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on such an occasion. We also defer, for instance of the triumph of principle and the present, our remarks upon the bills actual experience, over the fears and prebefore the legislature ; as the King's de. judices which so often impede measures mise may probably prevent some of them of great wisdom and public advantage. passing through the usual stages before We trust the same success may attend the a new parliament is summoned. Among efforts in progress for the abolition of slathe measures which we are most anxious very, the extinction of our present injushould not lapse is that for the abolition rious code of poor laws, facilitating the of capital punishment in all cases of for- course of justice, and many other questions gery, except forging wills. This provision of great importance ; among others, that has passed the House of Com.nons, and which Sir R. Inglis has been strenuously is proceeding through the House of Lords, pressing upon the attention of the govern. by the wisdom and humanity of the le- ment and legislature, the practice of mak. gislature, and the public feeling of the ing British soldiers assisi at popish and country, against the opinions and influence heathen ceremonies. of government. It is a most important
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. A Constant Reader; T. W. H.; R. ; INQUIRER; J. H. R. ; P.G. H.; A WOULD
BE CHURCHMAN; P. S. J.; A BARRISTER; G.H.; J. H. M.; and An Old READER; are under consideration.
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY. It is perhaps only because the speeches at the late anniversary are the last, that we seem to think thein among the most interesting that we have ever read on this always interesting occasion. The document needs not one word of introduction, to induce its eager perusal by our readers.
ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY. If we have sometimes thought the public, and not least the religious part of the public, too languid in seconding the efforts of this valuable institution for the extinction of slavery, we rejoice in inferring from the interesting proceedings at the last meeting, that this opprobrium is likely to be removed. Seldom has a public assembly been conducted with greater animation, greater energy, greater devotion to the object of the meeting; and we may add with greater unanimity; for the very discussion which arose as to the best means of obtaining the proposed end, only shewed how eagerly all wished it, and how fixed and unalterable was the determination to obtain it. This meeting will form an epoch in the Anti-slavery cause. A resolution has been passed to implore parliament to fix a day, and the earliest day practicable, beyond which, all children born throughout the British dominions shall be free. Hitherto all that has passed in the cabinet, in the legislature, and still more in the colonial assemblies, has but mocked the hopes of every enlightened and benevolent mind. Let us come, at length, to some precise, intelligible, tangible determination. The present House of Commons will not meet again after their separation : let every Christian, every man of justice and humanity, do all that in bim lies, that the next parliament shall effect far, very far, more than the present has done ;-let the abolition of slavery be the watch-word- not in a spirit of political party, but solemnly, and as in the sight of God, of every election banner throughout the kingdom. Let every candidate feel that not to give a full and unalienable pledge on this subject, is to aban. don all claiın to represent his fellow-countrymen within the walls of parliament. God, who is infinitely just, and infinitely merciful, will not be deaf to the prayers which are offered for the desolate and oppressed, or the zealous and self-denying efforts which are made for their benefit
BRITISH AND FOREIGN SCHOOL SOCIETY. We are happy to see it stated by Lord Bexley that the great object of this important society is “ scriptural education,” or in the expressive words of the lev. G. Noel
, that " it is a distingishing feature of the society that it educates not only for time, but for eternity.” Mr. Bennett attests the great benefit derived to Christian inissions, from the system of mutual instruction, as pursued by the society. The statement respecting the New-York African schools is highly encouraging ; but we would particularly point the attention of our readers to the communication respecting the increased facilities for introducing Christian schools into China, to promote which the society has established a special fund, which we trust will be replenished in a manner worthy of the importance of the object.
The length of the above documents obliges us to defer the Bible Society Monthly Extracts, the Anti-slavery Supplement, the Reports of the Hibernian Society, the Peace Society, and other Societies, the Prayer-book and llomily Society speeches, &c. &c.
ON PROPHETIC SPECULATION. the other hand, it seems impossible
in this matter to be wise : and there. Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. fore I am tempted to despond, and
to be content to know nothing, beAs you have ever opened your cause there is a limit to knowledge.
pages to temperate discus. But in the circumstances under sion, on a subject interesting, in which you address me, I think that various degrees, and for different in what I have to say, our discusreasons, to a considerable portion sion may be narrowed. You are of the reading public, you will per- the incumbent of a populous parish, haps admit the inclosed letter, ad- making incessant demands upon dressed to me by a clerical friend, your time ; not merely for public whom I consulted on the occasion services, but for at may be of which he states. It is forwarded at least equal importance-the pasby his own consent ; and he only toral care during the week, and the begs me to add, that all its claim management also of the machinery to attention rests on a wish to make of your various religious and chathe prophetic controversy an inci. ritable institutions. The question dental cause of practical usefulness. is, how far a clergyman so situated The communication will, however, should enter into the prophetical laspeak for itself.
