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The next proof arises from the treatment which the Religious World gives those who would instruct it. A person who is honest in desiring instruction in any branch of knowledge receives with eagerness the opinions of all, culling what appears to be true out of every one.
The student of chemistry reads Berzelius, and Dalton, and Thenard, and Davy; and, whether he goes the full length of these writers or not, finds something to learn, and he is grateful for it, from all. The Religious World has been recommending, and holding, prayer meetings for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. How did it expect this prayer was to be granted? Certainly not at all in the way in which we believe it to have been answered. God has been, as usual, more large in His answer, than man in his request. He has heard the
prayer; and called the attention of many of His servants to large portions of His revealed word which His professing church has been long neglecting : this acts, as all successive messages from Him do ever act, by exciting the admiration and delight and love of those who are taught by His Spirit, and the contempt and wrath and scorn of false brethren.
“ 'Twas He who taught me first to pray :
And He, I trust, has answer'd prayer;
As almost drove me lo despair.
« « Lord why is this? I trembling said ;
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death ?' “ 'Tis in this way,' the Lord replied,
• I answer prayer for grace and faith.'” We close these observations with a challenge to every one at all versed in the history of theological controversy : and we defy them to produce one subject, upon which so much wrath has been elicited as upon the mode in which the Gentile dispensation and the labours of religious societies is to close, which has produced so many works entirely free from personality, or coarse and ungentlemanlike language, as the following : " Letters of Basilicus," L. Way; “Messiah's Kingdom,” Bayford; “The Church's Expectation,” Vaughan; “Plain Tho phecy,” Marsh ; " Second Advent,” Fry; First Resurrection,” Hawtrey; “The Millennial Church," Clericus Dorcestriensis ; “Second Advent,” Hooper ; “Connected View, &c." Begg: “ The Second Advent," Madden; “ Prospect of the Christian Church,” G. Noel; and the various writings of Messrs. Faber, Cuninghame, and Frere.
REPLY TO MR. HALDANE.
In the second part of the Review of Dr. Thomson's Sermons, which appeared in our last Number, the unfair and dishonest manner in which controversy is often carried on was mentioned; the dishonesty consisting in imputing to the opponent sentiments as abhorrent to himself as to his slanderous accuser; and which was illustrated by the attack of Mr. Haldane upon Mr. Irving. Mr. Haldane is exceedingly indignant at our presumption in venturing to question the propriety of his conduct or the justice of his charges ; and, in an angry Reply” which he has addressed to Mr. Drummond, as the author of “ the Candid Examination of the Controversy” between him and Mr. Irving, he chooses to summon that gentleman into his own court, and commands him to plead before the said J. A. Haldane, upon pain of his high displeasure. What. answer Mr. Drummond may choose to give to such a summons, we cannot tell; but we shall never be loth to substantiate what is affirmed in this Journal, if true; nor backward to retract what may have been inadvertently written. If any thing, however, could prevent our doing the latter, it would be the haughty tone which Mr. Haldane thinks fit to use.
In page 3, of a pamphlet bearing the title of “ Refutation of the HERETICAL Doctrine promulgated by the Rev. Edward Irving," Mr. Haldane asserts that the “doctrine ” of Mr. Irving“ represents God as being well pleased with sin,” and in ascribing pollution to him that is holy!!! If Mr. Haldane knew and had read the writings of the man whom he so charged, he must have known that Mr. Irving, over and over again, had denied this; he must have known that Mr. Irving had expressed his abhorrence of this sentiment, with quite as much warmth as bis accuser : yet, notwithstanding this reiterated denial, and notwithstanding Mr. Haldane's knowledge of that denial, he makes the accusation, which we have called, and which we will call till Mr. Haldane retracts it, “ dishonest and slanderous” accusation.
With respect, moreover, to the slanderous part of the charge, it is slander to call an authorized minister of God's word a heretic; yet the very title of Mr. Haldane's pamphlet contains this “ railing accusation.” This is slander not only foro conscientiæ (a court for which noisy heads of religious factions seem to care little), but in Westminster Hall also. The law of the land is perhaps the only law to which such professors pay any observance; for none of the decencies of life, nor the customs of civilized society, nor the law of God for the due em
ploymentof their tongues (James iii.), can keep them in any check. For its being slanderous to call a minister of God's word“ heretical,” we have, of all living authorities, that to which at least Mr. Haldane can have no objection, although, for our own part, we profess as little sympathy with its canons of right and honour as we do satisfaction with its practice of them. “ As to their calling us heretics, that is a crime so grievous, that, unless it be visible, unless it be palpable, unless we can lay one's very hand upon it, it ought not easily to be believed of any Christian man; nor, consequently, we should think, ought it to be lightly charged upon any Christian man.”—C. Inst. p. 7.
Never, we hope, shall we be found willing to bring, much less rejoicing to bring, a charge of so foul and black a nature (as heresy) against any man.” « We have not yet such a conceit of our own infallibility, as to suppose that whoever differs from us must not only be wrong, but must be guilty of heresy.... We cannot agree with these writers, in thinking that to find a man, and especially a minister of the Gospel, guilty of heresy, is fitted to convey a high gratification to the heart of a Christian.”-Ibid.
