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his inferences.) Mr. Scott is wrong as to the fact of this letter being written two or three months before Mr. Knox's death. I have the letter; its date is Oct. 13th, 1829. He is wrong, also, as to his inferences, as the date proves; for at the very time when that letter is dated, Mr. Knox thus writes (Oct. 12th, 1829), “Nothing has, first or last, been farther from my thoughts, than the supposition of religious error having any share in my case. At this moment I must declare, that I know not how I could understand our Redeemer's divine discourses, and the writings of his Apostles, otherwise than I have done, and do. And, in my own pursuit of the religion of the heart, I am conscious of no questionable character in the blessing I have been looking for, which
* I am anxious not to misrepresent any one; much more so, not to misrepresent Mr. Scott. I may have misconceived him. On the supposition that I have possibly done so, I will meet the case under another aspect.
If Mr. Scott means to say that his conversation with Mr. Knox occurred not about the time of the letter (Oct. 13, 1829), but actually two or three months before Nr. Knox's death (say in April or March, 1831), then my reply would be still we come to no other conclusion ; still there is no inference of versatility to be drawn from any thing that was said by Mr. Knox. In the conversation (which it seems strange should, on the part of one who had requested that the letter might be written, be introduced, for the first time, a year and a half after the occurrence, and referring to that very letter which Mr. Scott had never before named to his friend), Mr. Knox would naturally say what he said, on the ground which I have already suggested ; namely, the superior scale of spiritual being in which the disembodied spirit of the child was then placed. And I farther add, that, in the sentiments of the letter itself, Mr. Knox would, at any time of his life, have concurred; there being not one expression of this interesting child, which Mr. Knox would not have deemed just, and, in the true sense of the word, Evangelical.
If the conversation occurred about the time of the letter (Oct. 13th, 1829), which was probably the case, or, indeed, whenever it occurred, it is clear Mr. Scott has, in this instance, been inaccurate in respect of dates : and we have, thus far, ground for doubting the correctness of the date which he vaguely assigns to that other conversation, in which Mr. Knox said, “ On the views of religion which I have formed, I must stand or fall, &c Others may, perhaps, take a different view safely; but I cannot.” This last conversation may have been the one which occurred “two or three months before his death;" as the other, pretty surely, took the place assigned to this, and occurred “a considerable time before his death, I should think, nearly a year, or perhaps more.” The two occurrences may most fitly change situations.
was to make me doubt whether I have not been following a cunningly devised fable. On the contrary, I always thought that my sole defect lay in not more fully possessing the blessedness which I (feebly, but sincerely, and from the fullest conviction) was pursuing."
Thus Mr. Knox wrote, at the very time when, as Mr. Scott's inferences suppose, “ he felt and acknowledged that something was wanting in his own previous religious views.” Mr. Scott infers more correctly, when he says,
“ it seemed to exhibit his then profound humility, and also to intimate his desire of farther Divine teaching, and sense of its need for himself.” Mr. Knox's spirit was, indeed, profoundly humble ; great “ need” did he acknowledge of “ farther Divine teaching,” day by day. He felt that his defect lay in not“ knowing" more of Christ; in not experimentally knowing more of Him, and of the Power of his resurrection.”
The above facts may make us cautious how we trust to recollection (even the honestest recollection) for dates. And they will incline us to hesitate in pronouncing judgment on the evidence of such opinions as are founded on inferences.
Inferences are all that the whole of Mr. Scott's remaining testimony rests on. “I was, and am, myself strongly impressed with a belief”—“ I had frequently noticed, as I thought.” “Mr. Knox did never expressly avow or state that a change had occurred”—“ I did not 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,” &c. These are the ideal foundations on which a superstructure of opinion is built up. We know that there is almost nothing to which ardent desire may not carry an easy belief. Mr. Scott, I must avow, appears to me in this instance to have inferred too readily; though he knows the rules of evidence too well to pronounce a decided judgment from connexions so inconsequent as these.
I pass to the testimony of Mr. Cleaver. Mr. Cleaver, like Mr. Scott, rests his opinion on inferences; and he,
too, has his facts. His inferences, I think I shall shew, are incorrect; and, of his facts, one makes conclusively for my side of the argument. I make my comments, partly on a memorandum of a conversation between Mr. Cleaver and myself, drawn up originally by me, and submitted at the time to Mr. Cleaver for his corrections (this is now before me with his corrections), and partly from a subsequent letter of Mr. Cleaver's, in answer to inquiries still more detinite: both these documents were asked and granted, for the practical purposes of this very inquiry, and both have been furnished by Mr. Cleaver with that readiness and unreserve which characterise up: right intention and good faith.
