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wish to embark in the contro- especially as the subject is not versy; a controversy, we must say, touched upon in any of the works in the main, of little edification, just referred to, the revival or nonyet necessary, since error must be cessation of miracles being a newer refuted and truth defended when discovery than Mr. Erskine's attacked. Without going further, scheme of pardon, or Mr. Irving's we might name some half dozen hypothesis respecting the person which happen to lie on our table of our Lord ; indeed so new that as we write; such as the well- the Morning Watch itself did not, known publications of Dr. Hamil- we believe, take it up till the cure ton; Smyth on the Forgiveness of Mary Campbell and the preof Sins; Russell's Discourses on tence to the gift of tongues at the Millennium; Dr. Burns's repub- Port-Glasgow; and the Jewish Exlication of Bellamy, with a preface; positor did not, as we understand, Dr. Wardlaw on Assurance and vouch for it till last month. Pardon; and Dr. A. Thomson on What evidence have we that miracles the same subject. Several of the bave ceased according to the Divine purChurch-of-Scotland writers have pose, and not in consequence of any fault weakened their cause by not ad. above query assumes, as an undisputed
on the part of the church of God ?--The mitting universal redemption, while fact, that miracles have
ceased; and inthey reject universal pardon; but deed it would never have occurred to us without noticing this and other
to justify the assumption, any more than
to adduce arguments in proof that the points in which we do not concur
Apostles died long ago, or that the church with some of the above authors, we at Roseneath is not the identical one can honestly say that we have seen to which Paul addressed these words :
• There must be also heresies among you,' no controversialist in this cause,
&c. : but we have been not a little sur however weak, who, if he could prised to read, in a recent pamphlet, of merely quote a few appropriate the re-appearance, or rather, the contitexts, was not more than a match nuance of miraculous gifts in the church.' for his opponents; how little there. Their re-appearance' is a word, which we fore the system besteads against to the west-country miracles of Caledonia;
know how to construe, as having reference the powerful weapons of such but the term continuance 'is not so easily writers as some of the above, we deciphered. In vain do we search the need not say. One of them has been pages of history, whether sacred or prosuddenly summoned to a world of the kind : if, however, it be designed
fane, for any thing like a pure succession where contest is no more. He to include the dove that flew out of the was a man of much eagerness of body of St. Polycarp; the exit and return spirit, so that in what he consider
of devils at command of St. Gregory; the ed the cause of truth he did not Babylus ; the picture changed into a
silencing of Apollo by the bones of St. always pause to guide his words bloody spear ; the roasted fowl turned into with discretion ; but his zeal, his stone; the bleeding wafers; the wonlarge biblical stores of knowledge, derful migrations of the Virgin's house ;
a thousand times ten thousand inhis vast grasp of mental energy, stances of similar repute, it would certainly and above all his real piety, were not be so difficult to trace a line through such, that in the controversies now the dark ages, down to the last century, alluded to his services in the cause
when the blessed Deacon' (Abbé Paris) of God and truth were invaluable. degree of celebrity, by the supernatural
flourished, and afterwards gained no small To possess all that was powerful cures effected through his posthumous inand excellent in that remarkable tercessions. These miracles, with a few man, free from some acknowledged
intermediate links that might be mention, defects, would be to attain no or
ed, concatenate extremely well with the
wonders of our own times; and thus the dinary rank in the scale of human whole series forms a sort of continity or the school of Christ. nuance,' such as it is. But though this Now for our thrice-delayed ex
explanation does not appear to cast any tract. The importance of the ar
unmerited imputation on modern miracles,
the connexion in which it places those of gument will justify its length; our Divine Master and his really gifted
followers, reflects upon them such palpable let it be considered, how naturally, in an dishonour, that we would gladly find any age of abounding superstition, their minds other mode of interpreting an expression, were led on from the belief of true mi. which, if it have any meaning at all, most sacles, upon irrefragable evidence, to the certainly impugns the belief of the cessa- indiscriminate and too credulous admistion of miraculous powers. It behoves us, sion of reports, which had no better fountherefore, to set the matter in its true dation than the gross frauds so frequently light, not simply by stating it as the gene- and successfully practised under the mask neral conviction of the Protestant church, of divinely delegated power. We speak that miracles ceased nearly seventeen hun- not of the monstrous legends of the third, dred years ago, but by exhibiting the grounds fourth, and fifth centuries, when monkery on which that conviction rests.