Not only is the title of Mr. Haldane's pamphlet, “not one word of which he wishes to blot” (Reply, p.15), slanderous, as bringing a charge of heresy against a minister of God's word, but because that charge necessarily involves in it a charge of perjury also, and of pretending to hold one set of opinions for the sake of pecuniary emolument, while in his heart he holds another set of opinions directly at variance with them. This is no mere inference of ours. This charge is likewise distinctly made in the Reply, p. 239. “We turn,” says Mr. Haldane,“ to that church of which Mr. Irving still calls himself a minister, and by whose standards he is sworn to abide, and we see how decidedly his error is condemned, and stigmatized under the name of Bourignionism, which all her ministers are required to renounce." After stating one of the opinions of this lady (of which, by the way, Mr. Haldane seems to understand very little), be cites the question, “put at the ordination of every minister," which is, to know whether he renounces those opinions; and then he adds,“ This question was answered in the affirmative by Mr. Irving; and yet he defends one of the most pernicious errors of this heretical lady.”-It is not in the power of language to make a more distinct charge of heresy and perjury against any man, than is brought forward in this passage. And is he who brings it forward to affect to feel indignant at its being called slanderous ? We say "affect;" for a man must be utterly reckless of character himself, before he would venture upon such a foul aspersion on the character of another : such a man can feel no just indignation : he may feel the mortified self-esteem which vents itself in petulance and coarseness, but really alive to the value of honourable and unsullied reputation he cannot be. It is somewhat extraordinary too, if the C. Inst. - to which we refer again, neither out of compliment nor out of controversy (for we have, and desire to have, no sympathy with its spirit, its principles, or its manners,) but merely because Mr. Haldane at least can have no objection to such a reference: -if, we say, the C. Inst. felt so indignant at the charge of heresy being hinted only against Dr. Thomson, on the aggravation of its being against a minister of God's word, that it did not kindle when the same charge, with the additional flavour of perjury, was brought against a brother minister of the same church. " But what then, will you say, have these men the face to pretend that they have any real dislike to the foul heresy?-Stop, good reader; do not get into a passion at the men, nor dream of making any charge of hypocrisy against them, or of saying one bad word of them. You see we are perfectly calm. Be you quiet too, and we will let you into a secret which will explain the whole matter in the most satisfactory manner. It is this: one of the canons of (their) criticism is, that the truth of a proposition, and the soundness of a doctrine, depend entirely upon the man who propounds them. What in one man's mouth is true and orthodox, and worthy of all acceptation, is, in that of another, false, heretical, and worthy of all abhorrence." (C. Inst. 32).—Thus, if any one hints that, when Dr. Thomson attacks the doctrine of the Second Person in Godhead having taken fallen humanity, he seems to favour an heretical tenet, the man who so says is a “ base," " mean,” “ assassin,” “slanderer," &c. &c. : but if another man directly charges Mr. Irving with absolute heresy and perjury, his " publication is recommended to the attention of their readers ; “ the author triumphantly asserts the cause of truth; " and the opponent expires, “ a dead man," smothered in a torrent of “exposure of his heterodoxy, ignorance, misrepresentations, and dishonesty."--C. Inst. p. 96.
The reader is now in a capacity of judging to whom the stigma contained in the following passages must apply. “He" (the author of the Candid Examination) “has brought against me a specific charge of slanderously and dishonestly misrepresenting Mr. Irving's argument ; fastening on collateral expressions, to which I attach a meaning directly at variance with the main scope of the author, and charging him with holding opinions abhorrent to himself. If this be true, the proof is easy, litera scripta manet. I now call on Mr. D. to substantiate the charge.” We hope Mr. Haldane will be equally satisfied with our having done so.—" I affirm, it is groundless, that it has not a shadow of truth, that it is a fabrication ; and I challenge him to gainsay me.” We have proved it to be well grounded; to be true, doubly true; and not to be exaggerated, or even made the most of.—" Mr. D., in the course of his literary progress, has come to a point where three ways meet, and upon one of them he must of necessity enter. There are doubtless drawbacks and objections to each, but that is his affair. He must either prove his assertion; or publish a retractation; or bear the brand of deliberate calumny. Of the comparative advantages of these ways he must judge. The first is not only obstructed, but impracticable”- (not so fast) ;--" the second looks rough and uninviting; and the third is at once disreputable and dangerous." (p. 250). We accept the challenge for Mr. D. We have proved the assertion : we publish the reiteration of it: and since Mr. Haldane has chosen to place such an issue at stake, it is he that must “ bear the brand of deliberate calumny."
THE WORD MADE flesh."
REFERENCE was made in our Third Number, p. 495, to “a very masterly performance," entitled “The Word made Flesh.” Not only has it been censured by some of our opponents as retical,” but we have been accused of abetting the heresy of the Monothelites in having named this publication. An answer to these charges has been published by the author of the work in question, which, for its clearness and calm Christian dignity, we strongly recommend to our readers. One extract we give :-"You charge me, in the second place, with promulgating the Monothelite heresy at p. 96. 'I am glad (for the truth's sake, and also for the sake of convincing you that I am not one of those who combine the greatest apparent readiness to confess with the most extraordinary failure ever to find any occasion for confessing) to embrace this opportunity of admitting, that some confusion is observable in the phraseology which I there employ. But I will venture to say, that no unprejudiced man could, after reading the previous part of the treatise, or the passage as its stands situated, ever infer that I meant to deny that each of Christ's two natures had a will of its own..... My object was, to shew the error of supposing that the holy acts of Christ resulted from a victory obtained by his Divine will over a human will which did not cease to be rebellious when it was overcome, and to represent his human will as brought by the Holy Ghost into perfect harmony with his Divine. I stated this almost in so many words. And by harmony I certainly did not mean non-existence.” (p. 7.)