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what I find in his notes.” It is hoped and believed that this is an extreme case; that there are not many such extravagant worshippers of stocks and stones in the land : but the principle is very general, and arises from a conscious conviction, that, if one single idea was to stray into the mind, which is at present fully furnished with terms without ideas, such a turmoil would be created, that the unhappy object, who now began for the first time in its life to think, would find that it had no settled belief in any thing.
It is frequently and ignorantly asked, “ But what does it signify, so long as I am sound, from whence my creed is derived ?" To this we reply, by asking, “ Are you sure that you have any creed at all ? You may have an accurate frame-work of doctrines, which dovetail into each other, and form a very accurate piece of divinity, which will pass current in all the schools and among all the professors in the academies; but the evidence of your creed being sound, or not, is to be determined by the solution of this question, What advance do you make in your knowledge and enjoyment of God?” When such persons speak of advance in religion, they mean, if driven by a cross-examination to explain their idea, an advance in perception of the sinfulness of their own heart. If they intend by this a mere increased habit of watching the operations of their own minds, and the risings of ideas, wishes, &c. this is perfectly consistent with no advance at all in the knowledge of God and enjoyment of him; and we are perfectly convinced, by long and extensive examination, that this is all that is aimed at, and attained to, by that very great majority of Evangelicals, who talk and write about
humility and " self-abasement” and “self-loathing,” &c.things which it is exceedingly easy to imagine, but which cannot be in reality attained, except in exact proportion as God is known. The feelings which those terms describe are inseparable from a knowledge of the revealed character of God in the breast of every fallen creature ; feelings these, when real, so powerful that nothing but a conviction of an interest in the salvation of Jesus could preserve a man in the possession of his right reason : but an acting and self-working of these feelings may exist without any just apprehension of the REVEALED character of the TRUE God; and may arise equally from mere apprehension of an unknown, almighty, and invisible Avenger.
We would by no means be thought to esteem lightly the use of confessions of faith to the church. They are to be highly prized, for lawful uses ; but it is to make an unlawful use of them, to suppose that they are to be substituted for the word of God, or that they contain the whole revelation of the mind and plan and purpose of God which he has been pleased to give to
It cannot be too often repeated, that the great object of
modern Evangelicals is to know as little as possible of God. “What is the use of this ?” “ what can it signify?” and a hundred similar phrases, assail every one who will endeavour to lead men, either by books or by conversation, to become better acquainted with God than they are at present.
But we must bring these remarks to a close ; and we do so in recommending this tract of Mr. Eagleton to the attention of our readers. It is from the pen of a respectable Non-conformist minister; one of the few who in these days has the courage to look to the word of God for his divinity, and to bring the dicta of theological tutors and academies to that standard.
ON CHARGES AGAINST THE MORNING WATCH, FOR NOT
PREACHING CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED; CENSURE OF THE RELIGIOUS WORLD; AND BAD SPIRIT.
It is a great trial of love, and a difficult point of duty, to hear charges made which, being unfounded, can only arise from one of two sources,-wilful misrepresentation ; or wilful ignorance which is equally nefarious, where the necessary information is contained in the same quarter whence the matter of the charge is derived. In either case, those who so act are unworthy of reply. But there is a large body of well-meaning persons, in every class of life, who follow blindly the bell-wether of the flock in which their own small bleatings are heard; who propagate, indeed, the calumny which has been told them, without being aware that it is false ; and who would be truly sorry for their conduct, if they knew what they were doing. These persops deserve our pity, rather than severer treatment; and at all events merit expostulation, before being denounced as the “enemies of all righteousness." To such, then, we address ourselves; and shall consider as included among them, all who have hitherto reproached us, whether in newspapers or in the magazines, upon the three following points : On our preaching something besides Jesus Christ, and him crucified; On our censure of the religious world; and On our bad spirit.
The first charge may be briefly stated as follows : “ Paul declared that he would know nothing but Christ Jesus, and him crucified: whereas the students of prophecy preach about other things, and thereby leave out the crucifixion ; although, when any of them come to die, their only hope, as well as that of other Christians, rests on the crucifixion.
The charge contains three clauses : 1. Paul's declaration ; 2. Our departure from his example ; 3. The object of the believer's faith. The first arises from the same ignorance of Scripture
which has characterized every objection that has hitherto been made to the views which have been from time to time promulgated in this Journal; and we much regret, for reasons that cannot now be detailed, that nothing has ever been brought against us, except fragments of texts, not only torn from their contexts, but absolutely made to express sentiments which in their places they do not contain. Nevertheless, this is a very favourite argument; and therefore we conclude it is considered the strongest that can be brought forward. We have been shewn not less than twenty or thirty letters, chiefly addressed by Evangelical Clergymen to Ladies, warning them against what they are pleased to term the views of the Millenarians, all of whom quote the identical text noticed in the title to this article. It occurs in the 2d verse of the second chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, to which the reader is requested to refer ; and let us examine together whether Paul asserts that he will talk about nothing but the crucifixion, or not; and if he have made such an assertion, in what manner he performs his promise. 1. At verse 9 of this same chapter, he speaks about “ The deep things of God, which he has revealed to us by his Spirit.” 2. The natural and spiritual man (ver. 14). 3. Their calling themselves by the names of particular preachers iii. 4). 4. The preacher's works (ver. 10). 5. The stewardship of the Apostles (iv). 6. An incestuous person (v). 7. Going to law (vi. 1). 8. Uncleanness (vii. 5). 9. Marriage (vii. 1). 10. Eating meats offered to idols (viii). 11. Ministers living of the Gospel (ix). 12. The Jewish types (x. 1). 13. Against eating things offered to idols (x. 16). 14. Women keeping their heads covered (xi. 4). 15. The communion of the Lord's Supper (xi. 20). 16. Diversities of gifts (xii). 17. Charity (xiii). 18. Speaking in an unknown tongue (xiv. 6). 19. The resurrection; in which he mentions the fact of Christ having died, but without naming the crucifixion (xv. 1). 20. Nature of the risen bodies (xv. 36). 21. Collection for the saints, and salutations to his friends. But, with one single exception, at v.7. not one word in the whole of that Epistle about the crucifixion, which, according to our accusers, he bad determined at the beginning of his writing exclusively to discuss.