FRANCISCUS. byrinths of the day,
Let me observe, then, in the first My dear friend,- You have been place, that if we are to preach on pleased to ask, and with a certain the prophecies, as guided by the earnestness of manner, my opinions assumed rule, that every scriptural on the subject of prophecy. I subject shouid form the material of scarcely know whether I have any pulpit instruction in proportion to opinions on a topic so intricate and the space which it occupies in the extensive-any, I mean, sufficiently Scriptures themselves, we doubtless definite for your purpose ; and cer- ought to preach more than most of tainly none which are at all ade- us generally do on prophetical to. quate to my own wishes, if I aspire pics; for it would surprise those to become your adviser. In this who have not examined the fact, to connexion, indeed, I alternately feel be informed what a vast portion of ashamed and despondent. I ask the Bible is written by the pen of myself, Is it not wrong for a public prophets, as such; beginning, at instructor to be ignorant on points Moses, and closing with the last which form so considerable a portion chapter of the Revelations. But of of the Scriptures? and my sense of this portion, it appears, so far as I ignorance induces shame. Yet, on am acquainted with the actual state CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 343.
of things among us, that only a place, to the dogmatism and intosmall part comparatively is con- lerant manner in which some of nected with the favourite theories our friends, lay and clerical, insist of certain among our brethren. upon the nearness of the appearance Consequently, the rule of propor- of Jesus Christ. Now, let us assume, tion, if it be a rule, is evidently vio. that it certainly is near; and, by lated; and hence, if you and I are ac- way of giving the party in question cused-and, so far as I can calculate, a considerable advantage in their very justly in both instances-of be- argument, let us even go so far as ing too silent on points which the to fix, for the second advent, the Spirit of God has largely offered to year 1836-only six years from the our consideration, it may become present date. It may tend to realthose who accuse us to examine, on ize the position, that if we look their own parts, how widely they back over the same period of our have departed from the rule, by past existence, we return to the commaking selections where they ought paratively recent year, 1824-the to have received the whole ; and brief interval having vanished as a also by being too busy where we dream, and indicating the rapidity have, perhaps, been all but entirely with which the same prospective pe. negligent. I suspect that if all riod will fly away. Add to this, the parties preached with a more fami- emotion created bythe remembrance, liar knowledge of the Scriptures, that in this portion of the past eternity we should not be so unwilling, as and oh, how short!- there are few perhaps we are, to lead our con- among us who do not notice many gregations to meditate on the ob vacancies in their social circles ocscure intimations of prophecy; and casioned by the inroads of death. our reprovers also would discover, Now I think we may very solemnly that the Divine record contains very ask such of our brethren as hold many heads of instruction, which the assumed date, or any other speare not properly worked into the cific date, what preparation a Christexture of their public discourses. tian is bound to make, with referWe may thus recriminate, and, as ence to the coming revelation of in many similar cases, slide back 1836, which he needs not make, for again to our several stations ; having the very next year of his mortal come out of them for nothing better existence - nay, for the next month, than to increase our mutual obsti- day, hour, moment! For he is no nacy, and to give the unbelieving more certain of surviving to witworld one proof more of our dis- ness the supposed approaching apunion and ostensible determination pearance, than are those who will never to be convinced. Nay, worse be summoned into the eternal world, than this, the common enemy set
second of the intermediate tles down upon the lees of sin. He time. “ Be ye therefore ready." was amused, but none of us alarm- For what? for a definite period, ed him: he possibly thought that when life itself is proverbially unour quarrels constituted our religion. certain ? No; but for the hour If such were his opinion, who of us, when Jesus Christ shall call us; as having a rising consciousness of this he has called the innumerable mil. effect, endeavoured to shake him lions, now in their graves, into the out of his delusions; and warned invisible state. I own that I am him that we were at least agreed startled by the doctrine implied by in one thing, by making the corres- the speculators in prophecy, that pondent inquiry, “ Who may abide there is a certain preparation of the the day of his coming, and who shall soul for an event six years, or any stand when he appeareth? For he precise number of years, hence, disis like a refiner's fire."
tinct from the preparation which is In connexion with this appeal to demanded for death itself, under conscience, I advert, in the next the usual circumstances of its
approach and temporary dominion grape ; and from what was it gaWhat degree of repentance, what thered. If from the true vine, that act of faith, what assurance of tree of life flourished, and bore its salvation, what perfection of holin richest clusters, long before the day ness, what anticipation of heaven, that is passing over us. And this ought I to seek - not as one who, if leads me to a second inquiry, namely, an established Christian, dies daily; if these prophetic students but as one who may live the six in- held such exalted sentiments, nor tervening years, but also may depart experienced such spiritual influ. this life before a tenth portion of ences, till they looked for a near that period has expired?
and personal revelation of the Son practical sense, Christ comes to me of God, why was this ? Do they in the article of death. It seems to mean to say, that the Gospel, under be a difficulty whence there is no the influence of the Holy Spirit, escape, to suppose, in short, that was previously insufficient for their personal religion is capable of being conversion; that it was not enough regulated by dates.
