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from well-meaning apologists, unavoidably-if such a case be supposable-ignorant of their subject, and of their own participation in other men's sins; in all these examples, the cause is as obvious as the effect. But what must we say to a herald of the Gospel of Christ devoting himself to the compilation of such idle sophistry, and such actual perversion of the Scriptures, as almost to make the Prince of Peace the minister of oppression and avarice; and this too from one who charges upon his fellow-Christians, in no measured terms, an indulgence in self-love, covetousness, want of natural affection, fierceness, contempt of what is good, treachery, headiness, high-mindedness, love of pleasure, and the mere formalities of godliness! We had imagined that these several forms of human depravity were characteristic of the slavery system itself; which, by its violation of the Divine law, directly opposes the love of our neighbour as ourselves, disinterestedness, brotherly kindness, just dealing, mildness, mercy, and the spirit and power of godliness. Yet we are now taught that such as would abolish slavery are themselves the sons of violence, acting on revolutionary principles; and anti-social conspirators, leagued together against the sanctuary and the throne! There is no occasion to analyze, point by point, reasoning which, propitiously for the Negro cause, confutes itself; and assumes, in the hands of their accuser, the character of a defence. If an antidote be wanted, it may be found in the lately published sermons of our author's friend and countryman, Dr. A. Thomson. We were not aware when we gave an extract from that valuable work in one of our late Numbers (Christ. Observ. for July, p. 455), that the author alluded to the statements of Mr. Irving in the passage just quoted.

We are more able, than willing, to extend these reprehensory periods; but as we wish ultimately to CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 333.

we

part friends, and would not even despair of persuading our ingenuous as well as highly-gifted author to review in simplicity of spirit, and in the sight of God, his own principles and method of enforcing them, we will now advance towards such points of concord as, believe, generally exist between himself and the greater portion of serious Christian thinkers. In the first place, they very generally agree with him in the expectation, either of great changes immediately to take place in human affairs, or in the powerful operation of great causes of change, which, with all their potency, may work gradually, and at length revolutionize the civilized world. But as these consequences may be either good or evil, we shall not renew the discussion with Mr. Irving, by here stating any diversity of sentiment which may again sever us, as to the nature of such results. It may be safely conceded, that most men, both of good and ill intentions, are looking out for a something which is coming upon the earth; while, in many instances,

Wise men look sad, and ruffians dance and leap.

And no one denies, that the materials of anarchy and desolation lie around us in ample profusion. This was foreseen before the actual eruption of the French Revolution, by merely human prophets; we mean, by men who knew the full relation between cause and effect, and discerned thus the glimmering shadows of futurity. One of these wrote, so far back as 1788, " Dreadful, indeed, must be a time (if such a one is to come), when men are let loose upon each other, possessed of all their present improvements and advantages, but unrestrained either by law and civil government, or by conscience and good principles; scorning the admonitions and authority of those who ought to maintain justice, and assisted by the more rude and barbarous parts of the world.... Nothing but the events 4 D

themselves, when they come to pass, can rightly explain the rest. And they will certainly speak loudly enough for themselves, as those before have done. Only, I must just remark, that it seems as if irreligion, vanity, and a total want of all serious principle, and a misapplication of the refinements of civilization, were to be allowed to produce their mischief, also at the latter end of that period," described under the Apocalyptic vials. "It will be happy for those who live some years hence, if they can prove me guilty of a mistake. I speak and write with cautious fear and reverence *."-We quite agree with such persons as discern no necessary connexion between literature and religion. Mr. Southey justly allows that letters and science tend to humanize mankind; and so far he sees something beneficial in the present diffusion of books and readers. The Edinburgh Reviewers laugh at the expectation of any mighty results from what they term the "sixpenny systems" of wisdom, emanating from the Diffusion Society's presses; while the Quarterly Reviewers-and we are glad to hail them as associates in such a sentiment-declare, that "if mechanics and labourers could be persuaded to make a study of the Bible, it would be found to convey more useful knowledge, for this world as well as the next, than all the volumes and lectures which are likely to be prepared for their edification t." We thank them for this

King's Morsels of Criticism; quoted in the Pursuits of Literature, 1797.

