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How, by their bold, consistent, and uncompromising defence of the truth, might they have been honoured even to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ, instead of having, as the most prominent inscription on their forehead, the designation of Ishmael, “ His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him!' (Rec. Oct. 28). If this were not qualified by what follows, we should hold out to the writer the right hand of fellowship, and request him to instruct us at what "bidding” we should act, if not at that “ of Heaven;" and to tell us in what respect“ even persecution,” which he calls being " honoured," differs from having “every man's hand against ” us. And as he fully grants that we “ undoubtedly possess talents, industry, and acquirements," which it would not become us to claim for ourselves; while we may, and ought, to claim those qualities which the Searcher of hearts alone knows, and which man must ever take upon trust from his fellow-man, honesty, and the fear of God - Putting these things together, is it not possible that we may be suffering persecution for the cross of Christ? And is there not an authority (paramount with us, though sundry idols are by the Religious World set up in His place) who has said, “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you....Blessed are ye when all men shall speak evil of you, falsely, for my name's sake?” We solemnly assure our censor, that it is our endeavour and prayer that no evil may be spoken of us except falsely; and for the rest we take it joyfully, hoping to be found by our Master in the number of those to whom he hath said " Great is your reward in heaven.”
But this writer, in the course of the same article, by inattention, or a confusion of intellect which we are quite unable to account for, imputes to us errors which we not only abhor in private, but have repeatedly written and protested against, as he ought to have known and remembered. What he means by “confounding virtue and vice, and the original principles whence good and evil spring,” is unintelligible to us : he has given us no clue to discover what part of our writings he has so grievously misunderstood ; and, standing bare and naked as it does, we deny it, as an assertion, not only unfounded but calumnious.
He next charges us with “ baptismal regeneration !”-a monstrous accusation, were it made knowingly and intelligently, for it has been our special object to guard against this error whenever we had occasion to treat on baptism. Our belief respecting baptism is precisely that contained in the Articles and formularies of the Church of England ; and we scorn “to draw the Article aside any way, but submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof." A sacrament is “ an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace." The outward sign alone can be ad
ministered by man, Of it alone can man take cognisance: the inward grace is the gift of God, known to him alone: the ordinance needs the accompanying grace to constitute regeneration. But superficial inquirers think that there are but two opinions, and both of these opinions are equally erroneous. If the ordinance be a mere sign, as this person seems to imagine, it is no sacrament, because the grace is wanting; and if the ordinance necessarily confers the grace, the man who administers the rite is put in the place of God—a blasphemy which this writer imputes to us, but which we reject with abhorrence. Nor is this a single instance of his mistake in this matter; for three several times, at considerable intervals, does he charge with heresy all those who believe baptism to be a sacrament, according as it is defined by the Church of England; calling the true doctrine, Baptismal Regeneration; and thus including every conscientious member of the Church of England in one sweeping censure, which has no foundation but his own ignorance. If he really feels “grief” in his breast, and if his "indignation” be honest, let him take a little more pains to ascertain our real sentiments, and not impute to us errors which we ourselves reprobate more deeply, because more intelligently, than he can possibly do.
Another writer, in a monthly publication of the most extensive circulation, has often assailed us; but we pass his observations addressed expressly to us, as pointless, and scarcely tangible, in order to notice a review which appeared in the number for October (p. 437), and which involves matters of far deeper interest than any wbich concern ourselves. Heis noticing a pamphlet published by the Rev. A. Robertson, called “ A Vindication of the Religion of the Land from Misrepresentation, and an Exposure
of the absurd Pretentions of the Gairloch Enthusiasts.” Of the pamphlet we say nothing for the present, further than to warn our readers against it, by telling them that such of our friends as have seen it declare it to be one of the most wicked books they have ever seen. The reviewer observes, “We did not anticipate that the enthusiasm of Miss Campbell and her friends would have led them to work miracles, speak tongues unknown to themselves and every body else, and prophesy; yet true it is, and of verity, that they have made the attempt, and that in some instances they boast of success." This writer evidently supposes that the
' mere fact of persons having attempted to exercise any of these powers is “ astounding beyond any thing that has appeared in modern times,” and that the believing in the possession of such powers proves “ to what lengths people will “
when they are given over to strong delusions, to believe a lie.” (p. 438.) Now the simple question is, Had the Apostles these powers ? The reviewer' himself must answer, Yes. Had the Seventy these powers? He must answer, Yes (Luke x. 1, 21.) Had any false
professors these powers ? He must answer, Yes: for “ many will say, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. vii. 22.) And, lastly, had the successors of the Apostles, and of the Seventy, and of the one hundred and twenty disciples at Pentecost, had the universal church, a promise of the continuance of these powers? We answer, Yes: we have often maintained it in argument, and call upon the reviewer to disprove it, and not to imagine that his “ doubt ” will stop the inquiry of his readers, farless set aside" well-attested facts,” which we have now, thank God, the means of adducing—which we shall, God willing, adduce in our next Number—to the truth of which we can speak from examination of all the parties, and which we expect to render indisputable by the first medical authorities. In the mean time we may prepare our readers for the kind of reception the facts are likely to meet with, by one more sentence from this reviewer (p. 438):
Though we doubt whether there be any well-attested miracles on record, performed by human agency, save those which stand in the pages of Inspiration, yet we must remind our somewhat ambitious friends, north and south, that, if they expect to gull a thinking public upon mere matters of fact, they must manage their exploits better than in the very loving epistle of good Mr. Macdonald of Port-Glasgow to his consumptive friend Mary Campbell*.” Their being “ well attested” seems to be the only criterion which this reviewer requires; and when we bring forward cases to which he cannot deny this character, we shall see whether he will frankly admit them, or adduce some other criteria, as an excuse for rejecting them. We do not stop to point out the want of exactness in his expressions, which, if strictly understood, would exclude all miracles which are not recorded, even those of our Lord (see John xxi. 25); those of the Apostles not specified (see Acts v. 15, 16); and would deny that the Apostles or disciples wrought any after the first four years of their preaching, beyond which the record in the Acts
Mr. Robertson has printed some silly stories of attempts to work miracles which failed. These we neither admit nor deny, for we know nothing about them. It is possible that some persons of weak judgment may have mistaken false confidence for faith, and exposed themselves to ridicule. It is also possible that M. Campbell may become puffed up, and indulge missionary schemes and other unwarrantable presumptions : such means will, we doubt not, be employed by Satan to bring discredit upon the whole. But we assert, knowingly and positively, that the Macdonalds and their friends have hitherto been preserved from all such extravagancies; have protested to their utmost against any tendency towards enthusiasm ; and we hope and pray that they may be ever kept in humility and sobriety of mind, neither“ resisting," “ grieving," por “quenching " the Holy Spirit of our God.
