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points of doubtful speculation with the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel. These doctrines are now pretty generally considered, not in that dogmatical metaphysical form which mixes doubtful inferences with plain assertions; but as facts, to use the fine observation of a living writer, believed on the sole authority of the Supreme Being, and inculcated in the words, and for the purposes, for which he has revealed them.

But with this spirit of Christian affection and unity, which, after all, we are only now beginning to learn, we must join that firm and unambiguous profession of every essential truth which is necessary to the character of the true Christian. And here a formidable, though concealed, danger lies hid. Charity may and will be counterfeited in a day like the present. A false candour, an indifference to truth, undue concessions to the spirit of the world, timid compliances on the score of peace, may and will be pressed upon us. In a time when the church is free from persecution, and when a wide range is given to the avowal of some of the peculiar doctrines of Christ, there is danger lest we should compromise our duty, and come down from the high elevation of the Gospel to the opinions of mankind. Much harm is now in progress in this way. Persons shrink from the bold originality of the peculiar discoveries of revelation, and attempt to recommend them to the acceptance of proud and worldly-minded men, by the artifices of palliation and disguise. Thus the edge is taken off from the truths of Christianity; the depth of the Fall of man and his utter ruin are concealed or palliated; the need of the operation of the entire mercy of God is weakened; the Scripture doctrine of justification is obscured; the complete renewal of the whole heart after the image of God is couched in softer terms, and made less prominent than the Scriptures represent it; the holy deportment of the be

liever, his communion with God, and the consolations of the Spirit, in a life dead to the vain society and pleasures of the irreligious, are lost sight of: in a word, a secret, but fatal, step is taken towards a decline from the pure evangelical standard of Christian truth.

The history of the Reformation is full of the dangers, arising on the side of undue concession, to which Melancthon and even Luther were exposed from their love of peace, and by which Erasmus was ultimately lost to the cause of truth. Timid and artful politicians were never employed to any good purpose in the service of Christ. The systems of refinement and mediocrity which they propose are, in fact, perfect chimeras; for, as Dean Milner admirably observes, "The cross of Christ must be undergone by those who mean to glorify God, to preserve a good conscience, to rebuke by their lives and conversations the evil practices of the world, and to promote the salvation of mankind. Erasmus was employed many years in these nugatory schemes; and while he courted the favour of the great, and secured himself from the danger of persecution, he promoted not one of those peculiar truths of Christian doctrine on account of which the good reformers suffered grievously from the tyranny of powerful princes and prelates." Something of this dangerous spirit may of late years have been contracted incidentally from the general intercourse among persons friendly to the circulation of the Scriptures which the Bible Societies have occasioned. If that should be found to be the case, one remedy for the evil is-not to limit those blessed institutions, or to narrow the comprehension of their rules --but to infuse into the public meetings of such societies, more and more of the true temper of the Gospel of Christ, and to watch more jealously than ever against mistaking our union as individuals-in a vast society whose glory it is to embrace

the whole world, not only as the object of its bounty, but as co-ope rators in its efforts for an union with Christ himself.

7. But this point will be more fully developed when we proceed to make our next deduction from the whole subject; namely, That in a great revival of religion, we must expect, and yet guard against, the evils inseparable from it, not letting such evils indispose us to the infinite blessings of such a revival. For evils, and great evils, though often greater in appearance than reality, have attended every considerable revival of Christianity. That the Reformation was not accomplished without such accidental consequences, who can deny? Witness the civil wars in Germany and the Low Countries; witness the disorders of the Anabaptists; witness the divisions in the Protestant churches; witness the relaxed tone of discipline in some of the Reformed districts; witness the infidelity and scepticism which cloaked themselves under the spirit of free inquiry. And yet all these evils were so incomparably less in extent than the universal idolatry, superstition, ignorance, torment of conscience, vice, dishonour of the Gospel, neglect of the Bible, and anti-Christian corruption of the whole design of revelation, under the Papacy, that they are not to be named as an argument against the blessed Reformation.

This is a point so much misunder stood, and of so great moment, that we must pause to give it a some. what further development.

Let us first adduce the matured de termination of Luther upon the case. "In our time, the success of the Gospel was at first great; and all hoped, as the Apostles did, before they were enlightened by the Spirit of God in the nature of his kingdom, that our doctrine would introduce public liberty and tranquillity; but, when disturbances arose, and the true character of the spiritual kingdom was discerned, with the infirmities of good men, and the like; then many drew back, and began to hate the Gospel. What was the cause of all this, but ignorance of the na

ture and conditions of the kingdom of Christ-which is of that kind, that it is every where exposed to the opposition of the world and of satan. They who are not aware of this will fail when dangers arise, and will condemn the Gospel as a seditious doctrine.'" p. 153.

Nothing can be more wise or scriptural than this remark; but it yields in fulness to the following striking and elevated sentiments of the same reformer.

