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and that, until we have received the spirit of manifestation and of obsignation, we are not sons of God and relatives of Christ. But they agree also in declaring, that the operation which the Spirit of God actually works in all his servants, is confined to its strengthening power upon the heart. As they protest against the fanatical misconstruction put upon the promise of a return to prayer, and the unwarrantable confidence in signs derived from it, so they deny the similar misunderstandings concerning the nature of the only gifts, and only assistance, which the spirit affords to Christians since the time of the apostles.
There is no greater external testimony,' says Taylor, (Works vol. v. p. 410, that we are in the spirit, and that the spirit 'dwells in us, than if we find spiritual pleasure in the greatest 'mysteries of our religion. This new and godlike nature, which the Greeks generally called xagioua, "a gracious gift," is an 'extraordinary superaddition to nature-not a single gift in order 'to single purposes: but a universal principle, and it remains upon all good men during their lives, and after their death.' P. 422. We never met with a greater instance of bad understanding, or bad faith, than in the appeal made in the Morning Watch to the members of the Church of England, on the ordinance of confirmation. All writers on confirmation, it is said, maintain, that the conveyance of miraculous powers in their church, is the specific purpose of retaining the rite. Jeremy Taylor's second section is quoted as conclusive. Now, the slightest acquaintance with the most illiterate English clergyman, or a few minutes' enquiry of any young lady preparing for confirmation, must have satisfied the writer that there was some mistake in this representation. Miraculous powers, in the popular sense, and in the sense in which they themselves are writing, are not among those gifts of the Holy Spirit which the ceremony is designed or expected to confer. If the writer would have read on to the seventh section, on the many blessings consequent to 'confirmation,' he would have seen that the regular effect of this power from on high, is expressly stated not to consist in miracles, but in spiritual and internal strengths. The belief and the evidence, as instanced and required, are both solely of this description. Some one is supposed to object (not, as it is now alleged, that Satan, if well-advised, might object that no visible miracles ensue, but) that the changes wrought upon our souls, are not, after the manner of nature, visible and sensible, and with observation. The answer returned is, 'The kingdom of God cometh 'not with observation; for it is within you, and is only discern'ed spiritually.'
Barrow celebrates this excellent gift as the foundation, im
provement, and completion of all our good. But in breaking up the advantages which proceed from it, according to his characteristic_methodical divisions, the abilities created by it are restrained to such as are exclusively spiritual. Clarke, in his analysis of the different endowments, contained under the one common name of gifts, studiously separates the external miraculous powers from the internal sanctifying graces. The first were contemporary with the promulgation of the gospel only: they depended in no measure on the will of the persons themselves: By having these gifts no man was the better Christian : 'so no man by wanting them was the worse: these gifts being 'bestowed, not for the benefit of the persons themselves, but for 'the conversion of others.' The latter are to continue with us always to the end of the world: they do not operate upon us as machines, but require our concurrence-on which account they are at once both the virtues of the man and the fruits of the Spirit. The Apostles were directed by a miraculous assistance of the Spirit upon every particular occasion: but we have now no promise of any such miraculous direction: obeying the Spirit now, is nothing else but obeying his dictates, as set down in the inspired writings: and to enable us to do this, we may, upon ' our sincere endeavours, expect his continual blessing and assist ́ance.' After these authorities it is needless to mention the despised names of Paley and of Heber. Indeed, among all Christians of every denomination, whatever difference has hitherto existed, related to the degree of credit which they were disposed to give to stories of scattered or single miracles. It has been left to us to witness the establishment of a sect of intellectual convulsionaires upon the broad foundation, that faith in Christ and the power of working miracles are one and the same thing. No Pope or miracle-monger ever set up on so large a scale before. The unanimity of sentiment in Christendom on this point is so entire, that instead of charging an ignorance of the reality of Christ's kingdom as the paramount defect of our nominal Christianity, we wonder that the imputed heresy assigned to the last fifteen centuries has not been their universal ignorance and abdication of the power and promises of the Holy Spirit.
In point of interpretation, the history of Protestantism is a uniform disclaimer of the existence of any promise in the Scriptures that miraculous powers should be continued in the church. In point of fact, the actual exercise of powers of this description-almost in any individual instance, but certainly as a regular incident to and effect of faith,-has been as uniformly denied. But, as we hinted in a former passage, Protestant writers agree in acknowledging it to be foretold, that
false Christs and false prophets shall come-that the wicked one shall be revealed with all power, and signs, and lying ' wonders,'—and that bad men shall perform miracles even in the name of Christ. If our principal divines have been further right in requiring the elect of God to receive this prophetical annunciation as the sign of Antichrist, and as the mark by which the enemies of God are to be discovered, the application of these prophecies cannot now be limited to Papal pretensions only. So easily, according to the usual course of theological controversy, are the tables turned by the respective parties against each other; and what at one moment is displayed as the power and prerogative of peculiar favour, is darkened into an appointed mark of judicial reprobation in the next! We do not doubt the readiness of the school of the Prophets to take up the gauntlet of this reproach in the boldest terms of polemical defiance. Squadrons of texts' have been too often marshalled on opposite sides in the battle royal of beliefs,' not to ensure on such a subject ample space and materials for interminable contention, on the part of all who are rather attracted than repelled by the unreasonableness of a conclusion. Until such people have wearied the public into indifference, or raved themselves into exhaustion, we must submit in patience to this painful spectacle as the best compromise in a choice of evils. A living arbitrator, a lex loquens, by whose interpretation all are compelled or willing to abide, as it is the only, so is it even the worse, alternative. Difficulties and contradictions multiply on their heads, when, passing on from generalities, these adventurous spirits undertake, as in the present instance, to fix the stamp of authenticity and divine commission on certain specific acts. For they explicitly admit both cases; and insist on the signs and wonders, against which we are warned—as well as on those which we are promised. Under these circumstances, if mankind is concerned in the question otherwise than as spectators, we must be enabled, before we can be called on to take part by the adoption of one and by the rejection of the other, to see our way between the two. Mr Irving and Mr Scott are satisfied with stating generally, that miracles which come of God are distinguished by a moral or gospel character. When we compare the list of Scripture miracles with that of the delusions which swarm over the surface of the earth, and eat into the heart of history, we cannot honestly agree in recognising any such criterion. Mr Erskine more fairly allows that in the awful duty of distinguishing the side of truth from the side of error, the only security lies in having ourselves 'the seal of God-that gift of the Holy Ghost-by which we may detect the lying wonders of Satan.' According to his
ART. II.-Two Essays on the Geography of Ancient Asia; intended partly to illustrate the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Anabasis of Xenophon. By the Rev. JOHN WILLIAMS, Rector of the Edinburgh Academy. 8vo. London: 1829.
