Page images

concerning the kingdom of God pain; and this, it appears to me is and the name of Jesus, believed; the first repentance of a sinner, and there was great joy in that who, when he is made acquainted city. The case of the Eunuch with the way of life turns thereto. affords no proof that he had been I am persuaded that there is a difdistressed; we are merely told ference between the first repentthat, on believing, he went on his ance of an ungodly sinner and way rejoicing. Some might ob- that of a backsiider. In Paul's ject as a proof, the case of Peter's address to the Corinthians, he first converts; but I think it


mentioned sorrow, carefulness, sible their distress arose from be- vehement desire, revenge, &c. lieving the testimony of Peter and then shews they were posconcerning the person whom they sessed of that repentance which had crucified; for in replying to needed not to be repented of, and their question, the apostle does thus proved themselves to be clear not command them to believe on in their conduct towards the disthe Lord Jesus Christ, but to orderly member. Indeed the supshew their gratitude by their position that distress is necessary obedience. When Peter preached to prepare the mind for the recepto the family of Cornelius and tion of good news is owing to mismade known to them the united taken notions of the nature of the testimony of the Prophets con- gospel, which, when understood cerning Jesus, that whosoever be- and believed, makes the sinner lieved in him should be saved, happy, whatever circumstances he they believed the word and were was previously in. No compariinade glad thereby. No proof of son, no human teaching can efantecedent concern or rather dis- fectually convey this knowledge. tress. If any should say that It is the work of Him who said repentance implies distress-they “ Let there be light and there shall be referred to this circum- was light.” Hence the apostle stance, which Peter reports to the says “ God who commanded the church at Jerusalem, and was by light to shine out of darkness, them answered, “ then hath God hath shined in our hearts, to give also to the Gentiles granted re- us the knowledge of the glory of pentance unto life.” There was God in the face of Jesus Christ." repentance or a change of mind As to the new birth, it appears to without any apparent previous / me that very mistaken notions

* It is a very common case in controversy, for writers, in order to avoid one extreme, to run into the contrary, and we fear something of this kind may be imputed to our correspondent in the present instance. We think his remarks in general exeeedingly judicious, and can cordially subscribe to their justness. But we would put it fairly to his own consideration whether, in order to oppose the popular jargon respecting previons convictions and a sound law work as pre-requisites to faith in Christ, it be at all necessary to y dead, as he seems to do, that the minds of the first converts were, in any instances, divested of all concern or distress ? So far from that being the case, we are inclined to doubt whether an unbeliever can be found whose mind is at all times exempt from concern or distress. There is in every man a voice that witnesses for God. Rom. ii. 14, 15.—and the dictates of natural conscience, in defiance of all the pains that are taken to silence its clamours, will, at times, occasion sufficient“ concern or distress” to make the relief which the gospel brings near to the guilty, most acceptable! Where is the believer that does not know this fact by experience ? If any one doubt” says.the venerable Booth, “ whether his convictions be genuine, let him remember, that the questions he should ask himself, in order to attain satisfaction, are not, 'How long did I lie under them ? To what a degree of terror did they proceed? By what means were they wrought?' But ' Does it stand true in my conscience, that I have sinned and deserve to perishIs it a fact, that nothing but the grace of God can relieve me?' These are the questiops that demand his notice, and a suitable answer solves the query," Booth's Works, Vol. I. p. 88, Note.



prevail on this important subject. To the Editor of the New Evangelical When the divine instructor con

Magazine. versed with Nicodemus respecting SIR. this doctrine, he drew his atten- I HAVE been often struck tion to Himself as the antitype of with the remarkable expression of the brazen serpent; thereby teach- Cardinal Wolsey, which he uttered ing him, that faith in Himself in- towards the close of bis eventful troduces into the kingdom of life. When reflecting upon the heaven, and this faith is connected misappropriation of his time and with, or may be called, the new talents, a little before his dissolubirth, inasmuch as it produces a tion he exclaimed, “ Had I served change in the understanding, the God as diligently as I have served will and the affections of the be- the King, he would not have forlieving sinner.

Dr. Watts has saken me in my grey hairs ; but well expressed this sentiment in this is the just reward I must re. one of his Hymns, though he conceive for my indulgent pains and tradicted it in his other writings. study, not regarding my service 'Tis faith that changes all the heart, to God, but only to my Prince." 'Tis faith that works by love.

How impressive and emphatically The word of the truth of the gos- just was the assertion of “this pel is the seed which produces a towering prelate!" spiritual life; “ Being born of the It is reasonable to conclude that incorruptible seed, the word of others have experienced similar God, which liveth and abideth reflections, produced by the vitiatfor ever:” and “ by this word,” ed use of talent, when the prosPaul says, “I have begotten you, pects of eternity have stamped by means of the gospel.” I have a proper estimate upon human thought that the erroneous ideas actions, and distinguished things which prevail on this subject is by their right names. It is much one of those ways by means of to be regretted, that in the present which the god of this world day we have such awful proofs of blinds the minds of those which the prostitution of superior talent believe not, lest the light of the to the cause of unrighteousness. gospel should shine into them, We see those whose powers of and that, by perverting the truth eloquence, erudition, and general he sometimes effects his purpose knowledge, would have qualified of destroying the souls of men, them for the most elevated stations knowing that if he can succeed in in society, sinking into moral this, his captive is secure. But it degradation by their constant is the office of Christ to open opposition to the word of God, blind eyes, to bring out the pris- and by their unwearied efforts oners from the prison house, &c. to bring it into disrepute. The May the efforts which are now reflections of such nien, if ever making, to spread the knowledge they are converted by the grace of truth by the dispersion of the of God, and made preachers of scriptures, &c. &c. be also blessed that faith they once laboured to to convey to the minds of men destroy, Gal. i. 23. must be poig, " the truth as it is in Jesus.” nant indeed. Painful must be the I remain,