Quar. Rev. No. lxxviii. 494.-We take this opportunity of citing, both for Mr. Irving's sake and our own, the following portion of the same critic's estimate of the degeneracy of his country :-" The bonds of society now sit so loose, and connexions are contracted and dissolved with so much ease and indifference, that persons of almost every rank may float along the stream of life, without taking or exciting much interest in a single human being. Attachment to place has nearly become extinct also. That rush of recollection which made the tear start, and the

aureum dictum; and if all they uttered on national questions were consistent with such doctrine, we should hail them as truly valuable allies.

In the mean time, we recur with solemnized feelings, to the above quoted intimations of Mr. King; while we observe, that if there had been no counter-working causes of good since that writer gave utterance to such warnings, the prospect would be as the darkness of a winter night". But we have seen the better part of mankind awake; and if the one and forty years now gone. by have witnessed, on the continent, the temporary triumphs of anarchy and Atheism, and, at home, the frequent all but successful endeavours of domestic agitators to convulse a yet secure empire, the same awful period has witnessed the strenuous exertions of good men to repair the breaches, and to strengthen, and also extend, the lines of the Christian fortress. But here the retort will probably be made by the founder of the school in Regent Square, that our calculations of good, are all delusion-our gold is dross. Let us hear his own reasonings:

"Ancient simplicity of life is, I may say, departed from almost all classes. growing luxury against horse-racing, and And religion hath become indulgent to the theatres, and balls, it lifteth up a loud voice; but there it seemeth to stop. And methinks it is rather the outward form than the inward evil of these things which it discerneth; for I do find the same irre

infancy and youth, is felt no more, or has heart throb, on revisiting the scenes of degenerated into a transient and almost imperceptible agitation. All deep impressions are obliterated by perpetual change of company and abode; and their place is supplied by pliability of disposition, civility of manners, and a sort of indiscriminate and inactive good-will towards all mankind." Ibid. 493. We doubt whether any thing more gloomy is to be found in Mr. Irving's Commentary on men shall be lovers of their ownselves; and he, as well as his reviewers, will be surprized to find that Albemarle Street opens into Regent Square.

An account of Mr. King may be found in our vol. for 1807, p. 414. He was one of our own occasional correspondents.

gular hours, the same splendour of dress and equipage, the same lavishness of expense in entertainments; in one word, the same pleasing of the sense-and I may add also, the same spirit of censure and judgment-amongst their own companies, as amongst those which they repudiate it is the same thing under a new form it is the world become religious, but the world still; and therefore well denominated the Religious World." pp. 468, 469.

"As my chief object in this discourse is to open unto the more zealous and lively part of the church the mystery of iniquity which is working in the midst of them, I shall be at a little more pains to shew out the hypocrisy under which the love of pleasure veils itself in that religious world to which they belong. To this end, I would shew them this love of pleasure working under that style of religious society they delight in, and to which they enter every new convert; where, excepting cards and dice and dancing, there exist all the elements of pleasure which can exist in any style of society the most dissipated the same unseasonable hours, breaking up domestic economy and family duties, piety and religion; the same gay equipages, exposing man and beast to the same perils of the unseasonable night, if not morning; the same adorning of the person and broidering of the hair and wearing of apparel; the same crowding after religious notables, and vain retailing of what they said and did: in one word, the same love of pleasure, but covered over and disguised with the name of the love of God." p. 470.

"Now, let us take a view of the same thing as it is exhibited in the religious literature-that is, in the books which satisfy the desires and gratify the inclinations of religious people. Of all the reading of the religious world, at least onehalf, I might say two-thirds, consisteth in periodical publications, or the reports of societies, or the narratives of missionary labours; all connected with the present time, with living persons, with favourite objects; having the excitement of novelty and the entertainment of story; not to speak of the large mixture of compliment and flattery to those religious men and religious societies with which we have identified ourselves, and in whose celebrity our celebrity liveth. That the providence of God over his church in all parts of the world ought to be a subject of a Christian's observation and knowledge; that it should be exactly and fairly reported, and diligently meditated by all God's people, is never to be doubted: but that the few things of a favourable kind should be presented in many forms, while the many signs of God's withdrawing from and visiting upon the church should be suppressed, is dealing by the providence of God deceitfully, and ill discharging the office of chroniclers to the church of

