Images de page

All, he says, who are on the side personal acquaintance with Mr. of God will believe in modern mi- Newnham, and we never spoke to racles;

all who are not, that is, the or saw him ; but he has sent vawhole Christian world, with very rious papers to our work with his few exceptions, will start up, name; from which, and his other detected Antichrists, and run shivering writings, we should have as soon off with mows and yells to the ranks imagined that he is an Esquimaux of the adversary." And for this as a Materialist. He who could special purpose, this notable object write that scriptural and affectionof segregating the covertly Infidel ate tractate on Christian sympaRecord newspaper, for example, thy, will know how to forgive the or Evangelical Magazine, from the charge and to pray for the accuser. Jewish Expositor and Morning We need scarcely add, that the Watch, and for sending all the Christian Observer, in consequence piety of this and every other Chris- of its exposition of the cure of tian land,-our religious laity, our Miss Fancourt, comes in for its dissenting brethren of all sects, due share of Neological tendencies. our clergy orthodox and evange. When the writer says, that “the lical, but more especially the latter, leading periodical of the religious at whom the whole article tacitly world attempts to put down miraglances --for sending them all as culous manifestations with menace “detected Antichrists, with mows and intimidations, and threatens and yells," to the avowed ranks of us with the tokens ofits high displeainfidelity, the Jewish Expositor sure, unless we recant our errors ; holds that God is to evince the mi- we should not, for various reasons, raculous gifts of tongues, and heal- have suspected that he alluded to ing, and casting out devils. And the Christian Observer, had he not added to this, he says, is another elsewhere named that work, and “ peculiar reason; namely, “to pointed the application. Our first vindicate the Divine government reason for not so suspecting would and interposition.” He affirms, have been that we should not have that in the religious world“ the known ourselves under the novel doctrine of Divine Providence is appellation of “the leading journal almost extinct ;” another of those of the religious world;" for though sweeping charges which sheweither

we have doubtless our circle of an utter want of discrimination, friends, it would be the most or a want of “ candid” construc- drivelling vanity to appropriate, tion. The religious world is bad amidst our contemporaries, such a enough, but it will not be mended title as the above. Indeed, to say by charges uttered in a spirit like the truth, our circulation among this. The writer selects for his this same “religious world” has special displeasure the well-known rather been select than diffuse ; author of "The Tribute of Sym- and perhaps partly so for the very pathy,” Mr. Newnham, whom he reason that we do not feel it right is pleased to call “a materialist.” to minister to its taste for exciteWe have expressed our doubts ment and novelties. Equally unrespecting a few statements in Mr. able should we have been to reNewnham's Essays on Superstition, cognise ourselves in the descripbut to call him, on the strength of tion of “attempting to put down

a materialist,” and miraculous manifestations." Our to intimate that his writings are object was to shew that there was a part of the “peculiar reasons no“ miraculous manifestation" why God is to revive miracles, is to put down. Equally inapplicable to our minds a very remarkable also is the specification of proway of arriving at a conclusion. ceeding “with menace and intimiWe have not the pleasure of a dation ;" for we keep no

cat in

those essays,

[ocr errors]


soak ;" and most anxious were we that forbids fair and equal conferto heal a difference, though we Who can argue with infaldurst not. vouch for a miracle. libility? who can converse calmly And as for the threatened tokens with a cat-o-nine-tails over his head? of “high displeasure,” they are a It is by this oracular dictation, this mere invention of our friendly cas. contempt for the opinions of their tigator; and who are the “us” that fellow-Christians,this self-assumed we are alleged to have threatened, superiority over“the evangelicals" we shall not pretend to conjec. and “ the religious world," and ture ; for as regards the Jewish above all those most unfair and un. Expositor we can say with all truth, charitable insinuations, that those that we were not even aware, till who do not take up the new doc. the paper under consideration was trines are hypocrites, Neologians, mentioned to us by a friend, that and men who “sweat down faith' the subject of miracles, or the case to inanition, that the writers of the of Miss Fancourt, had been alluded Morning-Watch party have led to in its pages. The title of away many weak and credulous “ Jewish Expositor” would not persons who mistake confident ashave led us to that anticipation. sertion for truth; but in the same We, however, find no fault with the proportion they have clouded whatwriter for believing that five hun. ever of real argument they may dred persons spoke miraculously have on their side, and involved after their tongues were cut out; themselves in a mist of paradoxes -it is a matter of opinion, which which well-judging persons scarcely neither makes for nor impugns think it worth their while to atScripture ;--but he ought not to tempt to dissipate, seeing how little accuse us of giving countenance to they are likely to gain in the eyes Neological blasphemies, because of positive and prejudiced persons we believe differently. Does he by their trouble. The Jewish Exsee no difference between the word positor has not followed the Mornof God and the word of man? ing Watch in all its doctrines ; Would he have us believe Titus but in following it on the subject Oates, because a Neologist does of modern miracles it has allowed not believe Moses or the Prophets? itself to be quite as dogmatical in The other“ peculiar reasons,” its spirit.

