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me, and the souls that I have made Isaiah lvii. 16. He is the father of spirits :' Heb. xii. 7. ' He giveth breath unto the people upon the earth, and spirit to them that walk therein :' Isaiah-xlii. 5. Now, considering that in the first case the very same word in Hebrew is employed in describing the formation of the human body many times in Scripture, which is acknowledged to be by ordinary generation ; that in the second, there is no distinct reference in the Hebrew idiom to man's spiritual nature as distinct from his complex life--but the idea evidently was that God is the author of human life; considering that in the third, 'the return of the spirit to God who gave it,' decides nothing whatever as to the mode of the ‘giving; that in the fourth, the souls and spirits' are said to be
made, which is just what is said for the body also ; considering that in the fifth, God is called the 'Father of spirits,' without the least indication that the human spirit is infused by special act of creation; and that in the sixth there is precisely the same silence, we most assuredly recognize in Mr. Stock's mode of quoting these Scriptures, a willingness to be satisfied with evidence in the highest degree creditable to his orthodoxy.
The author next proceeds to explain how it is that those souls, eternal in their nature, ‘by the will of God, and infused into the bodies of men by a special divine act, so that they are fresh creations of God—not produced through the functions of organized bodiesare nevertheless brought into the world in a state of utter depravity and corruption, 'naturally averse from good, and prone to evil," 'radically, and apart from sovereign grace, irretrievably corrupt,' 'totally corrupt in every power,' p. 79. The question is, 'How to account for the corruption of these new-made souls, consistently with the divine holiness and goodness? This is done,' says Mr. Stock, 'in three ways: First, by the supposition that souls are not created by God positively depraved, but simply without any moral bias whatever, either good or bad; Secondly, by the fuct that the soul derives its pollution from its union with the corrupt body into which it is infused; and, Thirdly, by reference to the preceding arguments on the necessary connexion between Adam and his
posterity, constituted as the human race is.' All this is curious to the last degree. Think of it. Here is a nature received from Adam in a moral state so bad, that apart from Christ's redemptive and regenerating action, it deserves to go to misery through endless duration. This nature consists of a soul and body. The soul is made fresh by God in each case, without any moral bias whatever,' neither good nor bad; it is to be supposed, therefore, indifferent, which is bad ; for a soul without a bias to good is bad, ipso facto, God then who could have made the soul good, makes it indifferent to good, without any bias to Himself, and then infuses it into a body, a material structure, so bad, that the new-made spirit immediately
becomes a sort of fiend in the germ, “corrupt in every power. It is impossible not to ask, what is it in the body which has this power to corrupt totally a new-made indifferent soul, a soul which had no 'bias either way, towards good or evil. If it be said it is moral corruption in the body which does it,' this is inadmissible. The body has no moral nature before the soul comes into it. It is mere matter, organized 'flesh.' It must be, then, some chemical or electrical influence which operates, for by the supposition, there is no soul with volition or tendencies until the infusion. Is not this truly wonderful? And in a book professing to give only an 'exposition of the teachings of God's word,' is it not marvellous that no proof is adduced for such statements. All we have is this: "The body, or flesh which we derive from Adarn, pollutes the soul which is infused into it by the Father of spirits; and with the Scriptures before us, we must believe this,' p. 78. What Scriptures? Yet Mr. Stock calls this an explanation, and then, in case any of the young Timothies of the Tabernacle should venture to inquire a little further, and ask, “Why has God chosen to create a race thus constituted ? he rushes out with a flaming torch and dark lantern, which he flashes full in their faces, and crying out a horrible Bo ! he finishes by saying, 'Such questions are, in our view, profane and blasphemous,' p. 78—a solution which we shall not attempt to dispute by any process of argument. We can regard this mode of writing only as a distinguished proof of that first-rate Puritan orthodoxy' of which Mr. Stock is so proud, and on the possession of which, on such easy terms of evidence, he is to be heartily complimented. No doubt, those 'less advanced students of the living oracles,' for whom he tells us his book is written, will be abundantly satisfied with his methods of theological disquisition; and if they are satisfied, we have no right to complain. Assuredly, we will not incur the charge of 'profanity and blasphemy' by questioning the authority of Mr. Spurgeon and Mr. Stock in the matter of these ‘souls without bias' becoming evil, and only evil,' by union with a material organization. We have too bad a character already to be able to run the risk of encountering the Southwark multitude, headed by the ten deacons, and sixty students, in a state of ' Puritan, Lutheran, and Calvinistic' exaltation. It is needless to add that this Handbook, if
, in our judgment, open to observation from the slightness of much of the argument, is full of good matter on plainer and more important topics.
Mr. Stock was not born to be a persuasive divine or decisive thinker, or to set us all right in our rationalism ;' but he is an excellent, hard-working, truth-seeking, earnest man, deserving of all honour for striving after systematic theology in an age when many souls do appear as if they were created 'indifferent,' and earning by a steady life of practical usefulness the respect and affection of his fellow
believers and contemporaries.
Mr. Stock asks for our generous aid in promoting the circulation of his handbook in our churches.' Whatever aid we can give by recommending it, we gladly afford. We can imagine few things more likely to awaken
thought on theological topics than a wide diffusion of this rigidly orthodox manual. Whether the thought would all end in agreement with the author, is open to question ; but there is a wide field in which his evangelical readers would cordially agree both with him and Mr. Spurgeon, and on that common ground we prefer to bid him a respectful God-speed, and farewell.
THE WORK OF GOD IN ITALY.*
In this well-executed compilation, Mr. Owen has brought together facts and documents of special interest at the present juncture. We shall profit by his industry, and, it is to be hoped, assist the sale of his book, by presenting a general outline of its contents.
