« AnteriorContinuar »
Jesus in the 8th verse, it must be in an inferior sense. The whole chapter is, I think, nothing more than a series of quotations from the Old Testament, to show the superiority of Christ to all the other messengers and prophets of Jehovah; and the 10th to the 12th verses, which are quoted from the cii. Psalm; and there, obviously addressed to Jehovah, are quoted, to show that the kingdom of the Messiah, and the glory given to him, as a reward for his perfect obedience, should last for ever; because it is founded upon the promise of Him who is immutable and everlasting. The words only appear in the second person, because the writer quoted the very words of the Psalmist. This whole chapter, upon which Trinitarians so much rely, is but another beautiful illustration of the Christian doctrine, of the excellence and the importance of the mission of Jesus, and of his exaltation, and the bonours and rewards conferred upon him for his obedi, ence and submission, even unto death.
(To be Concluded in our next.)
Annual Lecture at Oldbury, in Shropshire.
“ It would appear highly probable,” Mr. Kentish remarks, in a note appended to his Sermon, preached at Oldbury, September 8th, 1829, “ that the annual lecture at Oldbury, was instituted with an immediate reference to the case of the Ministers ejected from their several charges, on August the twenty-fourth, 1662.” It bas been usual, we believe, to have two discourses delivered on the occasion; one having special reference to the grounds and evidences of Christianity; and the other, bearing more particularly on the principles and duties of Protestant Dissenters. Mr. Kentish was one of the preachers at the last anniversary, and from 1 Corinth. vii. 22, “ He that is called being free, is Christ's servant," directed the attention of his auditors to “ the situation and duty of Protestant Dissenters," chiefly as relating to their altered circumstances, in consequence of the repeal of the Sacramental Test. From this excellent and very appropriate discourse, we have pleasure in making the following extract, with the accompanying note:
“ What at this moment, gives such lustre to the character of our Dissenting forefathers, and causes the memory
of them to be blessed? You will answer--their intrepid resistance to human authority in the concerns of Religion: and your answer will be correct; for to your Dissenting forefathers you owe, under God, the maintenance both of your religious and your civil liberties.* But permit me next to inquire, What prompted their intrepidity of resistance? The reply must be—their deep and fervent piety, the inconquerable strength of religious principle in their bosoms, its all-pervading efficacy on their thoughts and conduct. Hence they were eminently sincere, earnest, sober-minded, devout; preserving a conscience void of offence towards God as well as man, and knowing how to use the world, without using it to excess. Before the throne of Heaven they regularly bowed the knee in their personal and domestic sanctuaries, and in the house of prayer. Fearing God, they had no other fear and their steady aim was to approve themselves Christ's faithful servants. The times in which they lived, strongly called forth, and admirably improved, their graces—the active and the suffering virtues of the Christian character; and some of them, who, in addition to their public trials, laboured under bodily weakness and disease, spoke with uncommon tenderness as “ dying men to dying men," felt more than ever “ the powers of the world to come,” and preached and wrote with the eloquence of the heart on the everlasting rest, which remaineth for the people of God. Say, my brethren, do we bear any due resemblance to these fathers of Protestant Dissent? Are we just to our principles, to our religious interests, to ourselves? Is there no happy point between spiritual ostentation and spiritual lukewarmness; and shall we not give evidence that we know and value and can recommend it? Shall we not discern the things which differ, and pursue those which are excellent?"
*“ Mr. Hume goes still further. In a passage frequently quoted, (Hist. of Eng. Ann. 1571,) he says, that " the precious spark of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved, by the Puritans alone,” and that “ to this sect the English owe the whole freedom of their constitution.” The statement is substantially correct. Yet the historian's language requires to be in some degree modified and explained. Mr. Hume, who deemed it ridiculous to consider the English constitution before the Revolution as “ a regular plan of liberty," while, inconsistently with this opinion, he often recognizes the free spirit of the Great
CHARTER, (and, for the origin of the liberties of Englishmen, he should have ascended to a remoter age,) takes a singular method of defending the arbitrary rule of the iTudors and the Stuarts. He palliates the enormous misgovernment of the monarchs of those houses, by assigning our happy constitution to the era of the Revolution; though, in truth, it was not then framed, but only vindicated, restored, and guarded. Thus, sooner than allow that Queen Elizabeth violated its maxims, he describes the Puritans of her reign, and their almost immediate descendants, as kindling the spark of liberty, and as the instruments of the whole freedom of our constitution. It would have been more accurate to remark, that they asserted courageously and successfully the birthright of their fathers, and, by this course, established nearly the same claims on the gratitude of their posterity, as though they had been the first authors of our freedom.
