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attributes which belong to man as an intellectual and moral being: the same principles equally hold good in those propensities which are usually ranked as lower, because he shares them in common with the brutes. Such distinction, however, as higher and lower, is groundless, because the participation by the brutes of any quality which man possesses does not degrade him, while it ennobles them. One of these propensities is love of offspring; a feeling that is often so intense in mothers, and sometimes, though less frequently, in fathers, as entirely to obliterate all sense of personal danger and love of self-preservation; instances of which are to be found in every work on natural history. This feeling is not solely innate in man, or one that never was felt until the birth of Cain: it was not a new creation out of nothing at that time, but is a feeling in God, of which man is only the feeble exhibitor. If we do not admit, and not only admit but feel and enter into this, where was the love of God in giving up his only begotten and well-beloved Son to the death for His sinful and rebellious creatures? Is the love of God, too, no reality, but a mere hyperbolical expression, or something worse, in the theological creed of the religious world? We have had occasion to see, that, instead of keeping up the remembrance of the Lord's death by the sacrament of the Lord's Supper "until He come,” they mean, “until they die ;” and that the very idea of receiving what they ask for in prayer, they consider a delusion, and an impossible occurrence. Will it turn out at last, that as we proceed to the examination in detail of all the points of faith in the Christian Observer, that the party of which that journal is the organ holds not one in its plain, literal, and grammatical gense? And say we this with pleasure ? do we write it with exultation ? do we triumph with unhallowed joy over a fallen antagonist? God forbid! Cursed be every thought but that of the sincerest grief, lest our apprehensions should be realized ; and perish every wish but that these plain statements may be the means of causing many, who are deluding themselves, to inquire into the meaning of the words they use in the Liturgy, into the ground of their faith and the real object of their hope. A hope may be most earnest for that which God has never promised, and faith may be most strong upon things that have no foundation; and it would astonish all who never tried the
experiment, to examine how slender ground they have for ninety-nine out of every hundred points of their belief on all subjects, historical, moral, and religious. The expression of the love of God for his Son, and for his children, and for all mankind, is no exaggeration; no deluding assertion of a fact which is without existence; no expression borrowed from the creature's feeling, to describe a sensation which unimpassioned Deity is incapable of experiencing. If any one think this, he cannot love God; for he cannot appreciate God's love to him. The true and only way to arrive at any adequate conception—that is, as adequate as a creature can form of God's love, is to give himself up
in his most impassioned moments to the fullest delirium of affection for the child, or other object which is most capable of exciting it; and then in that moment to conceive that the love God feels for him as far transcends his for the object on which it is bestowed, as God's power exceeds that of his helpless creature : then, and then only, can he have some idea of the fulness of the expression, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for the world, that the world through Him might be saved." Yet even here the apprehension of God's love will be inadequate, not only in degree but in kind, unless the object of the man's affection, which has been above supposed, be unworthy, ungrateful, and rebellious, while his love continues unimpaired: and it is this further ingredient in the character of God's love, as exhibited in Christ, which occasions the bitterness of the anguish that Christ experiences for the unholy state of his church at the present time; weakly expressed by the poet when he says, “ How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child.” Oh, there is a sad blight come upon men's love to God, when they do not feel that his love to them is immeasurably more true in kind, as well as in degree, than theirs to any object. They may not, indeed, acknowledge it; but the unavowed conviction of their heart is, that God is unimpassioned, and that the holiness or sin of bis people confer neither gratification nor the reverse. When we thus write of God, course mean only as He is revealed in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; out of whom His being, nature, properties, and attributes, are all involved in impenetrable obscurity, or rather, since dwelling in light inaccessible, “ dark with excessive brightness.'
It would be easy to extend these principles to every sentiment, moral and intellectual, which man can exhibit. The same investigation leads us to the due appreciation of the most amiable characters, who are yet enemies to God as He is revealed in his Son, while, nevertheless, exhibiting forcibly some of the qualities of the Being they hate. They are proud of their borrowed plumes, and will not ackowledge Him as their rightful Lord and
The utmost that ever man can attain to by the very constitution of his being, is to be a true transmitter of the light that shines through him; as the most brilliant gem can be nothing but the instrument through which a fragment of the Sun's coloured
rays is shewn to the eye of the beholder. The curse which the perverted doctrines of the Divine decrees has been to the church consists in this-namely, that men have got into a habit of supposing all things to be in consequence of a certain arbitrary and capricious appointment by God of that
which might have been otherwise, instead of the whole Revelation of God, whether acted and exhibited in Jesus Christ, his express Manifester, or described in his written word, being nothing more than the reiterated declaration of the eternally necessary, because essential, properties of God and creatures ; by conformity to and agreement with which the creature's happiness is ensured, while by contrariety to them its misery is a necessary and unalterable consequence : God the perpetual and unchangeable source of every variety of blessedness; the creature leaving God, and consequently the cause of its own perpetual and adapted misery.
À more interesting and difficult branch of the same investigation is suggested by the consideration of some of those things which are evil in their manifestation, but, having a basis in truth, are most powerful, nay, irresistible. The distinction, however, must always be borne in mind between the principle in the abstract, and the form in which that principle is developed. For example: it is undoubtedly true that all creatures are, as creatures, equal in God's sight; that his love is equal towards them all; that temporal blessings, such as wealth, health, &c., are no proofs of God's favour, nor their withdrawal of his displeasure; that where Christian love is ardent, all distinctions diminish, if not wholly cease ; and in the strong instance of this in the early church there was perfect community of property. It is on this basis that the Spenceans of England and the St.Simonians of France have erected their arguments upon a present, legal, and forcible equal distribution of property. Thus, like the Fifth-Monarchy-men, and Anabaptists, they transfer to the present dispensation the peculiarities of the Millennium ; and, like the Pope, who attempts to exhibit a Melchizedek two thousand years before the time, they bring upon the stage of the devil's world, and into the devil's kingdom, a state of things which is to be the essential of Christ's world, and the peculiarities of the kingdom of the Son of God. Nevertheless, the truth on which the notions are based give them, even in its perverted form, all the force which truth unperverted has on better regulated minds.