"Another passsage presents Luther's own answer to those who exaggerated the mischiefs consequent upon the Reformation, and represented them as so great that it would have been better had no change been attempted. It is not easy to get over those scandals, when satan, or when subtle and able men set them forth in glaring colours, and charge us as the authors of them. Erasmus, among others, has told us, that there are certain diseases which it is better not to meddle with; the attempt to cure them is attended with so much danger. This sounds wise; and we ourselves are well aware of tious liberty that prevails, and the dissoluthe evils complained of: we see the licention of discipline, greater than existed under the Papacy. But are we answerable for this? In preaching the word, in contending by means of the word, we do but as we are commanded; nor may we on any consideration withhold obedience to the Divine command. The kingdom of Christ is of more worth, not only than under the Papacy-but than heaven and peace-especially such a peace as existed earth themselves. And then consider the other side: open your eyes and see the monstrous impieties which before prevailed! No where was one pure sentence heard concerning sin-grace-the merit of Christ-really good works--the magistracy and other offices and relations of life.

All was deformed and lost beneath what were the profanations of masses, corrupt and pernicious glosses. Then, what the impostures of indulgences, purgatory, and other abominations devised only as sources of gain! Mankind appear ly exposed, by impious teachers, to satan to me to have been purposely and studious

and eternal death. Look at the two sides of the question-there are evils and dis

orders on both--but which of the two is to be preferred? I had almost said I would rather live in hell with the word of God, than in paradise without it.'" pp. 325, 326.

Surely to any person who calmly weighs such arguments little needs be said to prepare him to expect a similar situation of things in the present day. Alloy and dross will some

what debase our purest gold. Since the period of the Reformation much advantage has been taken, by Papists generally, of the divisions among Protestant Christians. All unity is said to be lost; a rule of faith is declared to be evidently wanting; the evils of a free press and of controversies on religion are magnified; obscure sects scarcely known in our own country, and having no kind of influence, are swollen to principal divisions. But these are only incidental evils, and are scarcely perceptible when compared with the vast good attendant upon unfettering the consciences of men, and promoting an unchecked propagation of the Gospel. We are persuaded that if due attention were but paid to this consideration, those of the rulers and higher clergy of our national church, who regard with jealousy the operation of our Bible and Missionary Societies, the labours and doctrines of the clergy who are termed (let us hope not by way of reproach) evangelical, and the general activity of all classes in the diffusion of the Gospel, would view these proceedings with a more benign aspect. Unquestionably, evils may follow all this exertion and these acts of Christian benevolence. Undoubtedly, defects peculiar to such a new state of things may be produced, and which, without the amazing efforts that generate them, might have remained unknown. In considering the paramount importance of converting the whole world, the honour of which will not be restricted to any one body of Christians, some individuals may be apt to think too little of the peculiar claims of our own apostolical church. In our public assemblages occasional violations of taste and sound feeling may be apparent. It is alleged also, that there may be a danger of somewhat tarnishing the retiring graces of the female character, by charitable associations, however privately conducted. The purity of the Gospel, and the high tone of its distinguishCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 302.

ing spirit and doctrines, may not always be sufficiently exhibited. Divisions and controversies may spring up and be pressed for a time with acrimony and misrepresentions. Scandals may occasionally be found in the hypocrisy and evil acts of individuals, and primary duties be neglected by some who are eager to appear in the officious discharge of occasional ones. Let these and various other particular evils be admitted to exist, or, if the objector pleases, to be even created by the progress of a revival of religion; still, if they are only incidental; if they bear but an exceedingly small proportion to the immense good achieved; if they are jealously guarded against and checked as they arise; if the leaders and chief personages connected with these exertions of duty and mercy protest against them; if practicable suggestions for lessening them are zealously adopted; if prayer and other means are employed for purifying and elevating the proceedings of the assemblages which occasion them; if, above all, a spirit of humiliation and penitence is cultivated on account of these attendant defects,and the progress of things, becomes visibly less and less alloyed by their intermixture; then may we also, like Luther, rely on the mercy of God to cover our multiplied failings, and to grant us larger measures of His grace in the further prosecution of our Christian designs. But let us never, on account of such defects, renounce the positive and paramount duty of propagating the Gospel of Christ; let us never join the heedless throng in magnifying attendant and lamented evils ; let us never, with the timid and worldlyminded, withdraw our support from the acknowledged cause of God; let us never accuse our great societies of constituting a faction, or tending to the overthrow of existing establishments; and let us never affect a middle course, and wait for new efforts, and join in decrying the means by which the nations are now Q

actually receiving the light of the Gospel. Let the world calumniate -let the half-hearted listen to cowardly remonstrances-let those who cannot estimate the glory of the Gospel, or the value of the souls of men, or the importance of seizing opportunities as they arise, take the side of the inanimate and lethargic, and repose in the false dignity of external ease and inactivity. But let us, warned by the example of every preceding age, press on in the career of Divine benevolence and truth, and never omit instant and infinitely momentous duties on the plea of incidental inconveniences or evils. The sceptre of the Lord, says Luther, admits of no bending and joining, but remains straight and unchanged, and will at length sway the empire of the world.