sensations of a good man, when Dear Sir,

reminded by conscience of his atYours respectfully,

tempts to win the applause of his

fellow-creatures at the expence Ringwood,

GEORGE of the divine approbation as well Feb. 24, 1817.

as of the happiness of his own soul. This remark is also ap


plicable to those preachers, who, position to those whose metaphyforgetting the dignity of their sub- sical expressions, and far fetched ject, their situation in the house allusions are beyond the compreof God, the shortness of time, i hension of the uncultivated poor, and the value of immortal souls, he asserts “ except ye utter by tbe can descend to ribaldry and non- tongue words easy to be undersense, and to the repetition of stood, how shall it be known what frivolous tales for the purpose of is spoken." 1 Cor. xiv. 9. I have exciting the risibility of their been led to make these desultory auditory. Egregious triflers ! How remarks in consequence of having would they bear to hear their heard the most extravagant assermaster exclaim, in such an assem- tions made upon the most abstruse bly, Give an account of thy subjects, but which have been stewardship!" If the description unconnected with the least difwas appropriate, which Abraham fideuce, doubt or argument. This Pooth once gave of a Sermon, appears to me to be a misapprowhen he would have entitled it priation of time—a misapplica“ DAMNATION A FARCE,” it tion of talent, and is calculated to becomes the paramount duty of do much injury to the church of every Minister of Jesus Christ, to God. I will give you a specimen abstain from the very appearance or two of what has recently passed of so flagrant an evil. We have an under my own observation. excellent model in the Apostle A popular preacher in this city Paul, which loses nothing of its very recently asseried in the faceof effect, by being contrasted with a large congregation, " That parasome of the “popular preachers” doxical as it might appear, yet of the present day. Paul did not whenever the phrase SON wish to amuse his hearers' fancies. GOD occurred in the New TestaHe endeavoured to alarm their ment, it referred to Christ's HUMAN consciences. He did not desire NATURE, and that whenever the to gratify their idle curiosity, but phrase Son Of Man occurred it to convert their hearts. He did referred to his DIVINE NATURE.” not preach himself, but Christ“ Paradoxical” indeed it did apJesus the Lord. Neither did he pear to many of his hearers as wish to draw off the attention of well as to myself; but fearing that his hearers from the sublime truths I had mistaken the meaning of he was declaring, to fix it on Scripture upon this subject, and meretricious ornaments or flowery wishing to have right views of a harangue. When he spoke of doctrine so important in the ecorighteousness, temperance, and nomy of human redemption, I judgment to come, he needed no had recourse to “ the law and the well turned periods or polished testimony" — I referred not to language to set them off; but, im- creeds or systems, but to " what pressed with the due importance saith the Scriptures." Your reaof those momentous truths, he ders with the assistance of entered with such honesty into Concordance, can soon find the the relation of facts, that “ Felix various texts containing the phrases trembled.” Instead of spending “Son of God,” and “Son of Man.” near two hours a Lecture upon I would therefore only quote the the Government of the tongue,” two first passages which are to be He says, “I had rather speak five found in the New Testament, conwords with my understanding, that taining these expressions, Matt. I might teach others also, than iv. 3.°" And when the tempter ten thousand words in an unknown came to him, he said, If thou be tongue.” 1 Cor. xiv. 19. In op- the Son of God, command that



these stones be made bread.” that the phrase Son of God means Matt. viii. 20. “ And Jesus saith the Human nature, and the Son unto him, The foxes have boles, of Man Ilie Divine Nature, of the and the birds of the air have same being?* Mirabile diclu, what nests: but, the Son of Man" (does necessity is there for this perverit mean his Divine Nature!)“ hath sion of terms; can it answer any not where to lay his head.” Surely good purpose? Is it calculated to the Rev. Gentleman's assertion increase our respect for that reveshould not liave been so positive lation which the God of heaven as it was,

unaccompanied by has placed in our hands, and evidence, but more particularly “ which is able to make us wise . when a comparative view of the unto salvation?" It is presumed , passages where these expressions that the preacher was not aware are contained, unvarnished by of the mischievons tendency of sophistry, untortured by conjecture, his unwarranted assertion; but he would soon demonstrate the dif- must be told that, in the

same proficulties which are connected with portion as he is popular, he is by it. To reverse the meaning of the many implicitly believed; and plainest phraseology in the New therefore his opportunities of doing Testament, and to destroy the good or liarm are more considerorder of our ideas, wheu they arise able than those of common men. simply from the evidence of the His “ parodoxical” assertion did, subject,—to make that abstruse disturb the minds of several plain which in its relative connection is men, who believing it to be true, easy to be understood-requires were led to derive inferences by more acquaintance with the jargon no means favourable to the perof the schools than falls to the spicuity of New Testament phrageneral lot of men, and of whicla seology. On the last Sabbath. this is a specimen.

