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gion and the integrity of the Protestant faith? I forbear going into the particulars of this matter, but Î beseech you revolve it in your minds, and weigh it well with your consciences.
“ Into secular questions, however important, I enter not; nor will time allow that I should touch upon several others which bear closely upon morals and religion—such as national education; our criminal laws; the administration of justice; the state of the poor ; drunkenness, blasphemy, and other crimes ; oaths; war; and not least the fearfully profligate state of the press. Enough, it is trusted, bas been said to lead the Christian elector to consider his duty, and to point out a few illustrative details of application, and more would not befit the time or place.
“Suffer, then, this word of exhortation. Be prepared to understand and to exercise your new privilege. Follow not vain, noisy popularity; but yield your aid to piety, sound principle, and moral worth, or to what appears to you to approach nearest that standard; boldly and resolutely, yet meekly and unostentatiously, opposing whatever falls short of it. Be united with your fellow-Christians in this matter; not allowing the great objects which all the faithful servants of God must have at heart, to be impeded by party spirit and vain janglings. Meet the common enemy -that is to say, vice, irreligion, licentiousness, scepticism, and all that opposes the word of God-in compact, and not in weak and divided columns. To your exertions add your earnest prayers that God would be pleased to direct and prosper all the consultations of the high court of parliament, to the advancement of His glory, the good of His church, the safety, honour, and welfare of our sovereign and his domi. nions; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations.'
• We live in remarkable times, and Christians are not permitted to shut their eyes to what is passing around them. The judgments of God are abroad in the earth ; pestilence walks among the nations; political commotions are rife; war would fain be girding on his iron mail; and never were the civil duties of Christians, especially in our own land, more important. Often has our God in mercy delivered us, and we may trust that he will yet deliver; that many dark clouds will pass away, and the Sun of Righteousness illumine the land. But to this end let us earnestly seek His favour; and especially let us feel the importance of Christian legislation, so that, as a nation, we may set the Lord always before us ;' and if he be at our right hand we shall not be greatly moved. On what may be called the moral strength of the community, is now imposed the duty of selecting the framers of our laws; and the selection requires conscientious care and vigilance : not indeed a harsh or captious spirit; or a self-as. sumed tone of superiority and infallibility; or an air of conferring patronage, and choosing delegates blindly to register the popular decrees, instead of selecting members for a wise and impartial deliberative assembly, to examine and decide with skill and patience and honesty ;-not a degrading system of minute, vexatious catechising, instead of a high and honourable feeling of confidence and affection, grounded on a knowledge and respect for the principles and character of the individual chosen, and on a fair and open declaration of his sentiments; which ought to be most full and explicit on all great questions in which his constituents feel interested ;-not, in short, any thing at war with the most exalted feelings of manly and Christian independence, and the exercise of a calm and mature judgment, on the part of the candidate; yet still a vigilance—nay, a controul-adequate to the importance of the matters at issue, and the frailty, to say the least, of our common nature.
“ The Christian will ever remember, that He by whose name he is called is the Prince of the kings of the earth; the Supreme Source of all wisdom and all power; that by Him kings reign and princes decree justice; that in His name should all legislation be conducted : and though this scriptural truth may have been abused -as what truth has not ?- and the very name of religious legislation rendered odious by the hypocrisy of the Papal church and the excesses of the Commonwealth parliament, yet it is truth still; and the Christian elector will therefore wish Scriptural Principles to be brought to bear with sound sense and elevated piety upon the business of nations; and to see the pervading energy of religious feeling tempering every discussion, and running like a golden thread throughout the whole fabric of the social weal. Religion must not be secularized, but the state ought to be religious. Religion itself is never out of place, though the unwise or ostentatious exhibition of it may be, and often is. Least of all is it out of place in the British Parliament: it is always needed, to regulate the temper, to check pride, to infuse a spirit of conscientiousness : it is requisite for the purification of motive, and, unless Christianity be a delusion, for seeking the aid of Him ‘from whom all good counsels and all just works do proceed :' on innumerable questions it has a direct and intense bearing; to the discussion of many it is essential, while in all it gives a character to a man's principles and feelings which renders him less liable to wander from what is substantially wise and expedient. Besides all which, God himself has declared, • Them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed : 'so that, if we desire His blessing, we
shall endeavour to honour him by choosing as our representatives those who honour him; and who can and will from their hearts say Amen to the solemn prayer used daily within the walls of Parliament; and which the spirit of modern indifference or infidelity has not hitherto set aside, as it has so many other godly usages, under the pretext of not desecrating sacred things by putting them out of their place :
“* Almighty God! by whom alone kings reign and princes decree justice, and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom, and understanding; We, thine unworthy servants here gathered together in Thy Name, do' most bumbly beseech Thee to send down thy heavenly wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations: and grant, that, we having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections, the result of all our counsels may be to the glory of Thy blessed Name; the maintenance of true religion and justice ; the safety, honour, and happiness of the king; the public wealth, peace, and tranquillity of the realm; and the uniting and knitting together of the hearts of all persons and estates within the same in true Christian love and charity one towards another : through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.'
