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loving in the universe. It is the túning of the heart, the fitting it for the universal concert."*
If I had been called on to produce an evidence to the unchanged tenour of Mr. Knox's feelings and views, I should, among innumerable other proofs, have placed my finger on this one fact,—of God's Spirit thus powerfully impressing his mind with comfort, through those very thoughts on which his whole soul had habitually fed ; and in the nourishment of which, it was now divinely strengthened.
The time of these comforting visitations is not a little remarkable. His first communication of the fact to any friend was on the 2d November, 1829. " Within a little more than the last twelve months,” said Mr. Knox to that friend, " I have four times felt extraordinary comforts." Now, these were exactly the twelve months of more than common nervous depression; the period at which, as his friends had foreseen, transition from circumstances of peculiar enjoyment to others much less satisfactory,
must, in the nature of things, prove most severely trying." This year embraced, moreover, that time in which he had been represented as “ labouring under a kind of religious despondency, owing to the unsoundness of his system ;” which system, as it was said, “ had left him without a Saviour.” It was in this very season that this chastened servant of God was visited with peculiar manifestations of the love of God towards him, of the grace of God his Saviour, dispensed in the way of extraordinary cheering light. The thorn in the flesh was not taken away; but the grace of Christ was proved to be sufficient for him. It sufficed; it substantiated, to his feelings, all that he needed to be realised in order to the support of his faith and hope on earth. It sensibly convinced him of the healing efficacy of Christ; in whom, while bruised, he trusted : it evidenced with power the soundness of those views of Christianity on which he had
• Vide Vol. I. p. 163, 1st edit.
built his trust. “ He looked on these (said that friend to whom he first named them) as sent from God to impart light to his mind in the midst of its own darkness; he was content to wait, knowing that there was love behind the cloud which obscured it: and feeling that, yet a little while, and there would be an opening; beyond which, all would be glory.”
I have now done with Mr. Cleaver's inferences; and I come to his main fact, -- the fact, namely, of his having prayed with Mr. Knox; and the results of that act of prayer, as they are stated by Mr. Cleaver.
At this interview, or on a former occasion (but Mr: Cleaver thinks it was on a former occasion), Mr. Knox desired that Mr. Cleaver would pray.
I have taken great (I fear almost troublesome) pains, to bring Mr. Cleaver's mind to an accurate recollection as to whether it was at a former, or at a still later time: but he cannot fix the period with accuracy; and he is, therefore, very correctly cautious of assigning any precise date. He is “ satisfied that it was not upon the same occasion, when" Mr. Knox “ asked him to pray, were it only (says he) that I remember he was at the one time cheerful, at the other, depressed."
“ I cannot positively undertake to say that the time of the happy communication was subsequent to that of the prayer; though my strong impression is, the more I think of it, that it was : or I cannot but think, to say no more, the prayer would have been of another cast, and more in the strain of thanksgiving, than, as far as I remember, it was.” Whether before or after, it was much about the same time; that is, about six weeks, more or less, previous to the time of Mr. Knox's death.
In this prayer, Mr. Cleaver “ brought prominently forward those views of the love of Christ (as manifested in his death, and in the effect of that death on the pardon of man's sin), which he conceived, and still conceives, to be strictly evangelical.” What those are, is well known. “When we rose from our knees, Mr. Knox expressed himself not satisfied with what had been the principal
subject of my prayer,—that he might have deeper impressions of what had appeared to me not sufficiently prominent in his religious views.” “ He observed, as far as I remember, that I had not prayed for what he felt the great want of.”
It is self-evident that Mr. Cleaver remembers correctly aright. What Mr. Knox felt the want of, was not what his friend deemed “more strictly evangelical views;" but the spirit of evangelical religion operating more sensibly in his whole soul; “ the deepening of the life of grace, and the power of religion in his heart;" for such “ teaching of God's blessed Spirit” as would “completely subdue his mind and heart to God ;” the “ adding solidity and depth to what” his God had already “prepared for him :" in a word, for the “ working and deepening” of the Holy Spirit's “ own invaluable work in him, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake."* These were, in Mr. Knox’s estimate, really “ evangelical views;" for this he knew to be (and he longed to feel it more and more to be) true, pure, and undefiled, evangelical religion.
