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those without, how accurately the kingdom of heaven was likened by one who forsaw the confusions of his church, to ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. As an illustration of this, we might refer to the writings of Cowperthe favourite poet of the Christian commmunity. His expostulation is one of the most powerful appeals ever addressed to the imagination and conscience of mankind. The picture there exhibited of the religious state of this country about fifty years since, is dark as the interior of a sepulchre; where no light relieves the gloom, but what glimmers through a grated window and is reflected by the heraldic garniture of a coffin. The same writer, a few years afterwards, followed up this appeal, by describing the continued darkness of the land; and it is remarkable that, like Mr. Irving, he designated his own times as synchronising with the last days of a sin-worn and expiring world. At the close of his best and longest poem, he writes: "So fares thy church. But how thy church

may fare,

The world takes little thought.

All pastors are alike

To wand'ring sheep, resolv'd to follow

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stigmatised as fierce and high-minded; as fulfilling the description of the prophets; and proving, by their character, the period of their own existence to be "the last days." If it be said, that Cowper did not aim his arrows at the religionists of his age, we have only to turn to his prose-writings, and to mark there his most decided testimony against the pollutions of what is too indiscriminately called the church, opposed to the world. If the reader will again consult our work for 1805, p. 101, he will find a passage strongly illustrative of our position; and one, indeed, which has been since quoted as a kind of standard and accredited description of the class it professes to delineate. It has been cited both by friends and by enemies; by the former in sorsow, by the latter with unjust triumph. It has been cited as a proof to serve the opposite purposes of misrepresenting all the professors of religion as hypocrites, and of sifting the chaff of mere profession from the fruitful grain of sincerity and truth.

Our own use of it at the time may be seen in the remarks then appended, part of which we will copy :-" We are aware that we have given no small offence to many persons: we have been accused of injuring religion by an indiscreet display of the faults of its professors. Would not silence in such a case be treachery?" We are not now debating how far Cowper, and the writers who echoed his sentiments, are justified in drawing up charges so indiscriminate; our immediate object being to prove that Mr. Irving has not passed over untrodden ground, and by shewing how we ourselves were censured for exposing inconsistent religionists a quarter of a century back, to vindicate our claim to impartiality in weighing the strictures of Mr. Irving,-neither shrinking from allowing some of his charges, nay which we ourselves have

See also our volumes for 1804, pp. 648, 703, 742; for 1809, pp. 333-358.

anticipated, nor failing to protest against his conclusions where he is unjustly an accuser of the brethren. If we go back to the age of Baxter, we shall find him also bitterly deploring the treachery within the Christian citadel, and adding evidence yet more painful of the impatience and intolerance of reproof manifested by persons whose very feelings of resentment were the most unexceptionable witnesses to the justice and fidelity of their reluctant accusers. Of all the delicate arts none requires greater nicety than to tell our fellow-sinners of their faults; and the difficulty is augmented, when we have to remonstrate with offenders who, from the centre of their own select circles -from the pedestal where they have been placed by a kind of idolatrous partiality,-are tempted to feel themselves secure from the blame they freely bestow elsewhere. When Baxter was appointed by his brethren to prepare a pastoral directory for a day of humiliation to be held at Worcester, as long ago as the 4th of December, 1655, he foresaw the necessity of faithfully implicating them in the sins they charged upon others; and he was well aware how unwelcome would be this part of his remonstrances. "Most of them," he writes," can be willing that others be blamed, so they might be justified themselves. I can truly say, that what I have here spoken hath been as impartially as I could; and not as a party, nor as siding with any, but as owning the common Christian cause. But I find it impossible to avoid the offending of guilty men. I except those that are willing to know the worst of themselves; and long to know their sins, that they may forsake them. A poor drunkard or swearer will more patiently hear of his sin, than many that we hope are godly will of theirs. But godliness was never made to be the credit of men's sins; nor is sin to be let alone, or well thought of, when it can but get into a godly man. Shall we hate them

most, whom we are bound to love best? and shall we shew it by forbearing our plain rebuke, and suffering their sin upon them? It is the sinful unhappiness of some men's minds, that they disaffect them that cross. them in their proceedings, and plainly tell them of their faults. And they are ready to judge of the reprover's spirit by their own, and to think that such sharp reproofs proceed from some disaffection to their persons, or partial opposition to the opinions which they hold: and, therefore, they will seldom regard the reproofs of any, but those of their own party; who will seldom deal plainly with them, because they are of their own party. But plain dealers are always approved in the end; and the time is at hand, when you shall confess, that those were your truest friends. I crave your candid interpretation of my boldness, assuring you that I obey not the counsel of my flesh herein, but displease myself as much as some of you; and had rather have the ease and peace of silence, if it would stand with duty and the churches' good *." It is evident