“ Thus then, brethren, having delivered to you tbe word of exhortation wbich it was urgently upon my spirit to bring before you, I might conclude: yet how shall I pronounce the benediction without once more turning your thoughts from earth to heaven ; from your social duties to your spiritual privileges; from your suffrages as electors in secular contests, to your stake as candidates for an immortal crown. Statesmen seek worldly distinctions—and without doubt it is a high civic honour to be elected by the free choice of Christian men to the discharge of an important office in the affairs of state-but can I fail to remind you, that there is another election infinitely higher, an election into the family of God, an admission into the citizenship of a heavenly kingdom! and this election each one of us is called to give diligence to make sure. Would you ask what is meant by giving diligence?' The Apostle Paul illustrates it to the converts from heathenism by a reference to the Grecian games of racing, wrestling, and combating, with which they were familiar, and in which the candidates cheerfully practised every self-denial and severity which they considered requisite to ensure success. • Now, they do it,' he adds, to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.' If, following the example of the Apostle, I might illustrate spiritual things by temporal, deriving from a great national spectacle a similitude to set forth our relations with a higher world, I would point you to the eagerness with which an ambitious candidate for a seat in the great council of the nation sometimes pursues his contest, where there are peculiar circumstances to awaken bis energies. How active, how zealous, how persevering! He watches for the first opportunity of enrolling himself as a candidate; he secures every practicable aid ; he forgets, in the ardour of the contest, health, ease, and property. He can rest when the victory is won; but he must first grasp the prize, and every thing else for the time appears as nothing in comparison. And is “ an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ less worthy of our solicitude than the highest earthly post of honour and responsibility ? Is heaven alone worth no sacrifice? Is the immortal soul only of no value ? Shall we give diligence to make every thing else sure- accounting much of our mortal bodies, our property, and the worldly interests of our families, and neglect the one thing which our Saviour pronounces emphatically and supremely needful ?' Alas, the blindness of the human heart! and the fearful stupor of spiritual lethargy in which it is involved! • Awake, then, O sinner, from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life.' Awake, Christian, from the slumber of spiritual sloth, to run in the way of God's commandments with renewed vigour and alacrity. We are not as candidates for an earthly crown, or chaplet of honour-where all run, but one only obtains the prize—but we are candidates for a crown of eternal glory, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give,' says the Apostle, ‘not to me only, but to all who love his appearing;' yes, to the humblest, the most frail, the most feeble. • Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' And, oh! let this gracious award of our heavenly Father, this tender pity of our Redeemer, and the promised aid of the Holy Spirit, constrain us to spend and be spent for Him who died for us and rose again ; that, whether in our public or private life, in our hearts, our families, or the world, we may have but one supreme wish, to glorify. God, to set forth His praise, to bring all men to his faith, fear, and love, and to enjoy Him as our portion for ever.” 22—30.
DR. SOUTHEY'S LIFE OF BUNYAN.
(Continued from p. 620.) We left Bunyan suffering under severe mental affliction, and a temptation, pronounced by Dr. Southey to be strange, unaccountable, and almost unimaginable, “ to sell Christ.” It pleased God, however, in his mercy, to restore peace to his mind, though he did not attain to it finally till after many eventful vicissitudes, and alternations of hope and despondency. These passages of his history lead Dr. Southey to remark :
“ How little would some of the most frequent and contagious disorders of the human mind be understood, if a sufferer were not now and then found collected enough, even in the paroxysms of the disease, to observe its symptoms, and detail them afterwards, and reason upon them when in a state to discriminate between what had been real and what imaginary. Bunyan was never wholly in that state. He noted faithfully all that occurred in his reveries, and faithfully reported it.” p. xxxii.