It is time, however, to close these remarks ; but we recommend the author, should this volume of Social Duties on Christian Principles go through another edition, to pursue his outline to, a far greater extent, for the benefit of this generation, which so much needs instruction. As far as the politics of his volume are concerned, they have received very powerful support from a recent publication, entitled “ The Coronation Service of the Anglo-Saxon Kings,” by Mr. Silver ; a work which appears most opportunely to mark the Atheistical sentiments of our present statesmen, of every degree between the Hunts and the Humes on the one hand, and the Evangelical Liberals on the other.
HISTORY OF THE PRESENT MANIFESTATION OF
THERE appears to be no part of the subject relating to the manifestation of spiritual gifts on which the religious world is not in profound ignorance: nor, indeed, could it be expected that writers who knew nothing of the questions of miraculous powers, of the kingdom of the Lord, of the judgment of the quick, of the humanity of Christ, and of many other points comparatively much easier, should be any better versed in this. The only branch of the subject which we mean now to handle, is the bare historical facts concerning the manifestation of supernatural power at the present time.
Some years ago Mr. J. H. Stewart, then Minister of Percy Chapel, published a pamphlet, in which he called upon “all sincere Christians to unite in earnest prayer for the general outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” This recommendation was so much in unison with the feelings of the religious world; they were conscious of how far the exhibition they made fell short of the standard which the Scriptures held forth; that this pamphlet was bought up and circulated, until three large editions were absorbed But this was not all. The Tract Society took up the subject, and abridged the pamphlet into a little tract of forty pages, for general circulation amongst the poor ; whereby the whole Christian community was invoked to unite, and to take the kingdom of heaven by violence, until this outpouring was vouchsafed. Mr. Stewart travelled about the country in order to establish prayer-meetings for the same object, and his endeavours were attended with abundant success.
It is too true that the pamphlet and tract are stamped, in almost every page, with the vacillation, timidity, and indistinctness which pervade all Mr. Stewart's writings; and which, while they have secured for them a ready sale, have rendered them of far less utility than works by men greatly inferior to him in knowledge and in spiritual discernment. Thus, while we shew that any definite idea is expressed in one passage, there would be no difficulty in producing another passage in which that idea is subverted, or so mollified as 'to mean just nothing at all - a shadow of a shadow. Nevertheless, we shall bring forward sufficient to prove that the admirers of this work åre placed upon the horns of a dilemma, from which, in the sequel, we do not mean to allow them to escape.
from the tract, as in most general use; and there we find, in p. 4, that in Mr. Stewart's contemplation the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
is not meant to include the various extraordinary powers' con'ferred upon the Apostles by the Holy Ghost in the first ages
• of the church—such as the gift of tongues, and the working of
miracles;' and that he really looked for little beyond more preaching of Evangelical sermons, collecting more money for societies, and printing more tracts : yet, with most extraordinary inconsistency, he quotes the prophecy of Joel as the third reason for this union of prayer (p. 16), because in it the SCRIPTURES
PREDICT A DAY WHEN THE HOLY SPITIT SHALL BE GIVEN 'IN A VERY ABUNDANT MANNER, AND THAT THIS BLESSING 'WILL BE PRECEDED BY EARNEST PRAYER. Now Peter distinctly says that the fulfilment of this promise did not lie in subscriptions, printing-presses, or sermons, but in speaking with tongues and miraculous cures. If, therefore, Mr. Stewart and the religious world desired the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy, they must be content to receive it in the way it was promised, and not in the way which their carnal reasoning, opposed to Peter's spiritual decision, chose to misunderstand it. This prophecy is not mentioned, by a lapse, once, in p. 16 of the tract, and then forgotten: it is argued upon in p. 17; it is included in the form of prayer which the author has drawn up for use with this special object, p. 36; and it is enumerated amongst the passages of Scripture illustrative of the offices of the Holy
Spirit and of the latter-day glory,' in p. 37. But this is not all: Mr. Stewart gives, as another reason why Christians ought to pray for the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, p. 12, 'that it is the deliberate judgment, not of one, but of all the ‘missionaries who have lately returned from different parts of “the heathen world, that no success can be expected without a ‘ peculiar outpouring of the Holy Spirit.' Now certainly a plain man would never suppose that a "peculiar outpouring intended to convey no idea beyond more sermons of the same kind (peculiarly bad, if peculiar at all), more money, and more tracts; and still less would he have supposed this from reading in the very next page (13), that a second reason for this union ' for prayer for the general outpouring of the Holy Spirit is, that . it is in a SPECIAL MANNER, by His gracious and powerful
influence, that the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be • established. Now the words peculiar and special mean something differing in kind, as well as in degree, from what had taken place for a long time before ; and if Mr. Stewart, and the religious world who adopted his sentiments, meant nothing more than an increase in quantity, while the kind remained the same, then every allusion to Joel, and to all the prophecies which describe the manner of the establishment of our Lord's kingdom, should have been passed by.
The uncertain sound of this trumpet aroused few or none to the battle. Men must have some better teaching than this before they can be brought to any vigorous exertion.