which unfaithfulness, arising no doubt from want of discernment, and the love of being deceived with smooth tales, I do solemnly charge the periodical writers of the religious world. And, besides, I say, that the establishment of every new school or auxiliary society, at home and abroad ; the narrative, the journal, and the diary of every missionary abroad, or every traveller for missions at home; that the actings, for example, of a bishop in the visitation of his diocese in foreign parts, and all the other minute novelties with which these periodical writings are filled; are neither profitable for those of whom they are written, nor profitable for those by whom they are read; but calculated to give an exaggerated idea and factitious importance to little things, and to keep up a feverish excitement, and to gratify an idle curiosity with minute matters, and to dissipate the mind, and gratify the lowest propensity for religious news. It is the love of entertainment, the love of pleasure, under the guise of religion, which hath begun and keepeth up this active intercourse between the religious press and the religious world; and well am I convinced, that against deep and heartsearching truth nothing at this day makes so powerfully as these religious periodical writings; from which sift out the news, and the uncharitable severities, and the unprofitable memoirs of unprofitable persons, and the condemnation of books neither reviewed nor read by those who judge them, and what have ye left?nothing at all." pp. 473–475.

"It remains, that I point out another form of the love of pleasure in preference to the love of God; which is to be found in that mixture of personal gratification with religious improvement which every where aboundeth. For example, in excursions of pleasure in numerous companies, which I have been ashamed to see posted in the public streets, at so much a head, to Richmond, or to the Nore, or some other pleasant resort, all for the benefit of some religious society! Public dinners also, with rousing speeches, for the same: sales of ladies' work for religious purposes, and consisting of all manner of curiosities, elegancies, vanities, and oddities, such as a bazaar might parallel, but certainly not surpass. Again; I observe the same intermingling of pleasure, gain, and religion in strange confusion, in those excursions amongst the churches for raising money by the abuse of preaching; where a regular bargain is struckevery meal allowed for, whether partaken at the inn or of hospitality; travelling expenses by the mile allowed, which do not preclude the visiting of curiosities by the way, of beautiful romantic scenes, and all other natural scenery, with the love of which this age is gone mad-as if, which indeed they little know or think upon, they were taking a fond farewell, a long

ing, lingering look of it, before it be all changed, like a vesture-or rather, shall I say, that their punishment may be enhanced the more, for setting their affections upon the creature's weakness and bondage, instead of looking forward and praying for the creature's emancipation, deliverance, and glory? Much more could I say concerning that love of plea. sure under the guise of godliness, which hath won the mastery of this self-indulgent and luxurious society called the Religious World: out of which I would summon every man who would be a man of war for Christ, and do exploits against the enemy; for certes there is such a mixture of contraries, such a truce between the world and the church, and such an

indecision of principles, insufficiency of knowledge, and feebleness of action, there prevailing, that I augur no good from that encampment, when the heat of the campaign ariseth, and the enemy beginneth to be felt." pp. 479, 480.

A caricature is defined to be a likeness discernible under exaggerated features. We leave to the observer of the times to trace out the similarities and dissimilarities discoverable in the above sketches, by this living Gilray of the moral world. As far as the accusation is correct, they who wish well to themselves, and to their fellowlabourers, will be anxious to reform abuses and in proportion as the artist has done the originals wrong, his distortions may be safely overlooked or allowed for.

This vehement accuser may be startled, and the subjects of his accusation may be startled also, if we plead guilty to a certain portion of charges thus heavy and multifarious. And why; but becauseand we must now recur to matters already discussed in this articlethere is no novelty in the allegation, that the religious world shelters, consciously or unconsciously, many who should hide their deformity elsewhere. We refer to such sensitive, touchy, and impatient persons as betray a morbid irritability at the very sight of a reprover; and who are at a loss to furnish any consistent commentary on the text, "When the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also."

