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plies, also, that the negative testimony of Mr. J. Digges La Touche is most weighty, that gentleman* “ not having been aware that any change had taken place in Mr. Knox's religious views,” and it being
66 almost certain that he would have been made acquainted with any change of views, had it taken place.”
Under this head, Mr. O'Sullivan also ranks it as amounting to a negative of the notion that there really was any change such as that supposed,” that Mr. Knox selected Mr. Digges La Touche (the confidential participant of his own long established opinions), and “a gentleman who had not the slightest tinge of Calvinism in his religious views,” as the person at whose hands he should receive the sustaining comforts of the body and blood of Christ, in “ the last solemn offices of religion."
I cannot but dwell on this summary. And I hope I am not violating the confidence which Mr. O'Sullivan reposes in my discretion, when I add one word on the personal character of that most estimable clergyman, as respects his own sentiments on doctrinal points. “My views (he says) are not, in all points, in accordance with these of Mr. Knox; neither are they what the reputed evangelicals would call evangelical.” Here is an impartial witness, as respects doctrinal bias; as respects honesty and ability, the name of Mr. O'Sullivan makes it impertinent for me to say one word.
Hitherto, I have adduced the testimony of persons whose opinions are either, to a certain degree, in accordance with those of Mr. Knox; or, at the least, not identified with that theology to which he was opposed. It may be said (though by candid minds it will not be said), that these are suspicious-or, if not so, yet- willing wittakes into the account any colouring which his affections may impart to his views; and, in a case of doubt, he makes fair deductions on the score of this very
I am not of the number of those who think that an honest man's testimony will be biassed in a matter of fact by the opinions which he theoretically espouses. The moment he comes to question himself as to the truth, he
* Vide Extract from the Letter of Mr. Digges La Touche's sister, page xxxvi.
circumstance. I attach an equal weight to the personal character of the witnesses on both sides; and, rating none more highly than those to whom in argument I am opposed, I wish to try their testimony on the simple merits of what they say; and to come to no other result than that to which their words, fairly sifted, shall lead me.
I have now to examine the evidence of those who professedly differ from Mr. Knox in doctrine ; who theologically think on this point with Mr. Kelly; who knew Mr. Knox well, and loved him with true affection ; who venerated him in the main ; but who, on special particulars of belief, thought him greatly and grievously in error. These are gentlemen who, as much as Mr. Kelly, would rejoice to believe that Mr. Knox had indeed embraced those views, which, as in their judgment evangelical, are fraught with evangelical comfort to their own minds; and which they once fondly believed Mr. Knox to be embracing, or to have embraced. I am well aware, that in whatever degree 1 may shake that persuasion, I shall give a wound to their feelings as Christian friends : it will not, I trust, be a severe wound; to think so, would be to think (which I should most reluctantly be compelled to) that their concentrated regard on a point of doctrinal faith had narrowed the field of vision of their Christian hope and Christian charity. I trust to change their opinion respecting the character of their friend's views; I trust also to leave them in unimpaired security as to the genuineness of his pure vital religion.
The gentlemen whose testimonies I am about to produce and examine, I rank among my valued acquaintance: and I am pleased to know, that they allow me to call myself their friend. I will say nothing that can be at variance with the sacredness of that title: and they will not forget that it is one of the best privileges of real friendship, to “ speak the truth in love."
I address myself first to the substance of two commu. nications from James Scott, Esq., K.C., of Dublin ; and afterwards to two from the Rev. William Cleaver, rector of the parish of Delgany, in the county of Wicklow. I have their permission to make such use as I see fit, both of their letters and their names.
Mr. Scott's views of the question go to support Mr. Kelly's ; strongly, as he deems : how justly so, I must be allowed for myself to question ; and I leave it to others to decide. Mr. Scott is too fair a man to deny me the liberty of thinking for myself on this subject; and too much a man of the world to misconceive me, when, in plain terms, I support the grounds on which I differ in opinion from him.
