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arguments, doctrinal and historical, of our opponents, come totally short of establishing their case; that their attempted • distinctions are fictitious and deceptive; that miraculous mani'festations may be experienced now; and that some actual mira•cles have recently occurred.* pp. 339, 340.
It was no very easy matter for Mr. Boys to determine what was the proper course to pursue with Mr. Noel's pamphlet. Dr. Middleton was the first person who called in question the permanence of miraculous powers in the church, and found it necessary to apologize to the church and to the whole world for the boldness and originality of his scepticism. Dr. Middleton was a man of tried and acknowledged learning: he had no meretricious reputation to support; he could afford to be candid: he had well studied the authors whose opinions he quoted, and he had no temptation to misstate them ; and he asserts, that all who preceded him held the continuance in the church of those powers with which Christ endowed it on his ascension to glory. In the pamphlet of Mr. Noel this is not the case: he has misrepresented the opinions of those he professes to quote, to the peril of his literary reputation, if not of something far higher; for literature is not the subject in hand, but God's Truth. Mr. Noel comes forward as an ambassador specially delegated from God to tell to doubting persons what that truth is : and he not only undertakes to do this in his own person, but undertakes also to shew that all the other delegated ambassadors from God have given the same testimony. Mr. Noel assumes that many Christians are unlearned and unversed in the writings of these ambassadors, and that he has the necessary qualifications; and pledges his veracity as a man, and his responsibility as pastor over a flock for whose souls he is answerable, that he will tell them what the testimony of these ambassadors truly is. Yet how does the case turn out? It is incontestibly proved, and this without a possible loop-hole for escape, that Mr. Noel bas stated their opinions to be exactly the reverse of that which they really were! It is very painful to find this proved, and difficult to discover any reasons for it: none creditable can we imagine. Has Mr. Noel deliberately asserted one thing as a fact, whilst knowing that the reverse was the truth? We believe that he has not been guilty of this. The only other possible way of accounting for his statements, then, is, that he never read with attention the writers whose opinions he professes to give.
There is internal evidence in his pamphlet of this being the case with Mr. Noel. He may have run over the indices of various authors, and whenever he found the word “ miracles" turned to the passage; and if it was against miracles, quoted it, as the sentiments of the writer; or else, which is equally unjustifiable, he has quoted at second-hand, from commentators,
and from modern authors. ' Mr. Noel ought to have known that it was quite possible for the same person to contend against some particular alleged miracle, and not against others; or against particular assumptions of miracles, and not against the continųance of miraculous gifts ģenerally. We ourselves will agree with Mr. Noel in disputing the pretensions of the Papists, while we differ from him concerning the cases of Miss Fancourt, Miss Hughes, and many others. Now, it is impossible that Mr. Noel could have made such a blunder, if he had read and known the writings of the authors he refers to-unless he had wilfully misrepresented them: but since we acquit him of the charge of wilful dishonesty, we must hold him guilty of another kind of deceit-namely, that of representing himself to possess a knowledge which he did not ; of being competent to teach the unlearned, concerning authors he had never read, and on a subject of which he knew nothing. It is impossible to deny, nor do we wish to palliate the offence, that this, though a species of imposition inferior to the other, is still extremely the reverse of creditable to any man, and above all to a minister of the God of truth and righteousness and holiness. We are unfeignedly sorry for it, on Mr. Noel's own account: we regret to see the extent to which Satan can have blinded him on this point; and we remark it, because it is a singular fact that there is not one of the opponents of the present manifestations of the Spirit of God in the church, who, however they be men of unimpeachable integrity and scrupulous veracity on other topics, have not shewn themselves under the guidance of the spirit of falsehood in the opposition which they have shewn, both from the pulpit and from the press.
Mr. Boys has dealt most tenderly with Mr. Noel. He says, • The passages from the Reformers, as they stand in Mr. Noel's pamphlet, seem opposed to all miraculous manifestations of recent date. This, in their places, they are not. On this ground it is, that I now make objections, and refer to the original works: and any one who knows how the Remarks have been appealed to, and hailed as a work decisive against • all miracles since the Apostolic ages, must acknowledge the
necessity. If I appear, then, in the following work to take up 'the references and citations of Mr. Noel's pamphlet with a * minuteness which may be thought invidious, let my real motive • be understood. I wish not to be too particular in examining • what may have been the labour, perhaps the relaxation, of a * few leisure hours ; but I do wish to expose THE EFFRONTERY ! AND THE IGNORANCE which could lay hold of the work, . when produced, without examination, and proclaim it abroad as settling questions which it leaves just where it found them." It is really hard to lay all the charge of effrontery and igno
rance on the readers of this pamphlet, and not on the writer. The foregoing extracts afford abundant proof that Mr. Noel has represented the opinion of the authors, whose works he has quoted, to be exactly the reverse of that which they really are : but as this is the matter of Mr. Boys's answer, we have confined ourselves to a few instances, only as a sample both of the truth of our charge and of the satisfactory manner in which Mr. Noel has been refuted. Every authority quoted by Mr. Noel is turned back upon him by Mr. Boys in the most masterly manner : never was refutation more complete; never was rout and discomfiture more total and decided. We have already shewn that Mr. Noel confounds Isidore of the seventh century, who wrote in Latin, with another Isidore, who lived in the fifth, and who wrote in Greek ; a blunder which could only arise from Mr. Noel never having read the works of either.