to hear Moses and the Prophets, and I proceed to a third point. If the even Jesus himself, as they were disciples of the modern school of pro- heard in a former period? You will, phecy assert, that, till theyadopted its I think, agree with me, that quesiheories, they never possessed exalted tions more solemn than these can views of the glory of Christ, and of his scarcely be asked. I urge them offices in the mystery of the Gospel, under emotions of surprise, if not neither experienced the powers of the of serious apprehension for the reliworld to come in their own souls, I gious safety of the speculators to would offer two inquiries respecting whom they are addressed. It is this statement. The first is, whether impossible to be too jealous of any they really do possess this high system which seems to make disestimate of Christianity-whether coveries in the method of salvation. they do experience these spiritual Time, indeed, reveals the secrets of influences. It is easy to imagine prophecy ; but it is by events, and that a novice, or even a man of the not by doctrines. Have the adworld, who meets with an impas- herents of the modern hypothesis sioned treatise on any religious sub- ever even reached_far less exceedject, and thence becomes a con- ed - the devotional character of vert to its author's opinions, may Leighton, the practical holiness of set himself down as a proselyte, and Baxter, or, in one word, gained a wonder, both at his master's powers single advantage, properly and deof reasoning, and at his own previous cidedly spiritual, of which the saints ignorance; and if the work contain of a former age were ignorant ? vivid representations of the great- Allow now to advance a ness of the Redeemer, it is scarcely theory, on my own part, explanatoo much to say, that even a liber- tory of the confusions of the times ; tine might be dazzled, and plead and with especial reference to our that a system so imposing must be inmediate subject. It shall be subtrue. But his fancy is gratified, mitted to you, in the shape, also, while his heart is untouched ; and of an inquiry : Is not the present he mistakes the transient pleasure inordinate ardour for prophetical for conviction-the opinion for the speculation, an incidental proof of principle. Now it may be well for the morbid state of personal religion such as connect their assumed spiri- among us; either (as the inquiry tuality with an expectation of the might be extended) of its absolute second advent, to bring their as- non-existence in many who consume sumption to some practical test. their days in unfruitful industry, or If they bring forth fruit, let it be of its degradation from the very proved whether it is the genuine circumstance of its being brought
3 E 2
into contact with these current then to confute their opinions by delusions ? As to myself, I am the inconsistencies of their charac comparatively a recluse, and know ter ; but by a serious, a searching, nothing personally of those who and an affectionate appeal to their have occasioned this communica- consciences. Controversy, as such, tion. You perhaps, who are almost is generally an unsuccessful toil, and compelled to live in a crowd, can very often inflames the wound it tell how far the prophetical students would heal. Discussion is quite shine as lights in the world—whe- another thing ; for, in the proper ther they are poor
in spirit," "pure
sense of that word, we do not talk in heart,” “hungering and thirsting to conquer, but to persuade, and to after righteousness," possessed of communicate mutual edification.“ the same mind which was also in Should you however be driven, or Christ Jesus," and altogether dis- seduced, to descend into the print- , tinguished from others as “a pecu- ing-house, I confess without reserve, liar people, zealous of good works." that I shall watch your entrance into I do not ask you, and I am sure you that damp and noisome edifice with do not aspire yourself, to become a great anxiety. Mr. Faber, who is spiritual physiognomist, and a dis- allowed, I believe, to be by far the cerner of spirits : but every man most learned author of the age in has a character ; and, generally this department of theology, shall speaking, its broader features are be voucher that a writer on provisible. If these students are only phecy must march to the field in equal to Christians not of their own the panoply of sound erudition ; and school, what have they gained ? If may even then be foiled, or sink they are inferior, their very tower of under the weight of his own barness. strength betrays its weakness.
I am at least pretty confident of one You will observe, that after all I consequence that if you once bury do not deny the truth of the modern yourself in the investigation, it will system of prophecy. I am only be no small labour for your parishspeaking of the injurious tendency ioners to dig you out; and it will of pursuing this or any other spe- be well, if you even allow their atculation, so as to lose sight of our tempt at exhumation. You may, at immediate interest in the acknow. this moment, have no suspicion of ledged and indispensible verities of what it is to be absorbed in any of the Gospel itself." There is a sound the innumerable forms of hypothesis. common-sense maxim, frequently I will present you with one gratuiheard among the wise and prudent tously; just as it swam in my imagiof this world -- first things first ; and nation in the waking visions of last if we were equally sagacious, we night, when I could not sleep, but should not have to mourn over the when I could doze and dream. The aberrations of certain brethren, who son of the late emperor of France, seem anxious first to become inter
as Napoleon the Second, will bepreters of the dark sayings of old, come autocrat of Western Europe ; and then to inquire into the way of establish himself at Rome; annihisalvation.
late the Papacy; restore the faith You ask me wherber it would be of the New Testament; witness the advisable for a clergyman, in your commencement of the Millennium ; situation, to add one more to the settle the Jews in Palestine ; and die writers on prophecy. In what I at Jerusalem*. I can readily imahave above advanced, my aim is to persuade you to try first, what may • Recent advices from Rome state, that be done by a plain examination of “ Madame Letitia, after giving legacies the parties themselves ;-I do not of 500,000 francs each to her children and
to Cardinal Fesch, with numerous pensions mean as a meddler, or as one who and tokens of reinembrance to her attendwishes to catch them tripping, and ants and friends, and considerable dona