was accounted 'a way of life worthy of “The Apostles, doubtless, possessed heaven,' for it is inconceivable that even a the gifts of tongues and miracles in an single Protestant shonld be found giving extraordinary degree; and also the power credence to such a heap of self-refuting abof conferring those gifts upon others. This surdities : but the writings to which repower, however, was not exercised in ference is here made, are those of Justin every instance of the laying on of their Martyr, Irenæus, &c. &c., on whose auhands, but only in special cases, when the thority it is stated, that it was impossible act was performed with an express design to reckon up all the mighty works which to impart miraculous gifts, as inay be seen the church performed, every day, to the by a careful perusal of the Acts of the benefit of nations.' Now, this assertion, Apostles, in which narrative it appears, from the ve nature of it, must have been, that the imposition of hands was a form for the most part, grounded on hearsay; used in designating persons (sometimes in- and when, in addition to the vagueness of dividuals already gifted, Acts xiii. 2, 3) to such representations, we take into the acsome particular work; also, in the healing count the number of wild and enthusiastic of the sick, Acts viii. 8, &c. &c. That notions entertained by the primitive fathese supernatural communications should thers, it is not possible to avoid the conbe extended beyond the persons and lives clusion, that there was occasionally a deof the Apostles, was vecessary for the ac- fect of judgment in those eminent men, complishment of the very design for which which, combining with the arts of imposthey were originally given ; for the great ture practised by the designing, has proved, principles of the Christian faith bad much and still proves, prejudicial to the interests to contend with at the period of their of truth, by rendering it no easy task to early promulgation. Besides, they were distinguish facts which might be received to be diffused abroad, in countries remote on the faith of their veracity, as eye-witfrom the scene of those transactions to nesses, from the multitudinous falsehoods which the first miracles bore witness; to which, for want of due caution, they and, therefore, until the New-Testament have unconsciously lent the sanction of Scriptures were entire, and brought into
their names. such a form as to furnish a universal and “We have, thus far, endeavoured to esunerring standard of judgment and ap- tablish our hypothesis of the cessation of peal, sustained by its own cumulative and miracles, according to the Divine purpose, complete evidence, it was wisely and gra- by the argument that their design was fully ciously appointed that miracles should still and finally accomplished about the middle be wrought, whenever the exigency of the of the second century; which era, as we case required it, either for the substantiat. have shown, coincides with that mixed ing of apostolic doctrine, or the silencing state of truth and error arising from the of infidel objections.
advantage taken by seducing spirits,' to " That miracles should cease when their substitute pretended miracles in the place end had been attained, is, to say the least, of those which were gradually ceasing, in a very rational surmise, and one which ob- consequence of the non-communication of servation, aided by credible testimony of spiritual gifts. the past, is every way calculated to con- “There is, however, another ground on firm. It is much to be regretted, that de- which the same position is tenable; that ceivers, whose aim it was to make a gain is, the silence of the New-Testament in of godliness, should have exercised their reserence to the permanent duration of
cunning craftiness' at so early a period miraculous powers, and the duty of the of the Christian economy, as to occasion church to perpetuate their exercise. This their fraudulent attempts to be presented branch of the subject merits particular exon the pages of ecclesiastical history, dove- amination. tailed, as it were, with the sacred and “ When our Lord commissioned his genuine operations of Almighty agency. twelve Apostles to go and preach the GoIt is no libel to affirm that such was the spel, he furnished them with power to do case : the fact is too apparent from the many wonderful works, and invested them writings of the early fathers; and if, at with such a degree of authority, that their first view, it be thought improbable that persons and message were to be regarded men of undoubted learning and piety with the same deference as would be due should be imposed on by lying wonders,' to himself. (Matt. x. 40.) From the enu.