8. And this leads us to our last practical deduction from a subject, our remarks on which, we fear, our readers may think already unduly extended. We may learn from all we have been reviewing, to persevere in every holy effort, relying on the Divinepromise and blessing, and with the general encouragement to be derived from the aspect of the world and the scope of Scriptural prediction without entering too much into the question of times and seasons, and the minute explication of the prophetic records. A wise and sober attention to the Apocalyptic visions is our duty and our privilege; for a blessing is pronounced on those who hear, and those who read the words of the prophecy. To compare the remarkable series of predictions in Daniel with those of St. John, and to illustrate the fulfilment of both by the unerring voice of Providence in the history of the church and of the world, is doubtless a noble and most animating study. A proportionate regard to these parts of the inspired books, chastened by deep humility and fear, will encourage the Christian to effort, relieve his mind during the heat and burden of the day, cheer him with the prospect of the termination of the captivity and pil

grimage of the Christian church, point out to him the permissive will of God in the Western and Eastern apostasies, direct him to the especial sins which these apostacies were sent to punish, and strengthen his faith in the nature and ultimate triumph of the Gospel of truth. A proportionate study of prophecy, in a day like the present, may also, perhaps, include a somewhat larger share of time than it would have done a century or two back, when we were struggling, in the infant days of Protestantism, against the pressing danger of the anti-Christian tyranny. Yet even then we observe that Luther was cheered by the voice of prophecy. The brand of the Apocalyptic beast was infixed on the Papacy by the Reformed preachers. "The stone cut out without hands, and filling the earth," was the spring of hope and confidence; and the command to "come out from the mystic Babylon, and not be partaker of her sins," was not issued in vain. Still more then should we now study the word of future revelation, when three centuries have been unrolling so much more of the book of God, and the labours of Mede, and Sir Isaac Newton, and Bishops Newton and Hurd, and Scott and Faber, and various other writers, have shed so much light on its interpretation.

But having stated thus much, we feel it our duty to add, that there is great danger of too much attention being attracted to the study of prophecy, important as it is, so as to draw off the minds of Christians from the vital and fundamental truths of salvation. There is danger of the imagination being inflamed, and the sound exercise of the judgment suspended;-there is danger of private interpretations directed to immediate and exaggerated objects, superseding the true import of what was spoken by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;there is danger of some such doubtful and unestablished interpretation so occupying the mind as to be

elevated into an article of faith or inculcated with unbecoming warmth and pertinacity-there is danger lest the mind, greedy of future knowledge, and weary of ignorance, should so seize on the supposed fulfilment of passing events as to render us prophets ourselves, and inflate us with notions of self-importance, and lead us to imagine we can solve the actual state of the dispensations of God's providence in the events around us. In proportion as the study of unfulfilled prophecy verges towards such evils, it becomes a dangerous spare. The miserable follies of the prophets of Germany in the sixteenth century, and of those of France in the seventeenth, with the scandals and hindrances to the Gospel which those pretenders occasioned; had their origin in perhaps a commendable study of prophecy, but, carried to excess, allowed to heat the fancy, and tending to lift up the mind, from humble watchfulness and obedience, to enthusiastic visions and pretensions.

To all scriptural purposes, the restrained and cautious development of the roll of prophecy, as events clearly conspire to unfold it, is sufficient. Such a proportioned and enlightened perusal of the prophetic books, when connected with a consideration of the aspect of the world and the church, and the general

promises of God's grace and blessing, is all we need for our encouragement, and all we are capable of using aright in our present state of conflict and darkness. It is not for us to pretend minutely to know "the times and the seasons," which the Father hath put in his own power. Such a prescience would unsettle our minds in the attitude of dependance, and might indispose them for the duty of penitence and prayer. Taken generally, and in their broad features, the prophecies. are "a light shining in a dark place;" they are the harbingers of the Redeemer's coming; they are the anticipations of the overthrow of antiChrist; they are the songs of praise tuned for the day of conquest; and they are the assurance and pledge of the ultimate and glorious triumph of the eternal Saviour. In this blessed consolation, let us pursue each our course of labour, and, it may be, of suffering. Like Luther and his noble colleagues, let us hope for every success in the name of our great Captain; let us imitate the reformers as they followed Christ; and let us, in the spirit of courage, wisdom, meekness, humility, and singleness of heart, exert every effort to propagate the kingdom of God, first in our own circles, and then in our country and in the world.


&c. &c.

GREAT BRITAIN. PREPARING for publication :-A new History of Greece; by Mr. Grote ;-Forty Years' Diary of a Nonconformist Divine; -Blumenbach's Physiology, translated by Dr. Elliotson.

In the press :-Ulloa and Juan's Secret Report on South America; with illustrative Notes, by David Barry ;-The Present System of Public Education in France; by D. Johnston, M.D. ;—A Poem on Idolatry; by the Rev. W. Swan ;

Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity; by various Ministers ;-History of Philosophy and Science; by the Rev. T. Morell ;-The Grievances of the Curates of the Church of England, under the Powers vested in the Hierarchy, by 36 Geo. III. c. 83, and subsequent Statutes under the prevailing System of Nonresidence and Pluralities; by the Rev. J. J. Holmes.

Oxford.-The Rev. G. Faussett, of Magdalen College, has been elected Mar

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