To No find the true position of the Median Ecbatana, is one of the most curious problems of comparative geography. Spared by successive conquerors, and flourishing under divers dynasties, this city has experienced the singular fate of being lost without having ever been destroyed. While the ruins of the once queenlike Nineveh may still, as many suppose, be recognised; while the scattered fragments of Babylon, on the scene of her pristine glory, attest the word of prophecy; while the vast remains and gigantic excavations of Persepolis strike the wanderer with awe, and even Susa, amid her desolation, yields ample proofs of former magnificence; a cloud of strange uncertainty overhangs the great and gorgeous capital of Media. If we reject the Oriental traditions referred to by Diodorus, (who is always, where possible, to be disbelieved,) Ecbatana was founded about the close of the eighth century B.C., by Deioces, and adorned with that gaudy pomp described in the earliest Grecian history; when it passed from the hands of his descendant into those of Cyrus, it continued to share, with Babylon and Susa, the favour of its new possessor; the Macedonian conquest left it almost uninjured; under the Seleucidæ, it maintained the traces of its original grandeur-gold and silver still glittering on its temples when it was visited by Antiochus the Great; during the dominion of the Arsacidæ, Ecbatana enjoyed once more the sunshine of the royal presence; and when the Persians, under the house of Sassan, A.D. 226, recovered the throne of Upper Asia, they must have been led by necessity as well as choice to cherish a residence, fenced by the bulwarks of Mount Zagros against the incursion of the Roman Eagles. Ammianus Marcellinus informs us that, about the close of the fourth century after Christ, Ecbatana continued to be a large and fortified city.
Thus, for the space of nearly twelve centuries, we can fondly gaze through the eyes of history upon the splendours of the Median capital. But of a sudden, with a quaint device,' the
* Ecbatana was rather roughly handled by her first conqueror, Nabuchodonosor, who took the towers, and spoiled the streets thereof,
pageant vanishes. Like the dismayed sultan in the tale of Aladdin, we rub our astonished organs, and perceive that nothing short of a conjuration will enable us to retrieve the volatile metropolis. And well for us if this were all; but, unluckily, the slaves of our lamp are not remarkable for unanimity. Herbert, Gibbon, Sir William Jones, and the great French Orientalists, would carry us to Tauris or Tabriz; Golius, D'Anville, Major Rennell, and Mannert, beckon us away to Hamadan; and, in spite of both these formidable parties, Mr Williams points out Ispahan; and with a confidence, undaunted by famous names, assures us that here we are to look for the legitimate representative of old Ecbatana.
There is one circumstance, besides the historical relations of the place, which makes it peculiarly strange that Ecbatana, alone of her sister-capitals, should have been so long unidentified in modern times. For, though unprovided with facilities for navigation, its vicinity must have possessed singular advantages, to withstand the caprice of Eastern despotism, and secure the favour of successive masters. A vicinity, so recommended, must still be adorned by a great city. Mosul, though on the opposite bank of the Tigris, depends on the same resources which once supported Nineveh; Seleuceia, Ctesiphon, and Bagdad, at gradually increasing distances, have represented Babylon; Shuster, fifty miles to the south-east of ancient Susa, stands proxy for the city of lilies; so does Schiraz for Persepolis, and Grand Cairo for Memphis; and, in like manner, there must be a considerable city, either on the actual site, or in the immediate neighbourhood of the Median metropolis. But,' says Mr Williams, there are circumstances in the chorographical nature of Greater Media, of which Ecbatana was the capital, that serve to confine the possible position of great towns within very narrow limits. It is so bounded on all sides, either by mountains or deserts, that all its streams (with the exception of the moun'tain-course of those which flow but a short distance within its 'borders) are lost in sandy plains. This circumstance materially diminishes the number of spots capable of maintaining large cities, and gives greater certainty to calculations that approximate to the truth. For as the inhabitants of the ancient Chalybon, Damascus, Arta, (Coana,) Maracanda, were situated on streams which rendered it impossible to make great changes,
' and turned the beauty thereof into shame,' (Judith cap. i. 14.); but this does not imply more than a chastisement, certainly not destruction.