Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

in the most intelligent assembly of passages as the following: “In this the universe, and in the face of the inquiry into the experience of the most formidable host of opponents disembodied soul, we follow the which ever marshalled itself against method which the mathematicians a minister of state; might, we think, do in their higher calculations; from have served even for Mr. Irving's certain partial changes which are higher themes. He might have been given in one state of the variable well satisfied to adopt their style, quantity, we ascertain the amount of without the attempt to revive that the change in another state of the va. of a preceding century;-an attempt riable quantity, and present the latter which has issued in producing only in a function of the former” (p.301): a mongrel dialect, in which the for, although this is mere Heathen beauties of the English language Greek to us, it may be clear as dayare not seldom sacrificed to quaint- light to the disciples of evanescent ness and meretriciousness and bom- quantities. We speak of parabast. If this be questioned, let any graphs which have nothing particuman, who is a judge of good writing, larly technical about them; but in compare a few pages of Mr. Irving's which the sense is sometimes so book with a few pages in any one buried under a covering of words, of fifty authors whom we could and there is such an involution of name, and he will at once see our phraseology, as to render the precriticism decisively illustrated. Let cise meaning of the author very him take, for instance, the ORATIONS difficult indeed to be ascertained. of Lord Grenville on the French And if we should go to the con. Slave Trada in 1814, or on the East- sideration of particular words and India's Company's Charter in 1813, expressions; if we were to speak of or that Nobleman's Preface to Lord the “merry-making" at the creaChatham's Letters; or let him take tion (p. 185); of the good-luck of the Rev. Robert Hall's ARGUMENT mankind, as implied in the word against infidelity, or his funeral fortunately (p. 178), in having no tribute to the Princess Charlotte, conditions of salvation laid upon or any other of the writings of that them;—if we were to descend to distinguished Christian minister ; the coarse or uncouth terms which and he will at once see what a so frequently surprise us, such as wide departure from the purity of threnes, rede, wis, open up, aye, the English language may justly be sweating and sweltering, God bandylaid to the charge of Mr. Irving. ing it, &c. &c. &c. ; Mr. Irving

We admit that specimens of elo- would himself be astonished how quence of a very lofty kind are to little in some of these particulars he be found in various parts of his has attended to the common rules work; but there hangs over many, of good taste and respectable soeven of these, a degree of obscurity, ciety. In a new edition, we hope that which is at all times unpleasant, he will be at the pains to expunge and which renders the author's these, and many other deformities meaning abundantly open to mis- which might be pointed out. construction. Mr. Irving most But we are afraid, that, with all assuredly may be as clear in his its acknowledged merits, the voenunciation as he is vigorous in his lume before us is not exempt from conceptions; but, either through the liability to still more serious carelessness, or vicious imitation, objections. We doubt not Mr. or, as we suspect, from the joint Irving's profound reverence for the influence of both, he frequently Deity: we believe this to be the does injustice to himself, and leaves deep feeling of his heart : but we his reader in the dark as to his mean- are constrained to say, that he has ing. We do not here speak of such sometimes adopted a phraseology

which such reverential feeling will as suspending our salvation upon scarcely warrant or allow. We the condition of repentance toward could have well spared the form of God and faith toward our Lord asseveration, “ By the spirit of our Jesus Christ. We are far from meanfathers,&c. But what we particu- ing to say that he does, in fact, conlarly object to, are passages like the tradict himself; but has he guarded following: “ Having already taken with sufficient caution against the his [the Almighty's] constitution hazard of mistake? of government to task, it remains We do not, for our own parts, that we take to TASK the judgment very much object to this fervid and the award which is [are] to pass temper, nor to that spirit of manly thereon.(p. 326.) “To task" has independence with which it is gene. not, in common parlance, the same rally associated; but it would have force as to inquire into, to examine. been as well if the consciousness of Again : If Christ had done no it had been less obtrusively brought more than promulgate the code de- forward in this volume. Doubtless tailed above,....I should have shut up Mr. Irving does occasionally (see in this argument of Judgment to come. particular the last chapter) use, with .......I should have advised to pre: respect to himself, disqualifying serve it for its good qualities......but phrases, which ought not to be overas an instrument to JUDGE upon, I looked: but the more prevailing should have been altogether dumb in tone is that of authority, and supeits defence.” (p. 174.) Again: “Now riority, and self-confidence ; of a if God did withdraw your footsteps spirit which brooks not submission from such high walks of virtue, I and almost claims infallibility, and should hesitate once or twice whe- which looks down from too high an ther it was better to listen to him or elevation upon the world beneath not." (p. 368.) The hypotheses on him. Sometimes it seems to take a which these remarks are founded, tinge of Radicalism-pp. 245; 258; ought not to be framed: it should 286; 329-yet Mr. Irving is a loyal never, even for argument's sake, be subject. Sometimes it appears to assumed to be possible that God set him up as the enlightener and can act in any way inconsistent reformer of mankind : the Preface with his holy attributes.

