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of Jesus, and who sees political and ecclesiastical subjects solely with reference to Him? The conduct of the nation has been one series of ingratitude towards Him, the climax of which was being ashamed of His truth, and refusing to be His witness against the man who mimics Him at Rome. Still Jesus yearns with pity over men, and still beseeches them to turn to Him as the Lamb, the bearer away of sin, before He comes as the Lion,
He hears the groanings and sighings of the starving labourer; he sees the cruelties exercised on infants in manufactories; the lash of the slave-drivers resounds in His ears : the land is full of violence, and these defenceless ones can gain no redress; for these the boasted laws of England are a dead letter. There is such a heavy load of sin, such an accumulation of blood on the land, that the long-suffering and tender mercies of God wait before He rises to make inquisition for it. Yet where is the church to make intercession for the people ? where are the members of Christ, to fulfil now His office on the earth ? where is the Christian who sighs and mourns for the iniquity of the nation? Where is the mind of Jesus, to view our national offences as hateful to God, as contrary to His mind and will, and on that account causing bitterness of spirit in secret before the Lord ? Where is the love that weeps for a dishonoured God, and for an irreligious people ? Alas ! 'these are no where to be found, but amongst those whom their brethren cast out as possessed of Satanic spirits. The image of Jesus is so lost, that its return in weakness and feebleness is mistaken for a representation of Satan.
O Lord God of Hosts, great and manifold are the sins of our land against thee. We dare not ask Thee to pardon it while it is persisting in sin, the sin unto death, in refusing to acknowledge Jesus for its King : but we do implore Thee to suspend thy righteous judgments for a little season, and to baptize every member of thy Church with the Holy Ghost, that they may go forth, in Thy love, Thy holiness, and Thy power, to tell the people of thine infinite love to all men, and of the eternal life and pardon which Thou hast provided for all mankind in thy dear Son. O righteous Father, have mercy yet a little longer: pity the people; for the hireling shepherds have scattered them upon the barren mountain ; they have fed them with nothing but the dry garbage of man's reasonings, and have not fed them with the strong nourishment of thy Son's flesh, nor led them beside the living waters of the Holy Spirit. Instead of being ministers of the Spirit, they are telling the people not to pray for His baptism; they preach against Jesus as the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. Save thou, O Lord, thy people out of their hands: anoint thou faithful witnesses for thy coming judgments and present mercies: O Father, give, we beseech thee, unto every member of thy
Church the mind that was in Christ Jesus, that we may mourn in bitterness of spirit at the thought of a nation being abandoned by Thee, and of a church being cast away from thy Holy presence for ever. Oh let us make the case of every individual in it our own,
cry for them, as we would for ourselves, “Cast us not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us : visit us with thy Salvation; and cause the light of thy countenance to shine upon us :" for the Lord's sake.
THE DOCTRINE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS. The Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts dispassionately examined ; by a
Clergyman of the Church of England. This is, in many respects, a very good tract, which we have no hesitation in recommending to the perusal of our readers. Its faults are more those of omission than of commission : the remarks, therefore, which we intend to offer shall, by God's blessing, tend rather to supply its deficiencies than point out its blemishes. We must, however, object to one passage at its outset, which is this: the writer observes, “It has been very * painful to observe the manner in which this subject has been • treated. On the one hand, the belief, not only in the fact that 'such powers do exist in the church, but also in some present
pretensions to them, has been pressed with an urgency wbich • almost forbids inquiry. Such immediate and unqualified assent has been required, as to preclude the possibility of that calm and diligent investigation which ought to be employed on every subject of the Christian faith. No alternative has been 'held out; but an instant conviction, or a sinful unbelief, which ' is attributed to the unworthy fear of man, or to some other
working of the “ carnal mind." ; Now we really think this charge unfounded : it might be very prudent in an “examination,” which professes to be “dispassionate," to set out with telling both parties in the question that they were in the wrong; but its justice is not quite so manifest. The gravamen of the offence charged lies in the assent to the “ present pretensions being demanded without necessary time being allowed for investigation ; and certainly it is not easy to define by hours and minutes the extent of time that the writer shall deem sufficient. But what are the facts? In August 1830 the following passage is found in the Record newspaper : Very high
authority in the metropolis, in the estimation of certain professing Christians, but of none with us in matters of this kind, pronounced that there was no doubt that the gifts of 'tongues, and of working miracles, were restored to the church;
“and we understand that this opinion was lately confirmed by
the unanimous vote of an assembly, which annually meets at 'no great distance from the metropolis, with a peculiar view to " the study of prophetic subjects. This decision was not a little
in unison with many of their conclusions, on subjects far more remote from the sphere of their vision than this happens to be; though even it appears far too distant to enable them, in the
present state of their visual organs, to conceive of it according 'to truth.' Now, although the analysis of this paragraph would furnish the usual residuum of misrepresentation and falsification which newspapers invariably exhibit on such subjects, yet it proves that the subject, not only of the doctrine generally, but of these specific gifts, was under the consideration of some persons nearly two years ago ; yet, until the Twelfth Number of this Journal, not one demand of " assent was required” in any publication which we have met with: and, even in the article which relates to them, there is a special caution against demanding assent from those who had not sufficient opportunities for inquiry.
On the other hand, we think the author has spoken in terms vastly inadequate to the tone and language which has been used against the doctrine, and against the gifted persons, by such persons as Greenwood, Irons, the Record, Evangelical Magazine, &c. This midway steering betwixt Christ and Belial sounds very specious; and is very popular, under the names of candour, dispassionate examination, &c.; but we affectionately entreat the writer to remember that it is the Lord, and not we, who says, 'I know thy works, that thou art
neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot: so then, 'because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.'