meration of the miracles they were to per- tigation is, does this expression include form (ver. 9), it is evident that they were every one that believeth, simply consialmost all like his own, works of mercy, dered: or, every one that believeth, conwhich, while confirmatory of the truths sidered in reference to those of whom our they published, furnished them, at the Saviour was speaking, namely, the heralds same time, with means of remunerating whom he would appoint to the work of the hospitality and kindness they might the ministry, through the preaching the experience, in a way of surpassing bounty Apostles, and who were to be qualified for worthy of the King of Zion, in whose ser- taking part in their labours, by the envice they went forth. The seventy evan. dowment of gifts that would enable them gelists were subsequently sent out with a to work the signs following? Either it similar commission, and with equal en- must mean every believer indiscriminately, dowments; and so enthusiastically did and without exception; or every chosen they prize the powers conferred on them, herald of the apostolic age. The verse that they boasted, even the demons are immediately preceding, ' He that believeth subject unto us;' in reply to which, our and is baptized, shall be saved; but he Lord intimated the inferiority of mere that believeth not shall be condemned,' is, miraculous gifts to the portion of the without doubt, susceptible of universal meanest child of God, though destitute of application, because, in these words, our such extraordinary powers. Luke x. 19, Lord is declaring the effects that would 20. The whole of the narrative justifies result to every creature 'from the recepthe conclusion that these were, in both tion or rejection of promulged mercy, instances, special communications to cer- If any one maintain that it is unjust and tain individuals for a definite purpose: and capricious to give to the verse under conperhaps this statement may be allowed, to sideration a more restricted interpretation, its very limited extent, to remain undis- and that it is equally capable of application puted. The words of our Lord, on a later to believers in all ages of the church, we occasion, however, have a more extensive are prepared to shew that the distinction application.
Mark xvi. 17, 18. •And is founded neither in caprice nor partiality, these signs shall follow them that believe: and for this reason : all human beings, In my name shall they cast out devils; considered merely as objects of Divine they shall speak with new tongues; they mercy, are alike; but all believers, as shall take up serpents; and if they drink members of the church of Christ, are not any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; alike. For, • are all Apostles ? are all they shall lay hands on the sick, and they prophets? are all teachers ? are all workers shall recover.' These words form part of of miracles ? have all the gifts of healing ? the more enlarged commission of our Lord do all speak with tongues? do all interto his eleveu Apostles (ver. 14, 15), pre- pret?' 'Hence, the distinction between vious to his being taken up from them into the universal application of the Gospel heaven; and, to their almost fainting message in one verse, and the restricted spirits, burdened with the thought of their application of gifts in the next, so far from Divine Master's personal withdrawment, being made to serve a point, is founded in and the arduous work which he was leaving trutli
, necessity, and the very nature of them to accomplish by his promised aid, things. Not that we have the slightest premust have afforded a most cheering de judice against the most unlimited extension velopment of his additional instruments of these words, if it could be made to barand means that were about to be put into monize with fact; but is it not in that operation for the further propagation of case absolutely essential to the verification the Gospel, and the establishment of his of the words, that every individual believer, kingdom in the world. If we would rightly in every age and nation, should work the understand the mind of the Spirit in this, or signs referred to? But can it be affirmed any other passage of Holy Writ, we must that such ever has been, or is now the not consider it as a detached, isolated case? Rather, must we not be driven, fragment, but view it in its relations and by such an interpretation, to the inevitable consequent bearings on the subject of conclusion, that not so much as a single which it treats.
believer has existed, since the middle of the “ Let us, then, proceed by a just rule second century, if we except the workers of of judgment, and not by the criterion of miracles in the dark ages, with the modern vague, popular notions, that may be afloat Prince Hohenloe, and his contemporary respecting it, to consider what was our pretenders in their train, unworthy though Lord's meaning when he uttered this in- they are to bear away the palm of such an teresting, declaration. The question, my honourable appellation. But an absurdity dear reader, is not what you think about so great, as that every individual believer it, nor what opinion respecting it the is, or ought to be capable of exercising, writer of these pages may entertain. Let miraculous powers, never has, we believe, us, therefore, enter on the subject in the been maintained ; and, therefore, consisspirit of that wisdom which is without tency requires that the literal, unrestricted partiality.