An abridgment of this pungent, yet comPreface to Gildas Salvianus, 1656.passionate, work by Dr. Brown, has been lately published at the Glasgow press, under the title of The Reformed Pastor; Daniel Wilson. We earnestly recommend with preliminary remarks by the Rev. to our readers this cheap but invaluable publication, both for their own diligent perusal, and for wide distribution, especially among the clergy. Mr. Wilson's essay is most appropriate and impressive; and brings the remarks of Baxter home with great faithfulness and discrimination to the circumstances of the present times. We are indebted to the publishers of the "Select Christian Authors," for numerous valuable treatises in a neat yet cheap form, as well as for many able essays prefixed to them; but we know not that there is any one of greater importance than that which has called forth this brief but zealous commendation. What revivals of religion might we not, by the blessing of God, hope for in the church of Christ, would all her ministers make this heartsearching treatise their constant study! There was a previous digest of the work by Fawcett.

from the most authentic annals of the Christian world in Baxter's days, that in proportion as pastors and flocks were formed on the model implied in the above extract, were they useful and consistent members of the church of Christ.

If it was an age of much division, hypocrisy, and false doctrine; it was also an age of great unity, sincerity, and truth. The difficulty was, as it is now, to separate high pretensions from real devotedness to the cause of God and his Christ. Geographers, when describing the boundaries of states, frequently refer to an imaginary line, as a limit necessary to be traced, in the absence of such visible features of nature as a river or a range of mountains. He who would mark out, on the map of the Christian world, the restrictions within which the spirit of complaint and remonstrance should confine itself, must not expect to be hailed as a master of definitions. The borderers on either side will suspect, upbraid, and reprove him; and his imaginary lines will be a premium upon dispute and inter-national quarrels. Mr. Irving, however, possesses powers of definition which no one can question. It is, at least, quite impossible to mistake his meaning, as to the parties who fall before his scythe. He is also "laudator temporis acti ;" and to an extent extremely inconsistent with his remarks in the following extract, which we may also quote as an interesting specimen of his style of writing.

"To understand the changes which have passed upon the church, it is necessary to transport yourself a generation or two back; and having become familiar with the spirit of that time, so far as can be ascertained from the conversation of old people, and the perusal of written books, the recollection of traditions, and the inspection of other monuments which survive the wreck of time, to draw it into comparison with the spirit of the times in which we live. To the faithful and true striking of this balance, much wisdom is necessary; for in conversing with old people, you must make allowance for the

hallucinations of age, and the halo of glory with which the season of youth is surrounded. And in studying the monuments of a former time, it requireth much skill indeed to recompose their fragments into a true picture of the living and moving persons to whom they belonged. These are the difficulties which attend the right

judgment of times past. And to make up a true judgment of times present, there are difficulties of an almost equal amount, though of a very different kind: which are, first, the vanity of our own age, repart of it; secondly, the collected vanity flected from our ownselves, which form of all the living who speak and who write of it; thirdly, the exaggeration of things of things now gone by: all which together near at hand; and, fourthly, the oblivion

mightily warp the estimation men commonly make of the times in which they live. Of all those difficulties which beset our undertaking, I am most fully aware, and desire to bear them in mind, and with the more humility to submit myself to the teaching of the Holy Ghost. For though I have conversed much with old men, and, I may say, delighted to give of them reverence, and lived the most part of my youth at their feet listening to their account of former times; and though my reading and study have been much amongst the writers of the former ages of the times ariseth from this very familiarity church; I am not ignorant that there oftwith the olden times such an admiration of antiquity, as to make us unjust to the times in which we live. Vanity and pride and malice, also, lead us to identify ourselves with the illustrious dead, in order that through the shade of their greatness we may wound the illustrious living." pp. 73, 74.

This is written with such equability of temper, and discernment of human character, as causes us the more to feel the impetuosity of our author's spirit, when he departs from his own rules. All teachers of others will be, more or less, illustrations of the distinction be. tween doctrine and example; and mankind are familiar with this, and are accustomed to make a certain degree of allowance for a reprover's difference from himself. But Mr. Irving has exceeded the widest limits; or has furnished an extreme case, where the jurists in vain look for a precedent. When religious persons draw up long and elaborate articles of impeachment against their fellows, they should remember, that they are in peril of vexing where

they wish to convince; and although every accusation may be short of the truth, yet a reformer, and especially a Christian reformer, will fail to hem in the world by the violences of censure. The party he attempts to surround, will be violent in selfdefence. "Undique recalcitrat tutus." It will be, indeed, a false safety; but it will spurn away a reprover, who, had he come with stronger indications of good-will and sympathy, might have prevailed, and imparted unknown blessings.