The tract is divided into three heads: first, into the nature of spiritual gifts, or what is signified by the Apostle under this expression ; secondly, what is the source from which these gifts originated, or the foundation for their existence in the Christian church ; thirdly, what is the present standing of the Christian church with regard to them. The sentiments conveyed under the first two of these heads are very good. Under the third, the writer proceeds to inquire : 'first, Is there any reason to suppose that the exercise of them is absolutely suspended in the church by God himself? secondly, Have we scriptural grounds for expecting that they will be again ex‘ercised in the church? and, thirdly, Is the church responsible ' for the continued use of them?' On the first point the writer observes, that 'not a single testimony can be adduced from • Scripture, limiting these spiritual gifts to any one period of the church.' And against the alleged historical fact that they
have ceased, he says, he has no doubt that God has at various ' times, in all ages of his church, interposed his arm, and • revealed himself to his people as the answerer of prayer; and * that he has miraculously interposed to vindicate the cause of • his faithful martyrs and witnesses.' Such facts, however, he wisely distinguishes from the standing power of spiritual gifts.
The author observes, that it has been said, that, Christianity being now established, we want no such witness to its truths: ' that, having an established creed, we no longer need God to 'bear testimony to his servants' words, as he did of old. But can this be gravely said by any thinking man? What! are the credentials of the Christian minister so universally and fully recognised, that all will listen to him as a teacher sent from God? Are the ranks of the infidel, and of the Papist, more penetrable " than the strong-holds of heathenism? Besides, is all the 'world even nominally Christian? Are there no triumphs of
the Cross over heathenism yet to be achieved? Is it possible, " that, with all we see around us, and all we hear at a distance ' from us, we can say, that if God should graciously interpose
again with his arm of power, it would be altogether useless, since we are too far advanced, and too prosperous, to need such helps ? Surely we may safely leave this matter in the hands of
It does not become us thus to prejudge the question. • If God should again visit his church, as in the days of old, we
shall be at no loss to assign abundant reason; and, even if we . could not discover the reason, we would believe that he had one which we could not see.'
This passage does not convey, with sufficient clearness, the author's just estimate of the actual state of religion in the land, and of God's written will upon the subject. • The ranks of the • Infidel and of the Papist,' and the strong-holds of Heathenism,' are far more penetrable to the Spirit of God than the delusions of Evangelism. The darkest period of intellectual, moral, and spiritual blackness, is that which immediately precedes the second coming of the Son of Man. Not a single reason can be assigned why it was necessary that the Apostles, who had been instructed by the personal ministry of Christ, should yet be found inadequate to preach to the then world until they had been endowed with miraculous power, which does not in a tenfold degree apply to those who preach to the world in its present condition. The whole argument correctly implies that the world now is less pervious to mere human testimony than it was then; which we believe, both from the description of it in the Bible, and from discernment of its spiritual condition, to be the fact; and which it would have been better to have stated more fully.
We must come to closer quarters with our author in his next
paragraph. A third inquiry which may be proposed is this :
Is the church responsible for the exercise of spiritual gifts ? and is the absence of them, in any of her members, to be attributed • to their sin? Now, in determining this question, it is very
important to observe the distinction already noticed between 'the presence of the Spirit, and the manifestation of the Spirit ; 'between the gift of the Holy
Ghost, and the gifts by which the Holy Ghost is manifested. This is a distinction for which not one single passage of Scripture is adduced; and we believe it to be a distinction utterly groundless. • We may say,' he adds,
that there is the capacity in all Christians for the possession of * all gifts, because all are baptized with the Holy Ghost; but 'the gifts are divided to each, according to the sovereign will of 'God.' Here there is confusion, from the too large, or too restricted, application of the terms. If, by all Christians, be intended all those who have been baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, then it is not true that all these have a capacity for exercising spiritual gifts. If by all Christians be meant the election, in whom the Holy Ghost personally resides, then there is more than a capacity for possession; and the kind of gift is indeed according to the sovereignty of the Father, but also according to the holiness of the vessel. He proceeds, 'Hence, I think, we must draw this conclusion, that, · while all are placed under the responsibility of baptism with • the Holy Ghost, the impartation of gifts is a matter entirely dependent upon the sovereignty of God to confer, or with hold, as he sees fit.' (How does the manifestation of the gift depend upon the sovereignty of God more than the responsibility of baptism with the Holy Ghost? What labour to make distinction where none exists !) • The Holy Ghost is given to every baptized believer, who is henceforth his temple; while the power of manifesting the Holy Ghost in spiritual gifts, seems never to have been general to the whole Christian body, but
was confined to those to whom God chose to assign it. And * this opinion is confirmed by the method in which the gifts
were conferred. On the day of Pentecost, indeed, they ' seemed to have been conferred along with the baptism of the • Spirit; and also in the analogous case of Cornelius and his • friends, when the Gentiles were first admitted into the church. But, with these exceptions, the gifts seem to have been conferred in the primitive church by the laying on of the Apostles' hands; they seem to have been the special privilege of some,
not the general privilege of all.' Every baptized person has not the person of the Holy Ghost dwelling in him. But what the author had to shew was, that it was the special privilege of NONE: he had to point to one single church without any gift at all; for he is beating the air in contending against the idea that