I revert now to the statement of Mr. Kelly; which, at the first, I was compelled to bring forward ; but which will be best considered, and reasoned from, in the present place.
But, before I turn to it, I shall best satisfy my own feelings, and discharge what is, in my mind, due to courtesy and justice, by addressing a few prefatory words to Mr. Kelly himself; not exculpatory, not apologetic, not merely in the way of conciliatory explanation ; but in the tone (so far as I have the ability to use it), and in the spirit (so far as the grace of God shall empower me to preserve it) of a man addressing his fellow man, of a brother striving amicably with a brother, of a Christian contending for the cause of truth and for the character of one of God's departed saints, in conscientious opposition with one to whom he gives superior bonour, as a more advanced Christian. Mr. Kelly and I already understand one another, appreciate one another, esteem one another; there is nothing in the cause in which we are engaged that should indispose us to come out of the contest loving one another. I have never questioned Mr. Kelly's rights or motives; as little, I know, does Mr. Kelly doubt or dispute mine. All this is already in private explained. It has been claimed and conceded mutually between Mr. Kelly and myself; but it is due to ourselves, to the cause we are engaged in, to truth and to charity, to that Christianity of whose word we are preachers, and, above all, to God, of whose Spirit we are ministers, and whose peace-inspiring message we bear; – to all these motives it is due, that what has been privately understood shall be publicly declared : that it shall be evidently seen, that under the banner by which we are ranged, each may “ withstand " the other “ to the face ;” and yet, neither violate the peace of God, nor suffer any loss of inward or outward charity.
* I quote these words from the prayer which Mr. Knox wrote on the day before his death ; which prayer is given as the concluding evidence.
Mr. Kelly is prepared for the part I am now taking ; he has told me, that he knew from the first his statement must call forth my reply. When he heard that I had cautioned the public to suspend their judgment on the subject of his letter, “ I will tell you honestly (says he) that I did expect you would do something of the kind.” He has freely proffered his assistance in sifting out the truth in this inquiry : “ If you know of any thing that I can do to enable you to arrive at any information on the subject that you are not possessed of, you may command my services.” He claims (as he has most just title to do) a right of counter-vindication : “ I know you will not be at all offended with me afterwards, if I should see it necessary to say any thing for myself.” It is impossible I should be so; Mr. Kelly is as far above giving, as I hope I am from taking, an undue offence.
In examining Mr. Kelly's statement and reasonings, I shall, I trust, violate no one delicacy ; duty and feeling will equally guard me against that. But I shall unscrupulously discard all reserve ; that is no less my nature, than my duty. The candid avowals of my opponent have already removed all fear of my unintentionally wounding him. He has himself told me that he knows I must attribute to his statement the effects of misrepresentation: more than this I never thought of imputing to him ; this charge I shall never retract. Mr. Kelly, like an honest and honourable man, has avowed that I never retracted it. " I said, in my letter to the Christian Observer (it is thus Mr. Kelly writes to me), that you had sent me a kind and courteous letter, acquitting me of any intention to mislead. How I expressed this I cannot recollect, but I am sure I said nothing, at least intentionally, which could be construed as implying any retractation, on your part, of your expressed opinion as to the matter of fact, namely, that my statement (though not chargeable with misrepresentation in a moral sense), was calculated to make a false impression.” This most candid avowal, Mr. Kelly makes in reference to a letter addressed by me to him ; of which he writes, “ If any unpleasant impression had been in my mind, it is entirely effaced by your very obliging communication.”
On the point at issue, Mr. Kelly, of course, retains his own opinion ; and he impugns my supposed reasons for doubting it as freely as (on grounds of supposition, too, but backed by argument) I am impugning his. He writes thus : “ Declaring, as I did, my sincere conviction that you honestly acquitted me of intending to make a false impression (while, at the same time, you did not hesitate to express your conviction, that my statement was calculated to have that effect), I said, that I supposed you accounted for my having published the statement in question in entire consistency with honest intentions, by a reference to the feelings which a person, circumstanced as I was with respect to Mr. Knox, might be supposed to have; and having which, he might not be in a state of mind to receive perfectly just impressions, either from what he saw or heard. To which I said, that I felt myself perfectly calm and collected in those interviews with