Let not Mr. Irving accuse us of kicking against the whole of his indictment; the language of which is frequently more severe than the substance. We think him to be perfectly justified in supposing any degree of deviation, however great, from the faith, in some one or other of the various divisions of the church. The transition from good to evil is too natural; being the regular course of human kind, in the things most nearly affecting their happiness. We may observe this in the gradual decline of religious families. The grandfather was a decided and consistent Christian, and bequeathed to his son the knowledge, and perhaps the profession, of serious religion; and the profession, by the Divine blessing on a parent's prayers and example, might eventually be sin cere. In the third generation, the forms, and possibly the opinions of religion, had become hereditary; but these were followed by nothing better than a support of the popular institutions of the age, as by a kind of traditionary duty performed out wardly; while the affections are secretly placed upon the world. This species of degenerate family religion is deeply injurious to the Christian cause. Its touch is pollution, and the more detrimental, because of its being connected with the veneration due to the family name, from the remembrance of what it once was; as, in another relation, we cannot look at the descendants of a Marlborough or Sully whether worthy or unworthy in

their own personal character-without feeling the claims of their ancestry. But if a family of the religious world can suffer spiritual decay, and finally become re-absorbed into the mass whence the grace of God originally delivered it, churches, which are only collections of individuals and families, may pass through the same process. The discerning spirit of Milner, in his remarks on the degeneracy of the church of Sardis, finds a parallel to such a state of things in modern times. He writes, "The love of the world increases with the abatement of persecution. Lively Christians are removed by death; their juniors, inferior in all solid godliness, superior only in self-estimation, reduce the standard of Christian grace lower and lower: what was once experimentally known, becomes matter of barren speculation; sensual and worldly objects allure the carnal mind with success: lucrative speculations in commerce devour the spirit of godly meditation; the seasons of religious duty are jostled out by the throng of business; and excuses of necessity are easily admitted. Men find a pleasure in being no longer reputed fanatics; and professors will now ask leave of the world, how far it will permit them to proceed in religion, without offence." This is a plain statement; and if it cannot be confirmed, and accurately exemplified in the present age of the church, we may ask, by what process has the human heart of the nineteenth century lost the stigmata of all previous time. Are the brand-marks worn out? We know what the church was, in what are called its earliest and best days; and it might be a useful exercise of the imagination to carry ourselves back, for example, to an open committee or general meeting of the Corinthian church, convened for the purpose of considering the first of St. Paul's Epistles. It is easy to fancy the impatience, the irritation, and, as the world calls it, the wounded pride, which would be

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a delicacy, and gentleness combined with whatever severity he used, as one commissioned from above, to shew the Corinthian converts the ingratitude and danger of their conduct *. In the example of Mr. Irving, we may find what we will concede to be fidelity of reproof, however deformed and weakened by unchastised language; but we look-must we say it? we say it grieving-in vain for that spirit of sympathy, self-condemnation, and remembrance of the cause of the difference between the elect and others, which breathes throughout the writings, and the most stern exercise of St. Paul's authority. It will be also recollected, that the Wesleys, and others of their age, whom Mr. Irving has incidentally mentioned with somewhat of a contemptuous feeling, confessed in their spiritual maturity, how much, in the early period of their zeal, they neglected to temper their exhortations and alarms to a wicked world with expressions of tenderness for its guilt and misery. Christ wept over Jerusalem at the very time when he declared that its last days were approaching; and, according to this perfect example, there is no inconsistency in lamenting over a city inevitably doomed to destruction.

discovered under these circum- sionate one. There is an address, stances. Consciousness of guilt, mingled with something approaching to the feelings of the fallen spirit, described by Milton as "high disdain from sense of injured merit," would agitate the bosom of many a member of the lapsed church. There would be attempts to re-criminate, and to lower the authority of the accuser; and beneath the shelter of the confusion thus created, to hide guilt, and to escape, for the time, from the upbraidings of conscience. We have no occasion, indeed, to imagine these things. They are written for our instruction; and, with all the emphasis of fact, in the inspired records of the church. Let any one carefully read the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and he will observe that St. Paul uses, if we may so speak, all his address, and all the innocent arts of self-defence, in order to find shelter for the truth; while, at the same time, he conciliates a party which had evidently resisted apostolic and inspired authority. An instructor, thus disparaged, was driven to self-commendation; or rather, to assert his real claims, because they were disputed by factious disciples, and by individuals striving to shun punishment. He says, "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest Apostles, though I be nothing. I fear, lest when I come, I shall not find you as I would, and that I shall be found unto you, as ye would not; lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, back-bitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults; and lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed."

But if St. Paul was a faithful reprover, he was equally a compas

Mr. Irving's plan, like all schemes of a headlong character, betrays him into many curious anomalies. One of these appears to be his high notion about the enormity of dis

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for St. Paul's character, than that his exNothing more raises our veneration treme sensibility of heart, and his rare delicacy in consulting the feelings of others, is never exercised at the expense of his integrity. There are many upright minds, whose honesty is yet somewhat disfigured by a harsh temper. They are too conscientious to censure unjustly; but, knowing the censure to be merited, they have rather a pleasure in inflicting the correction. And though they are not glad the offender deserves it, they are not sorry it is their duty to impart it. St. Paul never severely reproved another, that he did not inflict a wound on his own

feelings."-Mrs. H. More's Essay on St.

Paul. Vol. II. ch. xiii.

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