its spirit. But to dogmatize is to seem to us equally invalid for forbid“parley;" and as ourfashion proving that God ought to interfere is to hear both sides of a question with miracles at the present mo- and not to reject all “ candid ment. It is not however necessary inquiry,” discussion," and “amito go further into detail, and we cable investigation,” we cannot fear our readers are heartily tired compete on equal terms with an of this not very profitable or en- opponent who sets himself above tertaining controversy. Should all such formalities. We do not our Jewish friend, (for such, after mean to intimate that the Jewish all, we unaffectedly consider him, Expositor does not say some notwithstanding the “catin soak,”) things that are true as well as many say that we have rather complained that are new; but according to the of his spirit than “ pleaded both old adage, the true is not new, and sides of the case ;” we readily ad- the new is not true. As for the part mit it, only reminding him that which is true, “the religious world" he did not invite us to “discuss" or will do well to profit from whatever “parley,” but to listen to his dicta; is well founded even in animadverand our object in return has been sions not the most smoothly conto shew that the dicta of the school veyed; nor will they lament to see into which he has entered, are expelled from their nominal ranks, couched in a style of assumption whatever is worldly or hypocri

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

tical ; but let not those who are said or written in the simplicity of really faithful be alarmed by de- their hearts as in the sight of God. clamations, and turned aside from Above all, let them not retort ; sound doctrine by confident asser- rather being smitten on the one tions. If they are told that their cheek, let them turn the other also; rejection of modern miracles, either let them trust God with his own Scottish or English, arises from truth : if accused of not being spihypocritical and sinister motives; ritually minded because they are that they must either accede to the not convinced that Port-Glasgow opinon of the Jewish Expositor, or Hoxton is a theatre of miracu. or“ retrograde till they come to lous manifestation, let them prove the rejection of all” that God has that they are spiritually minded by revealed ; that in their denial of the far better tests; if they are told new notion of modern miraculous that they are miserable stunted gifts they are not actuated by prin- religionists, the veriest dunces ciple and a love of the truth, but of the Christian school, because by corrupt and worldly motives, they see no reason to credit the and that their language faithfully new opinions which have of late interpreted, would be, so says the been obtruded on the world about Jewish Expositor, “ Oh we will prophecy, the Millennium, univerhave faith, in order that our souls sal pardon, the person of our Dimay be saved; but we will have vine Lord, and other solemn topics, the least possible, on which our let them shew by their whole spirit souls may be saved ;" “ we will that “they have been with Jesus,” have a faith too, which will allow that they understand his blessed of an accommodation to the world;" doctrine for their soul's health,

we will not commit ourselves and that they are waiting for his among our unbelieving acquaint- appearing, with full confidence that ance, therefore all talk of miracles “ he that shall come will come, and must be sunk or scouted ;"—if, will not tarry.” we say, truly religious persons, And here we lay down our pen; those who are united to Christ, and and little shall we feel inclined to live on his fulness, and find hea. resume it on a question which is venly consolation in his word, read rather jejune and thorny than these charges so plentifully thrown profitable or pleasant. When any out against them, let them not be parties in a controversy are deterterrified by the mere confidence of mined to have all the reciprocity words. They are not one step on one side ; to make a difference nearerinfidelity, because the Jewish of speculative opinion a reason for Expositor says they are within its disunion of hearts; to construe a focus ; they are not of necessity doubt of a modern miracle into “ sweating down faith " because personal coarseness,” the Jewish Expositor holds that offence worthy of being visited, they are ; they are not “ sinking” not with counter arguments, but

scouting Divine truth to an infliction of stripes ;” when please their“ unbelieving acquaint- base motives are imputed to lessen ance,” because the Jewish Expo- the weight of opinions ; when the sitor alleges this against them: to personal piety of opponents is their own Master they stand or sneered at to deter men from list

let them persevere in simpli- ening to their reasons, and all that city and humility in what they be has hitherto been accounted wise lieve to be truth and Scripture, and holy, is disparaged because it undismayed by the hard words of does not run after ensnaring nothose who lay to their charge things velties ; it may be well to drop that they know not, and attribute fruitless discussion and leave the to base motives what they have matter to the progress of time and

and an

[ocr errors]




the overwhelming power of truth. who, notwithstanding such differDo the asserters of the new mira- ence, should be united together. cles believe that any man will We see the action and re-action of credit the Port-Glasgow prodigies these animosities (we wish we ten years hence ?