Mr. Noel in his controversial zeal must have forgotten ecclesiastical history, or is deficient in that information which every well educated man is supposed to possess, if he can deliberately maintain the opinions expressed in this pamphlet. He must otherwise have known, so unequivocally the reverse of his assertion respecting the Fathers is the fact, that Gibbon, Milner, and many other historians of the dark ages, complain, and justly, of the exceeding credulity of Christian writers upon the subject of miracles, and which has thereby rendered their testimony upon all subjects suspicious : a complaint which would never have been made, if, as Mr. Noel asserts, they had disbelieved the miracles of the times in which they respectively flourished. If there be any of our readers so ill read as to have been influenced in the smallest degree by Mr. Noel's pamphlet, we earnestly recommend to them this volume of Mr. Boys; and we promise them that they will find Mr. Noel has as little foundation for every one of his alleged authorities as he has for those of Augustine, Chrysostom, and Isidore.
There is a passage from Baxter so much to the present purpose, of which Mr. Boys has only brought forward a part, that we subjoin it entire, in order to corroborate his statements.
Baxter writes: “If it were convenient here to make particular mention of men's names, I could name you many, who of late have received such strange preservations, even against the common course of nature, that might convince an Atheist of the finger of God therein. “ Some in desperate diseases of body, some in other apparent dangers, delivered so suddenly, or so much AGAINST THE COMMON COURSE OF NATURE, when all the best remedies have failed, that no second cause could have any hand in their deliverance." “How many times have known the prayer of faith to save the sick when all physicians have given them up as dead! It hath been my own case, more
than once, or twice, or ten times. When means have all failed, and the highest art or reason have sentenced me hopeless, yet have I been relieved by the prevalency of fervent prayer, and that (as the physician saith) Tutè, citò, et jucunde.
In the following extract we feel ourselves under personal obligations to Mr. Boys. · The narrative respecting the convert ' from Popery who once met a maniac in the streets and was dashed by him to the earth, given in the MORNING WATCH, and derided in the CHRISTIAN Observeň as anile and ab*surd, is taken from the Life of the celebrated Boos; a life well known on the Continent, and distinguished by many miraculous circumstances. Fire certainly came down from heaven and consumed his paper while he was meditating to preach a
written sermon, and thus to evade the preaching of the truth. • The writer of his life is the excellent Gosner, a distinguished ' and pious minister, now living at Berlin, who knew him well. 'Any person acquainted with the religious state of Germany, especially if he has resided in that city, will be able to inform the Christian Observer that Gosner is a well known and highly respected pastor, not at all wanting in sobriety of mind, and not at all despised or persecuted by his pious brethren in the ministry abroad, because he has written a book recording miraculous occurrences which happened within his own knowledge.' The fact is, that the writer of the article at which the Christian Observer, in the plenitude of its ignorance, ventured to sneer, had not by him at the time the pamphlet above-named, and therefore, fearing to make an inaccurate statement, kept within the measure of what he remembered. We have not seen the pamphlet ourselves, but we are inclined to think that it was Lindell, and not Boos, with whom the circumstance took place, although narrated in Gosner's life of the latter. The ignorance of the Christian Observer is equally proved in both instances : and his denial of all things which have not fallen within the range of his own vision is of a piece with the infidelity which, we again repeat, is as complete in the
Evangelical as it is in the Philosophic world of the present day. That journal, as well as the pamphlet of Mr. Noel, furnish melancholy proof of the delusion that characterizes Evangelical professors of religion, which is,-to estimate men, not according to their personal integrity, but according to the party, system, and creed to which they belong ; to palliate, nay even to justify, conduct in one of their sect, which they would vehemently censure if found in the members of another.
But God will not long tolerate this. The blind leaders of the blind have nearly filled up the measure of their fathers. Heavier is the guilt now of making void the word of God by the traditions of man, for clearer is now the revelation; and heavier shall the judgment fall on the Scribes and Pharisees of the present day: all the woes of Scripture shall be accomplished on this generation.
VOL. VI.-NO. II.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A BAPTIZED MAN, OF A PREACHER
OF THE GOSPEL, AND OF A PASTOR IN CHRIST'S FLOCK, TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.
BY THE REV. EDWARD IRVING, A. M.
Of a long time I have been led to suspect, that while there is a certain scantling of truth in the jurisdiction exercised over preachers of the Gospel and parish ministers by the presbyteries in Scotland and by the bishops in England, the great strain of it is usurpation, and, as it hath begun to be exercised of late, vile oppression of the liberty, and trampling upon the dignity of a Christian man and minister. The grounds of this suspicion I have expressed, as it grew upon me, in various parts of my Lectures on the Apocalypse, and in a Historical Introduction and Preface which I prefixed to the original Standards of the Church of Scotland. More recently, since I have seen the summary way in which the sacred rights of preachers and parish ministers have been trodden under foot by the presbyteries and general assemblies of the Church of Scotland, my zeal hath been stirred up within me to maintain the ordinances of the Lord's house against confederacies of ignorant and evil-minded men; and in a former Number of The Morning Watch I set forth at large my views of this subject: and now, at length, that the rude hand of violence hath been lifted up against my own person,-or rather against the dignity of Christ the Pastor, in my person, and in the person of every pastor, represented,- I have felt called upon to examine this subject still more closely, and to embody my thoughts in due form, lest I should be betrayed into error either on the one side or the other. The result of my meditations I do now make public, for the information of all people, especially of those who have the dignity of the Christian ministry to support against all invasion and usurpation whatsoever. Moreover, perceiving that in a few months the whole Church of Scotland will be called upon, by those who are the enemies of the truth, to strike another blow against the ordinance of Christ, in me represented; I desire, for the sake of all, even my enemies, to prevent more guilt from coming upon the head of that over-burdened church and nation : and because I meditated this whole subject as in the sight of God, in order to find out my proper responsibility and duty, I make no scruple to set it down exactly as it occurred to me in reference to my own case, which hath in it no specialties of any kind, wherefore it should not be made the thread of the whole argument.
There are three, and I think only three, distinct grounds on which the church might claim a jurisdiction over me, in virtue