sense of the passage should be given up “ • These signs shall follow them that with manly ingenuousness. believe.' The turning point in this inves, “ It is sometimes argued, indeed, (and CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 350,
very, plausibly, because the position is very crisis when human wisdom would partly true), that the absence of grace and infer that the cessation of miraculous en: gifts does not necessarily imply a purpose of dowments must render them inapplicatory God that it should be so, but is attributable and fruitless, affords a striking proof how to want of faith on the part of the church. much the foolishness of God, as blind The fact cannot be too much insisted on, misjudging mortals may term it, is wiser that if supineness, indifference, and for than men; and the weakness of God mality, abound in the church, the prevalent stronger than men.'. For, it is worthy of cause of these evils is to be found in the remark, that a careful perusal and right want, or weakness of faith; but as faith is understanding of one of the very sections the belief of a testimony, and cannot exist of Divine truth to which we have referred, in the mind abstractedly, that is to say, (1 Cor. xiv.) would at once stem the tide without an object, it is manifestly wrong of some most egregious errors of the preto cast censure on the church, for not be sent day: and if applicable now, why not lieving that which never was presented to at other periods ? Let us take, for exit as a matter of faith. Thus, when called ample, verses 6-13, which are so faithupon to believe, that many of the first fully and happily paraphrased by Gilpin, in converts to Christianity cast out demons; his Exposition of the New Testament, that spake with tongues ; survived the deadly we shall cite the passage, as the true sense draught, administered by the hand of of the original, in preference to giving it in treachery and malice; we need not hesi- our own words: • If I neither make the tate. There is well sustained testimony revelation, nor the doctrine intelligible, respecting these things, on which faith can what end does my speaking answer? If rest with confidence. But, when we are the trumpet give no distinction of sound, told, that • if the period be not actually how shall the soldier be directed ? Just arrived, it is, at least, fast approaching, so, if your discourse is no address to the when it will be as necessary for the Holy understanding, what is its effect? God Ghost to make himself manifest to God's hath given the blessing of languages to children by visible signs, as it was in the mankind to communicate their sentifirst ages of Christianity,'
. (Morning ments: without this use, language is noWatch); the mind refuses its assent to thing. Let me tben repeat what I said, an assertion to which Divine authority that as you are zealous of your spiritual gives no countenance. In conclusion, if gifts, I would have you make them answer it cannot be proved from other parts of the great purpose for which they were the New Testament, that the supernatural intended – the edification of the church. gists here spoken of are promised to all Let none of you, therefore, speak in an believers, or to some believers in all ages; unknown tongue, unless what he says is and if, moreover, there is no warrant for interpreted either by himself or others.' the exercise of faith, respecting any purpose It would require no apology if we were to of God to continue such gifts in his church, give the whole of this chapter, from the there remains no alternative, but either to pen of so able, and judicious an expositor ; affix to this verse the less extended sense, but we must content ourselves with one or to substitute for faith the delusions of other extract: verses 20–23.
• Be not unbridled fancy.