does not reach, except in the instance of Paul. But we part from this reviewer with the solemn warning, to take care that he be not snared in his own craftiness; that the chief deceiver is not confined to Port-Glasgow, but " walketh every where, seeking whom he may devour ;” and that there is no frame of mind into which he is more likely to find ready access, than one which despises others for credulity, and prides itself in its own discernment. That the Macdonalds and their friends are humble, holy, devoted Christians, their very reprehenders are constrained to allow; that many slanders have been propagated respecting them, we are well assured : these they will soon live down: their characters will then appear in their true light; and God will interpose in defence of his own truth, wherever it be held, and decide in his own way the many controversies by which his poor church is now torn and distracted; when“ many that are first shall be LAST, and many that are lust shall be first.”
We notice, in the third place, that publication which has the widest, we had almost said the exclusive, circulation among the ministers of the Church of Scotland. It has several times assailed us with all the virulence and personality it could collect, to which we have not yet replied. Reply to it in kind, we neither could if we would, nor would if we could: such weapons as it uses defile the man who touches them, and harm not those who despise them. Nor should we notice it at all, but that we know such confident assertions do produce a great effect upon simple, honest-minded men, who naturally suppose that no one would dare to make them, still less have the hardihood to reiterate them, unless they had good foundation. And when, moreover, the charges rest upon quotations from the Fathers - to which we most confidently attach a meaning confirmatory of the doctrines we maintain, while our opponent as confidently attaches a meaning condemnatory of our doctrines to the very same quotations—it becomes absolutely necessary to draw out the meaning of these several passages from the Fathers, both for the sake of such of our readers as do not understand the original languages, and for those who, though they do understand them, have not the books at hand for reference. If in doing this we expose in our antagonist a degree of ignorance which may at first seem incredible, we entreat our readers to examine the matter quietly for themselves, and they will find that we have rather understated than exaggerated the blunders; and to believe us when we assure them, that we do it in no malicious or scornful spirit, but as being sincerely desirous to check the erroneous career of one man, lest he should mislead hundreds, to their certain loss, and some perhaps even to their destruction. Our difficulty in replying to such an opponent few of our readers will have ever been in circumstances to feel : for while all the deep doctrines of the Gospel solemnize
the mind, and attune it only to the deeper and sterner feelings, calling forth indignation, holy zeal, and stern rebuke of an error which intrudes; these manly feelings are disarmed by the persuasion that this our antagonist sins more in ignorance than malice, and we cannot bring ourselves to deal with him as with an obstinate, incorrigible offender. We perceive too, that, though deep doctrines are continually on his lip, he never penetrates beneath the surface; and that to set before him the richest ore, or gems of the purest water, would be like offering treasures of the mine to an African, who prefers his glass-bead to a jewel and his cowries to bullion. We have therefore no choice, in our manner of dealing with this opponent; but must either neglect him altogether-which, for the reasons given above, we think inexpedient-or notice his writings in a light, superficial way; not in our “ Theological Department,” and amongst graver matters, but with the Notices to Correspondents and other incidental topics.
This northern Antagonist, who has been most prominently forward among his party, has made another attack upon us in his last month's vehicle of abuse. We do not mean to impute the absurdities we shall have to notice to the reverend doctors who principally support that publication; yet they are not wholly free from censure, for allowing their names to be at all identified with productions so disreputable. We have reason to believe that these absurdities proceed from an obscure individual, who has thrust himself forward as a volunteer, unacquainted with the position he meant to assail, and without having proved his weapons either for attack or defence. This person seems to be very angry with us, as if we had given him some personal offence; but he labours under mistake in this point, as well as in his theology, for we have never alluded to him personally before, and never mean to do so again. We are in perfect good temper with him, have no anger towards him for any thing he has said of us, and feel nothing but pity for his delusions, except when it gives place for a moment to sterner feel. ings, by our pity being transferred to the simple souls which are misled by such an Instructor. In the last attack, after the most diligent search, he can find but two mistakes to charge upon us: first, the misprinting an s for an f; secondly, the insertion of aut unnecessarily. To the first mistake we plead guilty ; we have misprinted the word. The second charge we deny, and, in direct opposition to his assertion, we assert that the aut is necessary to the sense; and we suspect that his supply of books is not only scanty, but that his editions are bad, for the aut is inserted in both our editions. He endeavours to fasten two other charges upon us, which sit so lightly that we only smile at them; and even feel amused at the oddity of a diseased imagina