With few, and therefore particularly honourable exceptions, the body of the Non-conformists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, possessed no comprehensive knowledge, either in theory or in their practice of liberty, civil and religious. The proper view of their case is this: their public conduct can be justified and approved solely on the principles of that liberty, which, thanks be to God, is in our times so much better understood. Persecution and tyranny, wanton far beyond the limits of human endurance, made our ancestors sensible of the inseparable affinity between spiritual and civil freedom. They became feel. ingly convinced that, for the due exercise of the rights of conscience, man has no security under a despotic government; and that he cannot, must not, hold those rights at a tyrant's nod. Acting on this principle, and from a persuasion of the sovereign value of religion, they recovered and “preserved the precious spark,” which, in their own days, glimmered so feebly as to appear in the most imminent danger of being totally extinguished."
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, December 1, 1829.
On the 4th July, the friends of Liberal Christianity, in the city of New York, held a public meeting, in consequence of having « received the most cheering accounts of the progress of liberal Christianity, from various quar. ters, and, more particularly, from Germany; that the great body of Christians in that country entertain enlightened views of the character of the Deity, and of bis benevolence to the whole human family, to the almost total rejection of the gloomy and erroneous dogmas of Calvinism, and, more particularly, that of eternal punishment.” The Rev. J. B. Shannon, prayed; & preamble and resolutions, constituting a Society, to be called s The American Committee of Domestic and Foreign Correspondence," were read by the Rev. A. C. Thomas; and an address, on the progress of truth and righteousness, was delivered by the Rev. Barnabas Bates. The services were closed by prayer, and a benediction, by Mr. Bates. The object of the Committee is, " to collect all the information in their power, respecting the progress of liberal Christianity, and to report progress in such manner as may be deemed most conducive to the interests of the religious community." Mr. John Morrison, formerly of Lanark, Scotland, was chosen Secretary.
We should gladly make considerable extracts from Mr. Bates's address. It appears, that the intelligence which occasioned the meeting, was derived from “ Dwight's Travels in the North of Germany, in 1825 and 1826."
The author being an adhérent of the common theology, and a son' of Dr. Dwight, whose works have been much lauded in this country, his statements may be received, at any rate, as not furnishing a too favourable account of the progress and condition of enlightened and Scriptural views in the country through which he has travelled. It would appear, that, in Germany, as well as nearer home, the extreme of fanaticism had produced the other extreme of scepticism and infidelity, but that these again are gradually giving way to a rational belief in the evidences and doctrines of pure Christianity." In the changes that have been, and are taking place, many inconsistent sentiments were to be looked for. Mr. Dwight observés, “ What ever views one may form of the German theology, he will be compelled to admit, that the German divines, in industry stand pre-eminent. There are very few theological opinions, which, since the Reformation, have been presented for investigation, that have not been analysed here during the last half century, witb a minuteness of examination rarely known in other countries.”. 56. We must admit, if we examine their works, that they have done more to en large the knowledge of sacred eriticism, than all the na-> tions of Europe." This keen spirit of research, combined! with the treasures of knowledge, to be found in such abundance throughout that country, justify the most pleasing anticipations for the future. It has been computed that ten millions of books are appually printed in Germany. The following description of the libraries of its various universities and cities, is highly interesting :
“ The library of Gottingen is universally acknowledged to be the most valuable in Germany. This country contains a greater number of large libraries than
other. In truth, every day's ride presents you a new one, of which almost any metropolis would be proud, if not for the number of the volumes, yet certainly for their value. Ninety-one years since, the first volume of this library was purchased; at the present time there are 300,000, the brightest productions of the human mind. Almost one hundred and fifty years ago, the library of Yale College [America] was founded: there are now but 8000 volumes. À traveller in Germany finds it difficult to proceed a day's journey, in any direction north of the Mayne, without discovering something to remind bim, in the small cities through which he passes, that intellectual cultivation is an object of great importance to the respective governments. In entering Germany from Strasburg, and travelling a few miles north, be arrives at Carlsruhe, where a library of 70,000 volumes unfolds its treasures. A few bours' ride brings him to Heidelberg, where he discovers another of 50,000. After proceeding about thirty miles, he enters Darmstadt, where he beholds a third, containing 85,000; at Mayence, another of 90,000; and in the commercial city of Frankfort, still another of 100,000 volumes, evinces the noble spirit wbich bas animated the enlightened merchants of that city. As he leaves the latter town for Gottingen, he stops at Giessen, not far from thirty miles, and in this small university he is surprised to find a collection of only 20,000 volumes; but be soon learns, that at Marburg, twenty miles further, is another of 55,000; and at Cassel, sixty miles from Marburg, a third, of from 90 to 100,000 volumes, adorbs the capital of Hesse. On his arrival at Gottingen, the next day in time to dine, be beholds, with astonishment, 300,000 volumes, all collected within a