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as it is in Jesus into the minds of the people; " poetical, historical, scientific, political, and sentimental vehicles," we are at a loss whether to dismiss the phrase as mere verbiage, or to analyse it for the purpose of showing its pernicious consequences. We are suspicious of novelties in the matter of divine truth; we would stand in the good old path, and say"this is the way, walk ye in it." With the first and second chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians lying open before us, we are quite unable to admit as legitimate, these base admixtures of human inventions with "divine philosophy." The apostle tells us that even among the Greeks, he was determined to know nothing, "save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" he spoke to the Corinthians, not with the confidence and elation of conscious ability, but" in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling" his "speech" and his "preaching" were not with the " enticing words of man's wisdom," so strongly recommended by Mr. Irving, but "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" -and he assigns, as the express reason of all this, that the wisdom of men, was an inadequate "vehicle" for that "faith," which acknowledged no other enforcement than the power of God. We are not arguing against the fair use of talent and knowledge in the ministrations of the pulpit, but against the undue weight given to them in the present instance. All this homage which is so peremptorily required for genius and acquisition, is at once injurious to the meek and lowly character which should adorn the Christian preacher, and a dangerous substitution of means purely human for those " weapons of the holy war," which are issued from the armoury of heaven. We acquit Mr. Irving of all intentional trespass; he avows with solemn emphasis his conviction of the
necessity of a spiritual agency; but his whole plan, his lofty claims to originality, his unqualified censure of the received methods of preaching, and the ambitious character of his own effusions, would be sufficient, were there no evidence more direct, to prove the justice of our animadversions. Neither can we forget, that the "vehicle" of which Mr. Irving is pleased to speak with such supreme contempt, has been, and still is, the chosen and efficient form in which the brightest ornaments of the pulpit, the Bossuets and, the Massillons, the Saurins and the Supervilles, the Taylors and the Barrows, the Souths and the Horsleys, the Howes and the Baxters, the Leightons and the M'Laurins, have given to the world the rich harvest of their powerful and accomplished minds.
It is with sincere regret that we find ourselves compelled to continue in this strain. It would be far more congenial with our feelings towards Mr. Irving, and with our estimate of his powers, to avoid it altogether; but he has, with singular indiscretion and bad taste, placed himself in an attitude of such censorious and supercilious defiance towards those whom he would, we suppose, term his brethren, that we are constrained to follow him, farther than is either pleasant or convenient, in this rugged track.
"I am convinced, from the constant demand of the religious world for the preaching of faith and forgiveness, and ing of Christian morals; the constant their constant kicking against the preachappetite for mercy, and disrelish of righteousness and judgment; or if righteousness, it he the constant demand, that it should be the imputed righteousness of Christ, not our own personal righteousness; from these features of the evangelical part of men, I do greatly fear, nay, I am convinced, that many of them are pillowing their hopes upon and changed life which the Gospel hath something else than the sanctification wrought. Let no one mistake me, (for
though care little about the mistake on my own account, I am too much concerned for the sake of others in the success of this argument, to wish to be mistaken,) as if I advocated salvation from the wrath to come upon the ground of self-righteousness. But this I argue, and will argue, that unless the helps and doctrine of grace, deservedly in such repute, unless the free forgiveness purchased by the death of Christ, the sanctification by the work of the Spirit, and every thing else encouraging and consolatory in the word of God, have operated their natural and due effect in delivering our members from the power of sin, and joining our affections to Christ and his poorest brethren, and of working deep and searching purification within all the fountains of our heart; then it will only aggravate our condemnation, ten times, that we have known, that we have believed, that we have prized these great revelations of the power and goodness of God, and insisted with a most tyrannical and overbearing sway, that our pastors should hold on pronouncing them unceasingly, unsparingly, Sabbath after Sabbath. I greatly fear, I say again, that this modern contraction of the Gos
pel into the span of one or two ideas, this promulgation of it, as if it were a -drawling monotone of sweetness, a lullaby for a baby spirit, with no music of mighty feeling, no swells of grandeur, nor declensions of deepest pathos, nor thrilling themes of terror; as if it were a thing for a shepherd's love-sick lute, or a sentimentalist's Eolian harp, instead of being for the great organ of human thought and feeling, through all the stops and pipes of this various world; I say, I fear greatly lest this strain of preaching Christ, the most feeble and ineffectual which the Christian world hath ever heard, should have lulled many into a quictus of the soul, under which they are resting sweetly from searching inquiry into their personal estate, and will pass composedly through death unto the awful judgment !