We believe we are as little inclined to what is fanatical as Dr. Southey, and are quite as willing to allow for the inexplicable action and re-action of the mind and body upon each other; and we admit that it is not always easy to distinguish between mental and spiritual ailments; yet, after every such admission, there is much in the tone of the passage just quoted which jars upon our feelings. We cannot but feel pained at our author's denominating what Bunyan would have called his “religious experiences,” his “ reveries ;” and of viewing his perturbations of soul as a species of chronic insanity from which he was never wholly free. The passage we have just quoted would apply in its spirit almost as much to the Psalms of David or the writings of St. Paul, as to those of Bunyan. Yet Dr. Southey surely would not call these “reveries,” and exhibitions of “frequent and contagious disorders of the human mind,” or tell us that David's “hidings of God's countenance," and St. Paul's “ O wretched man that I am,” were
paroxysms of a disease” from which the sufferers were never sufficiently exempt to discriminate between what was real and what was imaginary. If Dr. Southey means that Bunyan was never in a state to view all his mental conflicts as mere reverie and hallucination, we readily admit it, nor, we conceive, ought he so to have viewed them. He might, indeed, have distinguished with advantage between what was morbid or superstitious, and what was grounded on just and scriptural views of his own spiritual condition ; but this is perfectly distinct from treating the whole history of his spiritual conflicts as mere insanity. Let it even be granted that insanity might be mixed up with them; let corporeal or mental ailment have augmented their virulence; still they were the “great depths” through which he was permitted to pass for his soul's welfare, and are no more of necessity to be called madness than any other anguish of spirit. The very narration to which Dr. Southey adverts, immediately after the passage just quoted, and which he seems to consider as fully bearing out his remarks,
carries to our minds rather the contrary impression. We will cite it, that our readers may judge for themselves.
“Once as I was walking to and fro in a good man's shop, bemoaning my sad and doleful state, afflicting myself with self-abhorrence for this wicked and ungodly thought; lamenting also that I should commit so great a sin, greatly fearing I should not be pardoned ; praying also, that if this sin of mine did differ from that against the Holy Ghost, the Lord would shew it me: and being now ready to sink with fear, suddenly there was, as if there had rushed in at the window, the noise of wind upon me, but very pleasant, and as if I heard a voice speaking, 'Didst thou ever refuse to be justified by the blood of Christ ?' And withal, my whole life of profession past was in a moment opened to me, wherein I was made to see that designedly 1 had not: so my heart answered groaningly, 'No.' Then fell, with power, that word of God upon me, • See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh,' Heb. xii. 25. This made a strange seizure upon my spirit; it brought light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart of all those tumultuous thoughts, that did before use, like masterless hell-hounds, to roar and bellow, and make a hideous noise within me. It shewed me also that Jesus Christ had yet a word of grace and mercy for me, that he had not, as I had feared, quite forsaken and cast off my soul ; yea, this was a kind of check for my proneness to desperation ; a kind of threatening of me, if I did not, notwithstanding my sins, and the heinousness of them, venture my salvation upon the Son of God. But as to my determining about this strange dispensation, what it was, I know not; or from whence it came, I know not; I have not yet in twenty years' time been able to make a judgment of it ; • I thought then what here I should be loath to speak.' But verily that sudden rushing wind was, as if an angel had come upon me, but both it, and the salvation, I will leave until the day of judgment; only this I say, it commanded a great calm in my soul ; it persuaded me there might be hope : it shewed me, as I thought, what the sin unpardonable was, and that my soul had yet the blessed privilege to flee to Jesus Christ for mercy, But I say, concerning this dispensation, I knew not what to say unto it yet; which was also, in truth, the cause, that at first I did not speak of it in the book ; I do now also leave it to be thought on by men of sound judgment. I lay not the stress of my salvation thereupon, but upon the Lord Jesus, in the promise ; yet seeing I am here unfolding of my secret things, I thought it might not be altogether inexpedient to let this also shew itself, though I cannot now relate the matter as there I did experience it. This lasted in the savour of it for about three or four days, and then I began to mistrust, and to despair again."