This most amiable and respectable man, having, for a length of time, been in the habit of intimate religious conversation with Mr. Knox, and having always listened to him with delight and edification, had,” nevertheless,“ had occasion often to regret what he had deemed deficient views in Mr. Knox's mind, of the cont straining love of Christ, as the great motive through which the Holy Spirit operates on man's heart with saving efficacy."
Mr. Cleaver conceived this love to be deficient principally, “ as not resting sufficiently on Christ in respect of his passion and death, and their immediately cons nected consequences.” But, in a visit to Mr. Knox about six weeks before his death, an impression was made on Mr. Cleaver's mind, as though a beneficial change had taken place in this particular respect, in Mr. Knox's views and feelings. Mr. Cleaver received this impression in consequence of a communication made to him of two extraordinary occurrences, which, at two several times, had happened to Mr. Knox; in each of which, such a manifestation of the love of Christ the Saviour had been vouchsafed to Mr. Knox, as had left, upon his mind and heart, the most cheering influences of a spiritual consolation, granted in seasons of deep inward humiliation and distress.
This impression was not derived from any avowal,
on Mr. Knox's part, “ that he took the same views of the special love of Christ as those which Mr. Cleaver had often urged on him;" but “ from the general tenour of his conversation, and the warmth with which he spoke of the comfort derived from such extraordinary manifestations of the love of Christ to him, and the light of God's countenance thus resting on him.”
Now, I possess the record of these extraordinary occurrences : it is in Mr. Knox's handwriting; drawn up for the correct information of a particular friend. What does he state the communications to have been ? and what is the character of the comfort which he really derived from them?
There were, in all, four such manifestations : on two only, however, did Mr. Knox lay much stress; and, probably, these alone were named to Mr. Cleaver. “I scarcely know (says Mr. Knox) how to describe any of them with precision, except the last. Besides, the first and second were not very distinguishable; the one, as well as the other, being a kind of momentary specimen of the happiness afforded by a subdued and spiritual frame of mind and heart; the latter had, perhaps, more in it of evangelical spirituality. The third, was a view of the moral excellence of the Christian religion ; the particulars of which I cannot recall, and retain only à feeling of the brightness and beauty of the mental view, and of the satisfaction which it gave me during its short continuance. The fourth, I have laid the most stress upon; because, in addition to an engaging sense of Deity, as of the one object of the heart, I had, also, in however slight a degree, a more conscious attraction to our blessed Saviour, as God Incarnate, than I ever felt before. I humbly hope there was nothing delusive in it."
That is Mr. Knox's narrative; no doubt, in substance, identically the same as that which Mr. Cleaver heard ; in expression, I doubt not, pretty closely similar in both instances; for Mr. Knox was not a inan who dealt in vague generalities, or indefinite modes of expression.
Now, in all this, what is there really to justify any the most remote idea of any novelty of opinion, of any change, either in feelings or views ? His mind is made to dwell with singular vividness of impression on “ the happiness of a subdued and evangelically spiritual frame of mind and heart;" on “ the moral excellence of the Christian religion ;" on “ Deity, as the one object of the heart;" and “ on our blessed Saviour, as God Incarnate,” with a more than ordinary (however to Mr. Knox's eager aspirations it still appeared a feeble)
degree of conscious attraction." These are the very topics on which his mind dwelt continually; the very objects which he “ kept and pondered in his heart.” They were so familiar to him, so identified with his mental consciousness, that (though I am far from doubting whether there was not something graciously supernatural in the power with which the ideas were impressed) the current of thought and feeling might well be traced to a natural rise. The “hills" among which his mind lived, and to which he looked for his help, those in which these refreshing streams of comfort sprang, were the pure spirituality, the moral excellence, of the religion of Christ established in the heart— God reigning supremely, and filling man's heart and mind. “ The object (said Mr. Knox) which faith reveals with the deepest effect on us, depraved, weak, sensitive creatures as we are, is God manifest in the flesh; a view of the Divine Redeemer, as living, acting, teaching, dying, rising, reigning, and now our ever present friend and benefactor; the shepherd of our souls, the elder brother of our spirits, the king of our hearts; (but I would say dying, with peculiar emphasis; because, to know the crucified Redeemer aright, must crucify us to the world, and the world to us.)
Such a view of this transcendent object as begets predominant love, is the faith by which our paralysed souls are re-animated, our worldly minds made heavenly; for Jesus Christ is all excellence; and to love him truly, is to love all that is worth