when speaking from Gen. iv.3--7. It bas been judiciously asked he stated it to be his opinion that by this same Minister,when preach the Cherubims with the flaming ing upon the subject of Baptism, swords in the Garden of Eden, " If an Angel from heaven were instead of being objects of terror to drop a Bible in the interior of to our first parents, were the emAfrica, among a people capable of understanding its contents, but

apparent paradox” which con

stitutes the subject of our correspondent's who were unacquainted with this auimadversions, we have a remark or two controversy in the Christian church; to offer. That the title : Son of God," is inte after they had read the scriptural Jesus Christ is truly god, it were absurd to account of Baptism, would they stood by the Jews, for they put him to death (said he) conclude that sprinkling for blasphemy, because he called himself was the mode, and infants the understood to be making himself equal. subject of this New Testament with God." John v 18. and 2.33.

not so sure tbat the other appellation " Son ordinance ?” I have often ad- of Man,” never imports any thing more than mired the principle of this ques- in the New Testament it is sometimes adopto, tion, and have applied it to that, ed with an immediate reference to the memo. as well as other subjects, with ticular the following texts, John v. 27. Matt. some degree of success. I would xxv.31. and xxvi. 6t. Rev. i. 7. We, however, now seriously ask, would these pondent's strictures, and would further add, unsopbisticated sons of nature be the preacuer was not original-We ourselves led to draw the same conclusions have heard it nearly forty years ago, from

persons who were not at all likely to be the from reading the New Testament inventors of it; so that it has probably character of Jesus Christ, which been current for ages! This, however, does this Gentleman has? Can it be sup- are snre that a fondness for such strange conposed that their belief would be ceits is always an indication of a weak judgVOL. III.

* On the

But we are

[ocr errors]




blems of mercy—that the flaming guage as well as of sentiment was sword was the ground of hope, more observed in the promulgaand that it turned every way to tion of the gospel. Ministers are keep the way open to the tree of the last that hear the objections life! --He believed it to be deroga made to their preaching; and the tory to the character of God, to poor are usually the last that give conclude that he used the Cheru- them that information. This is bims with flaming sword, for the principally occasioned by the dissake of intimidating the approach tance which is irreligiously preof guilty mortals, when by an served by some pastors towards exertion of his power, He could the poor of their fock. If comstrike them to the antipodes of the munications were frequent, conground upon which they stood. fidence would be restored. The He thought it unreasonable to minister would be considered in suppose ihat the Cherubims could a proper light; and the poor man be objects of terror in the Gar- would be encouraged to mention den, and emblems of mercy upon his difficulties, his doubts, his the mercy seat. He asserted that sorrows, and his joys; and with there was the strongest presump- the characteristic contidence of a tive evidence for concluding that generous soul, would be disposed Cain and Abel presented their to unbosom his thoughts freely offerings in the presence of these and unreservedly to his spiritual Cherubims with their framing friend. The advantages resultswords (which were in the shape ing from this happy interchange of of a sword or a tougue) and that Christian friendship would be reit was probable the flame did pro. ciprocal. The pastor would beceed from the sword of the Che come acquainted with the spiritual rubim--fire the offering of Abel, dispositions of his brethren; while and burn it up!!! I cannot think they would have the opportunity where our minister could derive of getting things explained, which these conjectures (for they are when delivered from the pulpit nothing else.) The scriptural might have appeared obscure. statement given us in the iii. and iv. A minister who was illustrating chapters of Genesis will not serve Ps. xliv. 22, “ For thy sake are we as premises for any such conclu- killed all the day long; we are sions; indeed none but a genius of counted as sheep for the slaughter," the most fanciful description could am ng other things informed have so metamorphosed the un- us that the subjects referred to by adorned account which Moses has David, were some of the primileft upon imperishable record. tive Martyrs, who were taken out

This was some of the dross of a house one by one, (as sheep which was unfortunately mixed up are taken by the butcher to be with what would otherwise bave slaughtered, and were decapitated been a discourse of very superior by the Roman executioner. Upon excellence; and although positively asking a poor man what he thought asserted, yet the proof of the fact was done to those Christians who had nothing to rest upon but, were decapitated (as the preacher " the strongest presumptive evi- so repeatedly asserted,) he answerdence,” the reasonableness of ed from the simplicity of his it—that “it was highly probable” heart, that it was to “ take their and the preacher " believed" it-caps off.” This is a plain proof what a rich profusion of evidence of the necessity of preaching“ in is all this, to an inquisitive mind!!! words easy to be understood.”

It is a consummation devoutly to Dr. Collyer, when he last paid us be wished, that simplicity of lan- a visit, took an opportunity in one

« PreviousContinue »