Let the language of Baxter, and to the ministers of his day, supply this defect: "The fame of a godly man is as great a snare as the fame of a learned man; and woe be to him that takes up with the fame of godliness, instead of godliness. When the times were all for learning and empty formalities, then temptation did lie that way; but now the most lively preaching is in credit, and godliness itself is in credit. What a taking thing it is to be cried up as the ablest and godliest man in the country! Alas, brethren, to have the people plead for you as their felicity, and call you the pillars of the church, the chariots and horsemen of Israel, yet I must tell you that a little grace may serve to make you seem zealous men for this. The work may be God's ; and yet we do it, not for God, but for ourselves. I confess I feel such continual danger in this point, that if I do not watch against it, lest I should study for myself, preach for myself, and write for myself, rather than for Christ, I should soon miscarry; and, after all, I justify not myself, when I condemn the sin. Consider, my brethren, what baits there are in the work of the ministry, to entice a man to be selfish; to be carnal and impious, even in the highest works of piety." (Gil. Sal. 180.) The force of these observations is doubled by the consideration, that if they were appositely addressed to the lights of the Christian world-to the stars in the right hand of a greater light-they must necessarily affect the mass of the church, as being formed under such instructors, and, from them, deriving characters both of good and evil, not properly originating in themselves. Among the awful sayings of prophecy, we find, " And there shall be, like people,like priest;" and, in churches really flourishing, such intimations should be studied, if not as direct accusations, yet as salutary monitions; as warnings against possible evil; as descriptions of corruption which once existed,

565

been acquainted with the religious
world, and, we might add, with its
parent divisions-his are thoughts
that breathe, and words that burn,
to any one who will pause at them,
and give an hour's meditation on
what he has himself doubtless seen,
in his intercourse with mankind.
Mr. Bickersteth's testimony is also
the more weighty, as coming from
a witness who might be supposed
to be willing to say the best; be-
cause he sees much of his fellows
in their holiday dresses, arranging
the concerns of missions, and there-
fore, for the time at least, shewing
themselves only as active in a good
cause; when, in truth, we all are
as we are in our work-day spirit,
and not as acted upon by the tran-
sient impulses of anniversaries, and
of publicized devotion.

1829.] Review of Irving on the Last Days. and may revisit the mingled assemblies of the church; since, in religion, as in all other things, there is fashion, and worldly influence. Popularity has, it is confessed, no inevitable connexion with spiritual It has its decay and declension. own formidable class of dangers; and there are those, blessed be God, who have passed through its fires unhurt. But the downward tendency of mankind is still observable at the termination of the hundred and seventy-four years passed away since the publication of Gildas Salvianus; and a writer who is no unqualified judge of the present state of the Christian world *willing, though we believe him to be, to go to the utmost verge of candour and hope-intimates the fear of many, and, as the passage appears to indicate, of himself, that the revival of religion" has already "It is true," he begun to decline." says, "that the profession of Evangelical principles has spread much more widely, and thence the waters may not be so deep. It is a day of concession, and there is danger of conceding vital points. Classes of men are not so distinct.

Faithful

Christians are not so separate, and united. There is less of the reproach of the Cross; and this may not spring from the greater diffusion of religion, but from the greater laxity of the religious." In some writers, the language of suspicion and fear may be interpreted almost as an act of crimination; and if Mr. Bickersteth can say what he does-long and widely as he has

See the Christian Student, p. 358; by the Rev. Edward Bickersteth. The sound judgment and scriptural piety which characterize all Mr. Bickersteth's highly useful and popular publications, appear conspicuously in the present volume. We trust it will be widely diffused and seriously weighed. It abounds in valuable remarks and apposite citations, all devoted to the glory of God, and the spiritual and eternal welfare of mankind. Every "Christian Student," whether for the sacred ministry or in private life, may find in it much to interest and much to instruct him.

We have, therefore, a second point of agreement with Mr. Irving; not indeed in the degree, but in the nature of his charges; and, as we expressed at the outset, we had borne something of the war raging against himself, long before his own columns were formed for action. There are several minor points also in which we could not well disagree; as, for example, in our author's complaint respecting the frivolous literature now too current in religious families, and in the frequent substitution of new books, for solid and standard divinity, as Sunday-reading. Conductors of magazines, and missionary publications, should also read Mr. Irving's denunciations against them-we trust that our own practice will correspond with this suggestion-with feelings entirely opposed to those of iritation, or a wish to recriminate. If an accusation be unjust, it surely will not be resented by the innocent.

We may, in passing, express our satisfaction that Mr. Irving has referred (p. 141) to the practice of administering the Eucharist to felons.

As one mode of dese

crating this sacrament has been abolished by the repeal of the test act, let us hope that consistency may

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