then carried away, like children, by no“No little stress is laid upon the fact, that velties; but, like men, use your underthe New Testament contains so many direc- standing; and consider the end for which tions about the manner of exercising spin the gift of tongues was imparted. You ritual gifts, and that the Apostle Paul has remember the early prediction of this great left an express exhortation to desire them gift, .With other tongues and with other (1 Cor. xiv. 1), together with some other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet advices of similar import. It cannot be they will not hear.' To speak in an unmatter of surprise, that, in an age when known tongue, therefore, you see, may be spiritual gifts were conferred, and when a miracle to convert unbelievers; but to the ends they were to answer were so ob those who believe, expounding is the proviously important, there should be, in the per application, Unknown languages, writings of the Apostles, a few scattered used incautiously, will discredit religion notices and incitements, and even so much instead of aiding it. What, think you, connected matter on the subject, as forms, would an unbeliever suppose, who should in our division of the sacred books, two enter your assemblies, and find a person whole chapters of rules and observations. talking to the congregation in a language I Cor. xii. and xiv. These were designed which none of them understood ? It to correct certain disorders, which had would make him suppose, that you were crept into the church at Corinth, and to rather mad than inspired. If the words furnish laws in respect of gifts, for the we have here quoted had just issued from government of that, and other existing the press, it would have been difficult to churches, amongst which the occasional prove, that they were not devised and interchange of apostolic epistles (as Col. framed for the express purpose of putting iv. 16) extended the benefit, and rendered to the blush such sentiments as those reit mutual. The incorporation of these cently advanced. For instance: What laws into the canon of Scripture, at the proof is there that these sounds, or tongues, are really languages, spoken lan- that the word of God says nothing guages? I have no proof, and I ask no in favour of modern miraculous proof.' Again ; • It does not appear from the history, whether the disciples them- powers, we do not know what can, selves knew what they were saying.' (Gifts except it be further the author's of the Spirit, p. 19.) But enough of this ; marks of spuriousness that chafor, really, when a writer can adduce such racterise modern miracles, and 2 text as I Cor. xiv. 10, There are, it render them unworthy of cre: may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them without signifi
. dence; unless indeed persons can cation,' to prove his opinion, that many believe such strange things as Mr. tongues were spoken which were never Erskine, who gravely conceives selves, be it remembered, " kuew not what that Homer had some idea of the they were saying'-his reasoning appears mystery veiled in certain words so útterly devoid of common sense, that being used in the New Testament no power of interpretation, upori lucid
upon lucid in their original language, because principles
, can enable any one to fathom that bard sings—“This is its name what he means.
“ All the evidence that can be gathered among men, that among the imfrom the partial references made in the mortals.” New Testament to the exercise of spiritual But though not to dilate, yet to gifts, must fall far short of disproving the Silence of Scripture as to any purpose of explain, we must trespass on our God to continue those gifts, and the con
readers a little longer; for so it sequent duty of the church to pray for and is, that the paper in the Jewish expect them. We hope it has been further Expositor reviewed in a former shown, that there was much Divine wisdom in the perpetuating of instructions page, has been reprinted, with a concerning them, even after the actual dedication to the Bishop of Loncessation of mairacles, because those in- don, and with the name of the structions are capable of practical and sa- author, the Rev. Thomas Boys, lutary influence by application to varied affixed to it. Now, to know the forms of error in all ages.
“And are there, then, no intimations in name of an author, and to know the New Testament of miracles to be ex- that he is a man to be esteemed, pected? Yes; truly there are—and such
even if he should be in error on as even now dawn upon our view, making every thoughtful mind inquire, with so
a particular point, very much lemnity, Watchman, what of the night? tends to soften the asperities of Watchman, what of the night?' *For controversy, though it ought not the mystery of iniquity doth already to weaken earnest contention for work, and the everyera adams of that what each party considers truth. vicked' one is on the increase. 2 Thess. ii. 7-12. Ignorance, like an unclean Besides, Mr. Boys in entering spirit, first went forth, and brooded over the episcopal presence has left the centuries; then followed superstition : “ cat in soak” behind him, and and now infidelity is bringing up the rear. • For they are the spirits of devils, working
written with good temper and no miracles which go forth unto the kings of unkind spirit, save only what his the earth, and of the whole world, to ga- argument required; as, for inther them to the battle of that great day of stance, that he should exhibit “the God Almighty.' Rev. xvi. 13, 14. It is on this very serious ground that we depre, the religious journals
, and, above
S religious world," and in particular cate so many minds being led imaginary miracles; for it is easy to fore- all, the Christian Observer, which see how surreptitiously the spirit of infi- he describes by certain specific delity, combined with human science, and hints, though he names it not, as an acute perception of the springs of bu. man action, may, ere long, avail itself of favourers of Neologism ; and, as popular religious notions respecting gifts respects modern miracles, and the and miracles, to bring about that awful case of Miss Fancourt, opposers of upostacy, which, notwithstanding all its the work of God. The foregoing evils, we have the consolation of knowing extract (though it includes but a shall be subordinated to the Divine poses, and issue in the final triumph of the part of the whole case) will, we church." pp. 71-97.
trust, be sufficient to shew him If this scriptural argument do that there are not wanting argunot satisfy any reasonable person ments on the other side ; and that