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confederation a majority of free states. This reason alone suffices to concentrate our wishes in favor of the election of Mr. Lincoln.
The cause of freedom has, in other respects, recently made important progress in the United States. We are happy, for instance, that the General Conference of one of the most important of the Churches in that vast country, the Methodist Church, has resolutely entered the antislavery current; and to brand, by the way, the shameful protest which the Methodist ministers of Charleston (Baltimore ?) have thought necessary to raise against that noble initiative. The last session of Congress has been marked by one of the most eloquent pleas against slavery that we have ever read. Our readers doubtless recollect that, three years ago, Mr. Sumner, a senator from Massachusetts, having attacked slavery in the senate, was brutally assailed by one of his colleagues, who, striking him unprepared with his cane, left him half dead upon the floor of the chamber. This ignoble conduct was applauded by the journals of the South. Mr. Sumner was obliged for the time to renounce his official labors; but scarcely was he restored and returned to the senate when he pronounced an admirable discourse, in which he has not feared to present in a striking picture the moral and material results of slavery. Such was the authority of that noble speech that not an interruption dared offer itself, and Mr. Sumner was able to make them understand quite to the end without any special effort his burning philippic, which, reproduced forthwith by the press, has moved the entire country. Thus, in spite of the brutal attempts of American demagogism to introduce into parliamentary manners the despotism of the street, it is consoling to think that, in the last resort, the moral advantage remains on the side of elevation of character, and courage is not wanting to the apostles of truth. -Pp. 514, 515.
The following extract gives the writer's impression in regard to the most eminent English preachers :
One trait of the present English religious movement is the direction altogether popular impressed upon the evangelical preaching. The public mind is weary, it would seem, of the academic sermon, which demonstrates by abstract considerations those verities which, in truth, belong to the heart, and which justify themselves, above all, in the life. The man who always answers the best to this need is Spurgeon, whose popularity suffers no decline. His preaching is not indeed wholly divested of the subtleties of a scholastic argumentation. It presents some singular divisions and arguments more specious than solid; but all this is carried along by the current of his living and burning eloquence. With Spurgeon, as with Guinness and with most of the young popular preachers, it is the imagination which is the dominant faculty. We find a more happy combination of qualities with a power also, altogether more real, in a Methodist preacher, Mr. Punshon, who is perhaps the most eminent religious orator of England at the present time. What strikes us in Mr. Punshon is that his faculties, which are of the first order, his imagination brilliant and poetic, his wonderful clearness, his extensive learning, are directed by an intellect also solid as it is vast, which penetrates to the very bottom of the subjects with which it treats. Wholly popular though he is, he sacrifices nothing to popularity. In him there is no appeal to an exterior sensibility, no specious measures for moving the imagination of the masses, nothing which indicates the man who prepares his effects. One feels that he gives always the reasons which have convinced himself, and that it is the interior labor of his own soul which he brings. This admirable talent is sustained by an elocution neat, animated, suiting itself to the slightest inflections of thought, and always weighty and worthy the subject it develops. One occasionally regrets that the labors of his ministry have somewhat fatigued his organs, in which there is sometimes a failure of the harmonious tones. But who can combine every excellence ?—P. 516.
are the product of startling point
Art. XI.-QUARTERLY BOOK-TABLE.
Religion, Theology, and Biblical Literature. Recent Inquiries in Theology. By eminent English Churchmen.
Being "Essays and Reviews." Reprinted from the Second London Edition. Edited, with an Introduction, by Rev. FREDERIC H. HEDGE, D. D. - 12mo., pp. 480. Boston: Walker,
Wise, & Co. 1860. Under their original title of “Essays and Reviews,” the pieces of this volume have, in England, created a “sensation.” As reference to our Synopsis will show, they attracted decided notice from the current Quarterlies, and the jubilant Westminster pronounces their appearance“ an epoch” in the progress of thought. This epochal importance cannot, as we think, arise from their very great ability; for, scholarly as they are in thought and style, we could, at a few hours' notice, select an equally able series of articles on kindred topics from the National Review. But the startling point in their appearance is, that they are the product of hands whose signatures stand unwithdrawn to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, and a point of moral rectitude is fairly raised. Moreover, it presents itself as a movement from within the Establishment. Freethinkers hail it as an irretraceable advance. down the terrace steps of skepticism. Bold inquiry, free speech is starting up in the ranks of orthodoxy, and a “movement” of “progress” is made in “flinging off the influence of old opinions."
The apologists for these writers would say that they were making an effort to show how the untenable elements of our past Christian belief can be surrendered without yielding the central or, at least, the vital parts. Geology, ethnology, monumental archæology, are showing that the cosmogony of Moses, the unity of the race, the chronology of the Pentateuch, are traditional errors. Science is demonstrating the immutability of nature, and falsifying thereby the myths of miracle. What then? All that is spiritual in Scripture, all that coincides with the high and holy intuitions of humanity remains, and remains forever. The Bible is still the best of books; the religion which is contained in the Bible, as the gold is in the ore, is imperishably true. The heroic men who now rise up to show that these invaluable realities are not to be surrendered amid the wreck of the tradition and the myth, are friends of religion and benefactors of the world.
urch of Engl, un withdrawn
All this is very fine; but our religion is no way thankful for sach defenders. For the last entire century there has been a fly. ing cohort of thinkers hanging upon the outskirts of Christianity who have been ever proclaiming that her existence is coming to an end. Science, in its transition state, appears in its various phases, to threaten different truths of Christianity. When the science by completion becomes a science, the method by which the religion and the science may combine spontaneously emerges.