could apply a milder term) upon The pen clings to our hands, our religious and charitable insti. while we take one dip more, and tutions ; we see warm partizans that dip shall not be in gall. We assembling, not to hear what God respectfully and affectionately sub- is doing for the world, but what mit to our brethren who have taken brother shall say to vex brother ; up novel opinions (they say they one society claiming an invidious are not novel, and we therefore here preference over another, on the use the word only for specification, ground of some speculative view not irritation), whether respecting of prophecy, instead of mutually modern miracles or some other provoking each other to love and serious questions, that it is they to good works; in short-But we who have removed from the mass forbear to say more, lest the next of their brethren, not their bre- dip should contract gall; only let thren from them; that they would us all lay to heart whose we are, therefore promote the cause of and whom we serve, in honour pretruth and charity by presenting ferring one another, and in meekthemselves before their fellow- ness instructing them that oppose Christians rather as “ candid in- themselves. quirers,” than as assailants; that they may well pardon some natural expressions of astonishment, and it may be of displeasure, on Modern Fanaticism unveiled. 1 vol. the other side, and that they should 58. London, 1831. 'not allow themselves, on account of the reception which their peculiar We took up this little publication opinions have met with from “the almost casually after laying down religious world,” to rend the man- the Jewish Expositor, to our retle of the Redeemer, and weaken marks on which it forms an apthat compact front which as Chris- propriate sequel. The author, in tian men we onght to present to the his strictures on what he calls common enemy of souls. It is “ modern fanaticism," discusses not merely because some pious certain notions which have gone brethren have embraced certain abroad on“Assurance,"“Miracles," novelties of opinion that we feel “ Pardon,” “ Prophecy," and the distressed; but because they have person of our blessed Lord. The allowed themselves in the separa- remarks on these several topics well tion to denounce all who go in the deserve serious perusal; but we old way, and to make a schism shall confine ourselves to the chapwhere, amidst minor discrepancies, ter' on miracles, from which we there ought to be, and we trust is, shall offer a lengthened extract reone great central point of mutual lative to the New-Testament eviattraction, even Him who is the dence on the subject. The work, Head over all things to his church, by whom written, we know notand in whom we should stand issues from a dissenting press; fast in one spirit, with one mind, the same press that lately gave us striving together for the faith of “ The natural History of Enthusithe Gospel. It is not merely that asm,” which we mention, not only a man has an opinion about a mi- for the purpose of recommending racle, or a point of prophecy ; but that valuable and interesting work, we sce splitting asunder on every but of thanking and congratulating side in unkindly divisions those the dissenting body generally, for

[ocr errors]

their steady and scriptural oppo- veries in law as he who is no lawsition to the strange novelties yer; or in politics, as he who is no which have been obtruded upon the statesman; or in gunnery, as he Church of Scotland, and are find who is no engineer. A judge smiles ing their way into a few corners of at a clergyman who attempts to the Church of England. How it preach law in an assize sermon; is that the great mass of Dissen- and though the cases are not wholly ters have kept aloof from these parallel, as the word of God ought vagaries which have been hitherto to be every man's study, and even confined chiefly to members-very the most illiterate may understand few, indeed, comparatively, but it to his soul's health, yet in an age still almost exclusively members when miracles, as we think, have of the two established churches of ceased, and God is pleased to bless the land, we shall not at present the ordinary use of means, it is asstop to investigate, though the tounding to us to hear young ladies problem were not difficult of solu- transmute the Bible on the strength tion. All that is necessary in passe of three months' acquaintance with ing is to disclaim the not very Hebrew, or a divine in deacon's flattering, and we do not for a mo- orders preaching all the intricacies ment believe true, or even probable, of the Millennium and Personal inference so liberally drawn in some reign, with no better staple of bibrecent dissenting publications, that lical lore, than some half dozen allestablished churches are in their sermons, speeches, and magazine dotage. Ouronly reason for alluding speculations. Tastingwithout drinkto this not very wise or charitable ing deep is the cause of much of conclusion, is to warn the members this frothy divinity-would that of established churches to take frothiness were all. Let the stuheed how they advance to that dent, with much humility and senile period; and to add, that, prayer, have deeply studied for at so far as our own church is con- least-thevery least-twenty years, cerned, the obtruders and uphold- the sacred oracles, and some goodly ers, lay and clerical, of strange number of the best treatises of the fantasies have been usually those great masters on all sides ; and he who have not had a solid theolo. will then be better entitled to be gical training. How few compa. heard—but then he will not be ratively of the well educated sons in much danger of following the of religious parents, especially evanescent bubbles of the day. clergymen, of whatever school, But our present topic is only have gone after such fancies ; modern miracles ; for though the whereas no sooner does a weak well- other speculations alluded to in meaning young man of family or “ Modern Fanaticism unveiled," fortune leave juvenile dissipations, demand refutation, they are not of and plunge with more zeal than such pressing importance in our own knowledge into the church, or an church at the particular moment officer who had begun to serve his in which we write, as the alleged country well as a stormer of forts revival of miracles. The Jewish or mounter of breaches, foist him. Expositor, for example, which self into the ranks of theological takes up the latter, has not espolemics, than we are in alarm poused the former ; and therelest he should be led away with fore we shall hasten to the spot plausible novelties, and this not- where the present incursion is withstanding his being really a made, by presenting to our readers man of true piety; for there is no the extract which we promised. promise in Scripture that a good On the other subjects we might man may not be weak. No student recommend several valuable pubmakes so many wonderful disco- lications, if any of our readers

« PrécédentContinuer »