"Now what difference is it, whether the active spirit of a man is laid asleep, by the comfort of the holy wafer and extreme unction, to be his viaticum and passport into heaven, or by the constant charm of a few words sounded, and sounded, and eternally sounded about Christ's sufficiency to save? In the holy name of Christ, and the three times holy name of God, have they declared aught to men, or are they capable of declaring aught to men, which should not work upon men the desire and the power of holiness? Why then do I hear the constant babbling about simple reliance, and simple dependence upon
Christ, instead of most scriptural and sound-minded calls to activity and perseverance after every perfection." pp. 363-365.
We are "convinced," that Mr. Irving knows nothing whatever about the "constant demand," or the "constant kicking" of the religious world." On what does he found this sweeping and uncharitable judgment? Has he frequented our conventicles? Has he conversed with our ministers and our laity? Has he held intercourse with the evangelical men and preachers of the Establishment? Then we will venture to affirm that, unless he has ignorantly, or perversely, sought out the few from whom the far larger portion stand aloof, he has found "the evangelical part of men" as zealous as himself for " the preaching of Christian morals," and distinguishing at least as accurately as himself, between the "imputed righteousness of Christ," as our forensic justification in the sight of God; and the sanctification of the heart, exhibited in a "changed life," as the effect of a true faith, and our preparation for the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of God. Mr. Irving has engaged in a specific contest with the prejudices of the higher classes of society, is it to gain favour with them that he turns buccaneer, should wave over his own deck? and fights against the flag which With the exception of the few to whom we have before referred, and who form a sect apart, we know of
"evangelical pastors" who contract the Gospel into "the span of one or two ideas;" and without endeavouring to ascertain how many of them may equal himself in "mighty feeling," "swells "declensions of of grandeur," deepest pathos," or "thrilling themes of terror," we would quietly suggest, that he may easily find more legitimate methods of re
commending the Gospel than the term. But he also tells us, that one in question. On the closing sen- it is “ after the manner of the tences of the extract, we shall say ancient Apologies," and we conbut little; we caunot doubt the fess, that we are unable to perceive rectitude of Mr. I.'s intentions, any very close resemblance bebut it would be unmanly to shrink tween them. The delightful work from censuring his language as in of Minucius Felix is a dialogue, a high degree irreverent and indis- and of course, out of the compari creet. The adjuration is both son, but we should not suppose, unnecessary and offensive, and that the wretched theology of Mr. I. either knows, or is inex- Lactantius, the turgid obscurity of cusable in not knowing, that a Tertullian, the rambling and im“simple reliance and simple de methodical manner of Justin, would pendence upon Christ," for our be thought worthy of revival in the acceptance with God,-and in no
present day, however highly they other sense is it babbled about by may have been rated in their own. evangelical divines - is entirely There is nothing, that we are aware compatible with “ scriptural and of, peculiarly excellent or uncomsound-minded calls to activity and mon in their plan, to render a perseverance after every perfec- modern imitation desirable; nor, tion.”
