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comprehend a single sentence of them. One example of this may suffice. Mr. Erskine wishes to state this highly important fact-namely, that "by the incarnation of the second Person in the Trinity, the whole creation (i. e. limiting the word creation to this planet and the beings who inhabit it) is become beneficially interested in the work of Christ." This fact he expresses by saying, that the world is pardoned by the incarnation of Christ: upon which the Editors observe, “we do maintain that for his doctrine of universal pardon there is not an atom of evidence in the sacred volume. Had he maintained universal* redemption, that Christ died an actual sacrifice for all, there might have been a possibility of wresting the Scriptures to bolster up the absurd position. But to affirm that God has really pardoned all men, and that even believers themselves acquire nothing more than the sense of that blessing, appears to us to be something so monstrous, that we can find no passage in Holy Writ capable of being so far tortured, even as to throw around it an air of consistency."-The Editors have heard of criminals in prison being pardoned by the king: they hear now of the world being pardoned: they suppose the cases to be exactly parallel, and never seem in their lives to have analysed the ideas belonging to these two different categories. When the king pardons a criminal, there is, first, the grace of the king; secondly, the promulgation of that grace; thirdly, its revelation to the culprit; fourthly, its acceptance by the culprit. In ordinary cases, all these four acts are signified in the single term of "pardon," though sometimes instances have occurred of the process being impeded in the third stage, so that it has arrived too late to stay execution of the original sentence. But in the other category the case is very dissimilar. The first act, indeed, has taken place—namely, the grace of the King in pardoning the world; the second also, inasmuch as its promulgation has gone forth; but, thirdly, there are great numbers of culprits to whom it has never been declared; and, fourthly, the majority of those to whom it has been offered reject it. Since, however, in the case of the earthly king the criminals do almost invariably accept the offer, (though some instances have occurred, particularly in foreign courts-martial, where they have refused it, and preferred to be executed,) so that the word pardon necessarily includes the act of their acceptance, although there are at least three preceding and distinct operations besides, these Editors have jumbled the whole in their heads together, and cannot perceive that this state of things in the former case is not transferable to the other. It is true then, that, as far as the
* Here the Editors shew that they are ignorant, even of the terms of their trade; for they do not mean universal, but general, redemption.
grace of the King is concerned, the world is pardoned by the work of Christ. But there the analogy ceases: its application to each separate individual belongs to another Functionary in the mighty scheme; namely, immediately to the Holy Ghost; ultimately indeed from the Father, and mediately through the Son.
If these Editors are really pious men; if they are truly anxious about the realities of eternity, and not quarrellers only about words; if they wish that the church should be instructed, whether the instruction should bring grist to their mill or not, they ought most sincerely to rejoice in the publication of Mr. Erskine's work. In this intellectual age they must know that the nomenclature of Calvinism is easily learned most correctly, and that there is nothing of more vital importance than to multiply the means for each individual to examine himself as to his principles, separated from the terms by which he may have imbibed them. We have never met with any work that takes vital religion out of the technicology of the conventicle so completely as this; and therefore, as far as it goes, it is a valuable work. We say as far as it goes, because it would have been better if it had taken in another branch of the subject, and shewn that the pardon of the Almighty Sovereign, as treasured up in the work of Messiah, was still useless to every individual but by a further special act of the Father in sending to each the Holy Spirit.
Here also, as in the case of Dr. Malan, we are not prepared to contend that the expression " pardon" is the best which could possibly have been chosen to express the idea which Mr. Erskine wished to convey: but we are quite prepared to maintain the idea which we have above stated-namely, that by the incarnation, &c. of the second Person in the Trinity the whole creation has been brought into such a state that the Father can, without any violation of the most rigid justice, take any individual whom he wills to eternal glory, sending the Holy Spirit to him, to cause him to lay hold of and appropriate to himself the efficacy of the Son's work as it is admirably expressed by the Church of England, where she teaches her catechumen to say, "I believe in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind; and in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God." This is the positive idea which we wish to convey; and in order to make it more clear by setting out the negative, which we wish to oppose, it is that shopkeeping divinity which would set a limit to the value of the work of Immanuel, and make it merely an equivalent for the sins of the elect.
The great importance of separating vital truth from the cant a large proportion of writers of sermons and other religious works," is well set forth by Dr. Whately, in his work on
Rhetoric. "For," says he, "it will often be found that what is received with great approbation is yet, even if, strictly speaking, understood, but very little attended to, or impressed upon the minds of the hearers. Terms and phrases which have been long familiar to them, and have certain vague and indistinct notions associated with them, men often suppose themselves to understand much more fully than they do; and still oftener give a sort of indolent assent to what is said, without making any effort of thought. It is justly observed by Mr. Foster (Essay iv.) when treating on this subject, that, with regard to a considerable proportion of Christian readers and hearers, a reformed language would be excessively strange to them;' but that its being so strange to them would be a proof of the necessity of adopting it, at least in part and by degrees. For the manner in which some of them would receive this altered diction, would prove that the customary phraseology had scarcely given them any clear ideas. It would be found that the peculiar phrases had been not so much the vehicles of ideas, as the substitutes for them. These readers and hearers (Query, why not preachers?) have been accustomed to chime to the sound, without apprehending the sense; insomuch that if they hear the very ideas which these phrases signify, expressed ever so simply, in other language, they do not recognise them."" p. 223.