In his interviews and conversations with Mr. Knox, Mr. Scott had been similarly impressed with Mr. Kelly; and had been induced to think that such advance or alteration as Mr. Kelly speaks of, had occurred in Mr. Knox's religious views and feelings. Though I could not say” (I use Mr. Scott's own words) “ that he had ever, in terms, professed any decided change in his preceding religious views, yet the tenour of his language, and his disposition to listen to, and seemingly accord with, what are considered to partake of evangelical views and expressions, had produced in me a feeling,* that his religious views were undergoing a considerable change; and that he had become, in some degree, as I thought, distrustful of his preceding system of view." “ I was and am, myself, strongly impressed with a belief, that such a change in his mind and feelings, as he (Mr. Kelly) has represented, actually had occurred, and was advancing during the last three or four months, or perhaps more, of his life. I had frequently noticed it in his language and observations, as I thought; and spoken of it to Mrs. Scott as apparently observable repeatedly.
“In our interview last summer, you asked me if I had ever heard Mr. Knox, at any time, expressly avow or state,
Throughout the whole of Mr. Scott's statements I use Italics for those words, or sentences, which, in his handwriting, he has underlined.
that a change had occurred in his religious views, stating that such a report had gone abroad? I told you, in answer,
I that I never had ; nor did I think it likely that he would so express himself; or, possibly, be aware how far his views had undergone a change. And so far from it, that I remembered, on one occasion, when some conversation had occurred between us, which introduced, or related to what are considered, evangelical doctrines, he had said to me emphatically, ‘My dear Mr. Scott, my views of religion (or opinions on the subject) have been long formed; for myself, such as they are, I must stand or fall with them before my Master, when I come to be judged. Others may, perhaps, take a different view safely ; but I cannot. This was the purport of that conversation with Mr. Knox; though not, probably, its very words."
6. This transaction occurred a considerable time (I should think nearly a year) before his death ; or, perhaps, more: and previous
1 to the time at which his supposed change was observed, as it appears, by myself and several others. That some such change was gradually taking place during the latter period, I feel was strongly indicated (in the absence of any distinct or express avowal of it by him), not only by the general tone of his language in reference to the Saviour, and his acquiescence in the use of such language to him and in his presence, but also by one or two remarkable incidents: one of them with myself. Mr. Knox was warmly attached to the present Lady -, and felt a deep interest for her son, who died some time before Mr. Knox, and, during his last illness, had used language exhibiting a wonderful and extraordinary maturity of acquaintance with Divine truth, love for his Saviour, and joyful anticipation of acceptance with Him. His father wrote to Mr. Knox, I believe at my or Mrs. Scott's request (I think some two or three months before his death ; but this you can easily ascertain from himself, or perhaps find the letter - among Mr. Knox's papers), giving him a particular account of the dear child's state of mind and language during his last illness, which was peculiarly striking. I had introduced the subject, and read to him some pas
sages of letters which I had myself received, giving interesting accounts of this boy; when Mr. Knox told me he had himself received a most interesting report of the sweet boy from his father : and then, in a solemn and striking manner, said to me, “My dear Mr. Scott, how gladly would I sit at the feet of that dear child; now to learn from him (or from his lips) the lessons of Divine truth which he could teach me.'
“ I was much impressed at the time with this expression, as it seemed to exhibit his then profound humility, and also to intimate his desire of further Divine teaching, and sense of its need for himself; as if he felt and acknowledged that something was wanting in his own previous religious views."
Here is a definite fact; something tangible, and with which one can deal. And here are inferences drawn from the fact, with which one can reasonably argue. As respects the fact, in one aspect. It is not, I
I think, a matter of much surprise, that any one, however deep his attainments in religious truth or spiritual experience, -whilst still detained within this fleshly tabernacle, and seeing as through a glass darkly- should, in the humbleness of devout faith, and the ardour of heavenly aspiration, profess his gladness to sit at the feet of one of those redeemed little ones, whose spirit was then before the throne of God and the Lamb; or to learn the lessons of Divine truth, while that saint of God, then in the light of the Truth himself, could teach him. This, I should think, is the feeling which all must entertain, and which most would piously utter. I could draw no inferences from this such as Mr. Scott has drawn. Arguing merely from inference, however, I might be wrong, and Mr. Scott right. But I do not argue inferentially; I have facts that prove Mr. Scott to be wrong, both in the conclusions to which he came, and also as to a portion of the facts which he has alleged (wrong, as to the latter, it is quite clear, by the fallibility of his recollections alone, and correctly stating the substance of the one main fact from which he derived