is, in this respect, particularly unPerhaps some of these expres- happy : yet we fairly acquit him of sions are to be traced to the “in- any such intended assumption. But genium perfervidum Scotorum,to most frequently it contents itself the warmth and energy with which with lamentations over the stupidity a native of Caledonia prosecutes and degeneracy of the age he lives his cause : and hence, too, may be in. There is something in these explained the apparent want of wailings which has often forced from caution with which points of doc- us an involuntary smile. We cantrine are sometimes propounded in not be angry, although it is necesthis work. We hinted at this sub- sarily our misfortune to belong to ject in our former Number; and this degenerate species. " Why Mr. Irving must not be surprised if should it have fallen," as Mr. Irving he should be quoted as an advocate indignantly exclaims, “why should for the most opposite views in reli- it have fallen to my lot to rebuke gion. One will charge him with such a generation ?” (p. 447.) We preaching unconditional salvation, really cannot tell why: we only and will quote his express sentiment hope that he may improve them by (p. 177) that “the boon of forgive- his rebukes. We do not, however, ness is unconditional-a statement think quite so ill of the intellect and which he repeats in the following talents of mankind as Mr. Irving pages ;-and yet he may be cited seems to do. We have to boast of

DHE

Christian poets, even in these later those “high-priests of the senses, days; and great divines; and emi- and ministers of the Cyprian godnent statesmen; and orators inferior dess," who "bewitch the intellectual to few whom the world has seen. and moral and spiritual being "ofour Enterprises of humanity have never “young men and women"_for we been more zealously undertaken, or have no substantial difference with conducted to more glorious results; him on these points. But, to go and discoveries have been made a step higher : what thinks Mr. in every region of art and nature, Irving of our universities ? and are still daily advancing, in a “Oh! that the spirit of the antients way unknown to our fathers. We would rise again and ashame these moare persuaded, therefore, that there dern men, who go dreaming in universities is no lack of talent in the land ; and over a philosophy which hath no kernel we hope that Mr. Irving will not be of nourishing food, a philosophy of mind induced to despair of us too soon. they call it, but it is a mind without a

heart,--who go wearying the dull ear of of good; and he has our best wishes

senates with talk about law, and jargon

about the moral government of men; for his success.

while in all their researches after wisdom · It is not difficult for men to bear

and government, they see no form nor censure when attacked in the mass; comeliness in the institutes of God, and but, in the warmth of his zeal and hear no music to enchant them in the indignation, our author has been gospel of Christ, though it poureth the more special and pointed in his full diapason of harmony into the heart of animadversions than quite befits man:-which their deafness to the voice the pulpit. Wordsworth, indeed. divine doth interpret the platonic notion is a "prodigious” favourite; but

of the music of the spheres,-most ravish

ing melody ever sounding in our ears, yet Southey, Lord Byron, and Moore,

inaudible from the noise and bustle in the have fallen successively under his

midst of which we have our abodes. Melash. Leaving Byron and Moore thinks the quiet groves of Pythagoras, to his tender mercies, we cannot where they would have five years of silent but express our strong disapproba- meditation with their own thoughts and tion at his treatment of Southey. study of the divine oracles; or the school The “Vision of Judgment" may

of Socrates, that chastiser of haughty sobe as unworthy of the subject as

phists; or the oratory of Paul, who con

verted members of the renowned AreoMr. Irving represents it : but Mr.