Now, so far from this passage leading us to think that Bunyan's whole life was a reverie or delirium, and that he was never sane enough to reason upon his own “symptoms,” it impresses us with quite the contrary feeling. Here is a man nurtured in all the prejudices and superstitions of the most ignorant classes, and that in an age when the most learned divines, lawyers, philosophers, and statesmen, had not discarded the idle terrors of the darkest ages; when judges were legally murdering innocent persons as witches, and every village had its local ghost stories, which were as religiously believed as Holy Writ;—this man in his deep affliction has a strong, and to him unaccountable, impression of mind relative to his spiritual condition ; yet, so far from giving it out to the world at once as a supernatural manifestation, which the taste of the times, and the feelings of more highly educated persons than himself, would have fully warranted, especially in such a community of religionists as the Baptists of a small country town at that day probably were; he withholds it from the first narrative of his life, and when at length, after an interval of twenty years, he thinks it right to notice it, he does it with every possible qualification, not with a tenth part of the confidence of Dr. Johnson relating a ghost story; he intersperses it with such modifying expressions as “there was as if there had rushed,” and “ as if I had heard;” it is a passage from the word of God, and not any new revelation that “fell with power” upon him; and though he evidently thought there was something extraordinary in the " dispensation,” yet most soundly and judiciously he “lays not the stress of his salvation thereupon,
upon the Lord Jesus in the promise,” merely noticing the matter as not “altogether inexpedient” to be mentioned while“ unfolding the secret things” of his history. So far from viewing this as chronic insanity, there appears to us in it more of caution and sobriety than we could have reasonably expected under all the circumstances; even the cautious narrative of Dr. Doddridge respecting Colonel Gardiner’s alleged vision is not so cautious as this, though Doddridge was a man of high education and cool judgment, and lived in an age when such narratives were far more severely criticised than in the days of Bunyan.
It would not be doing justice to the story before us, and it would be to disparage the grace of God, often brightly manifested to his servants after long and bitter trial, if we did not subjoin a few extracts from Bunyan's own statement, respecting the way in which he obtained repose of mind. In the first place, he determined, he says, to “ cast himself at the foot of Grace by prayer and supplication ;” but, “oh, it was hard,” he continues, “ to have the face to pray to this Christ for mercy, against whom I had thus most vilely sinned! And indeed I have found it as difficult to come to CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 370.
God by prayer, after backsliding from him, as to do any other thing; but I saw that there was but one way for me : I must go to Him, and humble myself unto Him, and beg that he of His wonderful mercy would shew pity to me, and have mercy upon my wretched sinful soul.”
With such earnest prayer, he united diligent examination of the Scriptures with constant application to his own circumstances; and many of the passages which Dr. Southey appears so much to object to, are but a sort of mental dialogue upon the bearings of particular texts to his case. He certainly possessed what Dr. Southey thinks a strange facility of “ torturing himself,” by perverse applications of Scripture, so as to make every passage, even the most consolatory promises, condemn him ; but this is a circumstance not uncommon in the annals of the Christian life, and may arise in part from that very humility and tenderness of conscience which are its characteristics. Still, soundness of judgment in the personal application of texts, is always to be desired ; and faith and joy are quite as much Scriptural graces as self-diffidence and the dread of presumption. But if Scripture wounded him, Scripture was also made the instrument of healing him; and some of the texts which most distressed him were at length so resolved, by a comparison with others, that they even added, he says, “ to my encouragement and comfort, and gave a great blow to that objection, to wit, that the Scriptures could not agree in the salvation of
“And now remained only the hinder part of the tempest, for the thunder was gone beyond me, only some drops did still remain, that now and then would fall upon me; but because my former frights and anguish were very sore and deep, therefore it oft befel me still, as it befalleth those that have been scared with fire, I thought every voice was Fire! Fire! Every little touch would hurt my tender conscience.
“ But one day, as I was passing into the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, · Thy righteousness is in heaven :' and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God's right-hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that, wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, 'He wants my righteousness,' for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse ; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, • the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,' Heb. xiii. 8.
" Now did ny chains fall off my legs indeed; I was loosed from my aflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful Scriptures of God let off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God; so when I came home, I looked to see if I could find that sentence, * Thy righteousness is in heaven, but could not find such a saying ; wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, 1 Cor. i. 33, • He is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ;' by this word I saw the other sentence true.
“ For by this Scripture I saw that the man Jesus Christ, as he is distinct from us, as touching his bodily presence, so he is our righteousness and sanctification before God: here therefore I lived, for some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ. Oh! methought Christ! there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes ; I was not now for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of his blood, burial, or resurrection, but considering him as a whole Christ ! as he in whom all these, and all other his virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that he sat on the right hand of God heaven.
“ It was glorious to me to see his exaltation, and the worth and prevalency of all his benefits, and that because now I could look from myself to him, and should reckon, that all those graces of God that now were green on me, were yet but like those cracked groats and four-pence halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home. Oh! I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! in Christ my Lord and Saviour. Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.
* Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union with the Son of God; that I was joined to him, that I was flesh of his flesh, and bone of bis bone; and now was that a sweet word to me in Ephes. v. 30. By this also was my faith in him, as my righteousness, the more confirmed in me; for if he and I were one, then his righteousness was mine, his merits mine, his victory also mine. Now could