though last, not least deserving of his regard, Mr. Glas's "Testimony of the Kiqg of Martyrs"—though the yolume we believe is now rather scarce and difficult to be met with:
A Discourse on the Liberty of Prophesying, with its just limits and temper, showing the unreasonableness of prescribing to otlier mens faith, and the iniquity of persecuting different opinions. By Jeremy Taylor, D.D. Chaplain in ordinary to King Charles I. and Lord Bishop of Down, Conner and Dromore. A New Edition. London. Gale and Fenner, 181T. pp. 434. Octavo, pr. 12*. boards.
The Great Ahd Oood Bishop Tay-
freatest divines of the age in which
He has bequeathed to posterity the fruits of his genius in his writings, which are numerous, and which, though the style may want something of the ease and polish of modern times, will ever remain an exhaust1 less mine of rich information. In
the Volume now before us, he pleads with great eloquence and force of reasoning, the noble cause of religious liberty—or the rights of conscience. It is unquestionably an excellent treatise, and has deservedly obtained high applause from the most enlightened friends of religious freedom and the common rights of mankind—though, as might naturally be expected, it has, in the same proportion, extorted an effusion of spleen from bigotted zealots, and been as liberally censured by the advocates of ecclesiastical tyranny. Such a work, however, should never be allowed to be out of print; and the publishers of the present handsome edition, will, we trust, not only be liberally remunerated but encouraged to similar undertakings by the suffrages of the friends of freedom.
The publishers have given, at the close of the Work, the Bishop's Statement of the litigated Question of Infant Baptism, which will of course furnish an additional recommendation of it to the advocates of that practice. We cannot indeed say that we think the learned writer's reasoning is quite so clear and demonstrative on this point, as it is on the subject of toleration and the rights of conscience. He finds it necessary, we perceive, to go back to the Covenant made with Abraham, for an authority to baptize infants 1 but surely there is something very unacsountable in the fact, that a New Testament ordinance must go a begging for its evidence to Old Testament types. We are, however, obliged to the good natured bishop for supplying us with an apology for not altogether agreeing with him on this disputed point. He seems to have been somehow aware that his arguments are not perfectly indisputable, and he candidly anticipates a demur from his opponents. "To all this" says he, p. 325. "the Anabaptist gives a soft and gentle answer, that it is a goodly harangue, which upon strict examination will come to nothing: that it pretends fairly, and signifies little; that some of these allegations are false, some impertinent, and all the rest insufficient!" Were we questioned upon oath, as to our opinion, we really think we should not be found to differ very widely from the same judgment.
All the Elect children of God contemplated as members of one body; gathered together under one head; and actuated by one spirit: in a few familiar thoughts, on John xvii. 81—24. By Robert Harkness Carne, A. B. Exeter, Gresswell; Button and Son; and T. Hamilton, London, 1817. p.p. 290. royal 24mo. pr. 2s. 6d. boards. Whoever has attentively considered the style of the Evangelists and Apostles, must have remarked the singular simplicity which uniformly characterizes it. They appear to have been so profoundly penetrated, with the ineffable grandeur andimportance of the subjects on which they treat, as to think that, by applying to them the flowers of rhetoric, they should only have eclipsed their glory—even as the painting of a diamond would answer no other purpose than to obscure its lustre. Now, to us, there is something in Mr. Carne's style of writing, in the small volume before us, so very different from what we have just mentioned, that we regret it exceedingly. We had no sooner entered upon the perusal of his Preface, than the following sentence presented itself to us.
"The gentle breathings of the Spirit of truth, are not like [the irregular blasts of the prince of darkness]—they ever blow in one direction, sweetly wafting the vessels of mercy, through the same channel of scripture doctriBe, to the fair havens in the kingdom of Immanuel. Having Jesus for our pilot, and his word for our chart and compass, it is good to spread our sails before such heaven-borti gales, and to have no other desire, than for oor barks, throughout the voyage of life, to be under the immediate influence of that celestial wind, which, while it bloweth where it listeth, is sure to bear us onward to our desired haven, in the pacific ocean of eternal rest." Pref. p. vi.