This is sufficient to prove, that, whether we are right or wrong, the persons who make the charge do not understand the fragment of the text which they adduce; which we shall therefore now proceed to explain.
The Apostle was writing to the Christians of a Greek city lying at a very short distance from Athens, which abounded, as did indeed all the principal Greek towns, with persons seeking after truth in the pride of very superior natural understandings. Morals, the most perfect which reason unassisted by revelation has ever produced, were common subjects of discussion among
them : so much so, indeed, that some have imagined that Plato and Socrates must have been enlightened, however dimly from that only pure source. Paul, therefore, might bave freely preached the morality of the life of Jesus of Nazareth ; and the philosophers would have admired it, and compared it with the lives of the leaders of their respective sects, and probably given it the preference as Rousseau did in after times. Here would have been no controversy, no angry feeling excited : the Apostle would not have been accused of being a “pestilent fellow;" of having " a bad spirit;" and of turning “ the world upside down." If he would have confined himself to the points on which all were agreed, he might have had great praise for his
sweet spirit ;” for his “ judicious conduct;" for not " bringing forward any point on which good men were divided.” But this morality of Jesus of Nazareth was not the essential point for them to know: the thing necessary for them to be informed about was, that immortal life was only to be had by trusting to a Jew, whom, though they had put to death as a malefactor, was still living. This was to them “ foolishness." " I know it is foolishness to you, says Paul; and therefore he is the only person about whom I will talk to you—even about him whom you have crucified.” The force of the argument does not rest on the word "crucified,” but on the word “him;" the peculiar characteristic of whom was, that he had been crucified. The things about which the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians had reference to Him; but no more reference to the crucifixion, than to the incarnation, fall of man, or any other doctrine connected with Him. But their being able to bear nothing, up to the time of his writing to them, beyond the elementary doctrine of the death of Christ, was the proof of their being carnal; for if they had been really spiritual, they would not have been still remaining there: and this argument he insists upon more largely in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
In like manner he reasoned with respect to the Jews. He might have talked to them about their glorious Messiah, about the reign of blessedness, about their future kingdom, and various other points ; but since they stumbled at receiving all these blessings through faith in One whom they had rejected as a blasphemer, Paul was determined not to talk to them on those topics on which they would have heard him without irritation, as being those on which they were agreed, but he insisted on connecting these subjects with Him through whom alone they could enjoy them, and who was the stumbling-block to them.
Precisely analogous to the conduct of the Apostle, and in the spirit of his argument, do we now maintain, that it is not so necessary to talk to the religious world on those points on which there is no difference of opinion between us, as upon Christ
glorified, about whom they refuse to hear : and it is in the true spirit of the Apostle, adapted to the prejudices of modern spiritualizers, that we are determined not to know any thing among them, save Jesus Christ, and him glorified. “ Truth is, says Bishop Andrews, “ you shall observe that the Prophets, speaking of Christ, in good congruity do ever apply themselves to the state of them they speak to, and use that office and name which best agree to the matter in hand.”
With respect to the charge, that such of the students of prophecy as are ministers omit the crucifixion in their ministrations, we point-blank deny the fact, and dare their accusers to the proof. While, on the other hand, we retort the charge; and maintain, that they who do not proclaim Christ glorified, do not preach the principal subject of the Bible. We beg to be distinctly understood as intending to assert, that the glory of God in Christ, revealed as to be hereafter manifested, but now an object of faith in God's elect, is the subject of the Bible; and that the religious world has missed the end, in confining their attention to one mean. With respect to faith, it stands upon the promises of God; and so far rests no more on one declaration than on another. But if it be said by any one, that he believes the fact of the literal dying on the cross, which is past, but not the fact of the literal sitting on the throne of David, which is future; then we suspect that the fact of the crucifixion is believed, not upon God's testimony, but upon man's; not because it is in the Bible, but because, besides being in the Bible, men have said so. Into the proofs of all these assertions we cannot now enter, but mean to do so from time to time, as the Lord shall enable us.
Undoubtedly the expectation of sharing in that glory must depend upon the expiation made for our sins by the whole work of the incarnation ; but not more by the crucifixion than by the life; nor more by the life than by the incarnation; nor more by all than by the resurrection, which is the proof of the efficacy of the former and of the quality of Him who suffered. But we trust to this expiation for the attainment of some defined end: not for some shadowy Elysium; not for some Platonic world without bodies, for which the hope of Socrates is quite as scriptural as the hope of the religious world; not for some new planet to be created, as is put forth from the inventions of Dr. Hamilton of Strathblane, and which fancy is praised by the Christian Observer, while the hope held out by the word of God is despised ; but we trust to it for the same reason that the church in the separate state is declared by the Spirit of God to ascribe glory to the Lamb, “FOR WE SHALL REIGN UPON THE EARTH.
What, then, shall we say of the insinuation, that, because in his dying moments one who had preached Christ glorified trusted as a sinner in a crucified Substitute for sinners, there