pagus, and shook monarchs upon their Southey is not the enemy of his

royal seats; or something equally powercountry's religion : he is not a man ful were needed to move this age and gewho would esteem blasphemy a vir- neration of learned men, who look to tue, when it makes for loyalty: he Christ as if he were a fanatic, above whose is not a member of that school ignoble sphere they stand most highly which, in the preface to the very exalted." pp. 206, 207. work condemned by Mr. Irving, he “I cannot find in my heart to speak describes as “the Satanic school:".

against intellect, and, thanks be to God, I

am not called by my Christian calling to no man is more hated by the writers

speak against it. It is a handmaiden of of this school than he is : and

religion, and religion loveth to be adorned whatever censure Mr. Irving might at its hands. But must I speak the truth, choose to pass upon the VISION OF that it is often a handmaiden of other JUDGMENT, the writer of it is emi mistresses with whom religion hath no nently entitled to most respectful fellowship; of vanity, of power, of carnal consideration.

pleasure, and of filthy lucre. Go to the We will not stop to extract what

seats of learning, which intellect decked

for herself with chaste and simple ornaMr. Irving says of our public amuse

ments, where she dwelt in retirement from ments in town; or of the sickly sen

noise and folly, wooing meditation under timentality of our rural pursuits; or

the cool shade, or forcing her to yield ber of the sensual enchantments of the hidden secrets to midnight rescarch and school of Byron and of Moore mortification, what find you generally but

pomp parading it under vain apparel, sense sea once more, and have no star to rejoicing over feast and frolic, youth doting guide our way. I, as a preacher, cannot upon outward distinctions, and age doting move a step with an unregenerate man, on idle and luxurious ease. Such are a if so be that we cannot come into contact sort of sacrilegious ministers in the temple upon the word of God. I must shut up of intellect. They profane its show-bread the prophecy and seal the testimony, if so to pamper the palate, its 'everlasting lamp be that to his understanding it is a blank they use to light unholy fires within their and unmeaning legend; and we must go breast, and show them the way to the a cruising over the handy works and prosensual chambers of sense and worldłi- vidence of God, if so be that his word is ness. This is the intellectual life against dark to us as darkest midnight. Now I do which I proclaim that it will not stand not wish to go to war with the evangelical before the throne of Judgment.” pp. preachers, I love them so well; but I cannot 414, 445.

help challenging them, why they preach, as In some instances, all this may they wisely do, the truths of Christ crucipossibly apply: if intended to be fied to the unregenerate, if so be the unregenerally descriptive, we pronounce

generate can by no means lay hand upon

any of these truths ? All their practice it to be altogether unjust.

confutes their theory, that the word of To go yet one step farther: what

God is a riddle unresolvable, a mystery unthinks he of the persons usually searchable, which cannot be found out by stigmatized as “Evangelical?" We the understandings of men.” pp. 464, 465. have to complain here, as in the In conformity with these views, cases just adduced, of great want of they are in subsequent pages reprediscrimination. The persons styled sented as maintaining that the Bible Evangelical are frequently men- is a sealed book, unintelligible to men tioned by him, and sometimes in in their natural state ; and that a terms of affectionate respect ; but, stroke of the Spirit is necessary before on other occasions, most assuredly the word can be perused: they cast they are grievously and unaccount- mist and musteru upon its intelligent ably misrepresented. Let us hear face, &c. &c. In short, they strip Mr. Irving

the word of God of all intrinsic effi" The evangelical preachers therefore cacy. Such is the sum of the charges are right in referring all past progress, and brought forward against them in deriving all hope of future progress from the eighth part of this work ; and free unmerited grace, from the influence they are entitled to serious consideand power of the Spirit of God; and the

ration. Either they are true, and moral preachers who uphold man's power to aid and abet the work, and man's right

the persons thus arraigned throw to share in the glory, are doubtless in the

discredit upon the volume of inspiwrong, inasmuch as human nature, in her ration; or they are unfounded, and most gifted forms and in her most favour- Mr. Irving should have informed able moods and conditions, did never himself better before he ventured win any way towards the Divinity, till to make them. the Divinity himself gave the know- Now, we should be glad to ask ledge to inform her, the impulse to move Me Irving to what persons he at.