The observations made on the Evangelical, belong, with equal propriety, to the Congregational and Eclectic Magazines. If it be replied, that amongst the Dissenters, with which body the conductors of these Magazines are specially connected, are to be found some men as exemplary for their piety, faith, and benevolence, as the records of fallen humanity can produce, we grant it to the fullest extent. But if these shall continue to countenance those of their own body who make a mock in private of the truths which they declare in public; will denounce the faults of some of the clergy of the Established Church, and take occasion from thence to reiterate abuse upon the whole ecclesiastical authorities of the land, while they do not repudiate the same vices in their own colleagues; if they will associate with any one, however profligate in morals or bankrupt in character, provided only he can write a smart article in their Magazine; and draw a crowd to their chapel; if they will sanction the deceptions which are practised by means of the exaggerated reports of societies, and give simulated salaries to secretaries and agents, under the false pretences of travelling and incidental expenses; if they will prefer their sect to their God, and will sacrifice religion and morality to the fame of their denomination, they have no right to complain that they are not distinguished from the herd from which they will not separate themselves, even as Lot himself could not have been preserved unless he had
come out of Sodom. Much might be added on the system of puffing a book that comes from the right quarter;" the consequent gain to one of the privileged set; the jobbing in contracts, &c.; and various other dirty tricks, well known to "the trade;" and which are practised to fully as great an extent with these Religious (!), as with the most irreligious, publications. Such are the "fruits" of their theology.
The charge against them is, not that they have argued the question ill or well, fairly or unfairly; but that, feeling conscious they were as ignorant of the subject as they were of the Chinese language, they have not had the honesty, the fairness, and the humility, to confess it, and betake themselves in silence to patient study, or due submission to those who could instruct them; but that they have put forth false pretensions to knowledge which they did not possess, and by an abuse of that confidence, which they felt was reposed in them, and of which they took advantage to betray the spiritual interests of those who so trusted them, have endeavoured to use their power to denounce opinions and individuals, and entirely to crush, in limine, all inquiry into the meaning of a considerable portion of God's
So far from there being any novelty in the doctrines which have been set forth, the only novelty respecting them is this: that for the first time since the world was created has the church, by all the organs by which her opinions can be made known, without a dissentient voice, declared that she did not look for the Messiah as a man to reign over this renovated earth!!! This is a true novelty, and perhaps the most awful which could have been exhibited. To the declaration, "We will not have this man to reign over us," the answer is, "These mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me." It is worse than idle for her to say she looks for a spiritual coming; what is the meaning of the spiritual coming of a man? a spirit must come spiritually, but a body can only come bodily. Shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go," is the manner of the coming: was it a spiritual or a bodily going? whichever it was, the same shall be the coming.
We are aware that the term "Evangelical" has been used throughout this criticism in a sense that is not usual: that it is generally employed to signify real and vital Christianity; while we have employed it merely as the designation of a religious faction. We admit that such was its original import, but such also was the original import of the word "Christian;" and, at a subsequent period, of the word "Protestant;" but degeneracy very soon made those terms irrelevant, and the same has come to pass with that of Evangelical. All these terms signified
originally, persons who believed themselves saved by standing in God's sight as the Lord Jesus Christ himself stands. The greater part of those included under the term Christians fell away from this faith by the mixture of all kinds of heresies; many included under that of Protestant fell away by the addition of "good works ;" and many included under Evangelical have fallen away by the addition of "fruits:" and all in every age have denounced those who adhered rigidly to faith, and faith alone, in the plain and literal declarations of God's word.
We do therefore most earnestly conjure every one, who calls himself and thinks himself a Christian, not to be deterred from the examination of the subject by the self-sufficient and unmeaning declarations of the religious magazines, that the persons who hold these opinions are not entitled to public confidence;" or by a whining supplication, not " to desert their own pastors." If human authority might avail, we could bring forward a host of the greatest names which ever have adorned the church of Christ upon earth, either by their learning or by their piety. Bishop Horsley, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Mede, Toplady, Gill, the Baptist Confession of Faith, the Council of Nice, the earliest Fathers, Bishop Bull, the Encyclopædia, have already been produced in proof of this assertion : the list might be multiplied to a much greater extent; but we forbear, because we had rather appeal to Divine than to human authority, and say "Thus saith the Lord," than, Thus saith any man, for whatever we advance. But these names are brought forward, and are sufficient to crush that presumptuous ignorance which has ventured to impose upon illiterate people, and call the views of the second Advent now maintained " new and unheard-of novelties;" and itself "the spiritual part of the periodical press."
It is perhaps a natural consequence of the multiplication of religious books, that men should learn their creed, not from God's word, but from those books; and if an accurate examination could be made into how much is believed on the bare authority of God, and how much on the authority of man, it is greatly to be apprehended that the ranks of infidelity would be found to receive an awful augmentation from quarters whence recruits would be little expected. Hence, too, has grown up that unscriptural division of essential and non-essential truths; as if God's word was to be believed in one place, and doubted in another place, according to every one's fancy. This can only arise from men taking their creed to the Bible, instead of deriving it from it; and hence too arises the inveteracy with which some persons can oppose the plainest declarations of it, although they at the same time delude themselves with the notion that they believe it. Frequently did the hearers of the Gospel, at its