There are few things more wonderful to think of in Europe than the Italy of twenty years since in contrast with the Italy of today. Twenty years ago, the whole peninsula was sunk in political and religious torpor, under the deadly sway of its spiritual and secular tyrants. Now, it is alive, from the Alps to Sicily, with a new and irrepressible activity. They greatly err who think that this is exclusively a political or economical movement. That which is most outward and earnest, whether in the life of nations or individuals, is always the result of that which is most inward ; and the Italian revolution is the work of men who are seeking for liberty in the soul as well as in the body. A spiritual revolution, partly sceptical, partly believing, lies underneath the political convulsion, and were it not that the political convulsion answered to an interior craving for intellectual and moral freedom, there would have been far less persistence and determination in the execution of the grand enterprise.
We do not, of course, intend that the Italian nation, as a whole, is becoming religious in the true sense of the word. There is an outbreak of the national mind against the old authorities, which is purely negative and infidel; but this is a transitional scepticism,
* The Work of God in Italy,' by the Rev. W. Owen. J. F. Shaw, Paternoster-row. 1862.
which will form hereafter, like the disintegrated lavas of Vesuvius and Etna, an excellent soil for a better harvest. There is also a limited action of the Italian mind against the ancient superstitions, which already takes the form of a scriptural faith, and it is this to which we wish to draw attention. Mr. Owen gives no information on the phenomena of the national disbelief; that is a subject of exceeding interest, and one which only such a man as Mazzarella could adequately describe. Meantime, we are thankful for the facts set before us, and which appeal warmly to English sympathies.
The most prominent feature of the reviving evangelic spirit of Italy, and certainly a very noble feature, is the wonderful zeal with which it repulses foreign intrusion, and persists in claiming independence for national thought, faith, and action. We regard this as one of the most promising signs in the Italian sky, for it looks as if eventually the same spirit would pass into the political sphere, and reject French dictation as vigorously as it now sets aside the spiritual patterns furnished by English officialism. It is both curious and encouraging to read in Mr. Owen's volume the letters and speeches in which Gavazzi, Mazzarella, and De Sanctis, endeavour to beat it into the heads of London secretaries and societies, that the Italian Christians are going to be Italians, and to think and act for themselves, quite independently of the old precedents furnished by Protestantism. There has been in former times so much assumption on the part of some of our Societies for the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles,' such an air of patronage and positive wisdom, such a tone of insular omniscience, such a readiness to dictate forms of thinking, and even modes of action, that it can scarcely be wondered at if the bile of European converts to Christianity has been slightly disturbed at finding themselves treated like mission-station Caffres, and reformed cannibals. Gavazzi says again and again : - We are not Protestants; we do not protest against Romanism; Romanism requires not reform but annihilation.' Mazzarella exclaimed at Geneva: We are neither Roman Catholics, nor Protestants, nor Vaudois, nor anything denominational.' Surely, this is a new and hopeful element in the European commonwealth-a nation that is going to think over the revelation of God for itself, and that nation under the very shadow of the Popedom. It is gratifying to know that in England a general approval of this pertinacious Italian nationality prevails, an almost universal persuasion both among Assenters and Dissenters that no efforts should be made to impress on the Italian converts any particular form of church order. Mr. Henry Dunn, who has added to the many useful works of his life an active interest in Italian religion, says of the new church in Italy
- What it may ultimately become none can say. It is in the hands of God. The Italians have evidently their own work to do, and only He can enable them to do it. In the meantime, their preser
vation from the dominant influence of any sects and denominations should be fervently desired by all who care more for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom than for the triumph of a party.'
The three elements which have contributed to the emancipation of Italian thought are, the political revolution conducted by the heroic Cavour, * and worthily continued by Ricasoli and Garibaldi; the diffusion of the sacred Scriptures ; and the preaching of the Gospel by the Waldenses, by the Brethren, and by independent evangelists, such as Gavazzi, De Sanctis. and Mazzarella. Since the memorable year 1848, when Protestants and Jews were tolerated in Piedmont, à still greater concession, the right to profess every form of religious faith, has been granted, not in Piedmont only, but throughout united Italy. The value of this new-found freedom can be fully estimated only by those who knew the iron bondage in which its former governors held the entire peninsula. Unscrupulous Popes, Kings, and Archdukes, working the bidding of a priesthood who loved darkness rather than light, had rendered it impossible to diffuse the Gospel, or to circulate the Scriptures. Happily, however, for the nation, the political oppression under which it groaned rendered it inevitable that when the Italians struck for freedom, their statesmen should assail the corruptions of the hierarchy, as well as those of the civil government. This has led to a wide diffusion of thought on the affairs of religion as well as of policy. The very excesses of spiritual tyranny drew attention to its preposterous claims, and ensured the prevalence of an anti-papal spirit throughout all ranks of the population. There is no reason to think that the leaders of the political revolution were animated by a clear understanding of the tendency of their movements, much less by any well-defined love for evangelical truth. Even in the case of Garibaldi, the hostility to Rome was a far stronger passion than love for the true Gospel. The religion of Garibaldi seems to resemble that of Mazzini and Kossuth. The language of the Gospel respecting Christian regeneration and brotherhood, has been lowered by them by its uniform application to national regeneration and fraternity. But hatred of the Pope must not be mistaken for the love of Christ, and an enlightened hostility against the hierarchy must not be taken for submission to the authority of Christ. Garibaldi appears to value the Bible more as a piece of artillery for demolishing Romanism, than as the word of salvation for individual souls. This brave man is far more occupied by democratic theories than by apostolic doctrines, and whenever he speaks of religion, it is clear that he is more bent upon the reformation of society,' than upon anything that we understand by the conversion of men to God." This degra
* We gladly seize the opportunity of again drawing attention to the Rev. Basil Cooper's Life of Cavour.' Judd and Glass. 1860.