Mr. Irving to what persons he ather, and the motives to carry her on. But

taches the name of Evangelical the evangelical preachers, as they are

Is it to men who called, though right in the main drift of Preachers? their discoursing, are defective, it seems preach the same great truths of the to me, in the wisdom of their details ; and Gospel which, in the midst of much herein, as I think, is their chief defect, in extraneous matter, he himself sets giving too little weight to the word of forth in this volume? We presume God, which they hold to be a dead ineffi- that it is: he doubtless applies the cient letter until the Spirit of God put term as the world around him, which meaning into its passages. This is at once

e loves this species of invective, ge

v to lock up the great storehouse of truth, which God hath in every part accom- nerally applies it. If so, we meet the modated to the wants and faculties charge at once by a clear and post

of man, and to leave the world in as tive and distinct denial. - starving a state as cver. We are out at It is no secret, and no man with

his eyes open can have failed to of the Scriptures to be quite suffiperceive, that the persons usually cient for life and salvation? The stigmatized as Evangelical, are fact is indisputable. These calumthose who lend their aid to Bible niated individuals are assailed by and Missionary societies. This is a charges so opposite and so consummary process for bringing home ficting, as abundantly to prove the the accusation; and the inquisito. absurdity and unjustness of them rial black-book, of which we have in each case. “They maintain," says heard so much as including the the pretended lover of the Church, names of the Evangelical Clergy " that the reading of the Scriptures (since we must per force use that alone is sufficient to salvation!"term), was probably compiled from “ they maintain," says our author, the documents furnished by these in " that it is of no possible service; a stitutions. It is a test conclusive. To sealed book ; unintelligible from promote the circulation of the Scrip- the beginning to the end !" We tures through the medium of these reply, they hold neither the one detested societies, is as certain an opinion nor the other : the charge evidence of “ Evangelical tenden- in both cases is pure fiction : and cies” as if men carried the name both parties ought to be better adimprinted and burnt in their fore- vised than to publish such unwarheads. We ask then, are these the rantable and unfounded statements. persons who disparage the word of We allow, indeed, that, in opposing God by declaring it to be unintel- the natural pride and self-sufficiency ligible? Are these the men who of man, what are called the Evanaffirm, while preaching, as they gelical Clergy insist strongly—and wisely do, the truths of Christ cru- would not Mr. Irving do so ?-on cified to the unregenerate, that the the necessity, so often declared in unregenerate can by no means lay Scripture, of a Divine influence to hold on any of these truths? We render the word of God effectual ask, further, Do not they in fact ho- for the purposes of repentance, faith, nour the word of God, by asserting holiness, and salvation ; but do not its power to make men wise unto those who teach this, teach also salvation, through faith in Christ that the Holy Spirit is promised to Jesus ; and concur, in general, with all who seek him? Do they not the views stated by Mr. Irving inculcate the diligent reading of the himself in the very pages which Scriptures, as an appointed means of profess to be written in confutation obtaining this Divine instruction ? of their errors? We ask, whether And do they not tell their hearers, the men who hold the sentiments that if they understand not the here so unaccountably ascribed to leading truths of the Bible, or are 6 evangelical preachers," are not not suitably affected by them, it is in fact their opponents ? These because they suffer their minds to be men notoriously deny the utility of blinded, and their hearts hardened, circulating the Holy Scriptures, by the deceitfulness of sin ; and because of the supposed inefficiency because they have not looked up in of the simple word of God; because humility and sincerity to God to even-we blush to speak it—of its instruct them? But is there any often mischievous tendency; althing in this that is unscriptural; or leging continually, that of itself it that makes either man a mere macan produce po manner of benefit. chine, or the word of God a mere We ask, whether the enemies of the useless “ beggarly element ? ” We Bible Society, some of whom have say not, indeed we know not, what since been awarded to high places, some three or four individuals in did not urge it as an argument the United Kingdom-if so many against the friends of that institu- there be-may teach; but we are tion, that they held the mere reading very sure that the body of what are

« ZurückWeiter »