in fact, were the recurrence to the Mr. Irving, among the censures antique model proved to be expewhich he so freely bestows on dient, can we discem any thing in his ecclesiastical brethren, reproves the present
the present “ argument,” beyond them for placing the day of judg- a vague and incidental resemment « afar off,” while he himself blance. But, in truth, this is a speaks of “ the long interval from matter of slight importance; if the the stroke of death till the trump train of reasoning be well conof God shall ring in death's asto- ducted and powerfully urged, it nished ear.” He avails himself of signifies little what technical mode the doctrine of an intermediate of discussion
may have been state in which the soul shall be adopted; and, though we cannot delivered up to the dreadful work say that, in the present instance, of conscience, reviewing the guilty we have found much of precision past, and anticipating the penal or compactness, nor that we have future, to urge upon his hearers always been satisfied with the the terrors of an immediate judg- opinions expressed in connexion ment. And who among evangeli- with the inquiry, we have been cal preachers has not done the deeply interested by the force and same? Unquestionably Mr. Irving vividness with which the subject has displayed great power in his is impressed upon the reader, and management of this awful and by the earnestness which the mysterious subject; and, although preacher displays in his appeals some of his speculations appear to to different classes of men. We us doubtful, the general effect is shall give a specimen or two as wrought up with a force and skill, illustrations of his happier mowhich might have been advanta- ments. geously left unimpaired in their
“ In turning over the sacred books to impression, by the miserable theo
examine into this previous question, we logical wrangle at the close. find them full of various information,
Mr. Irving entitles that portion concerning the interest which God hath of the volume with which we are
taken in man from the very first, and the
schemes which he hath on foot to amenow engaged, an “Argument,'
liorate our state, the desire he hath to and we shall not quarrel with the contribute to our present happiness, and
the views he hath for our future glory. He presents himself as our father, who first breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and ever since hath nourished and brought us up as children; who prepared the earth for our habitation; and for our sakes made its womb to teem with food, with beauty, and with life. For our sakes no less he garnished the heavens and created the whole host of them with the breath of his mouth, bringing the sun forth from his chamber every morning, with the joy of a bridegroom, and a giant's strength, to shed his cheerful light over the face of creation, and draw blooming life from the cold bosom of the ground. From him also was derived the wonderful workmanship of our frames-the eye, in whose small orb of beauty is pencilled the whole of heaven and of earth, for the mind to peruse, and know, and possess, and rejoice over, even as if the whole universe were her own-the ear, in whose vocal chambers are entertained harmonious numbers, the melody of rejoicing nature, the welcomes and salutations of friends, the whisperings of love, the voices of parents and of children, with all the sweetness that resideth in the tongue of man. His also is the gift of the beating heart, flooding all the hidden recesses of the human frame with the tide of life-his the cunning of the hand, whose workmanship turns rude, and raw materials to pleasant forms and wholesome uses-his the whole vital frame of man, is a world of wonders within itself, a world of bounty, and if rightly used, a world of finest enjoyments. His also the mysteries of the soul within-the judgment which weighs in a balance all contending thoughts, extracting wisdom out of folly, and extricating order out of confusion; the memory, recorder of the soul, in whose books are chronicled the accidents of the changing world, and the fluctuating moods of the mind itself; fancy, the eye of the soul, which scales the heavens and circles round the verge and circuits of all possible existence; hope, the purveyor of happiness, which peoples the hidden future with brighter forms and happier accidents than ever possessed the present, offering to the soul the foretaste of every joy; affection, the nurse of joy, whose full bosom can cherish a thousand objects without being impoverished, but rather replenished, a storehouse inexhaustible towards the brotherhood and sisterhood of this earth, as the storehouse of God is inexhaustible to the universal
world; finally, conscience, the arbitrator of the soul, and the touchstone of the evil and the good, whose voice within our breast is the echo of the voice of God. These, all these, whose varied ac
tion and movement constitutes the maze of thought, the mystery of life, the continuous chain of being-God hath given us to know that we hold of his hand, and during his pleasure, and out of the fulness of his care.
"Upon which tokens of his affectionate bounty, not upon bare authority, command, and fear, God desireth to form a union and intimacy with the human soul. As we love our parents, from whom we derived our being, sustenance, and protection, while we stood in need, and afterwards proof of unchanging and undying love, so God would have us love him in whom we live, and move, and breathe, and have our being, and from whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift. And as out of this strong affection, we not only obey, but honour the commandments of our father and mother, so willeth he that we should honour and obey the commandments of our father in heaven. As we look up to a master in whose house we dwell, and at whose plentiful board we feed-with whose smiles we are recreated, and whose service is gentle and sweet-so God wisheth us to look up to him, in whose replenished house of nature he hath given us a habitation, and from whose bountiful table of Providence we have a plentiful living, and whose service is full of virtue, health, and joy. As we love a friend, who took us by the hand in youth, and helped us step by step up the hill of life, and found for our feet a room to rest in, and for our hands an occupation to work at; so God wisheth to be loved for having taken us up from the womb, and compassed us from our childhood, and found us favour in the sight of men. As we revere a master of wisdom, who nursed our opening mind, and fed it with knowledge and with prudence, until the way of truth and peacefulness lay disclosed before us; so God wisheth us to be revered, for giving to our souls all the faculties of knowledge, and to nature all the hidden truths which these faculties reveal. In truth, there is not an excellent attachment by which the sons of men are bound together, which doth not bind us more strongly to God, and lay the foundation of all generous and noble sentiments towards him within the mind-of all loving, dutiful, reverential conduct towards him in our outward walk and conversation."-pp. 119-122.