Alas 1 how unsuitable is this phraseology to the subject on which it is employed. The proper epithet by which to describe it is that of fustian. Again: In reading the New Testament, we are not only struck with the simplicity and plainness of the style which the Holy Spirit has seen fit to employ in communicating divine revelation to us; but the strictest regard is uniformly paid to coherency in the sentiment. We can trace the concatenation of ideas in the writer's mind, and are never perplexed or bewildered by haviDg-extraneous matters jumbled together, which have little or no affinity to each other. We are sorry to say that the case is often very different in the little volume before us. The author indulges in a dashing style of writing, which may indeed tickle the ear, but is necessarily a source of great pain to the judgment, which, if exercised at all, must be done in the way of marking the relation that one idea has to another, and consequently is always shocked at incongruity.
The great defect in Mr. Carne's "Familiar Thoughts" is,'their want of discrimination, or distinguishing the things that differ. For instance, the subject on which they treat is that of Christian Unity—Christ prays for his people that they all may be one, as the Father and he are one—that the world may be persuaded of his divine mission. Now instead of distinguishing between visible and invisible unity, as he ought to have done, and keeping in view that the words of his text were a prayer for a future blessing in behalf of his people, Mr. Carne's discourse is almost wholly occupied in considering the eternal union that subsists between Christ and his mystical body, with the privileges resulting to them from that union! Really, all this is little to the purpose, and betrays great want of attention to the meaning of Scripture. We wish Mr. Came, at his leisure, would take the trouble of reading a discourse on the same words, which he will find in a posthumous volume of Sermons, by the late Mr. Archibald M'Lean, of Edinburgh, recently published; we think he certainly might profitby it.
Plurality of Worlds: or Letters, Notes and Memoranda, Philosophical and Critiod, occasioned by "A Series of' Discourses on the Christian Revelation, viewed in connection with the Modern Astronomy. By Thomas Chalmers, D. D. London. Maxwell. Pp. 212, price 5s. 1817. It is now just two hundred years since the celebrated Galileo, a native of Florence began to broach, what were then termed, very heretical doctrines, in the science of Astronomy. He constructed an optical instrument by means of which, as he himself says, objects appeared magnified a thousand times. Turning his Telesvoi. ill.
cope towards the heavens, he discovered unheard of wonders. On the surface of the moon he saw lofty mountains and deep valleys. The milky way he discovered to be a crowded assemblage of fixed stars, invisible to the naked eye. Venus he found to vary, in its phases, like the moon. The figure of Saturn, he observed to be oblong, consisting of three distinct parts. Jupiter he saw surrounded with four moons, which he named Medicean stars, after the family of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. And on the sun's disk he perceived spots, from the motion of which he inferred, that the sun revolves about its axis. These " great marvels" (as our excellent church Would express it) Galileo had the temerity to publish for the information of others, for which he Was cited before the Court of Inquisition, accused of heresy, and thrown into prison! A great revolution indeed has taken place in the public sentiment on this subject, since the days of the unfortunate Galileo. By means of the labours of Newton and Herschel, the discoveries of Galileo are now so well established and the science of Astronomy so familiarised to persons of ordinary capacity that, except a few individuals of the Hutchinsonian class, a person who intimates a doubt of the orthodoxy of the Newtonian system, is rarely met with, and would be looked upon by his cotemporaries as a rara avis. Yet such an individual is the author of the volume before us. The notion of" a plurality of world fills him with dread alarm for the fate of divine revelation, which, he thinks, teaches a different doctrine, and his benevolent concern for the salvation of his fellow creatures, connected with a deep feeling of distress at witnessing the apathy of others, has determined him to buckle on his armour, and arrest the progress of the growing evil. We may further add, that the extraordinary celebrity which Dr. Chalmers's Astronomical Discourses have met with, seems to have nearly compleated his discomfiture, and rendered every vestige of hopeful success to his labours abortive. "Is all this farce" he asks, "to go on encreasing and gathering strength, merely because the great mass of mankind have neither time opportunity, nor taste to examine for themselves, and to exercise the prin