The most important of these essays are as follow: Rev. Rowland Williams, D. D., indorses the Biblical theory of Chevalier Bunsen; according to which, mankind has existed some twenty thousand years before the beginning of the apparent Hebrew chronology; all biblical history before Abraham is a fragmentary mass of fable and history, and all supernatural narratives throughout the Bible are false. Rev. Baden Powell shows us, on the grounds of metaphysics and natural philosophy, that a miraculous violation of the laws of nature is a strict impossibility. Rev. H. B. Wilson, D. D., shows the folly and the unspiritual and irreligious tendency of all historical evidences of Christianity. Paley is worthless, and he and his age were a dry, soulless set, with very little, if any, religion in them. C. W. Goodwin, A. M., shows the wickedness of attempting the great falsehood of maintaining that the Mosaic narrative of the creation, so plain in itself, is accordant with the facts of geology Professor Jowett shows that the prevalent mode of interpreting Scripture, by which immoral passages are hammered into rectitude and contradictions are pressed into agreement, is achieved at the expense of the common sense and the moral sense. He completes the set. Of course, after these successive assaults are completed there are left but a tattered fragment of our old Bible, and but a shadowy phantasm of our old religion.
That our Bible has some accounts to settle with the incomplete sciences is true. But the Bible being a proved and true book, upon it we take our affirmative stand, and deal with those difficulties in methods accordant with their particular nature. When the difficulty allows two or three constructions of any point or passage, we are entitled to the most favorable. When a difficulty cannot be solved, we assume that there is a solution of which we are ignorant, or we postpone its solution until further research solves the method. Not until a negative demonstration, admitting neither of these methods, stands at undeniable issụe with the truth of the Bible, do We surrender; and that negative demonstration has never yet come. With the incomplete science of geology the Bible has an open problem; we wait its solution without misgiving, and we shall wait for something better than Professor Hitchcock's latest essay. As to Egyptology, its ambiguous interpretations are yet to be reduced to certainty; and when that comes the reconciliation will come with it. Chevalier Bunsen, with his grand chronological romance, will never unsettle a single verse of Genesis. That the Author of the course of nature has not full power to vary that course, neither Hume nor Baden Powell can prove. On the contrary, that God can come forth just as easily and just as wisely in the extraordinary as in the ordinary, in the supernatural as in the natural, we hold to be one of the plainest dictates of common-sense.
In his elegant preface to this volume, Dr. Hedge says of the Paleyan age that its “ practical evil ” “ found a corrective in the rise of Methodism. That new dispensation of the Gospel reacted with healing power on the Church.” But we reply, Methodism, strangely as it may sound, is founded upon, and is a necessary consequence of, Paleyism. Whitfield and Wesley assumed the evidences of Paley to be valid, and made the historical miraculous Christ, with his actual vicarious atonement, the basis of their “dispensation.” Take away these, and these men were powerless. And take away these, and every dispensation will be powerless. No religion can live and work without its body of historical facts. Dean Milman pregnantly remarks, that, 'no Pelagian ever has or ever will work a religious revolution.” With the implements that these writers and their editor would furnish, the indifferentism and skepticism whose reign closed the last century could never have been dethroned. It would only have found " in the lowest deep a lower deep."
While Methodism was working out her humble and hard-working dispensation, Unitarianism was the deadest part of the Christian Church. President Kirkland and his cotemporaries were the driest of Lockians, the tamest of Paleyans, reducing Christianity to the most naked history, and preaching a Gospel of natural ethics. To them, Methodism and fanaticism were different ways of spelling the same word. What has wrought the change by which our graceful Unitarian can call Methodism “a new dispensation of the Gospel ?” A fashionable philosophy. Intuitionalism is now in the ascendancy; and the high glow of moral and philosophic feeling which it cherishes not only sincerely feels an affinity for, but even confounds itself with, a spiritual, earnest religion. Dr. Hedge speaks then with no purpose of shallow compliment,
the present til and the spire infidelity w
but with a profoundly serious meaning. Yet, with all its profoundness, it is a mere ephemeral phase of sentiment. It is simply the humor of the reigning metaphysics. Twenty years hence it may be blown off, like the foam from a German's mug of lager, and leave nothing but a residuum of dead sensationalism worse than ruled the age of Paley and Kirkland. Should we now allow ourselves to be cheated into the humor of renouncing the historical evidential basis of Christianity, what will become of us when the high fever glow of the present transcendentalism chills down into empiricism? Both the historical and the spiritual would be lost, and nothing but a blank, desolate Tom Paine infidelity would be left us. We must tell our Unitarian and rationalistic friends, then, that we can no more accept their guidance in this their hour of excitement than we could in the day of their deadness. Methodism maintained her revivalism in the day of their prosaic Paleyism; she now maintains her Paleyism in the midst of their revivalism. For if Paleyism be true, our revivalism is right. If the facts of Christianity are reality, the spirit of earnest religion is solely rational. Paley was right and logical when he framed his evidences; he was illogical when he declined to infer the obligation and necessity of the most earnest religious feeling and action. Paley and Wesley are antecedent and consequent.
We are not, then, to be fascinated out of that firm maintenance of Christian FACTS, for the masterly statement of which William Paley's name is illustriously trite wherever the English language is read. His manual has solidly based the faith of untold thou. sands. It will survive whole æons of literary bubbles like these essays. With all our Methodism, we would not give one ounce of Paley's solid evidential sense for the entire volume of transcendental gas that exhilarates the brains of these glowing intuitionalists, who would kick the massy platform of fact from beneath their feet to show how buoyantly they can dance on nothing.
The Rock of Ages ; or, Scripture Testimony to the One Eternal
P. Dutton & Co. 1860.