With the exception of a phrase or two, the following passage is admirably conceived and expressed.
"There was one attribute of the divinity which he would not lay aside, when
following description of the work
he laid aside the rest—he would not part with his mercy, and with so much of his power as was needed to satisfy his mercy. The power that could have humbled his foes, he forewent, the power that could have revenged his wrongs, that could have nourished his famished body, and canopied his naked head, and shielded his unhoused person; all that could have ministered triumph or solacement to his sufferings he forewent; but that Almighty power which might heal sickness and chase sorrow, and put to right disabled frames, and draw back blooming health and warm gushing life to their withered abode, and cheat the grave and the wrathful elements of their prey; all this power he gave not up, but brought it with him to the earth, which called upon it so largely, and requited it so ill. But saving so much power as might be of comfort to the poor creatures he went out to redeem, he stripped himself of all besides, and did come not only within the narrow conditions of manhood, passing through the nobler nature of angels, but into manhood's most mean and melancholy conditions; not suffered to see the light in a human habitation; no sooner born than sought after by the hunters of blood; borne over sandy deserts into a foreign land; bred at an ob scure laborious calling, in a town proverbial for wickedness, in a region despised as outlandish; when entered on his office of salvation, a waylaid wanderer, a houseless, homeless man, watched evermore by a host of spies and informers, and carrying in the bosom of his confidence, a venal traitor. Buffeted, spit on, crowned with thorns, basely betrayed, his blood sold for money, justice, the common right of man, refused him; nay, against the voice, and in the sacred face of justice, sacrificed and crucified on that tree where a murderer should have hung, from which a seditious murderer was released, to make room for the Son of God. Oh heavens! oh
How cometh it to pass, that reflection should cast such a shade into the estimation of our lives, if it be not that the thoughts are shut up within themselves when we ruminate, and the outward world kept apart. We suffer in the body a kind of disembodying, and the result is severe convictions of the idleness and wickedness of our lives. What, then, shall be the nature of our reflections when we are disembodied in very truth, and the world is escaped into the land of visions? Then, I truly ween, there will be a scrutiny, and a self-arraignment more severe than hath ever passed in monkish cell or hermit's cave. The soul will unfold the leaves of her experience, which since they were engraven had never before been turned out to her inspection. The glorious colours which illumined them are gone, the pomp, the vanity, the applause, the sensual joy; there is nothing left but the blank and bare engraving upon the tablet; and conscience is its severe interpreter, not worldly interest, ambition, or folly; and there is no companionship of fellows or masters in wickedness to keep us in heart; and there is no hope of amendment to chaste self-accusation, no voice of consolation, no preaching of recovery, no sound of salvation; all is blank solitude, spiritual nakedness, stark necessity, and changeless fate. The soul must have an irksome time of it, if so be that she hath lent no ear to the admonitions of her better part, and to the counsels of God which sustaineth these. It affrights me while I write, to think of it."-pp. 294, 295.
earth! oh sacred justice! oh power supreme! where slept ye when such indignity was offered to your Prince ? ye slept not, but ye murmured forth your indignation in thunder, and ye frowned darkness upon the face of day, and ye reared forth from the secret place the ghastly bodies of the dead to affright the living; ye slept not, and would have arisen in your sovereign might to defend your Prince from murderous hands; but the voice of your Prince had bound you, bound you to look on and intermeddle not to look upon the darkest, foulest scene, wherewith the annals of time are defaced, and the reputation of the earth defamed."-pp. 187-189.
Large as have been our citations we cannot pass over the following manly and energetic expression of just indignation against the impious buffoonery of Byron, and the profane servility of Southey.
"This age hath produced out of this theme," (Judgment to come,) "two most nauseous and unformed abortions, vile, unprincipled, and unmeaning-the one a brazen-face piece of political cant, the other an abandoned parody of solemn Of which visionaries, I judgment. know not whether the self-confident tone of the one, or the ill-placed merriment of the other, displeaseth reason and feeling the more. Ignoble and impious it is to rob the sublimest of subjects of all its grandeur and effect, in order to serve wretched interests and vulgar passions. Out upon such wretched stuff, out upon There is strong painting in the the age which endureth it, Limited the